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Alina Steinbach, PhD

PhD Student, then Postdoctoral Scientist


Scientific CV

Feb - July 2017
Postdoctoral scientist, Junior Research Group Immunotherapy and Immunoprevention, DKFZ, Heidelberg

Nicola Werner Award for an excellent PhD thesis

2013 - 2017   
PhD student, Junior Research Group Immunotherapy and Immunoprevention, DKFZ, Heidelberg

2010 - 2012   
MSc Molecular Biosciences, Major Molecular and Cellular Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg

2007 - 2010        
BSc Biology, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University, Bonn

Research Project

HPV-induced changes in antigen processing and MHC-I epitope presentation

The clearance of HPV infection requires an effective T cell mediated immune response. Therefore, several approaches to develop a therapeutic vaccine have focused on HPV-derived T cell epitopes. However, these approaches so far had limited clinical success. This is caused by the fact that HPV employs numerous immune evasion mechanisms, among which MHC-I downregulation and repression of components of the antigen-processing machinery (APM) directly interfere with T cell recognition of infected or already transformed host cells. 

The goal of this project was to analyze the expression of APM components systematically in a large collection of cell lines naturally transformed by HPV16. In addition, the impact of the inflammatory cytokine IFN-γ, which is enhancing antigen processing and presentation, was examined. The only consistent change of an APM component was upregulation of the ER-associated aminopeptidase ERAP1. Its upregulation reduced surface presentation of some HPV epitopes, and may thus represent a novel HPV immune evasion mechanism.

Resulting Publications

A targeted LC-MS strategy for low-abundant HLA class-I-presented peptide detection identifies novel human papillomavirus T-cell epitopes.
Blatnik R*, Mohan N*, Bonsack M*, Falkenby LG, Hoppe S, Josef K, Steinbach A, Becker S, Nadler WM, Rucevic M, Larsen MR, Salek M, Riemer AB. * Equal contributors.
Proteomics 2018, 18(11): e1700390.

Immune evasion mechanisms of human papillomavirus: an update.
Steinbach A, Riemer AB.
International Journal of Cancer 2018, 142(2): 224-229.

ERAP1 overexpression in HPV-induced malignancies:  a possible novel immune evasion mechanism.
Steinbach A, Winter J, Reuschenbach M, Blatnik R, Klevenz A, Bertrand M, Hoppe S, von Knebel Doeberitz M, Grabowska AK, Riemer AB.
OncoImmunology 2017, 6(7): e1336594.

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