Immunotherapy and Immunoprevention - Molecular Vaccine Design

Jonas Förster

PhD Student

© dkfz.de

Phone: +49 6221 42 3823

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Scientific CV

Since May 2018
PhD student, Immunotherapy and Immunoprevention / Molecular Vaccine Design, DKFZ & DZIF, Heidelberg

2017 – 2018
Research assistant, Junior Research Group Biological Information Processing, BioQuant, Heidelberg

2011 - 2017
MSc Molecular Biosciences, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg

2008 - 2011
BSc Molecular Cell Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg

Research Project

Mass spectrometry-based identification of HPV16 target epitopes for therapeutic vaccine design

The overall aim of the group is to develop a therapeutic vaccine against malignancies and precursor lesions caused by high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Identification of T-cell epitopes which are presented to the immune system on the surface of transformed cells is essential for rational vaccine development. A highly sensitive targeted nano-flow liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (nanoLC-MS) methodology has been developed in our group for the detection of low-abundant viral epitopes.
This PhD project is aimed at identifying novel HPV16 epitopes for the major human leukocyte antigen (HLA) types, namely HLA-A2, HLA-A3/A11, HLA-A24, HLA-B7 and HLA-B15/A1, which together cover >95 % of the world's population. To this end, the immunoprecipitation assay for epitope purification and detection is being adapted to allow for flexible targeting of peptides relevant to any assayed cell line. This necessitates the development of software assisting the selection of peptides, identification of optimal LC-MS acquisition parameters specific to each peptide and the evaluation of peptide detection. The resulting validated HPV16 epitome map can facilitate future immunotherapy design.

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