Cookie Settings

We use cookies to optimize our website. These include cookies that are necessary for the operation of the site, as well as those that are only used for anonymous statistic. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Further information can be found in our data privacy protection .


These cookies are necessary to run the core functionalities of this website and cannot be disabled.

Name Webedition CMS
Purpose This cookie is required by the CMS (Content Management System) Webedition for the system to function correctly. Typically, this cookie is deleted when the browser is closed.
Name econda
Purpose Session cookie emos_jcsid for the web analysis software econda. This runs in the “anonymized measurement” mode. There is no personal reference. As soon as the user leaves the site, tracking is ended and all data in the browser are automatically deleted.

These cookies help us understand how visitors interact with our website by collecting and analyzing information anonymously. Depending on the tool, one or more cookies are set by the provider.

Name econda
Purpose Statistics
External media

Content from external media platforms is blocked by default. If cookies from external media are accepted, access to this content no longer requires manual consent.

Name YouTube
Purpose Show YouTube content
Name Twitter
Purpose activate Twitter Feeds

Research Group Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cancer

Headed by: Prof. Dr. Ralf Bartenschlager

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ralf Bartenschlager

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ralf Bartenschlager

IIC, INF 242, room A2.203

Phone: +49 6221 42-4972

Contact: Mail contact

Twitter: @BartenschlagerLab

Our overall goal

Our overall goal
Virus infections of the liver are of high medical relevance, because they are often associated with serious liver damage, including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Up to now, 5 viruses with an exclusive hepatotropism have been identified, which are therefore called hepatitis viruses. Of these the hepatitis B virus (HBV), the hepatitis D virus (HDV) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) are most relevant because of their capability to establish persistent infection and their global prevalence. WHO estimates that ~70 million people are chronically infected with HCV and ~240 million with HBV. In addition, an estimated 10-20% of chronic HBV carriers are co-infected with HDV, which is a satellite virus requiring HBV as helper virus. Although infections with these viruses most often are asymptomatic, persistently infected individuals have a high risk to develop serious liver disease. The molecular mechanism underlying development of liver cirrhosis and HCC are poorly understood. It is widely believed that the immune response induced by viral infection triggers chronic inflammation. This immune response is unable to eliminate the virus, but causes cell damage and death, thus creating space in the liver for compensatory cell proliferation. During these cell divisions, mutations can occur with their generation being enhanced by the chronic inflammatory milieu. In addition, HBV and HCV induce multiple perturbations in infected cells, contributing most likely to tumor formation. Additional, tumor-promoting factors are the metabolic syndrome, high body-mass index and consumption of cytotoxic agents such as alcohol or DNA-damaging substances such as aflatoxins contained in contaminated food.
Given the complexities of external cues, understanding liver tumor formation requires an interdisciplinary research approach, combining expertise in virology, cell biology and immunology. We employ state-of-the-art cell culture models, cutting-edge imaging methods, including correlative microscopy and cryo-EM, genome-wide phenotypic screening and multi-omics approaches. Our goal is to decipher the mechanisms driving hepatitis virus-associated liver cancer with the aim to identify novel targets of use for the development of prophylactic and therapeutic treatment modalities.
Apart from that, in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we established a research network called CoViPa that aims to decipher the virological and immunological determinants of COVID-19 pathogenesis and to use gained knowledge to get better prepared for future pandemics.
Our research topics are:

I.     Cell biology of hepatitis B virus infection: towards curative approaches of chronic hepatitis B
II.    Induction of antiviral immune responses against hepatitis viruses and viral countermeasures
III.   Cell biology of SARS-CoV-2 replication

to top
powered by webEdition CMS