Karin Moelling on Current and Future Research
  Karin Moelling     Biography    
Recorded: 06 Jun 2006

I am involved in replication of retroviruses and oncogenes still. So, as far as the replication of the virus machinery, interacting with the antiviral defense mechanisms; there are three, or four, or five levels where you try, where a cell tries to get rid of the virus and I think it even ends up finally to the interferon system in our mammalian system that how you defend a virus. And I would like to study maybe in terms of a review or understand what are the mechanisms and how they have evolved and use maybe the enzymes of the virus compared to the enzyme of the antiviral defense machinery. So, that’s what I think I want to do by using one or two sample enzymes. One of them is being the RNase H, but it goes all the way up to how do you, how is the immune system in mammalians interacting with viruses. On the other hand, the oncogenes there are many questions about how they do, what do they do in normal cells. I mentioned they do something on proliferation and differentiation, but what do they do if a cell does not grow, but does not die and does not differentiate. For instance, in a crescent cell layer so in a healthy surrounding the cell and many surrounding cells, so what is the interaction and there are many interesting negative regulatory mechanisms to keep everything quite and well-controlled. And these are the mechanisms I am right now studying in terms of the sigma transduction pathway. I got a couple of grants on that so that’s my research. I would like to see an application. I would like to see this oglionucleotide, which we developed, what I call siDNA, whether that, I think it could be used in humans and it could do something against HIV, which is a very, very bad disease. We have new, new vaccines and therapy is very expensive so in the third-world and Russia or any other countries that are coming up with this disease. So, if I could do something for an antiviral treatment during sexual intercourse that’s a herpes side and that’s proclaimed by the American Government it has been neglected. Nobodies really developed something against herpes viruses. Now HIV is on the, on the rise and I was suggested, I was even given the suggestion to link to the NIH to develop this kind of anti-HIV treatment. I have some monkey experiments ongoing, but after that you need the support how to drive it into practical things. That’s not my expertise. I don’t want to do it, I want to help do it and the NIH would be able to do that.

Karin Moelling currently retired professor, still affiliated with the University of Zurich and the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. She studied molecular biology at the University of Berkely, Califonia. She received her PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Virology at Tübingen in Germany. She did two post-doctoral research at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin (1973-1975), and at the Institute of Virology, University Giessen. In 1977 she received her Habilitation at the University of Giessen in Biophysics on "Replication of retroviruses".

From 1976 till 1981 she was the Head of Independent Research Group at Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany, on oncogenes, proto-oncogenes, cancer and HIV. In 1993 she became the Director of Institute of Medical Virology (IMV) and Full Professor at University of Zurich in Switzerland, she held this position till 2008. Between 2008-2009 she was Fellow of Institute of Advanced Study in Berlin and between 2008-2011 she became a Group Leader, Viruses and Cancer at University of Zurich.

Her research focus on retroviruses and cancer from molecular mechanisms to drug design. She is a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization. She received several awards e.g. SwissAward in 2007, 4 prices: Czerny Price, Richtzenhain Price, Meyenburg Price and Ansman Price. She was Selected as Heisenberg Fellow in German Science Foundation.