2016 Milstein Young Investigator Awardees
2016 Milstein Young Investigator Awardees
2016 Milstein Young Investigator Awardees

andreas-bergthaler-190x248Andreas Bergthaler
Principal Investigator

CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Vienna, Austria

Dr. Bergthaler studied veterinary medicine at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna and performed his graduate studies at the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University/ETH Zurich (Drs. Hans Hengartner and Rolf Zinkernagel). After postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Aderem’s group at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle he started his own group at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. Dr. Bergthaler`s major scientific focus rests on the molecular mechanisms that drive virus-induced immunosuppression and immunopathology. This is pursued through an integrative approach which complements mouse infection models with virological, immunological and pathological readouts coupled to systems-level technologies of next-generation sequencing and mass spectrometry. The inclusive perspective at the organ and organism level shall contribute to a better molecular understanding of how viral infections lead to disease.

si-ming-man-190x248Si Ming Man
Postdoctoral Fellow

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Dr. Man received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, UK, for his work on inflammasomes in the host defense against Salmonella infection. He is an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council R.G. Menzies Fellow and holds a joint appointment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, and UNSW Australia, Sydney, Australia. After completing his Ph.D. in 2013, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti at the Department of Immunology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he focused his research on the inflammasomes and type I interferons in the regulation of innate immune responses to microbial infection and cancer.

His research identified a role for the transcription factor IRF1 and interferon-inducible cell-autonomous immunity proteins, including guanylate-binding proteins and immunity-related GTPases, in driving activation of the caspase-1 inflammasome and IL-1β and IL-18 release. His work also contributed to the understanding of the spatial orientation of distinct components the inflammasome and the involvement of caspase-8 in the inflammasome. Dr. Man was a recipient of a Thermo Fisher Trainee Achievement Award from the American Association of Immunologists (AAI), a Frank Fenner Early Career Fellowship Award from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, and a Neoma Boadway Endowed Fellowship from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

di-yu-190x248Di Yu
Senior Research Fellow
Head of Laboratory for Molecular Immunomodulation
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Department of Medicine (joint)
Monash University
Australia

Dr. Yu came to Australia in 2003 to study Immunology with Prof. Carola Vinuesa and Chris Goodnow in the Australian National University. He was awarded Ph.D. in 2007 and subsequently carried out the postdoctoral training with Prof. Charles Mackay at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, where he continued the research on the differentiation and function of follicular helper T cells and also initiated new direction of translational research including immunotherapy. In 2011, he was selected as Monash Fellow to establish his own research group of Molecular Immunomodulation in Monash University. He will return to the Australian National University in 2017 to be appointed as A/Prof and lead the lab of T-cell Immune Mechanism, Monitoring and Modulation (TIM3).

Dr. Yu and his team are investigating the molecular mechanisms of T cells that regulate the competence and the balance of immune responses, with the aim to design new strategies to modulate the immune system to treat autoimmune disease, infection and cancer. His research is published in journals including Nature, Nature Immunology, Nature Medicine and Immunity. He is a recipient of the New Investigator Award from the Australasian Society for Immunology, and the International Research Award from the Australian Society for Medical Research, and the Excellence Award from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.

vineet-d-menachery-190x248Vineet D. Menachery
Post-doctoral Fellow
Laboratory of Ralph Baric
Department of Epidemiology
Gillings School of Global Public Health
University of North Carolina

Dr. Vineet D. Menachery received his B.S. in Microbiology from Clemson University in 2004 and his Ph.D. in Immunology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010. His thesis work focused on the immune response in the peripheral and central nervous systems following infection with herpes simplex virus. In 2010, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Ralph Baric in the department of Epidemiology in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. He has since been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and a Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), from the National Institute of Aging.

During his time at UNC, Dr. Menachery has explored the host immune response to highly virulent respiratory viruses including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), influenza A viruses strains H1N1 and H5N1, as well as the recently emerged Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Utilizing comparative systems biology, Dr. Menachery was able to identify a novel approach utilized by both influenza H5N1 and MERS-CoV to combat the host immune response though histone modification. Importantly, the research approach may also provide a rapid means to categorize the potential threat posed by current and future emerging respiratory viruses.

In addition to systems biology projects, Dr. Menachery has also advanced new platforms for coronavirus treatments, evaluation of new virus pathogenic potential, and the role of host genetics in respiratory disease outcomes. Together, his research has the potential to produce important findings for the recognition, treatment, and alleviation of emerging virus infections and human disease.

In May 2017 he will begin a position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

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