Award of the Werner Otto Prize to BNITM scientist Julie Sellau

Hamburg, 14. Dezember 2021 – Dr. Julie Sellau, Wissenschaftlerin der Arbeitsgruppe Molekulare Infektionsimmunologie am Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin, erhält heute für ihren herausragenden Erkenntnisgewinn zur geschlechtsspezifischen Immunologie den mit 8000€ dotierten Werner-Otto-Preis. Ihre preisgekrönte Arbeit wurde im Juli 2020 in der renommierten Fachzeitschrift Nature Communications veröffentlicht.

Julie Sellau after receiving the Werner Otto Award. She beams at the honour.
©Norbert Weidemann

Research on gender differences in infectious immunology is in its infancy. While men are more susceptible to infectious diseases, women are more prone to chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. In order to create better treatment options, it is important to clarify the causes.

The Lotter working group, in which Ms Sellau has been a researcher for four and a half years, is dedicated to precisely this question: Using the amoebic liver abscess, they showed that the male sex hormone testosterone causes certain immune cells, which are actually supposed to protect against invading pathogens, to increase inflammatory reactions in the liver. These immune cells thus contribute significantly to tissue damage. The findings of Dr. Sellau and her colleagues open up new approaches for more targeted personalised medicine.

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