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Two hotspots of Comparative Medicine

Our goal:

Two hotspots for Comparative Medicine

The Messerli Research-Unit „Comparative Medicine“ shall be understood as a strong bridge between veterinary and human medicine.

Photo: Erika Jensen-Jarolim/MedUni Wien

Head of Comparative Medicine

Univ.-Prof. Jensen-Jarolim Erika
T: +43 (1) 25077 - 2660
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Photo: Felicitas Matern/MedUni Vienna

Prof. Dr. Erika Jensen-Jarolim, MD is medical specialist for Clinical Immunology. She is the current president of the OEGAI (Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology).

Since August 1st, 2011, she has been holding the chair for Comparative Medicine at the interdisciplinary Messerli Research Institute. This professorship is a joint venture between the Veterinary University Vienna and Medical University Vienna and consists of two cornerstones:

  • Allergology
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


Regina Meixner
T: +43 (1) 25077 - 2663
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Foto: Michael Bernkopf/Vetmeduni

Department secretary of comparative medicine. After an apprenticeship as a wholesale merchant, assistant of the management in various companies. Since February 2012 at the Messerli Research Institute.
Competent contact person for the staff of Comparative Medicine and for contacts from outside.

Laboratory Manager

Ing. MSc. Gerlinde Hofstetter
T: +43 (1) 25077 - 2662
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Foto: Michael Bernkopf/Vetmeduni

Gerlinde Hofstetter has been employed as a laboratory manager in the laboratories of the Messerli Research Institute, Department of Comparative Medicine, since November 2013.

She attended the HBLVA for Chemical Industry and worked at various institutions after graduating. In addition to her work as a CTA, she has completed part-time bachelor's degree in "Bioengineering" and the part-time master's degree in "Bioprocess Engineering".

Lab-teams (in alphabetical order)

Rodolfo Bianchini PhD
Working group: Comparative AllergoOncology
T: +43 (1) 25077 - 2694
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Foto: Michael Bernkopf/Vetmeduni

  • Study Biology at the faculty of Biology at University of Perugia, Italy; research focus on molecular immunology; degree 2002.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Toxicology, Pharmacology and Chemotherapy, University of Perugia, Italy; research focus on molecular immunology in cancer and autoimmune diseases; degree 2007.
  • Research fellow at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Toxicology, Pharmacology and Chemotherapy, University of Perugia, Italy; research focus on the Role of GITR and GILZ, two genes induced by glucocorticoids in the regulation of the immune response; period from 2007 to 2009.
  • Postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Allergy and Immunology, Division of Molecular Biology, University of Salzburg, Austria; research focus on adaptive immunology “Suppression of Immunogenicity by Naturally Occurring Peptide Treg Epitopes (SINO project)”; period from 2009 to 2011.
  • Postdoctoral fellow at the, Department of Pediatrics, University hospital of Salzburg / Paracelsus Medical University, Austria; research focus on innate and adaptive immunology in Galanin / Galanin Receptors systems; period from 2012 to 2014.
  • Senior scientist at the interuniversity Messerli Research Institute, Division of Comparative Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University Vienna and University Vienna, Austria; research focus on induction of innate and adaptive immune response in allergy, cancer, and autoimmune disease; period from 2014 to now.
  • Cancer Immunology
  • Allergology
  • Antibody-related immunoregulation
  • Comparative oncology
  • Comparative allergology
  • Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. Postdoctoral Fellowship Program: “SINO project: Suppression of immunogenicity by naturally occurring peptide Treg epitopes”.
  • Austrian Research Promotion Agency, Laura Bassi Center of Expertise for the Therapeutic Application of Neuropeptides (822782/THERAPEP).
  • FWF Austrian Science Fund, SFB F4606-B28, Development of mimotope vaccines for preclinical and comparative medicine studies.
  • DARC Danube Allergy Cluster “Alternaria alternate allergens for treatment and prevention of fungal allergy”.

Aila Fakhimahmadi Ms.
T: +43 (1) 25077 - 2665
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Photo: Regina Meixner/Vetmeduni

Aila Fakhimahmadi is graduated with a master’s degree in Genetics. She decided to focus on allergy research and now she is a Ph.D. student of cellular molecular and clinical allergology. Her research primarily investigates Alternaria alternata allergens and factors that lead to the allergenicity of these allergens. Aila is currently working at the comparative medicine laboratory of the Messerli research institute. She is privileged to be one of the board members of The Next Generation Immunologists (NGI) on ÖGAI community, and the representative of Austria at NAS-JM European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EACCI) community.

PD Karin Hufnagl PhD
Working group: Immunomodulation for Respiratory Health
+43 (1) 25077 - 2694
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  • Studies of biology/zoology in Vienna, focus on cell biology, graduation 1996
  • Doctorate at the Institute for Cancer Research, focus on hepatocarcinogenesis, degree in 1999
  • University assistant at the Institute for Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine with focus on allergy research until 2009
  • After maternity leave, start at the Messerli Research Institute 2013
  • Allergology
  • Immunology
  • Cell biology
  • FWF: SFB-F4606-B28 „ Towards prevention and therapy of allergy“
  • DARC Danube Allergy Cluster “Alternaria alternate allergens for treatment and prevention of fungal allergy” 

PD Isabella Pali PhD, MDsci
Working group: One Health in Allergology

T: +43 (1) 25077 - 2659
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Photo: M. Bernkopf/Vetmeduni

Study:   Nutritional Sciences at University of Vienna
Main focus: One Health, Allergy in human and veterinary patients
Degree: PhD
Since 2011 at mfi

  • Implementation of “One Health” in allergology
  • Revealing allergy-preventive factors, with special focus on the preventive farm effect
  • Comparative allergology: develop optimized allergy diagnostics for allergic veterinary and human patients
  • Risk factors for allergy development (acid-suppressing drugs)
  • Transfer of allergy riks from mother to child
  • Optimization of immunotherapy for allergy treatment (carrier, miomotopes)

PD Franziska Roth-Walter PhD
Working group: Applied Immunonutrition
+43 (1) 25077 - 2661
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Photo: Regina Meixner/Vetmeduni

Franziska Roth-Walter studied Chemistry, followed by several years abroad deepening her understanding in mucosal immunology. She habilitated 2014 in Immunology and is head of the group Applied Immunonutrition at the Department of Comparative Medicine of the Messerli Research Institute. Her research aims to understand the interplay between the environment and the immune system and its impact on immune regulation. Her current research link iron-deficiency with allergy and led to the development of a lozenge correcting these micronutritional deficiencies in allergics.

  • Immune regulation
  • Impact of environmental factors on immune regulation
  • Iron-deficiency and Allergy
  • Siderophores and Th2-mediated diseases
  • Mucosal tolerance
  • Development of immune therapeutical strategies for animal and human health