And the Poster Award goes to … Dr. Janis Müller

Dr. Janis Müller, who works at the Institute of Molecular Virology and is involved in several projects of CRC 1279, received one of two Poster Prizes at the 29th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Virology (GfV) in Düsseldorf, Germany. 

The GfV is the largest virological society in Europe and supports the work of virologist in research areas including life sciences, medicine and veterinary medicine. With a total of 442 posters presented during the GfV meeting, the competition for a Poster prize was tough. However, Janis Müller convinced the Poster committee with his excellent knowledge and data.

Janis Müller is a specialist for Zika virus (ZIKV). While most ZIKV infections cause only mild symptoms, they are also linked to severe teratogenic conditions such as microcephaly of unborn babies upon infection during pregnancy and the autoimmune disease Guillain-Barré syndrome. While ZIKV is mainly transmitted through mosquitos, it also spreads sexually.

Specifically, he showed that ZIKV infects and replicates in cells and tissues of anogenital origin making them potential sites of entry for the virus. However, his results also demonstrate that semen is a powerful inhibitor of ZIKV because it prevents virion attachment to target cells. His data provides a plausible explanation for the low frequency of sexual ZIKV transmission despite high viral loads in human semen and were recently published in Nature Communications.1

1Müller, Janis A., et al.: "Semen inhibits Zika virus infection of cells and tissues from the anogenital region."; Nature communications; 9.1 (2018): 2207; doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04442-y