Janis Müller received the Hans-Heinrich Niemann prize

Congratulations to Dr. Janis Müller for getting the Hans-Heinrich Niemann prize 2018! The prize is awarded by the Society of Friends of the Hannover Medical School for outstanding work in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology.

The name of the prize derives from Prof. Hans-Heinrich Niemann who identified ‘the gene’ and elucidated the mechanism of Tetanus toxin. From 1996 until 1999, he headed the Institute of Physiological Chemistry at Hannover Medical School (MHH). The Society of Friends of the MHH has more than 600 members and supports research projects with more than 1 million Euro every year.

Within the annual meeting of the Society of Friends of the MHH on November 22nd in Hannover, Janis obtained this prestigious prize for his dissertation about „The versatile role of semen and seminal amyloid in virus infection“. He identified a correlation between viral envelope protein density and the effect of seminal amyloid fibrils on different viruses. Moreover, Janis showed that in the presence of semen, infection by HIV-1 and some other viruses is enhanced, whereas Zika virus infection is prevented1. This helps to explain why HIV-1 is mainly sexually transmitted while Zika virus requires mosquitos as vectors to spread.

Janis performed his PhD thesis at the Institute of Molecular Virology where he continues working as a postdoc. Working there since his bachelor studies, he has gathered enormous expertise on different viruses and methodologies. Moreover, he is a great student supervisor and ‘go-to’ person, e.g. he helps organizing the monthly ‘Wine and Cheese meeting’ and is always open for discussions and new research ideas. CRC1279 is very happy to have him!

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1Müller, Janis A., et al. "Semen inhibits Zika virus infection of cells and tissues from the anogenital region." Nature communications 9.1 (2018): 2207.