Keynote Speakers 2023

20230220 Melanie Brinkmann Jana Mai 004 klMelanie Brinkmann – TU Braunschweig, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany

Prof. Dr. Melanie Brinkmann holds a professorship in Virology at the Technische Universität Braunschweig and is head of the research group "Virology and Innate Immunity" at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig. The research work of her group focuses on herpesviruses, in particular cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). The group aims to identify new viral proteins involved in manipulating the immune system, which could be potential targets for the development of new antiviral therapies, and to study the functioning of interferon-stimulated gene products that play a crucial role in fighting herpesviral infections.

Scientific career

  • Since 2022 - Full Professor (W3) for Virology and Innate Immunity, Institute of Genetics, Technische Universität Braunschweig 
  • Since 2022 – Founding member of the BMBF-funded network of female researcher in the area of infection research “Infect-Net”
  • 2021-2023 - Member of the Corona expert council of the Federal Chancellery
  • 2018 - Associate Professor (W2) for Virus Genetics, Institute of Genetics, Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • Since 2016 - Head of the research group "Viral Immunomodulation", Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig
  • 2012 – 2018 - Assistant Professor (W1) for Innate Antiviral Immunity, Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover
  • 2010 – 2016 - Leader of the Helmholtz Young Investigator Group "Viral Immunomodulation", Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig
  • 2006 – 2010 - Postdoctoral fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts 
  • 2004 – 2005 - Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover
  • 2004 - PhD in Natural Sciences (Dr. rer. nat.), Leibniz University of Hannover



Eva Kaufmann – Queen’s University, Kingston, CanadaEva Kaufmann 1 kl

Dr. med. vet., PhD Eva Kaufmann heads the KaufmannLab at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Her research focuses on trained immunity in Infection, Vaccination and Asthma. With the help of mouse models, the lab tries to understand the long-term impact of both detrimental and beneficial signatures of immune memory on host defense mechanisms.

Scientific career

  • Since 2022 – Assistant Professor at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • 2016 – 2022 – Postdoctoral Fellowship in Immunology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • 2016 – PhD in Immunology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
  • 2012 – 2016 – PhD Student, Paul Ehrlich Institute, Langen and Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
  • 2012 – Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (Dr. med. vet.), Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
  • 2006 – 2012 – Studies of Veterinary Medicine at Justus-Liebig University Giessen



676 768 kl

Natascha Köstlin-Gille – University Clinic Tübingen, Germany

PD Dr. Natascha Köstlin-Gille is the head of the Laboratory for Neonatal Immunology and Immune Tolerance at the University Clinic Tübingen. Her lab is dedicated to studying the genesis and control of inflammatory reactions pre- and post-birth. The group’s ultimate aim is to prevent and treat pregnancy-related complications and infections in newborns, thereby improving the survival rate of premature and neonatal babies and preventing lifelong disabilities.

Scientific career

  • 01/2023 – Specialist Neonatology
  • 05/2022 - Habilitation in the field of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
  • 11/2021 - Member of the Steering Committee of the DZIF (German Center for Infection Research) Academy for the Tübingen site
  • 11/2021 - Head of the Laboratory for Neonatal Immunology and Immune Tolerance 
  • since 2020 - Specialist in Pediatrics
  • 2017-2021 - Junior Research Group Leader, AG Immune Tolerance, Department Neonatology at the University Children’s Hospital in Tübingen
  • 2017-2023 - Fellow in the Margarete von Wrangell Habilitation Program for Women 
  • 2011 – 2017 – Researcher in the Laboratory for Neonatal Immunology, Department of Neonatology at the University Children’s Hospital in Tübingen
  • 2011 - Dissertation in the Department of Cardiology and Angiology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg i.Br. 
  • 2004 – 2010 - Studies in Human Medicine at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg i.Br.



Hamida Hammad VIB IneDehandschutter 6

Hamida Hammad – VIB and Ghent University, Belgium

Prof. Hamida Hammad co-heads the group Immunoregulation and Mucosal Immunology at the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research (together with Prof. Bart Lambrecht). Her main research focus in Ghent is to understand how the crosstalk between lung epithelial cells and innate immune cells control the development of Th2 sensitization to inhaled allergens. Her group studies this in more detail in neonatal mice, because it is during this period of time that lung exposure to environmental triggers can influence or even lead to type 2-high asthma development.

Scientific career

  • Panel member in different expert commissions – ERC consolidator panel, Agence Nationale de la Recherche France; Infection and Immunity panel, FWO Med3 commission, HCERES, France, Finland Academy of Science. 
  • Awarded several prizes – Allergopharma award, Pharmacia Allergy Research Foundation Award, Scientific Award Foundation Astra Zeneca- Asthma and COPD, Karel Lodewijk Verleysen prijs, ERS Mid-career Gold Medal in asthma (and more).
  • Since 2015 – Co-head in Immunoregulation and Mucosal Immunology group, Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie, Gent, Belgium 
  • Since 2014 – Professor in the department of Internal Medicine, Ghent University, Belgium
  • 2012 – 2014 – Associate Professor, Inflammation Research Center, Zwijnaarde
  • 2009 – 2012 – Associate Professor and Project leader, Ghent University, Belgium
  • 2007 – 2009 – Project leader, Ghent University, Belgium
  • 2004 – 2007 – Assistant Professor, Pulmonary Research Lab, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • 2001 – 2004 – Postdoctoral Fellow, Pulmonary Research Lab, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • 2001 – PhD in Immunology, Institut Pasteur de Lille, France
  • 1998 – 2001 – PhD student, Institut Pasteur de Lille, France



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