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Applied Molecular Virology Laboratory

Introduction of group leader

Marc P. Windisch, Ph.D.
Doctorate: University of Heidelberg, Germany (2007) Head, Applied
Molecular Virology Group, Institut Pasteur Korea
Head, Applied Molecular Virology Laboratory, Institut Pasteur Korea (2014- present)

Office phone: +82-31-8018-8180
Email: marc.windisch at ip-korea.org
Office location: R4.25-2

Research Interests

My laboratory is interested in applied molecular virology of hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV & HCV). Research tools and assays were developed supporting HTS campaigns and mechanism of action (MoA) studies. With the infectious HCV cell culture system, more than 250,000 compounds were screened, viral RNA replication inhibitors excluded and HCV E1/E2 entry inhibitor included. Thereby, antivirals have been identified acting on viral entry and secretion. Surprisingly, one compound series exclusively inhibits HCV genotype 2; mapping of the genotype determining region and MoA studies are ongoing. Another compound series, which inhibits major HCV genotypes, is currently being characterized and a lead optimization program is being pursued, which is financially supported by the Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF). To date, state-of-the-art HCV therapies cost more than USD 100,000; this high economic burden will limit access to therapies. Consequently, we are looking into affordable alternatives, e.g. screening and characterization of natural compounds, and we seek non-profit organizations to jointly develop drugs for patient in needs.

We are also on a quest to identify and characterize drugs with a novel MoA, which potentially could cure chronic hepatitis B. In collaboration with a local lab and an international pharmaceutical company, we screened for pre-genomic RNA encapsidation inhibitors and for immunomodulator restoring innate immunity in chronically HBV infected hepatocytes. Furthermore, in collaboration with a German lab, we developed a robust infectious HBV cell culture system in 384-well plates suitable for HTS. With this cutting-edge technology, small molecule compound libraries will be screened to identify and characterize inhibitors targeting HBV entry, capsid disassembly/trafficking, cccDNA synthesis, etc.

With the re-emergence of the Ebola virus in Africa and the quick spread to other countries, this pathogen has been recognized as a global threat. In order to tackle Ebola, we devised strategies to identify immunomodulator, replication and entry inhibitors. Currently, we are looking for external collaboration partners to develop HTS assays and to characterize identified hit compounds

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