Professor Christine Goffinet

Chair in Virology

Research Areas

Towards HIV-1 cure

Christine‘ s team has been studying cellular cofactors and antiviral restriction factors of HIV-1 infection, and how HIV-1 bypasses recognition by cellular sensors. Furthermore, the team is investigating cellular and viral mechanisms of HIV-1 persistence, latency and reactivation, which is crucial for the advancement of HIV-1 cure strategies. Finally, it is characterising epigenetic and transcriptomic profiles of CD4+ T-cells of HIV-1 elite controllers, with the goal to identify correlates of efficient and sustained HIV-1 control. This work is partially supported by a Professorship Award of the Academy of Medical Sciences. 

Identifying vulnerable points of attack to combat arthritogenic alphavirus infection

Alphaviruses can cause severe acute and chronic disease in humans, including long-term debilitating arthralgia. Christine’s team is deciphering the characteristics of alphaviral infections, including Chikungunya and Mayaro viruses, by analyzing cell-intrinsic innate immune responses, and viral determinants of infection and immune evasion. Results have the potential to enhance our limited understanding of alphaviral pathogenesis and may impact the development of antiviral therapies. This work is partially supported by funding by the German Research Foundation. 

Understanding intra-patient routes of Monkeypox virus dissemination

How poxviruses disseminate within an infected patient remains elusive. In the context of the MPOX virus 2022 outbreak, Christine‘ s team initiated studies on the potential susceptibility and permissivity of human peripheral bood cells to MPOX virus infection, and their contribution to pathogenesis. This work is partially supported by the Berlin Institute of Health. 

Analysing SARS-CoV-2 evasion mechanisms to antiviral therapy

SARS-CoV-2 is equipped with various accessory proteins who can antagonise cellular defense mechanisms. Christine‘ s team has established cell type-specific responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and a spike-dependent advantage of SARS-CoV-2 VOC Alpha in conditions of low ACE2 expression. Furthermore, her team has been elucidating the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to evade antiviral states induced by treatment with iBETs and to escape from humoral immunity by using the cell-to-cell transmission mode which exploits intimate intercellular contacts. 

Awards and Fellowships

10/2023   Professorship Award of the Academy of Medical Sciences

06/2017   AIDS Award of the German AIDS Society

04/2013-10/2013        Habilitation fellowship from the Margarete von Wrangell Program (granted funding period five years, ended 10/2013 due to move to Hannover)

11/2012  Postdoctoral Award for Virology of the Robert Koch Foundation

10/2010  Wolfgang Stille Award of the Paul Ehrlich Society for Chemotherapy

01/2010-10/2010        Postdoctoral fellowship of the Medical Faculty of the University Heidelberg (funding period two years, ended 10/2010 due to move to Ulm)

01/2008-12/2009    Postdoctoral fellowship from the Peter und Traudl Engelhorn Foundation

11/2007                       Hygiene Award of the Rudolf Schuelke Foundation

06/2007                      AIDS Research Award of the German Society for Infectiology 


10/2023-09/2026        Professorship Award of the Academy of Medical Sciences, ‘DESIRE - Developing Strategies for Improved HIV-1 Latency Reversal and Elimination’, £500,000 to CG for three years, CG P.I.

01/2023-012026         Research Grant of the German Research Foundation within the German-Thai Funding Programme for Joint Research Projects in the Field of ‘Arboviruses’, ‘CHIVA - Dissecting chikungunya virus adaptation by functional analysis’, €358,450 to CG for three years, CG, Yong Poovorawan, Sompong Vongpunsawad Co-P.I.s

07/2022-12/2022        Grant within the Sequencing Call of DZIF, ‘Towards multidimensional modeling of HIV-1 latency reversal’, €45,205 for six months, CG P.I.

07/2022-12/2022        Research Grant of the Berliner Sparkassen Stiftung, ‘Inhibition of bromodomain and extra-terminal proteins (BET) as a therapeutic strategy in COVID-19’, €50,000 for six months, CG P.I.

05/2021-04/2024        Research Grant of the Hector Foundation, ‘Deep dive into the cellular milieu of HIV-1 elite controllers: Analysis of basal cellular state and susceptibility to HIV-1 reactivation’, €250,000 for three years; CG, Clara Lehmann, Julian Schulze zur Wiesch Co-P.I.s

01/2021-12/2023        Research Grant of the German Research Foundation within French-German Collaboration for Joint Projects in Natural, Life and Engineering (NLE) Sciences, ‘COALITION - From cells over organisms to populations - Characterization of outcomes of emerging alphavirus infections’; €240,173 for three years to CG; CG, Felix Drexler, Xavier de Lamballerie, Laurent Meertens Co-P.I.s

01/2021-12/2028        Research Grant within DZIF, TTU HIV, HIV Reservoir, €182,927 für seven years, CG PI

03/2020-02/2023        Research Grant of the German Research Foundation (Priority Program 1923 ‘Innate sensing and restriction of retroviruses’), ‘Characterization of the effectiveness of the cGAS-mediated DNA sensing pathway in primary HIV-1-infected CD4+ T-cells’, €336,150 for three years, CG P.I.

01/2019-12/2023        Research Grant from the Impulse and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Society, HGF-EU partnering grant PIE-008 ‘MCMVaccine’, €308,188 for five years to CG; CG, Luca Cicin-Sain, Thomas Pietschmann, Stipan Jonjic Co-P.I.s

07/2018-12/2022        Research Grant of the German Research Foundation (SFB 900 ‘Chronic infections: microbial persistence and its control’), „Characterization of the secretory glycoprotein 90K as an antiviral restriction factor’, €239,700 for four years, CG P.I.

Selected publications

  • 90K/LGALS3BP expression is upregulated in COVID-19 but may not restrict SARS-CoV-2 infection
    Bosquillon de Jarcy, L., Akbil, B., Leyens, J., Postmus, D., Harnisch, G., Jansen, J., Schmidt. M.L., Aigner, A., Pott, F.,  Chua, R.L., Krist, L., Gentile, R., Mühlemann, B., Jones, T.C., Niemeyer, D., Fricke, J., Keil, T., Pischon, T., Janke, J., Conrad,C., Iacobelli, S., Drosten, C., Corman, V.M., Ralser, M., Eils, R.,  Kurth, F., Sander, L.E.,  Goffinet, C.,Clinical and Experimental Medicine,online ahead of print, doi: 10.1007/s10238-023-01077-2 (2023)

    SARS-CoV-2 variant Alpha has a spike-dependent replication advantage over the ancestral B.1 strain in human cells with low ACE2 expression
    Niemeyer, D., Stenzel, S., Veith, T., Schroeder, S., Friedmann, K., Weege, F., Trimpert, J., Heinze, J., Richter, A., Jansen, J., Emanuel, J., Kazmierski, J.,  Pott, F., Jeworowski, L.M., Olmer, R., Jaboreck, M.C., Tenner, B., Papies, J., Walper, F., Schmidt, M.L., Heinemann, N., Möncke-Buchner, E., Baumgardt, M., Hoffmann, K., Widera, M., Thao, T.T.N., Balázs, A., Schulze, J., Mache, C., Jones, T.C., Morkel, M., Ciesek, S., Hanitsch, L.G., Mall, M.A., Hocke, A.C., Thiel, V., Osterrieder, K., Wolff, T., Martin, U., Corman, V.M., Marcel A. Müller, Goffinet, C.*, Drosten, C.*, PLoS Biology, 0(11):e3001871 (2022)

    Non-productive exposure of PBMCs to SARS-CoV-2 induces cell-intrinsic innate immunity responses
    Kazmierski, J.#, Friedmann, K.#, Postmus, D., Fischer, C., Jansen, J., Richter, A., Bosquillon de Jarcy, L., Schüler, C., Sohn, M., Sauer, S., Drosten, C., Saliba, A.-E., Sander, L.E.,   Niemeyer, D.*, Goffinet, C.*, Molecular Systems Biology, 18(8):e10961 (2022) 

    A base-line cellular antiviral state is maintained by cGAS and its most frequent naturally occurring variant rs610913
    Kazmierski, J., Elsner, C., Doehner, K., Xu, S., Ducroux, A., Pott, F., Jansen, J., Thorball, C.W., Zeymer, O., Zhou, X., Fedorov, R., Fellay, J., Loeffler, M.W., Weber, A.N.R., Sodeik, B., Goffinet, C., Journal of Immunology, ji2100685 (2022) 

    Early and rapid identification of COVID-19 patients with neutralizing type I-interferon auto-antibodies
    Akbil, B.#, Meyer, T.#, Stubbemann, P.#, Thibeault, C.#, Staudacher, O., Niemeyer, D., Jansen, J., Mühlemann, B., Doehn, J., Tabeling, C., Nusshag, C., Hirzel, C., Sökler Sanchez, D., Nieters, A., Lother, A., Duerschmied, D., Schallner, N., Lieberum, J.N., August, D., Rieg, S., Falcone, V., Hengel, H., Kölsch, U., Unterwalder, N., Hübner, R.-H., Jones, T.C., Suttorp, N., Drosten, C., Warnatz, K., Spinetti, T., Schefold, J.C., Dörner, T., Sander, L., Corman, V.M., Merle, U., Pa-COVID study Group, Kurth, F.*, von Bernuth, H.*, Meisel, C.*, Goffinet, C.*, Journal of Clinical Immunology, 5:1-19 (2022)

    Single-cell analysis of arthritogenic alphavirus-infected human synovial fibroblasts links low abundance of viral RNA to induction of innate immunity and arthralgia-associated gene expression
    Pott, F., Postmus, D., Brown, R.J.P., Wyler, E., Neumann, E., Landthaler, M., and Goffinet, C.,Emerging Microbes and Infections, 10(1):2151 (2021)

    The barrier functions of crude cervical mucus plugs against HIV-1 infection in the context of cell-free and cell-to-cell transmission
    Mhlekude, B., Lenman, A., Sidoyi, P., Joseph, J., Kruppa, J., Businge,C.B., Mdaka,M.L., Konietschke, F., Pich, A., Gerold, G., Goffinet, C.* and Mall, A.S.*, AIDS, 35(13:2105 (2021) 

    Mild COVID-19 despite autoantibodies to type I IFNs in Autoimmune-Polyendocrine-Syndrome Type 1 (APS-1)
    Meisel, C.#, Akbil, B.#, Meyer, T., Lankes, E., Corman, V.M., Staudacher, O., Unterwalder, N., Kölsch, U., Drosten, C., Mall, M.A., Kallinich, T., Schnabel, D., Goffinet, C.* and von Bernuth, H.*, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 131(14):e150867 (2021) 

    Human IFITM3 restricts Chikungunya virus and Mayaro virus infection and is susceptible to virus-mediated counteraction
    Franz, S., Pott, F., Zillinger, T., Schüler, C., Dapa, S., Fischer, C., Passos, V., Stenzel, S., Chen, F., Döhner, K., Hartmann, G., Sodeik, B., Pessler, F., Simmons, G., Drexler, J.F., Goffinet, C.,Life Science Alliance, 4(7):e202000909 (2021) 

    Absence of cGAS-mediated type I IFN responses in HIV-1-infected T cells
    Elsner, C.#, Ponnurangam, A.#, Kazmierski, J., Zillinger, T., Jansen, J., Todt, D., Döhner, K., Xu, S., Ducroux, A., Kriedemann, N., Malassa, A., Larsen, P.K., Hartmann, G., Barchet, W., Steinmann, E., Kalinke, U., Sodeik, B., Goffinet, C.,Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(32):19475-19486 (2020)

    Further publications list at Pub Med