Professor / University of Zurich
Institute of Medical Virology, University of Zurich Winterthurerstrasee 190, 8057 Zurich
Alexandra Trkola’s main research focus is on HIV-1 entry and the neutralizing antibody response to HIV-1. Since September 2008 she heads the Institute of Medical Virology at the University of Zurich, leading a research division and a virus diagnostics unit.
The main focus of Dr. Trkola’s lab revolves around unraveling the processes that steer bnAb development in natural HIV-1 infection to guide HIV vaccine development.
In this context, they analyze factors that contribute to bnAb elicitation, explore the interplay of infecting virus and antibody development over the course of the infection, study the mechanisms and determinants of neutralization efficacy, and investigate the fate of B cells in HIV-1 infection.
In a second line of research, they use the knowledge on natural occurring bnAbs and the patient derived viral envelope proteins to develop Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein (DARPin) based inhibitors of HIV-1 entry that mimic bnAbs in their activity.
The combined knowledge on bnAbs, broadly neutralizing DARPins (BND), their epitopes and escape patterns is used in their third line of projects that aim to devise vaccine immunogens that evoke bnAb responses.