The Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology awarded the Karl Landsteiner-Prize to Ci Ashley Zhu

Ci Ashley Zhu, the Karl Landsteiner Prize was presented to Ci Ashley Zhu, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Immunology, Centre for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology at MedUni Vienna, by the Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology (Ă–GAI).

The Karl Landsteiner Prize has been endowed for many years by the ÉGAI and the Karl Landsteiner & Eisler-Terramare Private Memorial Foundation (Bio&Bio) for outstanding work in the field of immunological research. The prize was awarded for the "24-Norursodeoxycholic acid reshapes immunometabolism in CD8 + T cells and alleviates hepatic inflammation" paper, which was published last year in the prestigious Journal of Hepatology (impact factor 30.308). This paper comes from Ci Ashley Zhu’s dissertation, which she completed in the Michael Trauner Laboratory (University Department of Internal Medicine III).

Synthetically produced bile acid Nor-UDCA reduces tissue damage Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a rare, chronic inflammatory disease of the bile ducts and is very difficult to treat. Studies conducted by MedUni Vienna’s Clinical Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology under the direction of Michael Trauner have shown beneficial effects from administering synthetically produced bile acids and bile acid receptor agonists. In the award-winning work, which was carried out under the joint leadership of the Michael Trauner and Nicole Boucheron (Institute of Immunology) research groups, it was shown for the first time that the synthetically produced bile acid Nor-UDCA (Nor-Ursodeoxycholic acid) also has a direct effect on the immune system and CD8 T cells, which are misdirected in PSC. This can reduce tissue-damaging inflammation.

About the Recipient
Ci Zhu studied medicine at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing and also completed a master’s degree in Oncology. After a clinical training period in Beijing, Ci Zhu came to MedUni Vienna in 2014 and pursued her doctoral research (FWF Doctoral Programme "Inflammation and Immunity") in the Michael Trauner Laboratory. Here her research has focused on the function of bile acid signalling in the regulation of inflammation and immunity in liver disease. Since 2021, she has been working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Wilfried Ellmeier Laboratory (Institute of Immunology) and is conducting research on the function of histone deacetylases in autoimmune diseases as part of an SFB special research project.

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