Alice Assinger, a natural scientist at MedUni Vienna’s Institute of Vascular Biology and Thrombosis Research, has taken up a professorship (§99/4) in the subject field Cardiovascular Medicine with effect from 1 October 2023. A nutritional scientist and geneticist by training, she researches mechanisms of the immune system.
Alice Assinger researches the interaction between the immune system and haemostasis. In particular, she is investigating the interaction between platelets and the innate immune system in order to better understand their effects on the inflammatory process in infections and cardiovascular diseases. Besides their important role in haemostasis, platelets are also involved in the defence against bacteria and viruses by amplifying and accelerating essential functions of the immune system. In turn, innate immune cells are not only involved in immune defence, but also influence platelet function and coagulation. Through these so-called immunothrombotic processes, uncontrolled activation of the immune system can thus also lead to the formation of thromboses, which can result in severe complications, such as COVID-19 or bacterial sepsis. The elucidation of these mechanisms and the development of new strategies to counteract these processes are central elements in Alice Assinger’s scientific research activities.
In addition to regulating immunothrombotic processes, platelets and innate immune cells also play an essential role in the function and homeostasis of various tissues and organs, such as the liver. For many years, another central focus of Alice Assinger’s research has therefore been on liver regeneration processes and the investigation of circulating markers that provide indications of a dysregulated haemostatic system or specific organ dysfunctions. Her team has already been able to identify important factors that are responsible for the delicate balance between necessary regeneration and excessive proliferation in the liver, so that regeneration processes can take place to an adequate extent.
About the person
Alice Assinger studied nutritional sciences and genetics at the University of Vienna and completed her dissertation on "Platelets and oxidative stress" in 2009. Her postdoctoral research then took her to the renowned Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. After returning to Vienna, she established her research group with a focus on platelet-immune system interactions at the Institute of Vascular Biology and Thrombosis Research, where she became an associate professor in 2016.