Our interdisciplinary team consists of scientists, clinicians, technical assistance.


Prof. Dr. med. Marylyn M. Addo

Marylyn M. Addo is the founding director of the Institute for Infection Research and Vaccine development (IIRVD).

Click here for more information on Marylyn M. Addo.




Alena Sendzik

Alena Sendzik

Alena Sendzik is the assistant to the Director of the Institute for Infection Research and Vaccine Development.

Her tasks include telephone correspondence, managing appointments, processing incoming mails, helping to coordinate the management's tasks in personnel matters, organizing events as well as processing and forwarding inquiries.

Alena Sendzik has previously worked in the construction industry and joined the IIRVD in 2022.



Dr. rer. nat. Svenja Hardtke

At the IIRVD Svenja Hardtke is responsible for the science and quality management of the clinical studies, as well as the management of the budget and human resources.

Svenja Hardtke studied biology and immunology at the University of Greifswald. She did her PhD in the Institute for Immunology at the Hannover Medical School under the supervision of Prof. Reinhold Förster. She studied the CXCR5 expression of TfH cells, before moving to the HepNet Study-House, where she led the coordination of clinical trials and research projects in the field of hepatitis viruses.

In 2019 she joined the team of Prof. Addo at the UKE.



Melanie Richter

Dr. rer. nat. Melanie Richter

Melanie Richter is a research officer at the IIRVD and the manager of the TTU (Thematic-Translational Unit) 'Emerging Infectious Diseases' of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF).

Melanie Richter studied chemistry and biology in Marburg and Bielefeld. She completed her doctoral thesis at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology (ZMNH) of the UKE under the direction of Prof. Melitta Schachner. She then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of Dr. Elena Pasquale at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, CA, USA on Eph receptor tyrosine kinases in the maturing nervous system and in prostate and breast cancer models. Melanie Richter returned to the ZMNH to join the Neuronal Development research group of Dr. Froylan Calderon de Anda to investigate the autism risk factor Taok2 in the human 16p11.2 del background during neuronal development and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Melanie Richter has been at the IIRVD since May 2023.


Research Gate


Dr. rer. nat. Susanne Ziegler

Susanne Ziegler is the research officer at the IIRVD.

She studied applied Biology and Biomedical Sciences in Rheinbach and Bonn. She received her PhD at the Institute of Virology of the University Clinics in Essen under the supervision of Jörg Timm. She worked as a PostDoc at the Leibniz Institute for Virology and studied sex-specific differences in Type I Interferons.

Since 2022 Susanne Ziegler is part of of the IIRVD.



Clinical Study staff

Maher Almahfoud

Maher Almahfoud is a resident physician and clinical scientist. At the IIRVD, he works on the conducting and evaluation of clinical trials.

Maher Almahfoud studied human medicine in Magdeburg, Essen and Leuven (Belgium). He began the clinical training at Clemenshospital in Münster bevor joining the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2022 under supervision by Prof. Addo and Dr. Degen.


PD Dr. med. Robin Kobbe

Robin Kobbe works at the IIRVD as a Clinician Scientist in the design, implementation and evaluation of clinical studies and is currently coordinating an academic GIZ clinic partnership project on neonatal sepsis together with the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Robin Kobbe is a qualified specialist in paediatrics and youth medicine with an additional qualification in tropical medicine. He completed a postgraduate diploma course in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology from the University of Oxford (UK) with distinction.

Robin Kobbe studied human medicine in Hamburg and did his doctorate in the field of malaria tropica at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. He is currently on the advisory board of the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI) and is involved in the Commission for Global Child Health of the German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ).



Claudia Schlesner

Claudia Schlesner is the study coordinator at the IIRVD.

Claudia Schlesner has been at the UKE since 1991 and has held several positions. As a nurse, she worked as a ward manager in infectiology and later switched to coordinating studies in infectiology and hepatology, as well as in the field of cardiology and pediatric cardiology. Since 2020 she is working as the study coordinator of infectiology in the team of Marylyn M. Addo.


Stephanie Petereit

Stephanie Petereit

Stephanie Petereit works as a study nurse at the IIRVD.

Stephanie Petereit has been at the UKE since 1999. She began as a nurse in orthopedics and then switched to intensive care medicine for cardiovascular surgery as a specialist nurse for intensive care and anesthesia, as well as respiratory therapist at the department for intensive care.

Since 2022 Stephanie Petereit is part of the IIRVD study team.



Dr. med. Anahita Fathi

Anahita Fathi is an internist and clinician scientist. At IIRVD, she works on the design, study conduct and evaluation of clinical vaccine trials.

Anahita Fathi studied human medicine in Münster, Dijon (France) and Bangalore (India). For her degree as “Dr. med.” she conducted research in the field of HIV immunology at the Ragon Institute in Boston (USA; Thesis supervisor: Prof. Marylyn Addo). She began her clinical training at the University Hospital Tübingen (Prof. N. Malek) before joining the UKE in 2017.

Anahita Fathi is currently on leave and works as Associate Director Clinical Development at BioNTech SE.



Ilka Grewe

Dr. med. Ilka Grewe

Ilka Grewe is a resident physician in Internal Medicine and a Clinician Scientist in Infectious Diseases ( iDfellows Clinician Scientist Programm ). At the IIRVD her work focuses on the role of follicular T-helper cells after vaccination against MERS-CoV und SARS-CoV-2.

Ilka Grewe studied medicine at the University of Hamburg with clinical rotations in Accra (Ghana) and Manila (Philippines). For her degree as “Dr. med.” she conducted research on T-cells and monocytes in Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.

She started her clinical training in 2022 at the UKE.



Dr. rer. nat. Leonie Mayer

Leonie Mayer is a postdoctoral researcher at the IIRVD working on the T cell immune response after coronavirus vaccination.

Leonie Mayer studied Biology in Maastricht und Paris. She then did an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Vaccinology in France, Spain and Belgium. For her master thesis, she studied the humoral immune response after malaria vaccination.



Dr. rer. nat. Toni L. Meister

Toni Meister is a scientist at the IIRVD.

Toni Meister received a Bachelor of Science in Plant Biotechnology with a focus on molecular biological methods from Leibniz Universität Hannover in 2015. In 2017, she completed her Master of Science in Biomedicine at the Hannover Medical School.

In 2021, she obtained her doctorate in the Department for Molecular and Medical Virology at Ruhr University Bochum. Her doctoral research focused on viral and host determinants in the Hepatitis E Virus replication cycle. Additionally, she contributed to various research projects related to SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses. Following her Ph.D., Toni Luise Meister worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the same department, further expanding her virology expertise across a variety of viruses. Her work has been recognized multiple times with the Best-Season Paper Award from the Society for Virology. She also served as an expert in the development of guidelines for handling aerosol-transmitted pathogens and is a member of the Society for Virology (GfV) and Infect-Net.

Since October 2023, she has been employed as a Senior Postdoc in the Institute for Infection Research and Vaccine Development (IIRVD) funded through the DZIF research area Emerging Infections.



Dr. rer. nat. Monika Rottstegge

Monika is a junior postdoc at the IIRVD.

Monika Rottstegge studied biology at the Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf and obtained her master’s degree in infection biology at the University of Lübeck. During her PhD at the Bernhard-Nocht Institute for tropical medicine she developed a new humanized mouse model for the investigation of dendritic cell - T cell interactions during Ebola virus infections.

At the IIRVD she investigates the functionality of antigen-specific T cells after vaccination against MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV2.


Dr. med. Hanna-Marie Weichel

Hanna-Marie Weichel is a resident physician in Internal Medicine and Clinician Scientist. At IIRVD, she works on the design, study conduct and evaluation of clinical vaccine trials.

Hanna-Marie Weichel studied human medicine in Rostock and La Plata (Argentina). For her degree as “Dr. med.” she conducted research on vector vaccines at the Laboratory of Prof. Addo at the UKE and Bernhard-Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine. In 2020 she started her clinical training at the UKE.

Hanna-Marie Weichel has been part of Prof. Addo's team since 2019.


Dr. rer. nat. Leonie Marie Weskamm

As a postdoc at the IIRVD, Marie Weskamm is responsible for the scientific laboratory coordination. She is working on the characterization of vaccine-induced immune responses, with a focus on antibody functionality and memory B cells.

Marie Weskamm studied Molecular Life Science at the University of Lübeck. During her master thesis at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for tropical medicine she analyzed sex-specific differences of human monocytes. Since 2019 she has been part of Prof. Addo’s team, where she did her doctorate on humoral and B cell immune responses following vaccination against the human coronaviruses MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.



Dr. rer. nat. Tamara Zoran

After gaining her Master’s degree in Microbiology (Slovenia), she worked at the University Hospital Innsbruck (Austria) on diagnostics of fungal infections and antifungal resistance. She pursued her PhD degree in Infection and Immunity at the University of Würzburg, investigating characteristic molecular signatures and risk factors indicating pulmonary aspergillosis in immunocompromised patients.

At the IIRVD she is investigating innate immunity and sex differences in the immune responses to MVA vaccine candidates against emerging respiratory viruses.


Doctoral Candidates

Valentin Bärreiter, M.Sc.

Valentin A. Bärreiter works as a PhD student at the IIRVD.

As part of his doctoral studies, he is investigating the adaptive immune system within a tonsil organoid system following stimulation with different viral vector vaccines and vaccine candidates. He places special focus on the investigation of B and T cell differentiation following vaccine stimulation.

Valentin studied biology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich before he obtained his master's degree in molecular and cellular biology with a special focus on immunology and virology.

Within the scope of his master thesis at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, he investigated extracellular vesicles of the tropical parasite Entamoeba histolytica and their immunomodulatory and sex-specific effects on primary neutrophils.

Valentin Bärreiter has been part of Prof. Addo's team since 2023.



M Saleh Yunus, M.Sc.

M Saleh Yunus is a joint PhD student at the IIRVD, UKE, and the Research Group of Helminth Immunology, BNITM.

M Saleh Yunus completed his Pharmacy education at the University of Dhaka before serving as a faculty at the East West University in Bangladesh. He then did an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Vaccinology in France, Spain and Belgium. His master thesis at the Laboratory of Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene, University of Antwerp, focused on the humoral response against RSV infection, where he later continued as a research associate, before becoming part of the team of Prof. Addo since April 2023.

His PhD work focuses on the efficacy of influenza vaccine in presence of a helminth infection.


Master students

Laura Rübenacker, B.Sc.

Laura Rübenacker is a Master student at the IIRVD.

Laura studied "Biological Chemistry" at the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences and is currently enrolled in the Master's program in "Biomolecular engineering" at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

Her master thesis will focus on the characterization of antibody subclasses and functionality after vaccination against the MERS coronavirus.


Visiting Scholars

MAscha Binder

Prof. Dr. med. Mascha Binder

Mascha Binder is a German oncologist, hematologist and palliative care physician.
She studied medicine in Würzburg, Freiburg and Rome with training periods in France, Australia, Togo and the USA.

In 2014, she was appointed to the W2 professorship for Immunological Cancer Research and Therapy at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. In 2018, she accepted an appointment at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, where she headed the University Clinic for Hematology and Oncology until 2023. Since 2023, she has been Professor and Chief Physician for Medical Oncology at the University Hospital Basel.

Her research focuses on the field of cancer immunotherapy. She is active in various research networks and leads a number of clinical studies with this focus. She has also worked on other aspects of adaptive immunity, e.g. in the field of autoimmunity and infection biology, in her role as a visiting scientist at the IIRVD.



Binder Lab

Prof. Dr. Dr. Christoph Lange

Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Christoph Lange


Christoph Lange is a German pulmonologist and specialist in infectious diseases. He studied biology in Kiel and medicine in Witten-Herdecke and completed parts of his clinical training in South Africa and the USA.

In 2014, he received a W3 professorship in Respiratory Medicine & International Health at the University of Lübeck and has since headed the Clinical Tuberculosis Unit at the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) at the Hamburg-Lübeck-Borstel-Riems site. Since 2018, he has been Medical Director of the Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center.

Christoph Lange is a visiting scientist at UKE, visiting professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX (USA) and at the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Chisinau (R. Moldova).

His research focuses on tuberculosis and diseases caused by other mycobacteria. He is the clinical leader of the EU-IMI project UNITE4TB (, a large multinational clinical trial platform to evaluate new drugs against tuberculosis in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Currently, he serves the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases as Secretary General.


Stefan Schmiedel

Dr. med. Stefan Schmiedel

Stefan Schmiedel pursued his studies in medicine at the universities of Frankfurt and Berlin. He subsequently undertook further training in general medicine and internal medicine before relocating to the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg in 1999, the Tamale Teaching Hospital in Tamale, Ghana in 2001, and finally the UKE in 2007.

At the UKE he is responsible for the clinical care of patients with infectious and tropical diseases at the I. Medical Clinic & Polyclinic and the Infectious Diseases Outpatient Center. He is authorized to provide further training in internal medicine, infectiology and tropical medicine and is a specialist assessor for these specialties at the Hamburg Medical Association. He also has a particular interest in teaching and clinical training in the field of infectiology and tropical medicine.
For many years, he has also led clinical trials on new vaccines and on therapy and diagnostics for infectious diseases as an investigator.




Monika Friedrich, M.Sc.

Monika Friedrich works as a technical assistant (senior) in the laboratory of the IIRVD. The main tasks include organization, processing of the samples for the vaccine studies, sample shipping and process optimization, as well as device responsibilities.

After training as a state-certified biological technical assistant, Monika Friedrich studied biology at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel (B.Sc.) and the University of Hamburg (M.Sc.). At the SH University Hospital in Lübeck, she was part of the Department of Dermatology in the group of Prof. Dr. Hartmann (University Hospital Basel) and assisted with questions on the role of mast cells in autoimmune diseases.

Monika Friedrich has been part of Prof. Addo's team since 2019.


My Linh Ly

My Linh Ly works as a technical assistant and lab manager.

Her main tasks include organization, SOPs, biosafety, hygiene and operational procedures, sample processing for vaccine studies, process optimization, implementation of software solutions, and equipment responsibilities.

After training as a medical-technical assistant at the MHH, she worked as a functional assistant in pneumology/somnology in Frankfurt a.M. and later in internal medicine as a study nurse in various phase II - III studies. She then worked in surgical research at the University Hospital in Regensburg where she worked with mesenchymal stem cell therapies before and after transplantation.

My Linh Ly has been part of Prof. Addo's team since 2015.



Dr. rer. nat. Etienne Bartels
Vera Brackrock, M.Sc.
Szymon Cajkowsky, M.Sc.
Dr. rer. nat. Christine Dahlke
Marie-Louise Dieck
Gabriel Fiossi Assagba, M.Sc.
Dr. med. Tabea Fischer
Caroline Harrer, M.Sc.
Swantje Gundlach
Dr. rer. nat. Rahel Kasonta
Dr. med. Till Koch
Dr. rer. nat. Maya Kono
Dr. rer. nat. Susan Lassen-Haartje
Dr. med. Sibylle Mellinghoff
Reza Jan Neumann
Dr. med. Flaminia Olearo
Dr. med. Joseph Poetsch
Niclas Rénevier, M.Sc.
Golda Schaub
Dr. med. Hans Stubbe
Paulina Tarnow, M.Sc.
Dr. med. Dai Ton Tran
Dr. med. Madeleine Zinser