Thomas Vogl receives prestigious ERC Starting Grant from the EU

Thomas Vogl, research group leader at MedUni Vienna’s Center for Cancer Research, has received a "Starting Grant" from the European Research Council (ERC) with funding of 1.65 million for five years. The goal of the "EarlyMicroAbs" project is to investigate the interaction between the human immune system and the gut microbiome in the development of the immune system and to identify interrelationships and lasting effects on human health.

Antibodies targeting intestinal bacteria are thought to influence the composition of the gut microbiome during immune-system development. However, the antigen binding profiles of these immunoglobulins (that is to say which structures they recognize on bacteria) are largely unknown, and it is not yet fully understood how early misdirected immune education affects human health. Thomas Vogl and his colleagues are investigating which immune exposures shape the antibody repertoire and influence human health. Thomas Vogl will do this by using novel PhIP-Seq libraries to screen for nearly 600,000 microbiome antigens and correlate them with immune system development.

"This project will provide new insights into the interaction between the human immune system and the gut microbiome, since the actual targets of most antibodies have never been systematically studied," explains Thomas Vogl. "Deep profiling of the immune system in early life will provide new insights into the development of antibody repertoires. Comparing these datasets with different diseases may also reveal interrelationships that could form the basis for new treatments."

About Thomas Vogl
Thomas Vogl studied Molecular Microbiology at the University of Graz and completed his PhD in "Molecular Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology’" at Graz University of Technology. International placements have taken him to Queensland University of Technology (Australia) and the Weizman Institute of Science (Israel). Most recently, he worked as a senior postdoc at the Diagnostics & Research Center for Molecular BioMedicine at MedUni Graz. Since August 2022, he has been leading a research group at the Center for Cancer Research at MedUni Vienna.