Lectures and internships for physicians

WS 2022/2023 – Details will follow soon.

Medical doctoral thesis

Are you studying medicine, are you interested in virology and would you like to do a PhD on relevant and cutting-edge research? Then we are the right place for you!

As part of the training of physicians, we always offer projects for experimental medical doctoral theses.In addition to an exciting and well-planned project, you can expect detailed training in the laboratory, comprehensive supervision, regular meetings as well as a great team and a cheerful, relaxed working atmosphere!

Have we sparked aroused your interest? Then send your detailed application to: eike.steinmann@rub.de

Examples of medical doctoral theses from our department:

Characterization of hepatitis E virus replication and interferon response in human placental cells.


HEV can cause miscarriages and up to 25% mortality in pregnant women, the reasons for this remain largely unknown. In his doctoral work, Leonard showed that HEV can replicate in placental cell lines and that viral production in these cells is comparable to that in hepatoma cells. Furthermore, he demonstrated a tissue-specific immune response to different HEV genotypes. Leonard’s work contributes to the understanding of extrahepatic HEV infections and enables the identification of new antiviral agents for pregnant women.

Further reading:
Knegendorf, L. et al. Hepatitis E virus replication and interferon responses in human placental cells. Hepatol. Commun. 2, 173–187 (2018).


Characterization of hepatitis E virus entry and RNA replication in neuronal cells.

During her time in the lab, Svenja studied extrahepatic manifestations of HEV infection. These include neurological disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuralgic amyotrophy, and encephalitis. The pathogenesis of neurological symptoms is largely unclear and it was uncertain whether HEV can directly infect neuronal cells. In her work, Svenja has shown that HEV can carry out its complete life cycle in human neuronal cell lines. Her results thus suggest that HEV tropism is not restricted to the liver, which could explain the development of neurological diseases during HEV infections.

Further reading:
Drave, S. A. et al. Extra-hepatic replication and infection of hepatitis E virus in neuronal-derived cells. J. Viral Hepat. 23, 512–521 (2016).