Marie Curie Initial Training Network

Hildegard Greinix

Roman Weigl

Dr Roman Weigl- Senior Post Doctorate Researcher


Recruited Fellow

Mateja Kralj

Mateja Kralj

Professor Hildegard Greinix
Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit,
Medical University of Vienna
Spitalgasse 23, 1090 Wein

Professor Greinix is Head of the Austrian Stem Cell Transplantation Group and an active member of the EBMT. She is the Head of the GvHD Subcommittee of the Complications and Quality of Life Working Party of the EBMT. She is a member of the Executive Board of the Worldwide Network for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (WBMT) and an assigned expert for the Austrian Government to the European Commission's directives on stem cells and tissues. The stem cell transplantation Unit of the Department of Internal Medicine has the largest autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplant for adults within Austria. Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) has been established for the treatment of patients with acute and chronic GvHD and the results have been published in distinguished journals. Research is focused on reduction of transplant toxicities, pathophysiology of GHVD and GVL effects, tolerance induction, immunomodulation by ECP, biology and treatment of acute and chronic leukaemias and lymphomas and immune reconstitution as well as the role of B cells in autoimmune diseases and GvHD. Professor Greinix has been an active participant of the NIH Consensus Development Project on Chronic GvHD and a leading expert on diagnosis and staging of chronic GvHD according to the new NIH-defined criteria. Professor Greinix's research is funded by several grants from Austrian research foundations and the CELLEUROPE project.

Research Network Team

Professor Robert Knobler is an Associate Professor of Dermatology, President of the European Society for Extracorporeal photopheresis, Chairman of the Cutaneous Lymphoma Task Force of the E.O.R.T.C. Major research interest lies in the areas of clinical and experimental aspects of photomedicine (extracorporeal photopheresis in particular), T-cell mediated diseases including cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, organ transplantation and autoimmune diseases. The Department of Dermatology has been actively involved in the assistance, management and care of cutaneous manifestations of GvHD for many years.

Professor Nina Worel is Associate Professor at the Department of Blood Group Serology and Transfusion Medicine of the Medical University of Vienna and a leading expert on immune hemolytic complications of allogeneic HSCT as well as the use of ECP for treatment of patients with acute and chronic GvHD. She is the Austrian representative in the JACIE board and the Head of the tissue bank of the department.

Professor Winfried Pickl is Associate Professor of Immunology at the Institute of Immunology of the Medical University of Vienna and an internationally renowned expert on transplant immunology and the role of B lymphocytes in healthy individuals and diseases including autoimmune disorders and chronic GvHD.

Additional experienced personnel involved: The BMT team consists of Professor Peter Kalhs, Professor Werner Rabitsch und Professor Margit Mitterbauer who are involved in patient care, transplant-associated research and teaching at the Medical University of Vienna.

Professor Greinix employs one early-stage researcher (immunostaining and flow cytometry, chimerism analyses by FISH or PCR, immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence techniques in tissue biopsies) .

Recruited Fellows

Mateja Kralj (Croatia) Early Stage Researcher.

After finishing her bachelor studies in Biology in 2009, Mateja enrolled into the Graduate Program of Experimental Biology at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, specialising in the fields of physiology and immunobiology. This program gave a deep insight into biological systems functioning on cellular and molecular levels, and increased her interest in tumor immunology and transplantation immunology. Mateja trained in various molecular and immunological techniques, including ELISAs, immunostaining of cells and flow cytometry performed in the faculty laboratories of the Croatian Veterinary Institute, Clinical Hospital Centre Zagreb and the Institute of Immunology of Zagreb.

During her studies, she participated in different courses relevant to the scientific field such as; ‘Biological Summer Research Camp', 2009, Slovenia
‘Advances in human evolutionary research', School of Biological Anthropology, 2009, Croatia
‘Introduction in Academic entrepreneurship Workshop', Centre for Research, Development and Technology Transfer of the University of Zagreb, Croatia.

Mateja successfully graduated in 2012 after submitting her diploma thesis entitled, ‘Histological and stereological analysis of male gonads in blackspotted smooth hound Mustelus punctulatus (Risso 1826) in the northern Adriatic Sea'.

Project Title: Monitoring of GvHD and assessment of biomarkers for use post cellular therapy especially ECP

Mateja completed her project as a Marie Curie Fellow in March 2016.

Relevant References

1. Kuzmina Z, Greinix HT , Knobler R, Worel N, Kouba M, Weigl R, Körmöczi U, Rottal A, Pohlreich D, Zielinski C, Pickl WF: Proportions of immature CD19+CD21- B-lymphocytes predict the response to extracorporeal photopheresis in patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease.Blood 114: 744-746, 2009.

2. Kuzmina Z, Greinix HT , Weigl R, Körmöczi U, Rottal A, Frantal S, Eder S, Pickl WF: Significant differences in B-cell subpopulations characterize patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease associated dysgammaglobulinemia. Blood 117: 2265 – 2274, 2011 (prepublished online 9 November 2010).

3. Greinix HT , van Besien K, Elmaagacli AH, Hillen U, Grigg A, Knobler R, Parenti D, Reddy V, Theunissen K, Michallet M, Flowers MED: Progressive improvement in cutaneous and extracutaneous chronic graft-versus-host disease after a 24-week course of extracorporeal photopheresis – results of a cross-over randomized study. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 17: 1775-1782, 2011 (May 11 Epub ahead of print).

4. Kuzmina Z, Eder S, Böhm A, Pernicka E, Vormittag L, Kalhs P, Petkov V, Stary G, Nepp J, Knobler R, Just U, Krenn K, Worel N, Greinix HT : Significantly worse survival of patients with NIH-defined chronic graft-versus-host disease and thrombocytopenia or progressive onset type: results of a prospective study . Leukemia 26: 746-756, 2012.

5. Kuzmina Z, Krenn K, Petkov V, Körmöczi U, Weigl R, Rottal A, Kalhs P, Mitterbauer M, Ponhold L, Dekan G, Greinix HT , Pickl WF. CD19 + CD21 low B-cells and patients at risk for NIH-defined chronic graft-versus-host disease with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome Blood 121: 1886-1895, 2013 (prepublished online 9 January 2013).