Consortium members

Meet the IgG4 experts!

The Consortium Members

Our consortium consists of 9 beneficiaries and 7 associated partners from 7 different EU countries:

Beneficiaries / Host laboratories:

- Medical University of Vienna, Austria

- Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale, France

- University-Hospital-Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

- Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands

- Istanbul University, Turkey

- Stichting Sanquin Bloedvoorziening, The Netherlands

- Charité University Berlin, Germany

- Maastricht University, The Netherlands

- Tzartos NeuroDiagnostics, Greece

Associated Partners:

- National and Kapodistrian University of Athen, Greece

- Hellenic Pasteur Institut, Greece

- Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Nazionale Casimiro Mondin, Italy

- Kiel University, Germany

- Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Pisan, Italy

- University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

- Sorbonne University, France

Meet the IgG4-TREAT Supervisors

Fotocredits: MedUni Wien/feelimage
Fotocredits: MedUni Wien/feelimage

Inga Koneczny

Consortium coordinator, Supervisor of R1 and R9

Inga Koneczny is the coordinator of the consortium. Her vision to study IgG4 autoimmune diseases comparatively led her to assemble a team of renowned international scientific and clinical experts to start the "IgG4-TREAT" consortium. Her interest is the characterization of pathogenic IgG4 autoantibodies, such as their pathomechanism, posttranslational modifications and expression levels, and their correlation to clinical characteristics.

Rozen Le Panse

Supervisor of R2

Rozen Le Panse is Director of Research at CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research, France) and team leader at the Research of Center of Myology (Sorbonne University/INSERM) at La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris.

Her research activities are focused on the understanding of the etiological and pathophysiological mechanisms involved in autoimmune myasthenia gravis. Her research team is also largely involved in investigating new therapeutic approaches by developing and using different experimental models. Besides, her team is also searching for biomarkers for patient monitoring using new technological approaches.

Frank Leypoldt

Supervisor of R3

Frank Leypoldt is a physician and neuroscientist. He has trained in neurology, laboratory medicine and molecular biology and is co-head of neuroimmunology section and the neuroimmunology lab in Kiel. His long-standing interest is in understanding antibody-associated autoimmune encephalitis and to improve patient care and treatment. His focus is on genetic predisposition, immunologic mechanisms, real world treatment, clinical trials and patient care.

Maartje G. Huijbers

Supervisor of R4

Dr. Maartje G. Huijbers is Associate Professor and Principal investigator at the Department of Human Genetics and the Department of Neurology at LUMC in Leiden, The Netherlands. 

Together with her team, she has a special interest in autoimmune disorders of the neuromuscular synapse. This includes myasthenia gravis and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. She is a neuroimmunologist with past research experience ranging from identifying new autoantigens for central nervous system autoimmune diseases, to developing new in vitro and in vivo models to study these disorders and their pathomechanisms. Her translational research, in close collaboration with clinicians, now focuses on understanding the role of (IgG4) autoantibodies and B cells and their characteristics in these diseases and testing new therapeutics in the aforementioned preclinical models. One of these therapeutics stems from her own research and, together with a pharmaceutical partner, she is currently testing this in a phase I clinical trial. The unique functional characteristics of IgG4 fascinate her and in this consortium, she therefore aims to develop a rodent model that allows for studying human-like IgG4 responses.

Vuslat Yilmaz

Supervisor of R5

Her primary research focus is pathophisology of neuroimmunological diseases (such as myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune epilepsy and encephalitis) with a centered on antibody and B cell-mediated. Her research initiatives the exploration of biomarkers of the diseases and the development of innovative therapeutic strategies, primarily directed at animal model of myasthenia gravis.

Theo Rispens

Supervisor of R6

Theo Rispens is Principle Investigator at Sanquin Research, Landsteiner Laboratory, Amsterdam Institute for Infection & Immunity in the Netherlands. 

His group conducts basic and translational research aiming to understand the role of the humoral immune response in disease and to optimize biopharmaceutical therapies. To achieve this, the team develops biophysical and immunochemical methodology to investigate structure-function relationships of immunoglobulins in a basic and clinical setting. A particular focus are IgG4 antibody responses, as these antibodies have unique structural features that contribute to their non-inflammatory profile, but at the same time feature prominently as pathogenic autoantibodies in a number of autoimmune diseases and may develop against therapeutic proteins.

Harald Prüβ

Supervisor of R7

Prof. Harald Prüβ is a neurologist and a neuroscientist, specializing in the field of neuroimmunology.

He is trained in both medicine as well as laboratory techniques, having years of experience in both. Nowadays, Prof. Prüβ is the Director of the Department of Experimental Neurology of the Charité, leading his own research group within this department, while also coordinating several different clinical studies. The primary focus within both functions remains on the role of the immune system within the context of neurological diseases, from dementia to autoimmune encephalitis, combining both a clinical and scientific perspective. 

Pilar Martinez-Martinez

Supervisor of R8

Dr. Martinez is trained in molecular biology, biochemistry, and neuroimmunology. She is a Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology Division Neuroscience at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. 

Her laboratory has conducted studies that characterized pathogenic mechanisms in autoimmune diseases of the nervous system for the last 19 years, with a special focus in myasthenia gravis.

Socrates Tzartos

Co-supervisor of R10

Socrates is Neuroimmunologist, Emeritus Professor of Immunobiology of the Patras University and Emeritus Researcher of the Hellenic Pasteur Institute. Currently, he is CEO of the research and diagnosis laboratory Tzartos NeuroDiagnostics, the main Greek laboratory of its kind. 

His main research interest is in the study of antibody-mediated neuroimmune diseases with emphasis on myasthenia gravis and neuromyelitis optica: antibody discovery, development of novel diagnostics and antigen-specific therapies. In Tzartos NeuroDiagnostics he often translates his group's research findings into improved diagnostics for the immediate benefit of the patients. He has a long-standing collaboration with the PIs of this grant's Associated Partners Hellenic Pasteur Institute (Konstantinos Lazaridis) and Athens University (John Tzartos), with whom he will co-supervise student R10

John Tzartos

Co-supervisor of R10

John is Neurologist, Associate Professor of Neurology-Neuroimmunology at the University of Athens (NKUA). 

His main research interest is the study of neuroimmune diseases with emphasis on demyelinating diseases (multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica), myasthenia gravis and autoimmune encephalitis: understanding mechanisms, discovery of new antibodies and development/improvement of novel therapies. He has discovered a new autoantigen in neuromyelitis optica (AQP1) and has contributed to the discovery of a new autoantigen in myasthenia gravis (LRP4). Together with the PIs of the Partner Tzartos NeuroDiagnostics (Socrates Tzartos) and the Associated Partner Hellenic Pasteur Institute (Konstantinos Lazaridis) will co-supervise student R10.

Konstantinos Lazaridis

Co-supervisor of R10

Konstantinos Lazaridis is a Researcher at the Laboratory of Immunology of the Hellenic Pasteur Institute (HPI) in Athens, Greece. 

His main research activities are focused on the development of novel therapeutics for autoimmune diseases, with emphasis on myasthenia gravis, and understanding the underlying pathophysiology. He has developed novel animal models of autoimmune disease and has been involved in the in vitro and in vivo preclinical study of various antigen-specific therapies for myasthenia gravis. He has previously collaborated on many projects with the co-supervisors of student R10, the Partner Tzartos NeuroDiagnostics (Socrates Tzartos) and the Associated Partner Athens University (John Tzartos). 

Erdem Tüzün

Co-supervisor of R5

His main research focuses on antibody-mediated neurological disorders (e.g. myasthenia gravis, neuromyelitis optica and autoimmune encephalitis). He has almost 20 years of experience in anti-neuronal antibody identification and experimental animal models of myasthenia gravis (EAMG). He characterized the significance of the classical complement pathway in AChR-induced EAMG and innovated several different agents capable of inhibiting the classical pathway. Moreover, he described several potential medications for AChR-MG by preclinical studies.

Romana Höftberger

Co-supervisor of R9 

Romana Höftberger is director of the Division of Neuropathology and Neurochemistry, Department of Neurology of the Medical University of Vienna. Her research spans the areas of neuropathology and neurobiology with a particular focus on research into the clinic-pathological correlation of antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases. Working with local, national and international partners, she has produced a series of published contributions on the clinical and neuropathological features of anti-neuronal and anti-glial autoimmune diseases. In addition, she is working on improving and establishing new methods of identifying various autoimmune diseases.

Ellen Gelpi

Co-supervisor at MUW 

Ellen has trained in neurology and neuropathology. Her main interest runs in the field of neurodegenerative disorders, particularly mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuropathological correlates of clinical manifestations.