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Research funding from Russian government for joint project on birch pollen allergy

(Moscow/Vienna, 14 December 2017) Rudolf Valenta, MedUni Vienna allergy researcher, has been awarded a so-called "Mega Grant" by the Russian government for a research project to be conducted in collaboration with Musa Khaitov from the NRC Institute of Immunology FBMA in Moscow to study the immune response to the birch pollen allergen "Bet v 1". The grant is worth 90 million roubles (around € 1.2 million).

Mega Grants are the largest research grants (running over a 3-year term) awarded by the Russian government, exclusively to established scientists. 358 researchers from 41 countries applied for this year's selection procedure and 35 grants were awarded in different disciplines.

About the study project
The study is entitled "From the immune recognition of the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 towards specific diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive strategies for birch pollen-associated allergy ". The project aims not only to develop specific treatments for birch pollen allergies but also, for the first time, to blaze the trail towards prophylactic and tolerance strategies, in order to prevent the allergy from developing during one's childhood years. "The preconditions for the project are ideal, since up to 25% of Russians suffer from birch pollen allergies and since we already have molecular strategies that should be suitable for achieving the aim," explains Rudolf Valenta. "It is almost as if we are going to launch the allergy sputnik."

About Rudolf Valenta
Rudolf Valenta studied medicine at the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna (now MedUni Vienna), completed his postdoctoral qualification in general and experimental pathology and specialised in the fields of pathophysiology and immunology. He has been Professor of Allergology since 2004. He heads up the Division of Immunopathology at MedUni Vienna's Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research. He is coordinator of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)-sponsored special research area F46 "Towards prevention and therapy of allergy”.He currently has around 550 scientific publications to his name, with over 20,000 citations (h-index 83 according to Scopus). He is the author or co-author of 132 international patents. Rudolf Valenta is a member of MedUni Vienna Senate. In 2012, he was named MedUni Vienna’s "Inventor of the Year”. In 2016, he accepted a Foreign Adjunct Professorship at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Also in 2016, he received the International Distinguished Fellow Award conferred by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).

Mega Grant website
FWF SFB research program
Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research


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