Our interdisciplinary team consists of scientists, clinicians, technical assistance.


Prof. Dr. med. Marylyn M. Addo

Marylyn M. Addo is the founding director of the Institute for Infection Research and Vaccine development (IIRVD).

Click here for more information on Marylyn M. Addo.




Alena Sendzik

Alena Sendzik

Alena Sendzik is the assistant to the Director of the Institute for Infection Research and Vaccine Development.

Her tasks include telephone correspondence, managing appointments, processing incoming mails, helping to coordinate the management's tasks in personnel matters, organizing events as well as processing and forwarding inquiries.

Alena Sendzik has previously worked in the construction industry and joined the IIRVD in 2022.



Dr. rer. nat. Svenja Hardtke

At the IIRVD Svenja Hardtke is responsible for the science and quality management of the clinical studies, as well as the management of the budget and human resources.

Svenja Hardtke studied biology and immunology at the University of Greifswald. She did her PhD in the Institute for Immunology at the Hannover Medical School under the supervision of Prof. Reinhold Förster. She studied the CXCR5 expression of TfH cells, before moving to the HepNet Study-House, where she led the coordination of clinical trials and research projects in the field of hepatitis viruses.

In 2019 she joined the team of Prof. Addo at the UKE.



Melanie Richter

Dr. rer. nat. Melanie Richter

Melanie Richter is a research officer at the IIRVD and the manager of the TTU (Thematic-Translational Unit) 'Emerging Infectious Diseases' of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF).

Melanie Richter studied chemistry and biology in Marburg and Bielefeld. She completed her doctoral thesis at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology (ZMNH) of the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) under the direction of Prof. Melitta Schachner. She then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of Dr. Elena Pasquale at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, CA, USA on Eph receptor tyrosine kinases in the maturing nervous system and in prostate and breast cancer models. Melanie Richter returned to the ZMNH to join the Neuronal Development research group of Dr. Froylan Calderon de Anda to investigate the autism risk factor Taok2 in the human 16p11.2 del background during neuronal development and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Melanie Richter has been at the IIRVD since May 2023.


Research Gate


Dr. rer. nat. Susanne Ziegler

Susanne Ziegler is the research officer at the IIRVD.

She studied applied Biology and Biomedical Sciences in Rheinbach and Bonn. She received her PhD at the Institute of Virology of the University Clinics in Essen under the supervision of Jörg Timm. She worked as a PostDoc at the Leibniz Institute for Virology and studied sex-specific differences in Type I Interferons.

Since 2022 Susanne Ziegler is part of of the IIRVD.



Clinical Study staff

Maher Almahfoud

Maher Almahfoud is a resident physician and clinical scientist. At the IIRVD, he works on the conducting and evaluation of clinical trials.

Maher Almahfoud studied human medicine in Magdeburg, Essen and Leuven (Belgium). He began the clinical training at Clemenshospital in Münster bevor joining the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2022 under supervision by Prof. Addo and Dr. Degen.


PD Dr. med. Robin Kobbe

Robin Kobbe works at the IIVRD as a Clinician Scientist in the design, implementation and evaluation of clinical studies and is currently coordinating an academic GIZ clinic partnership project on neonatal sepsis together with the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Robin Kobbe is a qualified specialist in paediatrics and youth medicine with an additional qualification in tropical medicine. He completed a postgraduate diploma course in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology from the University of Oxford (UK) with distinction.

Robin Kobbe studied human medicine in Hamburg and did his doctorate in the field of malaria tropica at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. He is currently on the advisory board of the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI) and is involved in the Commission for Global Child Health of the German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ).



Claudia Schlesner

Claudia Schlesner is the study coordinator at the IIRVD.

Claudia Schlesner has been at the UKE since 1991 and has held several positions. As a nurse, she worked as a ward manager in infectiology and later switched to coordinating studies in infectiology and hepatology, as well as in the field of cardiology and pediatric cardiology. Since 2020 she is working as the study coordinator of infectiology in the team of Marylyn M. Addo.


Stephanie Petereit

Stephanie Petereit

Stephanie Petereit works as a study nurse at the IIRVD.

Stephanie Petereit has been at the UKE since 1999. She began as a nurse in orthopedics and then switched to intensive care medicine for cardiovascular surgery as a specialist nurse for intensive care and anesthesia, as well as respiratory therapist at the department for intensive care.

Since 2022 Stephanie Petereit is part of the IIRVD study team.



Dr. rer. nat. Christine Dahlke

Christine Dahlke is an associated senior researcher and principle investigator at IIRVD. Christine Dahlke is currently on leave at IIRVD until the end of 2023 to work at CEPI in Research & Development.

Christine Dahlke studied applied biology and biomedicine in Rheinbach and Hannover. During her studies she spent semesters abroad in Kraków (Poland) and Stockholm (Sweden). For her master's thesis, Christine Dahlke moved to the LIV (formerly HPI), where she also did her doctorate under the supervision of Prof. Adam Grundhoff. In her PhD she dealt with the identification and functional analysis of miRNAs.

Christine Dahlke has been working at the UKE since 2014 in Prof. Addo's team.



Dr. med. Anahita Fathi

Anahita Fathi is an internist and clinician scientist. At IIVRD, she works on the design, study conduct and evaluation of clinical vaccine trials.

Anahita Fathi studied human medicine in Münster, Dijon (France) and Bangalore (India). For her degree as “Dr. med.” she conducted research in the field of HIV immunology at the Ragon Institute in Boston (USA; Thesis supervisor: Prof. Marylyn Addo). She began her clinical training at the University Hospital Tübingen (Prof. N. Malek) before joining the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2017.



Ilka Grewe

Ilka Grewe

Ilka Grewe is a resident physician in Internal Medicine and a Clinician Scientist in Infectious Diseases ( iDfellows Clinician Scientist Programm ). At the IIRVD her work focuses on the role of follicular T-helper cells after vaccination against MERS-CoV und SARS-CoV-2.

Ilka Grewe studied medicine at the University of Hamburg with clinical rotations in Accra (Ghana) and Manila (Philippines). For her degree as “Dr. med.” she conducted research on T-cells and monocytes in Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.

She started her clinical training in 2022 at the UKE.



Monika Rottstegge, M.Sc.

Monika is a junior postdoc at the IIRVD.

Monika Rottstegge studied biology at the Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf and obtained her master’s degree in infection biology at the University of Lübeck. During her PhD at the Bernhard-Nocht Institute for tropical medicine she developed a new humanized mouse model for the investigation of dendritic cell - T cell interactions during Ebola virus infections.

At the IIRVD she investigates the functionality of antigen-specific T cells after vaccination against MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV2.


Dr. med. Hanna-Marie Weichel

Hanna-Marie Weichel is a resident physician in Internal Medicine and Clinician Scientist. At IIRVD, she works on the design, study conduct and evaluation of clinical vaccine trials.

Hanna-Marie Weichel studied human medicine in Rostock and La Plata (Argentina). For her degree as “Dr. med.” she conducted research on vector vaccines at the Laboratory of Prof. Addo at the UKE and Bernhard-Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine. In 2020 she started her clinical training at the UKE.

Hanna-Marie Weichel has been part of Prof. Addo's team since 2019.


Dr. rer. nat. Leonie Marie Weskamm

As a postdoc at the IIRVD, Marie Weskamm is responsible for the scientific laboratory coordination. She is working on the characterization of vaccine-induced immune responses, with a focus on antibody functionality and memory B cells.

Marie Weskamm studied Molecular Life Science at the University of Lübeck. During her master thesis at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for tropical medicine she analyzed sex-specific differences of human monocytes. Since 2019 she has been part of Prof. Addo’s team, where she did her doctorate on humoral and B cell immune responses following vaccination against the human coronaviruses MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.



Dr. rer. nat. Tamara Zoran

After gaining her Master’s degree in Microbiology (Slovenia), she worked at the University Hospital Innsbruck (Austria) on diagnostics of fungal infections and antifungal resistance. She pursued her PhD degree in Infection and Immunity at the University of Würzburg, investigating characteristic molecular signatures and risk factors indicating pulmonary aspergillosis in immunocompromised patients.

At the IIRVD she is investigating innate immunity and sex differences in the immune responses to MVA vaccine candidates against emerging respiratory viruses.


Doctoral Candidates

Ruben Baumann

Ruben Baumann is a MD student and DZIF stipend at the IIRVD and the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation under the supervision of Christine Dahlke and Boris Fehse.

In his MD project he establishes a digital PCR for the detection of the MVA-SARS-2-ST vaccine DNA.

Leonie Mayer, M.Sc.

Leonie Mayer is a PhD student at the IIRVD working on the T cell immune response after coronavirus vaccination.

Leonie Mayer studied Biology in Maastricht und Paris. She then did an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master in Vaccinology in France, Spain and Belgium. For her master thesis, she studied the humoral immune response after malaria vaccination.



Master students

Vera Brackrock

Vera Brackrock, B.Sc.

Vera Brackrock is a master student and has been working on her master's thesis at IIRVD since early 2023.

Vera studied Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Hamburg and did her Masters in Barcelona, ​​London and Hamburg.

For her master's thesis, she is investigating the T-cell immune response after vaccination and infection with coronaviruses.


Laura Rübenacker, B.Sc.

Laura Rübenacker is a Master student at the IIRVD.

Laura studied "Biological Chemistry" at the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences and is currently enrolled in the Master's program in "Biomolecular engineering" at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

Her master thesis will focus on the characterization of antibody subclasses and functionality after vaccination against the MERS coronavirus.



Monika Friedrich, M.Sc.

Monika Friedrich works as a technical assistant (senior) in the laboratory of the IIRVD. The main tasks include organization, processing of the samples for the vaccine studies, sample shipping and process optimization, as well as device responsibilities.

After training as a state-certified biological technical assistant, Monika Friedrich studied biology at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel (B.Sc.) and the University of Hamburg (M.Sc.). At the SH University Hospital in Lübeck, she was part of the Department of Dermatology in the group of Prof. Dr. Hartmann (University Hospital Basel) and assisted with questions on the role of mast cells in autoimmune diseases.

Monika Friedrich has been part of Prof. Addo's team since 2019.


Cordula Grüttner

Cordula Grüttner works at the IIRVD as a technical assistant.

Before her time at IIRVD, Cordula Grüttner, as a trained MTA, worked for almost 25 years as a research assistant in basic science at the Leibniz Institute for Virology.

Since 2022 she has strengthened the team of the IIRVD.


My Linh Ly

My Linh Ly works as a technical assistant and lab manager.

Her main tasks include organization, SOPs, biosafety, hygiene and operational procedures, sample processing for vaccine studies, process optimization, implementation of software solutions, and equipment responsibilities.

After training as a medical-technical assistant at the MHH, she worked as a functional assistant in pneumology/somnology in Frankfurt a.M. and later in internal medicine as a study nurse in various phase II - III studies. She then worked in surgical research at the University Hospital in Regensburg where she worked with mesenchymal stem cell therapies before and after transplantation.

My Linh Ly has been part of Prof. Addo's team since 2015.



Dr. rer. nat. Etienne Bartels
Szymon Cajkowsky, M.Sc.
Marie-Louise Dieck
Gabriel Fiossi Assagba, M.Sc.
Dr. med. Tabea Fischer
Caroline Harrer, M.Sc.
Swantje Gundlach
Dr. rer. nat. Rahel Kasonta
Dr. med. Till Koch
Dr. rer. nat. Maya Kono
Dr. med. Sibylle Mellinghoff
Reza Jan Neumann
Dr. med. Flaminia Olearo
Dr. med. Joseph Poetsch
Niclas Rénevier, M.Sc.
Golda Schaub
Dr. med. Hans Stubbe
Paulina Tarnow, M.Sc.
Dr. med. Dai Ton Tran
Dr. med. Madeleine Zinser