Walter H. Günzburg

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In 1981, Professor Günzburg graduated in Biological Sciences from the University of Birmingham, UK. He then moved to Germany to do his PhD, which he completed in 1984. He was based at what was then the Institute of Genetics and Toxicology, Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Centre, but his project was carried out in collaboration with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, London. After completing 2 years of postdoctoral research at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Berne, Switzerland, he moved to the Medical College of Georgia, USA. There he continued working on Mouse Mammary Tumour Virus and began work on gene therapy. In 1989 he returned to Germany to be Group Leader at the National Research Centre for the Environment and Health, Munich. He also taught Genetics at the Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, and passed his ‘habilitation’ thesis in 1994. In 1996 he was appointed Professor of Virology at the University of Veterinary Sciences, Vienna, where he has worked ever since.

Since moving to Vienna, he has aimed to improve the University’s teaching of molecular virology and to phase in mechanistic research in virology. He has also aimed to achieve a good working relationship between academia and the biotech industry; for this he has concentrated on research into, and the application of, retroviral vector technology for the treatment of solid cancers. He teaches both biologists and veterinarians at pre- and post-doctoral levels, and considers an interdisciplinary approach to teaching imperative if young scientists are to tackle tomorrow’s challenges with success.

His research interests in the last twenty years have been on the regulation of retroviral gene expression, the interaction of retroviruses with their host, and their conversion and application as vehicles for gene therapy in the treatment of solid tumours.

Professor Günzburg is a member of the German Federal Medical Association (Bundesärtzekammer) Commission, which is responsible for the approval of gene therapy protocols. He is a faculty member of the European Academy on the Effects of Technological Advance, for which his most recent task was to help assess the virological risks associated with xenotransplanatation. He is Issue Editor of Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics and is an Editorial Board member for several other journals. He is the author of over eighty papers and 10 patents and patent applications. His determination that universities and the biotech industry should form closer links with one another has also made him an active member of the Supervisory Board of the new company Austrian-Nordic.