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After only a brief time in the Rehwinkel group Dr Jonathan Maelfait has been awarded one of the prestigious long-term post-doctoral fellowships offered by EMBO.

Dr Maelfait completed his PhD in Biotechnology at the University of Ghent in 2011 and in 2012 joined the Rehwinkel Group to study innate immune receptors that sense virus-derived nucleic acids.

With the support of this EMBO long-term fellowship, granted in May 2012, Jonathan will concentrate on gaining a better understanding of how deregulated sensing by receptors such as RIG-I and MDA5 can lead to the development of autoimmune disease, in particular the rare autoimmune disorder Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS). As the genes linked to the development of AGS are also important in the regulation of the innate antiviral immune response to HIV-1 we expect that studying these proteins will extend our knowledge of the regulation of anti-HIV immunity.