HOOKIPA was founded in Austria in 2011 by Rolf Zinkernagel, Andreas Bergthaler, Lukas Flatz and Daniel Pinschewer.
Born and raised in Basel, Rolf Zinkernagel studied at the Medical School of the University of Basel, obtaining his MD degree in 1968, and graduating to become a surgeon. In the Institute of Biochemistry of Lausanne he worked on immunity against infections. From 1973-75 at the Australian National University, Canberra, he made seminal observations with Peter Doherty on how cytotoxic T cells recognize virus infected cells in an infected host (Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 1996). He moved to the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, USA from 1975 to 1979, where he studied T cell maturation and development of the T cell repertoire, which is dependent on transplantation antigen expression in the thymus. In 1980 he joined the Department of Pathology, University of Zurich, as an Associate Professor where, together with Hans Hengartner, he has been studying immune protection and immunopathology caused by virus infections. He retired from the University in Spring 2008.
Andreas Bergthaler studied veterinary medicine in Vienna followed by graduate and postgraduate research with Hans Hengartner and Rolf Zinkernagel at the University of Zurich and with Daniel Pinschewer at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. As a postdoctoral fellow he subsequently joined the laboratory of Alan Aderem at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, USA. In 2011 he established his research group at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The Bergthaler laboratory pursues an integrative approach comprising infection models and tools of immunology, pathology and systems biology in order to dissect disease-relevant interactions between pathogens and the host. Systemic perspectives on the organism and organ level address fundamental questions of infection biology and shall contribute to reveal the molecular underpinnings of virus-induced immunopathologies and other inflammatory diseases. Andreas Bergthaler is the recipient of prestigious grants from the European Research Council (ERC) and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and has been awarded several scientific prizes including the Löffler-Frosch-Prize of the Society of Virology, the Georges-Köhler Prize of the German Society for Virology, the Seymour and Vivian Milstein Young Investigator Award of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society and the Austrian Infection Research Prize of the Austrian Society for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine.
Lukas Flatz is a university professor of dermatology at Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany, where he is also head of the division of dermato-oncology and head of the interdisciplinary skin tumor center. He studied at the medical school of the University of Bern and received both a Swiss medical degree and a medical doctorate in Bern. Furthermore, he holds a diploma of advanced studies in pharmaceutical medicine from the University of Basel. He is board-certified in dermatology and brings significant experience through his work at medical institutions. He co-founded ArenaVax AG and Hookipa Biotech AG and was awarded the Pfizer Prize in 2011 and 2020, the Leenaards Junior Clinical Scientist in 2012, the Medic Prize in 2013, he Swiss Skin Cancer Award in 2014, and a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) professorship (2015-2020). Lukas is also co-author of more than 60 publications.
Daniel Pinschewer is founder and Scientific Advisor to the CEO as serves as the chairman of HOOKIPA’s Scientific Advice and Review Committee. After graduating from the University of Zurich Medical School in 2000, he trained as a postdoctoral researcher in molecular virology, working alongside Juan Carlos de la Torre (The Scripps Research Institute, USA), and in immunology with Rolf Zinkernagel and Hans Hengartner (University of Zurich, Switzerland). In 2007, he was appointed Associate Professor of Immunology at the University of Geneva Medical School and, in 2013, was recruited to the University of Basel, where he continues to serve as a Full Professor of Virology. Throughout his career he has been recognised for his contributions to the scientific community, including awards received from the European Research Council (ERC starting grant) and from the Swiss National Science Foundation (stipendiary professorship). National and international honors include; the Georges-Köhler-Prize of the German Society for Immunology, the Loeffler-Frosch-Prize of the Society for Virology, the Debiopharm Group Life Sciences Award, the Pfizer Research Prize, and the Prix Leenaards. Daniel’s research discoveries have formed the technological foundation on which HOOKIPA is founded.