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Group Members

Michael Bonelli studied medicine at the Medical University of Vienna. He carried out his doctorial thesis at the Division of Rheumatology on the role of regulatory T cells in patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

In 2005 he started his internal residency at the Medical University of Vienna. He performed a research fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. John O´Shea at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIAMS) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) from 2011- 2014. Within his research fellowship he addressed the importance of epigenetic modifications for the identification and stability of regulatory T cells under steady state and inflammatory conditions.

After his return he finished his rheumatology fellowship and became Associate Professor at the Division of Rheumatology at the Medical University of Vienna. He established a research group which aims to address the importance of epigenetic modifications of T cells for the pathogenesis of T cell mediated autoimmune diseases. He received several grants and awards from the Austrian Science Fund and Austrian National Bank.

Current members

As of June 2024

Michael Bonelli, MD, Associate Prof.

Research Leader

Teresa Preglej, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Research interests
I coordinate projects in the field of autoimmunological diseases, with a primary focus on rheumatoid arthritis (RA). One of my project is dedicated to deciphering the precise mode of action of methotrexate, a common drug in the treatment of RA.
Despite the proven efficacy of methotrexate, many RA patients still fail to achieve the desired treatment response. My second project therefore aims to find new therapeutic approaches for RA by investigating the potential of epigenetically active therapeutic molecules.
Finally, my third project tackles more broadly the development of T cells in RA and their contribution to its pathogenesis.

Marie Brinkmann, M.Sc.


Research interests
Epigenetic processes are involved in a variety of immune responses. We are investigating whether novel drugs that inhibit epigenetically active enzymes have the potential to counteract a dysregulated immune system as found in autoimmune diseases.

As a systems biologist in the field of immunology, I aim to understand the overall effects of these novel compounds I employ OMICs methods, including single-cell sequencing and spectral flow cytometry, to achieve this understanding.

Mirjam Dellinger, M.Sc.

PhD-Student (co-supervised by Thomas Karonitsch)

Research Interests
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint disease that can lead to pain and joint damage in affected patients. The interaction between fibroblasts of the synovial tissue and infiltrating immune cells is suspected to drive this inflammation. I am investigating the cell-cell interaction between fibroblasts and immune cells using primary cell culture-based models of synovium and their impact on disease progression. I use high-content microscopy, RNA-sequencing and spectral flow cytometry.

Bianca Luckerbauer, M.Sc.


Research Interests
Regulatory T cells control a large array of immune responses which rely on their capacity to adapt to their local environment. Acquisition of specific transcription factors is thereby necessary to control distinct disease settings. I am interested in describing the transcription factor NFIL3 and its potential role for Treg development and function.

Lisabeth Emilius, M.Sc.

PhD-Student (co-supervised by Leonhard Heinz)

Melanie Acosta, M.Sc.

Research Technician

Lisa Göschl, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Daniel Mrak, MD

MD/PhD-Student (co-yupservised by Helga Lechner-Radner)


Lena Müller, PhD (Postdoc, 2017-2021) | Linked-In
Current postion: Flow-cytometry Specialist at the Medical University of Vienna

Maximilian Kugler, PhD (PhD Student 2018-2023) | Linked-In
Current position: MSL at GSK

Lina Breit (B.Sc. Student 2021-2022) | Linked-In