Dr Sonali Reisinger awarded prestigious Erwin Schrödinger fellowship from Austrian Science Fund

Dr Reisinger, Research Officer in the Epigenetics and Neural Plasticity Group, has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Austrian Science Fund for her work looking into epigenetic inheritance.

The Austrian Science Fund is the central funding body for basic science research in Austria, similar to the Australian Research Council in Australia.

The Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship, named after one of Austria’s greatest scientists, is highly coveted among young researchers.

Dr Reisinger said she is grateful to have received this fellowship.

“Supporting recent Austrian PhD graduates in performing postdoctoral research at eminent international research institutions, the Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship gives successful early-career researchers the opportunity to spend time at top research institutes abroad and learn new techniques, with the aim of having the new knowledge transferred back to the Austrian research community.”

“This fellowship will allow me to continue my current research with Prof Anthony Hannan at the Florey.”

Molecular mechanisms underlying transgenerational epigenetic inheritance after viral paternal immune activation (PIA) – a concept pioneered by the Hannan Group at The Florey – are not yet very well understood.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of millions of reproductive-age men were infected. Better understanding infection processes may allow us to mitigate potential negative effects on the mental and physical health of future generations.

In their models of PIA, Dr Reisinger and colleagues have exposed males to a virus-like mimic and examined behavioural and neurobiological outcomes of the offspring and grand offspring.

Dr Sonali Reisinger

They are also investigating how the immune response in the fathers influences epigenetic mechanisms such as how the immune response in the fathers influences epigenetic mechanisms in their sperm, contributing to the observed physiological changes in the offspring.

Professor Anthony Hannan said, “I congratulate Sonali on winning this well-deserved and prestigious Fellowship. We are delighted to be able to continue to host Sonali’s exceptional talents as a neuroscientist at the Florey, and I am excited about her ongoing research discoveries, which have major implications for human health.”

In the future research, Dr Reisinger will seek to establish precisely how initial changes in a single cell – the male gamete – lead to alterations in any number of cell types or organs in the progeny.