Dr. Benedikt Asbach
Can you explain your research within Virofight in 2 sentences?
The Wagner-team produces the target structures of enveloped viruses such as influenza as templates to obtain virus-binding molecules for specific virus targeting. Once these binders have been coupled to DNA origami shells, we test the capacity of these conjugates to neutralize the virus.
What do your friends and family think of what you are doing in the lab?
They have a hard time to understand the details but find it cool that it is something with viruses.
What are you really doing? What’s your favourite/least task or method to do in the lab?
Mostly organizing things and doing paperwork. I like a lot to be in the lab myself, mostly teaching students. What I like least ist having too little time for the real science.
Which virus is the most interesting one and why?
Though not a primary target in Virofight, it is poxviruses – the history of vaccination begins with them, and they have some very special molecular properties that are very weird.
What is the major challenge in research for you?
To understand how viruses choose how to code their genes.
Cell or Nature? Nature
PC or Mac? PC
Coffee or Tea? Tea (e.g. earl grey, hot)
Why does your research matter to the general public?
Nowadays everyone is aware of the impacts that viruses can have. Fighting them by various means is an obvious necessity.
The must-follow science twitter account? Not a twitter user…
Which publication influenced you most?
Difficult question. Though I never read it, it is most likely Jenner’s original work “An Inquiry Into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, or Cow-Pox”
What else do you like to read, except research articles?
Science fiction and fantasy
What is your personal highlight in Virofight up to now?
The beautiful structures of the DNA origami shells
What’s your favourite thing to do outside the lab?
Best recent TV series or movie or novel depicting scientists?
Star Trek (though more the less recent series)