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15.05.2014 11:37 Alter: 3 yrs

CAST team ViraTherapeutics: I have more ideas than time

15.05.2014 - Dorothee von Laer, head of the department for virology at the Medical University of Innsbruck, is a mother of three, a grandmother – and the mother of two startups. With her most recent one, Vira Therapeutics, the German-born and her team are working on transferring an oncolytic virus for cancer treatment from the laboratory to the hospital in what could be a big step towards prolonging the life of cancer patients, destroying tumors, and maybe even curing cancer.

(c) Medizinische Universität Innsbruck. Dorothee von Laer

It was the love for hiking that brought Dorothee to Innsbruck. Starting in her forties, having discovered that she thoroughly enjoyed being in the mountains, the medical researcher went on many hiking vacations in the small federal state in western Austria. One time, after a hiking tour with the alpine association of Tyrol, Dorothee got together with her fellow hikers. Drinking, singing and dancing, she told a Tyrolean about her dream to live and work in Tyrol. Thinking she was looking for some sort of a temporary employment, the Tyrolean assured her they would find her a job there. “What kind of work are you looking for?” he asked. “When I replied ‘a professorship in virology’ and saw his incredulous face, I knew they couldn’t really help me with that,” she laughs.

But as fate would have it, Dorothee still ended up in Innsbruck, where she would soon start work on a virus that could bring about a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. A few weeks after the hiking trip, Dorothee was at a conference, “It was quite boring, so I surfed the web - and guess what I found? An online ad for a professorship for virology at the Medical University of Innsbruck!”

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