PD Dr. rer. nat. Jennifer Altomonte

ERC Starting Grant (EU)

Multifaceted oncolytic virus-based approach for cancer immunotherapy (ONCO-VAX)

Academic Career and Research Areas

The research of PD Dr. rer. nat. Jennifer Altomonte focuses in the development of improved oncolytic virus vectors for clinical application as novel immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancers with limited treatment options. In addition to viral engineering and the development of novel combination therapies to enhance the immune response, the group is also investigating the molecular basis for tumor selectivity and resistance mechanisms.

Dr. Altomonte received her bachelor's degree in microbiology, with a minor in molecular biology and biochemistry, from Pennsylvania State University in the USA. Then she became a research coordinator at the Institute for Gene and Cell Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where she worked on viral engineering and gene transfer in gene therapy for diabetes and later focused on the development of oncolytic viruses as cancer therapeutics. In 2006, she began her doctoral studies at the Klinikum rechts der Isar, she was later awarded a doctorate at the TUM and she has been heading her research group at the Department of Internal Medicine since 2016.


    • ERC Starting Grant (2019)
    • M4 Award (2019)
    • EXIST Research Transfer Award (2019)

    Melzer MK, Zeitlinger L, Mall S, Steiger K, Schmid RM, Ebert O, Krackhardt A, and Altomonte J.: “Enhanced safety and efficacy of oncolytic VSV therapy by combination with T cell receptor transgenic T cells as carriers”. Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2018; 12:26-40.


    Abdullahi S, Jäkel M, Behrend SJ, Steiger K, Topping G, Krabbe T, Colombo A, Sandig V, Schiergens TS, Thasler WE, Werner J, Lichtenthaler SF, Schmid RM, Ebert O, and Altomonte J.: “A novel chimeric oncolytic virus vector for improved safety and efficacy in hepatocellular carcinoma”. J Virol. 2018; 92(23).


    Altomonte J, Marozin S, DeToni EN, Rizzani A, Esposito I, Steiger K, Feuchtinger A, Hellerbrand C, Schmid RM, Ebert O.: “Antifibrotic properties of transarterial oncolytic VSV therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma in rats with thioacetamide-induced liver fibrosis”.  Mol Ther. 2013; 21(11):2032-42.


    Altomonte, J., Marozin, S., Schmid, RM, and Ebert, O.: “Engineered Newcastle Disease Virus as an improved oncolytic agent against hepatocellular carcinoma”.  Mol Ther. 2010; 18(2):275-84.


    Altomonte, J., Braren, R., Schulz, S., Marozin, M., Rummeny, EJ, Schmid, RM, and Ebert, O.: “Synergystic antitumor effects of transarterial viroembolization for multifocal hepatocellular carcinoma in rats”.  Hepatology. 2008; 48(6):1864-73.