Following my MSc at the ETH Zurich focussing on Microbiology and Immunology, I joined the Kennedy Institute in 2018. My background lies in the innate immune response and the contributions of various immune cells to systemic Salmonella typhimurium infection as well as mechanisms by which Salmonella typhimurium overcomes colonisation resistance in the gut.
I’m fascinated by the complex immune microenvironment in the gut and how the immune system tackles the challenge of remaining unresponsive to the commensal microflora and food antigens whilst being able to mount a rapid immune response upon facing pathogens. The importance of maintaining gut homeostasis and tight control of immune response is emphasized in the context of chronic auto-inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
In previous work it was found that the transcription factor Interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) promotes a pro-inflammatory function in macrophages and mice deficient in this transcription factor are protected from colitis. Over the course of my DPhil I will focus on the role of IRF5 in the early onset of colitis, the localisation of immune cells during colitis and the role of the microbiota in the context of IRF5 deficiency.
Development of a novel CD4+ TCR transgenic line that reveals a dominant role for CD8+ dendritic cells and CD40 signaling in the generation of helper and CTL responses to blood-stage malaria
Fernandez-Ruiz D. et al, (2017), Journal of immunology, 199, 4165 - 4179