I am interested in host-pathogen interactions and the potential for host directed drugs as novel therapeutics for tuberculosis treatment that can overcome resistant tuberculosis strains. I work with the zebrafish embryo model for tuberculosis and use this model to understand which molecular mechanisms are modulated by host directed drugs.
Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), remains a global health problem despite the availability of conventional antibiotic treatments. Due to the rise of multidrug resistant Mtb strains, there is an ongoing search for novel therapeutic approaches. My project focusses on finding novel immunomodulatory drugs for tuberculosis treatment. Since Mtb also has a remarkable ability to manipulate host anti-microbial defense mechanisms, for instance phagosome maturation, we hypothesize that reactivating or potentiating those mechanisms will significantly reduce the infection burden. In our laboratory, we use Mycobacterium marinum, a close relative of Mtb, to model tuberculosis disease in zebrafish embryos and larvae. Using this experimental model, we have identified several promising host-targeting drugs. We are currently investigating the molecular mechanisms modulated by these drugs in the zebrafish embryo model for tuberculosis.
Already as a student I was assisting with practical parts of Biology, Biomedical and Biopharmaceutical BSc courses. As a PhD candidate I am involved with the second year Biology BSc course Immunobiology. Furthermore, I supervise BSc and MSc students on research projects of several months.