Gastric cancer is the 5th most common cancer type in the world and it is strongly linked to Helicobacter pylori infection. While H. pylori is present in about half of the world’s population, it does not promote cancer development in all of them. I am interested in understanding how H. pylori modifies the environment of the mucosa to induce significant changes in tissue architecture in pre-cancerous stages of the stomach. I am developing organoid-based tools to uncover the molecular mechanism of this process to identify novel drug targets for intervention to treat stomach cancer development.
I did my PhD at Semmelweis University (Budapest, Hungary) where I investigated the role of NRF2/SKN-1 transcription factor in the anti-bacterial response of the epithelium in Caenorhabditis elegans. In Tibor Vellai’s group I further studied how NRF2 regulates autophagy during prolonged oxidative stress. I then moved to Norwich (UK) where I explored host-microbe interactions in plants at the John Innes Centre. In 2019 I joined Lindsay Hall’s group at Quadram Institute where I investigated how Bifidobacteria can modulate autophagy in the epithelium in human colonic organoids. I am especially interested in how epithelial cells can re-programme themselves to adapt to their changing environment.