Infections play a major role in the development of cancer. They are estimated to contribute to about 20% of all human tumours. While being mainly caused by viruses, certain types of cancer like gastric cancer can be linked to bacterial infections, although the absence of genetic signatures after infection makes it harder to show direct links. I am interested in studying the role of Helicobacter pylori in the development of gastric malignancies, especially the recognition of bacteria by the innate immune system and the connection between infection and the onset of gastric disease development.
I studied at the University of Technology Berlin, Germany and graduated with an MSc in Medical Biotechnology, with a focus on immunology and cell signalling. For my Master’s thesis, I undertook a year-long research project in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, where I studied the activation of the NF-κB signalling pathway in gastric epithelial cells during infection with H. pylori, with the aim of identifying novel pro-inflammatory compounds in Gram-negative bacteria.