We are interested in the molecular mechanisms that control cell-to-cell heterogeneity in pathogen populations.
Our group has a long history of exploring different next-generation-sequencing (NGS)-based approaches such as single-cell RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, ChIP-seq, ribosome-profiling and Hi-C to elucidate links between chromatin structures, genome architectures and gene expression. Combining these NGS-based approaches with super-resolution microscopy, various microfluidics set-ups and sophisticated image-activated cell-sorting approaches, our lab hopes to investigate at the single-cell level how pathogens benefit from cell-to-cell heterogeneity.
As a model to study cell-to-cell heterogeneity, we study antigenic variation in Trypanosoma brucei, a unicellular parasite responsible for sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in cattle.
Throughout its life cycle, T. brucei remains extracellular. As a consequence, in its mammalian host, the parasite is readily recognized by the host immune system. Elimination is avoided by the parasite’s ability to change the composition of its surface coat, a strategy referred to as – antigenic variation.
Our key goal is to understand how changes in chromatin structures and genome architecture influence antigenic variation at the single-cell level.
Keywords & model systems
chromatin organization, genome architecture, antigenic variation, single-cell biology
|since 2017||Professor||Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Experimental Parasitology
Biomedical Center Munich, Department Physiological Chemistry LMU München
|2012 – 2017||ZINF Young Investigator||Institute for Molecular Infection Biology, University of Würzburg
|2010 – 2011||EMBO / HFSP Postdoctoral Fellow||Institut Pasteur, Dept. of Parasitology & Mycology, Prof. Artur Scherf
|2009||PhD||The Rockefeller University, Prof. George Cross
New York, NY, USA
|2002||study abroad||ETH Zurich
|1999 – 2003||Bachelor of Sciences (biochemistry)||Brown University
Providence, RI, USA
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant number 860675.