Early Stage Researcher
What is your project/research about? What would you like to find out?
My project focuses on a group of immune cells which compose a major cellular compartment of innate immunity termed myeloid cells. These cells are known to be highly implicated in various neurological diseases. During neuroinflammatory conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS) resident and infiltrating myeloid cells such as microglia and macrophages are the predominant inflammatory cells involved in the disease. However, their specific role in MS pathogenesis remains controversial due to studies failing to differentiate between heterogeneous myeloid cell subsets and their diverse functionalities upon immune responses. I will investigate two molecular mechanisms implicated in the regulation of these cells during neuroinflammation using a mouse model for MS. In brief, the first mechanism considers the angiogenic factor Angiopoietin 2 (Ang-2) implicated in controlling the infiltration of myeloid cells into the central nervous system (CNS) over the blood-brain-barrier. My second focus comprises the insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) important for cell growth, migration and survival which furthermore has been linked to control the inflammatory phenotype of myeloid cells. We will use innovative transgenic approaches and imaging techniques allowing cell specific- as well as spatio-temporal detection of myeloid cells to decipher the mechanisms controlling myeloid cell infiltration into the CNS and their polarization driving or resolving neuroinflammation. We aim to acquire a better understanding of these processes in order to facilitate prospective translational treatment attempts.
Why did you apply for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN and especially this project?
I wanted to be a part of this prestige training network not only because of my deep interest in studying neuroinflammation and myeloid cells but because of the opportunities I see in acquiring a transferable skillset offered through the various workshops and secondments as well as the chances for extensive exchange of knowledge provided by our european network. I strongly believe that becoming an expert in a vertical field requires not only deep knowledge in that particular field, but in all related ones making this network/project the perfect fit for me.
What is so fascinating for you on research in general?
What I like about research is that it drastically helps you changing the way you think by engaging you to create your own knowledge. It forces you to get down to the essence of everything you see and by thinking about the mechanics whirring around under the hood of the world.
What do you do in your free time? Do you have special interests/hobbies?
I really enjoy playing the Ukulele accompanied with some very average singing.
What are your plans for your future? Where/what you will be in 5 years?
I like to focus on my short-term goals, so for now my main goal is to successfully conclude my project and finish my PhD. However, I would like to stay in the field of neuroimmunology, regardless of whether this is going to take place in academia or the industry.