Dr. rer. nat. (Dipl. Biologe)
PhD at the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany)
(scholarship of the German Environmental Foundation DBU)
Diploma at the University of Kaiserslautern
Currently I’m working with the fungal pathogens Ustilago maydis and Cryptococcus neoformans. Ustilago is a biotrophic plant pathogen causing smut disease on its host plant corn. Cryptococcus is a human pathogen causing meningitis mainly in immunocompromised people. Both pathogens are basidiomycete fungi and this leads to the unique opportunity to investigate virulence and pathogenicity factors which are common to both (human and plant) pathogens, or unique to one of them. Thus I’m able to compare the importance of different virulence factors of a plant with a human pathogen.
Recently it was shown in our group that peroxisomal beta-oxidation of fatty acids is important for the morphological switch and the infection process of Ustilago maydis. At the moment I’m investigating the mitochondrial ß-oxidation pathway of Ustilago and comparing it with the function/importance of both beta-oxidation pathways in Cryptococcus neoformans.
My second project is connected to phosphate uptake, storage and gene regulation. Our group showed that Vtc4 a vacuolar transport chaperone is important for storage of phosphate as polyphosphate and is important for the successful infection of Ustilago maydis. To understand the importance/role of phosphate during infection processes, I’m going to identify the phosphate regulon of Ustilago and Cryptococcus via microarray analysis. Afterwards I’m planning to investigate the function and the importance of some selected phosphate-regulated genes for virulence of plant and human fungal pathogens.
Since I joined the group of Dr. Kronstad in July 2009, I’m exploring the amazing city of Vancouver and the fascinating nature of B.C. I enjoy the fascinating cultural and sporting opportunities (GoCanucksGo). During my spare time, I like to go hiking at the North Shore of Vancouver. Sometimes you can also find me running along the seaside. Willkommen zurück in der 1.Bundesliga 1.FCK!!