I am a very enthusiastic PhD candidate with a passion for science and an intrinsic curiosity about the functioning of nature in general and of animals in particular. Especially how animals fight pathogens and regulate their immune responses has fascinated me. This is also highlighted by my double masters degree in Animal sciences where I specialized in Adaptation, Health and Welfare, and my Master in Biology, where I specialized in Health & Disease. During my MSc thesis, supervised by Dr. Maria Forlenza, I became familiar with the zebrafish model and realized how powerful it is to be able to visualize in vivo an ongoing immune response to a pathogen. This motivated me to pursue further understanding of immune mechanisms, host-pathogen interactions and to visualize immune responses.
In 2020 I was awarded and NOW-WIAS fellowship, during which I will focus on the role of soluble and transmembrane tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa) during inflammation. I approach this by combining state-of-the-art molecular techniques with high-end microscopy. I will study the ongoing inflammatory response of zebrafish in vivo, triggered by several inflammation and infection models that are known to trigger TNFa expression. These include injury, bacterial and parasitic infections. My project is in collaboration with Dr. Mai Nguyen-Chi (University of Montpellier, FR) & Dr. Philip Elks (University of Sheffield, UK).
Altogether this project addresses fundamental questions about the relative contribution of soluble and transmembrane TNFa to inflammation, with a special focus on macrophage activation and on which receptors soluble and transmembrane TNFa exert their activities.
My direct supervisor is Dr. Maria Forlenza.