My main research ambition is to contribute in answering the question: What structure-function characteristics predispose some proteins to become a food allergen and how may this be altered by food processing? Understanding these mechanisms would allow to predict the allergenicity and pro-inflammatory potential of proteins. Transfer of such scientific advances to food industry and health sector would significantly increase food safety and improve the prevention of food-related inflammatory diseases.
I started my research carrier in a group of professor Kostyra at the University of Warmia and Mazury (Olsztyn, Poland). My PhD project was performed at University of Warmia and Mazury in Poland as a part of the EuroPrevall project The prevalence cost and basis of food allergy in Europe (EU 6th FP, FOOD-CT-2005-514000; coordinator prof.dr. C. Mills). During my PhD (obtained in 2010) I investigated the impact of processing on physicochemical and immunological properties of proteins. I showed the effect of heat treatment and Maillard reactions on the structure and immunogenic properties of major food allergens (Ara h 1, Ara h 2/6, Cor a 11, Gly m5/6). This outcomes strongly emphasised a need for a deeper study on Maillard reaction-related changes in protein structure and its biological consequences.
To build up my professional experience I successfully applied for the Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship. During Marie Curie post-doc project (2012 2015) at Cell Biology and Immunology Group I gained experience in immunology, allergology and cell biology allowing me to broaden the spectrum of my research. This experience together with the cooperation with clinicians allowed me to perform the study on effect of Maillard reaction and food processing on allergenic potential of soy proteins.
This research path I would like to continue and expand in the next post-doctoral project which I am involved in titled Immunogenic Properties of Heated and Glycated Cows Milk Protein Effect on Initiation and Resolution of Cows Milk Allergy. Bridging the knowledge gap by identification of structure-related molecular mechanisms of MRP-induced inflammation associated a.o. with the development of (food) allergy is an ultimate goal in this project..