Biography

I always had a keen interest in the interactions between human pathogenic bacteria and their (unfortunate) hosts. After studying Biology at the universities of Bonn and Marburg in Germany, I finished my undergraduate studies with a one year diploma thesis on the gut pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in the laboratory of Prof Werner Goebel at the University of Würzburg. I stayed on for my PhD thesis where I investigated how Listeria modulates the macrophage immune response with particular interest on antigen presentation. After completion of my PhD I went to the UK to study the interactions of Mycobacterium bovis BCG with human macrophages and investigate the characteristics of the Mycobacterium-containing phagosome. This work was performed in the group of Prof Douglas Young and financed by a Marie Curie Fellowship. The final part of the project was completed at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam where I was hosted in the lab of Prof Jacques Neefjes. In 2001, I returned to London (and the human gut) and took up work with Prof Alan Phillips at the Royal Free Medical School at UCL. As it turned out, this was the start of a long-lasting relationship with enteropathogenic (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and involved many productive collaborations with leading scientists in the area. Particular areas of research included the application of in vitro organ culture of human intestinal biopsies to study EPEC- and EHEC-mediated signal transduction in intestinal epithelial cells and the subsequent innate immune response. A successful Wellcome Trust project grant also led to the development and application of a microaerobic in vitro human intestinal infection model which enabled me to study the influence of oxygen on bacterial virulence gene expression. In 2010, I moved to Norwich where I took up a lecturer position at the Norwich Medical School, UEA and became a Research Leader within in Gut Health & Food Safety Programme at the Institute of Food Research. In 2012, I was awarded an MRC New Investigator Research Grant to study EHEC Shiga toxin translocation across the gut epithelium.

Career

Lecturer, University of East Anglia, Oct 2010-present
Research Associate, University College London, 2001–2010
Research Associate, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, 1999-2001
Research Associate, Imperial College London, 1997-1999

Academic Background

PhD, University of Würzburg, Germany, 1997
Diplom, University of Marburg, Germany, 1994

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