+−ESR6: Lisa Falk, Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam (AMC)
I studied Biomedical Science and Biochemistry with main focus on molecular and cellular biology of infectious diseases at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University Greifswald, Germany. During my Master thesis I investigated human primary macrophages to establish a model for immune evasion strategies of the CA-MRSA strain USA300. In the course of my doctorate, I aim to continue research on host-pathogen interactions with primary cell culture models that demonstrate high morphological and physiological similarity to the in vivo host tissue environment.
With regard to respiratory infections, the human airway epithelium (HAE) serves as an initial entry point and primary target tissue for respiratory pathogens. In vitro models of primary HAE cells were shown to be highly permissive to infection with various human respiratory viruses, including influenza A virus, human bocavirus and respiratory syncytial virus. In my PhD project, I will inoculate HAE cultures with clinical respiratory sample isolates derived from the GRACE cohort. Upon successful infection and replication, virus isolates will be investigated by VIDISCA-NGS, followed by analysis of the viral mRNA. By application of single-cell RNA sequencing of infected cells, I want to determine cell tropism, identify the cellular receptor engaged for viral entry, characterize replication strategies, and study the pathogenesis of previously un-culturable or unknown respiratory viruses to identify potential targets for anti-viral strategies.