Our project aims to shed light on inflammatory responses that secure an intact cell barrier to separates the content of our intestinal tract from the rest of the body. Such responses are critical to fight pathogens, but can also overshoot and cause disease. Since the properties of these intestinal cells cannot be recapitulated in standard cell culture conditions, we grow 3D ‘mini guts’ derived from human intestinal stem cells. Using alpaca-derived antibodies as well as novel probes, we will investigate how specialized molecules in ‘mini guts’ detect infections with viruses such as noroviruses. We will try to reveal how signalling complexes termed inflammasomes coordinate responses that help eject infected cells and curtail virus spread.
The KT Boost Fund allows my lab to interact with the best scientists worldwide, learn the requisite techniques, and make the necessary investments to enter an emerging field of cell biology, in which cellular processes are recapitulated in 3D ‘organoid cultures’. These recapitulate the complexity of human tissues better than traditional cell cultures techniques. We can thus be among the first to study inflammatory responses of specialized gut cells in the most physiological models of human cells. PhD students in my lab will thus be able to attend conferences and methods courses, invite collaborating experts, and develop ground-breaking new techniques that will allow us to visualize inflammation in real time or in molecular resolution.
... would dig through archives and trace back the history of my family all over Europe, volunteer in Archeological excavations, travel to learn more about culture or nature around the world … or finish setting up our apartment (we only moved in two years ago).
Name: Dr. Florian I. Schmidt
Research field: Innate Immunity, Cell Biology, Virology, Nanobody engineering
Institution: University of Bonn, Institute of Innate Immunity, Research Group Molecular Immunology