I have recently obtained my PhD degree at the department of Molecular Biology at Umeå university supervised by Professor Teresa Frisan. My PhD project aimed to understand how activation of the DNA Damage Response, induced by particular type of toxins known as genotoxins, modulates the host immune response in the gut.
In my current research, I am particularly interested in investigating whether the final outcome of infections, caused by certain strains of bacteria with carcinogenic properties, is different in healthy subjects (where the toxins behave as negotiators) and in individuals who are susceptible to chronic inflammation or cancer (where the toxins may exacerbate the pre-existing damage).
To address this issue, I am currently working on the development of suitable laboratory models, such as cellular 3D models, which should resemble the natural intestinal environment. Current in vitro studies are conducted mainly in two-dimensional settings, which lack important microenvironmental structures and immune factors.
We developed a 3D model by adding different cell types that are normally found in the intestine, and by creating different structures, mimicking a healthy gut versus an inflamed gut.