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ESR 5 - Ann-Kristin Kaune

Principal investigator: Carol Munro

Host institution: UNIABDN

ESR Project





Impact of fungal cell surface variability upon immune evasion and infection

During my Bachelor and Masters studies at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany (2013 – 2019) I developed a strong interest in the human immune system and microbiology. For my Bachelor thesis I investigated the role of IL-2 on IL-33 induced mast cell effector functions in Prof. Thomas Kamradt’s lab at the University Hospital Jena. My general curiosity made me undertake additional studies into plant-pathogen interactions as a student assistant at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology as well as into plant genetics and tissue culture during a four-month internship at the Pedagogic and Technologic University of Colombia (UPTC) in Tunja, Colombia, in 2017.

However, medical microbiology kept a strong pull on me and for my Masters thesis I returned to Jena to investigate the influence of albumin on Candida glabrata infection of epithelial cells at Prof. Bernhard Hube’s lab at the Hans-Knöll-Institute.

Being fascinated by medical mycology I am very happy that I joined the FunHoMic consortium in Prof. Carol Munro’s lab in September 2019. My project here will deal with the surface variability of various clinical isolates of Candida albicans. It is the fungal surface that is the site of action regarding interaction between fungus, host, and members of the microbiota. Therefore, investigation of surface variability, how it is influenced by, and how it affects host/microbiota interactions will yield new insights into C. albicans in commensalism and pathogenicity.