Salomé LeibundGut is an immunologist by training with a strong interest in host defense against human fungal pathogens. She obtained her PhD in 2003 from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. During her postdoc in the laboratory of Caetano Reis e Sousa at the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK (now The Francis Crick Institute) she discovered how innate sensing of fungal cell wall components couples to the adaptive immune system and polarizes T cells to produce interleukin-17 which is essential for fungal control. In 2010, she was awarded an SNSF professorship to start her own group at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. In 2015 she moved to the University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland and in 2017 she was appointed associate professor of Immunology at the same institution.
Salomé’s current research focusses on immune mechanisms against C. albicans that maintain commensalism and protect from disease by preventing fungal overgrowth on the mucosal epithelium (). Key cellular players in this process are interleukin-17-producing T cells and innate lymphocytes as well as neutrophils. In addition to host factors, the lab has more recently become interested in fungal determinants that regulate the interplay between C. albicans and the host. Encouraged by the observation that the genetic diversity among C. albicans natural isolates has a major impact on how the host responds to the fungus and on the outcome of the host-fungus interaction (Schönherr et al., 2017), the lab aims at understanding genetic variables responsible for the phenotypic and functional diversity within the species of C. albicans. Within the scope of FunHoMic, the LeibundGut-lab will explore how fungal diversity is generated within the host under the influence of the immune system and the microbiota.
The LeibundGut-lab is located at the Vetsuisse Faculty of UZH and closely associated with the Institute of Experimental Immunology at Science Faculty. Salomé is involved in teaching of immunology in the BSc., MSc and PhD programs of UZH and ETH Zurich.