I started my PhD in Adrian Streit's group in February 2014 after completing my Master in Molecular Medicine at the University of Tübingen.
I am working on the sex determining mechanism in parasitic nematodes.
From November 2014 until March 2016 I was one of the four PhD Representatives of our institute.
I am actively involved in the organization of several events that are organized from PhD students for PhD students at the institute and for the PhDnet.
With my research I try to understand the molecular mechanism underlying the chromatin diminution process which is the fundamental part of the sex determining mechanism in Strongyloides papillosus.
The nematode species Strongyloides papillosus commonly parasitizes the small intestine of sheep and goats and can be raised in rabbits in the laboratory.
Parasitic females reproduce by mitotic parthenogenesis without the presence of males. Male and female embryos leave the host with the feces. The resulting female offspring can either directly develop into infective larvae or, together with the male offspring, give rise to a single facultative free-living generation. The free-living adults reproduce sexually but produce exclusively female offspring which develops into infective larvae.
The sex of the male progeny is determined through sex specific elimination of part of a chromosome (chromatin diminution), which corresponds to an ancestral X chromosome.
This sex specific chromatin diminution takes place during the mitotic parthenogenesis of the parasitic females.
See this page for the life-cycle of Strongyloides species.
One aspect of my research is the investigation of small RNAs that could be possibly involved in the mediation of chromatin diminution and therefore the elimination of the "X-part" of a chromosome. Such a role of small RNAs during chromatin diminution events has been investigated in ciliates.
On the other hand I try to find chromatin modification markers that are specific to the diminished chromosome region.