I was born and raised near Bonn, the former capital of Germany. Ever since I can remember, I was interested in biology. During school, I also became interested in chemistry, and during my civil service as an EMT, I was fascinated by physiology and medicine. Luckily, I discovered I could combine these interests by studying molecular biomedicine at the University of Bonn. There, I became fascinated by the versatility of the immune system and decided to become an immunologist. During my diploma thesis under supervision of Dr. Sven Burgdorf in the group of Dr. Christian Kurts, I got the chance to study the mechanisms of cross presentation in professional antigen presenting cells.
For my PhD thesis, I joined the lab of Dr. Winfried Barchet at the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology in Bonn, headed by Dr. Gunther Hartmann. I studied the mechanism and the biological function of several nucleic acid-based synthetic and enzymatically generated innate immune stimuli. Furthermore, I established a cancer vaccine in a model of ovarian cancer and unraveled its mode of action.
Now, I am excited to focus on anti-tumor immunity and the use of innate immune signals to fight cancer. The example of immune modulatory drugs like checkpoint inhibitors changing the treatment of cancer in the clinics already today is a great motivation for me to find new approaches to broaden our toolset in the fight against cancer in the clinics.