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Full NameProfessor Ulla Knaus
Organisation:University College Dublin
- infectious disease and the immune system
Postgrad Medical Specialties
- Emergency Medicine
- General Practice
- Infectious diseases
- Respiratory Medicine
The mucosal barrier of the intestine is together with the microbiota and innate immune cells the first line of defense against pathogens. Understanding molecular mechanisms that protect the host from microbial insult, and how some responses may damage the host is crucial for developing antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory therapies. Second messengers such as reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (RONS) can have beneficial as well as detrimental effects. The overall outcome depends on precise spatial and temporal regulation of RONS by the affected cell populations. The signaling circuits regulating the production of these molecules constitute an ideal target for intervention in disease.
Our laboratory employs structure-function studies, protein science, modelling, animal models and functional evaluation of clinical mutants to gain insight into NADPH oxidases, the key ROS source in eukaryotic organisms (Cell Host Microbe 2016, PNAS 2016, Gastroenterology 2017, Mucosal Immunology 2017, 2018).
Research in our laboratory studies the interplay between different cell populations and compartments of the host with commensal communities and pathogenic organisms in disease (infections, inflammation, fibrosis) by generating and investigating mouse models mimicking disease-associated human patient variants. These models can be used for sepsis studies, gut-brain or gut-lung axis studies and chronic inflammatory disorders. We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms driving these diseases, so that new therapeutic approaches can be formulated and tested.
Current focus is on altering bacterial communities and/or immune compartments and modifying the overall chemical environment. Potential projects will be dependent on the background and interests of the clinician PhD and the up-to-date research opportunities in the laboratory.