Researcher biography

I received my Master of Science from the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe Universitaet in Frankfurt am Main in Germany. I completed my Master’s project at the Paul Ehrlich Federal Institute for Sera and Vaccines in Langen where I investigated the impact of vaccinia virus‐induced type I interferons on T cells. Between 2007 and 2011, I completed my PhD studies in the Department of Experimental Immunology of the University of Zurich in Switzerland mentored by Prof. Burkhard Becher, where I investigated the role of NFkB‐inducing kinase (NIK) in cell‐mediated immunity and autoimmunity. It was then that I specialized in professional antigen-presenting cells and their properties in health and disease.

In 2012, I received a 3-year post-doctoral research fellowship to join Prof. Ian Frazer's research team at the University of Queensland (UQ). My studies here focussed on the role of different types of professional antigen-presenting cells in human papillomavirus (HPV)-driven immune suppression that enables development of cervical cancer and a proportion of head and neck cancers. In 2015, I joined the team of biotech company Admedus Vaccines Pty Ltd. as Senior Scientist, with the aim to develop immunotherapeutic vaccine strategies to combat chronic herpes-simplex 2 infections and HPV-induced malignancies. I delivered a pre-clinical research program leading to 3 clinical trials. In 2019, I re-joined UQ as Research Fellow, where I continued my research interest in human papillomavirus-driven immune suppression in antigen-presenting cells, with the aim to develop new experimental therapies that can modulate the performance of these cells.

Since 2023, I lead my own lab at the UQ Frazer Institute and focussed on deciphering intra-tumour and systemic immune regulations of professional antigen-presenting cells, with a special interest in cutaneous and mucosal squamous cell cancers of the head and neck.