My mission is to dissect immunological and host-genetic mechanisms of protective and pathologic immunity to mycobacterial infections, in order to design more effective intervention strategies, including novel vaccination strategies, innovative diagnostics and anti-microbial treatments.
Tuberculosis research is a major theme in my research programs. This work is fundamental, preclinical, translational as well as clinical in nature. Our efforts aim to develop better vaccines, as well as diagnostic, immunologic, transcriptomic and metabolic “biomarker signatures”. My group's work has led to a number of first-in-man clinical studies with new, molecularly defined synthetic TB vaccines. Systems biology, chemical genetics, transcriptomics, metabolomics and immunomics approaches are used to identify key cellular signalling pathways in host defense to intracellular pathogens in general, and M. tuberculosis and Salmonellae in particular. Correlates of protection and prospective correlates of risk of developing TB are being identified. Moreover, there is strong interest in co-infections (Helminth-infections; HIV) and co-morbidities including type-2 diabetes, a major TB-risk factor. Using technologies developed in the TB research program, recent work also enabled identification of biomarkers of Ebola-vaccine induced human responses. Extensive international collaborative networks have been established, which include leading partners from EU, US and TB endemic areas/countries. Host-directed therapeutic targets and compounds are being studied aiming a improved, adjunct treatment for TB, including DR-TB.