Doctoral student – Lab for Computational Biology, Integromics and Gene Regulation (CBIGR) - Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology, Faculty of Sciences & Department of Biomolecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent
Principal investigator: prof. Vanessa Vermeirssen (PhD)
Recent studies have shown the interplay between transcription and metabolism in complex diseases such as cancer and neuro-inflammatory disorders. Technological advancements have led to an explosion in the amount of available omics data, both at bulk and single cell level, as well as across multiple regulatory layers in the cell. The integration of these multi-omics data provides a novel and exciting approach to study complex diseases such as cancer or neuroinflammatory disorders. However, multi-omics data integration is challenging, and diverse methodologies are available. Integrated regulatory networks, which map multi-omics molecular interactions, are a means to study gene regulation mechanistically at a system level and allow to generate biological hypotheses and to identify biomarkers and novel drug targets.
In my PhD, I aim to study the mechanisms of gut-brain communication through integrated regulatory networks of inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis, two archetypical examples of inflammation within their respective tissues. Specifically, I will focus on the identification of regulators (e.g. transcription factors and metabolites) and regulatory network rewiring during inflammation. In addition, I will use genome-scale metabolic modeling to study tissue specific cellular metabolism and even interactions between anatomically distant tissues. In the end, we aim to use this knowledge to functionally tweak the gut-brain axis and develop novel therapeutics, not only for multiple sclerosis but also for other neuroinflammatory disorders.
I graduated as a master of biochemistry and biotechnology at Ghent University in 2021, with a major in bioinformatics and systems biology and a minor in biomedical biotechnology. During my thesis, I studied the function of the glucocorticoid receptor during hypoxia and sepsis by applying genome wide transcription and DNA binding analysis.
As of October 2021, I started my PhD in the lab of Computational Biology, Integromics and Gene Regulation.