Our main interest is to better understand and detect disease, with a particular focus on the kidney.
To this end, we aim to engineer cellular systems allowing for modelling of kidney disease. Previously, we have developed a method to convert fibroblasts to renal-epithelial like cells using overexpression of four transcription factors (). We are now applying this model to investigate different genetic kidney diseases and renal toxicity of drugs. More generally, we want to understand how renal cell fate is specified and how this process is altered during disease. This project is funded through the Emmy Noether Programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG ).
In a parallel line of research, we aim to develop novel diagnostic tools for early detection of renal disease. We have recently reported a method using CRISPR-Cas13 to sense different biomarkers relevant for kidney transplantation (). This technique may help to enable earlier diagnosis of opportunistic infection and rejection.