It was love at first sight. That is how I remember the exact moment when, during my bachelor’s degree, I was told about the microbiome. I was amazed how these minuscule creatures could affect us in such a way that our health can be both enhanced or deteriorated depending on the presence of certain strains and how diverse they are. Since that moment, I decided to become a microbiome researcher. As my main interest has always been to study how we can manipulate our diets to obtain the healthiest state possible, I mixed my two scientific interests in one. I am working to modulate our microbial community through dietary changes to fight against diseases.
I am currently performing my Master’s thesis in the Microbiome and Cancer Division at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Specifically, I am researching how diets and other microbiome modulators such as antibiotics, can influence the outcome of immunotherapy against colorectal cancer by altering our gut microbiome.
The tube that I am holding in the picture contains pooled DNA extracted from fecal samples of one hundred mice. I use NGS sequencing to decipher the information that can tell us which and how many bacteria are present in each sample. This is essential to find new biomarkers that will be used in the future as bacterial fingerprints to diagnose and treat cancer patients faster and better.