Tell me more

From Lukas:

“I did my bachelor’s and master’s studies in Biology at the University of Regensburg. During my time as a Bachelor student I quickly decided that how the molecular world is built is a very fascinating topic and where I wanted to go. This resulted in a bachelor’s thesis where I tried to characterize potential interactors of the RNA polymerase II transcription elongation factor TFIIS in Arabidaopsis thaliana in the lab of Prof. Dr. Klaus Grasser. During my master’s I broadened my knowledge in molecular biology and discovered the field of RNA Biology for myself. There are ribozymes, you can store information within the RNA, or RNAs can act as regulatory factors for transcription or the stability of other molecules. Possibilities are (nearly) endless with RNA. So I rejoined the team of Prof. Dr. Klaus Grasser for my master’s thesis and developed a new NGS RNA-seq method (again in A. thaliana). This method allowed us to have alook at the transcription elongation of the RNA polymerase II in transcription elongation factor mutants, by using heat shock to induce transcription of newly synthesized RNAs.

I finished my studies in Regensburg at the beginning of 2020 when SARS-CoV-2 struck Germany for the first time and the country had to go into a lockdown. In that situation I decided to work in a medical laboratory to perform SARS-CoV-2-RT-PCRs. Here I also got a little glimpse at some medical aspects. During that time the topic of RNA as a therapeutic molecule became publicly available in form of mRNA vaccinations. When I saw Matt’s offer for a PhD thesis, where he mentioned something with RNA-based therapeutics, I had to apply.

So over the next years I will try to shed some light on the role of RNA in extracellular vesicles secreted from the host in defense of an infection with Aspergillus fumigatus and hopefully will come across some way to leverage RNA as a therapeutic agent against this pathogenic fungi.

Outside of the lab you can find me most likely on some mountain, playing tennis, or enjoying all kinds of fictional stories.”