This is an excellent opportunity for outstanding scientists who have recently received their Ph.D. degree to pursue a period of independent research before taking a faculty position. Fellows direct their own research program in pursuit of their scientific vision. They have their own laboratory space and technician, as well as opportunities to grow through access to all of the resources of the Laboratory. Fellow appointments are for three years, which can be extended for an additional one or two years. Following completion of this program, Fellows are highly competitive in obtaining faculty positions, either within CSHL or at outside institutions. The central philosophy of the Fellows Program is a pure focus on research, without administrative or teaching burdens. While there is no requirement to write grants, Fellows may do so.
As we age our body accumulates damaged “senescent” cells that our immune system is no longer able to effectively eliminate. Senescent cells are responsible for the development of aging and age-related diseases like cancer or fibrosis. My group studies how senescent cells evade the immune system thereby identifying new therapeutic approaches.
I originally trained in molecular biotechnology with a wet-lab focus on synthetic biology and immunology. During my master’s research, I switched to computational methods where I studied the regulation of gene expression in thymic epithelial cells in the laboratories of Benedikt Brors and Bruno Kyewski at the German Cancer Research Center. To further my computational biology skills, I pursued a Ph..D in Ewan Birney’s research group at the European Bioinformatics Institute where I developed models for analyzing high-dimensional phenotype data and applied these methods to association analysis of human cardiac morphology data.
The position as a CSHL Fellow position uniquely allows me to bring together my long-standing interest in immunology and thymus biology with my skills in high-dimensional data analyses and statistical methods in my own independent research group. We study how the immune system distinguishes between self and non-self to effectively fight infection and prevent autoimmune diseases. In particular, we are interested in understanding how T cells and thymus epithelial cells interact to drive self-tolerance and generate diversity in the immune system. We answer these questions by combining experimental approaches, genomics, and mathematical modeling. Our interdisciplinary approaches fit well into the collaborative research environment at CSHL. Specifically the expertise in genomics research at CSHL and being part of the Simons Center for Quantitative Biology aid greatly in pursuing our research questions.