Researcher biography

My name is Jessica von Pein and I am a PhD student at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. I have always been intrigued about science and understanding about the natural world, and I am very passionate about world-wide implementation of scientific-driven policy to enhance human health, protect the environment and ensure sustainability. During my undergraduate studies in biomedical sciences, I became captivated by the human innate immune system and its role in protection against infectious disease, which is the focus of my PhD project. Uropathogenic Escherichia coli, or UPEC, is the major cause of urinary tract infections, which is one of the most common bacterial infections globally. Due to the frequency of these infections, UPEC is a major contributor to worldwide antibiotic prescription. Antibiotic resistance is now highly prevalent, therefore new approaches to combat bacterial infections are urgently needed. My PhD research project aims to understand nutritional immunity in innate immune cells and the mechanism(s) by which pathogens such as UPEC can subvert these responses to aid pathogenicity. Findings from this project may ultimately help guide the development of immune-modulating mediators as anti-infective agents for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, such as those caused by UPEC.