Universität Bern, Vetsuisse-Fakultät Bern
The Division of Molecular Pathobiology carries out research on the cellular and molecular aspects of host-pathogen interactions. This theme is a priority research topic of the University of Bern with active groups present in the medical, veterinary and natural science faculties.
The emphasis of our research is on molecular parasitology, in particular parasite-induced host cell transformation.
Leukocytes that are infected with the intracellular protozoan parasite Theileria undergo malignant transformation. Our laboratory investigates the molecular basis of this unique host-pathogen interaction. We have established that the parasite induces uncontrolled proliferation by targeted interference with several host cell signalling pathways that regulate proliferation and survival.
Theileria-induced host cell transformation is entirely reversible. Elimination of the parasite by treatment with a specific drug results in proliferation arrest and cells revert to a non-transformed phenotype, even after years in culture. This model, which lends itself perfectly to study malignant leukocyte transformation, is of relevance to cancer research.
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Research & Education