My research focuses on understanding how pro-inflammatory signaling is regulated in the context of innate immune responses, tumorigenesis and cancer. My main interests lie with the function and regulation of the ubiquitin system in these processes, with emphasis on delineating the non-degradative functions of polyubiquitin chains.
I studied Biochemistry at the University of Copenhagen and carried out my PhD at the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre on the topic of lysosomes, cell death and cancer. My interest in ubiquitin began as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. Here, my colleagues and I discovered that Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) proteins, then widely viewed upon as caspase inhibitory proteins, interacted with polyubiquitin through a conserved ubiquitin-binding module. We demonstrated that this module contributes to the immune regulatory activity of these proteins and that it is important for their oncogenic potential. As head of my own research team since 2011, I have spent recent years studying how ubiquitin controls signaling downstream of the bacteria sensor NOD2 - a pattern recognition receptor central for maintaining an efficient immunological barrier in the gastrointestinal tract, and for which loss-of-function mutations predisposes to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition that increases the risk of intestinal cancer. Our work has contributed to understanding the molecular switches controlling NOD2 signaling. Notably, we have identified the ubiquitin ligases X-linked IAP (XIAP) and LUBAC, and the deubiquitinase OTULIN, as central signal integrators of ubiquitin-mediated pro-inflammatory signaling.
In October 2013, I moved to the Ludwig Cancer Research Oxford Branch to set up a research program combining our work on the basic concepts of ubiquitin-mediated signaling with the role of these processes in cancer development and progression.
MSc in Biochemistry, University of Copenhagen (2000)
PhD in Cancer Biology, University of Copenhagen (2005)
External financial support
Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science
Sapere Aude Starting Grant – Danish Research Council for independent Research
Lundbeck Foundation Research Grant
Member of the EMBO YIP
Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow