Professor of Innate Immunology
Nucleic acid sensing by innate immune receptors
Jan is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying host-pathogen interactions. In particular, Jan studies how cells detect virus infection. His work lies at the intersection of immunology, virology and molecular biology. After undergraduate training in biology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, Jan joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) as a PhD student. Under supervision of Elisa Izaurralde, Jan studied post-transcriptional control of messenger RNA, including the mechanisms by which microRNAs repress their targets, and obtained a PhD in 2007. This background in RNA biology led Jan to develop an interest in nucleic acids in innate immunity. As a postdoctoral fellow, he joined the group of Caetano Reis e Sousa, then at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute (London, UK). Jan investigated how RNA viruses such as influenza A virus are recognised by innate immune sensors, particularly RIG-I. In 2012, Jan moved to the University of Oxford, UK, to establish his independent research group. His laboratory is part of the MRC Human Immunology Unit and the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. Jan's research dissects nucleic acid sensing by innate receptors in the context of virus infection, autoinflammatory disease and cancer. Jan's work is funded by the MRC, Wellcome Trust, Lister Institute and European Union.