My research focuses on the molecular adaptions to hypoxia and its pathways in whales, particularly in German harbour porpoises.
Recently, it was confirmed that harbour porpoises use only 60% of their possible lung volume. Additionally, accumulating parasitic and pathogenic damages to the respiratory apparatus of German harbour porpoises were observed. It is not known, if these factors correlate or if they impair the diving ability, the swimming speed and ultimately the foraging success. Furthermore, is has been observed that harbour porpoises perform unplanned dives to avoid underwater noise. Damaged lungs could imply a lower oxygen capacity, which in turn hinders the effective oxygen supply to the swimming musculature, resulting in an insufficient diving ability.
In close cooperation with the Institute of Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research, Büsum and as part of the EU Horizon project ,,Solutions @ Underwater Radiated Noise’’ (SATURN) this project aims to analyse if these damages are in fact influencing the diving ability and whether harbour porpoises are able to compensate this through molecular adaptions. Therefor, I apply comparative transcriptome analyses of the lungs and musculature of healthy harbour porpoises compared with harbour porpoises with a high load of parasites.
Possible molecular adaptions will be confirmed in qRT-PCR, ELISA, Western Blot and in situ hybridisation. The function of the targeted genes and pathways will be investigated in an overexpression- and a knock out- assay under hypoxia in transfected cell lines.
PhD candidate, University of Hamburg and Institute of Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research (ITAW), Büsum
10/2017 - 04/2020 Master of Science, Biology, University of Hamburg
Thesis: Vergleichende Untersuchungen der Genexpression und Kopienzahl von LDHA und LDHB in Walen (Cetacea) und Rind (Bos taurus)
04/2014 – 04/2017 Bachelor of Science, Biology, University of Hamburg
Thesis: Inter-individual variability in cognitive functions of male and female C57BL/6J mice using the example of the house mouse (Mus musculus domestics) at the Center for Molecular Neurobiology (ZMNH), Hamburg
10/2012 – 04/2014 Bachelor of Science, Biology, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf