Marie Curie Fellow
My research is focused on the early origins of atherosclerosis, and particularly on the role of lipid-reactive invariant Natural Killer T cells (iNKT) in early disease. While previously considered inflammatory and atherogenic, iNKT cells are known to play a pro-homeostatic role in other immunometabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. I am scrutinizing plaque-associated factors that determine iNKT cell phenotype and function, ultimately aiming to harness iNKT cells for a pro-homeostatic role in atherogenesis.
I joined the Monaco group in 2018, supported by a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship (EU) and an Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (VENI, The Netherlands). Prior to this, I worked as a clinician scientist at the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital and University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, where I studied the role of iNKT cells in adipose tissue homeostasis and immunometabolism, combined with clinical work as a Pediatric Cardiology Fellow. During my clinical work, I frequently faced the cardiovascular sequelae of childhood chronic disease. While childhood survival of chronic disease steadily increased over the last decades, prolonged survival often comes at the price of early cardiovascular disease, which highly motivates me to unravel the early origins of atherosclerosis.