Dr Stephanie Schüller

Research Leader

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I always had a keen interest in the relationships between human pathogenic bacteria and their (unfortunate) hosts. After studying Biology at the universities of Bonn and Marburg in Germany, I finished my undergraduate studies with a one year diploma thesis on the gut pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in the laboratory of Prof. Werner Goebel at the University of Würzburg. I stayed on for my PhD thesis where I investigated how Listeria modulates the macrophage immune response with particular interest on antigen presentation.

After completion of my PhD I went to the UK to study the interactions of Mycobacterium bovis BCG with human macrophages and investigate the characteristics of the Mycobacterium-containing phagosome. This work was performed in the group of Prof. Douglas Young and funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship. The final part of the project was completed at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam where I was hosted in the lab of Prof. Jacques Neefjes.

In 2001, I returned to London (and the human gut) and took up work with Prof. Alan Phillips at the Royal Free Medical School at UCL. As it turned out, this was the start of a long-lasting relationship with enteropathogenic (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and involved many productive collaborations with leading scientists in the area (Profs Gadi Frankel, Jim Kaper, Brendan Kenny, Jorge Giron).

Particular areas of research included the application of in vitro organ culture of human intestinal biopsies to study EPEC- and EHEC-mediated signal transduction in intestinal epithelial cells and the subsequent innate immune response. A successful Wellcome Trust project grant led to the development and application of a microaerobic in vitro human intestinal infection model which enabled me to study the influence of oxygen on bacterial virulence.

In 2010, I moved to Norwich where I took up a lecturer position at the Norwich Medical School, UEA and became a Research Leader at the Institute of Food Research. In 2012, I was awarded an MRC New Investigator Research Grant to study EHEC Shiga toxin translocation across the gut epithelium.

Key Publications

Lewis, S. B., Cook, V., Tighe, R., and Schüller, S. (2015) Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli colonization of human colonic epithelium in vitro and ex vivo. Infect Immun 83:942-9.

Schüller, S., and Phillips, A. D. (2010) Microaerobic conditions enhance type III secretion and adherence of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli to polarized human intestinal epithelial cells, Environ Microbiol 12: 2426-2435.

Schüller, S., Lucas, M., Kaper, J. B., Giron, J. A., and Phillips, A. D. (2009) The ex vivo response of human intestinal mucosa to enteropathogenic Escherichia coli infection. Cell Microbiol 11: 521-530.

Schüller, S., Chong, Y., Lewin, J., Kenny, B., Frankel, G., and Phillips, A. D. (2007) Tir phosphorylation and Nck/N-WASP recruitment by enteropathogenic and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli during ex vivo colonization of human intestinal mucosa is different to cell culture models. Cell Microbiol 9: 1352-1364.

Schüller, S., Frankel,G., and Phillips, A. D. (2004) Interaction of Shiga toxin from Escherichia coli with human intestinal epithelial cell lines and explants: Stx2 induces epithelial damage in organ culture. Cell Microbiol 6: 289-301.

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