Gülce Sarı performed her PhD studies at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands between 2017 and 2020.

Projects she was involved in included translational virus-host interaction studies on several mouse models for chronic viral hepatitis, such as chronic HEV infection studies on human liver-chimeric mouse model and the LCMV immunocompetent infection model for the evaluation of novel immunomodulators. She has performed pre-clinical assessments of the novel immunomodulatory compounds targeting exhausted CD8 T cells in cancer immune evasion or a chronic infectious disease setting. She has also evaluated pegIFNlambda as a new treatment candidate against chronic HEV infections and had a patent now for the treatment chronic HEV infections using pegIFNlambda (Inventor, U.S. Application Nos. 63/119,524 and 63/149,788).

She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, USA between December 2020 and December 2022. Her projects focused on the mechanisms which control the display of foreign antigens to the immune system by MHC class I molecules. Largely independently, she combined CRISPR-Cas9 system with immunological tools and mouse models to address fundamental immunological questions as “What are the (in)direct regulators of MHC I antigen presentation? How do tumours escape the immune detection? Are these mechanisms reversible or a dead-end?”. In the translational part, she identified MHC I related risk factors in immunotherapy resistance of lung cancers and melanomas. As a senior postdoctoral researcher, in the Viroscience Department at Erasmus MC, she characterized the phenotype, functional characteristics and fine antigen specificity of virus-specific T-cells in HSV-1 infected human corneas and trigeminal ganglia. Using single cell analysis of T-cell receptors and transcriptome in trigeminal ganglia and cornea T cell pools, she determined the fine antigen specificity, function and spatial orientation of dominant CD8 T-cell clones.

She has been working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department since August, 2023. Her research here is devoted to understand why immune responses are insufficient to clear hepatitis B virus (HBV) in chronically infected patients, how HBV minichromosome (cccDNA) is formed and replenished in the nuclei of the infected hepatocytes to sustain the persistent infection and how novel anti-viral therapy can revert this. Besides this, she focuses on immune escape mechanisms and how to revert them in the HBV-induced hepatocellular carcinoma.

For more information: Gülce Sarı