Name: Dieter Riethmacher
Department of Biomedical Sciences
During my career I have evolved from a pure developmental biologist to a researcher that tries to apply fundamental biological processes present during development to the more clinically relevant questions of disease development and progression. In recent years my interests have been spread from nerve degeneration and regeneration, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and cancer. In our group we are currently analyzing different genes/proteins for their potential involvement in the development and progression of diseases.
Periostin is an extracellular matrix protein that has been shown to be involved in cancer development as well as inflammation. Several isoforms are differentially expressed in different tissues and possibly during disease development and or progression. We are using cell culture techniques as well as working with human tissue and animal models to elucidate the function of periostin in tumor progression. We have been working on colorectal cancer (CRC) for some time already and became recently more interested in bladder cancer (BC) and a possible interaction between periostin and AXL, a tyrosine kinase and marker for epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), that is a hallmark for invasiveness and thus metastasis.
We are currently analyzing the roles and possible interactions between periostin and CCL5-CCR5 signaling in IBD. Modification of both signaling systems may have implications not only for IBD but also for CRC.
The microbiome has recently received more and more attention and there is increasing evidence that the microbiome also strongly influences IBD and bowel cancer or CRC. We aim to analyze and potentially modify commensal bacteria in order to ameliorate IBD or even protect from developing IBD. The modification of commensal bacteria could just be to change to existing gut microbiota or even genetically modify bacteria (here using the CCL5-CCR5 signaling system) to improve patient outcome in these settings.
Based on the importance of the microbiome a natural new angle is to look into the gut phageome. Together with collaborators we will look into the healthy gut phageome and possible changes in IBD patients.
We have collaborators inside and outside Kazakstan and will apart from human patient samples also involve mouse models and cell culture techniques.