20.01.2022 00:00 Age: 162 days

Three Humboldt Research Fellows at the Chair of Reproductive Biotechnology

Category: Research, Award

Within one year the Chair of Reproductive Biotechnology of Prof. Benjamin Schusser has welcomed three new researchers, who acquired prestigious fellowships of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung/Foundation.

Three researchers of the Professorship of Biotechnology of Reproduction have received a Humboldt Fellowship

The three Humboldt fellows at the Chair of Reproductive Biotechnology (from left to right) Tom Berghof, Adeyinka Abiola Adetula and Mohanned Alhussien (Photo: Lea Radomsky).

The Humboldt Research Fellowships are an initiative of the German Alexander von Humboldt Association, that allows high-potential young scientists to relocate to Germany by funding their research project. The three successful young scientists, Dr. Tom Berghof, Dr. Mohanned Alhussien, and Dr. Adeyinka Abiola Adetula, will be hosted by Prof. Benjamin Schusser, the Chair of Reproductive Biotechnology at the School of Life Sciences in Weihenstephan.

Until a decade ago, reverse genetics was not available in chicken due to the complexity of avian reproductive system. However, Prof. Dr. Schusser and his team were the first to reverse engineer chickens, and since then they have engineered over 15 chicken lines. Their latest success is the development of a Cas9-chickens, that allow easy and specific genetic modifications. The Humboldt fellows will make use of these unique expertise available at the group to investigate the chicken immune system.

Dr. Adeyinka Abiola Adetula analyzes early germ cell development

Dr. Adetula completed her doctorate program at Huazhong Agricultural University in China. After which, she conducted postdoctoral research at Agricultural Genomics Institute Shenzhen-CAAS. Dr. Adetula utilized the techniques of genome biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to identify RNA species in the chicken genome and the contribution of RNA editing to normal development and physiology in animals. In late 2020, Dr. Adetula was awarded two prestigious fellowships, the TUM Global Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Georg Forster Research Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung/Foundation to conduct research at TUM. In this new role, Dr. Adetula will analyze the early germ cell development in order to identify factors essential for male vs. female primordial germ cell (PGCs) development. Expected highlights are development, maintenance, and survival of male vs. female PGCs and the generation of germ-free male and female birds to be used as a universal recipient for PGC transplantation to enhance the efficiency of germ-free transmission.

Dr. Mohanned Alhussien studies the defense mechanism against avian influenza viruses

Dr. Alhussien studied Animal Production at the Syrian University of Aleppo. Thereafter, he received fellowships from India to carry out his Master and PhD programs at ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute. During his doctoral program, he has conducted in-depth studies on the function and expression of phagocytic cells during various pathophysiological conditions in dairy cattle. Early 2021, Dr. Alhussien joined the Chair of Reproductive Biotechnology as a Postdoctoral Fellow under the TUM University Foundation Fellowship. Recently, he has been awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship. In his Humboldt project, he will dissect the role of interferon lambda (IFN-?) in the defence mechanism against avian influenza virus using IFN-? receptor knockout chickens, which he is currently developing. His research is fundamental for employing key immune elements to control and eradicate zoonotic pathogens by developing immunomodulatory approaches and/or more effective vaccination strategies.

Dr. Tom Berghof develops strategies for an improved poultry industry

Dr. Berghof studied Animal Sciences at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. Subsequently, he completed his PhD thesis and a postdoc project at the same university, focusing on humoral immunity and its genetic variation in chicken. During his PhD project, Dr. Berghof discovered a natural knock-out of Toll-like receptor 1 family member A (TLR1A), which was associated with a reduced humoral immune development. During his Humboldt Research Fellowship at the group of Prof. Benjamin Schusser, he will investigate the causal relation between this genetic variation in TLR1A and B-cell development, which will aid in the development of new innovative strategies for poultry industry, such as breeding for improved immunity, health-promoting nutrition, and individual- or genetic line-tailored vaccination programs.

More information:

Susanne Neumann
TUM School of Life Sciences
Press and Public Relations
Mail: susanne.neumann[at]tum.de
Phone: +49 8161.71.3207

Scientific contact:
Prof. Dr. Benjamin Schusser
TUM School of Life Sciences
Chair of Reproductive Biotechnology
Mail: benjamin.schusser[at]tum.de
Phone: +49 8161.71.3509