Professor Agneta Richter-Dahlfors
BSc in chemistry, PhD in microbiology. Center Director
Research Interests and Accomplishments
Agneta Richter-Dahlfors (ARD) has a track record in microbial pathogenesis. She was first to visualize the progression of bacterial infection within an organ using confocal microscopy of Salmonella-infected mouse livers. When recruited to Karolinska Institutet in 1998, she focused her research on urinary tract infections. She was first to demonstrate the ability of bacteria to modulate host cell gene expression pattern via bacteria-induced Ca2+ oscillations, and she published a series of papers demonstrating the molecular mechanisms of organ-specific pathogen recognition via epithelial Toll-like receptors in the urinary tract.
By combining advanced surgery and 2-photon microscopy, ARD has pioneered the area of intravital imaging of bacterial infection. These studies emphasize the new concept of “Tissue microbiology”, illustrating bacterial adaptation to the rapidly changing microenvironment as the host initiates its innate defense mechanisms. Inspired by the dynamic in vivo environment, ARD initiated a line of research aiming to develop tools for improved in vitro studies, better mimicking the in vivo situation. Using conducting polymers, she develops systems that translate the languages used in modern electronics (electron as charge carrier) to that of biology (ions, neurotransmitters, peptides etc). ARD published a seminal review on “Organic Bioelectronics” in 2007 demonstrating the use of conducting polymer devices for high-precision biology experiments.
She also demonstrated the usability of such devices in neuroscience applications, and laid the foundation for a new concept, the “artificial nerve cell”. Recently, she demonstrated the first ion transistor, which will become an important device in her attempt to generate chemical circuits for precise cell signaling.
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