WelcomePublished on 12.04.2019

A few questions to Prof. Michael Walch

Prof. Michael Walch joined the Faculty of Science and Medicine in August 2018. Learn more about his work, passion, and objectives at our Faculty.

1.    What is your research focus?

Prof. Walch: "My research interest is essentially microbial immunology. Our projects explore the interface between microbial virulence strategies to survive in immune competent host organisms and the counteracting immune defense mechanisms that target these virulence mediators to kill the invading pathogens. For almost 15 years, my favorite microbial pathogens have been virulent bacteria of all kinds. Recently – in collaboration with my coworker Dr. Pierre-Yves Mantel here in Fribourg – we started to expand this line of work also into the field of parasitic diseases, particularly into malaria, which is caused by the red blood cell parasites, Plasmodium spp."

2.    What do you find particularly interesting/appealing about our Faculty?

Prof. Walch: "The Faculty has the appropriate size to allow vivid interactions and discussions between all their members. The collegial attitude is generally very friendly and I experienced generous support at multiple occasions since my arrival here in Fribourg. The subdivision of the medicine section into departments according to research interests further facilitates the collaborative interaction between the investigators in these departments."

3.    What do you wish to achieve here in Fribourg?

Prof. Walch: "We wish to continue the successful line of research that we have essentially established during my postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, while reaching out to new challenges and scientific questions here in Fribourg with the help of collaborations, both locally and abroad. A major effort in my work is also a genuine teaching commitment to sustain the high-quality education that our students experience here in Fribourg."

4.    What is your personal message or passion you would like to share with our students?

Prof. Walch: "Biomedical sciences and life sciences in general have demonstrated tremendous progress in recent years and the speed of progression is further accelerating. What seemed impossible 20 years ago is now very much within reach. Precision medicine approaches, such as gene therapies or personalized immunotherapy, are hitting the market and are starting to benefit real patients. It is a highly exciting time to be involved in biomedical research."