Scientists Empowering Scientists

As a clinical virologist with over 20 years of experience in the industry, Katja Wolthers, co-head of OrganoVIR Labs is encouraging fellow scientists to expand their network and empower each other.


On the 25th of May 2023 at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Katja Wolthers showcased how human gut and brain organoids can be used to study the mechanism of picornaviruses. As head of OrganoVIR Labs, Katja oversees research that uses human organoids to study human viruses, including picornaviruses, CMV, and SARS-CoV2. Aside from OrganoVIR Labs, Katja also coordinates GUTVIBRATIONS, an EU-funded research project that is developing a complex gut-brain axis organ-on-chip that will provide an animal-free alternative to studying human diseases.

Aside from presenting our work in OrganoVIR Labs, there was also plenty of time for Katja to talk to the other researchers in the Virology Division of the Department of Pathology at Cambridge University. During her visit, Katja was hosted by Dr. Valeria Lulla, a researcher at the Department of Pathology and a group leader, Sir Henry Dale Fellow, at the Division of Virology at the University of Cambridge. It was then, during Katja’s visit, that they decided to set up a scientific collaboration.

“I find that it is important for scientists to meet and empower each other. As a scientist, I really encourage other scientists to go out there, find out what other people are working on, and build collaborations with each other” said Katja.

Currently, Katja and Valeria are intensifying their collaboration on gastrointestinal viruses that can infect the human brain. Additionally, on the side, they are building up a future collaboration that will involve several experts in the science industry.