Major Cancer Biology Students 2020

>26. Oktober 2020: Class of 2020 has arrived at DKFZ!

A bit more distance than usual had to be kept for the traditional group picture shooting on the first welcome day at DKFZ.
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AASTHA (India)

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University Education
10/2020 - present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences with a Major in Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
07/2018 - 07/2020: Masters in Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Delhi, India
07/2015 - 07/2018: Bachelors in Botany Honours, University of Delhi, India

Highest Degree: Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Characterization of OsPLC3 in Arabidopsis thaliana and rice

Internships/Work Experience
01/2020 - 06/2020: Thesis "Characterization of OsPLC3 in Arabidopsis thaliana and rice" under the guidance of Prof. Girdhar K. Pandey, Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Delhi, India
05/2019 - 07/2019: Indian Academy of Sciences Summer Research Fellowship. Minor project: "Liposome mediated drug delivery in Colon Cancer Cells" under the supervision of Dr. Rajkumar Banerjee, Chemical Biology, CSIR- Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT)
12/2016 - 01/2017: Minor project "Diversity of cellulose hydrolyzing bacteria from the gut of Coptotermes heimi" under supervision of Dr. Nidhi Kakkar, Kurukshetra University, India
05/2016 - 07/2016: Summer internship at Tirupati Medicare Ltd., India

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer is enigmatic in its own terms, which has challenged and allowed humans to explore themselves altogether at the same time. It belongs to a cryptic group of maladies, which exploits the basic machinery of the cell and turns it into something contumacious. I believe, exploring and studying the genotype-phenotype relations at a genomic level would help us unravelling the interconnections between different molecular pathways.
Studying Major Cancer Biology at DKFZ is an exceptional opportunity for me to deepen my knowledge and this exposure to the state-of-art techniques in cancer research will serve as a foundation for my future research endeavours.

Contact: aastha.aastha (at) dkfz.de
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Gizem ALTUN (Turkey)

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University Education
10/2020-Present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences-Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
09/2016-08/2020: B.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Genetics, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics
Title of Bachelor Thesis: Determination of expression levels of SNAP-25 and truncated SNAP-25 plasmids and their RFP tagged versions in HEK293 cell line

Internships/Work Experience
09/2018-05/2020: Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Laboratory of Dr.Erkan Kiris, in the Department of Biological Sciences, Middle East Technical University (METU),Ankara, Turkey
06/2019-08/2019: Intern in the Laboratory of Prof.Dr. Batu Erman, in the Department of Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey
06/2018-09/2018: Intern in the Laboratory of Dr. Serkan Göktuna, in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Every sixth death in the world is due to cancer, making it a second leading cause of death. Yet, from a biological perspective cancer is very intriguing due to its complexity and heterogeneity. I genuinely fascinated by how cancer cells manipulate the molecular mechanisms in their behalf to resist various therapeutics and escape immune destruction. Therefore, I am eager to gain more insights about targeted gene therapy and immunotherapy which I believe is a promising area in the context of the development of new targeted therapeutics against cancer. In DKFZ, I will have an opportunity work in different aspects of cancer research which would provide a deeper understanding of cancer biology and lead me to peruse a PhD degree in the field of tumor immunology.

Contact: gizem.altun (at) dkfz.de
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Sarah BAIKER (Germany & USA)

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University Education
10/2020 - present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
09/2016 - 09/2019: B.Sc. Biomedicine – Julius-Maximillians-University Würzburg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biomedicine
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Superagonistic CD28 stimulation in vitro as a novel model for cytokine release syndrome in vivo

Internships/Work Experience
30/09/2019 – 26/06/2020: Internship/Scientist 1 position under the supervision of Dr. Emily Corse at the department for Cancer Immunology and Immune Modulation, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Ridgefield CT, USA
08/04/2019 – 09/08/2019: Internship and Bachelor's Thesis in the group of PD Dr. Niklas Beyersdorf at the Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, JMU Würzburg
10/09/2018 – 5/10/2018: Internship in the group of PD Dr. Niklas Beyersdorf at the Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, JMU Würzburg

Scientific Interest/Future Plans
The complexity and heterogeneity of cancer as well as the great interdisciplinarity in cancer research are only some of the reasons why I chose to pursue this research field in my master studies here at the DKFZ. Fueled by a great immunological interest, I am especially fascinated by the involvement of the tumor microenvironment in immune cell infiltration differences as well as the possibility for new therapeutic concepts depending on interactions between immune cells, myeloid cells and cancer cells. Having gained first insight into fighting cancer through various immunological approaches, I look forward to gaining a better understanding about the molecular basis of cancer development, cancer metabolism, and novel treatment options like targeted therapies and oncolytic viruses. After successfully completing my master's degree, I plan on pursuing a PhD and a future career in biomedical research as I am convinced that the next step in developing more efficacious treatment options lies in the combination of immunotherapies and targeted therapies in a joint effort to cure cancer.

Contact: sarah.baiker (at) dkfz.de
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Mislav BAŠIĈ (Croatia)

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University Education
10/2020 - present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences at the Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg with the Major in Cancer Biology at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
10/2017 - 10/2020: B.Sc. Molecular Biology at Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology
Title of Bachelor Thesis: Role of Wnt signal pathway in astrocytic brain tumor formation

Internships/Work Experience
2/2020 - 6/2020: Internship in the Laboratory of Neuro-Oncology led by prof. dr. sc. Nives Pećina-Šlaus at Croatian Institute for Brain Research

Scientific interests/Future Plans
Since my childhood, I have been fascinated with life and processes which run life. In my opinion, there isn't a better way to study life than doing it via learning molecular biology, the science which enables you to meet incredible molecular processes which occur in our cells. I am looking forward to learning about situations in which our own cells start to play against us by uncontrolled division and cancer formation at DKFZ. Finding out how well science is developed and respected in Germany has deepened my desire to apply to a university in Germany. In my near future I would like to work on setting up Croatia's attitude towards science to a level which corresponds to Germany's attitude. In my homeland, too little is done in the terms of cancer prevention. My wish is to become an active member of the Croatian League Against Cancer. I would like to continue my academic education by doing a PhD in the field of cancer biology.

Contact: mislav.basic (at) dkfz.de

Antonia BAUER (Germany)

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University Education
10/2020 - present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Heidelberg University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
09/2016 - 09/2020: B.Sc. Biosciences – Applied Biology for Medicine and Pharmacy, Hochschule Fresenius, University of Applied Sciences, Idstein, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biosciences
Title of Bachelor Thesis: The role of branched-chain amino acids on pluripotency and maintenance of mouse embryonic stem cells

Internships/Work Experience
10/2020 – present: Student assistant at HI-STEM, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
02/2020 - 06/2020: Internship and Bachelor Thesis at the Division of Stem Cells and Cancer/
HI-STEM, Research Group: Prof. Andreas Trumpp, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
10/2018 – 02/2019: Research internship at Yale School of Medicine, Research Group: Nobel Laureate Prof. James E. Rothman, Yale University, New Haven, USA
03/2018 – 01/2020: Student assistant at Institute for Analytic Research (IFAR), Hochschule Fresenius, University of Applied Sciences, Idstein, Germany
01/2016 – 03/2016: Research Internship at Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH), Research Group: Prof. Michael Brunner, Heidelberg, Germany

Publication
Rebane AA, Ziltener P, LaMonica LC, Bauer AH, Zheng H, López-Montero I, Pincet F, Rothman JE, Ernst AM. Liquid-liquid phase separation of the Golgi matrix protein GM130. FEBS Lett. 2020 594(7):1132-1144. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.13715

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
As cancer is still the second leading cause of death nowadays, it is a tremendous task of today's science to understand the complex molecular mechanisms of cancer development, cancer metabolism and metastasis of malignant tumors. This understanding is not only necessary for prevention of cancer, but also for designing new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in the future. In regard to all these aspects, I believe the field of cancer biology is the most diverse research area in biological sciences and the most evolving area.
In my future, I definitely want to pursue a PhD program in cancer research. On the one hand, I can imagine working on fundamental cancer research for further investigation of cancer metabolism or metastasis for example. On the other hand, I am interested in tumor immunity and immunological methods used in cancer treatment. In this context, I am also interested in translational cancer biology applying new scientific expertise in the clinical setting.

Contact: antonia.bauer (at) dkfz.de
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Yuliia BORYSOVYCH

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University Education
10/2020 – present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences - Major in Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
09/2016 – 06/2020 B.Sc in Biology, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biology (high technologies).
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Genetic factors of susceptibility to nicotine dependence and smoking-related psychological features

Internships/Work Experience
06/2018 – 06/2020 Internship and bachelor's thesis at scientific department of the diagnostic laboratory "Diagen", Kyiv, Ukraine. Projects: "Multi-locus genetic association analysis of substance use disorders in Ukraine", "Next-Generation Sequencing of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes from ovarian cancer samples".
06/2019 – 08/2019 Mitacs Globalink Research Internship at Queens University, Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Kingston, Canada. Project: "The RET kinase is a key therapeutic target in thyroid cancer".
09/2017 – 05/2018 Internship at Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics of National Academy of Science in Ukraine, Cell Signaling Department, Kyiv, Ukraine.

Publication
Bashynska, V., Koliada, A., Murlanova, K., Zahorodnia, O., Borysovych, Y., Moseiko, V., Lushchak, O., Vaiserman, A. (2019). Prevalence of Some Genetic Risk Factors for Nicotine Dependence in Ukraine. Genetics Research International, Vol. 2019, Article ID 2483270, 8 pages. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/2483270.

Scientific Interests/ Future Plans
During my bachelor's I had a great opportunity to participate in projects related to absolutely different topics. However, the most fascinating and important field of bioscience for me is cancer biology. In the previous years, I was mainly interested in alterations of cell signaling pathways in cancer cells and genetic changes of individual genes linked to cancer initiation and development. Here, in DKFZ I hope to get acquainted with high-throughput methods to analyze genomic and transcriptomic data, receive deeper knowledge of cancer immunology and immunotherapy and in overall expand my understanding of cancer from different perspectives. In the future, I would like to pursue a PhD degree and contribute to a better comprehension of cancer disease.

Contact: yuliia.borysovych (at) dkfz.de

Ekaterina GORBACHEVA (Russian Federation)

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University/College Education
2016-2020, Bachelor (Hons) of Science in Pharmacology, University College Dublin, Ireland

Highest Degree: Bachelor (Hons) of Science
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Systems based analysis of CBD-induced signalling pathways in a C6 glioma cell line

Internships/Work Experience
July 2020 – September 2020, DIGS-BB intern at Technische Universität Dresden
September 2019 – February 2020, Final year researcher at University College Dublin Conway Institution, Ireland
June 2019 – September 2019, Amgen Scholar at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Publication
Poster publication at the British Pharmacological Society Conference 2019 "Identification of novel, endogenous GRP55 ligands using analysis of multiple downstream signalling pathways"

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
While I enjoyed my bachelor studies, I feel that gathering existing knowledge from textbooks and lecture notes as an undergraduate is not enough for me - I desire to design my own research in the future. I want to test new hypotheses and question the existing ones. My ultimate goal is to become an independent researcher and a professor. The most appealing area of research for me was always cancer biology especially immunotherapy in cancer. I have always been fascinated by how molecular and cellular processes that underpin the normal functioning of the organism can become deleterious and potentially fatal for one's self. I have performed my bachelor thesis project and two of my science internships in the respective field that further stimulated my interest in cancer biology and ultimately brought me to the DKFZ.

Contact: ekaterina.gorbacheva (at) dkfz.de
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Linda HAMMANN (Germany)

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University Education
10/2020 – present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences, Major Cancer Biology at Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
10/2017-09/2020: B.Sc. Biomedical Science (Major Tumour Biology) at Philipps-University Marburg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science
Title of Bachelor Thesis: Comparative cytogenetic analysis of a cell line from a primary tumour and lymph node metastasis from one patient with HNSCC

Internships/Work Experience
02/2020 – 09/2020: Internship and Bachelor Thesis at the Institute for Human Genetics, department Cytogenetics, PD Dr. Barbara Fritz, Marburg, Germany
12/2019 – 02/2020: Teaching Assistant for Genetic Practicals for Medical and Biomedical students, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
09/2019 – 10/2019: Internship at the Department Cytogenetics/FISH at the genetikum®, Dr. Ilona Dietze-Armana, Neu-Ulm, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
During my bachelor studies I got particularly interested in cancer biology as well as genetics. The high heterogeneity of cancer cells and their ability to transform from regular cells is incredible. A rather new field, which holds many exciting things yet to discover, is the field of epigenetics. Thereby, DNA is physically modified, which alters the transcription of genes, without changing the nucleotide sequence. I would love to help research therapeutics that target those epigenetic changes in cancer cells. During the Master program at the DKFZ in Heidelberg, I want to seize the opportunity to do an internship abroad. In my opinion, it is essential to always keep on learning about the new possibilities of fighting cancer. Therefore, my aim is to pursue a PhD in the future.

Contact: linda.hammann (at) dkfz.de
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Ju-Chun HUANG (Taiwan)

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University Education
11/2019 – present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences, Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
09/2016 – 06/2020: B.Sc. Life Science (minor in Chemistry) at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B..Sc.) in Life Science
Title of Bachelors Thesis: Clarifying cobra cardiotoxins-induced mitochondrial dynamics to develop a new therapeutic strategy for snakebite victims

Internships/Work Experience
07/2020 – 09/2020: Research internship in the group of Dr. Roffler, Steve R., Institute of Biomedical Science, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
07/2019 – 06/2020: Undergraduate research student in the group of Prof. Chuang-Rung Chang, Institute of Biotechnology, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan
09/2018 – 06/2020: Undergraduate research student in the group of Prof. Wen- Guey Wu, Institute of Bioinformatics and Structural Biology, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

Publication
Mitochondria dynamics and pathogenesis, April 2020, AIP Conference Proceedings 2231(1):020001

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
By the time the cancer is diagnosed, surgery alone isn't enough. Majoring in life science and minoring in chemistry at NTHU, I received solid training in both theory and experiment for advanced studies. I have developed biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology techniques from my bachelor lab experience, which enables me to combine both biology and chemistry knowledge in cancer research for the development of new approaches of cancer therapy. My goal after receiving my M.Sc. is to work as a research scientist in a leading biotechnology company. I'd also consider pursuing a Ph.D. degree to be a leader in the field.

Contact: (at) dkfz.de
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Ruparoshni JAYABALAN (India)

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University Education
10/2020 – present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences with a Major in Cancer Biology, Heidelberg University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany.
07/2015 - 07/2019: B.Tech in Genetic Engineering, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, India.

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Genetic Engineering
Title of Bachelor Thesis: Nanotube-mediated cross-talk between cancer cells and immune cells

Internships/Work Experience
12/2018 – 08/2020: Bachelor thesis and Research Internship in the research group of Dr. Shiladitya Sengupta and Dr. HaeLin Jang, Center for Engineered Therapeutics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
06/2018: Training in 'CRISPR Cas9 Technology' under the guidance of Dr. M.S.Shahul Hameed, School of Life Sciences, B.S.Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, India.
01/2018 – 05/2018: Undergraduate research project 'Study on expression of Tbx3 protein in postnatal developmental stages of liver and brain tissues in mice' under the guidance of Dr. Devi, Stem Cell Biology lab, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, India.
12/2017: Project title - 'Comparative study on gene prediction tools, Augustus and FgenesH in Vitis vinifera' in the research group of Prof. R.Sowdhamini, National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore, India.
12/2016: Trainee at Biozone Research Technologies Private Limited, Chennai, India.

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
I am intrigued by the adaptive complexity and diversity of cancer. Cancer's mastery to evolve and overcome every therapeutic intervention never ceases to amaze me. My interests in particular are to unravel the molecular mechanisms of cancer stem cells and genetically reprogram them to reduce their tumorigenicity. Furthermore, I would also like to explore the fields of cancer immunology and develop novel immunotherapeutic approaches. The quest for expanding knowledge and a zeal for research made me delve into the cancer biology master's program. I'm confident this program will give me a strong research foundation and practical exposure, paving a path to pursue my Ph.D. in cancer research.

Contact: (at) dkfz.de
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Gergely KOPPÁNY (Hungary)

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University Education
11/2020 - present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
09/2015-01/2019 – B. Sc. In Biocheimcal engineering – Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) in Biochemical Engineering
Title of Bachelor Thesis: Development of a test cascade for inhibitors targeting a KRAS protein significant in cancer research

Internships/Work Experience
02/2017-02/2019: Internship at the Research Centre for Naturals Sciences, Institute of Enzymology, Laboratory of Genome Metabolism and Repair, Budapest, Hungary
03/2019-09/2020: Research Assistant at the Research Centre for Naturals Sciences, Institute of Enzymology, Laboratory of Genome Metabolism and Repair, Budapest, Hungary and at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Applied Biotechnology and Food Science, Budapest, Hungary

Publication
Nyíri, K., Koppány, G. & Vértessy, B. G. Structure-based inhibitor design of mutant RAS proteins—a paradigm shift. Cancer and Metastasis Reviews (2020). doi:10.1007/s10555-020-09914-6

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Despite the tremendous effort of researchers, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death, due to the amazing complexity and adaptability of cancer cells. The variety of the developmental, metabolic and immunological properties of cancers create a huge challenge to the field of biomedicine, as different types of cancers require different strategies for effective treatment. During my short experience in academic research I discovered my enthusiasm for this is field, and that I want to learn more about and work on this disease. At DKFZ I can get an overall understanding of the theoretical background of cancer research, and I aim to gain experience with methods that I can use during my PhD, and later in my scientific career. I am mainly interested in the alterations in the signalling and metabolic systems of cancer cells, as these provide potential therapeutic targets, that might help us defeat cancer.

Contact: gergely.koppany (at) dkfz.de
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David PALMERO CANTÓN (Spain)

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University Education
09/2016 – 07/2020: Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology with a major in Human and Animal Biotechnology, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain
09/2018 – 06/2019: Exchange year (Erasmus+ Mobility Program) at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
10/2020 – present: MSc Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Optogenetic stimulation of neural progenitor cells as neuroregenerative improvement in the treatment of spinal cord injury

Internships/Work Experience
06/2019 – 07/2019: Internship in the Neuronal and Tissue Regeneration laboratory (Advanced Therapies Program) at the Research Center Príncipe Felipe (CIPF), Valencia, Spain
09/2019 – 07/2020: Collaboration Scholarship 2019/2020 (granted by the Spanish Ministry of Education) and Bachelor's thesis in the Neuronal and Tissue Regeneration laboratory (Advanced Therapies Program) at the Research Center Príncipe Felipe (CIPF), Valencia, Spain

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
I find cancer biology fascinating because of the complex and extremely variable nature of this group of diseases termed "cancer" as a whole. During my Bachelor's studies, I got intrigued by the great advances from the last decades, including new tools in prevention and early diagnostics and the development of targeted therapies and immunotherapies. I feel particularly interested in exploring the potential of emerging concepts, such as cancer stem cells and their relevance for therapies and fighting relapse, or metastasis-initiating cells as targets to tackle metastasis. With the Master's program at the DKFZ, I aim to gain deeper insights into the different areas in cancer research and improve my practical skills. I expect to find my place in this wide and fascinating field to then pursue my doctoral studies and become part of this research community that is working hard to put an end to this global health problem.

Contact: david.palmerocanton (at) dkfz.de
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Alina PAUL (Germany)

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University Education
10/2020 – present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
09/2016 – 10/2020: B.Sc. Biosciences – Applied Biology for Medicine and Pharmacy, HS Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, Idstein, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biosciences
Titel of Bachelor Thesis: Analysing the gain of function of mutant p53 on alternative end-joining in NSCLC

Internships/Work Experience
10/2020: Student assistant, BioEcho Life Sciences GmbH, Dormagen, Germany
02/2020-09/2020: Research project and Bachelor Thesis in the group of Prof. Dr. Thorsten Stiewe, Institute of Molecular Biology and Tumor Research (IMT), Marburg, Germany
09/2018-02/2019: Research internship in the group of Prof. Galina Selivanova, Department of Microbiology, Tumour- and Cellbiology (MTC), Karolinska institute, Sweden

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Despite enormous progress in cancer research in recent years, the fight against cancer remains one of the greatest human challenges. The complexity and heterogeneity of cancer – which is both life-threatening and fascinating – encouraged me to pursue a career in cancer research. As a master student of "Molecular Biosciences - Cancer Biology" at the DKFZ, I am eager to gain profound knowledge about mechanisms of cancer development and progression as well as novel treatment strategies. I am particularly fascinated by tumour immunology, personalised therapy, and the tumour suppressor p53, for which I discovered my passion during my bachelor degree. Building on this foundation, I envision myself pursuing a PhD as the next step in my scientific career, contributing to understand the biology of cancer and thereby improving its treatment.

Contact: alina.paul (at) dkfz.de
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Sara PLACKE (Germany)

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University Education
10/2020-present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences with a Major in Cancer Biology at Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
10/2017-09/2020: B.Sc. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
Title of Bachelor Thesis: Molecular analysis of interrelated gene expression control between TRPS1 and myogenic regulatory factors in rhabdomyosarcoma

Internships/Work Experience
05/2020-08/2020: Internship and Bachelor Thesis in the research group Stem Cells in Regeneration of Skeletal Muscle of Dr. Julia von Maltzahn, Leibniz Institute on Aging, Jena, Germany
09/2019-10/2019: Internship in the research group Transcriptional Control of Tissue Homeostasis of Dr. Björn von Eyss, Leibniz Institute on Aging, Jena, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Research in cancer biology, in my opinion, is the perfect combination of the most interesting fields in science: molecular genetics; cell biology; and the immunology of the human organism. Studying the molecular genetic basis of cancer and its effect on cellular pathways that impact cancer progression drives my interest in cancer biology. More importantly, having a clinical approach is a motivating goal to work to and an incentive not to lose focus. Cancer is the second leading cause of death and with pursuing a career in cancer research I want to contribute in the world-wide fight against cancer. With my master's degree at the DKFZ, I hope to broaden my knowledge and intensify my practical experience in order to be prepared for my PhD and future research.

Contact: sara.placke (at) dkfz.de
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Silja SCHLUE (Germany)

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University Education
10/2020 – present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprechts-Karls University of Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
10/2017 – 09/2020: B.Sc. Biomedical Science (Major in Tumor Biology) at Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) in Biomedical Science

Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Identifying a combinatory therapy targeting glioblastoma stem-like cells

Internships/Work Experience
03/2020 – 09/2020: Bachelor thesis in the group of Dr. Violaine Rosenstiel-Goidts, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
05/08/2019 – 30/08/2020: Internship in the group Dr. Violaine Rosenstiel-Goidts, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
04/03/2019 – 29/03/2020: Internship in the group of Dr. Silke Reinartz, Center for Tumor Biology and Immunology, Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer cells have acquired impressive mechanisms that allow them to expand, reprogram their cellular environment and escape from the immune system. Especially cancer stem cells and their role in tumor drug resistance and self-renewal was fascinating me already during my bachelor thesis. In addition to that, I am highly interested in the interface of viruses and cancer. While some viruses are known to cause cancer, other viruses are exploited in novel treatment in order to cure cancer.
During this master program, I hope to expand my interdisciplinary expertise about the nature, properties and mechanisms of cancer. Besides that, I am highly motivated to learn more about current, pioneering research in this field. I am strongly motivated to continue my scientific carrier by perusing a PhD.

Contact: silja.schlue (at) dkfz.de

Gunjan SHUKLA (India)

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University Education
11/2020 – present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences, Major Cancer Biology at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
8/2016- 04/2019: Integrated PhD program at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram, India
3/2012-5/2015: Bachelors of Zoology (Honours), Miranda House, University of Delhi, India

Highest Degree: Bachelors of Zoology (Honours)
Title of Master Thesis: Probing the role of stochasticity in plant regeneration

Internships/Work Experience
12/2017-9/2018: Master Thesis in Probing the role of Stochasticity in Plant regeneration, Dr. Kalika Prasad, School of Biology at IISER, Thiruvananthapuram
7/2017: Internship in Centrosome and spindle pole regulation using mammalian cell lines Dr. Tapas Manna, School of Biology at IISER, Thiruvananthapuram
6/2017: Internship in Plant molecular genetics, Stem cells and Regeneration in Arabidopsis thaliana, Dr. Kalika Prasad, School of Biology at IISER, Thiruvananthapuram
5/2017: Internship in Plant Centromere biology and Uniparental genome elimination in Arabidopsis thaliana, Dr. Ravi Maruthachalam, School of Biology at IISER, Thiruvananthapuram
12/2016: Internship in Meiotic Recombination and Mutation rates in S. cerevisiae, Dr. Nishant KT, School of Biology at IISER Thiruvananthapuram

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer cells have fascinating properties, they can escape from carefully controlled cellular machinery, hide from the immune system and pose life threatening challenges in the human body. During my previous research experience, I discovered a special interest for stem cells. My major included exploring the role of stochasticity in cell fate decision, which led me exploring heterogeneity and how it is established and controlled in normal cells. During the Master's course at DKFZ, I want to explore more about fate changes in cells and its control. The diverse theory and practical modules will also equip me with better ways to understand and address the questions of what makes cancer cells so devious!

Contact: gunjan.shukla (at) dkfz.de

Nina STINCHCOMBE

Toros TAŞGİN (Turkey)

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University Education
2014-2020: Molecular Biology and Genetics (B. Sc.), Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
11/2020 - present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Enhancing immunogenicity of small cell lung cancer cells to CAR-T cells by engineered adenovirus Ad5

Internships/Work Experience
February - May 2016 (Undergrad researcher): Asst. Prof. Özgür Şahin's lab, Bilkent University – Investigating miRNA-mRNA interaction network to find therapeutic applications for malignant breast cancer and possible metastatic factors is the main subject of interest.
June - August 2017 (Undergrad researcher, Summer internship): Prof. Schumacher lab, CECAD, Cologne, Germany – Genes that have promising roles in cell regeneration and homeostasis were investigated on C.elegans.
June - August 2018 (Undergrad Researcher, Summer internship): Sauka-Spengler lab, WIMM, University of Oxford, UK – Major focus was construction of neural crest specific enhancer gene regulatory networks by using chick embryos as a model organism. My focus was narrowed down to a single gene called ZFHX4 and its place in the network was investigated.
October 2018 - April 2019 (Senior researcher): Prof. İhsan Gürsel's lab, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey –  Effects of spinal cord injury on the immunological activities of several innate and adaptive immune cells. In addition, drug delivery via exosomes or liposomes for suppression of autoinflammation and auto-immunity covers considerably large percentage of the lab work.
February - March 2020 (Grad researcher): Prof. Urartu Şeker's lab, UNAM, Bilkent Uni – The Şeker Lab is a synthetic biology lab with various adaptations of engineering aspect to molecular biology. During my internship, my supervisor and I are trying to develop a glucose sensing sensor and currently characterization of the sensor is the main effort. Construction and optimization of bacterial gene circuitry can be the summary of the lab work.

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
I have always been a person who is excited with science regardless of its field and sub-fields. My academic interest mainly developed around biology thanks to the environmental influences. During this development I have started to get closer to the Cancer biology field and understand its true potential for both the scientific community and the humanity. As I am getting more into the field, I became aware of its details and started to impressed by them. These are my motives that condemned me to study in Heidelberg Uni-DKFZ with an unutterable pleasure of being in a cancer research field. During my master's, my only desire is to comprehend the field as much as I can and make connections with other fields of biology because in my view, science and especially biology is meaningful when the whole picture is seen. That is the reason why I am planning to do my future academic studies on tumor immunity and cancer immunotherapy. By this way, I believe I can see the picture as a whole in some extent.

Contact: toros.tasgin (at) dkfz.de

Iratxe UGARTE ZABALA (Spain)

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University Education
09/2016 - 07/2020: B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of The Basque Country, Spain
09/2018 - 08/2019: Exchange student at the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Germany
10/2020 - present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences with Major in Cancer Biology at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Title of Bachelor Thesis: The tumor suppressor transcriptional axis PGC1α-ERRα drives cell survival in prostate cancer

Internships/Work Experience
10/2018: 5-month Internship at the Julius‐von‐Sachs‐Institute, Plant Physiology and Biophysics, University of Würzburg, Germany
10/2019-03/2020: Internship and Bachelor Thesis in the group of Dr. Verónica Torrano Moya, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, University of the Basque Country, Spain

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
From a young age I started to feel passionate about understanding cancer and motivated to contribute to the worldwide fight against it. During my Bachelor studies and thesis, I decided to embark on the path towards this goal. I am particularly interested in the development of novel therapeutic strategies to face the challenges of tumor heterogeneity and drug resistance, as well as preventive oncology in an effort to mitigate the increasing number of new cancer cases and deaths. During my Master studies at the DKFZ, I wish to expand my knowledge on different fields associated with cancer research as well as improve my practical skills in order to pursue a PhD and build my future career in this field.

Contact: iratxe.ugartezabala (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Lea VOGT (Germany)

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University Education
10/2020 - present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
10/16 – 09/20: B. Sc. in Molecular Medicine at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) in Molecular Medicine
Title of Bachelor Thesis: Assessment of novel p38-MAPK inhibitor Skepinone-L in combination with metformin in renal cell carcinoma cell models

Internships/Work Experience
01/20 – 04/20: Student assistant, Synovo GmbH, Tübingen, Germany
07/19 – 10/19: Bachelor-Thesis, Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institute for clinical Pharmacology, Stuttgart, Germany
10/18 – 05/19: Internship Crew's Lab, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, USA
11/17 – 05/18: Student assistant, Molecular Pathology, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
The extraordinary complexity of tumorigeneses results in a variety of tumor types with additional inter- and intratumoral heterogeneity. Accordingly, it is challenging to diagnose and treat each patient appropriately. I am especially fascinated by the development of targeted therapies as a way to resolve these issues. I believe that personalization is crucial for offering the best care, and we need to consider and determine variability between cancer (sub-) types and patients, for example by sequencing tumor samples, in order to choose a suitable therapy. With this master's program, I seek to deepen my knowledge about the complexity of tumorigenesis and characteristics in cancer biology, such as mutation profiles and altered signaling pathways. Additionally, I'm looking forward to expand my methodological skills to carry out research in this area independently and refine my personal competences. Using this comprehensive education, my aim is to contribute to personalized medicine by evaluating or developing targeted cancer therapies.

Contact: lea.vogt (at) dkfz.de

Linda WELTE (Germany)

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University Education
10/2020 - present: Master of Science in Molecular Biosciences with Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg, Germany
10/2017-09/2020: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Medicine, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Medicine
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Studying the impact of nucleosome abundance on cellular aging

Internships/Work Experience
05/2020-09/2020: Practical and Bachelor Thesis in the Department of Translational Epigenetics (Prof. Dr. Argyris Papantonis), Institute of Pathology, University Medical Center and Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany
08/2019 - 09/2019: Practical in the Department of Epigenetics and Systems Medicine in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Prof. Dr. André Fischer), German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Göttingen, Germany. Title of Research Project: Ex vivo Isolation of Oligodendrocytic Nuclei from Frozen Mouse Brain Cortex
06/2018 – 04/2020: Student Assistant in the Department of Physical Biochemistry (Prof. Dr. Marina Rodnina), Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany
09/2015 - 07/2017: Vocational Training as Chemical Laboratory Technician, Vocational Institute of Dr. Flad, Stuttgart, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Although much effort was put into the research of appropriate therapies, cancer remains one of the major causes of death in many countries across the world. This is a fact that I want to change by deepen my knowledge in the underlying mechanisms that lead to the development of cancer. Especially, I want to learn about the possibilities to effectively target these mechanisms. In the broader range of drug development, I am most interested in topics such as tumor immunology (e.g. immuno-/virotherapy), personalized medicine and translational cancer research. After finishing my master program at the DKFZ, I want to continue with a PhD (possibly in Heidelberg). For the long term I wish to switch to biopharmaceutical industry where I can imagine myself working as a group or project leader.

Contact: linda.welte (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Maria-Luisa WIESINGER (Germany)

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University Education
10/2020 – present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences with Major in Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
10/2017 – 07/2020: B.Sc. Molecular Medicine, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Medicine
Title of Bachelor Thesis: Optimization of a CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock-in of a bright fluorescent protein in the HAP1 human haploid cell line

Internships/Work Experience
05/2020 – 08/2020: Bachelor thesis project at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry, Department of Molecular Medicine, Group of Prof. Dr. Reinhard Fässler
04/2019 – 02/2020: Biochemistry tutor for medical school students, Department of Biochemistry, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany
09/2019 – 10/2019: Research internship in neuropathology (epileptogenesis) at the University Hospital Erlangen, Department of Neuropathology, Group of Prof. Dr. Ingmar Blümcke
02/2019 – 03/2019: Rotational research project at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry, Department of Molecular Medicine, Group of Prof. Dr. Reinhard Fässler

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
A certain type of cancer exhibits unique characteristics, even in a single patient. I am especially fascinated by the heterogeneity of cancer cell networks, their ability to interact within the tumor microenvironment and to constantly reprogram the cellular metabolism over the course of tumor progression as well as in response to cancer therapy. I am eager to explore the multifaceted hallmarks and to contribute to revealing mechanisms underlying one of the most complex diseases of humankind.
Moreover, as a Molecular Biosciences master student I hope to deepen essential knowledge in immunology, neurobiology, and bioinformatics as interdisciplinary collaboration is a key factor to promote both basic and translational cancer research.
It is a great pleasure be part of the interactive and thriving research environment at the DKFZ and hence to prepare for an aspiring subsequent PhD program – aiming to narrow the gap between bench and bedside in my future research career.

Contact: maria-luisa.wiesinger (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Jianing ZHANG (China)

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University Education
10/2020 - present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences, Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
09/2018 - 05/2019: Exchange year at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
10/2016 - 09/2020: B.Sc. in Molecular Medicine, Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
01/2014 - 05/2014: Exchange semester at Barnard College, New York, USA
09/2011 - 07/2015: B.A. in English and International Studies, China Foreign Affairs University, Beijing, China

Highest Degree: B.Sc. in Molecular Medicine; B.A. in English and International Studies
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Development of a zebrafish reporter for LMO2/LDB1 interaction

Internships/Work Experience
03/2020, 07-08/2020: Bachelor thesis at Skokowa/Bajoghli Lab, Lab for Translational Oncology, University Hospital Tübingen
09/2018 - 05/2019: Undergraduate student at Qi Lab, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
I have a special interest in cancer biology because cancer is such a common disease nowadays, and yet despite the advances in our knowledge in cancer pathogenesis and therapy, it remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Traditional cancer therapies like radiation and chemotherapy are associated with severe side effects that limit their use and impair patients' quality of life. In recent years, however, targeted therapy and immunotherapy are emerging as promising new strategies against cancer that deserves further study.
In the future, I intend to pursue a Ph.D. in cancer biology to further my knowledge in this field. My hope is that one day, I can work as an independent researcher to help develop better and more effective approaches for cancer treatment and prevention.

Contact: jianing.zhang (at) dkfz.de

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