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Major Cancer Biology Students 2021

>18.-22. October 2021: DKFZ Welcome Week for Class of 2021

It was great to meet the new students, for the first time in person!
© dkfz.de

>Where in the world do our new students come from? - Have a look at their profiles below!

Vuslat AKÇAY (Turkey)

© dkfz.de

University Education
10/2021- Present: MSc. in Molecular Biosciences- Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)-Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany
09/2016- 02/2021: BSc. in Molecular Biology and Genetics, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in Molecular Biology and Genetics
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Investigation of DNA damage and repair mechanisms in response to Ionizing Radiation in Glioblastoma

Internships/Work Experience
09/2019 – 09/2021: Full-time Research Intern at Brain Cancer Therapy and Research Lab, Koç University Research Center for Translational Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey (Advisor: Dr. Tugba Bagci Onder)
01/2020 – 06/2020: Cell Biology Tutor, Koç University Office of Learning and Teaching (KOLT), Istanbul, Turkey (Advisor: Dr. Elif Nur Firat-Karalar)
06/2019 – 09/2019: Summer Research Intern at Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (Advisor: Karl Emanuel Busch)
07/2018 – 05/2019: Undergraduate Assistant, Biomolecular Chemistry Lab, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey

Poster Presentations
Sur-Erdem Ilknur, Pınarbası Nareg, Akcay Vuslat, Senbabaoglu Filiz, Aksu Ali Cenk, Cavga Ayse Derya, Solaroglu Ihsan, Selek Ugur, Bagcı-Onder Tugba. Temozolomide and radiation resistance of glioblastoma cells is associated with DNA damage signalling network. Tumor Heterogeneity, Plasiticity and Therapy (virtual edition). Brussels, Belgium. May 5-6, 2021
Sur-Erdem İ, Pınarbaşı N, Akçay V, Şenbabaoğlu F, Şeker F, Solaroğlu İ, Selek U. Radiation Resistance of Glioblastoma Cells Is Associated with DNA Damage Signaling Network. 8th Multidisciplinary Cancer Research Congress. Istanbul, Turkey, January 15-17, 2021 (Oral Presentation)

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
My passion for cancer biology started in my junior year when I was first involved in the brain cancer research at my home university. I was always fascinated by the amazing surviving capacity and adaptation of cancer cells in abnormal conditions, which may lead to very severe cases of patients' health. Specifically, I am interested in how the changes in tumor microenvironment play a major role in the stress response of cancer cells, and which deficiencies in cell-to-cell interactions may contribute to cancer progression. While the organization of relevant subjects in this major is helping me develop my knowledge in this area, DKFZ's interdisciplinary research environment is providing great opportunities to work with like-minded future scientists. As an MSc. student at DKFZ, I am willing to improve my scientific skills before starting my PhD studies in cancer research.

Contact: vuslat.akcay (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Brenda BESEMER (Germany & Brazil)

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University Education
10/2021 – Present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
10/2017 – 08/2021: B.Sc. Biomedical Sciences – Reutlingen University, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Deciphering the Mechanism of Aβ-induced NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation in iPSC-derived Microglia

Internships/Work Experience
05/2021 – 08/2021: Student research assistant in Prof. Dr. Oliver Brüstle's Laboratory for Reconstructive Neurobiology, Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology, University Hospital Bonn (UKB), Germany
10/2020 – 05/2021: Bachelor Thesis in Prof. Dr. Oliver Brüstle's Laboratory for Reconstructive Neurobiology, Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology, University Hospital Bonn (UKB), Germany
08/2019 – 02/2020: Research internship in the Morison Laboratory for Epigenetics and Cancer, Department of Pathology, University of Otago, New Zealand (Validation of differential methylation in pre-eclampsia generated by a genome-wide discovery platform using targeted sequencing)

Conference contributions
Mathews, M., Besemer, B., Wißfeld, J., Shahraz, A., Neumann, H., Brüstle, O. "Scalable production of iPSC-derived microglia for modelling neuroinflammation", International Society for Stem Cell Research Annual Meeting (ISSCR), June 21-26, 2021.
Besemer, B., Mathews, M., and Brüstle, O. "Modeling inflammasome activation in human iPSC-derived microglia", Stem Cell Network NRW, Germany. March 29-30, 2021.

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Despite significant improvements in early detection and novel innovative treatment approaches over the past decades, cancer remains to be one of the main causes of death. One reason for this phenomenon may be the fascinating yet terrifying heterogeneity of these malignancies which makes it difficult to come up with a universal solution to cure and prevent the wide variety of complex aberrations that ultimately result in tumorigenesis. Personally, I believe that the intricacy of such molecular processes can only be fully understood by extending the scope of science in an interdisciplinary approach. The link between stem cells and cancer cells as well as the strategy to take advantage of the body's immune system to better understand and tackle this disease is especially intriguing to me. The possibility to hopefully contribute to a positive development is what keeps me motivated and encourages me to pursue a meaningful career in cancer research.

Contact: brenda.besemer (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Simay DOLANER (Turkey)

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University Education
10/2021 - Present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
08/2017 - 06/2021: B.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Genetics, Bahcesehir University, Istanbul, Turkey

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Dual Targeting in Cancer Therapy: EGFR and STAT3

Internships/Work Experience
06/2021 – 08/2021: Cell Biology Research Scholar at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. Research Proposal: Combination of Osimertinib and Stattic Enhances Anti-Tumor Activity in Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma
09/2020 – 12/2020: Summer Internship in the field of Bioinformatics at Pine Biotech, New Orleans, USA. Project: Identification of LncRNAs as Therapeutic Targets in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
03/2018 – 08/2021: Undergraduate Research Assistant at Bahcesehir University, Laboratory of Cancer Biology (Prof. Dr. Gulay Bulut), Istanbul, Turkey
04/2018 – 06/2021: Student Laboratory Assistant at Bahcesehir University, Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication
Dolaner S., Kaur H., Mazumdar M., Panov P., Brodsky E., (2021). Identification of LncRNAs as Therapeutic Targets in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal, Volume 15, 16-29. https://doi.org/10.52214/cusj.v15i1.7787

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
The unexpected nature of cancer cells prompted me to delve deeper and explore their microenvironment with new perspectives. I am particularly focused on examining the gene pathways which lead to tumor development and identifying genes that cause diverse effects in different types of cancer. I am thrilled by the opportunity of integration of computational approaches and practical investigations to see the big picture along with the small details which are hidden in the corners. As a master's student at DKFZ, I desire to deepen my knowledge on diverse fields of cancer research and to be more aware of the less understood phenomenon. My ultimate goal is to make a scientific contribution to this field and take a step towards improving the overall survival of cancer patients. After expanding my knowledge and research skills at DKFZ, I am planning to pursue a Ph.D. degree to become a well-educated scientist.

Contact: simay.dolaner (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Sergei DUMPIS (Russia)

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University Education
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, 2017-2021
Phystech-school of Biological and Medical Physics
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Program: Applied Mathematics and Physics, specialization "Medical biophysics and bioinformatics"

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: "Determination of nucleotide sequences of immunoglobulin heavy chain genes in chronic lymphocytic leukemia by new generation sequencing"

Internships/Work Experience
• 2018, 2019 – Summer internships in Cytoskeleton in cell morphogenesis research group, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France, supervisor - Prof. Alexis Gautreau
• 2019 – iGEM-2019 participant (Team Moscow member)
• 2020-2021 – Molecular Hematology lab, National Research Center for Hematology, Moscow, Russia, supervisor – PhD Bella Biderman
• 2021 – iGEM-2021 gold medal winner (Team MIPT_MSU member)
• Tutor in physics and chemistry

Publications
Dumpis S., Biderman B., Likold E., Sudarikov A. (2021). NGS approach for IGHV rearrengement analysis in CLL patients with oligoclonal disease. HemaSphere, vol. 5:S2, p. 279.
• Biderman B., Dumpis S., Likold E., Julhakyan H., Sudarikov A. (2021). CLL-174: NGS approach for IGHV rearrangement analysis in complicated CLL cases. Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia, Vol. 21:S1, p. S321

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
In September 2019 I had a chance to visit an annual congress of European Association of Medical Oncologists. I was really impressed with how intensively new oncotherapy methods have been developing in recent years. One of the key elements of such accelerated development are cancer immunotherapy methods as checkpoint inhibitors or CAR-T cells therapy. I believe that targeted delivery and implementation of both active and passive immunotherapy methods give us hope for improved prognosis for patients with different oncoproliferative disease. I look forward to improving my knowledge in this field during my studies at Cancer Biology Master's program in DKFZ and significantly broaden my career horizons. Working on my Bachelor Thesis, I had an opportunity to develop my immunology knowledge, and I hope to go deeper in methods of immunotherapy and maybe oncolytic viruses.

Contact: sergei.dumpis (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Noemi FRICKE (Germany)

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University Education
10/2021 – present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany
10/2018 – 09/2021: B.Sc. in Biomedicine, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biomedicine
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Platelet function and fibrinolysis in patients with sepsis and Covid-19

Internships/Work Experience
03/2020 – 09/2021: Student Assistant at the Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, Virusdiagnostics (Dr. Benedikt Weißbrich), Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Germany
04/2021 – 08/2021: Internship and Bachelor's thesis at the Institute of Experimental Biomedicine I (AG Schulze), University Hospital Würzburg, Germany
10/2014 – 11/2014: Internship at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Experimental Immunology, Brunswick, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
The idea of pursuing a career in research has always fascinated me because as a scientist, you acquire an expertise which is to become the foundation of future advice and progress. Cancer especially interests me due to its multifarious characteristics. It is highly intriguing how an individual cell can cause the collapse of an entire organism and I strive to contribute to the ongoing research. Ultimately, my goal is to achieve an improvement in patients' lives. So far, I am particularly curious about developing more efficient treatments while decreasing negative impact on healthy cells, for instance by an oncolytic virotherapy approach. Through my master studies at DKFZ, I seek to gain a deep and interdisciplinary understanding of cancer biology in order to connect with international scientists and be best prepared for my subsequent PhD.

Contact: noemi.fricke (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Charlotte GECK (Germany)

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University Education
10/2021 – Today: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and the DKFZ, Germany
10/2017 – 08/2021: B.Sc. Biomedical Sciences at Reutlingen University, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Neuron-Microglia Interaction in a Cell Culture Model of Neurodegeneration

Internships/Work Experience
04/2021 – 08/2021: Student Assistant at the AG Heneka, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Bonn, Germany
07/2021-08/2021: Student Assistant at the 'Rheinlandstudie', German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Bonn, Germany
10/2020 – 05/2021: Bachelor Thesis at the AG Heneka, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Bonn, Germany
08/2019 – 01/2020: Internship at the Laboratory of Tissue Repair and Regeneration, University of Toronto, Canada (Latent TGF-β1 Presentation by GARP on the Surface of Macrophages)

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
The progress in cancer research has been immense over the last decades. However, the complex interactions of different cell types within the tumor microenvironment remain to be elucidated. By studying the innate immune system during my bachelor's thesis, it has come to my attention that surprisingly, cancer cells are able to exploit functions of the immune system to their own advantage. This has sparked my interest in tumor immunology and its enormous variety within the tumor microenvironment. My goal is to contribute to a better understanding of how cancer cells communicate and interact with neighbouring cells, and advance research leading to even more sophisticated treatment options. The Cancer Biology Major at the DKFZ gives me the opportunity to become a well-rounded scientist with creative and innovative approaches. It will involve me in a broad variety of captivating fields in cancer research which will prepare me for my future doctoral studies.

Contact: charlotte.geck (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Tim KEMPCHEN (Germany)

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University Education
10/2021 – Today: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and the DKFZ, Germany
10/2018 – 09/2021: B.Sc. Molecular Biomedicine at the University of Bonn, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biomedicine
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Assessing the effects of drug treatment on patient-derived organoids

Internships/Work Experience
03/2021 – Today: Student research assistant in the research group of Prof. Dr. Hölzel, Institute of Experimental Oncology, University of Bonn, Germany
03/2021 – 08/2021: Bachelor Thesis in the research group of Prof. Dr. Hölzel, Institute of Experimental Oncology, University of Bonn, Germany
11/2019 – 11/2020: Student assistant at IFM Therapeutics, Bonn, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
What does it mean if cells break the rules of an organism?
Today, cancer research encompasses nearly all facets of life science ranging from cellular biology and genetics to developmental biology and immunology. To unravel the underlying mechanisms and understand the progression of cancer it is necessary to have a look at the problem from as many perspectives as possible.
I am particularly intrigued by the complex interactions of cancer cells and the immune system. What fascinates me about cancer immunology is the interdisciplinarity of the field.
I hope to increase my knowledge within the diverse field of cancer biology and get in touch with the fascinating research at the DKFZ. My goal is to gain a wide-ranging understanding of cancer and taking the chance to learn something new every day. After my master studies, I would like to pursue a PhD in the field of cancer immunology.

Contact: timnoah.kempchen (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Jens MAILE (Germany)

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University Education
10/2021 – present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls University Heidelberg, Germany
10/2017 – 09/2021: B.Sc. in Molecular Medicine, Eberhard-Karls University Tuebingen, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Medicine
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9-mediated screening to identify synthetic lethal interactors of mTOR inhibition in glioblastoma

Internships/Work Experience
04/2021 – 09/2021: Bachelor Thesis in the group of Prof. Dr. Dr. Ghazaleh Tabatabai, Department of Neurology and Interdisciplinary Neurooncology, Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Tübingen, Germany
11/2020 – 07/2021: Student Assistant in the group of Prof. Dr. Juliane Walz, Clinical Cooperation Unit Immunology, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany
09/2020 – 10/2020: Internship in the group of Prof. Dr. Dr. Julia Skokowa, Division of Translational Oncology, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany
10/2019 – 08/2020: Internship in the group of Prof. Dr. Tony Kouzarides, Wellcome Trust/CRUK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK
09/2018 – 03/2019: Student Assistant in the group of Prof. Dr. Patrick Müller, Friedrich-Miescher Laboratory of the Max-Planck Society, Tübingen, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Although extensive research on the development and progression of cancer throughout the past decades has led to the discovery of novel therapeutic approaches focusing on vulnerabilities of cancer, specific cancer cells are still able to give rise to even more aggressive forms of cancer after an initially successful treatment. The underlying cellular processes that enable these cells to bypass multiple treatments are so far only poorly understood. Therefore, there is an urgent need for additional research on these resistance mechanisms to eventually pave the way for advanced therapeutics. As a student of Cancer Biology at the DKFZ, I seek to make use of this unique supportive research environment to expand my theoretical knowledge and practical skills in cutting-edge techniques in order to contribute to current research projects. Following, I aim to participate in the ongoing fight against cancer by pursuing a PhD in the field of cancer research.

Contact: jens.maile (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Lina MERG (Germany)

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University Education
10/2021-present: M.Sc Molecular Biosciences- Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany
10/2018-09/2021: B.Sc Biology- Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: CD11c+ cell type-specific IL-10 secretion and signaling in oral immune homeostasis

Internships/Work Experience
11/2020– 08/2021: Research Internship and Bachelor Thesis at the Institute for Molecular Medicine, AG Clausen, University Medical Center Mainz, Germany
12/2019– 08/2021: Research Assistant at the Institute for Molecular Medicine, AG Clausen, University Medical Center Mainz, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Despite intensive research, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. This highlights the relevance of understanding this disease. The goal is to find better ways of prevention, detection and treatment. It is precisely this clinical context with its heterogeneity and complexity that encouraged me to dive deeper into the interdisciplinary research field of cancer biology. I am particularly captivated by the on the one hand life-threatening but on the other hand fascinating hallmarks of carcinogenic cells to evade the immune system and to be able to spread unimpeded. Those are just some reasons why I am interested in specializing in cancer immunology. The DKFZ offers a wide variety of faculties and thus a great opportunity to improve my knowledge and practical skills in order to find my place in cancer research.

Contact: lina.merg (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Sercan ÖZ (Turkey)

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University Education
10/2021 – present: Molecular Biosciences | Major Cancer Biology – Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat Heidelberg & DKFZ, Heidelberg, GERMANY (Master's Degree)
10/2016 – 09/2021: Molecular Biology and Genetics – Izmir Institute of Technology, İzmir, TURKEY (Bachelor's Degree)

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics

Internships/Work Experience
07/2019 – 08/2021: Undergraduate Research Assistant at Izmir Institute of Technology, PI: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gülistan Meşe Özçivici, Izmir, TURKEY
Projects:
-Investigation of Effect of Gap Junctional Intercellular Communication on Cancer Cell Migration in Different Human Breast Cancer Subtypes
-Investigation of Roles of Connexin32 on Tumorigenic Properties of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells
-Investigation of Molecular Pathways Affected by Connexin26 Mutations in Keratitis-Ichthyosis-Deafness Syndrome

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Intercellular communication is crucial for homeostasis and the fate of cancer. Neighbouring cells can promote and/or repress the progression of cancer through intercellular communication. There's no doubt that this communication may lead to epigenetic alterations which in turn result in therapy resistance, stemness, heterogeneity, and dormancy which are indeed real troubles in clinics. The interesting part is that each cancer (sub)type might give different responses to certain signals depending on the context. Therefore, I want to focus on the epigenetic reflection of intercellular communication in these particular events at the single-cell level.
I feel so lucky because DKFZ hosts many groups in line with my diverse interests. I am pretty sure that I will be well-equipped for my doctoral and post-doctoral studies after this program. Afterward, I will keep researching as I believe that there will always be something fascinating just waiting to be discovered underneath the microscope.

Contact: sercan.oez (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

María PARRA REYES (Spain)

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University Education
10/2021-present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
10/2019-09/2020: Exchange semester (Erasmus + Mobility Program) in Biology B.Sc. Program at University of Bayreuth, Germany
09/2017-07/2021: B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Granada, Spain

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Degree in Biology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Bionanointeractions between magnetic nanowires and HeLa cells

Internships/Work Experience
10/2018-02/2019: Internship at the Science Museum "Parque de las Ciencias" in Granada, Spain
02/2021-07/2021: Bachelor's Thesis in the research group of Dr. Paola Sanchez Moreno, department of Applied Physics, University of Granada, Spain

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Despite the huge progress made in cancer diagnosis and treatment during the last decades, this disease continues to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide. During my Bachelor's thesis I got the opportunity to deepen into recent nanotechnology-based therapies of cancer that damage tumor cells without compromising the surrounding tissue. Over the course of this project I realized the endless approach possibilities to this disease from many different bioscience fields. It is this interdisciplinary cooperation what first sparked my passion in cancer research. My aim is to contribute to research of new therapies by unraveling the molecular mechanisms that underly tumor progression and immune system evasion. Particularly, I am interested in cancer immunotherapy as I am fascinated on how the immune system can be reprogrammed to target tumors. As a student of Cancer Biology at the DKFZ, I am strongly motivated to get hands-on experience in different areas of cancer research at this leading-edge institution and ultimately, to equip myself with the necessary knowledge and practical skills to pursue an academic career.

Contact: maria.parrareyes (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Umberto POZZA (Italy)

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University Education
18/09/2017-12/03/2021 Bachelor in Biotechnologies, University of Ferrara

Highest Degree: Bachelor in Biotechnologies
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Lung Carcinoma metastasis: Calcium signaling between autophagy and apoptosis (Lab of Signal transduction, Prof. Paolo Pinton, University of Ferrara)

Internship
10/01/2020- 01/06/2021 Internship in Lab of Signal transduction, University of Ferrara (Prof. Paolo Pinton). Working on 3 Main projects:
-ER-Mitochondria Calcium crosstalk in Cancer progression
-Bap-1 and autophagic flux in Cancer
-Marsican bear: Mitochondrial dysfunctions and Calcium signaling

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer is the most complex and heterogeneous pathology: how a normal cell can transform and take advantage of normal biological processes to damage human's health is fascinating and terrifying at the same time. My aim is to discover new pieces of this intricate and obscure puzzle by continuing my scientific research, always thirsty of knowledge and highly motivated. I want to contribute to the progress of science with new insights, solutions and strategies to fight cancer, leading to new therapeutical outcomes which could save many people's lives. The unceasing research I follow in science research and in everyday life is exemplified by a line spoken by Ulisse in Dante's Inferno "Consider well the seed that gave you birth: you were not made to live your lives as brutes, but to be followers of worth and knowledge."

Contact: umberto.pozza (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Korbinian SCHELZIG (Germany)

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University Education
09/2016 – 07/2018: Apprenticeship as BTA biological-technical assistant
09/2018 – 09/2021: B.Sc. Biosciences in Heidelberg
10/2021 – present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biosciences
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: The role of miR-1307-3p and its 5'isomiR in breast cancer angiogenesis

Internships/Work Experience
08/2015: 2-week internship in the laboratory of the vascular biology at University Düsseldorf, Department of Vascular and Endovascular surgery (Head: Dr. Simon)
07/2016: 2-week internship at Stanford University School of Medicine (Head: Prof. Tsao)
07/2018-08/2018 4-week internship in biotechnical laboratory at the Institute for Microbiology and Biotechnology, University Ulm (Head: Prof. Eikmanns)
04/2018 & 03 & 10/2019: ERASMUS+ ecological project at Fundaćion Monte Mediterráno
08/2020 – 01/2021: Exchange to Karolinska Institutet and Internship at SciLifeLab (Head: Prof. Gustafsson)

Publication
Ninou AH, Lehto J, Chioureas D, Stigsdotter H, Schelzig K, Åkerlund E, Gudoityte G, Joneborg U, Carlson J, Jonkers J, Seashore-Ludlow B, Gustafsson NMS. PFKFB3 Inhibition Sensitizes DNA Crosslinking Chemotherapies by Suppressing Fanconi Anemia Repair. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 18;13(14):3604. doi: 10.3390/cancers13143604. PMID: 34298817; PMCID: PMC8306909

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Although cancer is still one of mankind's most complex diseases, research is pushing the frontiers with fascinating new advanced methods. My goal is to contribute to the fight against cancer by unravel complex basic mechanisms to be able to develop better treatment options and therefore improve patients' lives. To this end, I would like to get to know the diverse perspectives from the many different well-known laboratories of the DKFZ on the topic of cancer. For the future, I plan to continue with a PhD in cancer research after my major and do research in relevant cancer exploration approaches in a modern molecular lab as a postdoc.

Contact: korbinian.schelzig (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Bruno SCHÖNFELDER (Germany)

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University Education
10/2021 – present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
10/2018 – 09/2021: B.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Technical University Dresden, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Title of the Bachelor's Thesis: Exploration of strategies to optimize the epithelial cyst-based human retinal organoid protocol

Internships/Work Experience
03/2020 – 07/2020: Bachelor Thesis in the research group of Prof. Dr. Mike O. Karl, Germany Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Dresden, Germany
08/2020 – 10/2020: Internship in the research group of Prof. Dr. Mike O. Karl, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Dresden, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
It is well-known that cancer may have multiple causes and tends to impact the whole organism. It is highly destructive because it manages to hijack cellular processes and exploit the deficiencies of truncated checks and balances. By now, it is well-understood that cancer cells do not develop these hijacking abilities from scratch. Instead, they exploit well-known developmental processes to promote their own survival and progression. I hope to deepen my understanding of developmental biology to understand cancer initiation, evolution, and development towards malignant tumors. Transferring developmental biology knowledge to cancer biology will be crucial for the development of effective cancer therapies.
At the DKFZ, I would like to acquire practical molecular biology skills in this unique research environment in order to pursue my own scientific research career and work on a PhD thesis dedicated to the field of cancer biology.

Contact: bruno.schoenfelder (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Ezgi ŞEN (Turkey)

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University Education
10/2021 - Present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
02/2020 - 07/2020: Exchange Semester (Erasmus+ Mobility Program) in Biology B.Sc. Program at Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands
08/2017 - 06/2021: B.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Genetics, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Transcriptomic investigation of aromatase inhibitor resistance in luminal breast cancers with a specific focus on AIB1

Internships/Work Experience
10/2020 – 06/2021: Senior Project at Konu Lab, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
06/2020 – 09/2020: Summer Internship with the title 'In silico investigation of PLAUR in the pathophysiology of triple negative breast cancers' at Cizmecioglu Lab, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
09/2019 – 06/2021: Student teaching assistant in introductory computer science courses 'Introduction to Programming in Python', 'Introduction to Data Analysis in Python'
06/2019 – 08/2019: Summer Internship with the title 'Prediction of the functional impact of missense mutations of BRCA1 via the usage of graph embeddings' at Sabancı University Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering Department, Istanbul, Turkey

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Incorporation of interdisciplinary approaches in molecular biosciences research was what excited me the most during my undergraduate studies. I mainly worked with genomic, transcriptomic data and had the chance to learn about recent sequencing technologies. Exploration of high throughput omics data fascinated me in terms of providing answers to endless questions in understanding pathologies. Specifically, I discovered my enthusiasm towards cancer genomics due to the complex and personalized nature of cancer. At DKFZ, I am looking forward to getting more hands-on experience in different aspects of cancer research and getting to improve my computational and scientific skills as well. After completing my studies at DKFZ, I am hoping to continue in research by pursuing a PhD degree.

Contact: ezgi.sen (at) dkfz.de
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Yannick THROM (Germany)

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University Education
10/2021 – Present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany
10/2018 – 09/2021: B.Sc. in Biomedicine, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biomedicine
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Effect of Decitabine on bone marrow morphology and platelet count in mice

Internships/Work Experience
04/2021 – 08/2021: Internship and Bachelor Thesis in the research group of Dr. Bender, Institute of Experimental Biomedicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Germany
11/2020 – 02/2021: Student Assistant in the diagnostics department of the Institute for Virology and Immunobiology, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
The tumor microenvironment plays a key role in cancer progression. It is fascinating how dysregulated cancer cells are still required to recruit and exploit normally healthy cells to thrive, making them collaborators in tumor development. Quite intriguing as well are the possibilities of treating cancer by targeting cells other than the dysregulated cancer cells themselves. The diverse interactions of cancer cells with cells of the hematopoietic lineage as well as with endothelial cells especially interest me. Since the tumor microenvironment includes a huge variety of cell types and extracellular components many interactions and cellular programs which have the potential to improve the therapeutic options are still left to be uncovered.
The DKFZ hopefully enables me to further expand my knowledge, acquire extensive practical skills, and establish connections for the future.

Contact: yannick.throm (at) dkfz.de
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Pravin VELMURUGAN (India)

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University Education
2017 – 2021: B.Tech in Biotechnology at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Vellore, India
2021 - present: MSc Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology at DKFZ (German Cancer Research Center) and Ruprecht-Karls University Heidelberg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Biotechnology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Effect of CST complex mutations and their misinteractions with shelterin

Internships/Work Experience
02/2020 – 03/2020: Laboratory training in genotoxicity testing at Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) under the supervision of Dr. Wilner Martinez-Lopez, IIBCE-FMED Associate Unit, University of the Republic Montevideo, Uruguay
12/2018 – 10/2019: Project on "Antibiotic Resistance Mechanism Disruption Using Phages (ARM'D UP)" at IGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition 2019, Boston, USA supervised by Dr. K.M Gothandam and Dr. Siva Ramamoorthy, School of Biosciences and Technology, Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), India
05/2019 – 07/2019: Laboratory training in cytogenetic techniques at the Genome Stability Laboratory, Department of Physiology, National University of Singapore (NUS) under the supervision of Dr. M Prakash Hande

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Learning in depth about the pathogenesis of cancer, I was fascinated by the simultaneous sensitivity and resilience of the human genome. As such, I am driven to explore more about how genomic instability can lead to neoplastic growth. I am keen on understanding the molecular mechanisms associated with tumour progression. Additionally, I wish to delve deeper into understanding the impairment of telomeric stability to address the challenges faced in overcoming replicative immortality. I hope to gain invaluable experience and insights in the field of cancer research during the Master's program at the DKFZ from researchers of diverse research backgrounds. In the future I aspire to pursue translational research in cancer therapeutics to contribute not just within the confines of the laboratory but also in therapeutic applications.

Contact: pravin.velmurugan (at) dkfz.de
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Priyanka VENKATESH (India)

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University/College Education
Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India (2017-2021)
Highest Degree: Bachelors of Engineering (B.E) in Biotechnology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Exploring the Genetics of Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia in the Indian Cohort

Internships/Work Experience
Secured a two-month fellowship with the Indian Academy of Sciences to work at Amity institute of Molecular Medicine and Stem cell research, Noida, India (2019)
Project intern at the National institute of Mental health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India (2021)

Publications
In silico screening of antiviral compounds from Moringa oleifera for inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 main protease
In silico analysis of Phyllanthus amarus phytochemicals as potent drugs against SARS-CoV-2 main protease

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Genomics has been a field which has been rapidly evolving since initial work in this domain. Genomic studies have helped us solve several biological problems associated with evolution, diseases identification and cure, to name a few. The rise in volume of data as a consequence of advancements in the field and my interest in employing principles of genomics in cancer prediction and therapy is what made me choose this course and majors. The heterogeneity associated with cancer in individuals is equivalent to how different we are in the genetic level and I wish to use these differences to generate data to move towards predicting the occurrence and progression of the disease even before external observation of first symptoms, in order to get the right cure well-ahead of time.

Contact: priyanka.venkatesh (at) dkfz.de
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Niklas VEOČIĆ (Croatia & Germany)

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University Education
2018-2021 University Jusip Juraj Strossmayer, Faculty of Medicine, Medical Laboratory diagnostics, Osijek, Croatia

Highest Degree: Bachelor of medical laboratory diagnostics (BSc.med.lab.diag.)
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: The Role of Interleukin-6 as a Prognostic Marker in Patients with COVID-19

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer incidence continues to increase worldwide and still presents one of the leading causes of death in humans. Despite the remarkable progress that's been done regarding cancer research, there are still numerous enigmas when it comes to cancer pathways.
In order to fully understand cancer development and pathways it is a prerequisite to combine different fields in bioscience - it was this diversity of cancer that sparked my passion for studying cancer biology.
To be given the opportunity to study at the DKFZ as one of the largest biomedical research institutes in Germany is a golden chance to expand my theoretical knowledge and acquire practical experience in top tier academic laboratories.
My goal is to pursue a career in cancer biology with the aim of contributing to cutting-edge research that could help in the prevention, diagnostics and treatment of cancer.

Contact: niklas.veocic (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Franziska WERNER (Germany & USA)

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University Education
10/2021 – present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprechts-Karls University of Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
10/2018 – 09/2021: 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: Influence of macrophage-derived TSG-6 and Serglycin on the mesothelial integrity and subsequent metastasis in ovarian carcinoma

Internships/Work Experience
08/02/2021 – 13/09/2021: Internship and Bachelor's thesis in the group of Dr. Silke Reinartz, Center for Tumor Biology and Immunology, Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer. A term describing a multitude of different tumor entities with heterogeneous characteristics in gene expression, signalling pathways, distinct tumor microenvironments and much more. During my bachelor's studies, I discovered my fascination for the interdisciplinary field of tumorigenesis in the context of immunology. It is not only important to understand the mechanisms of how tumor cells evade our immune system, but also how a tumor microenvironment containing polarized immune cells contributes to cancer development. As a student of Molecular Biosciences with Major in Cancer Biology, I desire to gain a closer insight in therapeutic strategies targeting the interaction with the immune system as well as different clinical approaches. Furthermore, I would like to learn about inter-/intratumor heterogeneity and the effects on personalized treatments. I am highly motivated to improve my technical and methodological proficiency at this cutting-edge institution, the DKFZ and pursue an academic career.

Contact: franziska.werner (at) dkfz.de
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Elisabeth WIPPICH (Germany)

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University Education
10/2021 - present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany
10/2018 - 09/2021: B.Sc. Molecular Biology, Johannes-Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Molecular Biology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: The role of RNA in in vitro non-homologous end joining

Internships/Work Experience
04/2021 – 09/2021: Internship and Bachelor Thesis at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) and Institute of Developmental Biology and Neurobiology (IDN), Mainz, Germany, research group: Prof. Dr. Peter Baumann
10/2020 – 05/2021: Student assistant for human biological sample processing and biobanking of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and blood plasma for the Gutenberg COVID-19 study at University Medical Centre Mainz, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
My main fascination in life sciences revolves around how deregulation of highly organized cellular pathways leads to disease. Here, cancer especially captivates me with its complex heterogeneity and its persistent impact on society, despite major progress has been made in the past decades. At DKFZ, I am eager to learn more about how healthy cells turn malignant to comprehend tumour formation and development, as well as to contribute to the identification of novel therapy targets. Specifically, I am curious about the roles of tumour initiating cells or cancer stem cells, which established the concept of tumour hierarchy, in metastasis and therapy resistance. Ultimately, I not only want to gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge cancer research, but I will also use this opportunity to connect with international scientists from diverse fields and collaborative institutes equipping me with valuable experience to pursue a PhD in the future.

Contact: elisabethfranziska.wippich (at) dkfz.de

Tara ZIEGELBAUER (Germany)

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University Education
2021-2023 M.Sc. Cancer Biology at the Ruprecht- Karls University and the DKFZ in Heidelberg, Germany
2017-2021 B.Sc. Molecular Medicine at the Albert-Ludwig University in Freiburg, Germany

Highest Degree: B.Sc. Molecular Medicine
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Chronic granulomatous disease: Impact of the NADPH
oxidase 2 on myeloid cell differentiation

Internships/Work Experience
April-July 2021: 3-Month Internship at the AG Fischer in the DKFZ in Heidelberg, Germany
Dec 2019 - April 2021: Student Research Assistant at the AG Henneke in the Centre for Chronic Immunodeficiency (CCI), Freiburg, Germany
May-Aug 2020: Bachelor-Thesis "Chronic granulomatous disease: Impact of the NADPH
oxidase 2 on myeloid cell differentiation" at the AG Henneke in the Centre for Chronic Immunodeficiency (CCI), Freiburg, Germany
March 2019: Internship at the Maurer´s Lab at the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Cell Research (IMMZ) Institute in Freiburg, Germany
Feb-April 2018: Internship at the BROAD Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA: "Molecular design of the human Telomerase gene for cancer inhibition studies"
Jul-Sep 2017: 3 months internship at the Department of Biological and Chemical Development at Bayer AG, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans

 

Contact: tara.ziegelbauer (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Eleni ZIMMER (Germany)

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University Education
10/2021 - present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology at the DKFZ German Cancer Research Center and the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany
10/2018 - 08/2021: B.Sc. in Molecular Medicine, Ulm University, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) in Molecular Medicine
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: The Molecular Dialogue Between Cancer-associated Fibroblasts and Tumor Cells in ATM-deficient Pancreatic Cancer

Internships/Work Experience
10/2020 - 09/2021: Research Internship and Bachelor Thesis in the research group of Prof. Dr. Alexander Kleger, Department of Internal Medicine I, Ulm University Medical Center, Germany
12/2019 - 09/2021: Research Assistant in the research group of Prof. Dr. Alexander Kleger, Department of Internal Medicine I, Ulm University Medical Center, Germany
10/2019 - 04/2020: Teaching Assistant in the Mathematics course for Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine students, Institute of Theoretical Chemistry, Ulm University, Germany
08/2019: Research Internship in the Institute of Molecular Virology, Ulm University, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer cells have obtained tremendous capabilities which allow them to manipulate signaling pathways, to evade immune destruction and to develop therapy resistance. Encouraged by a huge fascination for the complex mechanisms that underly the development and progression of one of the most heterogenous diseases, I am eager to explore the multifarious field of cancer research.
It particularly fascinates me to understand the molecular and cellular processes by which cancer cells are crosstalking with their tumor microenvironment including cancer-associated fibroblasts, immune cells, blood vessels and nerves, and the opportunities to target these specific interactions.
At the DKFZ I hope to expand my understanding of cancer from different perspectives, to boost the quality of my research and to network with other scientists. After completing my master's degree I plan on pursuing a PhD and on working in biomedical science with the primary objective of contributing to a better comprehension of cancer disease.

Contact: eleni.zimmer (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

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