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Major Cancer Biology Students 2022

To DKFZ from all around the world! Here they are:

The new students were officially welcomed and introduced to the DKFZ on 17th October by the Deputy Chairman of the Scientific Council, Prof. Duncan Odom, and by the Scientific Coordinator, Prof. Ilse Hofmann
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>Where in the world do our new students come from?

© dkfz.de

 

Have a look at their profiles below -

 

 - several new nations covered!

>17.-21./28. October 2022: DKFZ Welcome Week for Class of 2022

DKFZ has prepared to welcome the class of 2022: Program Overview

... and that's some of their expectations:

© dkfz.de

 

 

 

We'll try our very best to help fulfill them!

Niraj ADHIKARI (Nepal)

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University Education
10/2022 – Present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
09/2019 – 06/2022: B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Establishing a stable mammalian cell line for the expression of peptide-free MHC Class II molecules

Internships/Work Experience
06/2022 – 09/2022: Research Assistant at Jacobs University Bremen (Prof. Dr. Sebastian Springer), Bremen, Germany. Project: Studying the stability and binding affinity of different allotypes of peptide-free MHC Class II Molecules
09/2021 – 05/2022: Undergraduate Research Volunteer at Jacobs University Bremen (Prof. Dr. Sebastian Springer), Bremen, Germany. Project: Establishing stable mammalian cell line to isolate and purify peptide-free MHC Class II molecules.
06/2021 – 08/2021: DAAD RISE Worldwide intern at The Life Science Centre, Örebro University (Prof. Dr. Ajay Pradhan), Örebro, Sweden. Project: Role of Thyroid Hormone in the regulation of 11-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 gene in Danio rerio
09/2020 – 05/2022: Teaching Assistant at Jacobs University Bremen for Mathematical Concepts for Sciences (Prof. Dr. Joachim Vogt), Advanced Cell Biology II (Prof. Dr. Susanne Illenberger), Biotechnology Lab (Prof. Dr. Elke Nevoigt), Advanced Cell Biology Lab (Prof. Dr. Klaudia Brix), Microbiology Lab (Prof. Dr. Matthias Ullrich), and Advanced Biochemistry Lab (Prof. Dr. Sebastian Springer).

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer Biology is a field of study whose sole value lies in understanding the abnormalities of the human system. Over time, we have made tremendous progress in the field of personalized treatment which has helped drastically to decrease the number of deaths, but it is still high and the treatment itself is not only unbearable due to autoimmune reactions, but also highly costly and even unaffordable. Thus, at DKFZ I aim to nurture my ambitions and interests in understanding the cytokines/signaling molecule hijackers in the tumor microenvironment and their association with immune response, in particular, that of T cells. This will help me to prepare myself for my future academic career where I want to explore the mechanisms to mitigate auto-immunity in Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) cells treatment and increase its efficacy in relation to combination therapy to help improve the existing therapeutics in cost-effective way.

Contact: niraj.adhikari (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn Profile

Ahmed-Amine ANZALI (Morocco)

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University Education
10/2022 – Present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
09/2019 – 09/2022: Graduate programme in Engineering - Major in Biology, Ecole polytechnique, France
09/2017 – 06/2019: Undergraduate Preparatory Classes in Mathematics and Physics - Lycée d'Excellence de Benguerir, Morocco

Highest Degree: Dipl.-Ing. (Diplôme d'Ingénieur) of Ecole polytechnique
Title of Engineering Diploma Thesis: Clinical Relevance of Multinucleated Giant Cells in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Internships/Work Experience
03/2022 – 10/2022: Research internship in the research team of Dr. Florent Ginhoux under the supervision of Dr. Grégoire Gessain - INSERM U1015 Immunology of Tumors and Cancer Immunotherapy Unit, Myeloid Cells Development Team, Institut Gustave Roussy, France
09/2021 – 12/2021: Trainee in Prof. Dr. Alexis Gautreau Laboratory - CNRS UMR7654, Ecole Polytechnique, France
06/2021 – 09/2021: Research internship in the Artificial Intelligence and Deep Analytics Department - Sanofi Research & Development, France
10/2019 – 03/2020: Humanitarian Internship as Assistant Carer in a Daycare Center for Intellectually Disabled People – L'Arche d'Aigrefoin, France

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
I always have been fascinated by the intricacy of the human body and its complexity. An organism with billions of cells with different specializations and functions. However, sometimes cells can become cancerous and cause major dysfunctions. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death, and despite the intense research accomplished in this field, many aspects of this disease have not yet been elucidated. As a person that is passionate about science in general, I found it important to work on subject matter that betters the human condition and might help heal cancer patients around the world. I am mostly interested about how immune evasion of cancer cells occurs, as well as the heterogeneity of immune cells present in the tumor microenvironment. Using multi-omics approaches, I hope to study the relevant roles of the various immune subsets and their interactions with other types of cells in a cancer context.

Contact: ahmed-amine.anzali (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn Profile

Irene CAGOL (Italy)

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University Education
10/2022 – Present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
09/2019 – 07/2022: Bachelor in Biomolecular Sciences and Technologies, University of Trento, Italy

Highest Degree: Bachelor in Biomolecular Sciences and Technologies
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Validation of single nucleotide polymorphisms that influence mRNA translation efficacy

Internships/Work Experience
03/2022 – 07/2022: Research internship and Bachelor thesis in the Laboratory of Transcriptional Networks (prof. Alberto Inga) at CIBIO, University of Trento, Italy

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
During my Bachelor's degree, my interest for the cancer field has progressively grown thanks to courses focused on Cancer Biology and Immunology. I learned how intricate cancer is, but at the same time scientifically fascinating. I find it intriguing how cancer cells can evolve and continuously adapt to the environment, hiding from the immune system and making the development of therapies complex and challenging. In particular, I am interested in deeply understanding the interactions between immune system and cancer cells, and in the development of therapies that strongly activate the immune system to fight cancer. From a biotechnologist point of view, I have found brilliant immunotherapies such as CAR-T cell therapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors. At DKFZ I believe I will have the opportunity to learn more about these topics, work with experts in the field and exchange ideas in a great research community.

Contact: irene.cagol (at) dkfz.de
Linkedin profile

Alina ERRERD (Germany)

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University Education
10/2022 – present: M. Sc. In Molecular Biosciences with Major in Cancer Biology, Heidelberg University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
03/2019 – 08/2022: B. Sc. in Molecular and Technical Medicine, Hochschule Furtwangen University, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biomedicine
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Characterization of Oligodendrocytes of Animals with Altered NF-κB Signaling after Traumatic Brain Injury

Internships/Work Experience
03/2022 - 08/2022 Bachelor's Thesis in the institute of Physiological Chemistry, Ulm University, research group of PD Dr. Bernd Baumann
03/2021 - 08/2021 Internship in the institute of Physiological Chemistry, Ulm University, research group of PD Dr. Bernd Baumann

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
During my bachelor's program I got interested in Cancer Biology. I was always intrigued in understanding how diseases develop on a molecular level. So, trying to understand how cells avoid precise physiological regulations while turning cancerous, as well as transferring this knowledge to develop treatment or prevention strategies fascinates me. During my master's at DKFZ I hope to deepen my knowledge in cancer biology, while obtaining practical skills in cutting-edge research and connecting to researchers from all over the world, preparing me for the next step in my scientific career.

Contact: alina.errerd (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Mathea FRANSISCA (Indonesia)

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University Education
10/2022 – present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
08/2016 – 10/2020: B.Sc. Biology, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Apoptosis Induction in Human Breast Cancer MCF-7 Cell Line and In Silico Docking Analysis of (S)-rugulactone from Cryptocarya pulchrinervia to Apoptotic-Related Protein

Internships/Work Experience
04/2022 – 10/2022: Research Assistant, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia.
Project: The role of TNF-α on Hela cells under hypoxia condition to the expression of IL-1β and INF-κ
03/2022 – 10/2022: Research Assistant, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia. Project: Multivalent vaccine development using Protein Glycan Coupling Technology (PGCT) to prevent avian influenza virus and Campylobacter jejuni infection in chicken
10/2020 – 03/2022: Research Assistant, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia.
Project: Development of ELISA-based Hepatitis B Diagnostic Kit
06/2019 – 08/2019: Research Intern, Prof. Megumu Saito Lab, Dept. Clinical Application, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, Japan
08/2018 – 05/2020: Student Laboratory Assistant, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Finding the ideal way to treat cancer is still a big challenge for all of us. Collaboration of basic, translational, and clinical cancer research is critical to develop cancer therapies more efficiently. As a master's student at DKFZ, I'm eager to gain more experience in basic and translational cancer research: how to apply the scientific findings from the lab bench to patients' bedside and to follow up the clinical data back to the bench. The particular topic I would like to get deeper into is metastasis. Understanding how metastasis works and the molecular traits involved is important. By preventing metastasis, we can decrease the relapse rate and boost the success rate of cancer treatments. Furthermore, this knowledge is also valuable for "upgrading" cancer screening and diagnosis methods. At last, I believe the research exposure I get at DKFZ will surely enhance my research skills and support my future career as a cancer researcher.

Contact: mathea.fransisca (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Saksham GARG (India)

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University Education
October 2022 – Present: M.Sc. Molecular Bioscience – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
August 2018 – June 2022: B. Tech Biotechnology, Delhi Technological University, Delhi, India

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech) in Biotechnology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Pan-Cancer transcriptomic analysis of tumor-derived factors mediating NK cell immune evasion.

Internships/Work Experience
Feb. 2020 – May 2022: Undergraduate Researcher and Bachelor Thesis student under Dr. Asmita Das in the Immunology and Immunotherapeutics Laboratory, Delhi Technological University, Delhi, India
Sept. 2021 – Jan. 2022: Trainee Scientist under Dr. Col. Anurag Mehta in the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Delhi, India
Apr. 2021 – Aug. 2021: Summer Research Intern under Dr. Jay Gopalakrishnan. Laboratory of Centrosome and Cytoskeleton Biology, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany

Publications

  • "In silico analysis of selected alkaloids against main protease (Mpro) of COVID-19", Saksham Garg & Arpita Roy, Chemico-Biological Interactions, Elsevier DOI: 10.1016/j.cbi.2020.1093094
  • "Plant derived natural compounds aiding SOCS1 mediated JAK1 inhibition, a novel mechanism of combinatorial cancer chemotherapy", Saksham Garg, Sunil Kumar, Ashutosh Anand, Tarunya Menon, Nikita Sharma, Japneet Singh, Siddharth Chawla, & Asmita Das, Vegetos, Springer DOI: 10.1007/s42535-021-00329-4
  • "Structure-Based In Silico Investigation of Agonists for Proteins Involved in Breast Cancer", Arpita Roy, Ashutosh Anand, Saksham Garg, Mohd Shahnawaz Khan, Sidharth Bhasin, Muhammad Nadeem Asghar & Talha Bin Emran, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Hindawi DOI: 10.1155/2022/7278731
  • "A current perspective of plants as an antibacterial agent: A review", Saksham Garg & Arpita Roy, Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Bentham Science DOI: 10.2174/1389201021666200622121249

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
The experiences that I gained during my bachelor studies have played a major role in carving out Cancer Biology as my field of interest. The molecular basis, complexity, and the heterogeneity that cancer ecosystem offers are always a thing of fascination. No matter, how interesting from a researcher's point of view, the disease still remains unforgiving with processes like relapse after years, chemoresistance, evading the immune system, and just being able to survive in a completely hostile environment. Given that, the ailment has developed such intricate hijacking mechanisms, there is a continuous need for us to understand and evolve our therapeutic approaches to finally put it into remission. I am particularly fascinated by the power of our immune system and by extension immunotherapy. I personally feel if we provide appropriate external assistance to our immune system, it has the ability to deal with cancer, both in preventive and therapeutic nature. During my time at Uni Heidelberg and DKFZ, I aim to widen my horizon, gain skills and abilities which would help me become a fruitful part of the research and healthcare community.

Contact: saksham.garg (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Daniel GIEVERS (Germany)

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University Education
10/2022 – present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany
10/2019 – 09/2022: B.Sc. in Biology, University of Cologne, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: One-step generation of conditional and reversible TERT gene knockout neuroblastoma model cell lines using CRISPR/Cas9

Internships/Work Experience
02/05/2022 – 22/08/2022: Bachelor's Thesis in Prof. Matthias Fischer's group under the supervision of Dr. Sandra Ackermann in the field of Experimental Pediatric Oncology at the University Children's Hospital in Cologne, Germany
21/02/2022 – 18/03/2022: Research Internship establishing mutations in netrin-1 for later validation of its interaction surface with DCC and unc5hB in Prof. Manuel Koch's group at the Center for dental, oral, and maxillofacial medicine at the University Hospital of Cologne, Germany
10/01/2022 – 11/02/2022: Research Internship optimizing transgene-specific PCR reactions to verify genome editing at the TERT gene locus in neuroblastoma cells in Prof. Matthias Fischer's group at the University Children's Hospital in Cologne, Germany
04/08/2021 – 24/09/2021: Research Internship investigating the influence of gene dosage variation of oncogenic KrasG12D on morphology, gene and protein expression of murine pancreatic cancer cells in Prof. Dieter Saur's group at the Center for translational Cancer Research at the Technical University of Munich, Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
During my Bachelor's studies my greatest passion was to learn how the human body works on the molecular level. I was always fascinated by consequences appearing if any gear in this complex network does not fulfill its role causing smaller illnesses, chronicle diseases or even cancer. That is why I decided to realize my Bachelor's thesis in the field of oncology and to continue my Master's studies with Major in Cancer Biology at the DKFZ. With its plenty of successful groups, the DKFZ reaches milestones in German cancer research offering students the chance to benefit by learning from excellent scientists.
Although medical research has made huge progress within the last decades, there are still many incurable diseases such as cancer that are present in today's life especially regarding our aging society. During my upcoming years at DKFZ I plan to broaden my scientific horizon and to find my field of interest in cancer research to build on in my future academic career.

Contact: daniel.gievers (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Calvin HANS (Indonesia)

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University Education
10/2022 – Present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and DKFZ, Germany
08/2020 – 10/2021: Registered Professional Pharmacist
08/2016 – 08/2020: BS in Pharmaceutical Science and Technology

Highest Degree: Registered Professional Pharmacist
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: The Effect of Hepatitis B Virus X Mutant Protein T118N and K130M/V131I on HSPA6 Gene Expression in HepG2 cells

Internships/Work Experience
06/2021 – 06/2022: Scientific and Business Development Staff at Innokeys Pte. Ltd., Singapore (including subsidiary company Oncoscience GmbH, Germany)
01/2021 – 02/2022: Intern Research and Development (R&D) Scientist at pharmaceutical industry PT. Dankos Farma, Indonesia
08/2018 – 07/2020: Chemistry Tutor/ Teacher at Excelsior Learning Center, Indonesia
09/2018 – 12/2020: Student Lab Assistant at Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia (Pharmaceutical Lab, Pharmacochemistry Lab, Microbiology Lab, Biochemistry Lab and Phytochemistry Lab)

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Drug development is the most difficult and riskiest 'investment' in human's history, but at the same time the most valuable. The journey from bench lab to the market is very intricate and siloed. That's why I'm interested in the full spectrum of drug development, from scientific to business aspect. In the upcoming 21st century medicine, I believe there will be a paradigm shift from cancer therapy to diagnostic and prevention, and I want to be a part of it.

Contact: calvin.hans (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn Profile

Nimisha KHURANA (India)

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University Education
10/2022 – Present: Masters of Science in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
07/2019 – 08/2022: Bachelors of Sciences in Biochemistry Honours, Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India

Highest Degree: Bachelors of Sciences (B.Sc) in Biochemistry Honours
Title of Bachelor's Thesis:

Internships/Work Experience
06/2022-08/2022: Research Project Trainee at Mycobacterium tuberculosis- Molecular Biology Laboratory of Dr. Vandana Malhotra's research group at Sri Venkateswara College. The project aimed at cloning, expressing and purifying Fluorescent protein tagged M. tuberculosis PknK kinase domain.
06/2021 – 09/2022: Research project Intern at Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay (IIT-B), Mumbai, India. Worked on Project Titled: "Literature Mining and Survey for Plasma Proteome Biomarkers to differentiate between COVID-19 patients depending on severity.", under Prof. Dr. Sanjeeva Srivastava, Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering, Group leader, Proteomics Facility.
05/2021-12/2021: Project Intern at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India. Worked on research project (under review for publication) titled: "Comparative docking studies of drugs and phytocompounds for emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2." under Dr. Mansi Verma, Department of Zoology.
06/2021 – 08/2021: Summer intern under SRI VIPRA Internship Program 2021 for Research in Academics at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India. Worked on the project titled "In Silico Approaches to understand Transcriptomics and Proteomics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Virulence and Persistence." under Dr. Vandana Malhotra, Department of Biochemistry
06/2020 – 08/2020: Summer intern under SRI VIPRA Internship Program 2020 for Research in Academics at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India. Worked on the project titled "Association between Occupational Exposure to Air Pollutants and Pulmonary Health in Construction Workers: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis." Under Dr. Nandita Narayanasamy, Department of Biochemistry and Dr. J. Lalitha, Department of Electronics.

Publications

  • Chugh, A., Khurana, N., Verma, K., Sehgal, I., Rolta, R., Vats, P., Phartyal, R., Salaria, D., Kaushik, N., Choi, E. H., Verma, M., & Kaushik, N. K. (2022). Changing Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2: A Global Challenge. Applied Sciences, 12(11), Article 11. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12115546
  • Garg, A., Khurana, N., Chugh, A., Verma, K., & Malhotra, V. In silico evidence for extensive Ser/Thr phosphorylation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis two-component signalling systems. Forthcoming research article- Current Science. (n.d.). https://www.currentscience.ac.in/forthcoming.articles.php

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Throughout my undergraduate studies, I have marvelled at the complex interplay between stress-activated signalling pathways that determine the fate of a cell. I was intrigued to learn about the significance of the composite system of molecular interactions which maintain homeostasis by regulating cellular responses. In particular, my interest was captivated to learn that the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) mediates the cell cycle arrest under Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) stress; when this pathway goes haywire, it leads to tumour progression. Therefore, as a research enthusiast, At DKFZ, I intend to understand the molecular basis of stress-induced cell-cycle dysregulation, which promotes tumour formation and apply my comprehension towards the development of novel approaches for the clinical treatment of cancer. I am motivated to delve deep into my zeal for understanding molecular dynamics of cancer progression and meaningfully participate in the advancement of medical biology. Ultimately, I aim to take my research from the bench-side to the bedside of the patients through the development of better therapeutic strategies and diagnostic methods.

Contact: nimisha.khurana (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

Büsra KOCAMESE (Turkey)

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University Education
10/2022 - Present: Masters of Science in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
Bachelor's: 08/2017 – 06.2021: Molecular Biology and Genetics, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey
Associate Degree: 09/2020 – 07/2022 Istanbul University, Laboratorian and Veterinary Health, Istanbul, Turkey

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Protective Effects of Water Based Propolis and Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester on the Oxidative Protein Damages in Fission Yeast

Internship/Work Experience
02/2021 – 09/2022 Research Internship and Bachelor's Thesis in Istanbul University Proteomics Research Laboratory, Istanbul, Turkey

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
From a young age I always wanted to help people who were suffering from a disease like cancer; a multifactorial disease that originates from a single cell and can lead to the collapse of human body. Understanding the basic mechanisms of cancer is very important for the potential treatments or preventation of the disease. I am particularly interested in finding out about the cancer microenvironment as well as the regulation of gene expression and it's effects on cancer cells' behavior. As a master student at DKFZ, I will be informed about different cancer-biology related subjects and I am eager to deepen my knowledge to choose a path in the future. I believe DKFZ will give me the opportunity to be well-prepared for a PhD and become a succesful cancer researcher in my future career. My ultimate goal is to contribute to the ongoing research and hopefully leave a mark on people's lives.

Contact:  (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn Profile

Amelia KURTI (Albania)

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University Education
10/2022 – present: MSc. in Molecular Biosciences, Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg & German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
10/2019-09/2022 BSc. in Genomics, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Highest Degree: Bachelor's of Science in Genomics
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Investigating the role of C/EBPα as an orchestrator of Nanog expression, through chromatin topology alteration.

Internship/Work Experience
03/2022 – 08/2022: Curricular Internship and Bachelor's Thesis preparation in Thomas Graf Lab at Center for Genomics Regulation (CRG), Barcelona, Spain

Scientific Interests/ Future Plans
During my Bachelor's degree, I developed a strong interest in Precision medicine, due to its potential to revolutionize modern therapies. The advancement of Genomics tools allows in-depth investigation and understanding of patients' disease mechanism, favouring selection of the most effective treatment according to their genetic makeup. During my Major in Cancer Biology at DKFZ, I look forward to strengthen my foundation on Cancer Genomics and Immuno-oncology, and comprehend how to apply novel technologies and methodologies to help Cancer patients. I intend to take full advantage of the exceptional scientific environment to enhance my research capabilities, that would pave the road to my future aspiration, the completion of a PhD and conceivably, contribution to Cancer Precision Medicine research.

Contact: amelia.kurti (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn Profile

Ye Seul LEE (South Korea)

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University Education
10/2022 - Present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences - Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
08/2019 - 06/2022: B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Elucidating membrane permeability using a calcein-based fluorescence assay

Internships/Work Experience
06/2022 – 08/2022: DAAD internship at University College Cork APC Microbiome (Prof. John Cryan), Cork, Ireland, Project: effects of 4EPS on the Blood-Brain Barrier
02/2022 – 05/2022: Advanced Biochemistry Teaching Lab assistant at Jacobs University (Prof. Sebastian Springer), Bremen, Germany
10/2021 – 06/2022: Undergraduate Research Assistant at Jacobs University, Biophysics lab (Prof. Mathias Winterhalter), Bremen, Germany, Project: optimizing a calcein-based fluorescence assay to study membrane permeability
06/2021 – 08/2021: Summer Research Intern at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology (Prof. Ruth Ley), Tuebingen, Germany, Project: studying which flagellin domain of Salmonella Typhimurium activates the host immunity
01/2021 – 05/2021: Undergraduate Research Assistant at Jacobs University, Microbiology lab (Prof. Mattthias Ullrich), Bremen, Germany, Project: classification of zinc-resistant bacteria from Nordsee

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
While working at labs identifying the effects of gut microbiota from various perspectives, I became interested in how the gut microbiota affects the host organism and is closely correlated with fascinating phenomena. As a master's student at DKFZ, I would like to have an opportunity to study the interactions between the host organism, the microbiota, and the immune system. After being equipped with research skills and establishing fundamental background, I hope to pursue a PhD in the related field.

Contact: yeseul.lee (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn Profile

Anna MacMANUS (USA & Ireland)

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University Education
10/2022 – present M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany
9/2017 - 05/2021 B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Stents as a Treatment for Intracranial Atherosclerosis: types, performance, and usage

Internships/Work Experience
9/2021 – 6/2022: Fulbright research grantee in the Knopf Group at the Center for Regenerative Therapies of Dresden (CRTD). Over the course of my stay in this lab, I was the head of a project investigating the role of a gene of interest in the extravasation of bone-tropic breast cancer cells.
10/2020 – 5/2021: Undergraduate research assistant in the Jimenez Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
01/2019 – 10/2020: Undergraduate research assistant in the Albertson Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
01/2016 – 05/2016: High school intern at the Cavanaugh Lab at Harvard University

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
The progression of cancer is a series of complex and intertwined steps, all of which are of interest at both basic and clinical research levels. I am particularly interested in the process of metastasis, and understanding the changes that occur for cancerous cells to spread and form colonies in areas distal to their origin. While I am fascinated by the molecular mechanisms of metastasis, I am also interested in this process due to its clinical relevance. My Fulbright research at the CRTD allowed me to combine my interest in cancer metastasis with women's health, another passion of mine. This is an intersection that I hope to continuing exploring in the future by focusing on cancers that affect women, such as breast and ovarian cancer. After completing my M.Sc., I hope to pursue a PhD in which I can continue to explore both my interests in cancer research and women's health.

Contact: anna.macmanus (at) dkfz.de
Linkedin profile

Marta MERLO (Italy)

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University Education
10/2022 – present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
09/2019 – 07/2021: Bachelor in Biomolecular Sciences and Technologies, University of Trento

Highest Degree: Bachelor in Biomolecular Sciences and Technologies (Biotechnology)
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Galectin-10 predicts a worse prognosis in pediatric myelodysplastic syndromes by enhancing the expression of PD-L1 immune checkpoint.

Internships/Work Experience
02/2022 – 06/2022: Research internship and Bachelor thesis in the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (prof. Paolo Macchi) at CIBIO - University of Trento

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
During my previous studies, I became passionate about cancer biology. Even though it is among the most aggressive and lethal diseases, I am fascinated by cancer dynamics. The ability of cancer cells to develop and adapt to the environment thanks to their heterogeneous and unstable genetic and epigenetic background, makes them a hot topic and a challenging problem to study. In particular, I am intrigued by the molecular mechanisms exploited by cancer cells to manipulate the immune system.
DKFZ is an interdisciplinary and stimulating research centre. As a master student, I am looking forward to enlarging my knowledge in Cancer Biology and improving my practical skills to pursue my career as a PhD. Working as a researcher can quench my curiosity in disclosing new insights into the crosstalk between cancer and immune cells. In addition, revealing the blind spots of these mechanisms could help provide new therapeutic applications to fight tumor growth.

Contact: marta.merlo (at) dkfz.de
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Kilian MERZ (Germany)

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University Education
10/2022 – present M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany
10/2018 - 09/2021 B.Sc. in Biochemistry, Goethe-Universität-Frankfurt, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biochemistry
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Structural Analysis of the Stem-Loop Element 5a of the 5'-UTR of SARS-CoV-2 with Residual Dipolar Couplings

Internships/Work Experience
07/2022 – 09/2022 Research Internship establishing organoid cell culture models for oral epithelia and investigating histology of murine salivary glands, group of Dr. Kretzschmar, MSNZ Würzburg
02/2022 – 07/2022 Research Assistant in the group of Prof. Dr. Florian Heyd, Freie Universität Berlin
01/2022 – 03/2022 Lab Rotation investigating the effects of physiological conditions on 3'-splice site selection, group of Prof. Dr. Florian Heyd, Freie Universität Berlin
11/2021 Research Internship investigating the effects of body temperature on alternative splicing in silico and in vitro, Dr. Marco Preußner, Freie Universität Berlin
04/2021 – 07/2022 Bachelor's Thesis in the group of Prof. Dr. Schwalbe, Goethe-Universität-Frankfurt

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Even though the cancer cell and its ability to self-renew contribute to tumour formation, its neighbouring cells, the tumour microenvironment, seem to play a role that is just as important. This leads to a plethora of crosstalks that still remain elusive. I seek to contribute towards a better understanding of these interactions and the role of cancer stem cells in the transformation of the tumour microenvironment with the goal of uncovering new therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment. Here, the alteration of the gene expression and the metabolism are of particular interest to me.
The DKFZ with its unique and diverse research landscape will enable me to gain additional expertise in cancer biology, further branch into the application of bioinformatics in cancer research as I have a passion for data science and establish connections with international researchers, all preparing me for my PhD.

Contact: kilian.merz (at) dkfz.de
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Istiffa NURFAUZIAH (Indonesia)

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University Education
2013-2018/Biology/ Institut Teknologi Bandung

Highest Degree: Bachelor's of Science
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Effect of Methionine Deprivation in Scalable Differentiation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to β Cells

Internships/Work Experience
Novartis Indonesia- Medical Scientific Liaison (multiple therapeutic areas) and Medical Governance Lead (oncology) (12/2018-09/2022)
Stem Cell and Cancer Institute Indonesia - Research Intern (05/2016-08/2016)

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
A science graduate with passion in research and medical affairs. Graduated from Bandung Institute of Technology and completed Bachelor's thesis in Tokyo Institute of Technology in Stem Cell research. More than three years of experience in the medical affairs team. Involved in various therapeutic areas, including COPD, Asthma, and Breast Cancer. I would like to pursue my career in Innovative Medicine, specifically in biomedical science of cancer to find the missing puzzle of currently advanced research and its translation into clinical application on patients. Upon my completion of the Master's program, I intend to pursue PhD in Oncology before finally working as a biomedical scientist specializing in Oncology in my country. In the longer term, I would like to start a biopharma company, so that I can provide a locally-developed, affordable choice to improve patients' quality of life.

Contact: istiffa.nurfauziah (at) dkfz.de
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Iker PUERTO SAN ROMÁN (Spain)

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University Education
10/2022 - Present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg in collaboration with the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.
09/18 - 09/22: B.Sc. in Biochemistry, University of Malaga, Spain.

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biochemistry
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Analysis of the metabolic interactions between tumor and endothelial cells through conditioned media.

Internships/Work Experience
02/2022 - 06/2022: Bachelor's Thesis in the research group of Dr. Miguel Angel Medina, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Malaga, Spain
11/2021 - 06/2022: Research Collaboration Grant (Beca de colaboracion) 2021/2022 from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, in the research group of Dr. Miguel Angel Medina, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Malaga, Spain

Publications
Verdugo E*, Puerto I*, Medina MÁ. An update on the molecular biology of glioblastoma, with clinical implications and progress in its treatment. Cancer Communications. 2022; 1–29. https://doi.org/10.1002/cac2.12361 (*indicates equal contribution)

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer research is not only a scientific interest but also a moral duty for me.
During my Bachelor's at the University of Malaga, I got inside the molecular biology and the metabolism of cancer thanks to Prof. Medina Torres and Prof. Lozano Castro, and I realized how complex the group of diseases we denominate collectively as 'cancer' is. Currently, I am particularly interested in the metabolism within the tumor microenvironment and its impact on tumor growth.
I deeply appreciate the opportunity I am given with this Master's program to boost my scientific skills at such an inspiring and renowned institution as DKFZ, and I look forward to expanding my knowledge in this field by the hands of the experts from this research center, in order to successfully develop my career towards a Ph.D. focused on cancer research.

Contact: iker.puertosanroman (at) dkfz.de
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María José RAMOS MEDINA (Ecuador)

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University/College Education
King's College London, 09/2017 – 05/2020, BSc (Hons) Molecular Genetics
University College London, 09/2016 – 06/2017 Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for Science and Engineering

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (Honours) Molecular Genetics
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Charaterization of the retrogene Mcts2 in neural stem cells: CRISPR-Cas9 mediated epitope tagging and evidence for its role as a protein-coding gene

Internships/Work Experience
King's Undergraduate Research Fellow, Fear Lab, Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology KCL, 06/2019 – 08/2019. Project: BATF and BATF3 as part of the regulatory network of IgE class-switching
Laboratory Skills Support Assistant, 07/2019 – 09/2019. Project: Development of a database to build a virtual platform for laboratory training of the students from the School of Biosciences at King's College London.
Laboratory Researcher, KCL iGEM 2018, 06/2018 – 11/2018. Project: Engineering of sRNA scaffolds for the regulation of gene expression in Escherichia coli

Publications

  • Beal, J., Farny, N.G., Haddock-Angelli, T., Selvarajah, V., Baldwin, G. S., Buckley-Taylor, R., Gershater, M., Kiga, D., Maken, J., Sanchania, V., Sison, A., Workman, C.T. & iGEM Interlab Study Contributors. 2020, 'Robust estimation of bacterial cell count from optical density', Nature Communications Biology, vol. 3, no. 512.
  • López-Cortés, A., Guerrero, S., Ortiz-Prado, E., Yumiceba, V., Vera-Guapi, A., León Cáceres, A., Simbaña-Rivera, K., Gómez-Jaramillo, A. M., Echeverría-Garcés, G., García-Cárdenas, J. M., Guevara-Ramírez, P., Cabrera-Andrade, A., San Andrés, L. P., Cevallos-Robalino, D., Bautista, J., Armendáriz-Castillo, I., Pérez-Villa, A., Abad-Sojos, A., Ramos-Medina, M. J., León-Sosa, A., Morillo, A., Arias-Erazo, F.,Fuenmayor-González, L., Abel Quiñones, L. and Kyriakidis, N. C. 2022, 'Pulmonary inflammatory response in lethal COVID-19 reveals potential therapeutic targets and drugs in phases III/IV clinical trials', Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol. 13, no. 833174.
  • López-Cortés, A., Echeverría-Garcés, G. and Ramos-Medina, M. J. 2022, 'Molecular pathogenesis and new therapeutic dimensions for spinal muscula atrophy', Biology, vol. 11, no. 894.

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide that not only affects diagnosed patients but also represents a significant burden for our healthcare systems. Advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies have significantly increased our knowledge of the genetic and molecular basis of this disease. Subsequently giving rise to the possibility of an integrative approach to cancer treatment that involves targeted therapies, pharmacogenomics, and computational methods based on the individual needs of patients, known as precision medicine.
My interests are to contribute to this goal by exploring targeted immunotherapies, such as car-T cell therapy, and their interplay with cancer genomics. The Cancer Biology specialization at the DKFZ, offers me the opportunity to gain exposure to cancer research from different angles among experts. I intend to use this to immerse myself in the study of cancer and further shape my scientific interests to pursue my doctoral studies.

Contact:  (at) dkfz.de
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Lena-Marie SCHMITT (Germany)

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University Education
10/2022 - present: M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany
10/2019 – 09/2022: B.Sc. in Biology, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: DNA Repair in Human Lymphocytes after Radiation Exposure under Mild Hypoxia

Internships/ Work Experience
06/2022-09/2022: Bachelor Thesis at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, AG Biodiagnostics, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany
02/2022 – 06/2022: Research Internship at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, AG Biodiagnostics, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany: "Establishing Methods to Determine DNA Double Strand Breaks"

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Despite intensive development of new oncotherapy methods, cancer remains a major cause of death and suffering in today's society. This highlights the importance for further improvement of anti cancer-therapies. During recent years, individualized treatment strategies have moved into focus. Such personalized precision medicine allows to maximize treatment efficiency while minimizing its side effects. I am particularly intrigued by the broad range of personalized treatments, including, for instance, pharmacogenomic or immunotherapeutic approaches.
The Cancer Biology Major at DKFZ provides me with the unique opportunity to broaden my theoretical knowledge as well as my hands-on skills within the diverse field of cancer biology in a cutting-edge research environment. For my future, I plan to continue with a PhD in the field of cancer biology with the ultimate goal of pursuing translational research in cancer therapeutics to be able to contribute to the fight against cancer.

Contact: lena-marie.schmitt (at) dkfz.de
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Kateřina SULKOVÁ (Czech Republic)

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University Education
10/2022-present M.Sc. in Molecular Biosciences – Major Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls University and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
9/2019-6/2022 Bachelor in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, Czech Republic

Highest Degree: Bachelor with Honors in Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Sensitivity of collection cell lines to chemotherapeutics

Internships/ Work Experience
6/2020-present Research Assistant in the group of Experimental Magnetic Resonance at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (Czech Republic), main projects: ROS-responsive MR probe, pancreatic islets visualization
9/2021-6/2022 Bachelor Thesis at the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology of the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague (Czech Republic)
9/2019-6/2020 Research Intern in the group of Experimental Magnetic Resonance at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (Czech Republic), project: comparison of methods for tumor volume measurement in vivo
10/2018-5/2019 Internship at the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology of the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague (Czech Republic), project: effect of red clover extracts on wound-healing
1/2018-12/2018 Internship at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Czech Academy of Science (Czech Republic), 3D-nanoscaffolds for support of tissue regeneration
10/2017-5/2018 Internship at the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology of the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague (Czech Republic), project: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activity of Cymbopogon citratus

Publication
Shapoval O, Engstová H, Jirák D, Drahokoupil J, Sulková K, Berková Z, Pop-Georgievski O, Holendová B, Ježek P, Horák D. Poly(4-Styrenesulfonic Acid-co-maleic Anhydride)-Coated NaGdF4:Yb,Tb,Nd Nanoparticles with Luminescence and Magnetic Properties for Imaging of Pancreatic Islets and β-Cells. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2022 Apr 27;14(16):18233-18247. doi: 10.1021/acsami.2c04274. Epub 2022 Apr 13. PMID: 35416039

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
Information has no meaning without its context, which is why cancer cell research must be framed in terms of their surroundings. This microenvironment differs widely in stages of tumor development, as well as in response to treatment or, on the contrary, developed resistance to chemotherapeutics. I am especially interested in the role of reactive oxygen species and the oxidative environment in the tumor environment.
As a master's student at DKFZ, I can observe and participate in cutting-edge science, which is a great opportunity both for personal curiosity and enthusiasm as well as preparation for a future PhD study and scientific career.

Contact: katerina.sulkova (at) dkfz.de
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Aaron VIEGAS (India)

Lena WICKENHÄUSER (Germany)

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University Education
10/2022 – Present: M.Sc. in Major Cancer Biology at DKFZ (Heidelberg, Germany) and Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg
10/2019 – 09/2022: B.Sc. in Molecular Biotechnology at Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biotechnology
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Relevance of immune surveillance in Lynch syndrome – tumor studies in an immunodeficient mouse model

Internships/Work Experience
04/2022 – 08/2022: Research internship and Bachelor thesis at the Department of Applied Tumor Biology of the Institute of Pathology (Heidelberg University Hospital)
08/2021 – 09/2021: Curricular Summer Internship at Biomex GmbH Heidelberg

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
My interest in cancer biology was particularly aroused in a seminar on cancer diagnostics, when I could link my theoretical knowledge with practical methods to identify and characterize tumors. Since then I have been particularly fascinated, also through my studies, by the development of cancer and especially the individual processes of how cells acquire the characteristics specific to cancer cells in order to be able to grow and metastasize in an uncontrolled manner. During my bachelor thesis I was allowed to take a closer look at the influence of immunoediting on colorectal cancer development and progression, which sparked my interest in the interaction of the immune system with cancer cells. During my master studies I would therefore like to broaden my knowledge in these areas in order to pursue a PhD later on and to be able to contribute to cancer research myself.

Contact: lena.wickenhaeuser (at) dkfz.de
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Ü. Miray YIĞIT (Turkey)

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University Education
10/2022 - present: M.Sc. Molecular Biosciences with a Major in Cancer Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
08/2017-06/2022: B.Sc. in Genetic and Bioengineering, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science in Genetic and Bioengineering
Title of Bachelor Thesis: The Anti-carcinogenic effect of boron derivatives against breast cancer cells.

Internships/Work Experience
06/2020-07/2020: Intern in the Laboratory of Dr. Tuğba Bağcı Önder in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey
06/2021-07/2021: Intern in the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
08/2021-09/2021: Intern in the Lower Saxony International Summer Academy in Immunology, Hannover Biomedical research School, Hannover/Germany

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
In an effort to help create a cancer free world, I've always excited to research cancer cells and how they avoid immune defense, influence their microenvironments, and alter signaling pathways. In light of all these factors, I consider the study of cancer biology to be the biological sciences' most dynamic and diversified research topic. During my undergraduate education, I had the chance to study in related fields and it stimulated my interest in cancer biology. I believe, I will have the chance to learn about several cancer-related topics in DKFZ, which will help me better understand cancer biology and choose the specific direction I want to go in cancer research.

Contact: (at) dkfz.de
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Pietro ZAFFERANI (San Marino & Italy)

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University Education
10/2019 - 09/2022: BSc in Genomics at Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
10/2022: MSc in Molecular Biosciences at Heidelberg University, with Major in Cancer Biology at DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany

Highest Degree: Bachelor's of Science in Genomics
Title of Bachelor's Thesis: Refinement of neoantigen prediction in HIV+ cancer patients through RNA-Seq

Internships/Work Experience
03/2022 - 08/2022: Curricular Internship and Bachelor's Thesis in the Weghorn Lab at Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona, Spain

Scientific Interests/Future Plans
The rise of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies made it possible to decipher entire genomes in an affordable time frame. In my opinion, this outbreak found its most noble application in the oncologic field, where it enabled scientists to gain new and fascinating insights about the biology of cancer and how to contrast it.
During my undergraduate internship, I had the opportunity to work hands-on with genomic and transcriptomic data coming from different tumor samples in the context of neoantigen prediction and tumor immunology. This experience definitely solidified my passion for the field and inspired me to pursue the Major in Cancer Biology.
I firmly believe that the stay at the DKFZ will help me to grow as a young cancer researcher. In particular, I wish to deepen my knowledge and to gain more experience in the newest computational approaches for cancer analysis.

Contact: pietro.zafferani (at) dkfz.de
LinkedIn profile

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