PhD (ESR)

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    Pauli Tikka

    I am Pauli Tikka from Finland. I obtained my two Master of Science degrees (in the Energy Engineering and Biotechnology) from one of the leading universities in Finland; Aalto University and University of Turku. The latest one I completed during 2011-2014. My master’s thesis was entitled “the effect of miRNAs to the regulation of triple negative breast cancer cell”, where I mostly worked on an in silico model and bioinformatics approaches. The research work of that thesis was conducted at the Hans Knöll Institute under Professor Dr. Rainer König from the University of Jena. After my second Master of Science degree, I enhanced my university work skills at the University of Turku as a complementary student. Earlier, I have also worked as a design engineer in two companies and as a research scientist in the Aalto University during my first Master of Science degree.  The subject of my earlier thesis was “gas evolution at the lead anodes”, and was done in the laboratory of physical chemistry for a project of Outotec Inc. In the autumn of 2015, I took the next step in my scientific career path by applying and being later selected in the RENALTRACT research project. I started my research work at the Heidelberg University in January 2016 under the professors Dr. Franz Schaefer and Dr. Anna Marciniak-Czochra. My doctoral research will be mainly focused on the development of a set of mathematical models reproducing the molecular and cellular events that lead to kidney development. For this purpose, I will rigorously review the literature of nephrogenesis’ molecular networks and genetics, collaborate with Renaltract partner laboratories, and formulate sets of mathematical equations under the co-supervision of Prof. Dr. Anna Marciniak-Czochra. Furthermore, I will perform gene network and molecular pathway analyses, and cross-species approaches in order to understand the complex genetics of congenital malformations of the kidneys and urinary tract (CAKUT) in humans. These two branches of my studies will converge in an integrative bioinformatic model of normal and aberrant kidney development that shall allow the use of complex genetic information to predict human renal malformation phenotypes.
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    Gunjan Pandey

    I am Gunjan. I did my Bachelor in Biotechnology in India.  After that I moved to Finland to pursue Masters degree in Nanoscience with a major of Cell and Molecular Biology. Relocating from the tropical plains to the land of midnight sun was a stimulating experience. The magnitude of change was similar to the change in my thesis subject from studying the behavior of ants in Bachelors to assessing cells’ pyrophosphate content in Masters. I also interned for few months in the field of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-C (VEGF-C) participating in lymphangiogenesis followed by analyzing cell apoptosis pathways utilizing Lysosomal Associated Membrane Proteins-2 (LAMP-2). During my Masters, I explored several aspects of science ranging from miniscule carbon nanotubes to chaotic cancer cells. For my Doctoral studies, I am thankful to RENALTRACT program for providing me the wonderful opportunity to work on kidney malformations in the University of Heidelberg and Acquifer, Germany under the able supervision of Prof Franz Schaefer and Dr Jochen Gehrig. I will be mainly involved in drug screening and candidate gene analysis in cystic kidney diseases. For this project zebrafish will serve as the model organism.
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    Jaskiran Kaur

    I am Jaskiran Kaur from India. I obtained my Bachelor's and Master’s degree (Biotechnology) from one of the leading university of Punjab; India, which I completed during 2009-2014. My master's thesis was entitled “In-silico drug designing for tuberculosis using Ketoacyl (KasA) as a drug target”, where I mostly worked on drug designing and computational biology. After Master’s, I got an opportunity to work under the guidance of Dr. Sridhar Sivasubbu at Insitute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB); New Delhi, India. Here, I got a chance to learn about non-coding RNAs regulating cardiovascular development and  basic of Zebrafish Biology. In 2015, I moved to Cologne, Germany and started working as guest trainee under the supervision of Dr. David Vilchez at CECAD. In Vilchez lab I was investigating how preotesome homeostasis drive the aging process by using  C.elegans. as a model organism. While working in CECAD, I was selected as an Early Stage Researcher as part of the RENALTRACT research project. As a part of this prestigious opportunity, I will be completing my PhD at the Hannover Medical School under Professor. Andreas Kispert. For my doctoral studies, my research will be mainly focused in identifying and characterizing additional signalling pathways that regulate early ureter development in the mouse. I will use a combination of tissue specific gene targeting studies in vivo and embryological manipulation of ureteric explant cultures in vitro to characterize the phenotypic changes associated with the loss and gain of different signalling pathways.
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    Pedro Magalhães

    My name is Pedro Magalhães, and I´m from Portugal. I obtained my Bachelor degree in Genetics and Biotechnology at University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), which I completed in 2012. Afterwards, I decided to continue my academic training in the same institution, with a Master Degree in Biotechnology for Health Science (2015). My master's thesis was entitled “Identification and sequencing of acetylase expressed from the pMdT1 recombinant plasmid in Escherichia coli”, where I worked under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Gilberto Igrejas. This project was developed at UTAD and at Faculty of Science and Technology, New University of Lisbon, and the main aim was focused on proteomics and antibiotic resistance. It is an honour for me to be part of the Renaltract project, and I believe that this project has everything a student needs to change perspectives and shape ideas into something innovative and meaningful. As Renaltract ESR9 at the Mosaiques Diagnostics GmbH of Hannover, the ultimate goal will be to identify Renal tract malformations (RTM) related peptide biomarkers in urine.
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    Vladimir Kozlov

    I’m Vladimir Kozlov and I come from Moscow, the capital of Russia. I completed 5 years of undergraduate education in Moscow State University and received the diploma of Biochemistry specialist. During this time, I worked on my undergraduate thesis in the prof. P.G. Georgiev’s lab (Institute of Gene Biology, Moscow) under the supervision of Dr. O.G. Maksimenko. My research focused on the regulatory proteins in the nucleus of Drosophila melanogaster, specifically the discovery aof interaction between insulator binding protein CTCF and one of the Polycomb group proteins, Su(z)2. I consider this period as being foundational in my path as a scientist, building up essential skills and adapting to the lab routine. My first international experience was an Amgen Scholars program in Munich, Germany. I spent two months studying a chromatin protein HP1 using mass-spectrometry, and presented the results of the project at a poster presentation in Cambridge. This episode inspired me to apply for PhD positions abroad.  I contacted Dr. Andreas Schedl after I’ve found the description of the proposed Renaltract project in his lab – it is novel enough for me that I became intrigued by it, yet my previous experience as a molecular biologist would be useful. As a Renaltract ESR at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis (Nice, France), I will study the molecular pathways that regulate early kidney development in mice, focusing on the Sox11 regulatory protein and its downstream targets in renal stem cells.
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    Saurav Ghimire

    My name is Saurav Ghimire from Nepal. I completed my schooling in my home town Nepalganj, which is in Western Nepal. I completed my Bachelors in Pharmacy (B.Pharmacy) at Pokhara University, one of the leading Institute in Pharmacy in Nepal from 2007-2011. During this time I got a chance to enhance my skills in medicine and experiments in both in-vivo and in-vitro efficacy studies. After graduation, I worked as a Registered Pharmacist for seven months in the Pharmaceutical Industry. I went to South Korea for my masters as a Korean Government Scholar in 2012. During this period I got an opportunity to work under Prof. Mansu Kim at Department of Pharmacy, Inje University mainly focusing on aging research using the fruit fly (Drosophila Melanogaster) as an experimental model. Over a period of two years, I was able to learn in depth about molecular mechanisms of aging, various evaluation techniques and the reason for the physiological changes in the flies. After graduating my masters in August 2015, I was selected as an Early Stage Researcher as part of the RENALTRACT research project. As part of this, I will be completing my PhD at the University of Glasgow under Professor. Julian Dow. For my doctoral studies, my research will be mainly focused in metabolomics, informatics as well as physiological assays and morphological analysis. I will be studying simple models for nephrolithiasis and renal sequelae of inborn errors of metabolism.
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    Filipa Lopes

    I am Filipa, from Vila Real, a lovely city in the North of Portugal. I have a first degree in Biology, concluded in 2012 at the University of Trás-os.-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal. During the last semester I worked as a research trainee in the Biochemistry and Biology & Bioenergetics labs. This work involved the production of polysaccharides from Ganoderma resinaceum and evaluation of its effects in colon and liver cancer cell lines. In the same year, I moved to Porto, Portugal, where I studied for my master’s degree in Oncology- specialization in Molecular Oncology at the Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Porto (ICBAS/UP) & The Portuguese Oncology Institute – Porto, Portugal. In order to carry out my dissertation, I joined the Cancer Genetics group at Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology at the University of Porto (IPATIMUP) integrating the I3S consortium, within Dr Joana Paredes’s Team. The project addressed the study of molecular mechanisms by which P-cadherin, a cell adhesion molecule, an established breast cancer stem cell biomarker, confers chemo- and radiotherapy cell death resistance, with a focus on the DNA Damage Repair pathway. It is with great pleasure that I am joining to the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network Project RENALTRACT. As ESR 7 at The University of Manchester, I will work in a project with the aim of highlight novel neurological perspectives on congenital tract urinary disease, a pathology that severely compromises the quality of life in affected children.
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    Zenglai Tan

    I am Zenglai Tan, who is from Jiangxi province, a place in the south of China. I learned Biotechnology in Hebei Normal University and got my Bachelor degree in 2012. Then I began my study of the master phase in the Capital Normal University, Beijing. After I finished the master courses, I went to Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI), Jena, Germany to do my master thesis as an exchange student in August 2013. I was mainly engaged in the zebrafish work, trying to identify and characterize the Wilms tumor suppressor gene 1 (Wt1) target genes in zebrafish kidney development. I completed my master thesis’ work and got the degree in the July of 2015. It is my honor to work as a part of the RENALTRACT Project. And also it’s my pleasure to continue my research work on the kidney. As Renaltract ESR1 in the University of Oulu, I will study on analysis of the fundamental cellular and molecular control mechanisms of the nephrogenesis.
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    Laura Goea

    My name is Laura Goea and I’m from Uricani, a small city in southern Transylvania, Romania. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Cluj-Napoca Romania where I worked for 1 year on Cyanobacteria under the supervision of Dr. Druga Bogdan. Throughout extensive lab experiments we showed for the first time that a poorly known cyanobacteria species (Coelomoron pusillum) is able to produce toxins (hepatotoxins). Following this, I obtained my Master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Here, I had the opportunity to be part of the Epithelial polarity and cancer group, Department of Developmental and Cellular Differentiation belonging to the National Center of Molecular Biology “Severo Ochoa, Spain. My project was focused mainly on Notch signaling pathway, where I worked under the supervision of Dr. Belmonte Fernando. It is a privilege for me to be part of the RENALTRACT Project where along with the opportunities for my intellectual and professional growth I will have the possibility to meet and work with people of the host country and others from around the world, sharing professional and creative insights.
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    Pierbruno Ricci

    I’m Pierbruno Ricci and I’m Italian (from Chieti, a small city in the Abruzzo region). Having performed my Bachelor’s studies in Biotechnology at the University of Bologna in Italy from 2009 to 2012, I obtained my Master’s Degree in Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology from the same University in March 2015. During my Bachelor thesis project in Bologna, I worked with Dr. Annalisa Pession, who is an Associate Professor, on thyroid cancer and during the last year of the Master’s degree, I worked in the molecular biology lab of Associate Professor Dr. Marina Marini, where I studied the abnormalities in erythrocyte membranes of children affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I was then awarded the Erasmus+ Unipharma‐Graduates fellowship to pursue an internship at Institut Pasteur, Paris, where I focused my research for 5 months on Plasmodium falciparum. It is an honor for me to start this new adventure of research in developmental biology in the Renaltract project. As Renaltract ESR10 at the Université Pierre et Marie CURIE of Paris, I will investigate the role of microRNAs and their target genes in the renal pathogenesis of a mouse model of the Renal Cysts and Diabetes syndrome.
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    Guillermo Martinez Corrales

    From 2007 to 2012, I studied for a Biology Licenciatura at the University of Barcelona. After this, I pursued a Master’s degree in Genetics and Genomics, in the same university. During the final year of degree and also as the Master’s project thesis, I joined the laboratory of Marta Llimargas, in IBMB-CSIC, Barcelona, for almost 2 years, where I focused my work in the study of the development of Drosophila melanogaster tracheal tubules. After this, I moved as a visiting student to Peter Lawrence’s laboratory at the University of Cambridge, where I continued my research in Drosophila epidermal development. As Renaltract ESR4 at the University of Glasgow, I will investigate functional roles of novel transcription factors in the development of Drosophila Malpighian (renal) tubules, which will link with parallel work in vertebrate and mammalian renal development, to be investigated by the Renaltract consortium.
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    Irene Sanchez Martin

    I´m Irene Sánchez and I´m Spanish (from Madrid). I studied Veterinary Medicine and by then I already showed a high interest on working in international environments, which brought me to an stage in the Helsinki University, where I got clinical and chirurgical formation. During my studies I also saw it clear, that although I enjoyed the contact with the clinic, I wanted to develop my career as a researcher. This certitude was (if possible) confirmed during my 3 years at Laboklin, the leader laboratory for veterinary clinical analysis in Germany. I arrived there thanks to a Leonardo da Vinci grant and I was hired after finishing the project, having the great opportunity of enhancing my knowledge and skills on all lab lines, especially biochemistry, cell culture, serology and molecular biology. After those great three years I decided to continue my formation and I returned to Madrid to make a Master in Virology at the Universidad Complutense. My objective was to refresh and improve concepts in the field of molecular medicine, as well as enlarging my network in the area where I want to develop my career. I had the pleasure of making my master thesis in the field of Hepatitis C with Dr Esteban Domingo, in the CBM-CSIC. After finishing the Master I was hired as senior researcher by Dr. Lluis Montoliu in the CNB-CSIC, where I´ve been working in genetics with animal models. It is for me a privilege to be part of the RENALTRACT Project. With its structure and organization, and with the high level of the its members, it is surely to achieve very important and useful results.