Belenki, Dimitri

Name: Belenki, Dimitri

Nationality: German

First supervisor: Prof. Schmitt, Charité Berlin

Research topic: Investigation of epigenetic deregulation in cellular senescence based on a murine lymphoma model.

Started in: 11/2014

Benn, Andreas

Name: Benn, Andreas

Nationality: German

First supervisor: Prof. Knaus, Freie Universität Berlin

Research topic: BMP Signal Transduction in Migration and Angiogenesis - Regulation and Implications for Tumor-Vascularization 

Tumor-vascularization and thus cancer progression requires endothelial cells to migrate out of pre-existing vasculature, a process called angiogenesis. The growth factor family of Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) regulates endothelial cell functions, such as migration, but a detailed molecular understanding is still lacking. Only recently, BMPs were characterized as pro-angiogenic factors, making their signal transduction pathway a highly attractive target for anti-angiogenic approaches in the clinic. This is of importance considering that “classical” strategies, such as Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)-targeted therapies, fail in part and show strong to fatal side effects. Therefore, in my planned PhD project I aim to investigate the detailed molecular mechanisms of “vascular BMP signaling”, identify novel endothelial-specific signaling components and characterize BMP-dependent in vitro as well as ex vivo and in vivo signaling pathways regulating endothelial cell migration, ultimately facilitating angiogenesis. The characterization of specific inhibitors and their effects on vascular BMP signaling is going to set the base for future studies providing novel strategies against tumor-induced angiogenesis and for innovative cancer therapies.

Started: 02/2013

Finished: 01/2016

Dhawan, Dhriti

Name: Dhawan, Dhriti

Nationality: Indian

First supervisor: Dr. Lee

Research topic: Linking Cellular Senescence to Alzheimer’s Disease and other Neurodegenerative Diseases with Defective Proteostasis

Started in: 03/2013

Fuhr, Luise

Name: Fuhr, Luise

Nationality: German

First supervisor: Dr. Relogio, Charité and Humboldt-Universität Berlin

Research topic: A systems biology approach to evaluate the role of the circadian clock in tumourigenesis

Started in: 11/2014

Gastl, Bastian

Name: Gastl, Bastian

Nationality: German

First supervisor: Prof. Christine Sers/Prof. Reinhold Schäfer, Charité – Institute of Pathology

Research topic: Functional analysis of signal proteins in oncogenically transformed colon carcinomas

RAS is one of the most frequently mutated oncogenes in cancer, and despite of enormous efforts to therapeutically target mutated RAS, no pharmacological inhibitor of RAS has made it into the clinic yet. This lead to RAS being often referred to as “undruggable”. To circumvent this issue I am looking for effectors of RAS, whose perturbation has an anti-cancer effect dependent on oncogenic RAS expression. This might elucidate new potential drug targets as well as strengthen the understanding on how mutated RAS contributes to cancer development.

In a second project I am looking into mutations, which we found in only a  low frequency in colorectal cancer patient samples. Until now it is unclear if these mutations are mere passenger mutations or if they exhibit a certain function. 

Started in: 12/2014

Radhakrishnan, Harikrishnan

Name: Radhakrishnan, Harikrishnan

Nationality: Indian

First supervisor: Prof. Stein, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Charité

Research topic: The role of Metastasis associated in colon cancer-1 (MACC1) in apoptosis and its co-operation with endogenous apoptosis machinery in carcinogenesis.

Started in: 04/2013

Ispasanie, Sylvia

Name: Ispasanie, Sylvia

Nationality: Swedish

First supervisor: Prof. Christine Sers, Charité – Institute of Pathology

Research topic: Identification of novel epigenetic determinants for oncogenic transformation of colorectal cancer cells and their clinical implication. The primary focus of my research lies on delineating the mechanism of resistance of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) in colorectal cancer. 

Started in: 11/2013

Li, Lianjie

Name: Li, Lianjie

Nationality: Chinese

First supervisor: Prof. Schmitt, Charité and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)

Research topic: p53 is a major tumor suppressor in human which plays a central role in tumor prevention and recent studies have also shown that p53 can involve in various metabolic pathways, such as oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis, glutaminolysis etc. Through the regulation of these metabolic processes, p53 maintains the homeostasis of cellular metabolism in cells. My project is to figure out the metabolic vulnerabilities of p53 mutant based on Eµ-myc lymphoma mouse model.

Started in: 12/2012

Ramberger, Evelyn

Name: Ramberger, Evelyn

Nationality: Austrian

First supervisor: Dr. Dittmar, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin

Research topic: C/EBPα is a transcription factor involved in the cell fate decision process of several cell types. Evidence suggests that C/EBPα’s functions depend on the formation of various complexes that promote cell cycle arrest and terminal differentiation. I am employing a novel mass spectrometric screening method to identify C/EBPα binding proteins/ complexes in a systematic manner. The planned approach will allow to pinpoint interactions to the C/EBP sequence and to investigate the influence of post-translational modifications on the binding pattern. By using metabolically labeled cells we will be able to perform the screen with undifferentiated cells and differentiation induced cells in parallel.

Started in: 01/2014

Royla, Nadine

Name: Royla, Nadine

Nationality: German

First supervisor: Dr. Kempa, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin

Research topic: I am interested in the coordination of glucose and glutamine metabolism and how they are controlled by the oncogene c-Myc applying high-throughput GC/LC-coupled mass spectrometry approaches.

Started in: 02/2014

Silva, Patricia

Name: Silva, Patricia 

Nationality: Portuguese

First supervisor: Prof. Baldus, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Research topic: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) mainly affects the elderly. Despite the advances in the characterization of molecular alterations and optimization of treatment in younger patients, the outcome of AML in the elderly remains very poor and comprehensive molecular studies have yet to be performed to uncover the diversity of molecular alterations in elderly AML. In this project, we aim to investigate in detail genetic lesions of elderly AML to unravel the molecular background of this distinct disease. In particular, we aim to delineate the cellular pathways that are specifically affected in elderly, to identify and functionally investigate aberrations that might provide new insights into the underlying mechanisms of chemoresistance and early relapse seen in this patient cohort. Thus, we anticipate identifying specific molecular targets as a prerequisite for the development of molecular therapy strategies to improve treatment outcome in older AML patients.

Started in: 01/2014

Sperer, Michael

Name: Sperer, Michael

Nationality: Austrian

First supervisor: Prof. Schmitt, Charité and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin 

Research topic: “The hallmarks of cancer” (Hanahan and Weinberg 2011) serve as canonical explanations why cancer cells proliferate at the expense of less advantageously equipped neighbor cell populations. However, competitive growth of transformed cells involves also cooperation and coordination with numerous non-malignant cells residing within and around tumors. My project seeks to discover and explicate such patterns of social organization in tumor progession. Importantly, I’m doing this by using concepts stemming from the social sciences, which I try to validate in the molecular context of cancer. The comparison of social dynamics among cells and meta-cellular organisms is less far-fetched as usually assumed: both humans and cancer cells are characterized by relatively high phenotypic plasticity, underscoring the critical contribution of the social environment on a single or a group of individuals' developmental outcomes. 

Started in: 01/2014

Trescher (born Pohl), Saskia

Name: Trescher, Saskia 

Nationality: German

First supervisor: Prof. Leser, Humboldt-Universität Berlin

Research topic: A Pan-omics approach to treatment resistance in lymphoma: In order to decipher general mechanisms of stress evasion and drug resistance we investigate data from an Eµ-myc mouse model studying lymphoma in early B cells. Data coming from multiple omics platforms will be analysed separately and in an integrated manner in order to find robust biomarkers for the risk of lymphoma relapse. 

Started in: 11/2014

Uhlitz, Florian

Name: Uhlitz, Florian

Nationality: German

First supervisor: Prof. Blüthgen, Charité Berlin

Research topic: I am interested in how MAP kinase signalling modulates RNA dynamics. My goal is to quantitatively determine how trans and cis elements relay signalling input dynamics to transcript output dynamics. 

Started in: 01/2014

Wesolowski, Radoslaw

Name: Wesolowski, Radoslaw

Nationality: Polish

First supervisor: Prof. Leutz, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC)

Research topic: Exploring the function of post-translational C/EBPβ modifications

The CCAAT/enhancer binding protein family is composed of six transcription factors binding to their target DNA sites via conserved C-terminal bZip domains. One essential, highly regulated family representative is C/EBPβ that participates in adipogenic differentiation, female reproduction, immune functions, senescence and tumorigenesis. C/EBPβ turned out to be massively decorated with post-translational modifications (PTMs). One of our objectives is to elucidate their role with corresponding mutations to explore PTM dependent protein interactions. In addition, we will analyze how extracellular signals alter the C/EBPβ PTM pattern and how these variations may affect the C/EBPβ interactome to trigger epigenetic realization of cellular functions on the level of the organization of chromatin and the genome.

Started in: 11/2014

Wong, Ee Lin

Name: Wong. Ee Lin

Nationality: Malaisian

First supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jörg Rademann, Freie Universität Berlin

Research topic: Discovery of novel STAT5 (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 5) inhibitor through Fragment Based Drug Design (FBDD) as potential therapeutic approach for Leukemia.

My research interest focused on evaluating small molecule inhibitors which target STAT5 in high potency and selectivity. My final goal is develop STAT5 selective inhibitor that could overcome cancer drug resistances (Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor, TKI) and study drug-target interaction through chemical proteomics. 

Started in: 11/2013

Zaimenko, Inna

Name: Zaimenko, Inna

Nationality: Ukrainian

First supervisor: Prof. Stein, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Charité 

Research topic: Metabolic determinants of metastasis development and progression

Started in: 01/2015