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The meeting is organised by a group of students of the Graduate School for Biological Sciences of the University of Cologne and the International Graduate School in Development Health and Disease.

Members of the Organisational Committee

Mona Al-Maarri did her Master of Science in “Biological Science” at the University of Cologne. This year she started with her PhD at the Institute for Genetics, Cologne. She is investigating the role of inflammatory signaling pathways in cancer and obesity by generating new mouse models in the lab of PD Dr. Thomas Wunderlich.

Sita Arjune studied Biological Sciences at the University of Cologne were she joined the Fast-Track/Doctoral program funded by the Graduate School for Biological Sciences. Since 2010 she is a PhD student in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Günter Schwarz at the Institute for Biochemistry, University of Cologne supported by a Friedrich-Ebert graduate fellowship. In her work she focusses on the regulation of human cysteine catabolism by characterizing the function of all enzymes involved. Furthermore, she investigates the role of cysteine and related metabolites in the neurodegeneration associated with the inherited metabolic disorder Molybdenum Cofactor deficiency.

Jakob D. Busch studied Biological Sciences at the University of Cologne. He performed his M. Sc. thesis at the Institute for Genetics (University of Cologne) in the group of Prof. Dr. Thomas Langer on characterization of mitochondrial proteases. He is currently PhD student in the group of Prof. Dr. Nils-Göran Larsson at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing (Cologne). The group is interested in mitochondrial genetics and the impact of mitochondrial dysfunction on disease and ageing.
Simona Ciriello did her Master in Biotechnology at the University of Naples, Italy where she was focused on the factors involved in the maintenance of the undifferentiated state of the murine embryonic stem cells. As a member of the IGSDHD graduate school, she currently pursues her PhD in the lab of PD Dr. Niels Gehring, where she is studying the role of the protein BTZ, a core component of the exon junction complex.

Ludwig Heesen studied Biology at the Julius-Maximilians University of Würzburg and is now member of GSfBS in Cologne. After his Diploma Thesis on muscular dystrophies with Prof. Clemens Müller-Reible, he started his PhD at the Institute of Human Genetics in Prof. Brunhilde Wirth’s group. In co-operation with the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology (University of Bonn), he is currently focussing on the generation of a stem cell-based in vitro-disease model of spinal muscular dystrophy discordant patients.

Vishal Hegde did his Bachelors in Biotechnology from University of Mumbai and went ahead to do his Masters in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics at Manipal University, India. Currently he is a member of the IGSDHD and doing his PhD in the lab of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Dohmen at the Institute for Genetics. The aim of his thesis is to delineate the regulation of yeast antizyme at the level of translation and protein degradation and study the effect of polyamines on both levels.
Sybille Köhler studied biology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. She completed her diploma thesis at the Institute of Pharmacology, working on the interaction of the transcription factor II-I with the human enzyme paraoxonase 2. In 2011 she started her PhD in the Nephrolab at the University Hospital Cologne. She is focusing on polarity in podocytes and aims to understand the importance of Par3 for these specialized cells.
Avadh Kumar is a PhD student in the lab of Günter Schwarz in the Institute for Biochemistry. The research focus of the group lies on understanding protein structure-function relations in different biological processes ranging from basic metabolism to molecular neuroscience.
Maria Nunes studied biochemistry at Coimbra’s University in Portugal. She did her diploma thesis at the Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, working on the role of T cells in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Currently she is doing her PhD in the lab of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Dohmen at the Institute for Genetics. The aim of her thesis is to understand the structure and regulation of proteasome precursor complexes.
Franziska Ottens studied Biological Sciences at the University of Cologne. She completed her BSc at the German Aerospace Center, Cologne, and her Master studies in the lab of PD Dr. Niels Gehring, investigating the role of SMG proteins in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). In association with the IGSDHD graduate school, she stayed in the Gehring lab as a PhD student, focusing on the identification of mRNA targets, subjected to NMD.
Derk Pannen studied biology, chemistry and education science at the University of Cologne. For his thesis in 2011, he was working on the role of the transcription factor RcsB in E. coli in the lab of Karin Schnetz. Currently he is working on the determinants for transcriptional activation by RcsB and partners.
Eva Tsaousidou graduated in 2010 from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki specialized in Molecular Biology, Genetics and Development. In 2012, she received her M.Sc. in Biological Sciences as a member of the Fast Track Masters/Doctoral program of the IGSDHD at the University of Cologne in the lab of Jens Claus Brüning. For her PhD project she is using a mouse model of conditional mutagenesis to investigate the role of JNK1 in the central nervous system and how it can affect aging and aging associated diseases.

[Impressum]