April 03, 2014

FMI postdocs highly successful in securing competitive grants

Postdoctoral fellows at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research have been extremely successful in securing Marie Curie Fellowships under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Six FMI postdocs have been awarded these highly competitive fellowships, which allow them to pursue research and develop their career at the FMI. In addition, Philip Tovote has been awarded a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and Francesco Roselli a Synapsis Foundation grant.

Exploiting RNAi, chemical compound screens and in vivo microscopy, Daphne Cabianca is seeking to identify factors involved in the organization of heterochromatin at the nuclear periphery during cell differentiation. She works in Susan Gasser’s group.

Christian Gerhold has also joined Susan Gasser’s group. He wants to shed light on the enigmatic role of nuclear actin in the maintenance of genomic integrity. He is particularly interested in actin-containing chromatin modifiers, which are strong candidates for coupling actin homeostasis with genome stability.

The neuroscientist Nicola Maiorano is interested in brain development. In particular, he wants to understand how developing neuronal circuits form the somatosensory mouse whiskers topographic map, and how they are influenced by genetic mechanisms and sensory information. He works in Filippo Rijli’s group.

Linsey Reavie wants to explore the biological mechanisms driving breast tumorigenesis and cancer progression. She thus joined Mohamed Bentires-Alj’s group to study the role of the phosphatase SHP2 in poor-prognosis groups, such as HER2-positive and triple-negative breast cancer.

Another member of Mohamed Bentires-Alj’s team is Joana Silva, who is interested in studying the metabolic changes occurring in breast cancer cells during tumor development and metastasis. Her goal is to find novel metabolic targets for breast cancer therapy.

In Antoine Peters’ group, Helene Royo is investigating the epigenetic events – i.e., histone variant incorporation and changes in histone post-translational modifications – that occur at different stages of spermatogenesis. Specifically, she would like to focus on the few nucleosomes that are retained in the sperm.

Philip Tovote works in Andreas Lüthi’s laboratory. He studies defensive behaviors in response to fear, reflecting active or passive coping strategies that are maladapted in human anxiety and mood disorders. Using optogenetics and other advanced techniques, he dissects and analyses neuronal circuits in the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) area in hopes of finding potential targets for future therapies.

Francesco Roselli received his Synapsis Foundation grant to develop new approaches to precisely manipulate neuronal and glial biology in vivo, with the aim of understanding the reciprocal interactions of astrocytes and neurons in neurodegenerative diseases starting with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a lethal motoneuron disease. Francesco Roselli works in Pico Caroni’s laboratory.

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