March 13, 2019

New Marie Curie and EMBO Fellows at the FMI

Five of our postdocs were recently awarded the prestigious EMBO and Maria Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Fellowships. These grants are highly competitive and known worldwide for promoting innovative and interdisciplinary research. These new recipients join a long list of postdoctoral research fellows at the FMI.

We are pleased to announce our latest fellowship winners. The EMBO and MSCA Fellowships fund research projects for two years and are a fantastic starting point for a career in research. Below you can find more information about the recipients and their projects.

Kevin Fidelin (EMBO Fellow) joined Silvia Arber’s group in December 2018. He holds a PhD in neuroscience from Sorbonne University in Paris. Kevin is investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing the coordination of movements in vertebrates, using a combination of viral tracing, imaging, and optogenetic approaches. More specifically, he is tracing the connectivity of motor modules in the brainstem, which have recently been shown by the Arber group to be important for the control of specific aspects of skilled movements and locomotion.

Nikolaos Karalis (EMBO and MSCA Fellow) joined Andreas Lüthi’s group in January 2018. For his PhD in Neuroscience, he moved from Greece to the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. In his postdoc project at the FMI, he is investigating the role of neuromodulators in defining internal brain states and in mediating learning. Using genetic tools and modern neurotechnologies, he aims to dissect the interactions of neuromodulators in different circuits and cell types in the amygdala. This should bring us closer to elucidating the mechanisms of emotional processing.

Mathias Mahn (MSCA Fellow) has been a postdoc in Andreas Lüthi’s group since April 2018. He obtained his PhD from the Weizmann Institute in Israel. In his postdoc project, he is investigating how emotional information is integrated in cortical processing in the brain. The goal is to map and functionally characterize the connectivity between the amygdala, involved in emotional processing, and the medial prefrontal cortex, a neural hub for decision-making. This research will advance our understanding of the neuronal circuits underlying emotional processing – a step towards the development of targeted interventions for psychiatric disorders involving emotion dysregulation.

Daniel Mateju (EMBO and MSCA Fellow) joined Jeffrey Chao’s group in February 2018. Daniel obtained his PhD from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cellular Biology and Genetics in Dresden. He is interested in investigating how mRNA translation is reprogrammed during cellular stress. Protein translation is mostly shut down during stress, but some mRNAs with specific sequence elements are translated only during the stress response. Using single-cell imaging of mRNAs in living cells, Daniel aims to understand translation regulation and the role played by stress granules in this process.

Smita Nahar (MSCA Fellow) joined Helge Grosshans’ group in May 2018. She obtained her PhD at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi. She is interested in delineating the function of oscillatory miRNAs in rhythmic gene expression and uncovering the molecular mechanisms that control developmental timing in C. elegans. This will impact our understanding of coordinated organismal development and posttranscriptional regulation of developmental oscillators.

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