NVD Fellows

1. Buket Baddal 1. Buket Baddal

Buket Baddal

A new PhD student at Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics in Siena, Italy. Was born in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1987. Completed university education in United Kingdom, obtaining BSc in Medical Microbiology from the University of Surrey in 2008 and MSc in Clinical Microbiology from Queen Mary, University of London in 2009. Have been involved in two projects; investigating biocide/antibiotic resistance and cross-resistance patterns in Staphylococcus aureus (BSc thesis), and evaluating sensitivities and specificities of various diagnostic tests used for Clostridium difficile detection in suspected patients (MSc thesis). Prior to joining Novartis V&D, worked as a healthcare scientist for two years in Opportunistic Pathogens – Molecular Typing Unit at Health Protection Agency, Centre for Infections in London, mainly focusing on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii. Currently, working on sialic acid metabolism in non-typeable Heamophilus influenzae during host colonizationand potential vaccine development for PhD project.

Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Srl
In Vitro Cell Biology - Research Center
Via Fiorentina, 1 - 53100 Siena, Italy
Phone: +390577249176
E-mail: buket.baddal@novartis.com

2. Christina Merakou 2. Christina Merakou

Christina Merakou

Current occupation: EIMID fellow in Novartis Vaccine and Diagnostics, Siena, Italy.
Working on the investigation of the biological role of surface proteins in Staphylococcus aureus pathogenesis; previously worked in the Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory in Horemio Research Laboratory of A’ Department of Pediatrics, “Agia Sofia” Children’s’ Hospital, Athens, Greece: Diagnostics on Congenital Adrenal hyperplasia (CYP21A2), Primary Hypoaldosteronism (CYP11B2) and molecular characterization of Familial Hyperaldosteronism Type II. MSc on Medical Biotechnology (2 years) by the Wageningen University, The Netherlands; MSc thesis : 12 months in Fragile X group of the Clinical Genetics Department in Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Worked on the Characterization of (inducible) transgenic mice for Fragile X-associated Tremor-Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS). Diploma in Agricultural Biotechnology by the Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece; Diploma thesis: 12 months in the laboratory of Microbiology of the Agricultural University of Athens, worked on the Characterization of mutations in the production of antimicrobial substances in the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens X.

Novartis Vaccine and Diagnostics
Department of Microbial Molecular Genetics
Via Fiorentina, 1 - 53100 Siena, Italy
Phone: +39 0577 243111
E-mail: christina.merakou@novartis.com

IC Fellow

3. Alan O'Neill 3. Alan O'Neill

Alan O'Neill

Hello! My name is Alan O'Neill, I'm 24 years old and I'm from Ireland. I studied in University College Dublin and achieved my BSc in Microbiology in 2009. I then went on to pursue a two year research masters in UCD focussing on the expression and characterisation MUC5AC recombinant mucin constructs in mammalian cell lines. These constructs were then used to investigate the role of MUC5AC in Helicobacter pylori colonisation of the gastric mucosa. During this time, my research interests evolved more towards the immune evasion strategies of intracellular pathogens. Now I am delighted to be working within the EIMID program pursuing a PhD under the supervision of Prof. David Holden in the Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection. My work will be to investigate the intracellular trafficking and replication dynamics of Streptococcus pyogenes using advanced microscopy. This should offer novel insights into the nature of persistence in this disease. I love to travel and see new places and when I'm out of the lab I enjoy socialising with friends, reading and playing football.

Imperial College London
Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection
Level 2 Flowers Building
Armstrong Road SW7 2AZ - London, UK
Phone: +44 (0) 2075943152
E-mail: alan.oneill@imperial.ac.uk

UOXF Fellow

4. Malene Cohen 4. Malene Cohen

Malene Cohen

Malene Cohen was born in Denmark. She obtained her MSc in Molecular Biology and Chemistry in 2010 at Roskilde University, Denmark. For her thesis she studied initiation of replication and gene expression in E. coli. In July 2011 she started her PhD at Imperial College, UK, to study the type III secretion system of Shigella flexneri. On October 1st, 2011 she moved to the University of Oxford to continue her PhD studies.

University of Oxford
Sir William Dunn School of Pathology
South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RE
Phone: +44 1865275585
E-mail: malene.cohen@path.ox.ac.uk

IP Fellows

5. Natalie Fischer 5. Natalie Fischer

Natalie Fischer

My name is Natalie Fischer and I am 27 years old. I started my career in science by participating in the « »life sciences » bachelor program at the University of Konstanz in Germany. After completing my bachelor thesis on listeria monocytogenes in the lab for biochemical pharmacology of Prof. Albrecht Wendel I took some months off to gain international lab experience in Canada. When I returned from my internship at the University of Lethbridge Alberta I joined the masters program in « molecular medicine » at the Charité in Berlin. There I had the chance to work in several top range labs and develop my lab skills on different topics as well as my writing and presentation skills in several short time projects. For my master thesis I was happy to be welcomed by Prof. Thomas Meyer at the Max Planck Institute for infection biology. Here I investigated the intracellular lifestyle of Propionibacterium acnes and its fate inside of macrophages. Before starting my PhD in Paris I was able to have the great experience to work at UCSF in San Francisco in the listeria lab of Anna Bakardjiev for 6 months. I started my PhD in Philippe Sansonettis lab in June 2011 and I am working on the genetic and epigenetic regulation of antimicrobial peptide expression in the human gut. I very much enjoy the international atmosphere at Institute Pasteur and also in the EIMID program. The exchange with people from different cultural backgrounds has thought me a lot, in scientific as well as social contexts. In my free time I like to explore the secrets of Paris with my friends or going for a run at the Champs de Mars.

Institut Pasteur
Unité de Pathogenie Microbienne Moleculaire
INSERM 786 28
Rue du Docteur Roux, 25 - 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France
Phone: (+33) 1 40 61 36 11
E-mail: natalie.fischer@pasteur.fr

6. Andrzej Prokop 6. Andrzej Prokop

Andrzej Prokop

My name is Andrzej Prokop and I was born in Sanok (Poland) in 1987. My fascination with Life Science has started very early in my life and I eventually decided to take up Molecular Biology studies at the University of Warsaw in Poland. During my BSc studies I was working in the Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology where I was investigating different aspects of chromatin remodelling and the role of H1 histone. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree I started my MSc project in the Institute of Genetics and Biotechnology (at the University of Warsaw), where I was working in the group interested in protein complexes involved in RNA metabolism. During my research project I focused on investigating the function of the yeast Tho2 and Tex1 proteins, subunits of the THO-TREX complex which is a major component linking transcription and export of mRNA to the cytoplasm. Meanwhile I was a trainee at the Centre for mRNP Biogenesis and Metabolism at the Aarhus University in Denmark where I wanted to get a closer view into a possible influence of non-coding transcription on DNA methylation.
I was also a member of a team which took part in the International Contest of Synthetic Biology (called iGEM) held in Boston. In our project we wanted to create an E. coli-based vector for the purpose of delivery of DNA to the inside of cancer cells. As a PhD student within the EIMID framework I am going to perform my research project at the Institut Pasteur, in the group of Bacteria-Cell Interactions under the supervision of prof. Pascale Cossart and prof. Olivier Dussurget. I am going to investigate the process of bacteremia and the role of the new secreted protein of Listeria monocytogenes required for its survival in blood.
In my free time I enjoy macrophotography and cooking. Hiking through the wild trails is always a good option. I love sc-fi books and challenging strategy games. I can't imagine my life without a good music and films.

Institut Pasteur
Unité Interactions Bactéries-Cellules
INSERM 786 28
Rue du Docteur Roux, 25 - 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France
Phone: 33 (0)1 4061 3031
E-mail: andrzej.prokop@pasteur.fr

KI Fellows

7. Laura Spelmink 7. Laura Spelmink

Laura Spelmink

My interest in understanding life and the mechanisms which lead to the formation of complex life forms was the reason for me to start my Biology education. I studied the Bachelor and Master program in Cell Biology mainly at the University of Osnabrück in Germany (2005-2011) and used the opportunity to spend exchange semesters at Keele University in the UK (2007/08) and at Stockholm University in Sweden (2010). At Stockholm University, I gained first insight into Infection Biology as I worked on a research project about Neisseria ghonorrhoeae, which from then on caught my attention.  My curiosity to understand the complex interactions between host and pathogen made me focus my Master project on the interactions between Salmonella enterica and its host. It was a logical progression for me to pursue my PhD studies in the field of Infection Biology. At Karolinska Institutet I got the opportunity, as a fellow of the EIMID-ITN program, to devote my PhD studies to the interaction of Streptococcus pneumoniae and the innate immune system (2011).

Karolinska Institutet
Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology
Nobels väg 16 - 17177 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 (0)8-52485997
E-mail: laura.spelmink@ki.se

8. Mario Codemo 8. Mario Codemo

Mario Codemo

My name is Mario Codemo, I am 26 years old and I am from Treviso, Italy. I took my Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology and my Master's degree in Medical Biotechnologies at the University of Padova (Italy). For my Master's degree thesis I worked on a Borrelia burgdorferi protein, NapA, studying its pro-inflammatory activity, focusing in particular on the involvement of the human molecule called inflammasome in the reaction of human immune system cells to this protein. I then decided to take my PhD in Prof. Birgitta Henriques Normark's group at Karolinska Institutet as part of the EIMID ITN project. During my PhD I will have the opportunity to continue my studies on the inflammasome, this time in regard to the Streptococcus pneumoniae infection.
I really love to travel and to meet people from all over the world. When I am not working I like to listen to some music and hang out with my friends. I also play golf and tennis during my free time.

Karolinska Institutet
Nobels väg 16 - 17177 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 524 85 995
E-mail: mario.codemo@ki.se

MPIIB Fellows

9. Prince Yalley 9. Prince Yalley

Federica Linty

My name is Prince Yalley. I am from Ghana. I completed a trans-disciplinary Bachelor of Science degree at Jacobs University Bremen in Bremen, Germany with concentration in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. I was privileged to have an extensive laboratory experience very early in my education, encompassing laboratory courses and guided research projects in various Cell & Molecular Biology labs at Jacobs University, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine research. I was also a summer fellow at the Texas Tech University in Lubbock, USA where I took part in the 12-week Summer Accelerated Biomedical Research program designed for promising undergraduates researchers. My research there was on “the effect of Androgens on Na/K-ATPase expression in prostate cancer” in the lab of Dr. Thomas Pressely.
I have recently completed my Master of Science degree in Drug Innovation with emphasis on infectious diseases from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. My interest in infectious diseases led me to Boston where I did my Master’s Thesis on “NK Cell Inhibitory Receptor Phenotype in HIV-1 infection” in the lab of Prof. Marcus Altfeld at the Ragon Institute of MIT, MGH and Harvard University. My experience there was immensely educative and saw a complete evolution of my research interest to one at the interphase of microbiology and immunology which eventually informed my decision to apply to the EIMID-ITN project "Human B-cell response to factor H binding protein of Neisseria Meningitidis” in the lab of Dr. Hedda Wardemann at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin Germany. I am currently based in Berlin and have just started work on my project.
In my spare time I like playing/watching football, traveling, writing, playing the guitar amongst a host of other interests.

Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
Molecular Immunology Research Group
Charitéplatz 1 - 10117 Berlin, Germany
Phone: + 49 (0)30 28460 362
E-mail: yalley@mpiib-berlin.mpg.de

10. Laura Martín Sancho 10. Laura Martín Sancho

Laura Martín Sancho

Laura Martín Sancho was born in Valladolid, Spain in 1984. She began her University studies in 2003 at the University of Salamanca, majoring in the field of Biology. In 2006 she participated in the Erasmus International program, studying for one year at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany. Laura obtained her degree in 2008 from the University of Salamanca, following which she decided to continue her studies within the field of scientific research. In 2007, she commenced with the start of a second degree, in Biochemistry, at the University of Oviedo, Spain. Laura completed the degree in 2009 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in United States of America. From April to August 2010, Laura completed a brief internship at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany working on a project entitled “Neurodegenerative diseases and its link to cell cycle regulation”. In April 2011, she began her PhD, entitled “Species dependent host factors of Influenza Virus replication” at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany as a student of the ITN-EIMID program.  Laura is primarily interested in researching the host factors required by the influenza A virus for replication within different species. She aims to investigate whether certain pathways are conserved, thereby leading to a better understanding on the viral infection mechanism.

Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
Molecular Immunology Research Group
Charitéplatz 1 - 10117 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 30 28460-0
E-mail: martin@mpiib-berlin.mpg.de