I have always been curious about why people act the way they do and about the physical correlates of their behaviour. This is why it is my ambition to combine the study of behavioural sciences with molecular neuroscience to increase our understanding of this field. I was trained in BioMedical Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands (BSc). During this time, I acquired experience in medical, exact and neurosciences. I continued my study with an MSc in biomolecular sciences, specializing in biophysics and biochemistry. This provided me with the ideas and tools that I needed to apply these basic science approached in the field of neurosciences. I have now focused directly on neuroscience, especially in the area of brain alterations in neuropsychiatric diseases. During my MSc, I joined the iGEM competition of 2011 (organized by MIT Boston), in which we earned a gold medal. As part of my MSc I conducted an internship in the Dr. Bahn’s laboratory, where I carried out the molecular profiling of Fragile X syndrome (FXS) using mass spectrometry. Now, as a PhD student, my project aims to discover the underlying mechanisms of FXS and autism spectrum disorder, which may contribute to the future development of early diagnosis and treatment.
I’ve always been interested in the genetic basis for neurological disorders and am looking to apply my background in computational modelling to neuropsychiatry. During my Masters at the University of Bristol, I specialised in computational biology, undertaking a research project in the mechanisms behind Alzheimer’s disease. During my undergraduate degree, I did a two month placement at the MRC Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge, looking at risk genes for cancer of the oesophagus in collaboration with a research group at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The aim of my PhD is to develop novel statistical techniques to identify reliable molecular biomarkers in autism, schizophrenia and depressive disorders.
My way into neuropsychiatry started with the accomplishment of my BSc at the University of Cologne conducted in the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research (Germany) and subsequent experimental work focusing on the multidisciplinary evaluation of stroke outcome. With a growing fascination for clinical translational research I joined the Cologne master programme of "Experimental and Clinical Neuroscience", to gather in-depth knowledge of cutting edge developments in fundamental and applied psychiatry. My major interests became the molecular basics of psychiatric disorders, especially mood, anxiety and personality disorders, their effects on the emotional system, complex diagnosis and possible ways of psychopharmacological intervention. Combining different profiling techniques to a multi-omic approach, my PhD project in the Bahn laboratory aims at the identification of novel biomarkers of affective and anxiety disorders with the additional goal to characterize the pharmacological efficacy of mood stabilizers, antidepressants and anxiolytics and to elucidate vulnerability factors of mania-, anhedonia-, and fear-related symptoms.
I have a strong background in biotechnology and genome-based Systems
Biology and I am interested in increasing my knowledge in areas of protein interactions and metabolic networks. During my MSc work, I established transcriptomic techniques in a drug-producing bacterial strain in collaboration with Bayer Healthcare. In 2010, I also coordinated an iGEM team leading to a gold medal from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Boston. The aim of my PhD project in the Bahn lab, is to identify and validate a panel of molecular biomarkers in blood serum with the potential to distinguish between major depression and bipolar disorder using a combination of mass spectrometry screening techniques and bioinformatic methods. As a complement to this work, I am also participating in the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project for identification of translational biomarkers for schizophrenia.
I am a bioinformatics student at the University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan, Germany. Over the course of my studies I carried out two placements, applying methods from the computer science world to biological data and problems. The first of these was at Entelechon Ltd, Germany, where I developed a web-based application for the automated curation of a database of virulence factors and for the automatic screening of sequences against this database. The second was at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, UK, where I designed and developed a data analysis tool for a platform which aims at providing a Europe-wide integration of computational approaches in systems biology. Then after carrying out a student project between the University of Applied Sciences and the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville USA, I was fortunate to begin my Diploma thesis within the Bahn Group, in Cambridge, UK. I am currently working on normalization approaches for improving measurement of peptide abundances associated with Label-Free Mass Spectrometry Proteomic profiling. The ultimate aim is to improve the methodology for detection of biomarkers for early diagnosis of schizophrenia.
My key research interest within the Bahn lab is to develop functional cytomic models for biomarker elucidation and drug discovery in psychiatric disorders using primary patient samples exvivo and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. For my undergraduate degree I studied Biological Sciences with specialization in Neurosciences at the University of Edinburgh (UK). I have over five years of experience in the biotech industry working on personalized medicine and drug discovery at Vivia Biotech (Spain) and Novasite Pharmaceuticals (San Diego, USA).
I graduated as a chemical engineer (biomedical option) from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada in 2011. During my studies, I conducted undergraduate research into protein adsorption on nanofibre surfaces at the National Institute for Nanotechnology. I also completed an internship at the Ecole des Mines de Nancy in France, where I investigated the dissolution kinetics of refractory metals in molten titanium alloy baths. I devoted time in my last semester to developing a dynamic model of autonomic nervous system response in chronically stressed individuals, during which I developed a strong interest in data analysis. After joining the Bahn laboratory as a PhD student in October 2011, I have started an analysis of molecular gender differences in schizophrenia and major depressive disorder patients. This is based on the observation that there is a gender difference in the risk, age of onset and disease progression for various neuropsychiatric disorders.
I graduated from Aberdeen University in 2013, which gave me a strong background in biotechnology, applied to the molecular medical world. During my MSc I worked for a year at the Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM (Milan, Italy) doing cancer research. This experience broadened my understanding of how complicated molecular pathways work and how proteins can have a tremendous effect on disease. Subsequently to this year I started to become more and more interested in the molecular causes of neurodevelopmental disorders. During my Honours at Aberdeen I saw how a single mutated protein can cause statistically significant changes on differentiating neurons morphologies. The aim of my PhD project in the laboratory of Professor Bahn is to identify novel biomarkers in blood serum characterizing mental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders using a combination of methods including mass spectrometry screening techniques. My research may have an important influence on future development of early diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
I am carrying out my PhD studies in Neuroscience under the supervision of Prof. Bahn at Cambridge University and the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam. During studies towards my MSc in Biotechnology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow and my internship at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, I gained a strong background in proteomic techniques and identification of biomarkers for neuropsychiatric disorders. My current
project is focussed on identification of biomarkers for prediction of response to antipsychotic medications by functional analysis of blood cells obtained from schizophrenia patients. Beside the translational value of the research, it may also help to identify biomarkers associated with the immunological and metabolic components of schizophrenia.
I am a former biotechnology student from the Westphalian Wilhelms
University of Muenster, Germany. During my Bachelor's degree in Life Science
in 2007, followed by the constitutive two year MSc-program in
Biotechnology, I gained experience in a broad range of biotechnological
methods. Highly focussed on white biotechnology and biochemistry during my
bachelor studies, during my master studies I became interested in the
interdisciplinary nature of science in order to gain insights into a
multiplicity of different biological fields. After doing placements in
several academic groups during my studies and being a student assistant at
the Centre for Molecular Biology of Inflammation (ZMBE) , thus gaining
experience in proteomics, pharmaceutical biotechnology, molecular and cell
biology on an pure academic mostly non applied level, I joined the Bahn lab
in 2009 for my Master's thesis to start working at the gateway of applied
science and business. I am analysing posttranslational modification changes
to characterize novel models for mental disorders.