ESRs representatives
Congratulation to Mark Wever and Francesca Scommegna, who have been elected ESRs' representatives!

ESR1: Ana Boavida

Host Institution: CNR-IBBC (Naples, IT)
Supervisor: Francesca M. Pisani
Joint Supervisor: Ian D. Hickson (UCPH)
PhD project: Investigating structure-function relationships of DDX11 DNA helicase.

Ana studied Biology in University of Évora (Évora, Portugal), followed by a master Degree in Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences focusing on Forensic Genetics and Quality Control, at the University of Coimbra (Coimbra, Portugal - 2017). Soon after, she went to Genentech (San Francisco, CA) as a Visiting Scientist for 6 months where she worked in the field of Molecular Biology and Virology (2018). More recently, she spent time in Raquel Oliveira’s lab, in Instituto Gulbenkian de CiĂȘncia (Lisboa, Portugal), to study new Cohesin and Condensin regulators as well as chromosome dynamics (2019-2020).

ESR2: Diana Santos

Host Institution: CNR-IBBC (Naples, IT)
Supervisor: Giuseppe Manco
Joint Supervisor: C. Sanders (USFD)
PhD project: Identification of novel DDX11, FANCJ and RECQ4 interaction partners by proteomic studies.

Diana obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Lisbon in 2015 and a Master Degree in Biochemistry at the New University of Lisbon in 2017. During her master’s degree and for an additional year as a research fellow she joined the Microbial & Enzyme Technology Lab at Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica under the supervision of professor Lígia Martins to perform protein engineering (directed evolution and site-directed mutagenesis) of a bacterial pyranose 2-oxidase with biotechnological applications.

Host Institution: ELETTRA (Trieste, IT)
Supervisor: Luisa Napolitano/Silvia Onesti
PhD project: Structure and function of the RECQ4 DNA helicase.

ESR4: Manil Kanade

Host Institution: ELETTRA (Trieste, IT)
Supervisor: Silvia Onesti
Joint Supervisor: Ying Liu (UCPH)
PhD project: Structural and biochemical analysis of Fe-S DNA helicases.

Manil received a Batchelor and Master’s degree (BS-MS dual degree) from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Pune (IISER Pune, INDIA). During his undergraduate studies, he worked with Dr. Gayathri Pananghat (Assistant professor, IISER Pune) on the biochemical and structural characterization of prokaryotic small Ras-like GTPases. 

ESR5: Szymon Barwacz

Host Institution: UCPH (Copenhagen, DK)
Supervisor: Ying Liu
Joint Supervisor: Alessandro Vindigni (WUSTL)
PhD project: Investigation of the functional roles of different DNA helicases in response to replication stress.

Szymon obtained his Bachelor degree in Biotechnology (2016) and Master degree in Molecular Biotechnology (2018) at the Jagiellonian University in Poland. During his undergraduate studies, he has worked on the development of novel anticancer therapies for breast, lungs and pancreatic cancers. He has also participated in a Summer Internship Program In ‘Epigenetics, Cellular Plasticity and Stem Cells’ in Munich (2017), where he investigated treatment for acute myelogenous leukaemia or acute lymphocytic leukaemia. Following his master degree, he worked in Selvita, a biotech company in Cracow, as a research assistant. During this time, he performed the optimization and validation of tests involved in the preclinical analysis of bio-medicinal products in GMP and GLP standards (2019).

ESR6: Veronika BarĂĄth

Host Institution: UCPH (Copenhagen, DK)
Supervisor: Ian D. Hickson
Joint Supervisor: G. Wuite (VU)
PhD project: Mechanistic studies of the BLM complex in mitosis.

Veronika eceived a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from the University of Pannonia (Veszprém, HU, 2015). She then pursued a Master's Degree in Medical Biotechnology focusing on molecular biotechnology at the University of Pécs (HU). After graduation (2017), she joined the Motor Enzymology Research Group at Eötvös Lorånd University (Budapest, HU) as an assistant research fellow (2017-2019), where she took part in research projects focusing on DNA repair and recombination.

ESR7: Shyla Singh
Host Institution: VU (Amsterdam, NL)
Supervisor: Gijs J.L. Wuite
PhD project: Correlated Tweezers Fluorescence Microscopy to visualize and measure the interplay of the BLM complex with the chromatin-remodelling factor PICH on DNA.

ESR8: Francesca Scommegna

Host Institution: USFD (Sheffield, UK)
Supervisor: Cyril M. Sanders
Joint Supervisor: Francesca M. Pisani (CNR)
PhD project: Dissecting the DNA binding and unwinding activities of the human PIF1 helicase.

Francesca obtained a Bachelor Degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Bari and a Master Degree in "Molecular Biology and Genetics" at the University of Pavia in 2018. During her master, she did an internship at the Biochemistry Department in Molecular Medicine laboratory directed by prof Livia Visai. Soon after she won an Erasmus Traineeship Scholarship and she attended 6 months of traineeship at the TU Braunschweig in the laboratory of Biotechnology held by Stephan DĂŒbel.

ESR9: Sara Egea

Host Institution: UKESSEN (Essen, DE)
Supervisor: Iris Helfrich
Joint Supervisor: Ian D. Hickson (UCPH)
PhD project: Therapeutic validation of DNA helicases in cancer.

Sara studied for a Pharmacy Degree (EQF level 7) at University of Murcia (UM, Spain) and graduated with honors in July 2020. During her undergraduate studies, she did an internship in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department (October 2018-June 2020), where she studied the effect of the E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase MGRN1 in the proliferation of melanoma cells. She has been students' representative and the General Secretary (2016-2018) and President (2018-2020) of the Pharmaceutical Student's Association of the University of Murcia.

ESR10: Restuan Lubis

Host Institution: LCD (Dortmund, DE)
Supervisor: Bert Klebl
Joint Supervisor: Alessandro Vindigni (WUSTL)
PhD project: Discovery of small molecule inhibitors of human BLM and RECQ4 DNA helicases.

Restuan obtained his bachelor degree in pharmacy at Universitas Muslim Indonesia in 2016. He was involved with several laboratories as a research assistant ranging from Phytochemistry, Pharmaceutical Technology to Chemistry laboratory. His last project focused on to design and evaluation of virtual inhibitors of the Bcl-2 protein in MCF-7 cell relevant to breast cancer. Following his master degree, he worked with the Prof. David Selwood in Drug Design Programme at University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom. He performed the design and synthesis of covalent inhibitors and proteomics tools investigating cyclophilin proteins relevant to multiple sclerosis.

ESR11: Christoph Waldhart

Host Institution: LCD (Dortmund, DE)
Supervisor: Jan Eickhoff
Joint Supervisor: Francesca M. Pisani (CNR)
PhD project: Discovery of small molecule inhibitors of human PIF1 and Fe-S DNA helicases.

Christoph finished the diploma programme Pharmacy at the university of Innsbruck in Austria and obtained the title Magister pharmaciae (equivalent to a Master degree) in 2019. During his diploma thesis he worked on a collaboration project between the Institute of pharmaceutical chemistry and the Tyrolean cancer research institute, developing and synthesising novel inhibitors of the FOXO3 transcription factor.

ESR12: Mark Wever

Host Institution: EDELRIS (Lyon, FR)
Supervisor: Didier Roche
Joint Supervisor: Cyril M. Sanders (USFD)
PhD project: Discovery of small molecule inhibitors of human BLM, RECQ1 and PIF1 DNA helicases.

Mark received a Bachelor Degree with distinction in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a specialization in Chemistry from Amsterdam University College (NL). He then pursued a master Degree in Drug Discovery and Safety focussing on ‘Drug Design & Synthesis’, and graduated from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL) in 2020. He has successfully completed his master research project in Medicinal Chemistry at the Vrije Universiteit (7 months, 2018) and an additional internship at Janssen Pharmaceutica (8 months, 2019).

ESR13: Matthew Halma

Host Institution: LUMICKS (Amsterdam, NL)
Supervisor: Mattijs de Groot
Joint Supervisor: Silvia Onesti (Elettra)
PhD project: Biophysical study of DNA helicase action mechanism.

Matthew attained his B.Sc. (Honours) and Masters degrees in Physics from the University of Alberta in 2016 and 2019 respectively, working with Dr. Michael Woodside on translational gene regulation in viruses, using primarily optical tweezers tools. He started his studies in September 2020 at Lumicks B.V., in collaboration with Dr. Gijs Wuite at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His work will be focused on combined optical tweezers and fluorescence studies of single helicases unwinding DNA and RNA. Several promising targets have been identified, including human BLM helicase and the COVID19 helicase, generating information on the mechanism of action of various bismuth salt inhibitors. He enjoys personal training, a side-interest of his, as well as a broad range of topics in biophysics, broader science and philosophy. He hopes to bring his creative approach to promote well-being to many people.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie SkƂodowska-Curie grant agreement No 859853