Immunology

Team PTA

Protective Tissue Factors in Autoimmune Diseases

The main objective of the group is to understand the molecular mechanisms that promote pro-resolution responses in immune and stromal cells to restore homeostasis. In particular, the team will use the human synovium as a model system to characterize the pro-resolving phenotypes of macrophages in rheumatoid arthritis. The core of the project will be the development of a first in kind synovium-in-a-dish assay for systematic monitoring of macrophage functions. Our final goal is to identify new therapeutic targets, which promote pro-resolution in inflammation and autoimmune diseases, and thereby proposing novel concepts to improve patient outcomes.

 Mentors
  • Dr. Jackie Perrigoue
    Head of Tissue Mechanisms, Janssen Immunosciences, Spring House, USA (Industry mentor)
  • Dr. Agnès Gardet
    Principal Scientist at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson San Diego County, USA (Industry mentor)
  • Prof. Dr. Greorg Schett
    Vice President Research and Chair Internal Medicine at Medicine Faculty at Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU), Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, and Director clinical medicine 3 – Rheumatologie und Immunologie, University Hospital Erlangen, Germany (Academic mentor)
The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Janssen.

Our Team Members

Dr. Mojca Frank Bertoncelj

Group Leader

 Short Bio
  • 2020-2021: Junior Group Leader, Team Integrative biology of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, University Hospital Zurich & University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2012-2020: Postdoc in noncoding RNA biology, epigenetics, and functional genomics in autoimmune diseases with Prof. Dr. Steffen Gay & Prof. Dr. Oliver Distler, University Hospital Zurich & University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2011-2012: Articulum Research Fellow with Prof. Dr. Steffen Gay, University Hospital Zurich & University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2005-2010: PhD in Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine & Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 1997-2005: Doctor of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
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Dr. Swathi Lingam

Postdoctoral Researcher

 Short Bio
  • 2019-2021: Research Fellow in studying retinal ageing and developing novel cell therapy systems to treat age-related retinal degeneration at the National University of Singapore and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore.
  • 2017- 2019: Postdoctoral scientist studying the function of the ABC transporter ABCC5 in diabetes at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • 2014- 2017: PhD in biochemistry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
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Dr. Jeinmy Carolina Gámez Villamizar

Postdoctoral Researcher

 Short Bio
  • 2019-2021: Postdoctoral researcher in stem/stromal cell research, articular cartilage regeneration, 3D cell culture and imaging, chondrogenic differentiation, mechanobiology. Section of Experimental Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery. Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University
  • 2016-2019: PhD Fellow under the Cooperative Research Training Group: Tissue Analytics for Stem Cell Based Diagnostics and Therapy. Evaluated subjects: Orthopedics, Immunology and Biotechnology. Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University
  • 2013-2016: Master of Science in Biochemistry. Medicine Faculty, National University of Colombia
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Tamara Pfanner

PhD Student

 Short Bio
  • 2019-2020: Master of Science with Distinction in Biomedical Science from
    Edinburgh Napier University
  • 2018-2019: Biology Studies at the University of Cologne
  • 2015-2018: Bachelor’s degree from the German Sport University of Cologne
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Horia Boursas

Master's Student

 Short Bio
  • 2020-2022: Master of Science in Biotechnology and Molecular engineering, University of Lorraine, France.
  • 2021: Internship in Synthetic biology at Institut Curie, Paris, France.
  • 2017-2020: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular biology, University of Lorraine, France.
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Tomasz Stadler

Master's Student

 Short Bio
  • 2020 – present: Molecular Biosciences, major: Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2017-2020: Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland
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