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 Kindom.
    • 2014- 2017: PhD in biochemistry at the University of Manchester, United Kindom.
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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 Sciences in Biochemistry. Medicine Faculty, National University of Colombia.
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