Team PTA

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

PD Dr. Mojca Frank Bertoncelj

Group Leader

 Short Bio
  • 2022: Privatdozentin (PD), University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 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
 Contact

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.
 Contact

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
 Contact

Dr. Nataliia Stepanenko

Postdoctoral Researcher

 Short Bio
  • 2016 – 2022: PhD researcher, Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology and Cell Fate Decision, Medical Faculty, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
  • 2007 – 2016: Research assistant, Department of Experimental Cell Systems, Kavetsky Experimental Pathology, Oncology, and Radiobiology Institute, Kiev, Ukraine.
  • 2007 – 2009: Master of Science in Biology, Department of Biochemistry, Biotechnology Branch, Shevchenko Kiev National University, Ukraine.
 Contact

Tamara Pfanner

PhD Student

 Short Bio
  • 2022 – present: PhD at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • 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
 Contact

Tomasz Stadler

PhD Student

 Short Bio
  • 2020 – 2022: Molecular Biosciences, Molecular and Cellular Biology major, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2017-2020: Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland
 Contact

Pinar Cavus

Intern

 Short Bio
  • 2019 – currently: Bachelor of Science in molecular Biotechnology, Ruprecht Karl’s University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2014 – 2019: St. George Austrian High School, Istanbul, Turkey
 Contact

Maria Majchrowska

Intern

 Short Bio

2022 – present: Master of Science in Molecular Biosciences, Molecular and Cellular Biology major, University of Heidelberg, Germany

2019 – 2022: Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology, University of Warsaw, Poland

 Contact

María del Pilar Palacios Cisneros

Intern

 Short Bio
  • 2021 – 2022: Student research assistant in the “Molecular Pharmacology” Group of Prof. Dr. Rohini Kuner, Institute of Pharmacology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2020 – present: MSc. in Molecular Biotechnology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2013 – 2020: BSc. in Molecular Biotechnology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
 Contact

Team PTA Alumni

At BioMed X we care for the people who work with us. Staying in touch with those who left but mainly contributed to BioMed X’s success is key. That’s why they have their designated place on our website. So let’s keep connected!

Horia Boursas

 Contact
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