Team TDA


Team TDA

Tracing Immune Cell Dysfunction in Autoimmunity and Neuroinflammation

Cell metabolism guides immune cell activation towards proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory reactions, depending on the cues from the microenvironment. In autoimmune diseases, as well as in neuroinflammation, immune cells display metabolic changes, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress signatures resembling cellular senescence.

The main objective of team TDA is to understand global mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial function among cells and organs in health versus disease. In particular, the team is focused on extracellular vesicles as carriers of mitochondrial components released from dysfunctional cells that could lead to alteration of the metabolic state and senescence of recipient immune cells. We are developing in vitro cell-based assays that combine proteomics and single-cell transcriptomics with gene-editing techniques to identify and validate robust molecular signatures during disease development.

Team TDA’s final goal is to improve patient outcomes by identifying new targets and novel therapeutic approaches for restoring immune homeostasis in autoimmune diseases and in neuroinflammation.

  • Dr. Angelika Schmidt
    Senior Scientist, Research Unit – Neuroscience & Immunology, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (Industry mentor)
  • Dr. Philipp Haselmayer
    Associate Director, Research Unit – Neuroscience & Immunology, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (Industry mentor)
  • Dr. David Sebastián Muñoz
    Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, School of Pharmacy and Food Sciences, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (Academic mentor)
  • Dr. Kenneth W. Witwer
    Associate Professor of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology and Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA (Academic mentor)
The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Merck.

Our Team Members

Dr. Gorjana Rackov

Group Leader

 Short Bio
  • 2019 – 2021: Postdoc in extracellular vesicle-mediated cell-to-cell communication and the role of mitochondrial ROS in innate and adaptive responses during inflammation and autoimmunity. HM Hospitals Research Foundation and Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC)
  • 2016 – 2018: Postdoc in cancer stem cell targeting for glioblastoma immunotherapy. Supervisor: Dr. Angel Ayuso Sacido, IMDEA Nanoscience Institute, Madrid, Spain
  • 2011 – 2015: PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biomedicine and Biotechnology. Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain. Supervisor: Dr. Dimitrios Balomenos at Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC), Madrid, Spain

Iris Potakowskyj

PhD Student

 Short Bio
  • 2020 – 2021: Master’s degree in Experimental and Medical Biosciences and master’s thesis investigating cellular interactions in the gut of Crohn’s Disease patients (immunofluorescence and light microscopy), Linköping University, Sweden
  • 2019 – 2021: Master’s degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria
  • 2016 – 2019: Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Analytics, University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, Austria

Sneha Prabhakara Shastry

PhD Student

 Short Bio
  • 2018 – 2021: Master of Science in Regenerative Biology and Medicine, TU Dresden, Germany
  • 2017 – 2018: Research Trainee at the Department of Biochemistry,
    Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
  • 2013 – 2017: Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology,
    M.S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India

Adrián Parrilla Mesas

Research Assistant

 Short Bio
  • 2021 – 2022: Master’s degree in Pharmacological Research and master’s thesis focused on the evaluation of novel neuroprotective compounds for neurodegenerative diseases, Autonomous University of Madrid
  • 2017 – 2021: Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, Complutense University of Madrid

Ivan Bagaric

Master's Student

 Short Bio
  • 2021 – present: Master of Science in Molecular Biosciences, Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology, Heidelberg University, Germany
  • 2023: Visiting graduate student at the Institute Imagine for Genetic Diseases, Paris, France
  • 2018 – 2021: Bachelor of Science in Biology, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Daniel Andrés Sierra García

Master's Student

 Short Bio
  • 2022 – present: International Master in Innovative Medicine, Heidelberg University, Germany, and Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2022: Erasmus Mundus Scholarship (EU)
  • 2015 – 2021: Medical Doctor, Medicine and Surgery, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala

Team TDA 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!

Dr. Arindam Dey

Dr. Marcel Hahn

Sara Obeso Díaz


Olga Głatki

No contact information available.

Seyedehsaba Nateghi