Meet the Fellows

Simon Singer

I joined the Screening, Profiling and Analytical Facility (SPAF) in the Gertsch group at the University of Bern as lab technician in December 2018. I studied Biochemistry at the University of Basel with a focus on Immunology from 1998 to 2003. Subsequently I was self-employed, working in informatics and in structural biology at the Biocenter of the University of Basel. In 2016 I had obtained a degree in Molecular Bioanalytics with a focus on toxicology from the University of Applied Science in Basel. At the SPAF, I am involved in different projects related to generating tool compounds such as the amino acid transporter LAT1 (collaboration with Altmann group, ETH), the ion channel TRPM4 (collaboration with groups Lochner and Abriel, UniBe) and the endocannabinoid transporter (collaboration with Synendos Therapeutics, TransCure spin-off). Moreover, I help developing new FLIPR assays, e.g. CaSR (translational project with the Insel hospital and the group Lochner, UniBe). My work consists of carrying out screening and profiling based on cell biology, molecular biology, and biochemical methods. The methodologies at SPAF range from in vitro screening, chemical biology and LC-MS analytics (targeted metabolomics), to behavioral mouse models.

Sampada Kallol

I joined Prof. Christiane Albrecht’s lab as a PhD student at the University of Bern in September 2014. I completed my PhD under her guidance and continued to work as a postdoctoral fellow in her lab. My PhD research topic was the “Role of the placenta in materno-fetal nutrient transport and steroid release”. Herein we aimed to understand the mechanisms and regulation of materno-fetal cholesterol transport and steroid secretion by the human placenta. These studies will be further extended to investigate nutrient transport mechanisms in complicated pregnancies such as pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth retardation and gestational diabetes. Currently I am investigating the functional activity of placental nutrient transporters, specifically amino acid and transporters during pregnancy. Being part of the NCCR TransCure is a great opportunity which allows me to work closely with collaborators from various fields, and exchange research ideas. TransCure also organizes many guest lectures and discussions on interesting scientific topics which help me to broaden the scientific horizon and inspire me with new research ideas.

Dongchun Ni

I joined Prof. Henning Stahlberg’s lab at the University of Basel as a PhD student in December 2017. Since then, I have had the great opportunity to contribute to one of the projects of the NCCR TransCure. Our lab is applying high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy to unravel the 3D structure of proteins and understand their biological function and involvement in diseases. My project is mainly focusing on the structural analysis of ABCG2, a very important membrane protein transporter involved in human cancer. In collaboration with Prof. Kaspar Locher (ETH Zurich) and Prof. Karl-Heinz Altmann (ETH Zurich), I will be trying to provide more details and insights into human ABCG2-ligand interactions and its drug transporting cycle, during in the 3rd (and last) phase of the NCCR. The NCCR TransCure is a really excellent platform for us to form a strong and creative team. TransCure provides an amazing environment to do great research and make new discoveries to improve human health. 

Ruud van Deursen (Alumni)

I am currently employed as Senior Scientist Data Science/Cheminformatics at Firmenich SA. My current role focuses on creating computer methods to speed up discovery of new perfumery and flavor ingredients. TransCure was an important milestone in my career, and provided funds to obtain my PhD at the University of Berne as well as funds for a first PostDoc position. The excellent interdisciplinary setting of TransCure allowed me to build up my career with a broad expertise in chemistry, biochemistry and computer science. The interdisciplinary nature of my background is now recognized as a very strong asset. TransCure is an ideal stepping stone and I encourage everyone to push boundaries, and look beyond the own current domain of expertise.