I joined the laboratory of Matthias Hediger at the University of Bern as a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow in 2015 and since then I have been part of the NCCR TransCure project on iron transporters. This has given me the opportunity to pursue small-molecule compound screening campaigns, allowing me to identify and characterise novel hit compounds with pharmacological potential. In addition, I had the chance to participate in the structure-driven pharmacology study of iron transporter DMT1 and also performed basic structure-function studies with different metal ion transporters. Currently, I am involved in the ongoing collaboration with the Novartis FAST lab to identify new and more potent metal transporter inhibitors. The success of these projects would not have been possible without the help and resources provided by our top-level collaborating groups within the NCCR TransCure. Personally, I very much enjoy the wide range of opportunities provided by this multidisciplinary network and I believe that being part of it has expanded my scientific perspectives and skills tremendously.
I joined the group of Jean-Louis Reymond at the University of Bern as a PhD student in January 2020. I became part of the NCCR TransCure, where I work in a multidisciplinary team that gives me the opportunity to interact with different people of various backgrounds. As an organic chemist, TransCure has provided me the chance to work on a project that reaches beyond my field, where I can learn about all the biological aspects of my work. I joined the team working on NHA2, a sodium/hydrogen exchanger, in collaboration with the group of Christoph von Ballmoos, where I perform multi-step syntheses of crucial compounds that are used to measure the quantity of sodium inside cells.
I joined Raimund Dutzler’s lab at the University of Zurich as a PhD student in December 2019. I am involved in the structural, functional and biochemical characterisation of the human iron transporters and work closely together with Cristina Manatschal, Karthik Ramanadane, Elena Lehmann and Dragana Markovic in our group. One of our aims is to investigate the inhibition of iron transporters as a potential treatment for diseases related to iron homeostasis. We study the structure of the iron transporters with and without potential drug targets, and we investigate their influence on iron transport activity in vivo and in vitro. The NCCR TransCure enables me to meet other experts and exchange knowledge with them. I am benefitting greatly from this network as I grow as a scientist.
Romina Cabra (Alumni)
After my PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bern in the group of Willy Hofstetter, I started a trainee programme of three rotations in three different departments in a biopharmaceutical company based in Zug (CH). This gives me the opportunity to identify an appropriate future career path. In the first rotation, I worked in the marketing department of the neurology business unit contributing to the creation and review of promotional as well as patient material for a first-line therapy for advanced Parkinson’s disease. Currently, I am supporting the oncology business unit as a medical trainee, working for example on scientific newsletters and publication data analysis with a focus on the treatment of multiple blood cancers. For my third rotation, I will return to the neurology business unit, this time to support the medical department with new tasks. The NCCR TransCure helped me to approach and collaborate cross-functionally with people from different scientific backgrounds and gave me the chance to meet many successful women in the scientific community. This helped me to start my career with a better awareness of the importance of gender equality.