I started working in the Nowacki lab in fall 2016 as a lab manager / postdoc and am still trying to get to know our little creature. In addition I have a 50% teaching appointment at the university and preparing new courses keeps me quite busy at the moment.
I am a developmental biologist by training with an interest in evolution. For my phd I was working with Fabio Piano at NYU in unforgettable New York City. During that time I compared early cell divisions in more than 40 different worm species and we hypothesized about underlying genetic changes; check it out:or watch hundreds of worm movies…
Subsequently I went for a presidential postdoc at Novartis where I did a lot of cell culture and proteomics to understand the enzymatic activity, or lack thereof, of JMJD1C a predicted histone demethylase. trying to link an undescribed protein to a human disease is exciting but it is really not that easy to prove absence of enzymatic activity even though I tried hard! I still occasionally check if someone figured out the JMJD1C puzzle but am unaware of it for now.
After that I did a short stint with Markus Affolter and his crew at the Biozentrum in Basel. There I focused on characterizing Darpin reagents that bind fluorescent proteins (engineered by the Plückthun lab). For that purpose I generated my first fly stocks and injected some zebrafish embryos to show that Darpins can be functionalized in living organisms without interfering with normal development.
Thereafter I moved to Fribourg to work with Simon Sprecher. In his lab I focused on acoel worms, members of what we believe to be the oldest living bilaterian phylum. These things are pretty cool! it was also for that project where I did my first biology field trip to find some Xenoturbella’s in Sweden (maybe one of the most expensive organisms to isolate). Together with Adem I then analyzed the expressed complement of homeobox genes from different acoel species. I guess you have to have worked on HOX genes as en evo-devo enthusiast!
As you may appreciate by now I have seen and played with quite a few different creatures, and I am fascinated by all the different life forms on this planet and how all these phenotypes came to be! I also took part in the embryology course in woods hole to further stimulate certain ideas and during my phd I wrote a review about how molecular modules might impinge on evolutionary processes. However, I’m still waiting for the first person to cite this hidden jewel 🙂 !!
I also have an interest in teaching and i try to implement up to date didactic methods and varying techniques and classroom activities during my lectures. For this purpose I am currently still working towards a diploma in education if I ever get the time to finish (or start) my diploma thesis.
Don’t hesitate to contact me – i am always up for a coffee break or so.
…. and thanks to Leo for the picture on the swedish research vessel.
publications from my previous life:
– Protein interference applications in cellular and developmental biology using DARPins that recognize GFP and mCherry. M Brauchle, S Hansen, E Caussinus, A Lenard… – Biology open, 2014