Meet our RNAmed students
The graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine” takes a multi-disciplinary approach to provide PhD students with the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue a career in the rapidly developing field of RNA-based medicine.
Currently, 12 PhD students in Würzburg, Munich and Regensburg are enrolled in the program, which is funded by the Elite Network Bavaria (Germany).
Brent Cuveele, Regensburg
Brent Cuveele obtained his MSc in Biomedical Sciences and 'Tropical and Infectious Diseases' at the University of Antwerp (Belgium). His interests in RNA biology and RNA-based medicine strengthened when he completed his master's thesis in the group of Dr. Michalis Kotsyfakis at the Institute of Parasitology in Czech Republic. Pursuing a PhD in the research group of Prof. Dr. Gunter Meister at the University of Regensburg (Germany) as part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine” now gives him the opportunity to further explore and study the fascinating field of RNA biology.
Nikolai Diukarev, Munich
Nikolai Diukarev received his MSc in Fundamental and Applied Chemistry from Tomsk State University (Russia) in 2019. He subsequently gained work experience in academia and industry. For his PhD studies, he joined the Carell group at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Currently, as part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine,” he is working on prebiotic chemistry, where he is researching chemical pathways that could explain the emergence of the initial building blocks of life, such as amino acids, purines, and pyrimidines.
Anna Fürst, Munich | Photo © Jörg Steffens
Anna Fürst studied Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology at the Technical University of Munich (Germany). In 2020, she joined ISAR Bioscience GmbH’s Stem Cell Platform as a master’s student. After successfully completing her thesis titled “Generation of a human model of juvenile idiopathic arthritis using stem cell and CRISPR-Cas9 technologies,” she continued her work at c where she recently started her PhD as part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine”. She works on the generation and characterization of human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSCs)-derived models of inflammatory diseases. Specifically, her PhD project focuses on the role of macrophages in Crohn's disease. Using CRISPR-Cas9, she creates her gene(s)-of-interest knockout hiPSC lines, which she then differentiates into macrophages. The phenotype and identity of these cells are then to be analyzed and compared to human primary samples in a wide array of functional and characterization assays. The ongoing readouts are focused on crucial macrophage functions like phagocytosis, cell migration, and cytokine secretion, as well as the analysis of macrophage identity by marker expression on RNA and protein levels. As per the outlook, the generated models are to be used for therapy development.
Giorgia Gerolimetto, Würzburg
Giorgia Gerolimetto graduated in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology from the University of Trieste (Italy) in March 2022. Her educational and professional background include experience in both academic and industrial settings. After working in the R&D Formulation Department at Alfasigma S.p.A in Rome (Italy), she joined Prof. Dr. Dr. Meinel's group as a PhD student to further develop her knowledge in formulation science. Currently, as part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine,” she is focused on studying lipid nanoparticles for delivering mRNA therapeutics.
Charlotte Kamm, Würzburg | Photo © Nik Schölzel
Charlotte Kamm obtained her MSc in Molecular Biosciences from Heidelberg University (Germany) in December 2022. For her master's thesis, she joined the Beisel lab at the Helmholtz Institute Würzburg (Germany), where she explored a novel gene editor in E. coli. As part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine,” she has been continuing her journey in the Beisel lab as a PhD student since March 2023. Her current research focuses on characterizing and engineering DNA-modifying proteins for gene editing purposes.
Pranjal Meel, Würzburg
Pranjal Meel received her integrated BSc-MSc dual degree in Biological Sciences from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali (ISER Mohali), India, in June 2023. She worked on the cell biology of RNA viruses as part of her master's thesis at IISER Mohali. In October 2023, she joined the lab of Prof. Dr. Utz Fischer for her PhD. Currently, as part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine,” she is focused on studying the poxvirus transcription machinery.
Sarah Nentwich, Würzburg | Photo © Nik Schölzel
Sarah Nentwich obtained her MSc at the University of Applied Sciences Mittelhessen (Germany) in Biotechnology/Biopharmaceutical Technology. She worked on the structural analyses of human papillomavirus using mass spectrometry as part of her master’s thesis at the Leibniz Institute of Virology in Hamburg (Germany). In March 2023, she joined the Vogel lab at the Helmholtz Institute Würzburg (Germany) as a PhD student to study programmable antibiotics based on antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) as part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine”.
Stina Rademacker, Munich
Stina Rademacker studied Pharmacy in Münster (Germany) and graduated in 2020. Following an internship at Bayer AG in the biotech group of the Manufacturing Science and Technology department and an internship at the Birken Apotheke in Cologne (Germany), she obtained her license as a pharmacist in 2021. She began her work in the research group of Prof. Olivia Merkel as part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine” in November 2022 and is currently working in the field of pulmonary RNA delivery via lipid nanoparticles.
Mario Seimel, Regensburg
Mario Seimel obtained his MSc in Molecular Microbiology from Regensburg University (Germany) in July 2023. For his master’s thesis, he joined the Grohmann lab, where he researched on CRISPR-Cas adaptation. As part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine,” he continues in the Grohmann lab as a PhD student. His current research focuses on CRISPR-Cas9 and advancing its potential in medical sciences.
Sinem Sürmeli, Munich
Sinem Sürmeli completed her MSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany). During her MSc, she focused on utilizing CRISPR tools on patient-derived organoids to improve chemotherapies in a personalized manner. She has a strong belief in the potential clinical application of CRISPR tools and aspires to contribute to leading the way towards a future where these tools are extensively employed in clinics. Her particular interest lies in targeting challenging organs like the heart. She started her PhD at the Technical University of Munich (Germany) as part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine” in March 2023.
Chrisoula Tahtsidou, Munich
Chrisoula Tahtsidou received her MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich (Germany). As part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine,” she is pursuing her PhD in the research group of Prof. Dr. Dr. Stefan Engelhardt at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Technical University of Munich (Germany). COPD is the third most common cause of death worldwide. To address this critical unmet medical need, her PhD project focuses on elucidating microRNAs in alveolar macrophages as therapeutic targets in COPD.
Xiaoxuan Wang, Würzburg
Xiaoxuan Wang holds a dual BSc in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from universities in China and Germany. She completed her MSc in Chemistry at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Germany). Her research has primarily centered on physico-chemical characterization techniques, with her master's thesis focusing on the characterization and application of polyplexes for delivering siRNA. As part of the graduate program “RNAmed – Future Leaders in RNA-based Medicine,” Xiaoxuan Wang is pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Dr. Lorenz Meinel since March 2023. Her present research is dedicated to understanding the structural aspects of lipid nanoparticles for RNA delivery, aiming to uncover the mechanisms that drive their effectiveness.