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Group Leader

Ph.D.,  University of Cambridge, UK


Nico was an undergraduate in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge (UK), where he also completed his Ph.D. in enzymology and structural biology jointly with Peter Leadlay (University of Cambridge) and Phil Evans (MRC-LMB Cambridge). He then was a postdoc with Roger Goody (Max-Plank Institute, Dortmund) focusing on protein-ligand interactions. In 2001 he moved to the laboratory of Nikola Pavletich (Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York) to complete his training in X-ray crystallography. Nico became a group leader at the FMI in 2006, where he has been tenured as of 2011.

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Project Leader, EM Competency Center


Simone studied chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) where he received his PhD in 2009 for developing new NMR techniques to probe the structure and dynamics of biomolecules under the supervision of Prof. Geoffrey Bodenhausen. He then moved for a short period to the Institut Biochimique SA (IBSA) in Lugano, Switzerland, where he worked as a mass spectrometry scientist, helping to establish their mass spectrometry facility. In 2011 he joined the Thomä laboratory at FMI for post-doctoral studies on the CRL-CSN complexes before becoming a project leader in 2014. Since 2016 he holds a shared position between the group of Dr. Nicolas Thomä and the electron microscopy facility under Dr. Christel Genoud. Together with his colleague Dr. Andreas Schenk they support FMI users to utilise cryo-EM for their scientific research, contribute to the setup and development of the cryo-EM facility shared with Novartis and explore and validate new methods for single-particle cryo-EM.

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Senior Postdoc

Ph.D., European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy


Manuel received his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Biology from the University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy), working in the lab of Prof. Marina Vai on the control of cell cycle in the yeast S. Cerevisiae. He then continued his PhD studies in Milan at the European Institute of Oncology under the supervision of Dr. Marina Mapelli. Here, Manuel used biochemistry and
X-ray crystallography to study the molecular cues driving mitotic spindle orientation in human cells. Fascinated by the thrill of discovery through structural biology, Manuel pursued his academic career as a Postdoc in the lab of Dr. Lori Passmore at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (United Kingdom), where he employed single-particle cryo-electron microscopy to explore the molecular basis of transcription termination in eukaryotes. In 2022, Manuel joined the Thomä lab as a senior Postdoc to set the stage for the biochemical reconstitution and the structural analysis of transcriptional co-repressors in the context of chromatin.

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Postdoc, EMBO fellow

Ph.D., University of Western Ontario, Canada


Jake completed his Ph.D at the University of Western Ontario in 2017 studying RBR ubiquitin ligase activation under the supervision of Dr. Gary Shaw. In the Thomä lab, he is studying how cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases, the largest family of E3 enzymes, ensure faithful replication of genomic information. He uses a variety of biophysical and structural techniques, including cryo-EM, to elucidate these processes at the atomic level.

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Ph.D. student

M.Sc. in Microbiology, University of Calcutta, India


Deyasini received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Calcutta in 2019. Before joining the Thomä lab for her PhD, she worked in the lab of Sonal Nagarkar Jaiswal at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India. She worked on understanding the roles of a microcephaly-related gene and subunits of COP9 Signalosome complex in neural development in Drosophila. In the Thomä lab, she is interested in studying the molecular interplay between transcription factors and chromatin remodellers.

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Ph.D., University of Basel


Seemon studied chemistry at the University of Zürich and did his master thesis in physical organic chemistry in the group of Prof. Dr. Peter Chen. Hereafter he decided to gather all his courage to do a PhD and joined the group of Prof. Dr. Dennis Gillingham (University of Basel). During this time, he explored small molecule protein degraders (i.e. PROTACs and molecular glues) with a particular focus around a class of sulfonamides targeting CRL4DCAF15. In March 2021 he gathered all of his remaining courage and crossed the river to join the Thomä lab where he is currently working on various projects around targeted protein degradation via the Ubiquitin proteasomal pathway.

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M.Sc. in Chemistry, ETH Zurich


David was an undergraduate in Chemistry at the University of Vienna and did his BSc thesis in the Friml lab, which is studying plant cell biology. This stay has led him to become fascinated by molecular biology. Right after, he moved to Switzerland to receive his master's degree from ETH Zürich. Here, he did his thesis in the lab of Prof. Stefanie Jonas studying RNA processing machineries in the context of the Integrator complex. David then swam directly to Basel and in the Thomä lab his interest lies in understanding the molecular and structural basis for DNA-binding by proteins - as well as their targeted degradation.

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Research Associate 

M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Freiburg, Germany


Vivian completed her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where she continued her studies with the Master program Biochemistry and Biophysics. Ever since her Bachelor thesis work in the lab of Oliver Einsle, she is fascinated by structural biology. Therefore, she joint the Thomä lab for a research internship in 2020, followed by her Master thesis. Vivian is now supporting the Thomä lab as a research associate with the performance of biochemical assays and structural characterisation of protein complexes involved in targeted protein degradation.

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Master Student

B.Sc. in Molecular Biology, Biozentrum, Basel


Pius did his B.Sc. in Molecular Biology at the Biozentrum in Basel. In the Thomä lab he's studying the molecular basis of complex zinc-finger degradation for his Master Thesis.

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Research Associate 

M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Freiburg


Mina completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. She then moved to Freiburg where she continued her studies with the Master program Biochemistry and Biophysics. During her master thesis, she studied the role of PBRM1 tumor suppressor protein and its metastatic potential in kidney cancer cells. Besides her interest in cancer biology, she was also interested in genome regulation on a structural biology basis. Therefore, she joined the Thomä lab as a research associate by studying the structural characterization of large protein complexes maintaining genome stability.

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Ph.D. Student, UbiCODE fellow

M.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Edinburgh


Zuzanna received her Intergrated Masters degree in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. During the course of her studies, she also pursued research projects at ETH Zurich (Prof. Nenad Ban) and the University of Dundee (Prof. Alessio Ciulli). In the Thoma lab, she is working on finding novel chemical matter for targeted degradation of DNA-binding proteins.   

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Postdoc, EMBO/HFSP fellow

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz


Alicia received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Western Washington University where she worked in an organometallic chemistry lab under the supervision of Dr. Timothy Clark. She then moved to sunny Santa Cruz, California to do her Ph.D with Carrie Partch, studying the molecular details of circadian rhythms. In the Thomä lab, she is working on  elucidating the structural basis of transcriptional regulatory complexes.

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Ph.D., Korea University, Seoul


Si Hoon received his B.S. degree in Life Sciences and Biotechnology at Korea University (South Korea). He also completed his Ph.D. and his first postdoctoral fellowship in structural biology at the same University, under the supervision of Prof. Hyun Kyu Song. He studied the DNA modification of bacterial viruses using X-ray free electron lasers, and besides that, investigated the reaction mechanism of RING-type ubiquitin ligases, especially the TRIM family. In the Thomä lab, he hope to study the roles of ubiquitin ligases and transcription regulators in the context of gene regulation.

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Ph.D. Student

M.Sc. in Chemistry, RWTH University, Aachen


Clara received her Bachelor's and Master's degree in Chemistry from RWTH Aachen University. During her Master's studies, she did a research internship in the group of Prof. Dr. Ming Hammond at University of Utah and later joined the group of Prof. Dr. Frédéric Allain at ETH Zurich for her Master thesis. Before joining the Thomä Lab, she worked at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research as a postgraduate. In the Thomä lab, she is working on finding novel biologics-based degraders of DNA-binding proteins.

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Ph.D., Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla


Colby received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz. While there he worked in the lab of Carrie Partch, studying the biophysical properties of circadian proteins. He then moved to La Jolla to pursue his PhD with Gabriel Lander at the Scripps Research Institute, where he investigated the structural biology of AAA+ ATPases and circadian oscillators using single particle cryo-EM. In the Thomä Lab he pursues his interest in the molecular and structural biology of DNA-binding proteins - and their targeted degradation.

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Master Student

B.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Strasbourg, France


During her binational Bachelor in Chemistry, Enola had her first insight into protein biochemistry and structural biology in Prof. Einsle’s group. She pursued with a binational Master in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Strasbourg, France and Freiburg, Germany and finally joined the Thomä lab for her master thesis, working on biochemical and structural characterization of the Sin3A corepressor complex involved in the regulation of transcription and chromatin.

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Lab Manager

Assistant for Biotechnology, NTA, Isny im Allgäu, Germany


In more than ten years working as a research associate in a structural biology lab focusing on protein degradation (Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen and University of Regensburg, both Germany) Mira gathered experience in different DNA and protein associated techniques as well as organizing a lab.

In her current position she supports the group here and there and takes care that everyone can work in a smooth-running lab.

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Ph.D. Student

M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Freiburg, Germany


Lisa completed her Bachelor in Chemistry, followed by a Master’s degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Freiburg, Germany. After gaining first insights into X-ray crystallography during her Bachelor thesis in the lab of Prof. Thorsten Friedrich, Lisa was interested in learning more about cryo-EM and therefore joined the Thomä lab for a research internship and her Master thesis. Since then, she is working on identifying the mechanistic principles employed by transcription factors to read out specific sites on nucleosomes.

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MD, Ph.D., University of Oxford, UK


Luca graduated in Medicine and Surgery in 2010 from the University of Pavia (Italy) and specialized in Clinical Pathology at the same University (2011-2016). Considering structural biology a key tool to uncover molecular mechanisms involved in human diseases and bring innovative treatment to patients, he subsequently enrolled in the Cellular Structural Biology PhD programme at the University of Oxford (2016-2021). There, he studied the structural basis of cell-cell communication and morphogen trafficking in the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway, under the supervision of prof. Yvonne Jones. In the Thoma lab, he will go downstream in the cell and focus on the interaction between transcription factors (TF) and chromatin remodelers, to understand from a molecular perspective how TFs are deposited and maintained at regions of open chromatin.    

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Ph.D. Student

M.Sc. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Heidelberg


Joscha received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Heidelberg. He joined the Thomä lab during the course of his master studies and was mainly working on sequencing-based assays that enable the determination of specific protein-nucleosome interactions. After finishing his Master’s degree, Joscha decided to stay in the Thomä lab for his PhD and is currently working on multiple projects aiming to understand how transcriptional regulators deal with nucleosomes.


Postdoctoral fellows
Markus Vogel (2007-2010)
Andrea Scrima (2007-2011)
Nicolas Bocquet (2009-2013)
Manjappa Lingaraju G (2009-2014)
Kerstin Boehm (2010-2014)
Simone Cavadini (2010-2014)
Richard Bunker (2011-2016)
Wassim Abdul Rahman (2011-2014)
Julius Rabl (2011-2018)
Tianlai Shi (2012-2013)
Eric Fischer (2013-2015)

Susanne Kassube (2014-2020)
Andreas Daniel Schenk (2015-2016)
Michal Walczak (2015-2017)

Anja Basters (2015-2020)
Syota Matsumoto (2016-2020)
Pooja Sadana (2017-2020)
Georg Petzold (2014-2021)
Dakota Suchyta (2018-2021)
Ganesh Pathare (2015-2022)

PhD students
Frank Schmitges (2006-2011)
Cian Stutz (2008-2012)
Tianlai Shi (2008-2012)
Eric Fischer (2010-2013)
Weaam Ibrahim Mohamed (2012-2018)
Julia Reinert (2013-2018)
Alessandro Potenza (2014-2015)
Carlos Pla Prats (2017-2022)
Zuzanna Kozicka (2018-2022)

Technical/Research associates

Richard Bunker (2017 - 2019)
Mahamadou Faty (Lab manager, 2006-2018)
Jacqueline Blunschi (2009)
Wassim Abdul Rahman (2014-2017)
Manjappa Lingaraju G (2014-2016)
Julia Toth (2015)
Alessandro Potenza (2015-2017)

Amparo Andres-Pons (Lab manager, 2018-2020)
Suzanne Tan (2019-2020)
Eric Pfeiffer (2019-2021)

Philipp Amsler (2007-2009)
Renata Konickova (2007-2008)
Cian Stutz (2007-2008)
Jonathan Aiwazian (2008-2009)
Eric Fischer (2008-2010)
Ulrike Seeburg (2014-2015)

Visiting scientists
Mariko Yoshizawa (2010)
Lauren Monovich (2012)

Martin Renatus (2014)
Seth Rubin (2016)


The lab has between 10-16 members form all over the world and varying scientific backgrounds. Typically half of the lab team has had prior experience in structural biology, while the remainder comes from different fields ranging from cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry to yeast biology. Working in the lab is supported by the FMI core facilities. The FMI structure facility supports robotics, crystallization, data collection, electron microscopy and provides training. Further mass-spectrometry supports are provided by FMI protein analysis facility.

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