MEET THE LAB
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NICOLAS THOMÄ

Group Leader

Ph.D.,  University of Basel

andreas.schenk[at]fmi.ch

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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JACOB AGUIRRE

Postdoc, EMBO fellow

Ph.D., University of Western Ontario, Canada

jacob.aguirre[at]fmi.ch

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.

SIMONE CAVADINI

Project Leader, EM Competency Center

simone.cavadini[at]fmi.ch

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.

DEYASINI CHAKRABORTY

Ph.D. student

M.Sc. in Microbiology, University of Calcutta

deyasini.chakraborty[at]fmi.ch

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.

VIVIAN FOCHT

Master Student

B.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Freiburg

vivian.focht[at]fmi.ch

Vivian completed her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Freiburg, Germany. She is enrolled in the Master study program Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Freiburg and joined the Thomä lab for a research internship followed up by her Master thesis. Ever since her Bachelor thesis work in the lab of Oliver Einsle, she is fascinated by structural biology and is now supporting the Thomä lab with the discovery of new molecular glue mechanisms and principal design strategies in the field of targeted protein degradation.

PIUS GALLI

Master Student

B.Sc. in Molecular Biology, Biozentrum, Basel

pius.galli[at]fmi.ch

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.

ZUZANNA KOZICKA

Ph.D. Student, UbiCODE fellow

M.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Edinburgh

zuzanna.kozicka[at]fmi.ch

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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ALICIA MICHAEL

Postdoc, EMBO/HFSP fellow

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

alicia.michael[at]fmi.ch

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.

GANESH PATHARE

Postdoc

Ph.D., Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Munich

ganesh.pathare[at]fmi.ch

Ganesh received his B.S. Agricultural Biotechnology in Mahatma Phule Agricultural University, India. He then moved to Europe and did his Masters research at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. He completed his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Germany under the supervision of Wolfgang Baumeister studying the 26S proteasome.

GEORG PETZOLD

Postdoc, EMBO/HFSP fellow

Ph.D., Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna

georg.petzold[at]fmi.ch

Entering university having no idea about contemporary (molecular) biology, Georg was completely blown away when he first heard that biomolecules can be resolved at atomic resolution. This is what he wanted to do and nothing else. So he moved to Heidelberg University where he received his Diploma in Biochemistry/Biophysics doing X-ray crystallography on signal recognition particle (SRP)-like GTPases. He then joined the lab of Jan-Michael Peters - an expert in mitosis and cell cycle control - at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna working on a huge ubiquitin ligase complex promoting chromosome segregation in anaphase (anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C)). In the Thomä lab, he is working on drug-induced target protein degradation, a new paradigm in pharmacology that exploits ubiquitin ligase activity to shred disease causing proteins.

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ERIC PFEIFFER

Research Associate

M.Sc. in Molecular Biology, University of Basel

eric.pfeiffer[at]fmi.ch

Eric did his Bachelors in Molecular Biology at the University of Basel. He is working on protein expression of complexes in different expression systems.

CARLOS PLA PRATS

Ph.D. Student

M.Sc. in Molecular Biology, Madrid

carlos.pla-prats[at]fmi.ch

Carlos completed a B.Sc. in Chemistry and an M.Sc. in Molecular Biology in Madrid, where he developed a fascination with the molecular basis of life. Following a years-long interest in structural biology, he spent the following year in the labs of Alessandro Vannini (Institute of Cancer Research, London) and Wojtek Galej (European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Grenoble). He there studied proteins involved in transcription by RNA pol III and mRNA maturation before joining the Thomä lab for his PhD. He is now interested in the ever-expanding role of ubiquitin ligases as regulators of key cellular processes and hopes to make great contributions to his field.

COLBY SANDATE

Postdoc

Ph.D., Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla

colby.sandate[at]fmi.ch

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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MIRA SCHÜTZ-STOFFREGEN

Lab Manager

Assistant for Biotechnology, NTA, Isny im Allgäu

mira.schuetz[at]fmi.ch

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 takes care that we all can work in a smooth-running lab.

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LISA STOOS

Master Student

B.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Freiburg

lisa.stoos[at]fmi.ch

Lisa received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Freiburg, where she completed her Bachelor thesis in the lab of Prof. Thorsten Friedrich. She is currently doing her Master in the Biochemistry and Biophysics program at the University of Freiburg. In the Thoma lab she is working on identifying the mechanistic principles employed by transcription factors to read out specific sites on nucleosomes.

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DAKOTA SUCHYTA

Postdoc

Ph.D.,  University of North-Carolina Chapel Hill

dakota.suchyta[at]fmi.ch

Dakota received his Bachelors in Chemistry from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2012 and then his PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2017. He is currently working on the syntheses of new bifunctional degrader molecules that can utilize endogenous ubiquitin ligases to target a range of proteins (e.g., transcription factors).

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JOSCHA WEISS

Master Student

B.Sc. in Biosciences, University of Heidelberg

joscha.weiss[at]fmi.ch

Joscha received his B.Sc. in Biosciences from the University of Heidelberg. As part of his M.Sc. program in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Heidelberg, he came to the Thomä lab for a rotation and decided to stay for his master thesis. In the Thomä lab he is mainly studying how transcriptional regulators deal with nucleosomes.  

FORMER LAB MEMBERS

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)

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)

Technical/Research associates

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

Alessandro Potenza (2015-2017)

Amparo Andres-Pons (Labmanager, 2018-2020)

Suzanne Tan (2019-2020)



Undergraduates
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)

 

MEET THE LAB

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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