I grew up in Switzerland near the city of Basel. With “Schweizer Jugend Forscht”, I got my first opportunity to get to know research work at University level by carrying out a little research project at the University of Geneva. I absolutely loved it! Following this experience I decided to study molecular Biology at the University of Basel. For my Master’s Thesis in Molecular Biology, I investigated the trafficking of a membrane protein from the Trans-Golgi network to the plasma membrane. After I went to Novartis for an internship, to learn how research is carried out in industry. It was during that internship that I got more interested in structure biology and also got introduced to the world of GPCRs, the topic of my current PhD.
If I’m not in the lab, I like to spend time at the pool, either working as a swimming instructor for kids or as a lifesaving swimmer. I also enjoy music a lot by playing in an orchestra and dancing.
university of leeds
start date | 01/10/2017
supervisor | Adrian Goldman
Structure determination of the Adenosine receptor A2A in complex with intracellular binding partners
G protein-couple receptors (GPCRs) are membrane receptors responsible to transfer a signal from the outside to the inside of the cell. They are involved in almost all physiological processes and therefore represent interesting drug targets. About 30% of the drugs marketed today are targeting GPCRs!
The translation of the signal implies the activation of the so-called G protein. Once activated, this protein triggers a variety of signalling pathways inside the cell, while interacting with many other partners. To understand the mechanism of the signal transfer (outside to inside of the cell) we need to know more about the 3D structure of GPCRs, and this can be investigated thanks to X-ray crystallography.
In my PhD, I am working with one of the numerous GPCRs: the Adenosine receptor. This receptor is for instance required to keep your heart from speeding up too much or the reason why coffee keeps you awake. Several interaction partners have been identified around the Adenosine receptor, but we are still seeking how they interact with it. To help research going further on this, my work aims to generate a complex of the Adenosine receptor with some of its interaction partners, try to crystallise them, and then see how they interact thanks to X-ray crystallography.
Skills & Expertise
#Protein Purification & Expression
Novartis (Switzerland), February 2019
Centre for Free Electron Laser Science (Germany), January 2018
Workshops & conferences
International engineering congress Misantla | October 2020
Astbury Research Retreat, Buxton UK | September 2019
British Crystallography Association Spring meeting |Nottingham (UK), April 2019
British Crystallography Association winter meeting |Imperial College London (UK), December 2018
CCP4 Study Weekend | Nottingham (UK), January 2019
Stipend from the Janggen-Pöhn Foundation to finish PhD
Poster prize at the Astbury Research Retreat, September 2019
Claudia has not just been doing research, she has also been involved in science communication activities to engage citizens with science.
Giving an online Talk about: Structure-based drug design (in Spanish!) at the International engineering congress “Smart Cities, an emerging approach towards sustainable development” organized by Campus Misantla| Mexico, October 2020
Participating to the event “Crystals made of tears: from misery to cheer” at The Devereux pub in central London | July 2019
Blogging about science and PhD life| see all blogposts from Claudia: Portrait, In secondment at Novartis, Updates on Claudia’s complex of the adenosine receptor, A new story for my thesis
Holding a stall on “The sensational world of G-Protein coupled receptors” at the Astbury conversation organised by the University of Leeds | UK, April 2018
Teaching high school students during the Ferienkurs Forschung Physik at the University of Hamburg | Germany, March 2018