ESR Blog

The RAMP ESRs will first introduce themselves on this page each at a time, then they will post regular articles on their activity within RAMP all throughout their PhD.

This month, Cristina shares with us her experience at Molecular Dimesions where she spent two months on sedondmenet.

Screenshot 2018-11-20 at 15.26.47– What is the purpose of this secondment?

As part of my PhD project I had the chance to spend two months at Molecular Dimensions Ltd (MDL) in Newmarket, Suffolk, UK.

This secondment had the purpose of developing a new product that could be useful in my and the other ESRs research projects. I found interesting and exciting to work on an idea with the perspective of make it take shape and become real.

Furthermore, I had always been on the customers’ side, buying and using MDL products, whereas for two months I had to change my perspective and put myself in the supplier’s shoes. This helped me consider the different and most practical aspects of the implementation of an idea and think about many details, such as: the most suitable materials, the most convenient solution for shipment… read full article here

This month, is Virginia Apostolopoulos turn to share with us her experience as a RAMP-ITN ESR and to give us an update of her work.

Picture virginiaCould you remind us briefly what your project is about?

My project revolves around the theoretical study of the crystallisation of membrane proteins. Instead of doing an experimental study on how membrane proteins crystallise, I will try to create computational models to understand the physics of the crystallisation of such complex biological systems. That means studying nucleation and the growth of crystals, in correlation with phenomena such as diffusion and flow, that play an important role in the crystallisation process.

The experimental ESRs will help me to achieve my goal, by providing experimental data that they collected during their experiments. Then by analysing their data, I will be able to find patterns and trends that will help to better understand how membrane proteins crystallise read full article here

This month, Jofia Jaho gives us an update on her research and she shares with us her experience so far as a RAMP-ITN ESR.

– Could you remind us briefly what your project is about?

S. Jaho_ESR2My thesis is about the crystallization of membrane proteins with an automated microfluidic pipeline. But what do these fancy words really mean? They simply describe that my work is associated with the process of crystallizing membrane proteins on microfluidic devices.

What are membrane proteins and why we need to study them? Membrane proteins are proteins located on the membranes of the cell. Depending on their structure, they are involved in a plethora of biological functions. For example, there is a family of membrane proteins (transporters) that are responsible for transporting molecules across the cellular membrane. They transport for example ferric iron ions (Fe+3)… read full article


This month Claudia ESR3 shares with us her experice as a RAMP ESR student and an update on her research.picture claudia rognee

“- Could you remind us briefly what your project is about?

I am working on one of the adenosine receptors. This is a membrane receptor translating signals from the outside into the interior of the cell. It belongs to the family of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). The different receptors in this family recognize a large variety of signals, ranging from light to neurotransmitters and hormones, but they all have very similar way of translating these signals into the cell.

Interestingly, there are many different signalling outputs for these receptors. One way to modulate these outputs is though the binding of different proteins to the receptor. However, currently very little is known about these interactions. The aim of my project is to determine the structure of the adenosine receptor together…read full article

Jannik ESR4 tells us about his experience in the “in meso in depht” workshop that took place in May 2018 in Dublin and Maynooth.

“What didPassbild-Jannik you learn during the workshop?

During our two weeks in sunny Ireland, we learnt a lot about the fundamental theory behind crystallisation and got hands-on experience on measuring protein solubility curves and protein-protein interactions. As a network that works on RAtionalising Membrane Protein crystallisation, this was very important for us. The second part of the workshop focused on in meso crystallisation as an alternative to the commonly used in surfo crystallisation of membrane proteins. The in meso method takes advantage …” read full article here.

elham rognée 2Elham, ESR1, tells us about her experience in the “Advanced methods in macromolecular crystallization VIII” course held in Nove Hrady in Czech Republic.

” Why did you take part in this event? (Describe your participation)

“Methods in macromolecular crystallization” is one of the FEBS advanced courses that is held in Nove Hrady, Czech Republic. This course was about different methods in crystallization and in crystallography studies. It was completely related to my thesis and gave me a general understanding of various methods…” read full article

Swati, ESR11IMG_9125, tells us about her experience in the recent RAMP research workshop “in meso in depth” that took place in May 2018 in Dublin and Maynooth

“What did you learn during the workshop?

Biological membranes mostly consist of lipids and proteins. These lipids and proteins form a complex that is required for protein stability and folding. So, this workshop was all about how we crystallize membrane proteins (MP) in presence of lipids and make the in vitro niche most suitable for the crystallization of a protein. In order to achieve this, we gained the expertise in Hi-LiDe and Lipidic cubic phase (LCP) …” read full article

My - Blog post pictureMy, ESR9, tells us about her experience in the recent RAMP research workshop “in meso in depth” that took place in May 2018 in Dublin and Maynooth

“The workshop enabled me to gain an insight into important crystallisation methods, which I had not used before and covered a theoretical understanding of nucleation and crystallisation processes. I learned why protein-protein interactions have a huge impact on crystallisation and more about the importance of protein phase diagrams…” read full article

Picture virginiaVirginia  Apostolopoulou is ESR10, works in the Department of Physics at the University of Surrey, UK. Her PhD subject is  “Modelling crystal formation in complex systems”.

“I graduated from University of Crete, Greece, in 2014 with a bachelor degree in Applied Mathematics. I continued my studies at the University of Crete, and in 2017 I got my master degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics. I am passionate about many areas of applied mathematics…” read full article

SofiaTrampariCutSofia Trampari is ESR5, works in Aarhus University, Denmark. Her PhD subject is “Crystallization and phase behavior of membrane transporters in lipid-detergent micelles

“I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. Being an excited and naturally curious person, I consider Physics to be the most intriguing field of research as it addresses a huge range of phenomena, from the nanoscale physics to the laws of the infinite universe. My innate passion to discover the world and my need to work towards finding ways to improve people’s wellbeing led me to pursue my studies in biophysics….” read full article

Clpicture claudia rogneeaudia Stohrer is ESR3, works at University of Leeds, United Kingdom. Her PhD subject is “Structure determination of the Adenosine receptor A2A in complex with intracellular binding partners”.

“I grew up in Switzerland near the city of Basel. Biology was always my favourite subject, and during high school I could follow up my interests. 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…” read full article

Passbild-JannikJannik Strauss is ESR4, works at University of Leeds, United Kingdom. His subject is “Novel Approaches to Proton Pumping Pyrophosphatases”.

“I grew up in a small town close to Hannover in Germany. After I finished school, I worked at the Institute of Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene of Nordstadt Hospital in Hannover for one year, where I helped identifying disease-causing microbes in patient samples. It was during that time that I found my passion for infectious disease research…” – read full article

Cristina picture-final-finalCristina Cecchetti is ESR7, works at Imperial College London, United Kingdom. Her subject is “Structural and functional studies of plant and fungal secondary active transporters”.

“I come from Nemi, a small town close to Rome in Italy. I grew up in a family with a scientific background: my father used to teach physics and chemistry in high school and my uncle is a chemist and teaches chemistry and maths. I got a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry at Sapienza University of Rome, thanks to a deep interest in chemistry developed during high school…” – read full article

Picture Sam rognéeSamuel Hjorth-Jensen is ESR 12 and is completing his PhD at Aarhus University in Denmark. His PhD subject is “proton pumping in sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase studied by neutron crystallography “.

“I grew up in Pittsworth, a small country town in Queensland, Australia. Growing up in Australia has provided me with a love of the outdoors – I enjoy being in the sun while kayaking, hiking or swimming in the ocean. Education wise, I have completed a Bachelor degree in Exercise Science from James Cook University in tropical far-north Queensland…” – read full article

elham rognée 2Elham Vahdatahar is ESR1, she works at the University of Grenoble Alpes, France. Her subject is “Optimisation of crystal growth using a microfluidic technology-based crystallisation bench”.

“I was born in Ahwaz, Iran. I studied cellular and molecular biology (genetics) at Isfahan University and then I chose to study biophysics at the University of Tehran. My master thesis was about the effect of potassium sorbate and vitamin C on fibrillation of bovine serum albumin. I really like to know more about proteins;…” – read full article

My - Blog post pictureThi Thanh My Nguyen is ESR 9, works at Maynooth University, Ireland. Her PhD subject is “experimental phase diagrams to optimise membrane protein crystallization”. 

“I come from a small fishing village in Vietnam and grew up near the North Sea in Germany. Living close to the sea my whole life, I enjoy being at the coast in any kind of weather. I did my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Industrial Biology at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences…” – read full article

Swati picture finalSwati Aggarwal is ESR 11, works at European Spallation Source (ESS) ERIC in Lund, Sweden. Her PhD subject: Elucidating the function of proton pumps with neutron crystallography.

“I come from a small valley surrounded by Himalayas known as Dehradun in India. I completed my Master’s in Biotechnology from National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, India. I spend my leisure time in painting…” – read full article.

Cromarte RogersMarty Rogers is ESR 6, works at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. His subject: Novel lipid environments for use in lipid cubic phase (in meso) crystallization of membrane proteins.

“I was born and raised in South Carolina in the USA. I played the French horn in school bands and orchestras since I was 10 years old, and music of all forms is still one of my passions. I completed an undergrad degree in Chemistry at the University of Oxford before….” – read full article.

photo-Sofia-Jaho-finaleSofia Jaho is ESR 2, works at the Institute for Structural Biology in Grenoble, France. Her subject : Crystallization of membrane proteins with an automated microfluidic pipeline.

“I come from Fier, a small city in Albania but I grew up in Argos, a town in South-East of Greece. While being a high school student, I used to work during summer at different half-time jobs. I studied at the Department of Chemical Engineering at University of Patras…” – read full article.

Diogo is the first to go, and accepted to answer a few questions to present himself!

Diogo Melo is ESR 8, works at the Center foto cortadafor Free Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg, Germany. His subject : Controlled growth of uniformly sized microcrystals, optimised for time-resolved crystallographic experiments

“I come from Alguber, a small village in Portugal that mostly lives off agriculture, in which I used to work most of the summers. I studied biochemistry for four years in the University of Algarve and two years in NOVA University of Lisbon…” – read full article