Martina Borroni is a PhD student in Pavel Kovarik’s laboratory and focuses on the regulation of the immune response in the lungs by mRNA decay. In particular she is interested in a protein, called TTP, which binds and destabilizes mRNAs encoding pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and therefore participates in the transition to the resolution phase of inflammation. With group leader Pavel Kovarik she has an expert supervisor, as his laboratory has long been researching the processes of signaling and gene expression behind inflammation. His recent project, supported by the FWF, shed light on the role of said TTP protein during programmed death of white blood cells.
Maria Velkova is currently pursuing her PhD in Verena Jantsch’s laboratory, and her main research interest lies in unraveling the mysteries of meiosis. Specifically, she is investigating the regulation of cross-over/non-cross-over formation during meiotic prophase I in the model system C. elegans. It is very important to understand this regulation since the lack of a cross-over leads to chromosome mis-segregation and unrepaired DNA breaks can lead to elimination of germ cells by apoptosis or faulty repair. “The Jantsch lab is studying the contribution of the BTR (Bloom helicase-topoisomerase III-RMI1/2) complex to meiotic recombination. By focusing on the worm RMI2 orthologue, I will likely make novel discoveries concerning the regulation of the complex in meiosis, where next to nothing is known on its contribution to DNA repair”, explains Maria.
"PhD student Theresa Zekoll´s project tackles the concept of how light penetrates the brain and influences the activity of such a highly evolved organ. Evidence has accumulated for photoreceptors located outside of the eyes, which modulate behavior through non-image forming photoreception. She therefore aims to determine the function of a photoreceptor family expressed in the brain of various vertebrates and some mammals, called teleost-multiple-tissue (TMT) Opsins. For this purpose she utilizes two fish species as model organisms: Zebrafish and Medaka fish. She will investigate the role of these non-visual photoreceptors located deep within the brain, in order to unravel differences and/or commonalities in terms of functions when looking at these two evolutionary distant species. These opsins have been suggested as candidates for mediating cellular photoentrainment, and tissue and brain photoreception. But their definitive functions are still unknown. "
The uni:docs fellowship programme offers individual scholarships and aims to finance excellent doctoral candidates. Successful fellows will be employed at the University of Vienna for a period of three years. The fellowship provides outstanding early stage researchers with conditions that allow them to focus exclusively on their research, and thus make substantial contributions to science.
The MFPL is a top-notch research and teaching institute in the molecular life sciences located in one of the most liveable cities, Vienna. We are dedicated to providing an outstanding education in molecular biology to students from all over the world. MFPL PhD selections are held twice per year in May and November.