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DoC 1

Leonard Bellersheim


Hello everyone,

I am Leonard Bellersheim, a medical student at the University of Regensburg and currently pursuing my MD at the Leibniz Institute for Immunotherapy (LIT), specializing in molecular biology and immunological processes. Originally from Munich, my academic journey brought me to Regensburg, where I started my scientific career as a student assistant in Prof. Beckhove´s Lab.

My initial role involved supporting the group’s work with bioinformatic analysis, focusing primarily on NGS data and differential gene expression in the context of cancer and transplant immunology. As part of my current MD project, I am investigating immune resistance genes in liver transplant rejection, with a specific emphasis on understanding the interaction between effector T-cells and hepatocytes. Throughout these years, I have acquired valuable experience in hands-on laboratory work and bioinformatic data analysis. My expertise spans cancer and transplantation immunology, as well as molecular biology, with a focus on immune-regulating genes.

Supported by an internship at the transplantation department of the LMU Munich, my fascination for immunology, especially transplantation immunology, is growing day by day. As a result, I am constantly looking for new challenges and scientific questions in this field and was therefore fascinated by the concept of exTra.

I am excited about the prospect of diving into the complexity of T cell metabolism during my doctoral research project at King’s College London (KCL) under the guidance of my primary supervisor, Dr. Niloufar Safinia. The primary objective of my research is to decipher the impact of Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP) on T cell metabolism, focusing on both effector T cells (Teff) and CD4+ FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) and to correlate these findings with clinical effects in ECP-treated patients.

Starting date: 1st September 2024

Hello everybody!

My name is Inês Morgado, I am 25 years old and I am from Portugal. I graduated in Biochemistry at the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra. During my bachelor’s, I participated in the Erasmus+ program where I developed my internship project in the Laboratory Virus-Cell Interaction at CIBIO-University of Trento, Italy. This bachelor’s internship was an extremely enriching experience and only reinforced that this was the path that I intended to follow.

Therefore, I started my Master’s program in Biomedical Research at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra and developed my master’s project at the i3S-Institute of Health Innovation and Research in Porto. My master’s thesis project aimed at understanding the biological advantages given by an adhesion molecule in ovarian cancer cell lines, particularly in terms of systemic dissemination and homing, and unraveling its potential as a possible biomarker and tool for identifying peritoneal metastases in ovarian cancer patients.

These experiences reinforced my interest in science and highlighted the impact and importance of translational research in human health. For this reason, I decided to apply for the PhD project “Modulation of NK cell and MRC responses after ECP therapy” at Prof. Dr. Robert Zeiser’s laboratory in Freiburg Germany.

My PhD project will focus on characterizing myeloid regulatory cells (MRC) following extracorporeal  photopheresis (ECP) therapy, with a focus on identifying immunosuppressive molecules. The project aims to evaluate the immunoregulatory activity of these molecules through adoptive transfer into secondary recipients. The findings will be further validated in patient samples by analyzing MRC, NK, and T cells in the peripheral blood of ECP-treated patients. We are interested in identifying a correlation between MRC frequencies and responses to ECP therapy.

I am thrilled to join the exTra consortium, which I believe will be a great opportunity and enriching experience for me, both personally and professionally.

Starting date: 15th November 2023

DoC 2

Inês Morgado