Lab members

SophieMartinSophie Martin, lab head
Sophie studied at the Universities of Lausanne and Zurich. She earned her master degree studying chromatin organization with Susan Gasser, and her PhD from Cambridge University, studying cell polarization in Drosophila with Daniel St Johnston. She then joined the lab of Fred Chang at Columbia University in New York, where she started using fission yeast as model system to study cell polarization. She became an assistant professor in 2007 and is now full professor. Click here for a more detailed CV.


VincentVincenzettiVincent Vincenzetti, technician
Vincent did his apprenticeship at the University of Neuchâtel. In 2002 he moved to the University of Zurich to work in the group of PD Dr. M. Geisler on the role of ABCB/PGP- and PIN-type auxin transporters in plants. He joined the lab in July 2010.



Pedro N'kosi

Pedro N’kosi, technician
Pedro obtained his Diploma of Technician in Biomedical Analysis from the “Ecole Supérieure de la Santé” in Lausanne and then worked for a couple of years as a medical technician. He then joined the lab of Prof. Karim Labib initially in Manchester University and then in Dundee University, where he worked on budding yeast cell cycle regulation. He joined the lab in October 2016


Laetitia Michon, technician
Laetitia did her studies in Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon where she obtained a master degree in differentiation, genetics and immunology. She moved to the University of Geneva to work on cell-cell communication in insulin-producing cells, and then as a technician on cell polarity and GPI-anchor proteins for 5 years. After one year at the Protein Analysis Facility at UNIL, she joined the lab in August 2016.


LauraMerliniLaura Merlini, postdoctoral researcher
Laura studied industrial biotechnology at the University of Milano-Bicocca. There and in Montpellier, she worked as undergraduate and graduate student in the lab of Simonetta Piatti and obtained her PhD in 2011. During these years she studied mitotic exit and cytokinesis using budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as model organism. She joined the group in April 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow.


AleksandarVjesticaAleksandar Vjestica, postdoctoral research
Aleks obtained a biology degree at the University of Belgrade and a PhD in Singapore. Under Snezhana Oliferenko’s guidance, his research helped identify mechanisms by which ER organization regulates cell polarity in yeast. His later PhD work elucidated how a chaperone network optimizes cell growth upon temperature changes. His interest in responses to the environment led him to join the lab in November 2013.



Magdalena Marek, postdoctoral researcher
Magda studied microbiology at Wroclaw University in Poland. She obtained her PhD in cellular biophysics with Thomas Gunther-Pomorski at the Humboldt University, Berlin, characterizing sterol transporters and lipid movement within the cell. She continued her research as a postdoc at Copenhagen University with Rosa Lopez-Marquez, studying lipid transport and sterol esterification and toxicity. She joined the lab in May 2015.


VenetaGerganovaVeneta Gerganova, postdoctoral researcher
Veneta was born in Bulgaria. Aged 16, she moved to Germany to start her B.Sc. at Jacobs University Bremen. She obtained her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics with Georgi Muskhelishvili, investigating bacterial genetic regulation in E. coli. Her interest in the spatio-temporal regulation of global effectors led her to join the lab in 2016, where she studies the Pom1 concentration gradient.


Gaowen Liu

Gaowen Liu, postdoctoral researcher
Gaowen obtained her Bachelor in Huazhong Agriculture University in China in 2010 and moved to Singapore for her Master and PhD studies. During her PhD with Giulia Rancati , she worked on aneuploidy and adaptive evolution in budding yeast under extreme condition – loss of an essential gene, using experimental evolution, genomics and systems biology approaches. She joined the group in October 2016.


Olivia Muriel Lopez, postdoctoral researcher
Olivia studied Biology at the University of Malaga, Spain. She obtained her PhD in Molecular Biology with Prof. del Pozo’s at the CNIC in Madrid, where she studied caveolae. She then moved to the University of Geneva for a postdoctoral training with Prof. Gruenberg, where she studied vesicular trafficking. She joined the lab in November 2016 to study membrane dynamics and ultrastructure during cell-cell fusion in yeast.


IkerLamasIker Lamas, PhD student
Iker obtained his bachelor in Clinical Biology from the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain. He moved to the UNIL where he obtained his master degree in Molecular Life Science with a distinction in microbiology in 2015. During his master project he studied cell polarity in S. pombe, focusing his interest in the Cdc42 activation pathway. He joined the lab as a PhD student in April 2015.



Ingrid Billault-Chaumartin, PhD student
Ingrid did her studies at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris where she obtained her master in molecular and cellular biology with a distinction in genetics in July 2016. During her master’s internship, she joined the lab to study the role of capping proteins in cell fusion in S. pombe, and then returned to the College de France to study Topoisomerase III in E. coli. She joined the lab as a PhD student in October 2016.


Melvin Bérard, PhD student
Melvin obtained his bachelor degree from the UNIL in 2016 and then started a master in molecular life sciences. He conducted his master project in the lab under supervision of Aleks Vjestica, working on re-fertilization blocks in fission yeast. After obtaining his master in February 2018, and a further 6-months internship, he started his PhD in October 2018.


Terry Mara, PhD student
Terry obtained a bachelor degree in chemistry from Paris-Saclay University in 2015. He then moved to Osaka university, Japan, where he studied the role of polymerase ? during meiosis in yeast, under the supervision of Akira Shinohara. He obtained his master degree in 2017 before moving to Basel, where he did a 1-year internship at the Friedrich Miescher Institute, working on DNA replication stress. In April 2019, he joined the lab as PhD student, co-supervised by Dr Serge Pelet.