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

LauraMerliniLaura Merlini, postdoctoral researcher
Laura studied industrial biotechnology at the University of Milano-Bicocca. There and in Montpellier, where her supervisor moved in 2010, she worked as undergraduate and graduate student in the laboratory of Prof. Simonetta Piatti and she obtained her PhD in industrial biotechnology 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
Aleksandar obtained a degree in Molecular Biology and Physiology at the University of Belgrade and completed the joint PhD program of Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and National University of Singapore. Under Snezhana Oliferenko’s guidance with funds by the Singapore Millennium Foundation, his research helped identify mechanisms by which ER organization regulates cell polarity in yeast. His later PhD work elucidated a role for a chaperone network in optimizing cell growth upon changes in ecological temperature. His interest in cellular response 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 Prof. Thomas Gunther-Pomorski at the Humboldt University, Berlin, within the Marie Curie Network “Flippases”, characterizing plasma membrane localized sterol transporters and lipid movement within the cell. She continued her research as a postdoc at Copenhagen University with Prof. Rosa Lopez-Marquez, studying lipd transport by fungal and mammalian P4 ATPases, and sterol esterification and toxicity in S.cerevisiae. Magda joined the lab in May 2015 to study membrane fusion during the mating of yeast cells.

VenetaGerganovaVeneta Gerganova, postdoctoral researcher
Veneta was born in Bulgaria and at the age of 16 moved to Germany to start her B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology in Jacobs University Bremen. She continued her M.Sc. and Ph.D. under the guidance of Prof. Georgi Muskhelishvili in the field of Molecular Genetics and investigated the analogue and digital modes of bacterial genetic regulation in E. coli. Her interest in the fundamental phenomena regulating the spatio-temporal distribution of global effectors led her to join the lab in 2016. Here she studies the minimal components comprising the Pom1 concentration gradient in an attempt to reconstitute it in an in vitro scenario.

PetervanGisbergenPeter van Gisbergen, postdoctoral researcher
Peter obtained his BSc from Avans Hogeschool in Breda, the Netherlands, and an MSc in cell biology from Wageningen University. In 2010 he joined the lab of Magdalena Bezanilla at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. During his PhD he worked on the role of the formin protein family in polarized growth and membrane dynamics in plant cells. He joined the group in May 2016.

Gaowen Liu

Gaowen Liu, postdoctoral researcher
Gaowen obtained her Bachelor in Huazhong Agriculture University in China in 2010 and moved to National University of Singapore for her Master. During her PhD, in Giulia Rancati’s group in Nanyang Technological University and Institute of Medical Biology A*STAR in Singapore, 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.

DanielaGalloDaniela Gallo, PhD student
Daniela was born in Uruguay and moved to Italy when she was 15 years old and holds both citizenships. She obtained her bachelor degree in Industrial and Environmental Biotechnologies and her master degree in Molecular Biotechnologies and Bioinformatics from the University of Milan. She worked in the lab of Prof. Marco Muzi-Falconi and Prof. Paolo Plevani for two years, first as undergraduate student and then as graduated student, studying the physiological role of Haspin homologues in Saccharomyces cerevisae. She joined the lab in September 2012 with a studentship from the Faculty of Biology and Medicine.

CassandreKinnaerCassandre Kinnaer, PhD student
Cassandre was born in Belgium and moved to the South West of France when she was 5 years old. She obtained her Bachelor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Paul Sabatier University of Toulouse in 2011. The year after that she enrolled in an exchange program and studied at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. She earned her Master in Structural and Functional Biology from the Paul Sabatier University of Toulouse in 2013. Under the direction of Christel Vérollet, she studied actin remodelling in human primary macrophages in the context of HIV-1 infection. She joined the lab in February 2014.

IkerLamasIker Lamas, PhD student
Iker obtained his bachelor in Clinical Biology from the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain in 2013. Then he moved to the University of Lausanne in Switzerland 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 Schizosaccharomyces 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 biology studies in Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris where she obtained her master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with a distinction in genetics in July 2016. During her master’s internships, she first joined the lab to study the role of capping proteins in cellular fusion in S. pombe, and then return in France, at College de France, to study the role of Topoisomerase III in segregation in E. coli. She joined the lab as a PhD student in October 2016.

bitakhaliliBita Khalili, visiting PhD student
Bita obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Physics at University of Tehran, Iran. In 2013, she started her PhD in Dimitris Vavylonis group at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, USA. For her PhD she is working on developing computational models to understand fission yeast polarization mechanisms in collaboration with our lab. She joined the group since February 2016