SPHINGOLIPID BIOLOGY TEAM

Christopher Clarke

Stony Brook University, USA

Chris Clarke graduated in 2001 with a BSc (Hons) Physiology with Biochemistry from the University of Salford, UK and obtained his PhD in Medicine in 2005 from the University of Manchester, UK. For his postdoctoral training, he moved to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina to study sphingolipid metabolism where he obtained a postdoctoral fellowship to for his research on the roles and regulation of neutral sphingomyelinase-2. In 2011, Chris moved to Stony Brook University, New York as a senior research scientist in the Lipid Cancer laboratory where he developed his research interests on sphingolipid metabolism in cancer. After successfully obtaining a number of foundation and pilot grants in this area, he was promoted to Assistant Professor of Research in the Cancer Center in 2017. Chris’ work is broadly focused on two areas. The first focuses on the interplay between oncogenes and sphingolipids to develop a mechanistic understanding of how reprogramming of sphingolipid metabolism is functionally coupled to tumorigenesis. The second is to understand the role that sphingolipids play in chemotherapeutic toxicities. The long-term goals of both projects are to leverage this knowledge to guide the development of sphingolipid-based therapeutics that are effective at the treatment of metastatic cancer and can enhance the efficacy of existing treatments.

Giovanni D'Angelo

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Giovanni D’Angelo graduated in 2003 with a MSc in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Naples, Italy and obtained his PhD in Cell Biology in 2008 from the Consorzio ‘Mario Negri’ SUD, Santa Maria Imbaro, Italy. For his postdoctoral training, he moved to the Telethon Institute for Genetics and Medicine in Naples, Italy to study sphingolipid metabolism and intracellular lipid trafficking. In 2012, Giovanni moved to the Institute of Protein Biochemistry, at the National Research Council of Italy in Naples as a principal investigator. In 2018 Giovanni moved to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) where he is now Assistant Professor and Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Chair on Metabolism, Giovanni’s main interest is understanding the meaning of compositional variability in cell membranes by studying the mechanisms by which the lipid composition is determined.

Liana C. Silva

Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Liana Silva graduated in Biochemistry in 2001 at the Faculty of Sciences, Universidade de Lisboa (UL), Portugal, and obtained her PhD degree in Chemistry (Molecular Biophysics) in 2006 at the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She developed her post-doctoral project at the interface between molecular biophysics and biochemistry as a research fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS), Israel and at the IST (2007-2009). In 2009, she was awarded a Ciência 2008 Research position to set her research team focused on Molecular & Cellular Biophysics at the Faculty of Pharmacy from the UL. Liana has an interdisciplinary background in biochemistry and cell biology, quantitative photophysics and molecular biophysics. Her research is multidisciplinary and bridges membrane biophysics and cell biology. She is interested in understanding the role of membrane biophysical properties in cell function and pathology. Her research is focused on membrane lipids and their interplay in biological membranes, aiming at evaluating their role in membrane organization and function, and to provide the molecular tools to develop improved therapeutics.

Museer A. Lone

University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland

Museer A. Lone graduated in 2005 with a master’s in Biotechnology from the University of Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir. He obtained his PhD in lipid biochemistry from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He then moved to University of Zurich, Switzerland in 2015 for his postdoctoral work. Currently he is working as a scientist at the Institute of Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland. His research work maintains a balance between basic membrane biology and clinical/pathological manifestations due to mis-regulation of lipid, especially, sphingolipid metabolism. He is interested in identifying factors that govern lipid diversity and identify pathways that establish lipid homeostasis at the cellular and organism level. In relation to the clinical aspects, his focus is on the rare ‘orphan’ neurological disorders that occur due to mutations in the sphingolipid metabolic enzymes.

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Noemi Jiménez-Rojo

University of Geneva, Switzerland

Noemi Jiménez-Rojo graduated in Biochemistry at the University of the Basque Country in 2009 and did a Master in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine before getting her PhD degree in 2013 working in the laboratory of Prof. Alicia Alonso at the Biophysics Unit (UPV/EHU, CSIC) in Bilbao, Spain, where she investigated fundamental aspects of sphingolipid biology applying biophysical approaches in reconstituted membrane systems. During this period, she performed a short-stay at Stony Brook Cancer Center in the laboratory of Dr. Yusuf Hannun. In 2014 Noemi joined the laboratory of Prof. Howard Riezman at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, where she has been focused on applying lipidomic analysis to understand how membrane lipid homeostasis is maintained and regulated in mammalian cells. Noemi has been the co-founder and President of the Postdoc association of the University of Geneva where she has been actively involved in strengthening the links between postdoc fellows. She has recently received the Darlene Solomon Award 2021 from FeMS (Females in Mass Spectrometry) and Agilent that supports early-career women in the field of mass spectrometry. She aims to better understand lipid diversity and to uncover new lipid functions using multidisciplinary approaches that combine mass spectrometry with membrane biophysics and cell biology and she is particularly interested on how cells adapt their membrane lipid composition to regulate intracellular trafficking pathways.

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Sarka Pokorna

Weizmann Insitute of Science, Israel

Sarka Pokorna graduated in Biochemistry from the Charles University in Prague, Czechia. During her PhD in the group of Martin Hof (J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry, Czechia) she studied membrane interactions employing advanced fluorescence techniques. Since 2017, Sarka is a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Lipid Complexity led by Tony Futerman (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel). Her research aims to understand changes in cell membrane biophysics and its connection to neuropathology with a special focus on Gaucher disease.