People

Sara A. Wick­ström

Sara A. Wick­ström

Director. Sara studied medicine at the University of Helsinki, Finland and absolved a MD/PhD program receiving her MD in 2001 and PhD in 2004.  After postdoctoral training with Reinhard Fässler at Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, she was in 2010 appointed as a Max Planck Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany. In 2018 she returned to Helsinki and became Sigrid Juselius Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Faculty of Medicine and Helsinki Institute of Life Science. In November 2021, Sara took up the post of director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in a part-time capacity and assumed it full-time in April 2022.

E-mail: sara.wickstrom@mpi-muenster.mpg.de
Leah Biggs

Leah Biggs

Group leader. Leah is a native Iowan and completed her BSc in Biology at Iowa State University. She obtained her PhD at the University of Iowa under the guidance of Dr. Martine Dunnwald, investigating keratinocyte differentiation and epidermal homeostasis. She then moved to the University of Helsinki for a postdoc in the Mikkola group to study hair follicle induction. Leah is interested in the signaling between stem cell niches to maintain skin homeostasis and developing technology to study and apply these principles. In September 2020 Leah started her own research group at the Stem Cells and Metabolism Research Program at the Medical Faculty, University of Helsinki.

In June/July, Leah will be joining the lab at the MPI.
Fa­bien Ber­til­lot

Fa­bien Ber­til­lot

Postdoc. Fabien was trained as a physicist and obtained a PhD in Biological Physics from Institut Curie, France in 2017. After his PhD Fabien worked for 2 years as a data scientist in a startup developing digital pathology monitoring tools. During this time he got interested in developing clinical decision support systems. He joined the Wickström lab in 2020 as a bioimage research engineer. His goal is to develop bioimage analysis pipelines to study cancer heterogeneity in colorectal and head and neck cancers.

E-mail: fabien.bertillot@mpi-muenster.mpg.de
Sandra Heising

Sandra Heising

Technician. Sandra started her training as a biology lab technician in the pharmaceutical industry in 1989. From 1994 on, she worked in the field of developmental biology at the University of Bielefeld. In 2004, she moved to the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster to work in the laboratory of Hans Schöler and moved to the research group of Sara Wickström in 2021. Outside the lab Sandra spends a lot of time with do-it-yourself in her garden and house in the Teutoburger forest, her family and the two dogs Nika and Fio.

E-mail: sandra.heising@mpi-muenster.mpg.de
 
Anja Michelbach

Anja Michelbach

PhD student. Anja completed her BSc Biological Sciences and her MSc Molecular Biomedicine at the WWU Münster and did her Masters thesis work on non-muscle myosin in endothelial morphodynamics upon fluid shear stress. In June 2022 she joined the Wickström lab as a PhD student. Her research focuses on the role of nuclear transport and mechanical signaling in the regulation of genetic integrity. Besides biology, Anja enjoys inline skating, back packing trips and gardening.

E-mail: anja.michelbach@mpi-muenster.mpg.de
Claudia Ortmeier

Claudia Ortmeier

Technician. Claudia was born in Münsterland and completed her BTA in Osnabrück. She began her career at University of Munich and after a detour in biopharmaceutic research, she returned to her roots to the beautiful city of Münster in 2004 to work in the newly opened department of Cell and Developmental Biology headed by Hans Schöler at the MPI. Since his retirement in November 2021, she moved to the department of Cell and Tissue Dynamics. Her strength lies in molecular biology, but is also experienced in protein biochemistry, cell biology and planarian research during her many years as technician.
Outside the lab, Claudia has many interests. She loves the sea and the mountains, music, fitness, cooking and eating with family and friends and her two cats.

E-mail: ortmeier@mpi-muenster.mpg.de
Fran­ziska Peters

Fran­ziska Peters

Postdoc – DFG Walter Benjamin Programm. Franziska is a clinician scientist. She obtained her specialization in Medical Microbiology, Virology and Infection Epidemiology and a second specialization in Dermatology and Venerology from the University Hospital of Cologne. Franziska investigates the role of sphingolipids in epidermal tissue homeostasis. She started on a collaborative research project of Prof. M Krönke (University of Cologne) and Prof. CM Niessen (University of Cologne) and then continued as a clinician scientist within the SFB 829 - Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Skin Homeostasis. In 2021 she joined the Wickström lab in Helsinki and now transitioned to the MPI for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster. Franziska elucidates the role of membrane sphingolipid compositions in orchestrating adult stem cell maintenance and fate. She aims at translating basic research findings into treatment concepts for lipid-associated skin barrier diseases. When not in the lab, Franziska loves traveling, being outdoors, preferably close to the sea side.

E-mail: franziska.peters@mpi-muenster.mpg.de
Clé­mentine Vil­len­euve

Clé­mentine Vil­len­euve

Postdoc. Clémentine received her MSc in Cancer and Cellular Biology at the University of Rennes, France, in 2015. She then completed her PhD in Cellular Biology in the laboratory of Dr. Philippe Chavrier at Institut Curie, Paris. She studied the role of the polarity protein aPKCiota on basally-oriented cell extrusion and early breast cancer cell dissemination. She joined the Wickström lab in 2020 where her postdoctoral work is focused on understanding mechanisms involved in epidermal stratification and how biomechanical signaling regulates cell fate and positioning during development. Outside the lab, Clementine likes cats, reading books and having fun with friends.

E-mail: clementine.villeneuve@mpi-muenster.mpg.de
Hermann vom Bruch

Hermann vom Bruch

Technician. Hermann graduated in 1986 as a clinical chemical analyst from the Laboratory School Hengelo, The Netherlands. In 1989 he moved to Münster to work as a medical technical assistant, first at the University Hospital and later at the Institute of Chemo- and Biosensorics. In 2004 Hermann joined the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology a Max Planck Institute in Münster, where he has been responsible for protein production, lab safety and much more. In 2022 he moved to the new department of Cell and Tissue Dynamics. When not at the Institute, Hermann spends his time in his garden, trying to play guitar, enjoying whisky and listening to the music of Pink Floyd.
David Obridge

David Obridge

Technician.
Janis Fofana

Janis Fofana

Secretary‘s office.

E-mail: office-wickstrom@mpi-muenster.mpg.de

Louis Boylan

PhD student.

In June/July, Louis will be joining the lab at the MPI.

Martina Sinn

Technician, parental leave.

 

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