Post Doctoral Fellow

Dr. David Roura Padrosa

From Girona, Spain
David's Story

Dr. Ana I. Benitez-Mateos

From Cadiz, Spain
Ana's Story

Dr. Gordon Honeyman

From Glasgow, Scotland
Gordon's Story

Dr. David Lim

From Christchurch, New Zeland
David's Story

PhD and Master Students

Valentina Marchini

From Venice, Italy
Valentina's Story

Stefania Gianolio

From Bergamo, Italy
Stefania's Story

Lucia Robustini

From Ferrara, Italy
Lucia's Story

Lauriane Pillet

From Wallis, Switzerland
Lauriane's Story

Keir Penston

From Maidenhead, England
Keir's Story

Pablo Díaz-Kruik

From Madrid, Spain
Pablo's Story

Calvin Klein

From Wehr, Germany
Calvin's Story

Sofia Hutter

From Bern, Switzerland
Sofia's Story

Martina Bigliardi

From Parma, Italy
Martina's Story

Sabrina de Lorenzo Cardinal

From Bern, Switzerland
Sabrina's Story

Nik Lüpold

From Solothurn, Switzerland
Nik's Story

Laura Monte

From Bellinzona, Switzerland
Laura's Story

Those that shared the journey

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David Roura Padrosa

About me

I come from Girona, where I did my Bachelor and Master studies in Molecular Biology. It was during that time that I became fascinated by the broad diversity of roles proteins have in living organisms.  Following that passion, I moved to Nottingham with Prof. Paradisi, where I started my journey in applied biocatalysis. Outside the lab, I enjoy watching movies, specially those with inspiration from comic books!

Research Area

I am now a post-doc in Bern, focused on the application of new and better immobilized enzymes in collaborative projects with industrial partners. In addition, bioinformatics has become one of my passions, dedicating my time to create new and improved bioinformatic tools for specific applications in biocatalysis.

Mail: david.roura@unibe.ch

Ana I. Benítez Mateos

About me

After my MSc in Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology in the University of Seville, I moved to the Basque Country to do the PhD in Synthetic Biology and Industrial Chemistry. Since I am keen on biocatalysis, I joined Paradisi group to continue learning about green biochemistry. Apart from science, I am a chocolate lover and I enjoy travelling and hiking.

Research Area

Pipecolic acid is a key pharmaceutical intermediate and more efficient strategies for its production are desirable. In my current research project, we develop a self-sufficient biocatalyst which is integrated in a flow reactor to perform a completely sustainable synthetic process.

Mail: ana.benitez@unibe.ch

Gordon Honeyman

About me

I completed a Master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow in 2001. From 2001 to 2004 I went on to obtain a PhD in Polymer/Organometallic Chemistry under the joint supervision of Professors David Sherrington and Robert Mulvey. I then took up a one year postdoctoral position in Strathclyde working on the applications of zinc compounds for functionalisation of organic molecules. I then moved to industry working as a scientist in the design of pigments and inks at Ciba/BASF until 2009. I subsequently took a senior scientist position in Controlled Therapeutics (Glasgow, UK) where I applied my knowledge in polymer chemistry to design and synthesise PEG based polyurethanes for medical device applications. In 2012, I joined the team at Ocutec (Bellshill, UK) where I focussed on PEG based contact lens technology, project managing, designing and developing material formulations for both the PEG and silicone-PEG based contact lenses.

Research Area

After moving to Bern, Switzerland in 2019 I first joined the Paradisi lab at the University of Bern as a visiting researcher and since January 2021 I have taken up the position as Laboratory Manager. 

Mail: gordon.honeyman@unibe.ch

David Lim

About me

I hail from the land of Kiwis and Hobbits with a Ph. D in Biochemistry from the University of Canterbury, NZ. After a stint as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Basel, I am now working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bern in the Paradisi group. In my spare time, I am very passionate about playing guitar and am also into long-distance cycling.

Research Area
Protecting groups are typically unavoidable in synthetic carbohydrate chemistry. Their use inevitably leads to multiple synthetic steps, leading to loss of material and the creation of large amounts of waste. In the lab, I am currently developing methods for the protecting-group-free derivatisation of unprotected sugars in water to mitigate these problems and use this methodology to form medicinally-interesting compounds.
Mail: david.lim@unibe.ch

Valentina Marchini

About me

I was awarded a Master Degree in Pharmacy in 2017 from the University of Trieste (Italy) after a one-year thesis’ work in Organic Chemistry. Successively, I worked as a pharmacist until I decided to join the Paradisi research group. I have been working as a phD student since April 2018. My leisure activity is watching TV series and anime (Japanese animation), but I also love cooking and going out with friends.

Research Area

The aim of my project is to engineer and to develop a MIO-dependent aminomutase and ammonia-lyase which can accommodate and effectively catalyse alanine as substrate, in order to obtain an alternative and sustainable strategy for the production of highly valuable compounds.

Mail: valentina.marchini@unibe.ch

Stefania Gianolio

About me

I graduated from the University of Milan in 2019 with a MSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, I won a scholarship for the Erasmus placement which gave me the opportunity to know the Paradisi group in Nottingham. I joined the group as a PhD student in Bern. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, drawing and visiting new places.

Research Area
I started my PhD in the Paradisi Group in September 2019. My project is focused on the synthesis of chemical compounds using immobilized enzymes. The aim is obtaining interesting products from low value starting materials, exploiting the advantages given by the flow biocatalysis in a sustainable and efficient process.
Mail: stefania.gianolio@unibe.ch

Lucia Robustini

About me

I hold a Bachelor in Biotechnology and a MSc in Agri-Food Technology and Industrial Biofermentations from the University of Ferrara, with a Master Thesis in Freiburg im Br. (DE) from the Pharmaceutical and Medical Chemistry dept. in the field of biocatalysis. After working for Nestlé for few years, I decided to move back to Accademia in order to do a PhD in the same field. In my spare time I love to do a lot of sport (Volley player since the age of 6), listen to old music and reading good books. I am also passionate about cooking and supporting a “green” life style.

Research Area

In April 2020 I joined the Paradisi group to start a PhD at the interface of biocatalysis and medicine. The possibility of using enzymes to modify specific blood antigens is explored in this project to increase the availability in the supply of universal blood donor. Enzyme engineering and novel immobilization strategy are core technologies of my PhD.

Mail: lucia.robustini@unibe.ch

Lauriane Pillet

About me

After my Bachelor in Biochemistry at the University of Geneva, I decided to pursue my studies at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) with a Master in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, which I obtained in 2019. After working for a few months in the pharmaceutical industry, I joined the Paradisi group as PhD. Student in 2020.

Outside the lab, I enjoy hiking both in the summer (trek, bivouac) and in the winter (ski, snowboard, ski hiking), having aperos and dinners with my friends, going to concerts, and spending time with my family. I also play guitar and I sing.

Research Area

 

Being passionate about Biotechnology, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, working at the boundary between Biocatalysis and Flow chemistry represents a great challenge and an amazing opportunity. I am particularly interested in the modification of enzymes for the design of efficient, sustainable and intensified continuous catalytic bioprocesses.

Mail: lauriane.pillet@unibe.ch

Keir Penston

About me

I am starting my PhD at the University of Bern after receiving my MSci in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham in 2020. Outside the lab I enjoy watching and playing sport, gaming and most of all sinking a few pints at the pub.

Research Area

The focus of my research is to successfully synthesise the universal O blood antigen from other blood types, in order to work closely with the transfusion department of Bern hospital. This will be achieved by utilising my chemical knowledge to synthesise the sugar components and then working closely with colleagues to aid me with the biochemical aspect.

Mail: keir.penston@unibe.ch

Pablo Díaz-Kruik

About me

I am half Spanish, half Dutch and I started my PhD at the University of Bern after receiving my MSci in Molecular and Supramolecular Chemistry from the University of Strasbourg as well as a double degree between the ECPM (Ecole Européene de Chimie Polymères et Matériaux de Strasbourg) and the Autonomous University of Madrid in the field of Chemical Engineering in 2020. In my free time I enjoy doing sport such as climbing, ice hockey and windsurfing, but also hanging out with friends and discovering new places and cultures.

Research Area

The goal of my research is to explore further reactions which could be performed with an AcT mutant enzyme previously developed by the group.

Mail: pablo.diazkruik@unibe.ch

Calvin Klein

About me

After having completed my B.Sc. program in Human Biology with a specialization in biochemistry at the University of Greifswald close to the Baltic Sea, I moved to the city of Bern to start my Master in Molecular Life Science. Here I joined the Paradisi Lab to learn more about protein engineering and flow biocatalysis. Aside from my work, I love being in nature while hiking or skiing, though, my main passion is riding my mountainbikes. Moreover, I have a keen interest in computers, games and new technology.

Research Area

Initially, I joined the Paradisi group as a laboratory assistant to work on a small project dealing with PLP in Halomonas elongata ω-Transaminase. Afterward, I did my Master’s thesis at Francesca’s lab, working in a joint project with Ana to characterize Halomonas elongata Thymidine  Phosphorylase for biocatalysis. Finally, in April 2022 I started my  PhD in the Paradisi lab to work with Carboxylic Acid Reductases (CARs) and the prediction of protein immobilizability.

Mail: calvin.klein@unibe.ch
Website: https://ck-biochem.com

Sofia Hutter

About me

After graduating from the BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Chemistry at the University of Bern in 2021, I started the MSc in Molecular Life Sciences. I got the amazing opportunity to realize my Master project in the Paradisi research group and to expand my knowledge about protein engineering and flow biocatalysis. Besides my interest in science, I enjoy dancing salsa, going to concerts, doing yoga and spending time with friends and family.

Research Area

My research is focused on developing an alternative and more sustainable strategy for amine synthesis using protein engineering. In order to increase the cost efficiency of the transamination catalyzed by the transaminase, both the amine donor as well as the cofactor are recycled.

Mail: sofia.hutter@unibe.ch

Martina Bigliardi

About me

After graduating with a B.Sc. in Biotechnology, I decided to continue my studies and specialize with a Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology Master’s degree at the University of Bologna. This gave me the opportunity to write my Master thesis in the Paradisi research group and to learn more about biocatalysis and enzyme engineering.

In my spare time I love to go to running, hiking, or to spend time with friends.

 

Research Area

The goal of my thesis is to expand the substrate scope of an AcT enzyme previously developed by the group for pharmaceutical purposes.

Mail: martina.bigliardi@unibe.ch

Sabrina De Lorenzo Cardinal

About me

After finishing my bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences at the University of Bern, I joined the Paradisi group as a master’s student in 2022. Apart from my keen interest in science, I am very passionate about all types of sports, especially doing gymnastics. My remaining free time I like spending with friends, also I enjoy reading good books or discovering new places.

Research Area

My research topic aims to synthesize UV-active glycosyl donors that can be used as a substrate for glycosidases. Compared to most other carbohydrate syntheses, this approach should neither involve the use of protecting groups nor organic solvents. That is what makes it a promising sustainable alternative strategy.

Mail: sabrina.delorenzocardinal@students.unibe.ch

Nik Lüpold

About me

I joined the Paradisi group as a Master student in September 2021 after a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and molecular Biology at the University of Bern. I always had a keen interest in protein biochemistry and the group with its focus on biocatalysis seemed like a perfect fit. When I’m not in the lab I enjoy cooking and skiing, as well as boardgames with friends or the occasional game of chess.

Research Area

My research is focused on an enzyme which I’m trying to trick into accepting various silicon containing compounds for interesting biotransformations in the pursuit of producing various biologically active compounds.

Mail: nik.luphold@students.unibe.ch

Laura Monte

About me

After finishing the Bachelor in Biochemistry at the University of Fribourg I moved to Bern to do the Master in Molecular Biology with specialization in Chemical Biology. I am passionate about cinema and informatics and in my spare time I enjoy playing music.

Research Area

My project is focused on the enhancement of the stability of transaminases. This multidisciplinary approach will fuse chemistry, biology and bioinformatics in order to understand how transaminases interact with PLP and how to make that interaction more favourable for the enzyme stability and activity.

Mail: laura.monte@students.unibe.ch