Imke Tiessen – University of Copenhagen

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Imke Tiessen (former Ulken) (ESR3)

Nationality: German

Main Host Institution: Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC), University of Copenhagen

Academic Background: In 2006, I started studying biology and chemistry at the University of Oldenburg, Germany. I chose these subjects mainly out of curiosity towards how the human body works. Reaching almost the end of my bachelor’s I decided on quite short notice to go abroad for two semesters studying and writing my thesis in the field of immunology at Oakland University, MI, USA.
After a two months internship in Jena, Germany, I wanted to move to human biology and started my master in molecular biomedicine at the University of Münster, Germany. During the second year, I spent 3 months at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, and wrote my thesis at the Max Planck-Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster under the supervision of Prof. Vestweber, where I graduated in 2013.

Taking the opportunity to change topic, lab and even country, I started my PhD in the group of Anders Lund at BRIC, University of Copenhagen. Since February 2014, I am searching for long non-coding RNAs involved in autophagy – a very attractive combination of areas that has yet hardly been studied together.

Project title: Identification of Long Non-Coding RNAs in Autophagy.

Project background: Autophagy (“self-eating”) is the main recycling process of all eukaryotic cells, helping the cell to remove dysfunctional and superfluous cellular components, thereby maintaining healthy energy levels in the cell. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) belong to a class of RNAs lacking any protein-coding potential, but exerting important gene regulatory functions.

Project Aim: As almost nothing is known about lncRNAs involved in autophagy, I aim to identify and characterize lncRNAs that play a regulatory role in this essential cellular process.

Expected outcome:
Eventually, I would like to understand the exact mechanism of how our lncRNA candidate regulates autophagy and if it could be a potential target in the therapy of autophagy-related disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or cancer.