I am a habilitated doctor at the Westphalian Wilhelms University and a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, both in Muenster (NRW, Germany). I received my education in reproductive biology and am a certified biologist as well as a laboratory animal scientist. I studied and trained at the University of Pavia (Italy), at the Rigshospitalet (Denmark) and at the University of Pennsylvania (USA), where I developed a keen interest in the mammalian oocyte with emphasis on the ooplasm’s ability to convert somatic nuclei from a differentiated to a toti/pluripotential state of gene expression (‘reprogramming’). In my research, I have shown that oocyte-mediated nuclear reprogramming in mice is an orderly process that is amenable to control by cell-cell interactions (embryo aggregation) and in vitro culture conditions (culture media as epigenetic modifiers). Currently my team investigates the genetic and epigenetic factors that influence cell and nuclear identity in mouse embryos, such as: 1) oocytic i.e. maternal factors (Reproduction 148:55-72, 2014); 2) environmental factors e.g. culture conditions (Human Reproduction 27:2627-2640, 2012). As a respected member of the nuclear transfer community I have published over 40 peer-reviewed publications in prime journals and have written numerous book chapters on nuclear reprogramming by oocytes and on embryonic stem cells. I received support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and from the Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG).
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