Brönstrup team

Photo credit: Carsten Peukert

Members of the team

Mark Brönstrup Status: Prof. Dr.

Prof. Dr. Mark Brönstrup (Project Leader) studied Chemistry at the Philipps-University Marburg and at the Imperial College in London. In 1999, he received his doctorate from the Technical University Berlin in Organic Chemistry. After his graduation, he worked from 2000 to 2004 as a laboratory head for Mass Spectrometry at Aventis, complemented by a research sabbatical in 2003 at Harvard Medical School. From 2005 to 2010 he led the Natural Product Sciences section at Sanofi-Aventis in Frankfurt with the goal of discovering leads from natural sources and optimizing them to clinical candidates. He dealt with translational research projects from 2010 to 2013 as a section head for Biomarkers & Diagnostics in the Diabetes Division, and a domain head for Biomarkers, Bioimaging & Biological Assays at Sanofi. Since December 2013, he heads the department Chemical Biology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research; additionally, he holds a Professorship (W3) at the Leibniz University Hannover.

Lukas Pinkert Status: M. Sc.

M. Sc. Lukas Pinkert was born in Kassel, Germany, and started studying chemistry at the Technical University of Braunschweig in 2010. After focusing on organometallic chemistry during his bachelor studies, he switched to the field of synthetic organic chemistry. His master thesis in the work group of Prof. Dr. Daniel B. Werz dealt with the reactivity of donor-acceptor-cyclopropanes towards diaza Michael compounds. In October 2016, Lukas Pinkert commenced his PhD studies at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in the Chemical Biology group under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Mark Brönstrup. Following one of the local research topics, he worked on the establishment and characterization of novel artificial siderophores and examined their usage in unprecedented siderophore-antibiotic conjugates. He finished his PhD studies in December 2020.

Yi-Hui Lai Status: M. Sc.

M. Sc. Yi-Hui Lai studied ‘Biotechnology’ at the Taipei Medical University (2008-2012), and continued at the National Taiwan University with her Masters in ‘Immunology’ (2012-2014), where she did work on the generation of two types of effective antibodies used in follow-up research. She continued to work as a research assistant at the National Tawain University (2014-2017) in the research on mechanism of regulation of inflammasome activation; extended from her master’s project. In 2017, she joined the ‘Chemical Biology’ department of Prof. Dr. M. Brönstrup at the Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research (HZI) where she refines and develops siderophore(-conjugate) assays for in vitro and in vivo biological activity and mechanistic evaluations.

Carsten Peukert Status: M. Sc.

M. Sc. Carsten Peukert studied ‘Life Science’ in Bachelor and Master at the University of Konstanz (2012-2017). In his Master’s programme, he conducted internships at the German Centre for Cancer Research (DKFZ) in Heidelberg (Vascular Oncology and Metastasis, Prof. Dr. H. Augustin) and at the Helmholtz Centre for Health and Environmental Research (HMGU) in Munich (Institute for Diabetes and Obesity – IDO, Metabolism and Cancer Unit, PD Dr. Kerstin Stemmer). He conducted his Master thesis in the junior group ‘Biological Chemistry’ of Dr. T. Böttcher at the University of Konstanz (since10/2020: Microbial Biochemistry, University Vienna) on the development of a new method to profile active small molecules, called ‘Proteomic Metabolite Profiling’. In late 2017, he joined the ‘Chemical Biology’ department of Prof. Dr. M. Brönstrup at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), where he works on the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of siderophore (-conjugates) and novel, innovative siderophore-based imaging probes. Carsten is thankful for the support by a two year ‘Kekulé scholarship’ from the Fonds der chemischen Industrie (FCI).

Hazel Fuchs Status: Dr. rer. nat.

Dr. rer. nat. Hazel Fuchs studied Biochemistry at the Medical School Hannover. She completed her B.Sc. thesis in the group of Prof. Martin Messerle, working on murine cytomegalovirus. During her M. Sc. thesis, she focussed on Structure Activity Relationships (SARs) of bacterial polysialyltransferases in the group of Prof. Rita Gerardy-Schahn (Institute for Clinical Biochemistry) at the MHH. Subsequently, she started her Doctoral thesis in Ritas group, where she specialised in directed evolution and enzyme engineering of the polysialyltransferases. After completing her Dr. rer. nat., she pursued a Post Doc at Technical University Braunschweig, working on protein engineering and biocatalysis with Prof. Anett Schallmey in the Biochemistry group. In 2019, she joined Prof. Mark Brönstrups group, Chemical Biology, at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), where she investigates the uptake of new cutting-edge antimicrobials in select ESKAPE panel pathogens by LC-MS.

Till Orth Status: B. Sc.

B. Sc. Till Orth studied Bachelor and Master Nano Sciences at the University of Kassel (2014-2018 and 2018-2021). In 2018, he completed an exchange semester at the University of Jyväskylä in Nanoscience. In early 2020, he joined the ‘Chemical Biology’ department of Prof. Dr. M. Brönstrup at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) for an internship. Then he continued with his Master thesis on the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of (cleavable) siderophore-peptide conjugates.

Bianka Karge Status: Technician

Technician Bianka Karge, looks back on a broad experience in biosafety S2 and S3-associated projects with bacterial and viral pathogens at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in the group ‘Chemical Biology’ of Prof. Dr. Brönstrup. From the start of siderophore projects at HZI, Bianka independently designed, developed and adapted siderophore biological activity assays to the respective project requirements. At the moment, she evaluates the acceptance of new synthetic xenosiderophore candidates and the activity of a variety of innovative antibiotic siderophore conjugates.

Anna Vetter Status: Dr.

Dr. Anna Vetter studied Pharmaceutical Science at Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland. She completed her B.Sc. thesis under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Cummins, studying the effect of pH on mucoadhesive thiolated polymers. In late 2014, she began her doctoral studies in organic and organophosphorus chemistry in the group of Prof. Dr. Declan Gilheany at University College Dublin, Ireland. Her PhD research was focussed on the design, development and optimisation of new innovative processes for a more facile and sustainable use of phosphorus resources in organic transformations. In 2020, Anna joined the group of Prof. Dr. Mark Brönstrup at the HZI, where she investigates the entry of novel antibiotics into bacteria using mass spectrometry techniques.

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