Early researcher

María Mercedes Hincapié


I finished my Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Chemistry in 2020 at Universidad del Valle (Cali, Colombia). During this stage of my education, I participated in multiple research projects centered on physical organic chemistry, but I also had my first encounter with cancer research when I decided to join the Innate Immune Response research group at IdiPAZ research center (Madrid, Spain) for a two-months internship. Inspired by this experience, I decided to further develop my career in that field.

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Therefore, in 2021 I moved to Saudi Arabia to get a Master of Science (MSc) in Bioscience from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). There, I put my efforts into studying the involvement of the SAM-dependent methyltransferase NSD2 in cancer from a structural point of view by introducing different single-point mutations within the catalytic domain of this enzyme, and measuring the subsequent effects on the dynamics and thermal stability.

Recently, in September 2022, I joined Dr. Hind Medyouf's lab at the Georg-Speyer-Haus Institute for Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapy (Frankfurt, Germany) as a PhD student. Here, I will be working in the development of a 3D Human Organotypic Marrow Environment (3D-HOME) to gain a better understanding of the niche dependencies in the context of Myelodisplatic Syndrome (MDS) pathogenesis.


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I became interested in disease research from an early stage of my career when I realized that science must be driven by the urgent needs in societies. In particular, I have been always intrigued by the mechanisms of cancer onset and progression.

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For this, my current aim is to put the knowledge and skills that I have gained so far into developing a humanized niche to study the potentially exploitable dependencies between the bone marrow microenvironment and diseased MDS stem cells. Something that is, indeed, urgent at the moment due to the lack of a reliable in vivo system to model MDS. With the guidance of Dr. Hind Medyouf and the support of her ambitious team I will employ different techniques including multi-color flow cytometry and single-cell transcriptomics to contribute into overcoming this challenge.

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