Early researcher

Stephani Schmitz


I obtained my Bachelor and Master degrees in Biochemistry at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg in Germany. During my Bachelor studies, I was able to join labs in the USA, as well as in the UK, to gain a first impression of scientific research. It was there that I developed a specific interest in epigenetics, stem cell biology, and hematopoietic development, which I then focused on in my Master studies.

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In my first Master research project, I investigated functional effects of epigenetic dysregulation in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia under the supervision of Daniel Lipka at the DFKZ in Heidelberg. Excited to further extend my knowledge in the field, I joined Wolfgang Wagner in his research group at the University Hospital in Aachen. Here, I helped to assess the functional consequences of DNMT3A knockouts on hematopoietic differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells.

For my Master’s thesis, I was hosted by Marieke Essers in her lab at HI-STEM and the DKFZ in Heidelberg to explore interferon signalling heterogeneity in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, as well as in T cells.

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I have always been extremely curious about the mechanisms of disease development and the research experience I gained within the framework of my studies has fueled a passion for hematopoietic malignancies in particular. Having been able to gain insights into cutting-edge hematopoiesis research from a variety of different biological angles, I am eager to expand my knowledge in the area from novel perspectives. By joining Rebekka Schneider in her group at the Erasmus MC as a PhD student, I aim to explore how MDS cells gain a clonal advantage in the bone marrow and how the interaction with the bone marrow niche contributes to this.