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ESR presentation

Published on 18 June 2019

The 15 ISOTOPICS Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs)

You can find some information about the ISOTOPICS ESRs in the table hereafter (alphabetical order). To obtain the CV of the ESR, click on the corresponding link.


Donia BOUZOUITA - (ESR11 - CNRS) - I am a chemical engineer graduated from the INSAT in Tunisia. I carried out my graduation project in the LPCNO at Toulouse. It was about the self-assembly of platinum nanoparticles with organic ligands, supervised by Bruno Chaudret and Simon Tricard. And now I'm a Phd student in the LPCNO at Toulouse in the "H2020 ITN ISOTOPICS" project. The aim of my Phd is the development of metallic nanoparticles usable for the labeling of organic molecules and biologics.



Antonio DEL VECCHIO - (ESR3 - CEA) - I come from Italy. I achieved my MSc degree in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology at University of Ferrara (Italy) under the supervision of Prof. Vinicio Zanirato. I did my thesis project in Organic Chemistry and during this 10 month-long period I worked on stereoselective synthesis of chiral indanones. After I moved to Aptuit Research Center, a CRO (Contract Research Organization) sited in GlaxoSmithKline Research Institutes in Verona (Italy), as early stage researcher in a Hit to Lead Project in the Medicinal Chemistry Group 1. In October 2016 I joined the Laboratoire du Marquage au Carbon 14 sited at CEA-Saclay (Paris) as PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Davide Audisio and Dr. Frédéric Taran at the Institut de Biologie et de Technologie de Saclay (iBiTec-S). Here my work is centred to the study of new methodologies for the synthesis of heterocycles and their application to the labelling of drug candidates.

CV  LinkedIn   Orcid


Gianluca DESTRO - (ESR4 - CEA) - I acquired the master degree at the University of Torino, Italy, under the guidance of Prof. Marco Lolli, working on bioisosteric analogues of flufenamic acid that inhibit the tumoral growth in prostate cancer. After that I kept on working on the lab as a researcher fellow focusing on scaling up and tuning some key reaction in the synthesis of crucial building block for the colleagues. Then in December I won an Erasmus+ Traineeship fellowship that permitted me to join in Prof. Ulf Nilsson group at Lund University, Sweden, where I developed thank to computer modeling new PfDHODh inhibitors in malaria treatment with a peculiar isocoumarine scaffold, I was involved in this project for three months. During this period I applied to the ISOTOPICS consortium and now I'm working on CEA Saclay in the CO2chemistry, developing new methodologies in organic synthesis and above all in radiolabeling. I particularly like to travel abroad and to do keep myself fit with gym training or playing sports.

Gianluca is a Post-Doctorale Research Associate in the Gouverneur Group at Oxford University now.

CV  LinkedIn

Mélodie FERRAT - (ESR9 - KI) - I come from France and I completed my Bachelor´s degree in Chemistry at the university of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and my Master's degree in Research and development in pharmaceutical chemistry and natural products with an organic chemistry specialty at the university of Paris-Saclay. During my bachelor studies I had the opportunity to work as an intern in different fields of chemistry:  I strengthened my knowledge in inorganic chemistry by working at first on the synthesis and characterization of MOFs with an organic ligand (F. Millange) and then I enriched my organic chemistry on the discovery and the synthesis of organic catalysts derived from Alkaloïds, such as Quinine and Quinidine (C.Thomassigny/F. Dumas). During my master studies I enriched my organic chemistry knowledge by working with organocatalysis applied to the enantioselective synthesis of quaternary carbon compounds (F. LeBideau). My latest internship, in the field of medicinal chemistry, was about the synthesis, design and characterization of new antimicrobial drugs against Staphyloccocus. Recently I joined the ISOTOPICS projects at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, within the department of Clinical Neuroscience, and I have been working on the development of a new automatic instrument of the carbon-11 labeling for drug-like molecules using [11C]-CO2 and [11C]-CO under GMP conditions.



Maria Alexandra GAFITESCU - (ESR8 - UOXF) - I am originally from Romania but I obtained my Bachelor and Master Degree in Pharmacy (Pharmaceutical Chemistry & Technology) in Italy, at the University of Perugia. Prior to graduation I attended a three months exchange program at Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy (Pittsburgh, USA) in which I had the chance to understand and experience both the Pharmacy System and the Pharmaceutical Education in the USA.  During my Master thesis and later at TES Pharma, I joined the research group of Prof Roberto Pellicciari for research in steroid chemistry and semi-synthesis of new ligands for nuclear and G-protein coupled receptors. After that, I was enrolled for two years in the IMED Graduate programme at AstraZeneca, Gothenburg (Sweden).  Consisting of 3 eight-month placements in different departments within the industry this programme gave me the opportunity to work in the Med Chem lead generation section, New Modalities Group (macrocycles, next generation peptides, small molecules/peptide-conjugates) and the Structure & Separation Laboratory.  Currently, I am working as an ISOTOPICS PhD student in the research group of Prof Ben J. Davis at the University of Oxford and my project is focused on developing site-selective isotopic labeling strategies for the synthesis of complex glycoproteins.



Kaisa HORKKA  - (ESR10 - KI) - She completed her Bachelor in chemistry and Master in organic chemistry at the University of Helsinki (Finland). During the Bachelor project, she worked on protein structure determination at the Institute of Biotechnology (Helsinki, Finland). She spent a year as an Erasmus student at the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain), where she joined the Medicinal Chemistry Lab to prepare her Master's thesis on synthesis of potential antibacterial molecules. Before joining the ISOTOPICS project, she worked on synthesis of organic nitroxide radicals in the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry at the University of Helsinki. During the PhD studies at the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), she will develop carbonylation methods for druglike molecules with [11C]-CO2.

CV    LinkedIn


Francesco IBBA (ESR5 - UOXF) - He acquired both Bachelor and Master degree from the University of Genova (Italy). He carried out a Bachelor project as an Erasmus exchange student in Porto (Portugal), in the lab of Prof. Fatima Paiva-Martins. His Master thesis was completed in the BioOrganic Chemistry Group of the University of Genova. He worked on the development of a new isocyanide-based multicomponent reaction, supervised by Prof. Andrea Basso. Then he moved to Basel (Switzerland) to work on an early-stage drug discovery project in Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR). In the fall of 2015 he joined the Gouverneur group in Oxford and was involved in the RADIOMI (Marie-Curie ITN network) project, after 7 months he turned into ISOTOPICS (Marie-Curie ITN network) as ESR/DPhil student where is currently employed.



Mateusz IMIOLEK - (ESR7 - UOXF) - For my PhD, I decided to join Prof B.G. Davis group at University of Oxford as an ESR in ISOTOPICS project and become specialist in radiochemistry. Before that, I obtained comprehensive undergraduate education in Natural Sciences (MISMaP) from University of Warsaw in my home country – Poland. In 2014, I graduated with two BSc (Chemistry and Physics). For my final projects, I developed biodegradable nanoplatform for cancer treatment (Dr M. Mazur) and investigated nonlinear optical properties of eosins (Dr P. Fita).  After that, I pursued a Master following my greatest passion - Organic Chemistry. In the meantime, I was working as a tutor for IB students (The Swan School), and working part-time in a pharmaceutical company (Science Pharma). As part of my studies, I did an ERASMUS+ internship at University in Strasbourg (ISIS – Prof L. De Cola) as well as spent a semester at University of Barcelona preparing my Master Thesis in total synthesis of amphidinolides under supervision of Prof J. Vilarrasa.

Currently, my DPhil project is aimed at development and translation of new reactions that would allow direct and precise labelling of biologics (with focus on radiolabels) for relevant protein systems. Apart from this, I am an avid traveller, keen volleyball player and enthusiastic coffee drinker.



Agostinho LEMOS (ESR12 - ULG) - He obtained the bachelor degree In Biochemistry (2013) from Faculty of Sciences of University of Porto. As part of his undergraduate studies, his Bachelor project was focused on biochemical and biological evaluation of steroid derivatives as potential aromatase inhibitors for the treatment of oestrogen-dependent breast cancer (supervisor: Prof. Georgina Correia da Silva). Since he was an undergraduate student, he demonstrated a huge interest in research areas involving drug design and drug discovery. After that, Agostinho pursued his master studies in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (2013-2015) in Faculty of Pharmacy of University of Porto. His research project in master thesis was based on drug design and organic synthesis of xanthone derivatives as potential anticancer agents via inhibition of p53-MDM2 interaction (supervisor: Prof. Emília Sousa). After finishing his master degree, Agostinho earned a research fellow position (5 months) in a project focused on computational studies to understand the mechanism of signaling of G-protein coupled receptors (supervisor: Maria Natália Dias Soeiro Cordeiro). In 2016, Agostinho joined to Prof. André Luxen group in Cyclotron Research Center (University of Liège) and, as PhD student, he aimed at developing new reagents labeled with fluorine-18 for dIfluorination (-CHF2) of heteroaromatic compounds.

CV  LinkedIn  ResearchGate


Alberto PALAZZOLO (ESR2 - CEA) - He comes from Sicily. He acquired a master degree in Pharmaceutical chemistry and technologies at the University of Catania with a master thesis in Organic chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Ugo Chiacchio. After a brief experience in the same research group as a collaborator he moved to Milan to work on the synthesis of novel material from renewable sources within the group of Prof. Maurizio Galimberti. Since October 2016 he is enrolled in the ISOTOPICS PhD project "Tritium and deuterium labelling of bioactive compounds catalyzed by metallic nanoparticles" at the CEA-Saclay in the group of Dr. Gregory Pieters.

CV  LinkedIn  LCMCP Lab


Viktor PFEIFER (ESR1 - CEA) - He obtained his Bachelor degree at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main, addressing organocatalysis and chirality transfer to substrate molecules in his Bachelor thesis in the working group of Prof. Dr. Michael Göbel. He performed his Master thesis at the Technical University of Darmstadt under the supervision of Dr. Markus Gallei, developing cobalt based stimuli-responsive diblockcopolymers. Purifications of recombinant proteins and determinations of their interaction partners in the group of Dr. Martin Vabulas at the Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences in Frankfurt am Main contributed to a large extent to his expertise. Since October 2016, Viktor Pfeifer is part of the ISOTOPICS program as early stage researcher at the CEA Saclay, accompanied by the PhD project "Tritium and Deuterium Labelling of Bioactive Molecules Catalyzed by Metallic Nanoparticles".



Malvika SARDANA - (ESR14 - AZ) - I am from the Netherlands and I acquired my BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences and MSc in Medicinal Chemistry from VU University Amsterdam. During my MSc I had to opportunity to do two internships. The first internship was under the supervision of Dr Maikel Wijtmans at VU University Amsterdam, where I worked on the synthesis of small molecules of G-Protein Coupled Receptors. The second internship took place at the department of Medicinal Chemistry at Boehringer Ingelheim in Vienna, Austria. Here I worked on the synthesis of horsfoline-like molecules.

After my studies I started working at Mercachem in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Within this contract-based research organization I was a part of the parallel chemistry team. 

Recently, I was offered an industrial PhD at AstraZeneca in the isotope chemistry team. I will be working on the development of novel carbon-11/14 radiolabeling for therapeutic applications.



Laura TRUMP (ESR13 - UCB) - She completed her engineering degree in chemistry from the ENSCL (National Superior School of Chemistry of Lille, France) in 2016 with a semester exchange during the last year at the ENSCM (National Superior School of Chemistry of Montpellier, France) in Organic Chemistry while completing a Master degree in Biomolecules Chemistry in 2016.

Her  internships were realized at the University of Chatenay Malabry (France) for 2 months in the synthesis of organocatalysts (2014), then at Galapagos NV (Mechelen, Belgium) of 3 months on the synthesis of biologically active compounds via the flow chemistry (2015) and finally at Sanofi (Vitry sur Seine, France) for 6 months on the synthesis of biologically active compounds.

She joined the Isotopics project at UCB (Belgium) for "The development of flow reactions for the addition of [F18]CHF to (hetero)aromatics.



Mégane VALERO - (ESR15 - SANOFI) - I come from France where I acquired my Bachelor and Master degree in organic chemistry at the University Paris-Saclay. During my study I did 3 internships. The first one, supervised by Dr. Nicolas Rabasso at the Institute of Molecular Chemistry and the Materials of Orsay (ICMMO), concerned the reactivity of α-Amino Allenylphosphonates, key compounds allowing the synthesis of spirodienone lactam motives (2 months). The second one, made from April to August 2015 within the Sanofi group in Chilly-Mazarin' site with Dr. Ronan Larget, was intended to synthesize molecules and peptides with therapeutic aim (5 months). The last one, from January to July 2016 within the Chemistry Laboratory Bioorganic and Bioinorganic (LCBB) group, supervised by Dr. Stéphanie Pethe and Pr. Giang Vo-Thanh concerned the synthesis of derivatives of the Gambogic Acid and the study of their biological activities (6 months). After that I had the opportunity to join the ISOTOPICS project and to do my PhD in the ICMS team with Sanofi in Germany since December 2016. The goal of my project is to find a very efficient, fast and simple method for the labelling of complex biomolecules like peptides and sugars.



Anna Chiara VICINI (ESR6 - UOXF) - She comes from Italy, where she completed both her Bachelor (Industrial Chemistry) and Master (Chemistry) at the University of Bologna. She carried out her Bachelor project in the field of Asymmetric Organocatalysis under the supervision of Prof. Luca Bernardi and Dr. Maria Francesca Fochi (University of Bologna). Having developed an interest in medicinal chemistry, she took part in the Erasmus exchange project to complete her Master Thesis and she joined the group of Prof. Roland J. Pieters at the department of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery at Utrecht University (The Netherlands). After the defence of her Master Thesis (October 2016), she joined the Gouverneur group in the same month. Here her work focuses on the development of organomediated enantioselective fluorination methodologies and their application to radiolabelling using fluorine-18.