Doctoral Candidate

Florence Melbert


I completed my Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University of Freiburg in Germany.  My Bachelor's thesis comprised the characterisation of a newly identified interaction between two proteins of the innate immune system that are important for the clearance of the pathogen Toxoplasma gondii. Fascinated by the complexity of the immune system, I decided to specialise further in immunology during my Master's degree and subsequently worked on my Master's thesis in the laboratory of Professor Stephan Ehl. In this case, my work focussed on genetic germline mutations in patients that lead to defects in the immune system. The aim of my project was to develop a diagnostic assay for a recently identified inborn error of immunity that primarily affects cytokine signalling and can cause various clinical symptoms. I really enjoyed working close to the clinics and contributing to the diagnosis and improvement of patients.

After my Master's degree I completed an Erasmus internship in Lisbon, Portugal, at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Maria Mota's group. Working on Plasmodium, I was able to deepen my knowledge of molecular biology, contribute to deciphering the Plasmodium cell cycle and join a diverse research community. I then wanted to gain an insight into the pharmaceutical industry and completed an internship at Roche Pharma Research and Development in Basel, Switzerland. Through my post-graduated internships, I realised that I wanted to continue my journey by immersing myself deeper in a project of my own. Following my passion for research at the interface between basic and clinical research in the field of primary immunodeficiencies, I joined the group of Esteban Ballestar and the group of José Luis Sardina at the IJC.

I am now looking forward to gaining deeper insights into the epigenetic and mechanistic aspect of diseases caused by germline mutations in the transcription factor IKAROS.


During my bachelor thesis and my internship at the Institute of molecular medicine, I broadly used cell cultures and techniques such as cloning, western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. During my master's thesis, I developed feasible diagnostic protocols for the diagnostic identification of SOCS1 haploinsufficiency. I mainly used flow cytometry and different stimulation protocols. I gained extensive experience working with primary samples, including the challenge of having limited samples available for experiments. During my time at Roche, I was involved in assay development and moved from conventional flow cytometers to spectral cytometers. In addition, I gained experience in mass spectrometry.