Lab members - Cipitria Lab
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Lab Members

Current Members

naike sm._modjpg


Postdoctoral researcher

Naike studied Biology at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where she also obtained her PhD in Genetics (after a short research stay in Australia). She took some time off her scientific career to go as a volunteer to Ethiopia. Afterwards, she fully dived into the molecular side of cancer with a postdoc in Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (USA). Then, she deepened her knowledge in DNA damage repair during a second postdoc at Intituto de Medicina Molecular (Portugal). Her strong interest for in vitro modeling led her to join Amaia Cipitria’s lab back in the Basque Country, where she was born. She loves hiking, rock-climbing and singing.

Oihane Mitxelena photo_crop2


Postdoctoral researcher

After obtaining a BSc in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Navarra, Oihane moved to London to increase her knowledge with the MSc in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine at the University College London (UCL). She returned to her hometown to do her PhD in Applied Engineering at the University of Navarra, where she developed microfluidic platforms for the validation of new targeted therapies in personalized medicine against osteosarcoma. Following her passion for regenerative medicine, she joined Amaia Cipitria’s group as a postdoctoral researcher. She loves nature and adventures, so you can find her excited in any amusement park or thinking about new experiences such as skydiving!

Unai Heras


Master thesis in Bioengineering

Unai has recently joined our group for his Master’s Thesis in 3D scaffold bioprinting. He graduated in Industrial Engineering at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), where he worked as an intern student with 3D printers, 3D scans and digital software for biomedical applications. His strong interest in biomedical research led him to study a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering, expanding his knowledge in biomaterials, cell culture or cancer. Born in the Basque Country he loves the mountains and the sea, but where you could best know him is in any event with music.

Foto Leire_mod


Lab manager

Leire earned her BSc in Chemistry (Organic) and Master´s Degree in New Materials from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). She carried out her thesis project at AZTI-TECNALIA and obtained the PhD in Materials Science and Technology also from UPV/EHU. After the PhD, she worked on projects related to the development of biomaterials (School of Engineering of Gipuzkoa, UPV/EHU), the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes by cell therapy (School of Pharmacy, UPV/EHU), the synthesis of polymer-drug conjugates for cancer treatment (IQAC-CSIC) and developing scaffolds that modulate the immune response (POLYMAT). Her desire to continue working in the exciting field of tissue regeneration along with the aspiration to gain knowledge in cancer led her to join Amaia´s group. She loves reading, travelling and planting and caring for trees.

10d_Daniela Garske


Research Assistant

After her training as a biological technical assistant, Daniela’s continued interest in Biology led her to study Medical Biotechnology at the TU Berlin. During this time she joined Amaia Cipitria’s group (then still located at the Julius Wolff Institute at the Charité Berlin) as a student helper. She decided to stay for her diploma thesis and then continued as a research assistant. She supports the doctoral students of the group in their projects in aspects like cell culture, hydrogel synthesis, in vivo experiments and histology. She loves reading, being crafty and creative and if it’s windy you can also spot her windsurfing across Berlin waters.

Sarah Young


Doctoral researcher

Sarah studied Chemistry and Biochemistry at the LMU Munich and earned both her Bachelor and Master’s degree there. After working with chitosan nanofibers at the MPI for Intelligent Systems, she fell in love with Biomaterials research and joined the MPI of Colloids and Interfaces for a short internship. After finishing her master thesis research at UCLA, she joined the group as a doctoral researcher studying the micrometastatic niche in vivo. Originating from Munich, she really misses the peaks of the Alps on the horizon, but her passion for baking fancy cakes keeps her busy and her stomach full.

Anna-Dorothea Heller


Doctoral researcher (co-PI Dr. Angelo Valleriani)

Anna joined our project group for her master’s thesis in 2019. Before that she was studying Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science at the TU Berlin, where she also did a semester abroad at UC Berkeley. Because she was excited about the possibility to continue her research of developing a computer model for bone metastases growth, Anna stayed with us as a PhD student. Born right into the middle of the Thuringian Forest she could not help but love any activity that has to do with mountains. If she’s not lost in papers you can either find her devouring books or spending too much money on vinyl records.

Nicky Tam


Doctoral researcher (co-PI Dr. Rumiana Dimova)

Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Nicky obtained a BSc in Physiology and Physics from McGill University in Montreal and a MSc in Biomedical Engineering from Dalhousie University in Halifax, where he worked on the development of a 3D cell culture model to study prostate cancer cell interactions. Moving ever eastward, he crossed the Atlantic in 2020 Anno Domini and now works at the MPI of Colloids and Interfaces with synthetic model lipid membranes to develop a bottom-up model system to study how extracellular environments affect exosome formation. Nicky is passionate about food, especially eating it and is a big fan of finding fractal patterns in vegetables.

Claudia A. Garrido


Doctoral researcher (co-PI Dr. Katharina Schmidt-Bleek)

Claudia carried out her bachelor studies in Chemistry in her home country, Ecuador, and pursued her Master’s degree in Toxicology in Potsdam University. Her main research interests are material science and tissue regeneration. She looked for a PhD project in biomaterials and enrolled at the Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies graduate school as a member of Amaia Cipitria’s group. She is working on the project patterned hydrogels for bone regeneration.


Hubert Taieb


PhD in Bioengineering, 2022
Now: in between time before postdoctoral research

Sadra Bakhshandeh


PhD in Bioengineering, 2022
Now: Associate editor at Nature Reviews Bioengineering

Sharen Heinig


MSc in Bioinformatics, 2022
Now: Scientific assistant at Charité University Hospital Berlin

Sanem Özayral


MSc in Biophysics, 2021
Now: Doctoral researcher at Charité University Hospital Berlin

Victoria Qian


Fulbright Fellow, 2021
Now: continued studies at Wayne State University School of Medicine

Di Wang


MSc in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, 2021

Ines Moreno


Humboldt postdoctoral fellow, 2020
Now: Research scientist at Aortyx

Aline Lueckgen


PhD in Materials Science, 2020
Now: Associate editor at Nature Communications

Master and bachelor students working in the group before 2019:

Melanie Seow
Biotechnology, 2018

Michael Paris
Physics, 2015

Andreas Götz
Biomedical Engineering, 2015

Sophia Schönhals
Biotechnology, 2013

Kathrin Boettcher
Bioengineering, 2012