Highlights from the CATCH ALL lab rotation grants – new methods and fostering collaborations

At the recent CATCH ALL summer school, two scientists from the CATCH ALL clinical research unit received lab rotation grants of €5,000 each. Read here about their experiences:

Marta Lustig, PhD student at the Valerius laboratory, UKSH Kiel (P6), visited the Bertozzi laboratory in Stanford, USA

I recently joined the laboratory of 2022’s Nobel Prize winner Carolyn Bertozzi at Stanford University from August to September 2023. The rotation, guided by Jessica C. Stark, PhD, focused on antibody lectin chimeras (AbLecs) production from an innovative platform in antibody engineering. The primary objective was the parallel targeting of a tumor-associated antigen and an immune checkpoint. During my stay, we tailored AbLecs to precisely target B acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells.

Marta Lustig visited the Bertozzi-Lab at Stanford University, USA

This rotation deepened my understanding of antibody engineering and production. The collaborative and cutting-edge research environment at the Bertozzi Laboratory greatly contributed to my professional growth, offering valuable insights into glycobiology and biorthogonal chemistry. Back in Kiel, I look forward to further analyzing the antibodies developed during my stay at Stanford. The lab rotation has provided me with in-depth knowledge, which will be crucial for my ongoing projects.

Malwine Barz, Post-doc at the Baldus laboratory, UKSH Kiel (P1) invited Giulia Moro from Zürich, Switzerland

Our collaboration with Giulia Moro from the Basler Laboratory at the University of Zurich began in December 2022 and has been a great exchange of insights and methodologies. The single RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) method allows the capturing of fusion genes in single cells and hence to better understand the cell of origin in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In March 2023, I visited the Basler laboratory in Zurich, where I learned about this novel scRNA seq method they have established. My visit laid the foundation for a true collaboration, and we invited Giulia to Kiel in June 2023 for a one-week lab rotation.

During her stay, Giulia shared her expertise and thoroughly trained our team on the scRNA-seq method. Together with Miriam Denker and Sonja Bendig, we conducted scRNA-seq runs with cell lines and patient samples, gaining valuable hands-on experience.

Dr. Malwine Barz (second from the left) invited Giulia Moro (right, and middle) from the Basler-Lab, University of Zürich.

Giulia also provided in-depth explanations on the bioinformatic analyses, enhancing our understanding of scRNA-seq experiments. In return, we shared our ongoing work, including cloning, CRISPR, drug screens, and FACS procedures. Monika Brüggemann explained the diagnostics of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, emphasizing our focus on ALL subtypes and resistance.

Beyond the laboratory, we had enjoyable dinners and fruitful discussions corroborating our collaboration. We have regular online meetings enabling us to exchange data and information despite the geographical distance. Together, we are unraveling the complexities of the cell-of-origin in ALL and thus actively contributing to the overall goals of the clinical research unit CATCH ALL at the UKSH.

Additional Details


Marta Lustig, M.Sc.

Doctoral Researcher
Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Immunotherapy / University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Clinic for Internal Medicine II, Hematology and Oncology / University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel

Participating Institutes