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Student Portrait #4: Daria Geilen

Many enthusiastic Master students are working on imSAVAR. With their research, they contribute to the success of the project. We are happy to feature a forth portrait of our Master student Daria and her great work with the liver-on-chip model. 

Hi, my name is Daria Geilen, and I am a Master’s student in the field of Pharma-Biotechnology at the Ernst-Abbe-University of Applied Science in Jena, Germany. In April 2022, I started my internship at Dynamic42, a fast-growing biotechnology company founded in 2018. During my time there, I have been able to learn more about the organ-on-chip technology and became part of the very interesting imSAVAR project.

My passion for biology had already grown in my school years, when I realized the intricate processes on which organisms are built. Consequently, I decided to study Biotechnology at the Ernst-Abbe-University of Applied Science. During my Bachelor studies I became increasingly interested in pharmaceutical and medical fields. I was eager to learn more about helping people suffering from diseases with my biological knowledge. After I finished my Bachelor degree in 2020, it was the best choice for me to combine my interests for biology and pharmacy and continue my studies with a Master program in Pharma-Biotechnology.

While searching for a suitable topic for my Master thesis I became aware of Dynamic42, a company specializing in self-developed microphysiological organ-on-chip systems. During my studies, I already learned about the long lasting, costly, and labor-intensive process of drug approval, which in some cases couldn’t ensure as much security as it should. Organ-on-chip systems are innovative in vitro platforms that aim to replicate the physiological functions of organs by integrating living cells, biomaterials, and microengineering techniques. I immediately recognized the big potential of this relatively new in vitro method, developed to make the process of drug testing more effective and secure by simultaneously reducing animal testing. Now, I am very grateful for the opportunity to work at Dynamic42 since I was not only able to gain experience with this technology but also became part of the imSAVAR team! Working on imSAVAR provided me with deep insights into medically significant areas of immunological research.

My thesis focuses on the antibody Urelumab, an anti-CD137 agonist, developed for strengthening the immune response during cancer treatment, but causing severe immune mediated hepatotoxicity. It was my task to examine this side effect in the liver-on-chip system. I’m really excited that my work can contribute to imSAVAR’s goal of improving the safety of immune therapy. This project has revealed my fascination for the wide and complex field of immunology and I would love to work on further imSAVAR tasks in the future.