Interview MDR PhD student: Marie Loly
Who are you, what is your background and how did you get involved in MDR?
My name is Marie and I’m a biologist. I recently finished my master in Biomedical Sciences in fundamental research at University of Liège. My last year internship gave me the desire to continue research. As my studies were based on cancer and neurology, I was looking for an opportunity in a different field, which is why I wanted to join MERLN.
Tell us a little bit more about the research you are planning to do within MDR.
My project aims for the development of a novel in vitro organoid model of kidney branching morphogenesis on-chip using mouse and human (pluripotent) stem cells. The main goal is to mimic key aspects of nephrogenesis to better understand how we can create higher-order collecting duct constructs for applications in Regenerative Medicine. The complexity of the collecting duct architecture is a result of the intricate and reciprocal interactions between different renal compartments, e.g., the ureteric bud and the metanephric mesenchyme. To reverse engineer the budding and branching in vitro, we differentiate our stem cells to ureteric bud and metanephric mesenchyme precursors. These cellular compartments are then integrated into microfluidic chips to decouple and perturb single factors of these interactions to develop strategies for a guided and materials-driven branching morphogenesis. The development of such a modular system aims at improving the availability of existing kidney models in vitro and could become an essential tool to study mechanisms of kidney formation or renal disorders.
Who is your biggest example in science and why?
My biggest example in science is not a famous person but my main teacher in master. She touched many different research subjects in her career. She has always encouraged he students and given them good advice. She is for me a very inspiring person.
What do you do in your free time and how can we recognize the typical Marie?
During my free time, I like to go for a run or enjoy a walk in nature.