This is the main logo - Meditrans; A project dealing with targeted Nanomedicines.

Women in MediTrans

The gender dimension

Women were involved, at all professional levels, in MEDITRANS. Of the 275 former MEDITRANS employees, 142 were women (52%), thus exceeding the 40% target set by the EC.  MEDITRANS partners will strive to maintain or improve the gender balance within this project.
An analysis (March 2011) of the percentage of women scientists who worked on the MEDITRANS project has been undertaken:
Scientific manager - 35%
Scientific team leader - 34%
Experienced researcher (> 4 years) - 54%
Early researcher (<= 4 years) - 61%
PhD students - 52%
Technical staff - 56%
Other - 61%

Below is a list of the women who are involved in MEDITRANS at the outset of the project:

1 Marina Talelli  (Utrecht University)
Marina Talelli studied chemistry at the University of Athens (Greece). Her diploma thesis conducted in the department of polymer chemistry, focused on the physicochemical characterization of polymeric micelles. In November 2006 she graduated as a chemist and joined the National Research Foundation of Greece to do research on interactions of cationic diblock copolymers with DNA. In October 2007 she started her PhD project in the Department of Pharmaceutics of Utrecht University on design, synthesis and characterization of polymeric micelles for drug delivery.

3 Dr. Stephanie Foillard (Commissariat Á L'Energie Atomique)
Profile unavailable at present.

3 Dr. Sophie Giraud  (Commissariat À L'Energie Atomique)
Scientific career
Researcher at the CEA, since 2000
PhD, “New phases in the system PbO-Bi2O3-M2O5 (M = P): syntheses, structures, characterizations and homologous (M = V, As)”, University of Lille, FRANCE, 1999. Part of this study was done at the University of Texas, Austin, USA.

Research interests

5 Dr. Monika Fischler (Magforce Nanotechnologies)
Profile unavailable at present.

6 Mrs. Dipl.-Biol. R. Scholz  (Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin)
Profile unavailable at present.

8 Dr. Martha Liley  (Centre Suisse D’Electronique et de Microtechnique)
Martha Liley received her PhD from the University of Cambridge (UK) in 1990. She developed novel surface biochemistries and supported lipid bilayers for several years, as Wellcome Trust Travelling Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung and later at the Swiss Federal Research Institute Lausanne (EPFL). She joined CSEM – the Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology – in 1997.  At CSEM, she has contributed to activities in biosensing and nanotechnology.  Recently she became head of the BioMEMS group, developing new tools for the Life Sciences, based on microfabrication and nanotechnology.

10 Dr. Katrien Remaut  (University of Ghent)

Personal Background:

Katrien Remaut was born on 10 November 1978 in Ghent. In 2001 she gradued as pharmacist at the Ghent University with the greatest distinction. In the same year she started her research activities at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Laboratory of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy, Ghent University. On 30 April 2007 she obtained the degree of Doctor in the Pharmaceutical Sciences with a thesis entitled “Exploring the Relation between the Intracellular Fate and Biological Activity of Nucleic Acid Nanoparticles”. Currently she continues her research at the Laboratory of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy in the field of nucleic acid delivery. She is married to Wim Vens and has a son Wolf.

Research Background:
Gene therapy shows potential in the treatment of a wide variety of genetic disorders. For gene therapy to be successful, the nucleic acids should reach their target, which is mostly situated intracellular. Naked nucleic acids are poorly taken up by cells. Therefore, they are administered by using viral or non-viral vectors. In general, viral vectors provide high transfection efficiencies but suffer from the limited amount and size of the genetic material they can carry. Also, they can induce severe immune responses. Non-viral vectors are advantageous over viral vectors in that they are less expensive, easier and safer to make and more suitable for long term storage. They can also deliver much larger pieces of DNA when compared to viral methods. The current transfection efficiencies of non-viral vectors are, however, far from optimal.
Non-viral vectors mostly enter the cells by endocytosis. Then, they have to escape from the endosomal compartment and release their therapeutic DNA in the cytoplasm of the cells. Furthermore, the therapeutic DNA should stay intact and reach its target, which is the nucleus in the case of plasmid DNA. Increasing attention has been paid to elucidate the intracellular barriers that limit the transfection efficiency of non-viral vectors. In my PhD project (2001-2007), I studied the influence of degradation of oligonucleotides on their transfection efficiency. Therefore, the DNA under investigation was labelled with a donor and an acceptor fluorophore, giving Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET). When the DNA molecule is intact, donor excitation leads to emission coming from the donor and the acceptor. After degradation of the DNA, donor emission increases and the acceptor emission disappears. The ratio of the acceptor to donor emission is then a measure for the amount of intact DNA molecules present. The major technique used to investigate the acceptor to donor ratio was Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS). In FCS a laser illuminating the confocal volume (a few femtoliter) causes excitation of fluorophores attached to the molecules we want to investigate. Movement of the labelled molecules in and out the confocal volume causes fluorescence fluctuations which give information about the amount of molecules present in the solution or specific cell compartments and their diffusion coefficients. This technique can be performed inside living cells therefore giving us 'on sight' information about the diffusion and stability of DNA constructs.
Several studies pointed out that the nuclear membrane is the most important barrier for larger DNA fragments like plasmid DNA. In non-dividing cells, plasmid DNA needs a nuclear localisation signal (NLS) to gain access to the nuclear interior via the nuclear pore complexes (NPCs). The transport of NLS-modified plasmid DNA through the NPCs remains, however, very inefficient. An important observation is that the nuclear accumulation of plasmid DNA is greatly enhanced during cell division, when the nuclear envelope of the parent cell is temporarily broken down and restored in the two daughter cells. This gives the plasmid DNA in the parent cell the opportunity to be enclosed in the nuclear environment of the two daughter cells without the need to pass the NPCs. Given the fact that nuclear accumulation of plasmid DNA is greatly enhanced during cell division, we currently aim to develop plasmid DNA containing nanoparticles that optimally deliver their plasmid DNA to the nucleus during the process of cell division.

12 Evelien Smits  (Organon)
Evelien Smits studied Molecular Sciences at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and graduated in June 2007. Her first MSc thesis at the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry at Wageningen University focussed on fluorine-substituted asymmetrical banana-shaped liquid crystals. A second MSc thesis was performed at the institute AFSG in Wageningen titled “Development of novel isohexide based monomers for polycondensates”. Finally, she finished her studies in Germany with an internship about hexaethylene glycol-terminated self-assembled monolayers on gold surfaces at the Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg.
In September 2007 Evelien started as a PhD student at Organon Biosciences in Oss (NL) with regard to MediTrans. Her research will focus on the accumulation of liposomes in different tissues, e.g. tumor, spleen and liver, using kinetic modelling.

14 Dr. Shellie Rigby-Singleton  (Molecular Profiles Ltd)
Profile unavailable at present.

15 Dr. Eva-Maria Collnot  (Saarland University)
Eva-Maria Collnot studied Pharmacy at Saarland University and graduated in October 2002. Her diploma thesis conducted in the Department of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology focussed on the characterisation of cystic fibrosis cell lines. She received her PhD in April 2007 for her work on the structure-activity relationships and the mechanism of inhibition in the interaction of non-ionic surfactants with the apical efflux system P-glycoprotein.

15 Francisca Leonard  (Saarland University)
Fransisca Leonard studied Biotechnology at Berlin University of Technology (TU Berlin) and graduated in May 2007. She also gains her MSc degree from Dongseo University (South Korea) after participation in the Dual-Degree Programme between both universities. Her Master thesis was conducted in Max Delbrück Centrum and focusing on the study of the E2 ubiquitin-conjugase regulation by haematopoiesis transcription regulator TAL1 in Erythrocytes. She joined the Biopharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology Institute in August 2007 as a PhD student and is now working on the Meditrans project.

Research Interests
The characterization of the targeting efficiency of various drug carriers so far has been carried out in in vitro models representing the physiological state of normal tissue, not reflecting Crohn’s induced changes. A disease-specific in vitro model will be more suitable for evaluating targeting efficiencies under pathophysiological conditions reflecting the affected area in vivo and will give a better understanding of the EPR effect and also for the nanoparticle optimization prior to the in vivo testing. The formulation of an in vitro model of the inflamed intestine will be the major part of the research, alongside the utilization for the nanoparticle uptake, distribution and toxicity study.

16 Olivia Merkel  (Philips University Marburg)
Olivia Merkel studied Pharmacy at the University of Marburg and graduated in October 2004. During her intern year, she started her work on siRNA delivery in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmacy and defended her master thesis in 2006. In February 2006, she returned as a PhD student working on targeted siRNA delivery.

18 Dr. Astrid Grahn (Across Barriers)
Profile unavailable at present.

18 Dr. Eleonore Haltner  (Across Barriers)
Profile unavailable at present.

20 Dr. Paola Zaratin  (Merck Serono – RBM)
Profile unavailable at present.

21 Dr. Marisa Ferraretto (Bracco Imaging)
Profile unavailable at present.

23 Michal Eifer (Weizmann)
Profile unavailable at present.

23 Prof. Dr. Michal Neeman  (Weizmann Institute of Science)

23 Helena Sheikhet Migalovich  (Weizmann Institute of Science)
Profile unavailable at present.

24 Elena Torres (UniversitÓ Degli Studi di Torino)
Profile unavailable at present.

24 Sara Figueiredo (UniversitÓ Degli Studi di Torino)
Profile unavailable at present.

24 Dr. Daniela Delli Castelli  (Università Degli Studi di Torino)
Scientific Career

Research Interests
Development of paramagnetic metal-based probes for biomedical applications of MRI with particular attention to the class of CEST agents. In particular in the last years, my research interest has been focused on the development of LIPOCEST agents.

25 Laura Nieto (Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Cientificas)
Profile unavailable at present.

26 Dr. Claire Corot  (Guerbet SA)
Pharm, and Pharmacist resident, PhD at the Inserm Unit 63 – Biomaterials Guerbet experience :  In vitro Biology (1990), Head of Discovery (1995), Head of Biological Research (1998), Head of Global Research (2000-). 8 months Interim in Global Marketing (2005) Research Interest: Contrast media research (chemistry, biology, experimental imaging, physicochemistry, IP..), Molecular Imaging, Alzheimer disease, Atherosclerotic plaque imaging, Imaging in oncology.

26 Dr. Isabel Raynal  (Guerbet SA)
Profile unavailable at present.

26 Dr. Caroline Robic  (Guerbet SA)
Caroline Robic is an engineer from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Industries Chimiques (1999). She received in 2002 her Ph.D, working at the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA) on the rheological behaviour of liquid crystal polymers. Then, she did a postdoctoral research at the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI), investigating the recognition of antibodies with antigens grafted in magnetic colloids. In 2005, she joined Guerbet, where she is in charge of the synthesis and the physico-chemical characterisation of iron oxide nanoparticles.

27 Birgitte Refbjerg Hansen (University of Copenhagen)
Profile unavailable at present.

27 Dr. Camilla Foged  (University of Copenhagen)
Scientific Career

Research Interests
Targeted delivery of drugs to specific sites in the body is highly desired for many types of drugs associated with toxicity, high costs of production and serious side effects. For biomacromolecules with intracellular sites of action such as oligonucleotides, plasmids and vaccines, targeted delivery across membrane barriers to the correct intracellular compartment is one of the key and largely unsolved problems in drug delivery today. Research interests of CFO deal with lipid- and polymer based colloidal carriers for delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) and vaccines using various approaches for targeting and membrane destabilization such as cell penetrating peptides (CPPs). Focus is directed towards a mechanistic understanding of the interaction between the colloidal drug carrier system and cellular membranes. Furthermore, addressing stability of highly labile biomacromolecules is a major research area. The carrier systems are designed for systemic administration, where the carriers can target inflammatory or cancer tissue passively via the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, or for local administration to tissues such as lungs and joints. For vaccines, a major interest is the development of antigen delivery systems that can target dendritic cells and modulate their immuno-activating capacities in the desired direction.

27 Dr. Hanne Mørck Nielsen  (University of Copenhagen)
HMN has a Master of Science in Pharmacy from the Royal Danish School of Pharmacy (now PHARMA) and obtained her Ph.D. degree from PHARMA in 2000. She has been employed at the Department of Pharmaceutics as an Assistant Research Professor since 1999 only interrupted by employment as a full-time Teaching Assistant at the same department, a one-year post doctoral stay (financed by an Alfred Benzon grant) with Professor H.P. Merkle at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, ETH Zürich, Switzerland and a total of 18 months maternity leave. In May 2004, she was assigned Associate Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutics, PHARMA and functions as the head of the research group “Biomacromolecular Drug Delivery” within the area of pharmaceutical formulation.

The research of the group in the field of Biomacromolecular Drug Delivery spans a wide area, from preparation techniques and physico-chemical characterisation of the drug molecule and the carrier to studies of the fate of the formulations in vitro and in vivo. The University of Copenhagen brings the experience and the equipment necessary for pharmaceutical formulation, and for ensuring the stability and the in vitro efficacy of biomacromolecular drugs (e.g. in-house knowledge and techniques for preparation of advanced drug delivery system and their characterisation, a well-established cell culturing laboratory and equipment for qualitative and quantitative measuring cellular effects, i.e. expression and silencing of certain proteins). Equipment available in the group includes DLS, zetapotential measurements, laser diffraction, DSC, FTIR, URT, AFM, rheology, TIRF, SEM, CD, CLSM, flow cytometry, PCR, HPLC, CE, Fluorolog, plate readers for detection of absorbance, (polarized) fluorescence, luminescence, an advanced spray dryer and an advanced freeze dryer.


HMN´s research is within the area of drug delivery, especially with focus on therapeutic biomacromolecules and oligonucleotides. The influence of the drug formulation on the physical and chemical stability of biomacromolecules as well as the effect on their interaction with, uptake and transport across the biological membrane and intracellular processing are the primary focus.
Since the initiation of the collaboration with ETH in Zürich, much attention has been paid to the use of membrane penetrating peptides for cellular delivery enhancement with special interest in investigating the (potential targeting) effect and mechanisms leading to a desired cellular response. In collaboration with Assistant Professor Camilla Foged and Professor Sven Frokjaer she is involved in the siRNA Delivery Center and the Meditrans-Targeted Delivery of Nanomedicines (FP6) project developing formulations for targeted siRNA delivery. HMN is deeply involved in particle formulation of biomacromolecules and in this respect has, in collaboration with a research group from Santiago de Compostela, performed research within the field of formulation of biomacromolecules in nanoparticles including physical characterization and effect of the formulations on cell cultures expressing different morphological characteristics. The aim of HMN´s Ph.D. project was to characterize the buccal TR146 cell culture model by comparing it to human and porcine buccal epithelium, especially with regard to permeability of (drug) substances and enhancement hereof. The project has provided a strong scientific experience regarding the potential for use of cell cultures in drug formulation development.

Board member of the Biopharmaceutical section of the Danish Pharmaceutical Society, 2001-
Reviewer on scientific manuscripts from J Pharm Sci (2003-), J Control Rel (2003-), Int J Pharm (2003-) and Eur J Pharm Sci (2001-), co-referee on Ph.D. thesis´s (ETH Zürich, 2003 and 2005) exploiting the effect and mechanism of different cell penetrating peptides, jury member of Ph. D. thesis´s (Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Nov 2007) on nasal and pulmonary delivery of macromolecules.

Apart from participating in the teaching of master and Ph.D. students enrolled under the study programme at the Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, during the last 5 years, HMN has supervised a number of national (currently main supervisor of 6 Ph.D. students) and international (6 students) Ph.D.-students, an Erasmus student, scholar students (5) and master students (10+). All projects have been related to her research profile.

27 Dr. DongMei Cun  (University of Copenhagen)

Scientific Career

Research Interests


27 Linda Boye Jensen  (University of Copenhagen)

Scientific Career

Research Interests

Design and investigation of nanoparticles for targeted delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) for Targeted Delivery of Nanomedicines.

30 Prof. Dr. Paloma Ballesteros García  (Universidad Nacional De Educación A Distancia)

Scientific Career

She studied Pharmacy at the University Complutense of Madrid (UCM), where She obtained her Ph.D. under Professor Carmen Avendaño in 1978. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow for Professor Alain R. Katrizky at the University of East Anglia (1979-1980). After two years working as a research investigator for Professor Brian W. Roberts at the University of Pennsylvania, (USA) (1981–83), she joined the National University at a Distance (UNED) as Assistant Professor (1985–91). In 1987, she worked as visiting professor at the University of Basel (Switzerland). At present, she is Full Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Faculty of Sciences at the UNED.

Research Interests
She is a specialist in organic synthesis, mainly in heterocyclic chemistry, working in her own different research lines with multidisciplinary character and industrial application. Her investigation is focus on to the design, synthesis, and evaluation of Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and the development of a novel pH and pO2 indicators for 1H NMR spectroscopic imaging (1H-MRSI). Recently, she has begun a modern research line aimed to design nanostructurated contrast agents to distinguish the laminar and turbulent flow in atherosclerotic processes. In addition, she has been Scientific Consulting of the Pharmaceutical Company (Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Rovi S.A.) (2005-2007) and involving in common research R&D projects since 1999.

30 Dr. Elena Pérez Mayoral  (Universidad Nacional De Educación A Distancia)

Scientific Career

She studied Chemistry at the University Complutense of Madrid (UCM, Spain), where she obtained her Ph.D. (Organic Photochemistry), supervised by Professor Diego Armesto Vilas and Dr. Ana María Ramos González in 1999. In 1998–99, she worked on the synthesis of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors, under the direction of Professor Miguel F. Braña at University San Pablo (CEU, Spain). In September 1999, she joined Professor Ballesteros’ group (Laboratory of Organic Synthesis and Molecular Imaging by Magnetic Resonance) at the National University at a Distance (UNED), as a Postdoctoral Fellow, where she holds a position as a Research Assistant. In 2007, she joined the Department of Inorganic and Technique Chemistry at the Faculty of Science in the same University (UNED) as a Research Assistant.

Research Interests

She is focused onto the design, synthesis of new lanthanide complexes as Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI), as well as the development of a novel series of pH and pO2 indicators for 1H NMR spectroscopic imaging (1H-MRSI). More recently, she has been involved in synthesis and evaluation of nanostructurated contrast agents. Furthermore, she lately works in the application of inorganic solids catalysing fine chemistry processes.

30 Viviana Negri  (Universidad Nacional De Educación A Distancia)
She studied Chemistry at the “Università degli Studi” of Milan (Italy). In 2004-2006 she worked on “Visualization of target cells with Magnetic Resonance Imaging” under the direction of Dr. Roberto Pagliarin in the same University. In September 2006 she joined Professor Ballesteros’ group at the National University at a Distance (UNED, Spain), as a PhD student and she became her PhD’s studies at Complutense University (Madrid, Spain).

Research Interests
She is presently investigating the synthesis and evaluation of new Gd(III) complexes as Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and nanostructurated Contrast Agents.

32 Nobina Mukherjee (Rijksuniversieit Groningen)
Profile unavailable at present.

Gender Action Plan

The Gender Manager, Dr. William Dawson, sits on the Project Management Board and Project Steering Committee.  Please contact him if you have any Gender-related issues, he will be happy to hear from you.

32 Dr. Armagan Kocer (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
Scientific Career

Research Interests
Mechanosensitive channel proteins
Chemical biology
Triggered drug delivery

The Project Steering Committee will:

34 Dr. Beatrice Greco (Merck Serono S.A.)
Profile unavailable at present

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This image shows the EU flag and FP6 programme logo.
An Integrated Project funded by the European Commission under the "nanotechnologies and nano-sciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices" (NMP) thematic priority of the Sixth Framework Programme. Contract Number: NMP4-CT-2006-026668