Doctoral fellow - Atomic & Mass Spectrometry - A&MS research unit (Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Frank Vanhaecke (PhD)
Metals play a very important role in the life of cells. Apart from enabling many life-sustaining processes within the cells, metals can be used for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes as metallodrugs or engineered metallic nanoparticles. In addition, metals can be used as tags that can help identify different cell types and even subcellular structures. Monitoring the metal content in cells is therefore of the utmost importance as it can give us crucial information about cells in both health and disease.
My research focuses on fundamental and applied aspects of single-cell inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (SC-ICP-MS), a technique that recently enabled the determination of (trace) metals in single cells for the first time, showing great promise for a variety of (bio)medical applications. Compared to traditional techniques, SC-ICP-MS offers novel, previously unavailable information about the metal content of each individual cell in the sample. This information can shed new light on problems in a wide variety of research disciplines. In the context of cancer research, SC-ICP-MS can be used to, e.g., monitor the cellular uptake of metal-based anti-cancer drugs or to study the mechanism of photoporation in the context of single-cell nanosurgery.
I obtained my Bachelor of Science and Master of Science with distinction in Chemistry at the University of Ljubljana in 2020 and 2022, respectively. During my studies, I spent time as a researcher at the University of Ljubljana, LMU Munich and the National Institute of Chemistry in Slovenia. Since October 2022, I am a PhD student at the Atomic & Mass Spectrometry – A&MS research unit of Ghent University focusing on single-cell inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (SC-ICP-MS).