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MMBio - Marie Curie Training Network

Rouven Stulz

  • PhD student
  • Group of Prof. Roger Strömber and Dr. Anders Dahlen
  • Department of Bioscience and Nutrition, Karolinska institut
  • Contact email:
  • MMBio start date: 1st May 2017

I finished my studies at the university of Bern in Switzerland in 2016 with a MSc. The focus of my research has been organic and bioorganic chemistry with different applications.
During my bachelor thesis I was involved in a project developing new, enantioselective hydroborating agents in the group of Prof. P. Renaud . This project allowed me to train my practical organic synthesis skills and get familiar with different instrumentations and techniques. More importantly this experience further encouraged my interest in Organic and Bioorganic chemistry.
When it came to picking a project for my master thesis, I used the chance to gain experience in a more applied and biologically oriented field of organic chemistry. The group of Prof J.L. Reymond gave me the possibility to work on a project focussed on the development of a new class of antimicrobial peptides.  Under the guidance of PD T. Darbre I synthetized, characterized and assayed the antimicrobial properties of a new class of polycyclic, highly constrained peptides. Experiencing the more instrumentation focused and application driven field of peptide synthesis strengthened my interest in the field of biological chemistry.

Training and Transferable Skills:
- Solid phase synthesis of oligonucleotides and peptides
- Modification of peptides and nucleotides
- Organic/small molecule chemistry
- Bioconjugate chemistry
- IR
- Mass spectrometry
- GC

Research Projects:
My current project at Astra Zeneca under the guidance of Dr. Anders Dahlen, Dr Andersson Shalini and Prof Roger Strömberg lies withing the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics. Oligonucleotide as drugs have been an active field for a long time. The concept of directly regulating protein translation or gene transcription sounds very promising. It allows for a more direct intervention into biochemical processes than typical small molecules. Unfortunately the field never has quite fulfilled the hopes of society, academia or industry. Problems with stability, localization, cell penetration and toxicity led to many expensive campaigns being stopped in late stage clinical trials. Nowadays only a small number of oligonucleotides are approved as therapeutics, most of them for orphan diseases.
The goal of my project is to find new oligonucleotide building blocks and oligonucleotide conjugaes, that allow for easier acces of oligonucleotides into cells, as well as accumulation of oligonucleotides in vincinity of their therapeutic target. This could allow to circumvent many of the toxicity and selectivity problems that oligonucleotides showed in the clinic. Given the wide range of disorders that could potentially be targeted by oligonucleotides, the impact of a breakthrough in this field cannot be underestimated.