Gero Steinberg
(Professor of Cell Biology, Director of the Bioimaging Centre)

Initially I studied freshwater ecology, classical botany and zoology and marine chemistry in Kiel. Consequently, my first paper was on deep see flagellates (work done during a short stay in 1989 with Prof. David Patterson, Bristol, UK). However, at the end of my studies I became interested in the complexity of the cell and did an ultra-structural study on cell-cell contacts in plants (with Prof. R. Kollmann, Kiel, Germany). From there I moved to the lab of Prof. Manfred Schliwa (Munich, Germany), where I did my PhD on fungi, molecular motors and the cytoskeleton (1991-1995). This step was significant, and after a Post-Doc in the lab of Prof. J. Richard McIntosh (Boulder, USA, 1995-1996), I combined all interests when moving to the institute of Prof. Regine Kahmann (Munich, Germany, 1997-2000) where I did my Habilitation in Genetics and Cell Biology (2001). From 2000 to 2007 I worked at the Max-Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg (Germany), now focussing on motors and the cytoskeleton in a fungus that infects plants. Since 2007 I am Professor of Cell Biology in Exeter and director of the Bioimaging Center in the School of Biosciences. Nowadays, I am most interested in how controlled and stochastic dynamic processes function in the cell. Our research aims to answer basic cell biological questions that help to understand fungal pathogenicity and evolutionary conserved mechanisms of spatial organization of eukaryotic cells.

Gero Steinberg

Dr Sreedhar Kilaru (Post-Doc)

After completion of Bachelor's degree (1996-1999) in Microbiology and Biochemistry at Nagarjuna University, India, I studied Masters degree (1999-2001) in Biotechnology at Bharathidasan University, India. Since then I am interested in exploitation of fungal species for biotechnological applications. Accordingly, I moved to the lab of Prof. Ursula Kuees at Georg-August University of Goettingen, Germany, where I did my PhD (2002-2005) on fungal Biotechnology, i.e., overexpression of Coprinopsis cinerea laccases for biotechnological applications. From 2005 to 2009, I worked as post-doctoral research associate in the lab of Prof. Gary Foster and Dr. Andy Bailey at University of Bristol (funded by Galxo Smith Kline), where I established the molecular tools for Clitopilus passeckerianus which produces a pharmaceutically important compound called pleuromutulin. Since February 2009, I am working in the lab of Prof. Gero Steinberg at University of Exeter on regulation of long distance dynein motility in the model basidiomycete fungus Ustilago maydis (funded by BBSRC). Right now I am establishing the functional genomics toolkit for the wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola (funded by BBSRC & Syngenta Ltd).

Dr Sreedhar Kilaru

Dr. Stephen Milne (Post-Doc)

After completion of my Bachelor's degree in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Stirling, I attended the University of Aberdeen to study a Masters degree in Medical Molecular Microbiology. My master project, under supervision of Prof. Neil Gow and Dr. Alex Brand, focussed on understanding the role of cell polarity proteins in the galvanotropic response of the human pathogen Candida albicans. I moved to Exeter in 2007 to take up a PhD position in the lab of Dr Steve Bates. During my PhD I utilised molecular genetics and fluorescence microscopy to study the role of GTPase protein Tem1 in signalling mitotic exit in Candida albicans. I recently joined the lab of Prof. Gero Steinberg, where I am researching chitin synthases in the pathogenic fungi Ustilago maydis and Mycosphaerella graminicola.

Dr. Stephen Milne

Dr. Yujiro Higuchi (Post-Doc)

I developed my PhD entitled 'The physiological study of endocytosis in Aspergillus oryzae' supervised by Prof. Kitamoto in the lab of microbilogy in the University of Tokyo, Japan (2007-2010). After 1 year as a post-doc in the same lab, I entered Prof. Steinberg’s group, now working on a 3 year project funded by the BBSRC (started March 2010). My research focusses on intracellular membrane trafficking and motor proteins, such as kinesins and dynein and their cargo molecules. I mainly use state of the art microscopy technique and the model fungus Ustilago maydis.

Dr. Yujiro Higuchi

Yvonne Roger (PhD)

In November 2003, I began my studies of biology at the University of Marburg (Germany). The main subjects of my studies were Developmental Biology, Cell Biology and Genetics. I did my diploma thesis in the group of Professor Renate Renkawitz-Pohl (Marburg, Germany) in the department of Developmental Biology. In this thesis I focused on the development of muscles from Drosophila melanogaster. In February 2009, I started my PhD in the group of Professor Gero Steinberg at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom) where I focus on the long-distance transport in the fungus Ustilago maydis.

Yvonne Roger

Anna Lewandowska (PhD student)

My interest in biology started when I was 12 and biology became my favourite subject at school. Back then I took part in many contests that required  biology knowledge and  I wanted to be a cardiovascular surgeon.  However  when  I was in my final year of high school my priorities changed. I became very interested in molecular biology and genetics, so I decided to study biology at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. During a 5-year-course (2003-2008) I focused on plant cell biology, especially on the transcription levels of  Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco nuclei. I really enjoyed working in a lab on a project, so I decided that it should be my future. I moved to Exeter and in October 2008 I joined Professor Gero Steinberg's lab to do a PhD.

I also have to say that I'm a very big fan of jazz, rock, and rock 'n' roll music, which is something I can't live without. I'm especially grateful to my parents for introducing me to Pink Floyd and The Police. I also love U2. Apart from that I'm really enjoying my stay in England and travelling around the South West.

Anna Lewandowska

Ewa Bielska (PhD)

I studied Biotechnology at University of Wroclaw in Poland. My master thesis "Interactions of spectrin with phospholipids" was based on protein-lipids interactions and gave one of the first insights into interactions of spectrin with membrane lipid rafts. Then I moved into industry and worked as a Research Scientist in Molecular Biology and Protein Technology teams in a drug discovery company Scottish Biomedical in Glasgow. I was involved in many biochemical projects using bacterial systems. During that time my passion for the science increased even more and decided to move back to academy. In February 2009 I joined the lab of Prof. Gero Steinberg, and since then I am investigating the Kinesin-3 motor protein in Ustilago maydis.

Ewa Bielska

Natalie Clark (PhD student, co-supervised with Dr. Mark Wood, Biosciences, Exeter)

In October 2006, I began my studies of biological sciences at the University of Exeter. The main subjects of bachelor’s degree were Microbiology, Cell Biology and Human Molecular Biology. I did my final year dissertation in the group of Dr Steven Aves where I focused on the interaction between the fork protection complex protein Swi1 and the replisome component Mcm10 in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. In October 2009, I started my PhD project with Professor Gero Steinberg and Dr Mark Wood (University of Exeter) investigating the specificity of peptide pheromones in the pheromone-receptor system of the pathogenic fungus Ustilago maydis. The aim of my project is to identify a novel synthetic pheromone for use in molecular studies to better understand the endocytosis pathway in Ustilago maydis.

Natalie Clark

Gulay Dagdas (PhD student)

After having my bachelor in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Middle East Technical University(Ankara,Turkey) in 2007, at the same university I started my master study in Prof.Dr Mahinur Akkaya`s group. I investigated the interaction between barley and its pathogen Blumeria graminis f.sp. hordei during the infection. After having my master degree in 2009, I wanted to gain experience abroad and I got the opportunity to do PhD in the University of Exeter. My interest in microscopy guided me to join to Prof. Dr Gero Steinberg`s lab where I could use advanced microscope facilities as well as various molecular methods. My project is ‘The nature and importance of peroxisome motility in Ustilago maydis, which serves as a model organism to mammalian cell. Once I finish my PhD, I would like to gain more experience in cell biology and continue my career in Academy in Turkey.

Gulay Dagdas

Sofia Guimaraes (PhD student)

I studied Biochemstry at Biochemistry at UBI, Portugal. For my diplona thesis I worked at the group of Dirk de Rooij at Department of Endocrinology, Faculty of Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands where I focus in the effects of anti-cancer drugs on viability/proliferation and gene expression in spermatogonial stem cells in vitro. Later I started at Edgar da Cruz e Silva’s lab (Signal transduction lab, Centre for Cell Biology (CBC), Aveiro, Portugal) working in the finding new protein-protein interactions for Alzheimer´s Amyloid Precursor Protein using the YTH system. Later I did my Master thesis at Odete da Cruz e Silva’s lab (Neurosciences lab, CBC, Aveiro, Portugal) where I aimed to charactherized protein interactions by validating new protein-protein interactions with APP. Afterwards I worked as a research assistant at Michael Schrader’s lab (Organelle Biogenesis in Health and Disease lab, CBC, Aveiro, Portugal) where my goal was the characterization of the molecular machinery required for the division and proliferantion of peroxisomes. In September 2011 I started my PhD at Gero Steinberg’s lab where I will focus in the motility of peroxisomes in U. maydis.

Sofia Guimaraes

Congping Lin (PhD student, co-supervised with Prof. Peter Ashwin, Matematics, Exeter)

I studied mathematics, particularly dynamical system in my master and changed to work on mathematical modelling in my PhD. The project is particularly using stochastic modelling to describe and understand the bidirectional transport of motors/organelles in long-distance transport based on quantitative data obtained from observing motors and organelle dynamics in living cells of the fungus U. maydis.

Congping Lin

Dr. Martin Schuster (Experimental Officer)

I studied biology at the University of Marburg (Germany). During my diploma thesis I focused on the nicotinate catabolism in proteobacteria (Dr. A.J. Pierik, Marburg, Germany). After that I moved to Prof. K. Forchhammer (Giessen, Germany) group to work on the Global Carbon/Nitrogen regulation and signal transduction system in cyanobacteria. At the end of 2006 I started my PhD in the Lab of Prof. G. Steinberg (Marburg, Germany). In 2007 I moved with his group to University of Exeter. During my PhD I studied Motor cooperation in bi-directional early endosome motility in the fungus Ustilago maydis. For this I established several microscopic techniques like FRAP, TIRF or photo-activation of fluorescent proteins. After my PhD I became Senior Experimental Officer at the Bioimaging Centre in Exeter.

Martin Schuster

Samantha Mitchell (Lab Manager)

After studying Biomedical Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University for 3 years I took a position as Laboratory Technician at Hessle High School (Hull, UK) and worked there for 8 years. After a move to the South West I took the job of Technician here at Exeter University. My current role is as Lab Manager, where I am responsible for the smooth running of the lab and aiding the 6 research groups within with their day-to-day work. My husband and young son, happily, take up most of my spare time, but I also like to read as much as I can.

Samantha Mitchell

Marta Staff (Technician)

After completing my degree at Royal Holloway University of London I decided to pursue my career in molecular parasitology field. In London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine followed by King’s College posts I worked on the molecular and biochemical aspects of malaria parasite. Apart from molecular aspects of infectious organisms I am greatly interested in the relationship between the pathogen and the host during the infection process.The opportunity to join Prof. Gero Steinberg’s group in October 2011, has met my interest criteria. As a Research Technician I am involved in the project focusing on molecular cell biology of pathogenic fungi Ustilago maydis and Mycosphaerella graminicola. I am also involved in the plant infection side of research. Worth mentioning is the fact that I have always been interested in biological aspects that could potentially improve the wellbeing and/or health of humans.

Marta Staff

Previous lab members

Steffi Treitschke (PhD student)

I studied biology at the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany) and did my diploma (master) thesis in the group of Prof. Matthias Hahn (Kaiserslautern, Germany) in the department of pathology, working on the establishment of RNAi-mediated gene silencing in the grey mold fungus Botrytis cinerea. In September 2006 I joined the lab of Prof. Gero Steinberg and did my PhD thesis on the functional characterisation of the Ustilago maydis virulence factor Mcs1 (myosin-chitin synthase 1). Using a combination of molecular genetics, plant infection assays and advanced light microscopy, I could identify that the myosin motor domain of this fungal chitin synthase V is dispensable for vesicle motility but required for virulence. I finished my PhD in May 2011. Since August 2011, I´m working in the Fraunhofer Project Group in Regensburg, identifying the molecular properties early disseminated cancer cells to improve diagnostic and predictive assays as well as systemic therapies for cancer patients.

My new contact details are:
Dr. rer. nat. Steffi Treitschke
Fraunhofer ITEM-R 'Personalized Tumor Therapy'
Josef-Engert-Straße 9, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
+49 941 29848053

Steffi Treitschke

Dr Magdalena Martin-Urdiroz (Post-Doc)

I studied Biology at the University of Cordoba (Spain) where I started my PhD in 2002 in the group of Prof. M. Isabel G. Roncero. My PhD was focused on chitin synthases and their role in the pathogenic process of the vascular wilt fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici. In August 2008, I started as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Prof. Gero Steinberg at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom) where I am working on membrane trafficking and its relation with pathogenicity in the corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis. This project allows me the integration of the topics I find more interesting: fungal cell biology, pathogenicity and microscopy.

Magdalena finished her Post-Doc in March 2012.
Her new contact details are:
Dr. Magdalena
Biosciences, College if Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Exeter, EX4 4QD Exeter, UK

Dr Magdalena Martin-Urdiroz