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Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme


Department of Chemistry

Research theme: Understanding the rules of life


I am from Bucharest, Romania, and moved to the UK in 2014 to start my degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. Before this, I actually did a year of medical school back home. Despite not necessarily wanting to become a medical doctor, I kept an active interest for this area of study, which motivated me to do biomedical research for my PhD. I have become passionate about teaching, as I got involved in demonstrating for Chemistry labs and supervising students. Outside of work, I like to maintain an active lifestyle, such as going to the gym, playing tennis and cycling regularly. Other hobbies include baking and writing. I am fairly social, and being at Cambridge offered me the opportunity to explore new interests and join a lot of societies.


Project Title:

Understanding the involvement of Poly (ADP-ribose) in physiological and pathological calcification processes.

Project Summary: 

Poly (ADP-ribosylation) is a post-translational modification of proteins that plays a variety of roles in cells. The presence of poly (ADP-ribose), aka PAR, has been reported in the calcified matrix of bones/arteries; PAR shows affinity for calcium, and PAR-Ca droplets are binding preferentially to the gap zones of collagen fibrils,  where mineralisation is believed to start. This project aims to understand different stages of the biomineralisation timeline, by using solid state NMR to investigate the evolution of the mineral phase in time, the structure of poly (ADP-ribose) produced in cells and deposited in the calcified matrix, and the interactions that PAR plays with collagen and other components of the extracellular matrix at molecular level. This is done using two in vitro models, one for bone (MC3T3-E1 cell line) and one of calcified arteries (bovine vascular smooth muscle cells), diverse isotopic labelling strategies, and a range of 1D and 2D NMR techniques.


Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Professor Melinda Duer

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Contact Details

Job Titles

PhD Student