Saez-Rodriguez Group

Systems Biomedicine

Maria Puschhof

My computational research career started during my Bachelor studies in Physics where I simulated particle decay properties upon hardware exchange at the ALICE experiment, CERN. During my subsequent Master studies, I majored in Medical Physics, co-developing a semi-automated image analysis pipeline for heavy ion radiotherapy experiments.

Sparked by the heterogeneity in biological response upon radiotherapy, I decided to pursue a second, interdisciplinary Master degree in Radiation Biology to deepen my understanding in biological and medical aspects of cancer treatment.

During my subsequent PhD, I combined wet and dry lab approaches to profile transcriptional, cellular, and phenotypic changes during metastasis formation in colorectal cancer and to shed light on the question as to why some metastasis grow in an uncontrolled manner, while others can stay dormant for years or even decades.

Within my postdoctoral research, I am building on both wet- and dry lab background to integrate single-cell and spatially-resolved transcriptome data in glioblastoma multiforme.

Research Interests

The success of cancer treatment is frequently limited by the intra-tumour heterogeneity of the cancer cells which therefore respond differently well to particular therapeutics. Due to the vast number of sequencing technologies that have developed over the past decades, we can now resolve and integrate different layers of cancer heterogeneity and consequently better understand the cellular make-up of tumours, their spatial organisation, as well as their interaction with the surrounding microenvironment.

As these findings may be instrumental to improving current therapies (e.g. through patient stratification) or unveil novel therapeutic approaches, I am keen on integrating, for instance, single-cell and spatially-resolved transcriptome data to analyse neighbourhood relationships in cancer. Having received a postdoctoral fellowship from the AI Health Innovation Cluster, my project shared between the Saez-Rodriguez, Saka, and Venkataramani groups focuses on the identification and profiling of functional subpopulations in glioblastoma to ultimately unravel novel therapeutic approaches.

Professional Career

2023-Present AIH Postdoctoral researcher in the Saez-Rodriguez group, Institute for Computational Biomedicine, Heidelberg University, the Saka group, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg and the Venkataramani group, Heidelberg University Hospital
2017-2022 PhD in Cancer Research, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
2015-2016 MSc in Radiation Biology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
2013-2015 MSc in Physics, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
2010-2013 BSc in Physics, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany