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2. DRFZ Young Talents Fellowship awarded to Marta Ferreira-Gomes


We are delighted to award Dr. Marta Ferreira-Gomes with the DRFZ Postdoctoral Fellowship for Talented Young Scientists.

Marta was chosen by the five-member selection committee due to her outstanding experience in the field of B cell memory and her project ideas involving investigating the heterogeneity of memory B cells. Using state-of-the-art single-cell sequencing technology, she aims to carry out an in-depth characterization of these cellular subsets in order to directly target the pathogenic memory B cells found in many chronic inflammatory diseases, thereby creating a novel treatment regime for these conditions.

.Marta Ferreira Gomes is the second young scientist to receive this grant since 2019. It will enable her to conduct research at the DRFZ for another two years starting January 1, 2022.

Marta Ferreira Gomes:

My career goal is to become an independent scientist leading my own research group. To that end, it is crucial to be integrated in an innovative and collaborative environment that can stimulate my curiosity and therefore push me to become better. I see such an environment in the DRFZ and therefore hope to have the opportunity to develop my project here.

Marta Ferreira-Gomes

Marta gained some experience of working with B cells during her doctoral thesis at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena before moving to the DRFZ in 2019 to work on memory B lymphocytes in the groups of Andreas Radbruch and Mir-Farzin Mashreghi. In a surprising finding for many experts in the field, Marta and her colleagues at the DRFZ were able to show for the first time that most memory B lymphocytes, like memory plasma cells, are found in the bone marrow. These cells most likely also survive there in a similar way to plasma cells and are therefore also thought to be resistant to conventional therapies. Using single-cell transcriptome analysis, Marta was even able to identify different types of memory B lymphocytes in the bone marrow.

With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Marta began to investigate the significance of B cells in severe cases of COVID-19. Together with colleagues from the DRFZ, she discovered that the antibodies produced by B cells in severely ill patients are no longer directed against the virus, but rather against the patient’s own body. In these cases, chronic inflammation develops, which is instructed by the cytokine TGF-β.
Marta Ferreira-Gomes is not only an enthusiastic researcher, but is also involved in the Leibniz PostDoc Network.

More about Marta:

Link zur Publikation in Nature Communications
SARS-CoV-2 in severe COVID-19 induces a TGF-β-dominated chronic immune response that does not target itself
Interview mit der Stipendiatin Marta Ferreira-Gomes
Interview about Marta´s research and mid-term career goals
Leibniz Postdoc-Blog
Die Immunantwort in schweren Covid-19 Fällen (Nur auf Englisch)
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