Meet the Researcher: Fabienne Christine Meier-Abt – PHRT


Meet the Researcher: Fabienne Christine Meier-Abt

Fabienne Christine Meier-Abt

Dr. med. Dr. phil. (MD PhD)

  • Institution:
    Institute of Molecular Systems Biology ETHZ, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology USZ, Institute of Medical Genetics UZH
  • Project:
    Towards Personalized Therapy of Hematopoietic Diseases: ldentification of New Therapeutic Targets against Hematopoietic Malignancies by Proteomic Analysis of (Pre)Leukemic Stem Cells (Transition Postdoc Fellowship Project, 2018)

Please describe your PHRT project

Fabienne: We had previously developed a new proteomics methodology for the characterization of rare hematopoietic cells. During the PHRT fellowship, we applied this technology to putative cells-of-origin in patients with the blood cancer polycythemia vera as well as to malignant B cell clones from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The proteomic data was combined with genomic, transcriptomic, drug response and clinical outcome data for the same patients. This allowed us to examine for the first time the protein abundance buffering phenomenon in a hematological malignancy. We identified potential new therapeutic targets and/or new protein markers for drug response and clinical outcome in polycythemia vera and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

What are the biggest challenges of your project?

Fabienne: Ensuring that patient samples were collected with informed consent and handled swiftly and uniformly prior to storage was challenging and time-consuming at times, but worked well in the end with the help of great colleagues.

What are you most proud of regarding the PHRT project?

Fabienne: The PHRT project led to the identification of potential new therapeutic targets and/or biomarkers in the blood cancer polycythemia vera and in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. These results are of potential clinical relevance and are available to the community as scientific publications.

What do you like the most about working in an ETH Domain research group?

Fabienne: It was great to combine technical expertise gained in the ETH research group with clinical applications in the hospital setting. This led to a truly translational research project, the results of which will potentially benefit patients with blood cancers by providing better prognostic stratification and personalized treatment strategies.

What do you dream to achieve in research one day?

Fabienne: My goal is to bridge basic science with clinical medicine in the fields of hemato-oncology and medical genetics, employing new translational approaches to develop better strategies for patient stratification, tumor prevention and personalized treatment. I have been fortunate to receive great advice and inspiration from mentors and colleagues and hope one day to be able to pass this inspiration on to the next generation of physician-scientists.

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Rahel Hefti

Communications Specialist