Meet Mara Esposito, Postdoctoral Researcher

Mara is a postdoc working in the Infection Biology Research Area, Biozentrum, University of Basel.

As part of the NCCR AntiResist Project, she works as a cell and molecular biologist studying host-pathogen interaction in the context of the human disease Brucellosis to find better antibiotic therapies. Human Brucellosis is a zoonosis, meaning it is a disease that was transferred from animals to humans, and it especially effects low-income countries. This disease is caused by the bacteria Brucella spp and can be transmitted through the air, which makes it very contagious. Because of this, Mara works in a Biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratory, which has special safety features and restricted access. During a typical day, she works in the BSL3 laboratory analysing patient samples received from collaborators in Israel and developing new in vitro models that recapitulate frequent antibiotic failure in Brucelllosis. The goal is to find out why antibiotics do not always work against this disease so that new treatment approaches can be developed.

More about Mara

Mara is originally from Agrano, a small village in northern Italy, surrounded by the Alps and beautiful Lake Orta. Although she has travelled a lot for her training and career, Agrano remains the most special and inspiring place for her because of its incredible nature and her family, who still live there.

She began her career path studying for a BSc degree in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy. Mara then worked as a technician for one year in the cell and molecular biology department in a company where she gained expertise and a passion for human cell biology.

Mara returned to the University of Milano-Bicocca to earn a MSc in Molecular Biology. During this time, she received funding to spend a year in Paris to work on her master thesis, which focused on studying human lung diseases at the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). Although she was working on human samples, the lab mainly worked on mice models. Mara quickly realized that the science she is interested in would never involve animal experiments. This research exchange helped Mara to both strengthen her character, since it was her first experience living abroad, and to define the direction of her career in human science.

Together with her husband, Mara moved to Brussels, Belgium, where she earned her PhD in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in cell cycle regulation and cancer development in humans.

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