Research Fellow Feature: Christina Heil, PhD

Christina Heil, PhD
University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, US

Christina Heil, PhD is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York in the United States. As an undergraduate and graduate student at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, Heil gained a strong foundation in biology and chemistry, and molecular biology in particular.

Dr. Heil was involved in several research projects, including the organic synthesis of photoreactive compounds for spatiotemporal control of nucleic acid activity under the supervision of Dr. Alexander Heckel at Goethe University Frankfurt, the characterization of these probes by femtosecond time resolved spectroscopy under the supervision of Dr. Wachtveitl at Goethe University Frankfurt, and the crystallization and structural characterization of mutant sialic acid synthetases under the supervision of Dr. Willassen at the University of Tromsø in Norway.

For her PhD project, she joined the lab of Dr. Grininger at Goethe University Frankfurt, where she focused on establishing methods for the detailed characterization of molecular dynamics and interactions in huge protein assembly lines. After her PhD, she wanted a research project with more clinical application and chose Dr. Thornton’s and Dr. Lueck’s labs at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

In addition to her expertise in molecular biology, she has an ongoing interest in bioinformatics, which she hopes to further deepen and utilize in this project. She has taken courses in this area at the Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany, the University of Tromsø in Norway, the University of Uppsala in Sweden, the Center for Integrated Research Computing at the University of Rochester in the US, the Summer Bioinformatics Program teaching RNAseq analysis offered by the RNA Institute of the University at Albany, and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Course Programming in Biology with a stipend awarded from the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Her long-term goal “is to establish long-read DNA sequencing as new diagnostic gold standard method, giving more detailed information about the expanded repeat size, variations and its instability, and aiding better understanding of genotype-phenotype correlation”.

Click here to read more about previous Fellowship Recipients.


Published on June 24th, 2022.

© Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. All rights reserved.