About us

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Cristina Paulino
Cristina Paulino

Cristina Paulino

Assistant Professor
Head of the cryo-EM unit
c.paulino(at)rug.nl

Cristina Paulino, originally from Portugal, studied biochemistry at the Heinrich-Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany. She conducted her Master Thesis at the Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, Germany, and graduated in 2008. During her undergraduate and following doctoral studies at the Max-Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany, she was trained in membrane protein biology. Under the supervision of Werner Kühlbrandt, a pioneer in the field, she became proficient in electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) and obtained her PhD with distinction (summa cum laude) in 2014. Building upon her expertise, she implemented the technique of cryo-EM in the group of Raimund Dutzler (University of Zurich, Switzerland) during her postdoctoral studies. In 2017 she obtained a tenure-tracked position as an Assistant Professor and became head of the cryo-EM unit at the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB), University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Cristina was awarded a PhD Fellowship from the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation FCT, a Postdoc Fellowship from the University of Zurich, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships, a NWO Veni grant and a NWO Start-Up grant. In 2020 she was awarded the NVBMB prize, from the Dutch Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology that recognises the work of highly talented young independent PIs in the field. Within The Netherlands Electron Microscopy Infrastructure roadmap (NEMI), she heads the national single-particle cryo-EM flagship node and is member of the executive board.

Her interdisciplinary research combines structural data, determined by high-resolution single particle cryo-EM, with the functional characterization of target proteins. Her main interest is focused on elucidating the structure-function relationships that explain the mechanism of action of membrane transporters and channels.

Apart from science, Cristina is a devoted mentor and advocate for women. Read more about her here: Biophysics Profile or download her CV.

MEET OUR LAB MEMBERS

Support Staff
Jan Rheinberger

Jan Rheinberger

Postdoc & EM Facility manager
with us since Dec 2018
j.s.h.c.u.rheinberger(at)rug.nl

Jannet Nijhuis-Kampen

Jannet Nijhuis-Kampen

Our secretary to help in all matters
+31 50 36 32400 j.kampen(at)rug.nl

Marcus Stuart

Marcus Stuart

EM Facility manager
Keeping the EM unit up and running since 1997
m.c.a.stuart(at)rug.nl

Michiel Punter

Michiel Punter

IT manager
Making sure our cluster doesn’t explode since 2016
c.m.punter(at)rug.nl

Postdocs
Chancie Thangaratnarajah

Chancie Thangaratnarajah

Postdoc shared with Dirk Slotboom
with us since Nov 2018
c.thangaratnarajah(at)rug.nl

Valeria Kalienkova

Valeria Kalienkova

Postdoc
with us since Aug 2019
v.kalienkova(at)rug.nl

PhD students
Lisa Hielkema

Lisa Hielkema

PhD student
with us since Jun 2017
l.hielkema(at)rug.nl

Hendrik Sikkema

Hendrik Sikkema

PhD Student shared with Bert Poolman
with us since Jan 2019
h.r.sikkema(at)rug.nl

Vanessa Clerico Mosina

Vanessa Clerico Mosina

PhD student
with us since Nov 2017
v.clerico.mosina(at)rug.nl

Foteini Karapanagioti

Foteini Karapanagioti

PhD Student
with us since Nov 2019
f.karapanagioti(at)rug.nl

Alisa Garaeva

Alisa Garaeva

PhD student shared with Dirk Slotboom
with us since Sept 2017
a.garaeva(at)rug.nl

Undergraduate students
special guests
Talos Arctica

Talos Arctica

rocking science @ 200kV
with us since 2017

Grusha

Grusha

our refinement cat
with us since 2018

Bagel

Bagel

our processing dog
with us since 2019

Tim

Tim

our relion guru baby
with us since 2018

Katie

Katie

our slide master cat
with us since 2019

Very much missed alumni
Gert Oostergetel

Gert Oostergetel

a cryo-EM legend now enjoying his retirement
was with us from 2017-2019

Kavya Prasad

Kavya Prasad

Master student
was with us in 2018

David Griwatz

David Griwatz

Erasmus student
with us from Dec 2019 – Mar 2020

THE GOLDEN TROPHY

The golden EM trophy, is one of the things we introduced in our group to show appreciation and boost the motivation within oneself and between lab members. This trophy is passed to everyone in the group that had a nice accomplishment (published, unpublished, for research or a big life event, or simply for a great idea or support). This event gets a spot on our ‘wall of fame’, which hangs next to our ‘wall of shame’, then, hey, mistakes happen, we learn from them and they can be a good reason for a laugh, too…

THE BIG PICTURE

After all we like to join forces and are a big team. Together with the group of Dirk Slotboom and Bert Poolman we build the Membrane Enzymology group, and together with the group of Albert Guskov we are all interested in the same thing: how do membrane proteins work?!