Bethel Tesfai Embaie
Bethel Tesfai Embaie graduated in June 2020 with a Master’s Degree in Biomedicine from Karolinska Institutet. During her studies, she took the opportunity to do an international exchange semester in Leiden University Medical Center, which was a great platform for clinical and translational research education. Within the first year of her studies, she participated in the world’s largest synthetic biology competition, iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine), hosted by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Their multidisciplinary iGEM group focused on tackling the issue of chronic wounds and antibiotic resistance, at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. She performed her Bachelor thesis at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet in Birgitta Henriques Normark’s group, characterizing the virulence and localization of pneumococcal proteins.
Her first Master internship in the Baryawno lab involved the targeting of mesenchymal neuroblastoma cells by SMAD3 inhibition. She finished her Master thesis with a research project examining Schwann cell precursors (SCP) and cellular heterogeneity in neuroblastoma models. Bethel started her PhD project in December 2020 at the Baryawno lab. The thesis focuses on the functional characterization and targeting of neuroblastoma cell of origin. The aim is to investigate SCPs in neuroblastoma animal models and establish ex-vivo organoid models that recapitulate patient tumors. This will enable the preclinical testing of tumor-differentiating treatments on malignant neuroblastoma tumors. Bethel is funded by the Karolinska Institutet PhD salary grant (KID).