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Claudio Joazeiro

Professor Dr.

c.joazeiro [at]


Principal Investigator, researching molecular mechanisms that control protein quality, and how defects in these processes cause neurodegeneration.



Ph.D. in Biology, University of California, San Diego, USA, 1996

M.S. in Biochemistry, University of São Paulo, Brazil, 1990

B.S. in Biological sciences, University of São Paulo, Brazil, 1989

Short Scientific Curriculum Vitae (PDF)


Claudio is passionate about scientific discovery and is awed by how biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship can improve not only patients’ lives but local economies. To relax, he enjoys listening to music. He took up learning to play the violin as an adult with an inspiring teacher. What was at first mostly a self-imposed challenge ended up leading to a deeper appreciation for classical music.

joaziero  joazierolab

Sibylle Heller

Administrative Assistant

s.heller [at]

Sibylle Heller.jpg

German bureaucracy nemesis, nature lover, not bad Italian language skills!

Pratik R. Patil

Postdoctoral Fellow

p.patil [at]



Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India, 2019

M.Tech. in Biotechnology, SRM University Chennai, India, 2011

B.E. in Biotechnology, Shivaji University Kolhapur, India, 2009


At school, Pratik’s teachers nurtured curiosity in him, and since childhood, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam has been a role model. College studies then introduced him to aspects of biology that he found fascinating, which gradually drove him to science and eventually into research. He is passionate about understanding intricately designed molecular machines that operate inside living beings.


Photography, hiking, and traveling to new places are his hobbies. He wishes he were better at dancing because it is a lot more fun to dance to Bollywood songs than to just listen. There is hope, however, as he is a good learner. As evidence of that, he learned very recently to make perfectly round 'Parathas'.

Alan Rodriguez

DFG Postdoctoral Fellow

a.rodriguez [at]



Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna, Austria, 2020

M.S. in Molecular Biology, Georg-August Universität Göttingen, Germany, 2015

B.S. in Biochemistry and Genetics, Swansea University, UK, 2013


After watching Jurassic Park when he was five or six years old, Alan knew he wanted to be ‘the guy in the lab’, although he would prefer not getting eaten by dinosaurs. His current passion is more modest—observing structural changes in biological structures through their functional cycles. He thinks his job would be a lot easier if he could see the matrix, but no such luck yet.


Alan has played the drums most of his life and making music with other people is his favorite way to spend free time. He also enjoys photography, kick boxing, kung fu, cooking, gardening, and reading.

Federico Cerullo

Ph.D. student

f.cerullo [at]



M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Biomedical Science, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Italy, 2019

B.S. in Biological Science, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Italy, 2016


Although Federico’s main long-lasting hobby has been martial arts and contact sports, more recently he has been having fun with weight lifting, by studying and testing different exercise plans and strategies. He also enjoys spending his free time watching movies. He is very social and extra helpful to others; in the rare occasions when he is less so, that is probably because he has entered in an almost complete state of self-abnegation to achieve some kind of goal.


His interest in science was originally inspired by Charles Darwin and James Watson, and later fueled by his fascinatation by the complexity of life. His study and career paths have been guided by following his passion and instinct. He is currently having fun studying translational quality control, but is also interested in topics that are not directly related to his work, such as human energy metabolism. He wishes he were better at everything he is able to do, because there is always room for improvement.

Hao-Chih Hung

Ph.D. student

h.hung [at]



M.S. in Neuroscience, National Taiwan University (NTU), Taiwan, 2015

B.S. in Life Science, National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), Taiwan, 2013


The joys of discovering the unknown drove Hao to science. He is currently very excited with investigating protein quality control, ageing and neurodegeneration. Perhaps coincidentally, one of his role model scientists is Stephen Hawking, who died of ALS.


On the personal side, Hao is an ardent feminist. His hobbies are reading novels and watching movies, and he wishes he could play a musical instrument.

Adam Hlavacek

Ph.D. student

a.hlavacek [at]



M.S. in Molecular Biology and Genetics of Eukaryotes, Charles University of Prague, Czechia, 2015

B.S. in General Biology, Charles University of Prague, Czechia, 2013


Apart from being totally into finding novel regulators of RQC, Adam is interested in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, especially in response to stimuli such as protestatic stress.


Adam’s mother, an M.D., influenced his interest in how Life works since he was a child. He browsed her anatomy and physiology books as a kid and was captivated by the inner working of living organisms. His role model scientists are found among colleagues, collaborators, and competitors—people he knows and whose day-to-day conduct he can observe, with the hope to emulate their best qualities. He also admires the first generation of Czech scientists who went to study and work in the former West after the Iron Curtain lifted and afterwards went back to teach the youngsters. He believes that, in general, anyone who demonstrates the gumption to do a job where you fail and fail and fail again until you get the right answer, without losing hope and still keeps their curiosity, elan and kindness is a worthy role model.


Adam defines himself as ‘a bit of a couch potato.’ He likes a good story, especially sci-fi (surprise, surprise) in any shape – game, film or book. He enjoys hiking around the city. He used to play badminton and skate for fun, but it is harder and harder to find time… or a frozen pond. If you end up as his rotation student, be forewarned of puns, terrible, terrible puns. He wishes he were better at cooking because he has eaten enough pasta for a lifetime.

Owen Canterbury

Fulbright Fellow

owen.canterbury [at]



B.S. in Biochemistry, Washington State University, USA, 2021


Owen is passionate about protein recycling and cellular metabolism, and was driven into science by his own desire to better understand the world. He also believes that a career in science will give his life more purpose than would other paths. His scientific role models are Chaim Weizmann, Elizabeth Blackburn, and Edmond Fischer.


Owen is a morning person who enjoys running and hiking. Like Haifei and Claudio, he wishes he were better at drawing.

Haifei Xu

Staff Scientist

hxu3 [at]



Ph.D. in Physiology, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China, 2010

M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Jilin University, China, 2007

Bachelor of Medicine, Jilin University, China, 2005


Haifei is fascinated with how the human body functions like the most sophisticated machines, and with its so many unsolved mysteries. Her scientific role model, Tu Youyou, has inspired her to pursue research and seek insights into the pathophysiology of human disease. Although Haifei’s work is centered on mouse models of RQC and she works very well with mice in the lab, she is most scared of wild mice!


Outside the lab, Haifei loves doing Yoga and walking around her neighborhood. She wishes she could paint and, if she could, her favorite subjects would be nature or the scenes in her dreams.

Sylvia Kreger

Research Technician

s.kreger [at]

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Lab management troubleshooter, cat herder, pancake chef

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