Recognizing Plant Cell authors: Marta Fratini

Marta Fratini, co-first author of Plasma membrane nano-organization specifies phosphoinositide effects on Rho-GTPases and actin dynamics in tobacco pollen tubes

Current Position: Postdoctoral Scientist at Prof. Dr. Ingo Heilmann Laboratory, University of Halle, Halle (Saale), Germany

Education: PhD in Natural Sciences, University of Heidelberg (Germany), Msc in Cell Biology and BSc in Biology, “La Sapienza” University of Rome (Italy)

Non-scientific Interests: I enjoy swimming at the sea, dancing, handcrafting and socializing with people from different cultures and background. I am also fond of archeological museums and visiting archeological sites.

Brief bio: I got my MSc in Cell Biology in 2011 and I was afterwards awarded with a 2-year fellowship at the National Institute of Health, Department of Environmental Virology (Rome). I worked at the Laboratory of Dr. Giuseppina La Rosa and Dr. Michele Muscillo and I got  interested in Virology and how viruses manage to infect cells and hijack cell machinery. Thanks to the inspiring lab culture I was exposed to, I therefore decided to pursue a PhD in biology.

I obtained a PhD position in 2014 at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), under the joint supervision of Dr. Steeve Boulant (DKFZ-German Cancer Research Center) and Dr. Ada Cavalcanti-Adam (Max Planck Institute for Medical Research). In my work, I investigated how clathrin-mediated endocytosis is activated upon virus entry. I focused on elucidating the role of receptor signaling versus mechanical signaling in activating the endocytic machinery at the basal membrane of mammalian cell lines, combining live cell fluorescence microscopy and surface chemistry. I developed a strong passion for dynamic pathways taking place at the cell membrane and also for fluorescence live cell microscopy and quantitative image analysis.

Since 2019 I am a Postdoctoral scientist at Prof Dr. Ingo Heilmann Laboratory (University of Halle, Halle, Germany) where I expand my scientific knowledge in the plant field and study the role of lipid signaling at the cell membrane of living cells. Here, I have the chance to work with new exciting cellular systems such as pollen tubes, which I became strongly interested in, and cellular mechanisms involving phospholipids, kinases and the actin cytoskeleton. I am applying my knowledge in fluorescence live cell imaging and learning new microcopy techniques as well as new imaging setups.

During the past years I walked thought different fields of research which inspired, supported and enforced my will to become a scientist; right now, I am looking forward to new future discoveries and continuing (re)searching.