Cesare Marino is a Cuban/Italian PhD candidate at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in the Netherlands. The idea of being able to manipulate DNA as a tool for applied research has always been particularly close to his heart. Driven by a passion for discovery, in 2013 he enrolled in the BSc of Biotechnology at the University of Bologna (UniBo).
In his first academic internship, he worked on an X-linked congenital syndrome, the CDKL5 disorder, a rare neurodevelopmental condition characterised by early-onset epilepsy and developmental disabilities at the human physiology department of UniBo. There he performed morphological characterisation of hippocampal tissues in a new conditional knockout mouse model. This experience had exposed him to the world of preclinical pharmaceutical research and led him to choose the MSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at UniBo.
From the beginning, he had been very interested in the study of complex cellular regulatory mechanisms and the use and design of new biopharmaceutical drugs to interact with the cellular machinery for research purposes or to resolve disease states.
For his last MSc training, he decided to change completely scenario and go at the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, in Madagascar. He worked with zoonotic infectious diseases caused by RNA viruses and bacterial pathogens on the field. He tested himself in a new environment and he had the chance to use his skills to help in the establishment of a recombinant production of viral antigens for the detection of new endemic viruses, in the context of an important One Health project.
During the academic years, he had the chance to study and try out different aspects of biotechnology to achieve his goals, always keeping an open mind and embracing novelties.
After his MSc degree, he obtained a PhD position under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Dorien Peters to work in a TrainCDKis project entitled: In vivo and in vitro characterization of molecular pathways critical in Chronic Kidney Disease, with a focus on Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).
PKD is the most common progressive inherited kidney disease with the formation of many fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys as the main feature. The number and size of cysts increase over time and inevitably lead to renal failure. The project aims to discover important pathways and novel biomarkers especially in the early stage of PKD and these findings could lead to identifying novel drug target candidates.