the APNS council

The association is organized by and will continue to grow thanks to postdocs who volunteer with their time, energy and new ideas!

We are primarily postdocs in Life Sciences at UNIL (FBM), but open to anyone interested and concerned by the scientific postdoc experience at UNIL. APNS@UNIL is not-for-profit, confessionally and politically neutral.

The association is directed by a “council,” with members that represent and carry the various tasks (president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer). We divide our particular interests and efforts into workgroups according the events and tasks that we organize.

Our statuts can be found here.

You are welcome to join in anytime!

The current APNS@UNIL council is integrated by:

Santiago J. Carmona, Ph. D. Molecular Biology (President)

2nd year Postdoc at Computational Cancer Biology (Gfeller Lab), Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (FBM, Epalinges) – Unisciences

Marco Mina, Ph. D. Computer Science (Vice-President)

2nd year Postdoc at Computational Systems Oncology (Ciriello Lab), University of Lausanne (FBM, CHUV) – Unisciences

Veneta Valerieva Gerganova, Ph. D. Molecular Genetics (Treasurer)

2nd year Postdoc at Cell polarization and cell cycle control (Sophie Martin Lab), Department of Fundamental Microbiology (FBM, UNIL Sorge) – Unisciences


In addition to the official members of the Council, Silvia A. Fuertes Marraco, Ph. D., Senior Researcher at CHUV, co-founder and former President of APNS continues advising and mentoring the Council, as an external senior Advisor.

This new APNS Council is very grateful with the founders of APNS and former members of its committee for all their work, passion and inspiration:

Previous APNS Council (2015-2016)

Silvia A. Fuertes Marraco

(Former President, co-founder)

Pamplona, Spain; Ph.D. Immunology & Cancer, University of Lausanne

5th year postdoc, Speiser Lab, LICR (Epalinges)


My research field is immunology, with particular interest for human immune responses against cancer and infections. I’m particularly keen on studies involving healthy volunteers and the lessons that can be learnt directly from humans. For instance, how viral vaccinology may teach us about immunotherapeutic strategies to fight cancer. Currently, I’m a postdoc in the group of Prof. Daniel Speiser, in the Ludwig Cancer Centre of UNIL and the Dept. of Oncology at CHUV. Besides a scientific understanding of our biology, I’m curious about the interface between science and society, medical anthropology, ethics and spirituality.

Born in Spain, I was nurtured to be “Earthian” (with feet in Belgium, U.K., Argentina and eyes worldwide).

I wish that the APNS@UNIL creates a sense of community amongst us and that we promote the resources, tools and support that blossoms the best of us as researchers.

Unisciences: Silvia A. Fuertes Marraco



Sabrina Vollers

(Former Vice-President, co-founder)

New York, USA; Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School

3rd year postdoc, Thorens Lab, CIG (UNIL-Sorge)


In my postdoc, I have transitioned from my experience in protein biochemistry and enzymology to physiology, by investigating a gene for links to metabolic phenotypes important in diabetes (insulin secretion, glucose tolerance). I do this through a variety of in vitro and in vivo approaches, including a pancreatic beta-cell specific knockout mouse.

Because I have worked as a technician in both academia and biotech prior to getting my Ph.D., I have experience in both worlds and can see myself continuing in either. However, since coming to UNIL, I have had more exposure to political, organizational, and administrative aspects of science research – notably though the formation of APNS and collaboration with ACIDUL. I am now interested in alternatives to the current research laboratory structure to address the growing problem of talented young scientists with limited academic research career opportunities.

In my free time, I enjoy running, hiking, road cycling, muay boran thai boxing, yoga, traveling, being in the mountains, drawing, learning French, beer, and sunshine.

Unisciences: Sabrina Vollers


Laura Steinbusch

(Former Treasurer, co-founder)

Nijmegen, Netherlands; Ph.D. Molecular Life Sciences, Maastricht University

3rd year postdoc, Thorens Lab, CIG (UNIL-Sorge)


I investigate the role of brain glucose-sensing in glycemic control especially during hypoglycemic periods that can occur in diabetes patients.

In addition, I have been organizing career and social events for my peer life sciences postdocs as the postdoc representative at the CIG and as a committee member of the EPFL based life sciences postdoc association (SV-postdoc). Doing so, I realized that we would need an UNIL counterpart of such an association to be really effective. Luckily, I met Sabrina, Enrique, Silvia and Laura allowing us to concretize an UNIL association for postdocs.

In general I would like to apply my expertise on diabetes and neuroscience to strengthen the collaboration between academia, politics and industry in order to improve the patients’ situation.

In my free time I enjoy bein outside with my family and friends, for example for trail running and rock climbing.

Unisciences: Laura Steinbusch

Laura Fernandez

(Former Council Member)

Lyon, France; Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Lyon

3rd year postdoc, Lüthi Lab, DNF (CHUV)


I work as an in vivo Neuroscientist in an in vitro team in my lab. More specifically, my current focus is to understand brain activity and its impairment in disease. I record the electrical activity from the entire brain during sleep, which I evaluate through data analysis and programming, before presenting those data to my peers.

I volunteered to help for the launching of APNS because it’s a great adventure and I like to interact with people, network, and help organizing events. Apart from APNS, I’m also the postdoc representative in the DNF department. I’m actively involved in the Young Committee of the Swiss Society of Neuroscience, and in organizing events and preparing marketing material for the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association in Suisse Romande.

Concerning my most cultivated passions, I enjoy history and painting. I can bring those passions both together by visiting other cities and countries. I’m a member of Art societies, and I love to paint and go to exhibitions. I appreciate botanics and exploring natural landscapes.

Unisciences: Laura Fernandez

Claudine Neyen

(Former Council Member)

Luxembourg. DPhil Pathology/Immunology, Oxford, UK

2nd postdoc (1-year), Hamaratoglu lab, CIG (UNIL-Sorge)


After a 5-year postdoc with Bruno Lemaitre at EPFL, I have temporarily joined the Hamaratoglu lab to cover Fisun’s maternity leave and learn about developmental biology. I am an immunologist by training and I am particularly interested in evolutionarily conserved innate immune mechanisms that play roles in chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases. I am using fruit flies as a model organism to understand the interplay of immunity and tissue homeostasis.

At EPFL I was actively involved in setting up the SV postdoc association and greatly enjoyed organizing events, seminars and workshops. Postdoc life is hard, frustrating, and precarious and everyone complains, but it is enormously rewarding to see that we can improve things bottom-up if we come up with meaningful suggestions and implementations and talk to the right leaders that are willing to make a change.

In my free time I enjoy the Swiss outdoors and the still (after 6 years) incredible observation that it is mostly, always, sunny.

Benoîte Bargeton

(Former council member)

Once a student in Paris, a UNIL PhD student, a Chicagoan PostDoc, Benoîte is (soon to be) a (former) UNIL PostDoc at CIG.

Enrique Neumann

(Former Secretary, co-founder)

Once a UNIL postdoc in the Biophore, Enrique is now an Application Specialist in Genomics at Tecan, a company in Zurich.