Susann studied Biochemistry at Leipzig University, Germany, before joining Imperial College London for a MRes in Biomedical Research. She completed her PhD in the lab of Dr Vania Braga at Imperial College on epithelial biogenesis and adherens junction signalling. In 2016, Susann joined the group of Dr Nicola Smart to investigate the role of alternative splicing in the regulation of heart repair after myocardial infarction.
Heart attacks are experienced by nearly 190,000 people in the UK each year and although 7 out of 10 people survive the attack, the insufficient repair of the heart and resulting reduced pumping ability can severely affect the quality of life of the patient. The outer layer of the heart is called epicardium and is a source of stem cell-like cells that are important in heart formation and repair. These cells have the potential to form new heart muscle and vasculature, but their response is insufficient to regenerate the heart after a myocardial infarction. Susann seek to understand which role RNA splicing has in epicardial activation and cell fate decisions of stem cell-like epicardial cells with the aim to identify splicing events that could be targeted clinically in the future to promote the formation of new functional heart muscle after heart attacks.