... research technician Sabine Weber and research associate Dirk Ritzmann.
BRAIN: What are you currently working on?
Sabine Weber: I am currently supporting an internal screening campaign. This involves searching for agonists or enhancers and antagonists for three different targets from the family of TRP ion channels for applications in foods and skin care products. Most of the resources are of natural origin. Altogether the tests comprise several thousands of different substances.
Dirk Ritzmann: We are currently discovering and developing antiperspirants, i.e. natural substances that reduce human sweat formation. One aim is to replace aluminium cloride that has been widely used to date. As well as screening such substances, my duties also include further developing our cell-based assay system.
BRAIN: What is so appealing for you working on this project?
Sabine Weber: Our current campaign is the first major screening project we are conducting on a new line that has been installed at BRAIN. The measuring equipment enables the simultaneous detection of 96 samples and the measurement of agonists or antagonists using the same protocol. It’s very exciting and interesting to make full use of these possibilities and to establish the protocols and the best and most efficient procedure.
Dirk Ritzmann: Sweat formation in the skin is a complex but interesting and important process in which various ion channels play a role. I have always been fascinated by the idea of making this process measurable. Apart from that, this project involves a variety of challenges and also provides plenty of scope for research into molecular biology as well as on cell cultures.
BRAIN: How did you end up working for this project?
Sabine Weber: I have been involved in cell biology screening campaigns for many years and have gained special experience with selected cell lines and ion channels that I can usefully contribute to this project.
Dirk Ritzmann: Following my training in the quality assurance of cosmetic products, I wanted to get to know further aspects of work as a biology lab technician. This field of activity involves a lot of cell culture studies, an area I already found extremely interesting during my training.
Sabine Weber trained as a chemical-technical assistant from 1992 to 1995 and gained additional qualifications as an environmental-technical assistant at Naturwissenschaftliches Technikum Landau. She began her career at PromoCell GmbH in Heidelberg. She has been working at BRAIN in the field of molecular and cell biology since 1998, with a focus on molecular biology activities to establish stable cell lines for screening processes, and for planning and conducting such screening.
After obtaining his higher education entrance qualification, Dirk Ritzmann did a year of voluntary social service with Johanniter Unfall Hilfe e.V. He began training as a biology lab technician with a qualification from the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2011, in a dual training arrangement between BASF SE and Win Cosmetic GmbH & Co. KG in Flörsheim-Dalsheim. Dirk Ritzmann has been working at BRAIN since 2015, and since 2016 has been following a distance learning course in molecular biology with Springer Verlag GmbH.