Janina (Jana) Linnik


Janina Esther Linnik
Mattenstrasse 26
4058 Basel

Tel: +41 61 387 3197
Fax: +41 61 265 53 55

Email: janina.linnik@bsse.ethz.ch

Current Post:

Since 03/2015: PhD Student, Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE), ETH Zurich, and Department of Biomedicine (DBM), University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Education and previous posts:

04/2014-12/2014: Diploma thesis on Automatic Validation of Yeast Signaling Models in the Lab of Jörg Stelling, D-BSSE, ETH Zurich, Basel, Switzerland.

01/2014-03/2014: Research Internship in the Lab of Edda Klipp, Institute for Theoretical Biophysics, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

04/2013-12/2013: Student Research Assistant, Institute for Soft Matter and Functional Materials, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

2012 – 2014: Study of Biochemistry at Free University Berlin, Germany. Minors: Theoretical Biochemistry, Theoretical Physics.

2010 – 2012: Student Assistant, Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goethe-University, Frankfurt, Germany.

2009 – 2012: Study of Biochemistry at Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany. Minor: Physics.


  • 2016: Fellowship for Advanced Lecture Course on Systems Biology, Innsbruck 2016.
  • 2015: 1st Prize at the Swiss FameLab Semi-Final in Basel
  • 2012: Bronze medal at the iGEM Competition European Jamboree
  • 2010 – 2014: Scholarship of Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes

Research interests:

Since the start of my studies I was fascinated by the self-organization of living systems: how do molecules interact with each other to form complex, living systems? During my time at the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Free University Berlin I was interested in the very details of biological processes – what are the chemistry and physics of those processes? I considered to do a PhD in Quantum Biology.

But after gaining experience in biophysical modelling and structural biology, my attention turned from the modelling of molecules to the modelling of systems. In the groups of Edda Klipp at the Humboldt University and Joerg Stelling at the ETH Zurich, I became fascinated by the perspective of systems theory and whether it can characterize biological systems (or can’t – which is probably even more interesting).

In the spring of 2015, I joined the project on the interferon lambda signalling pathway. This pathway received a lot of attention in recent years, because several SNPs in the lambda 3 gene were found to interfere with the efficacy of Hepatitis C treatment and influenza vaccination in immunocompromised patients (Egli et al., 2014, Egli et al., 2015). The reason for this and its mechanism are yet to be understood.

In my PhD project, I use both theoretical and experimental approaches to address our hypotheses on how interferon lambda SNPs impact the lambda signaling pathway and how this results in a modulated vaccine response. The goal is to develop a mathematical model that describes the impact of interferon lambda genotypes on lambda signalling and antibody production after an influenza vaccination. An advance in the understanding of these processes will help to develop improved vaccination strategies for immunocompromised patients – for instance to the benefit of post-transplantation patients, which are subject to high risk of influenza-related complications.

Keywords: Interferon lambda signalling, antibody response, single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs, ordinary differential equation models, ODEs, nonlinear mixed effects models, NLME, flow cytometry.


March 2nd 2016: Systems analysis of the IFN-lambda signaling pathway in B cells, Advanced Lecture Course in Systems Biology, Innsbruck, Austria.

November 2nd 2015:  The IFN-lambda induced JAK/STAT signaling pathway – What can we learn from mathematical modeling? University of Basel Immunology Retreat, Engelberg, Switzerland.

September 11th 2015: Systems analysis of the IFN-lambda signaling pathway in different immune cells, Systems Biology of Infection Symposium, 2nd Edition, Ascona, Switzerland.


Huschmann, F., Linnik, J., Sparta, K., Ühlein, M., Wang, X., Metz, A., … & Mueller, U. (2016). Structures of endo­thiapepsin–fragment complexes from crystallographic fragment screening using a novel, diverse and affordable 96-compound fragment library. Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology Communications, (just-accepted), 00-00. http://journals.iucr.org/f/services/forthcoming.html

Syedbasha, M., Linnik, J., Santer, D., O’Shea, D., Barakat, K., Joyce, M., … & Egli, A. (2016). An ELISA Based Binding and Competition Method to Rapidly Determine Ligand-receptor Interactions. JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), (109), e53575-e53575. DOI: 10.3791/53575

Linnik, J. E., & Egli, A. (2015). Impact of host genetic polymorphisms on vaccine induced antibody response. Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics, (just-accepted), 00-00.

DOI: 10.1080/21645515.2015.1119345


Computional Systems Biology group (D-BSSE, ETH Zurich): www.csb.ethz.ch

2nd Systems Biology of Infection Symposium in Ascona: www.targetinfectx.ch/SysBioInf

Advanced Lecture Course in Systems Biology in Innsbruck: http://sysbio2016.org/

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