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Meet The Team

"In our research group, we celebrate a cooperative research spirit. We strongly believe that true advancement is only possible as a team, where enthusiasm for research is shared and where challenges are openly discussed."

PD Dr. Stefan Dudli

Group Leader

I studied biochemistry at the University of Zurich and graduated from ETH Zurich in 2013. From 2013 to 2016, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation. In 2017, I joined the Center of Experimental Rheumatology of the University of Zurich, at the Balgrist Campus where I am heading a research group with focus on Modic changes in Low Back Pain and on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Fun fact: I cycled from Alaska to Fireland on a recumbent bike.

Dr. Jan Devan


I studied molecular biology and genetics at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. I obtained my master’s diploma in 2018 for the study of the molecular pathogenesis of B-cell malignancies with a special focus on the miRNAs and their role in the transformation of indolent follicular lymphoma to more aggressive lymphomas. In 2022 I graduated from the University of Basel, where, in the laboratory of experimental immunology, I researched the role of T-cells in mucosal immunity. I am investigating the role of autoimmunity in Modic changes.

Fun Fact: I like to eat lemons and flow cytometry.

Tamara Mengis


I studied Health Science and Technology at ETH Zürich and graduated in April 2020. During this time I was already in the Dudli-Lab for 6 months for an internship - this is where I learned that I do indeed want to do research. So here I am now as a PhD student in this group focusing on the role of the intervertebral disc in the development of Modic changes. 

Fun fact: I have 4 pet rats (not for experiments)!


Dr. Phelipe Hatt


I studied Health Sciences and Technology (BSc. and MSc.) at ETH Zurich from which I graduated in 2019 with special focus on medical technologies. 

During my doctorate studies at the AO Research Institute Davos I investigated the interaction between biomaterials and mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) with the purpose to repair large bone defects.

Now, I conduct research in the Dudli-Lab with the aim to develop a stem cell-based therapy to treat patients who suffer from Modic Changes.


Fan fact: I played American Football for one season and we won the Swiss League.

Pamela Bitterli


My background is quite different from most at Balgrist. I completed my PhD in Plant Molecular Biology at Freiburg University in Germany. My enthusiasm for conducting experiments and analyzing -omics data drove me to uncover CRPS signatures at a single-cell level. I am excited to contribute to medical research and advance our understanding of this very painful condition. 


Fun fact: Coming from Mexico City, I saw the snow for the first time when I moved to Europe at 25 years old. Since then, I've fallen in love with hiking in the snowy mountains alongside my husband and our dog :)

Pamela Bitterli photo.jpg

Danilo Menghini

PhD Student

I completed my bachelor at the ETH Zürich in Health Science and Technologies followed by a master degree in the same department focusing on Medical Technologies. I performed my master thesis in the Musculoskeletal Informatics Group of Harvard Medical School in Boston, determining the changes in the cross-sectional profile of natural and treated anterior cruciate ligaments.

The main goal of my PhD project is to show that antibiotic-laden polymeric delivery matrix prevent C. acnes infection and progressive disc degeneration of the bovine tail disc.

Fun fact: I founded and organized with four friends a music festival (Openair Cavaglia) that hosts around 700 participants and 12 bands every year at the height of 1700 m asl. (next event 11.08-13.08.23) 

Dr. med. Friederike Schulze



80% of my time I’m a physician working in the rheumatology department of the USZ, 20% is reserved for research. I studied medicine in Basel, followed by post graduate  studies in diabetes research, also in Basel. After the PhD, I first worked in Internal Medicine, now I’m working on my specialization in rheumatology.

At the moment, I’m searching for a serum biomarker for Modic changes. For this, I analyze data from serum samples of subjects of a cohort with and without Modic Changes.

Constant learning, finding out how things work is what I enjoy most about working in the lab.

Fun fact: I love cooking. During my studies I ran a supper club in my apartment.

Dudli-Lab Alumnis

  • Nick Herger - PhD and Post

  • Andreas Invernizzi - Medical Doctoral Thesis

  • Céline Höltschi - Medical Doctoral Thesis 

  • Irina Heggli - PhD and Postdoc 

  • Laura Bernhard - Master semester project 

  • Roy Hove - Master thesis 

  • Leonardo Arpesalla - Academic Guest

  • Cristina Hunkeler- Master thesis

  • Ana Gvozdenovic - Post Doc

  • Johanna Zehnder- Master semester project

  • Livia Stucki - Master thesis

  • Karishma Thekkanath - Master thesis

  • Ramona Büchel - Master thesis

  • Ruben Piaengonda - Master semester project

  • Susanne Epprecht - Medical Doctoral Thesis

  • Yann Tinguely - Master semester project

  • Flurina Staubli- Master semester project

  • Irina Balzer - Master semester project

  • Marlene Pühringer

  • Pablo Marty

  • Raphael Knecht

  • Luca Vernazza

  • Stephan Baumgartner - Master thesis

  • Astrid Jüngel - Group leader

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