ESR15 – Renata Varaljai – based in Essen

Project Title: Exploring circulating free DNA (‘liquid biopsies’) from melanoma patients for prognostic biomarkers
PhD Awarded: November 2018

I am a young scientist from Hungary. I graduated with an MSc in Biology from the University of Debrecen. My main research interests include cancer biology, cell biology and epigenetics.

I received my cell biology training from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest where I was part of the Membrane Research Group. Throughout the last years I have worked at the University of Illinois at Chicago. My research centralized around the role of epigenetic enzymes – KDM5s and EZH2 in multiple cancers. I investigated the requirement of the histone lysine demethylase KDM5A for coordination of mitochondrial metabolism during differentiation. I have published research papers in these topics and presented my results at multiple conferences.

Currently I am pursuing my PhD at the Department of Dermatology of the University Hospital Essen in Germany within the MELGEN ETN, where I am investigating cancer drug resistance in melanoma. My research is focusing on the establishment of prognostic and predictive circulating cell-free DNA profiles of patients with metastatic melanoma.

When I am not researching, I like to spend time outdoors. I love biking and hiking, and find them a great way to connect with nature and decompress. I am interested in homemade natural remedies and cosmetics.

Research Summary

Coming soon…


Metzenmacher M, Váraljai R, Hegedüs B, Cima I, Forster J, Schramm A, Scheffler B, Horn PA, Klein C, Szarvas T, Reis H, Bielefeld N, Roesch A, Aigner C, Kunzmann V, Wiesweg M, Siveke JT, Schuler M, Lueong SS. Plasma next generation sequencing and droplet digital-qPCR-based quantification of circulating cell-free RNA for noninvasive early detection of cancer. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Feb 4;12(2). pii: E353. Available at:

Váraljai R., Wistuba-Hamprecht K., Seremet T., Diaz JMS, Nsengimana J., Sucker A., Griewank K., Placke J-M., Horn P.A., von Neuhoff N., Shannan B., Chauvistré H., Vogel F.C.E., Horn S., Becker J.C., Newton-Bishop J., Stang A., Neyns B., Weide B., Schadendorf D., Roesch A. Application of Circulating Cell-Free Tumor DNA Profiles for Therapeutic Monitoring and Outcome Prediction in Genetically Heterogeneous Metastatic Melanoma. JCO Precision Oncology 2019; :3, 1-10. Available at: