2022 Speakers

2022 Speakers


Keynote speakers


Dr. Stormy Chamberlain is an associate professor of genetics and genome sciences at the University of Connecticut and section head of Neurogenomics at Roche Neuroscience and Rare Disease. Her research is focused on neurogenetic imprinting disorders, genetics, genome sciences as well as targeted drug discovery. From 1993 to 1997, she was trained as a molecular biologist at Princeton University, before obtaining her PhD degree in molecular genetics and microbiology at the University of Florida in 2003. She then participated in postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina and the University of Connecticut Health Center. In 2009, Chamberlain established her lab at the University of Connecticut which uses induced pluripotent stem cells to study human neurogenetic imprinting disorders. Since 2021, she is working on translating her basic science discoveries to therapeutics via the coordination of focused drug discovery as the head of Neurogenomics at the Roche Research department for Neuroscience and Rare Disease in Basel.


Dr. Helmuth Gehart is an Assistant Professor of Tumor and Stem Cell Dynamics at the Institute of Molecular Health Sciences at ETH Zurich since 2020. After studying “Molecular Biology” at University Vienna (Vienna, Austria) as an undergraduate, Helmuth Gehart received his PhD from ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) in 2013. During his PhD training with Prof. Romeo Ricci, Helmuth studied the mechanisms behind Type II Diabetes and the complex cellular checkpoints that maintain balance to prevent disease. Thereafter, Helmuth entered the fascinating field of stem cell biology and joined the group of Prof. Hans Clevers at the Hubrecht Institute (Utrecht, Netherlands). There he investigated adult tissue stem cells of the liver and intestine and developed new technologies for real-​time resolved single-​cell RNA sequencing. Throughout his career Helmuth received multiple awards and honors among them the ETH Medal (ETH Zurich), an EMBO long-​term fellowship (EMBO), and a VENI talent award (NWO).


Dr. Isaiah Hankel is the Founder and CEO of the largest career training platform for PhDs in the world – Cheeky Scientist. His articles, podcasts, and training courses are consumed annually by 3 million PhDs in 152 different countries. He has helped PhDs transition into top companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Intel, Dow Chemical, BASF, Merck, Genentech, Home Depot, Nestle, Hilton, SpaceX, Tesla, Syngenta, the CDC, UN, and Ford Foundation.
During our meeting, Dr. Hankel will cover the entire transition workflow and how it should be approached. It will also cover the psychology of a person in transition and how to overcome imposter syndrome. Lastly, will talk about how taking personality, lifestyle considerations, and individual career goals into consideration will help a job seeker transition into a more fulfilling professional role.


Career talks


Dr. Rachel Hevey is a Research Associate leading a team of researchers in glycan-based drug development at the Dept. Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Basel. After completing degrees in Chemistry and Biological Sciences in 2008, Rachel undertook her PhD studies at the University of Calgary (Canada) focused on developing rare sugar chemistry and its application in glycoconjugate vaccines. In November 2013, Rachel joined the University of Basel as a postdoctoral researcher leading a new project to help elucidate the role of siglecs in diabetes. In January 2015, she was promoted to Research Associate in the Molecular Pharmacy group, where she currently leads projects on glycan-mediated attenuation of pathogen virulence, novel therapies to facilitate blood group-incompatible organ transplantation, and glycomimetic development to modulate innate immune processes. In 2019, Rachel was selected by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) for their Periodic Table of Younger Chemists, highlighting leaders in chemistry under the age of 40. She works with an extensive team of international collaborators and has been successful in acquiring >1.3M CHF in project funding from various sources, including the Swiss National Science Foundation, Innosuisse, and industry partners.


Anna Kostikova, Ph.D., Director of Data Science & Bioinformatics at Novartis, co-founder of Asylia Diagnostics, advisor and mentor for biotech and life science early-stage companies. Founded 2 companies, ex-Booking, ex-Heineken. Anna’s core specialty is on the intersection of biotech / life science / healthcare and the utilization of AI and machine learning. She is passionate about the unprecedented level of innovation that AI/ML has to offer to life sciences and healthcare. After completing her doctorate degree in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, and a series of post-docs, she became fascinated by what technology giants like Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook, are doing with massive data. She went to Booking, one of the leading companies in online travel, and helped to grow the DS/ML team from 20 to 250 specialists, making it one of the largest EU-based data science teams. After several years in tech, she came back to the biopharma and founded InsideDNA (winner of TechCrunch Disrupt), and then Asylia Diagnostics (Catapult Award Winner). For the last 3 years, she leads a data science/ML team at Novartis in Basel and has been deeply involved in the formation of the entrepreneurial culture in TechxBio.


Dr. Christina Lamers is currently setting up her lab as a junior professor of pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Christina received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main in Germany in 2014. In 2015 she joined the Laboratory of Therapeutic Proteins and Peptides of Prof. Christian Heinis at the EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland) as a postdoctoral fellow, focusing on bicyclic peptides as therapeutics and their identification by phage display. During this postdoc, she won a Marie-Curie individual fellowship. In November 2017 she joined the group of Prof. Daniel Ricklin, University of Basel (Switzerland), as a senior postdoc. Her current research interests are the identification of cyclic peptides by phage display and their development as therapeutics to target the innate immune system, with a focus on the intrinsic coagulation and complement cascade.


Dr. Francesco Maria Petrini received his PhD in biomedical engineering and robotics at the Università Campus Bio-Medico in Rome, before embarking on postdoctoral studies with the aim of developing novel strategies for improving the performance of limb prostheses at the EPFL Lausanne and ETH Zurich. In parallel, Francesco co-founded SensArs Neuroprosthetics Sàrl in 2014 – a start-up aiming to bring a unique neuroprosthetic device, that allows for the restoration of the sense of touch and treatment of neuropathic pain, to the market.


Martyna Wroblewska is a manager of Innovation & Sourcing at BaseLaunch. Martyna holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nicolaus Copernicus (Microbiology) in Poland and a Master’s degree in Biology from the University of Zürich (Evolutionary Biology). Martyna will introduce us to BaseLaunch, which partners with scientists and entrepreneurs to help launch and grow exceptional biotech ventures with the aim of developing cutting-edge therapeutics. So far their portfolio has raised over $430M in venture financing with an average series A raise of $30M per company.