OUR MANAGEMENT TEAM
Chief Executive Officer
Fiona NielsenChief Executive Officer
Fiona Nielsen is a serial entrepreneur with a background in computer science, bioinformatics and genomics. Her experience spans across research and industry applications related to bioinformatic analysis of large-scale genetic data. She worked at Illumina on the analysis, interpretation and development of analysis tools for next-generation sequencing data, interfacing with prospective customers of clinical genomic instruments and worked for Genomics England to establish their first analytical platform for genomics data. In 2013 Fiona founded the charity DNAdigest promoting best practices for efficient and ethical data sharing for genomics research for the benefit of patients. She next founded the startup Repositive, a company that focused on sharing of genetic data and patient-derived cancer models for preclinical research. Fiona led Repositive for 7 years as CEO, partnering with 25+ biopharma and preclinical CROs worldwide creating a global marketplace for patient-derived cancer models. In 2021 Fiona moved to become COO of o2h Technology and was shortly after promoted to CEO. In this role she has been leading the company developing customized software for startups in life science, health tech and greentech. She has extensive experience in venture fundraising, company building and leadership, as well as developing business strategies around data and cell models. Fiona Nielsen has accumulated several accolades, among them Highly Commended for CEO of the year by Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards as well as WISE100 – Women in Social Enterprise. Fiona is a highly sought after speaker and mentor for companies in life sciences and technology. Fiona joined Neurolentech on a part-time basis from December 2022 and full-time from April 2023.
Carsten Pfeffer, PhD
Co-Founder and CSO
Carsten Pfeffer, PhDCo-Founder and CSO
Carsten Pfeffer is a pharmacologist with work experience in the pharmaceutical industry. After a PhD focusing on the molecular analysis of neurological disease models in Berlin (Germany), he pursued physiological and molecular studies of neural circuits at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute & University of California San Diego (USA), as a fellow of the European Molecular Biology Organisation. Carsten has extensive experience in transcriptomic and functional analysis of single neurons and morphological anatomical characterization of brain circuits. His work has been published in journals such as Nature Neuroscience, EMBO J, Journal of Neuroscience, and Current Biology. He is alumni of the highly selective LBG Innovator's Road and the IECT Summer School on Entrepreneurship.
OUR CO-FOUNDERS & ADVISORS
Gaia Novarino, PhD
Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor
Gaia Novarino, PhDCo-Founder and Scientific Advisor
Gaia Novarino is a full professor of neuroscience at IST Austria and one of three vice presidents. Her focus is on genetics and molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders. She has published groundbreaking studies in prestigious journals such as Science, Cell, Nature Neuroscience. She was one of the first to describe a genetic form of autism and epilepsy that can be treated and reversed through nutritional supplementation. She is a Simons Foundation SFARI investigator, ERC Starting and Consolidator grant holder (2017-2022, 2023-2028), FENS Kavli Network Fellow, and recipient of the Boehringer Ingelheim FENS Research Award. She has an intrinsic motivation and enthusiasm to bring excellent and novel research developments to benefit patients, with a keen interest in translational medicine and entrepreneurship. Gaia Novarino is a co-founder and scientific advisor of Neurolentech. Her national and international network among scientists and clinicians will be important to Neurolentech´s lasting success. She, also, co- founded Solgate, a pre-clinical drug development company focused on SLC transporters with currently ~20 employees.
Christoph Bock, PhD
Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor
Christoph Bock, PhDCo-Founder and Scientific Advisor
Christoph Bock is a Principal Investigator at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Professor of [Bio]Medical Informatics at the Medical University of Vienna. His research combines experimental biology (high-throughput sequencing, epigenetics, CRISPR screening, synthetic biology) with computational methods (bioinformatics, machine learning, artificial intelligence) – for cancer, immunology, and precision medicine. Before coming to Vienna, he was a postdoc at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (2008-2011) and a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics (2004-2008). Christoph Bock is also a informatics group leader at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD), coordinator of an EU Horizon 2020 project that contributes single-cell sequencing of human organoids to the Human Cell Atlas, and fellow of the European Lab for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS). He has received important research awards, including the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society (2009), an ERC Starting Grant (2016-2021), an ERC Consolidator Grant (2021-2026), and the Overton Prize of the International Society for Computational Biology (2017). He has been included in the global list of “Highly Cited Researchers” by Clarivate Analytics (ISI Web of Science) in each year since 2019. He co-founded Myllia Biotechnology, a Vienna-based startup company that develops and applies single-cell methods for high- throughput biology and drug discovery (currently ~40 employees). Christoph Bock is a co-founder and scientific advisor of Neurolentech. He contributes key expertise in high-throughput technology, bioinformatics and machine learning, as well as a strong global network in the field of single-cell biology. Beyond his computational research on human diseases, Christoph runs a sequencing core facility and engages in enhancing “genetic literacy” in the Austrian population through teaching, outreach and advocacy (e.g., https://nature.com/articles/537009a).
Carsten Spannhuth, MD
Chief Development Officer, CDO
Carsten Spannhuth, MDChief Development Officer, CDO
Dr. Carsten Spannhuth is a seasoned pharmaceutical physician and strategic leader in CNS/neuroscience clinical development. With a successful career spanning over two decades, he has held senior positions at renowned pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi, Novartis, Idorsia, and Lundbeck. Board-certified as a psychiatrist, Dr. Spannhuth brings extensive clinical expertise in neurology, coupled with a rich background in clinical development, business development, and post-marketing lifecycle management within the realms of neurology and psychiatry, all within a global, innovation-oriented environment. Beyond his clinical roles, Dr. Spannhuth distinguishes himself as an innovative methodology facilitator. His contributions include the implementation of pioneering study designs and endpoints, as well as the integration of connected sensors and digital devices into clinical development processes. Notably, he has co-founded both a pharmaceutical and a tech start-up company, showcasing his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to advancing healthcare through innovative solutions.
Dimitri F. Dimitriou
Dimitri F. DimitriouChairman
Dimitri F. Dimitriou has a distinguished 35-year international career in the pharmaceutical and biotech sector, he has primarily served as a biotech CEO and board member. Renowned for creating, financing, and growing biotech start-ups, he's been instrumental in over 200 cross-border transactions valued at billions of dollars. A sought-after speaker and chairman at 40 conferences, his expertise lies in Corporate Strategy, Business Development, Fundraising, IPOs, and Corporate Governance. Dimitriou has cultivated a global network of C-level contacts, driven by a passion for medical innovation, particularly in neuroscience. As a listed biotech company CEO for two decades, he's received numerous awards, including distinctions like Most Innovative Drug Licensing and Development Company and Pharma CEO of the Year. His early career was marked by pivotal roles in major pharmaceutical companies, including Senior Director roles at GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb, and eight impactful years at Procter & Gamble in the pharmaceutical division. Starting in marketing at Novartis in 1987, he holds a Bachelor's in Biochemistry from Kings College London, a Master's in Pathology from Imperial College Medical School, and recent training in Internal Medicine and Neurology from Harvard Medical School. Recognized as a Fellow of prestigious societies, he is committed to advancing medical science and collaborative efforts in healthcare.
Nick Lynch, PhD
Scientific Data Management Advisor
Nick Lynch, PhDScientific Data Management Advisor
Nick Lynch is an expert in data management for biotechs and biopharma. His background in data and informatics leaderships including AstraZeneca & Xenova Discovery, bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. He has made significant contributions to the fields of Health & Life Sciences through his company Curlew Research, which specializes in informatics and data strategy consulting for biopharma and biotechs. In addition to his entrepreneurial achievements, Dr. Lynch was a co-founder of the Pistoia Alliance and CTO of OpenPHACTS (an IHI funded project). His extensive background and deep industry insights make him an invaluable addition to our team.
Peter Simpson, PhD
Preclinical Drug Discovery Advisor
Peter Simpson, PhDPreclinical Drug Discovery Advisor
Peter Simpson has a background in Neuroscience biology and imaging, and was a director of Discovery Services at AstraZeneca before broadening his reach to numerous biotech startup companies through his directorship at N8 Research Partnership and later his position as Chief Scientific Officer at the Medicines Discovery Catapult in the UK. With prices like the BioNow Award, OBN Award, and 'Pride of Macclesfield' Award for contributions to life sciences and Covid national response as well as a broad experience as a senior leader in big pharma, open innovation partnerships, academic collaborations, successful major grant writing, and leading the strategy for the UK's national center of drug discovery excellence, Dr. Simpson will be leading the team into the world of drug discovery.
Giovanni Rubeis, Prof.
Giovanni Rubeis, Prof.Ethics Advisor
Prof. Rubeis is a bioethicist with a focus on digital health technologies and molecular medicine. His research topics include the ethics of big data and AI-applications in healthcare as well as ethical implications of genome editing. Prof. Rubeis is head of the Division Biomedical and Public Health Ethics at the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences. He published several dozen papers in international high-impact journals and lead research projects funded by key players in the research field, such as the European Commission’s HORIZON Europe program. As an ethics advisor and trainer, he worked for the Austrian Medical Association, the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists in Germany, and the Austrian Parliament.
Eva Reinthaler, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Eva Reinthaler, PhDSenior Research Scientist
Eva is a senior scientist at Neurolentech and is mainly involved in cellular reprogramming and management of NLT’s clinical collaborators. She has a strong background in stem cell and neuronal culture, as well as organoids. Eva holds a PhD in Neuroscience with a focus on epilepsy genetics.
Melanie Pieraks, MSc
Senior Research Associate/Lab Manager
Melanie Pieraks, MScSenior Research Associate/Lab Manager
Melanie is the Lab Manager at Neurolentech, she is part of the team since the beginning and is evolved with the company and a number of different challenges. Melanie is involved in the coordination of clinical data/cell lines from collaborators, administrative tasks, purchase and budget for reagents/consumables and accounting tasks. She organizes and coordinates the laboratory infrastructure and social outings with joy and is responsible for the management of Neurolentech´s cryobank. Melanie holds a Master of Science and is a Clinical Trial Specialist.
Karin Stecher, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Karin Stecher, PhDSenior Research Scientist
Karin is a senior scientist at Neurolentech, working primarily on neuronal differentiation, automation and project management. She is a molecular biologist by training with a specialization in epigenetics. During her PhD, she developed a particular interest in neuroscience by uncovering the mechanism of a genetic disorder characterized by neurodevelopmental defects, including autism.
Federico Salaris, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Federico Salaris, PhDSenior Research Scientist
Federico is a senior research scientist working as main responsible in the characterization of SLC13A5 epilepsy. During his PhD, he studied neurodevelopmental disorders combining induced pluripotent stem cell potential and gene editing technology. At Neurolentech, Federico is developing and characterizing cell culture models based on patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to identify new biomarkers for pharmacological treatment in SLC13A5 epilepsy.
Camilla Bosone, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Camilla Bosone, PhDSenior Research Scientist
Camilla is a senior scientist motivated to fill the gap between current top-notch research and precision medicine available to neurodevelopmental disease patients. With a MSc in developmental biology and a PhD in molecular biology focusing on 3D human brain organoids patterning, Camilla applies her background knowledge to Neurolentech's effort in disease modelling by engineering cell lines with CRISPR technology and generating iNeurons. Her research interests span from microelectrode array recording to bioinformatic analysis of RNA seq data, to characterize Neurolentech's phenotypically diverse collection of patient-derived cells
Maria Pires, MSc
Maria Pires, MScResearch Associate
Maria is a researcher focusing on the cellular reprogramming of somatic cells into brain cells. Maria worked in several institution around the globe, passing through several fields, including cell models, drug targetting for inflamatory pathways and neuron isolation from mouse models. At Neurolentech Maria spends her time caring for patient cells, making sure they are up to standard to be integrated into our cell models. Maria holds a Master of Science from the University of Stockhom.
João Cortinhas, MSc
João Cortinhas, MScResearch Associate
João is a researcher mainly working in somatic cell reprogramming. With a diverse background encompassing a MSc in Bioengineering with a specialization in Molecular Biotechnology, he has previously employed RNA therapeutics and nanomedicine to develop novel therapies against neurological disorders, becoming proficient with neuronal cell culture and cell models.
Kimon Froussios, PhD
Kimon Froussios, PhDBioinformatician
Kimon is a biologist turned bioinformatician. With experience in bulk RNA-seq, CRISPR screens, CaTCH barcoding screens, and single-cell sequencing, he is now focusing on transcriptomics and genomics at Neurolentech. Kimon has a PhD from King's College London in Bioinformatics and 5+ years of experience between the University of Dundee, where he focused on understanding transcription termination in Arabidopsis thaliana, and IMP, where he focused on NGS transcriptomics.