Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board

Prof. Victor de Lorenzo, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Spain

Prof Victor De Lorenzo is a lead researcher within the Systems Biology Program at the Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CSIC) in Madrid. 

His current research focus involves deep engineering of soil bacteria both as cell factories for industrial biotransformations and as agents for environmental bioremediation and valorisation of toxic waste. Other areas of research include environmental microbiology, metabolic engineering, Pseudomonas putida biology and biotechnology, gene expression regulation, synthetic (micro)biology, and global warming. Victor has published over 300 scientific publications in Microbial Biotechnology and Molecular Microbiology Journals. He was awarded the King Jaime I Prize to Environmental protection (2001).


Prof. Vassily Hatzimanikatis, EPFL, Switzerland
Vassily Hatzimanikatis has been Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) since 2006.

He received his Diploma in Chemical Engineering from the University of Patras (Greece) in 1991. In 1997, he graduated from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with a master (M.S.) and a doctoral (Ph.D.) degree in Chemical Engineering under the supervision of Prof. Jay Bailey. His work focused on the mathematical analysis of metabolic reaction networks and their design to achieve desired phenotypes.

Professor Hatzimanikatis continued his career as a research associate in the laboratory of Prof. Jay Bailey in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich (Switzerland). Between 1997 and 2000, he worked on the development of biocatalysts for the production of industrial chemicals in DuPont, Cargill, and Cargill Dow. In 2000, he became Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He held this position until he joined the EPFL.

Professor Hatzimanikatis’ research interests are in the areas of systems biotechnology, bioinformatics, and metabolic engineering. He is editor in chief of Metabolic Engineering Communications senior editor of the Biotechnology Journal and associate editor of the journals Metabolic Engineering and Biotechnology and Bioengineering.

Prof. George Georgiou, University of Texas at Austin, USA
George Georgiou is the Dula D. Cockrell Centennial Chair Professor at UT Austin, where he has served on the faculty continuously since 1986 and currently holds appointments in the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Molecular Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering.

He received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Manchester, UK, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and in Molecular Biology from Cornell in 1987.  For the first 20 years of his career he worked on the biogenesis of secreted protein in bacteria and on protein engineering technologies but starting in 2007, he switched his research to human immunology and to the discovery & preclinical development of protein therapeutics.  Since then he co-invented and led the early development of 4 protein therapeutics (one approved, three in clinical development), invented methods for the molecular-level analysis of the composition of human serological antibody repertoire demonstrating among others that the antibody response to infection or vaccination has very restricted clonality and separately, made multiple contributions to antibody effector function biology and Fc engineering.  He has published >280 research papers and is co-inventor of >170 issued and pending US patents resulting in 28 distinct IP suites that have so far been licensed to 31 pharma & biotech companies.  He founded and was president of one company acquired by Maxygen in 2001 and later founded, secured Series A funding and served as Director of two biotech companies that are currently NSDQ listed.  

His contributions have been recognized by multiple awards including the Amgen award in Biochemical Engineering in 2007, his selection as one of “the top 100 eminent chemical engineers of the modern era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2008) and as a “top 20 translational researcher” by Nature Biotechnology in 2013.  He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering (since 2005), National Academy of Medicine (2011), National Academy of Inventors (2015) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2015).  

Prof. Roman Jerala, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Roman Jerala is head of the Department of synthetic biology and immunology at the National institute of chemistry in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

His group works on introducing new types of protein and gene regulation for mammalian cells, translational medicine, particularly cancer immunotherapy and gene therapy and coiled-coil protein origami as a new type of designed protein folds,. He is member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and a recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant.

Prof. Magdalini Polymenidou, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Magdalini is Associate Professor of Biomedicine at the Department of Quantitative Biomedicine of the University of Zurich.

She is fascinated by the molecular events that lead to neurodegeneration and has been studying these phenomena since 2001. Originally trained as a pharmacist in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), she did her PhD on prion diseases in the laboratory of Adriano Aguzzi at the University Hospital of Zurich (Switzerland). As a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Don Cleveland at the University of California in San Diego (USA), she used high-throughput sequencing approaches to understand the function of TDP-43 and FUS, two RNA-binding proteins that are associated with the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). She joined UZH as an SNSF Assistant Professor in 2013 and since then, her research team studies the molecular mechanisms of ALS and FTD with emphasis on the interplay between protein aggregation and RNA misregulation. Magdalini was awarded the EMBO Young Investigator Award (2018), the Georg-Friedrich Götz Prize (2015), the SNSF Professorship (2013), the HFSP Career Development Award (2013) and the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (2011). She is actively working for gender equality in academia and serves on the Gender Equality Committee of the Neuroscience Center Zurich since 2014. When not in the lab, Magdalini enjoys family time, especially with her two sons, Lennart, born in San Diego in September 2012 and Kilian, born in Zurich in 2018.

Prof. Sotirios Kampranis, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Sotirios C. Kampranis is a Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

His work aspires to develop biological synthesis as the method of choice for the production of complex chemicals, replacing current organic chemistry methods, or extraction from plants, which are inefficient and detrimental to the environment. To achieve this goal, he applies a multi-disciplinary approach that begins with the identification and characterization of biosynthetic enzymes, continues with the optimisation via engineering of the enzymatic activities involved, and concludes with the reconstruction of biosynthetic pathways in biological systems for the sustainable synthesis of valuable compounds. His group has pioneered the development of tools and applications in the following areas of Biochemical Engineering: (i) Identification, characterization, and optimization through protein engineering of enzymes involved in biosynthetic pathways of plant specialized metabolites;

 (ii) Metabolic engineering of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the bioproduction of high-value plant specialized metabolites, focusing on terpenoids, cannabinoids, and alkaloids; (iii) Production of non-canonical new-to-nature plant specialized metabolites by the combination of protein and metabolic engineering; (iv) Development of yeast-based whole-cell biosensors for the determination of plant specialized metabolites; (v) Development of continuous mutagenesis-based in vivo directed evolution methods for the optimization of cell factories and biosynthetic enzymes. Prof. Kampranis is also Co-founder and Chief of R&D of the spin-off company called EvodiaBio, which uses engineered yeast cells for the sustainable production of natural aromas and flavors, including non-alcoholic beer (


Prof. Pavlos Vlachos, Purdue University, USA

Dr. Vlachos is a professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University.

He is also the St. Vincent Health Professor of Healthcare Engineering and serves as the Director for the Purdue Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering. Additionally, he is recognized as a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, a Fellow of the American Heart Association, and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Dr. Vlachos received his Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (1995) and his MS (1998) and Ph.D. (2000) in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Tech. In 2003 he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech as an assistant professor, and he was promoted to associate with tenure in 2007 and full professor in the summer of 2011. In 2013 he joined Purdue University. 

He conducts research on biofluids and biomechanics, specifically focused on cardiovascular disease and drug delivery. His areas of study include heart failure, heart diastolic dysfunction, congenital heart disease, cerebral aneurysms, arterial flows, and implants. He also develops medical imaging analysis techniques for ultrasound and MRI diagnostics. Additionally, he examines tissue biotransport, particularly on nanoparticle and biologics bio-transport, drug delivery, and tissue microenvironments.

Dr. Vlachos has led or been part of 90 funded projects that have brought in over $60 million USD. He co-leads the Purdue Eli Lilly partnership, a unique flagship university-industry research program projected for 100 million USD in research over 10 years, engaging hundreds of graduate students and researchers annually. He has also published over 175 journal papers and over 300 conference proceedings. In addition, he has advised 25 Ph.D. dissertations and 30 MS theses and has produced 9 patents, with 5 of them being licensed to companies. He has also made over 40 intellectual property disclosures.

He has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, such as the Dean’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Assistant Professor and the Dean’s Award of Excellence in Research. He has been named a College of Engineering Faculty Fellow, Jones Faculty Fellow, Robert E. Hord Professor, and University Faculty Fellow. He received the MIT Annual T.F. Ogilvie Lectureship Award for Young Investigator in Ocean Engineering and Fluid Mechanics, the NSF CAREER award, and the Frontiers of Engineering award. Additionally, he is twice the recipient of the ASME Fluids Engineering Division Moody Award for best paper and three times recipient of the Measurement Science and Technology best paper award.