who we are

Jensen's group at DTU

Dr. Michael Krogh Jensen is coordinator of MIAMi, and senior researcher and Co-Principal Investigator of the section for Synthetic Biology Tools in Yeast at the Center for Biosustainability at the Technical University of Denmark. He obtained his PhD in molecular biology from University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2007, and obtained independent funding for his post-doctoral research at University of Copenhagen, Max-Planck Institute in Cologne, Germany, and Stanford University, USA, from 2008-2012. Since 2013 he has managed and co-directed research projects in development of synthetic biology tools for cell factory development, with special attention to engineering of biosensors and methods for advanced genome engineering and evolution-guided optimization of cell factories. He has co-authored 37 peer-reviewed papers with more than 1900 citations, and is co-inventor of 1 patent application. He is currently supervising 5 PhD students, and mentoring 4 post.docs. His key research interest is within the development of synbio engineering tools to perform high-throughput genome engineering, screening, and evolution-guided optimization of living cells for the production of human therapies.

Courdavault's group at UT

Dr. Vincent Courdavault is assistant professor and Principal Investigator of the Alkaloid Metabolism workgroup of the Plant Biocompounds and Biotechnology (EA2106) laboratory at the University of Tours (France). After a PhD focused on the regulation of plant specialized metabolisms via protein prenylation (2004 – University of Tours), he initiated a research program dedicated to the characterization of the spatial organization of monoterpene indole alkaloid biosynthetic pathways in planta. He also developed molecular tools for yeast of biotechnological interest and contributes to decipher the origin and evolution of sensor histidine kinases in eukaryotes. His current research mainly relies on the elucidation of alkaloid biosynthesis though gene discovery and combinatorial synthesis of alkaloids by gene transfer in heterologous organisms. He is currently coordinating two research programs dedicated to the metabolic engineering of plant valuables compounds. He has co-authored over 90 peer-reviewed papers, supervised 5 PhD students and 8 post-doc researchers. In the MIAMi project, his group will be charge of identifying some key genes involved in the synthesis of valuable alkaloids of Rauwolfia serpentina.

O'Connor's group at MPI-Jena

Dr. Sarah Ellen O’Connor is co-I of MIAMi, and Director of the Department of Natural Product Biosynthesis at the Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology (Jena, Germany). She obtained her PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001, and was an ACS Irving Sigal post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Biological Chemistry at Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA) from 2001-2003. From 2003-2011 she was Assistant and Associate Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from 2011-2019 she was a Project Leader and Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the John Innes Centre, and in 2019 she moved to the Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology. She has co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers, and is co-inventor of 2 patent applications. She has mentored 13 PhD students and 26 post.docs. Her major research interest is plant biosynthetic pathway, where her group takes a multi-disciplinary approach to discover new genes responsible biosynthesis of complex natural products. Her group also studies the mechanism, engineering and evolution of these biosynthetic enzymes.

Janfelt's group at KU

Dr. Christian Janfelt is associate professor at Department of Pharmacy, University of Copenhagen. He obtained his MSc degree in physics and chemistry from University of Southern Denmark in 2005. His Ph.D. (Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, 2008) was focused on development of miniature mass spectrometry and included a research stay in the group of Prof. Graham Cooks at Purdue University, USA. After his graduation, he became assistant professor and later associate professor at Department of Pharmacy, University of Copenhagen, where he initiated research in the DESI-MS ionization technique. He spent 6 months in the group of Prof. Bernhard Spengler, Giessen University, Germany, working with Dr. Zoltan Takats (now professor at Imperial College London) on development of instrumentation for DESI-MS imaging. Dr. Janfelt’s current research involves DESI and MALDI mass spectrometry imaging and their applications in drug development, medical diagnostics and natural product research. He is the author of more than 45 scientific papers of which more than 30 papers are on application and development of mass spectrometry imaging.

De Lucrezia's at EXPLORA

Davide De Lucrezia, Ph.D., is Explora’s Chief Executive Officer and co-funder. Davide had his primary education in the field of molecular biology. Following his PostDoc in protein biochemistry, he joined an Italian private firm specialized in technology transfer and project management. Since 2006, Davide is an active entrepreneur and currently holds the position of CEO at Explora Biotech Srl (IT), vice-president at MS Medical AG (CH) and adjunct professor in Bio-nanomaterial at University Ca Foscari Venezia. EXPLORA S.r.l. (IT) is a privately-owned SME established in 2006 in Rome by a pool of young researchers and the support of a French seed capital organization INVENT SaS. EXPLORA is committed to the development of enabling technologies for biological engineering. Our mission is to develop a comprehensive and coherent bio-engineering platform to unlock the full potential of forward biological engineering. Within this framework, Explora developed DOULIX business unit (www.doulix.com) dedicated to the development of the first integrated toolkit for synthetic biology. DOULIX aims to deliver end-to-end solutions for rationale engineering of biological systems leveraging on the abstraction, decoupling and standardization paradigms of synthetic biology.

Dirks's group at FG-Tech

Dr. Ron Dirks is molecular biologist and CEO of Future Genomics Technologies BV (FG-Tech), the Leiden-based R&D sister company of BaseClear BV. He obtained his PhD from Radboud University Nijmegen, and was postdoc at the University of Wisconsin (Madison, USA) and assistant professor at Radboud University before moving to the Leiden-based company ZF-screens BV in 2008. Since 2017, he has been CEO of FG-Tech, which is a continuation of the genomics activities of ZF-screens. He has co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific articles and supervised three PhD students. His main focus is on developing new applications of the latest sequencing technology, with an emphasis on de novo genome assembly and transcriptome profiling. In the MIAMi project, FG-Tech will be involved in Illumina and Nanopore sequencing and bioinformatics analysis (genome and transcriptome) of numerous Rauvolfia plant tissue samples.

Rose's at Axyntis

Sébastien Rose joined the Axyntis Group in May 2014 as R&D Vice-President to coordinate research and development activities between the different entities of the group. Previously, he held various positions in R&D in the pharmaceutical industry. Leading the Development and Process optimization for Lafon Laboratories from 1996 to 2002, he then joined the US group Cephalon Inc. for which he led the R&D process for 10 years, overseeing the development of new APIs from the end of medicinal research up to clinical phases I & II, and ensuring industrial transfer activities in collaboration with the Technical Operations. From 2011, he took the responsibility of R&D Director in Mitrychem, production of generic APIs society and subcontractor for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry. He holds a degree in engineering, fine chemistry and engineering specialization, from the National Institute of Applied Sciences, Rouen (INSA) and a Master of Science in organic chemistry from the University of East Anglia (UEA ), Norwich, England. He is also CEO of Kyrapharm, Axyntis affiliate specialized in separation, purification and isolation by chromatography.
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