ESACT Election of Executive Committee 2019

Dear Members,

below please find the list of candidates (in alphabetical order) nominated to become members of the ESACT Executive Committee for the next function period from May 2019 – May 2021.

Login in to the Members Area of our Website → (on the very top of the site) and vote for 4 people  to be part of the next ESACT Executive Committee. Vote until May 6th, the day before the General Assembly during the upcoming Meeting in Copenhagen, when the results of the vote will be announced.

kind regards,
Paula Alves
on behalf of the Executive Committee

Prof. Alan DICKSON

Name: Alan Dickson

Affiliation: Manchester Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Manchester

Member since: 2011

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Alan Dickson is Professor of Biotechnology, based in Manchester Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Manchester. In addition to his own research programmes. Alan is Director of the Centre of Excellence in Biopharmaceuticals (CoEBP; http://www.coebp.manchester.ac.uk) that co-ordinates all activities in biopharmaceutical research at the University of Manchester, including strategic partnerships with two multinational companies. In addition, Alan is co-Director of BioProNET, a BBSRC Network in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy, co-sponsored by EPSRC (http://www.biopronetuk.org). BioProNET catalyses and supports collaborations within a 900+ membership of industrialists and academics in the UK and beyond and integrates new technologies into the community.

Alan undertook his BSc and PhD at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to a Research Fellowship at the University of Kent and, subsequently, to the University of Manchester. His research has focused on the regulation of cell function (in terms of metabolic, protein and gene targets) in cells used as hosts for recombinant gene expression. This covers technologies that span from nucleus to the secretory apparatus and the relationship of the host cell to the pipeline for generation of functional biopharmaceuticals. In the early 1990’s, Alan started of series of fruitful collaborations with commercial partners in relation to mammalian cell hosts for protein harvest and this was linked to development of ESACT-UK, where Alan was meeting Secretary and Chair in the initiating executive committee. The industrial engagement has continued in Alan’s research since then through the COEBP, BioProNET, the Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC; https://bbsrc.ukri.org/innovation/sharing-challenges/bric/background/)

and via individual collaborative projects. Alan is a frequent speaker at international conferences and publishes in/reviews for sector-specific journals.

Motivation Statement

From an academic viewpoint, the industrial-academic interaction provides fascinating opportunities to pursue unique research activities which have the potential to generate real impact. This perception has strengthened since my initial discussions with prospective industry partners in the early 90’s and is arguably even more relevant now than then, with widening of interest in industrial/academic collaborations. I served in various posts with ESACT-UK (through to Chair; reflecting within the UK community the lead provided by ESACT) over the decade from 1992 before taking on senior management roles within the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester, as Dean for Graduate Education and Dean for Communications. The COEBP and BioProNET advises and co-ordinates the initiation and development of industrial-academic interactions for the University of Manchester and the wider UK communities, respectively, in the area of biopharmaceuticals and advanced therapy medicinal products and their production. This continues my interests in networking strong collaborations around the complementary strengths and visions of industry and academia, the introduction of new expertise to address the on-coming scientific challenges and the development of young researchers who will have the appropriate skills sets to secure the future. My commitment to the development of the career potential of early career researchers is embedded in my role with the ESACT Frontiers group and leadership of a Bioprocessing skills school developed by funding from the BBSRC Strategic Training Awards for Research Skills Programme (STARS; https://bbsrc.ukri.org/funding/filter/stars/). I believe that my vision for the sector is a reflection of that of ESACT and I will continue to use my experience to aid ESACT achieve its aims over the next two years.

Dr. Anne TOLSTRUP

Name: Anne Tolstrup

Affiliation:  Bioprocess Technology Consultants

Member since: 2005

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Dr. Anne B. Tolstrup has worked in the field of Animal Cell Technology for more than 25 years. She recently started as Senior Consultant with BioProcess Technology Consultants. Here, she uses her broad experience from many years in the industry to help clients bring their biotherapeutics through CMC development to the market. Prior to BPTC, Anne worked at Biogens Large Scale Manufacturing site in Hillerød, Denmark. Her team’ s responsibilities comprised Process transfers, PPQ runs for Novel Biologics and Biosimilars, process improvements, investigations, GMP-audits, pre-approval inspections and scientific support of the GMP Drug Substance manufacturing. She supported the Market Application Approval process for 4 Biosimilar molecules now on the market. Before Biogen, Anne was Cell Culture Development Director at Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), Biberach, Germany. Heading the molecular biology, genetics analysis, cell line development, upstream process development, media development and bioanalysis teams she was accountable for all steps of USP process development from DNA to delivery of tox material, transfer and scale-up to GMP Manufacturing Operations. During her time with BI, Annes team worked on more than 50 different projects varying from pre-IND phase through to late-stage development, with internal and external clients and covering a multitude of biologics formats including Mabs, fusion proteins, bi-specifics and non-IgG based formats. Before BI, Anne was Director for Antibody Expression at Symphogen, Denmark, where she and her team developed the Sympress methodology for stable expression and robust manufacturing of recombinant antibody mixtures. Prior to that she worked as Project Manager and Director in the biotech companies Pharmexa and its spin-off Inoxell, Denmark, with retroviral and lentiviral vectors and peptide libraries using cellular assays for drug discovery screening. Anne was appointed adjunct professor at the Dept. for Systems Biology at the Danish Technical University in 2010. She is a frequently invited speaker at conferences, and serves as reviewer for scientific journals and as Scientific Advisor eg for the eCHO EU consortium.

Anne obtained her Master’s Degree and PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Aarhus, Denmark on interferons and has stayed in the field of Animal Cell Technology ever since.

Motivation Statement

Contributing to the work in the ESACT Executive Committee would be an exciting opportunity for me to continue and grow my engagement with the ESACT Community.

For me, the ESACT community is an excellent forum to meet people with whom I share my profound interest and passion for living cells. With its non-profit structure, I find that ESACT provides a great and critically important framework for sharing scientific and technological progress related to Animal Cell Technology between academia and industry. ESACT embraces young scientists in the beginning of their career as well as “old” experts and everyone in-between, bringing people together for scientific discussions and knowledge exchange both at the bi-annual conferences and also for example during the courses hosted by ESACT.

I have been a member of ESACT for almost 15 years, and attended my first ESACT meeting in Harrogate, UK, back in 2005. Since then, I have joined most of the conferences, always enjoying the program, the new scientific insights and not least the networking and the chance to meet new people and catch up with old friends and colleagues who share my scientific interests.

I have represented ESACT at one of the JAACT conferences a few years ago, and in October 2018, I had the pleasure to join the ESACT Frontiers 2nd Meeting in Zagreb. This was a great experience and very stimulating to be surrounded by so many young, bright minds.

During the past 8 years, I have also been teaching young people at the international Animal Cell Technology Course in Spain every year. I was a member of the Scientific Committee for ESACT 2017 in Lausanne and currently, I am very engaged with organization of ESACT 2019, serving as Chair for the Scientific Committee amongst other things.

Dr. Emma PETIOT

Name: Emma Petiot

Affiliation: CPE-Lyon engineer school

Member since: 2013

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MAIN RESEARCH AREAS: Cell-based production processes for viral vaccine and viral vectors / Process Analytical Technologies (PAT) and Quality by Design.

PERMANENT RESEARCHER POSITION : 2017- now – ICBMS laboratory/3dFAB platform- Lyon – Develop culture processes for cultivation of 3d printed tissue for regenerative medicine applications & Development of on-line virus quantification tools.

PERMANENT LECTURER POSITION: 2013 – nowCPE-Lyon engineering school – Teaching cell culture and viral production processes, Quality by Design and Process Analytical Technologies (PAT) topics & launch of the Master Training program in Biotechnology Processes.

Post-doctoral position : 2014-2016-  International Research Center of Infectiology (CIRI) – Virologie et Pathologies Humaine (VirPath) Laboratory – Leader of European Marie Curie Grant project IIF on Influenza VLP production for foreign antigen presentation & Development of cell-based production on avian T17 cells.

Post-doctoral position : 2010 -2013 – Biotechnology Research Institute, Montreal, Canada – Animal Cell Technology group – Development of  influenza virus and Virus-like particles (VLP) production processes on HEK293 suspension cell line.

PhD  : 2006-2009  – Ecole Polytechnique de Lorraine, Laboratoire Reaction et Génie Procédés, Nancy – Collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur – Dengue vaccine production process in serum-free medium.

OTHER SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITIES: Member of ESACT Frontiers group (since 2013) / Lecturer in ESACT Vaccine courses (since 2016) / Participate to Science Popularization activities, Fete de la science (since 2013)

Motivation Statement

Since 2009, the early beginning of my scientific Career in the field of ACT processes, I had the chance to participate to ESACT conferences  every two years. This allowed me to strongly benefit from the special interconnection between academics and industrials ESACT community provides and to develop my personal network.

In 2013, I was selected to be one of the first members of ESACT Frontiers group. This gave me the opportunity to become an active member of the ESACT community and better know it. This experience was very rich for me. I aimed with my Frontiers colleagues to promote career progression and active engagement of young generations to ESACT and to the field of Animal Cell Technology (ACT).  One of the major actions moving in this direction was the creation of Frontiers Retreats, and I hosted the first ESACT Frontiers Retreat in Lyon, my city, in 2015. Such small meeting dedicated to scientific and career development of young scientist of the community were a huge success and further engaged me and confort me in the needs of such platforms for exchanges.

I am now motivated to move forward my involvement in the community in order to continue supporting such actions within the executive commitee. I would like to better understand how the community is ruled and to be part of this. I am willing to push forward the interaction between young researchers and ESACT experiences members as well as with the whole ACT community. I am also strongly interested in developping more interaction between academic and industrial, and to propose new exchange or  training platforms.

I hope a large majority of the ESACT members will give me their confidence and their vote to allow  me continuing acting for them within the ESACT executive comitee.

My best regards.

Prof. Francesc GÒDIA

Name: Francesc Gòdia

Affiliation:  Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Member since: 2005

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Full Professor of Chemical Engineering at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Born in Sabadell (Barcelona, Spain), 60 year old, married, three children.

Research activity focused on the field of Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering, and more specifically in the culture of mammalian cells for the production of proteins with interest in diagnostic and therapy of diseases, recombinant vaccines (with particular emphasis on Virus Like Particles), gene therapy vectors and the cellular, metabolic and tissue engineering. He has also worked in the development of industrial fermentation processes, immobilized biocatalysts and bioreactor design. He is the Overall Manager of the MELiSSA Pilot Plant, a facility of the European Space Agency and UAB devoted to the development of biological life support systems for long term manned missions in Space.Author of more than 100 papers in scientific journals, 5 patents, and advisor of 30 PhD completed theses.

His teaching activity at BSc and MSc is focused on Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. He is the coordinator of the Biotechnology doctorial program at UAB. He is the coordinator, with Paula Alves, of the ESACT Course on Animal Cell Technology, since 2011 . He is coordinator, with Amine Kamen and Yvonne Genzel of the Course on Cell-­‐culture based viral vaccines, since 2016.

He served as Head of Chemical Engineering Unit at UAB from1991 to1994. Coordinator of the Chemical Engineering degree from 1994 to 1998. Vice-­‐Directorof the Engineering School at UABfrom 1998 to2002. Vice-­‐rector for Strategic Projects at UAB, from 2002 to2005and Commissionaire for Biotecnology and Biomedicine of UAB, from 2006to 2011. He is currently the President of Fundació ParcTaulí (Sabadell, Barcelona), and member of the Board of Directors of the Blood and Tissue Bank of Barcelona.

President of the Spanish Society for Biotechnology from2002to 2006. Member of the Executive Committeeof theEuropean Society of Animal Cell Technology from1999to 2015 and from 2017 to 2019.Member of the Executive Board of theEuropean Federation of Biotechnology since2005and Vice-­‐President since 2019. Chair of the Working Party Nanotechnology Biotechnology and Converging Technologies of OECDsince 2015. Member of the ScientificCommitteeof various international scientific meetings. Chairman of the European Congress of Biotechnology (ECB) in 2007 and 2009, and the meeting of ESACT in 2003 and 2015.

Motivation Statement

I am working as full Professor in Chemical Engineering at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and leading a research group on Animal Cell Technology since 1991. I became interested in the activities of ESACT very early in my career, since I have always recognisedthe role of ESACT, and in general of scientific societies in the development of the collaboration between individuals pursuing a common interest, particularly the progress of a given area of activity such as Animal Cell Technology. I have witnessed the tremendous progress of ESACT over 25 years, especially in building an international meeting that today is gathering the more important actors in the field, both from Academia and Industry, and has very high international recognition.

Indeed, I have been myself directly involved in the ESACT Executive Committee from 1999 to 2015 and chaired two ESACT Meetings in 2003 (Granada) and 2015 (Barcelona). Then, I joined again the Executive Committee in 2017 after being elected in Lausanne. I am also involved in the coordination of the two ESACT Courses celebrated yearly in Llafranc (Girona, Spain): Animal Cell Technology Course (since 2011) and Cell-­‐culture based viral vaccines (since 2016). This is now a consolidated activity by ESACT, promoting highly specialized training to industry professionals and early stage researchers. I had as well the privilege to team up with several of the Scientific or Organizing Committees of many ESACT Meetings, including Lausanne (2017) and Copenhagen (2019).

I would like to ask the support of the ESACT members to continue serving in the Executive Committee. I feel personally the motivation to contribute to the leading role of ESACT in a continuously evolving field. I am particularly interested in the training activities of ESACT and in the support to the career development of young researchers, particularly by ESACT Frontiers team. I also would like to contribute in stressing the collaborations of ESACT with other scientific organizationS, such as JAACT, SLATCC, CCE, EFB and ESGT, and industrial platforms, such as ACTIP, and to expand the visibility of ESACT to new areas of activity where Animal Cell Technology is becoming a critical enabling technology, such as emerging gene and cell therapies.

An exciting future for ESACT to which I feel with the energy and will to contribute, helping to maintain and expand the strength of our society in promoting new technologies, new knowledge and the best professionals to deliver new therapies and vaccines for improved healthcare

Dr. Stefanos GRAMMATIKOS

Name: Stefanos Grammatikos

Affiliation: UCB Pharma

Member since: 1995

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I am a USA-educated (Berkeley, Northwestern) Biochemical Engineer with 29 years of experience in animal cell technology, 23 of which have been in the Biopharmaceutical industry. I currently am the Head of Biotech Sciences at UCB Pharma, an organization of nearly 350 people charged with the manufacture of clinical trial materials and the development of drug substance and drug product manufacturing processes, formulations, analytical methods, platforms and enabling technologies for all the biological entities in UCB’s pipeline.

Motivation Statement

At the very beginning of my career I identified myself with the vision and missions of ESACT and committed to contribute to the Society and to the advancement of animal cell technology for the benefit of humanity. Already in the year 1999, during the early days of the internet, I conceived JIN, the Job Information Network, which is still today part of  ESACT’s services offered via its website. The intention was to help animal cell technologists find a job and is a small example of my lifelong commitment to mentor and help young people advance their careers while they are working to advance animal cell technology. I had previously the honor to serve in the ESACT Executive Committee as elected member (2001-2005), Secretary (2005-2009) and Treasurer (2009-2013) and during this time I was deeply involved with the organization of all ESACT General Meetings (most notably those in Dresden and Lille) and with the effort to formalize the Legal Status of the Society and secure its finances, while striving to find new ways to engage the younger generations of animal cell technologists in Society matters. With the advent of ESACT Frontiers I regarded my cycle as complete and stepped down from the Executive Committee, while continuing to engage in mentorship and teaching projects for the Society. After four years of absence from the Executive Committee I have realized that I miss the “active duty” and was honored with re-election in 2017. In the short two years since then, I helped the XC develop the concept and roll out the new ESACT Innovation Award. I would like to stay on for another two years, in order to help put together a long-range plan of transforming ESACT and adapting the Society to the latest science, technology and industrial trends. I remain committed to mentoring and engaging the younger generations of animal cell technologists in this process.

Prof. Véronique CHOTTEAU

Name: Véronique Chotteau

Affiliation: KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Member since: 2004

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Combining her interest for technology and life science, Véronique Chotteau took a M. Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium (1985) and a M. Sc. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the same university (1988). During her second master, she began to work with mammalian cell cultures, which became her core expertise. She took her PhD in Biotechnology/Automatic Control in 1995 at Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, studying mathematical models of VERO cell system in collaboration with Smith-Kline/Beecham, Belgium.

In 1996 she started her career in industry by joining the Big Pharma company Pharmacia Upjohn in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2001, this site was spin out into Biovitrum (nowadays Swedish Orphan Biovitrum). Véronique Chotteau have had different responsibilities: senior project manager for process development (e.g. recombinant factor VIII ReFacto, monoclonal antibody), CDMO business development support for the evaluation of new projects, head of pilot plant, expert in animal cell culture development in small and pilot scales, expert support for commercial GMP manufacturing of Refacto. In 2008 Véronique Chotteau was asked to take over the responsibilities of the animal cell culture group at KTH Royal Institute of Technology after retiring of Prof. Lena Häggström with financial support from the Swedish innovation agency VINNOVA and KTH, she left Biovitrum to join academia in 2008. Her group’s research activities are focusing on cell-based processes for production of biologics such as antibodies, glycoproteins and adeno associated virus with actual involvements in projects of perfusion of mammalian/human established cell lines, mathematical modelling, magnetic beads-based purification, and human stem cell culture using recombinant spider silk with funding of VINNOVA, EU and the Wallenberg Centre for Protein Research – Wallenberg foundation-AstraZeneca. Véronique Chotteau is Director of AdBIOPRO, Centre for Advanced Bioproduction by Continuous processing and Coordinator of the EU-IMI H2020 project iConsensus.

Motivation Statement

I attended my first ESACT meeting in 1988 in Knokke (Belgium) and I have missed only a few of these unique meetings since then. With time, the ESACT meetings have enormously grown in terms of importance and number attendees, and are important events to grasp the latest trends of the field, meeting old and new friends, discovering new equipment, etc. In 2013, I got closer to ESACT by belonging to the local organizing committee for the ESACT meeting in Lille, France (of course as Belgian citizen and ex-trainee, and not as Swedish partner!) and I really enjoyed being part of the preparation of this big event. During the last years, 2015-present, I have had the privilege to be a Member of the Executive Committee of ESACT, a way to get more influence in this Society. I think that it is important to keep the high quality level that ESACT meetings are holding and, at the same time, to preserve the forum that ESACT is for more technical interchanges. Other activities of ESACT are also important for the cell technology community such as the annual courses and nowadays the new ESACT Frontiers. Coming from the worlds of academia and of industry, I believe that I can be an added value for ESACT.

Prof. Yasuhisa ASANO

Name: Yasuhisa Asano

Affiliation: Toyama Prefectural University

Member since: 2018

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1982 Ph.D. Kyoto University, (Applied Microbiology)

1982 Postdoctoral fellow at Purdue University (Pharmacal Sciences), and Ohio State University (Organic chemistry), USA (with Prof. Heinz Floss)

1984 Research chemist at Sagami Chemical Research Center, Japan

1990 Associate Professor, and Professor (1995)  of Biotechnology at Toyama Prefectural University, Japan

Awards

“Award for Technical Development for 2004, Chemical Society of Japan” (2004),“Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology and Agrochemistry Award”(2008),“Japan Bioindustry Association Award”, (2008) ,“The Medal with Purple Ribbon” (2011) ,“Enzyme Engineering Award” (2013) ,“Biocat Award” (2014) , Society Award of the Society for Biotechnology, Japan” (2018), etc.

Motivation Statement

I am applying for the ESACT member of the Executive Committee, because I will need to study the area of the production of biological molecules in host cells. I have been studying in the area of the interface of chemistry and enzymes. I discovered a microbial enzyme “nitrile hydratase”, which is now utilized in the industrial production of acrylamide up to 700,000 tons/year worldwide. I found phenylalanine dehydrogenase which has been successfully used in the mass-screening of Phenylketonuria among 5.4 million of new born babies in Japan. I discovered an acid phosphatase producing inosine 5′-phosphate, and applied it to the directed evolution for industrial production of the food additive in 10,000 tons/year scale (with Ajinomoto Co.).

Now I am the head of Biotechnology Research Center of our University and must establish a new section of study of production of Biologics, because Toyama Prefecture is producing generic pharmaceuticals in No 1 sales in Japan, however, the biologics production is quite a new area.

I studied in 2018, in the Short Course of “Cellular Bioprocess Technology” held in University of Minnesota, organized by Prof. Wei-Shou Hu, according to the recommendation by Dr. Ulrich Behrendt, ex-Vice President of Animal Cell Fermentation, Roche Diagnostics, my senior old friend. I am much looking forward to study in the European courses that Dr. Behrendt has recommended. I should like to widespread those information to Japanese researchers and societies.

Dr. Yvonne THOMASSEN

Name: Yvonne Thomassen

Affiliation: Intravacc

Member since: 2014

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Yvonne Thomassen is Head of Process Development for Viral Vaccines at the Institute for Translational Vaccinology (or Intravacc) in the Netherlands.

Her current research activities focus on advancing technologies that enable process development for vaccines. She has been involved in the development of scale-down models, statistical and mechanistical modeling, disposable bioreactors and purification of viruses. Her experience on the topic is best illustrated by her involvement in the design and improvement of processes for different vaccine candidates, like Sabin IPV or RSV, including the manufacturing of clinical trial materials for phase I clinical trials and the subsequent technology transfer to pharmaceutical companies.

Yvonne obtained her MSc and PhD in Bioengineering at the Wageningen University. Before starting her career in vaccine development at Intravacc in 2006, she studied VHH antibody production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and cold tolerance of food borne Bacillus pathogens.

Motivation Statement

I have been involved in the European Society of Animal Cell Technology (ESACT) since Dublin 2008 as participant, presenter and poster judge. The meeting always feels very open, other participants are accessible and the atmosphere is friendly. I love the absence of parallel sessions and presence of the suppliers market which allows plenty of moments of interactions with other participants. Although it has become a large meeting it still feels welcoming.

Throughout my career I have been working on applied research by translating academic research to bioprocesses that can be transferred to the biopharmaceutical industry. I have collaborated with various partners: from universities to the WHO, from start-up to big pharmaceutical companies across the globe. I truly believe that the success of innovations can be discovered best when its implementation is fulfilled.

As an XC member I will bring my capacity to define common goals, use my skills to discriminate steps forward and my commitment to get the job done which will help ESACT to develop further while keeping traditions in mind. I wish to become an active ESACT committee member and aim to bring fresh energy to involve members and strive for successful continuation of our ESACT community.