We support the next generation of scientists
ESACT Frontiers Program (EFP) is an initiative within the European Society for Animal Cell Technology focused on promoting career progression and active engagement of young generations to ESACT and to the field of Animal Cell Technology (ACT). With this, the next generation of ESACT scientists gets a platform to influence the development of the society and can give the young generation of scientists a voice in our community.
Facts about the ESACT Frontiers Program (EFP)
The ESACT Frontiers Group was founded in 2014 and is represented by a selected group of early career scientists and engineers from academic, governmental and private institutions.
Our mission is to provide opportunities for early career scientists to personally and professionally develop whilst actively engaging in, influencing and developing the animal cell technology community.
ESACT Frontiers will actively encourage the participation and interaction between Master, PhD students and post-doctoral fellow members of the Society with the goal of supporting training and career development.
EFP will also launch initiatives to challenge early-career researchers to promote academia-industry interaction and to support innovative and unconventional ideas helping to open ESACT to future trends of science and technology.
Who are we?
EFP was founded in 2014 and the group is constituted by early-career scientists and engineers from academic, governmental and private institutions. The current members of the group are:
Claire did her Ph.D. at the University of Birmingham, UK, followed by a post-doc at the Babraham Institute, both in cancer biology. She then moved into biopharmaceutical development and was part of the Early Expression and Supply team at MedImmune/AstraZeneca for 5 years before becoming the CHO Expression Team leader at Kymab. Claire now leads a team of early career researchers (ECR’s) that focus on clarified harvest provision for pre-clinical material supply and developability studies, pipeline project-related expression evaluation and troubleshooting, and new platform development. Claire is passionate about the development and progression of ECR’s which she sees as an important part of her contribution to improving of patients’ lives.
Since beginning of 2019, Bernhard is part of the Research and Development department at the company Bilfinger Industrietechnik Salzburg and he is very close to finish his doctoral dissertation. Before he joined the Bilfinger company, he did his PhD in a CHO cell culture automation related project at the BOKU in Vienna. There, he has learnt on the hard way that implementation of QbD/PAT into a seemingly simple looking fed-batch process is a lot of work. Also, it helps to take into account the perspective of the off-line analytics to avoid running into any implementation bottlenecks. Despite this, he has not lost interest in this topic, and is therefore now project leader of a recently launched much more sophisticated research project. His team aims to develop and construct a fully automated and continuously driven End to End process train for bio-based products.
Igor has a position of associate professor at the University of Zagreb (Croatia) where he gives lectures on animal cell technology and tissue engineering. His regular working routine also involves the joy of applying for grants, writing reports, looking for collaborations, theses evaluation etc. He did his PhD about viral vaccine production in the University of Zagreb and soon after he worked as postdoctoral researcher on cell transfection and cell line development at NRC-Montreal and ULAVAL in Canada. He likes science popularization and tries locally to contribute to (young) people’s awareness on benefits and risks in the field of red biotechnology.
Nuša is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Novo Nordisk in the department for Screening & Bioassay Technology where she is generating cell-based assays for high-throughput microfluidic screening. She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Biotechnology from Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark, during which she was developing tools for predictable and improved recombinant gene expression in CHO cells for production of biopharmaceuticals. She is interested in gene editing, mammalian cell line engineering and synthetic biology. She is also passionate about communicating science to a wide variety of audiences and enjoys supporting the new generation of scientists in animal cell technology.
Paulo is in the Vector Operations team in Orchard Therapeutics, a cell & gene therapy company dedicated to rare diseases.
Before joining Orchard Therapeutics, Paulo worked as the vector process development team leader in Autolus, a company focused on CAR-T cell therapies to cure cancer. Paulo studied Microbiology at the Faculty of Medicine from Lisbon University, Portugal, and obtained his Ph.D. from ITQB/iBET, NOVA University of Lisbon, working on process development of viral vectors.
Ricardo Valdés-Bango Curell
Ricardo currently works as a Patent Associate at CURELL SUÑOL SLP as Biotechnology specialist assessing clients in matters related to patent and design protection, preparation of patent and industrial design applications in Spain, the European Union and worldwide, analysing freedom to operate and patentability. He holds a Ph.D. in Biotechnology from Dublin City University, Ireland. During his doctoral studies at the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology he worked on the development of novel miRNA-based genetic switches and novel approaches to engineer CHO cells.
He studied Biotechnology at the University of Barcelona and obtained a M.Sc. in Bioengineering from IQS-University Ramon Lull, Barcelona, Spain.
Verena leads the Clinical Production Facility for Biologics in Frankfurt and thus works with her team on the early phase portfolio projects that will be tested in clinical trials. Before starting to work as Head of Manufacturing, Verena did her Ph.D. in cell culture vaccine development at the MPI in Magdeburg and ProBioGen AG, and (already at Sanofi) as Lab Head in the Upstream Development.
The production facility consists of two buildings with dedicated cleanroom areas for upstream and downstream processes and – as they work on early-stage processes – contains state-of-the-art equipment. However, regulation is high as everything needs to be performed and documented in a GMP compliant way to ensure that people and patients receive a safe product. For Verena, this job means working most of the time on coordinating and managing different teams, groups, and projects, trying to bring each one’s interest together finding a compliant and pragmatic solution.
Previous ESACT Frontiers Members
- Emma Petiot (2014 – 2019), CPE-Lyon Engineer School (Lyon, France)
- Simon Ausländer (2014 – 2019), ETH Zurich (Basel Area, Switzerland)
- Ana Filipa Rodrigues (2014 – 2019), iBET (Oeiras, Portugal)
- Christopher Sellick (2014 – 2019), MedImmune (Cambridge, UK)
- Mercedes Segura (2014 – 2017), currently Bluebird bio (Cambridge, MA, USA)
- Markus Heine (2014 – 2015) currently Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology
and Experimental Medicine (Germany)
If you have exciting and innovative ideas, get involved in EFP activities!
Contact any Frontiers member and help to build the next generation of Animal Cell Technology researchers and professionals.
Your suggestions and ideas are very welcome. Contact us at email@example.com. We will do our best to accommodate them in our next initiatives.