Pierre-Alain Clavien is a surgeon-scientist, currently professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery in Zurich. After being certified by the Swiss board of surgery, he moved to Toronto, Canada, to complete a Ph.D. program in organ preservation, followed by a clinical fellowship in Hepatobiliary Pancreatic (HPB) surgery and liver transplantation. He then moved to Duke University Medical Center, U.S., where he initially led the liver transplantation and HPB programs, and subsequently the division of Transplantation, and was appointed full Professor. Since 1994, he has run a basic science laboratory. His areas of research include organ preservation, liver ischemia-reperfusion injury and liver regeneration, and pathogenesis of cancer, as well as outcome research. His laboratory made the discovery of serotonin as a key mediator of liver regeneration and pathogenesis of cancer. Pierre-Alain Clavien has also developed a simple and widely used system to evaluate complications after surgery, which holds his name. He has been president of the European Surgical Association (ESA), European Hepatobiliary Association (E-AHPBA) and the Swiss Transplantation Society.
He is currently on the Editorial Board of several journals, including Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Surgery, Am J of Transpl, Journal of Hepatology, and Ann of Surgery. He received many competitive grants and awards, including the Otto Naegeli Award, and the UEGW (European Union of Gastroenterology) award 2012. In 2014, he received an honorary fellowship by the American College of Surgeons, and was appointed as “Professeur Associé” at Hôpital Paul Brousse Université Paris Sud, France. Pierre-Alain Clavien serves as a mentor for the Liver4Life project.
Volkmar Falk is currently medical director and director of the DHZB Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery of the Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin and Chair of the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Charité Berlin.
After completing his doctorate at the University of Bonn, he began his surgical training at the University in Gottingen and completed his residency at the Department of Cardiac Surgery of the Herzzentrum Leipzig. From 1998 to 2003 he held the position of a senior surgeon there, with an interruption of his clinical work for one year as a research fellow at Stanford University, U.S. In 2001 he completed his "Habilitation" and in 2003 he became a senior consultant. From 2009 to 2014, Vollmar Falk was appointed professor and director of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at the University Hospital Zurich.
His main areas of clinical and academic research are in the field of endoscopic, robotic and minimally invasive cardiac surgery and image guided transcatheter therapies. He was co-founder of the Innovation Center for Computer Assisted Surgery (ICCAS) at the University of Leipzig funded by the German Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF). During his time in Zurich, he established numerous collaborations with ETH Zurich and among other projects initiated the Zurich Heart project, an interdisciplinary project at the interface of medical engineering and surgery for the development of mechanical circulatory assist systems. Falk has published over 450 scientific publications and serves in numerous international professional societies (EACTS, ESC, DGTHG, SGHC, ISMICS and others). He is on the editorial board of a number of journals, including the European Heart Journal. Recently he has served on a number of International Guideline Committees and is coauthor of the current ESC ESC/EACTS Guidelines on myocardial revascularization, valvular heart disease and heart failure.
From 2015 until 2020, Volkmar Falk served as a mentor for the HYLOMORPH project.
Marco Hutter is Assistant Professor of Robotic Systems at ETH Zurich and a Branco Weiss Fellow. After studying mechanical engineering, he conducted his doctoral studies in robotics at ETH Zurich where his research focused on the design, actuation, and control of dynamic legged robotic systems. His achievements were awarded by a number of awards, such as best paper awards, the Hans-Eggenberger Award, the Wili-Studer Prize and the ETH medal. Marco Hutter is part of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Robotics and NCCR Digital Fabrication. He coordinates several research projects, industrial collaborations and international competitions (e.g. ARGOS challenge), which target the application of highly mobile autonomous vehicles in challenging environments such as in search and rescue, industrial inspection, and construction operations. His research interests are in the development of novel machines and actuation concepts, including the underlying control, planning and optimization algorithms for locomotion and manipulation. From 2016 until 2019, Marco Hutter served as a mentor for the ANYmotion project.
John Lygeros holds a B.Eng. degree in Electrical Engineering and an MSc degree in Systems Control, both from Imperial College London. In 1996 he obtained a PhD degree from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department, U.C. Berkeley. Following his PhD studies, John held a series of research appointments at Berkeley and M.I.T., and from 2000 to 2003 he was a University Lecturer at the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Churchill College. Between 2003 and 2006 he was an Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Patras. In July 2006 he joined the Automatic Control Laboratory at ETH Zurich and in 2010 he was appointed as a Full Professor. His research interests include modelling, analysis, and control of hierarchical, hybrid, and stochastic systems, with applications to biochemical and robotic networks. He is serving as the Treasurer of the IFAC, is a Fellow of the IEEE, and a member of the IET and the Technical Chamber of Greece. John Lygeros serves as mentor for the Seervision project.
Martin Meuli went through Medical School at the University of Zurich and graduated as physician in 1981 thereafter he trained in Anesthesiology, General Surgery, Urology, Pediatric and finally Pediatric Surgery. Board certification as Pediatric Surgeon FMH in 1990, Board certified Pediatric Surgeon of the European Board of Pediatric Surgery 1997. Appointment as director of the Pediatric Burn Center of the University Children’s Hospital Zurich in 1989 – 2003. Between 1993 and 1995 research fellow at the Fetal Treatment Center, University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, USA. In 2003 Dr. Meuli was appointed Ordinary Professor for Pediatric Surgery at the University of Zurich and at the same time Chairman of the Department of Pediatric Surgery and Surgeon in Chief at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich.
During his US-fellowship in San Francisco, Dr. Meuli and his wife, Dr. Claudia Meuli, developed a fetal sheep model for myelomeningocele and could generate conclusive evidence that this type of neural tube defect is a candidate lesion for in utero repair in order to salvage spinal cord function otherwise lost. This completely new pathophysiologic understanding and the novel fetal surgical therapeutic approach were published in Nature Medicine in 1995. This milestone article also launched a novel clinical enterprise: prenatal surgery for human fetuses with myelomeningocele. Today, spina bifida is by far the most frequent and important indication for surgical intervention during pregnancy worldwide. Also, in 2010, Professor Meuli and partners opened a fetal surgery program within the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy (http://www.swissfetus.ch/) that is jointly run by the Department of Obstetrics (University Hospital Zurich) and the Department of Pediatric Surgery (University Children’s Hospital Zurich). As of today, he belongs to a small group of pioneer fetal surgeons and has performed more than 50 fetal surgical interventions for spina bifida so far.
Since 2001 Professor Meuli is actively involved in a long term project aiming at growing human full thickness skin analogs for clinical use in the laboratory (http://www.skingineering.ch/). He also was Principal Investigator in a Clinical Trial Phase I to test such laboratory grown autologous skin grafts in pediatric patients. The encouraging preliminary results are now the basis for a Multicenter Clinical Trial Phase II planned to start in the spring of 2017. Martin Meuli serves as a mentor for the denovoSkin project.
Dimos Poulikakos holds the Chair of Thermodynamics at ETH Zurich, where in 1996 he founded the Laboratory of Thermodynamics in Emerging Technologies. He served as the Vice President of Research of ETH Zurich (2005-2007) and was the ETH director of the IBM-ETH Binnig-Rohrer Nanotechnology center. He also served as the Head of the Mechanical and Process Engineering Department at ETH Zurich (2011-2014).
His research is in the area of interfacial transport phenomena and thermodynamics. The focus is on understanding the related physics, in particular at the micro- and nanoscales and employing this knowledge to the development of novel technologies. Specific current examples of application areas are the direct 2D and 3D printing of complex liquids and colloids with nanoscale feature size and resolution, the science-based design of supericephobic and omniphobic or omniphillic surfaces, and a host of biomedical technologies, recently focusing on the cell behavior in interactions with biological and non-biological materials and surfaces.
Among the awards and recognitions he has received for his contributions are the White House/NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1985, the Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal in 1986 and the Society of Automotive Engineers Ralph R. Teetor Award in 1986. He was the recipient of the 2000 James Harry Potter Gold Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was a Russell S. Springer Professor of the University of California at Berkeley (2003) and the Hawkins Memorial Lecturer of Purdue University in 2004. He received the Heat Transfer Memorial Award for Science in 2003 from ASME. In 2008 he was a visiting Fellow at Oxford University and a distinguished visitor at the University of Tokyo. He was the recipient of the 2009 Nusselt-Reynolds Prize of the World Assembly of Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics conferences. He was the 2012 recipient of the Max Jacob Award. He was presented with the Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award of the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2012. He received the Dr. h.c. of the National Technical University of Athens in 2006. From 2012-2015, he served as president of the science board of the Swiss National Academy of Engineering (SATW). At Wyss Zurich, he served as a mentor for the HYLOMORPH project (2015-2020).
Janine Reichenbach, MD, is an assistant professor of Pediatric Immunology in the Medical Faculty, University of Zurich (UZH), as well as co-head of the Division of Immunology at University Children’s Hospital Zurich. She directs the Gene Therapy Group at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM) at UZH. Her pioneering translational research work is focused on the integrative development and clinical application of gene therapy solutions for patients with inborn diseases of the blood and immune system. In 2010, she received the science award of the Walther and Gertrud Siegenthaler Trust. She was the Swiss PI in an EU-FP7-funded multi-center first-in-man gene therapy trial for the treatment of patients with Chronic Granulomatous Disease. Together with PD Dr. Ulrich Siler, scientific laboratory head of her Gene Therapy Group at the IREM, she initiated the Wyss Somagenetix project and is engaged in its further development. Janine Reichenbach serves as a mentor for the Somagenetix project.
Ernst Reichmann is currently the Head of the Tissue Biology Research Unit (TBRU) in Zurich. He has studied Biology at the Universities of Giessen (Germany) and Bern (Switzerland). In 1988 he obtained his PhD in Bern at the Ludwig-Institute for Cancer Research on the establishment and characterization of new permanent, non-tumorigenic mouse mammary epithelial cell lines and the generation of an organotypic mammary gland in vitro. For this work he received the Falcon-Award of the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zellbiologie”.
In 1989 he started a post doc (and then became staff scientist) at the Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, where he specialized in cell and cancer biology. He discovered that TGF-β1 causes Ras-transformed mammary epithelial cells to acquire a fibroblastoid, migrating (invasive) phenotype. This cell conversion was then referred to as epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In 1994 he was offered a group leader position at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in Lausanne (Switzerland). In 2001, he became the head of the Tissue Biology Research Unit in Zurich. In 2012 he acquired a professorship at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) in the field of experimental surgery with a focus on cell biology. The philosophy of the Tissue Biology Research Unit is to undertake basic research to transform the corresponding findings into personalized regenerative medicine. The fields of interest of the TBRU are the mechanisms of tissue vascularization, the generation of blood and lymphatic capillary networks, and the characterization of the melanocyte compartment in human skin. The TBRU has developed novel dermal and dermo-epidermal skin grafts, which are presently applied in clinical trials. Ernst Reichmann has coordinated the EuroSkinGraft, FP7 (EU) project and consortium for five years. He is the sponsor of phase I and phase II clinical trials applying the ATMPs denovoSkin and denovoDerm on human patients.
He was markedly involved in establishing a GMP-production team working at the Wyss Zürich, and (together with Dr. Daniela Marino) in initiating the start-up CUTISS. Ernst Reichmann serves as a mentor for the denovoSkin project.
Philipp Rudolf von Rohr
Philipp Rudolf von Rohr studied Process Engineering at ETH Zurich from 1973 until 1978 and received his PhD from the same institution in 1983. After two years as postdoctoral fellow at MIT, USA, he shortly came back to ETH Zurich before starting his industrial career with Bertrams AG in 1986. He left the company as CTO in 1992 to start his professorship at ETH Zurich. His main research areas are multiphase transport systems, plasma-enhanced vapor deposition processes for particles, process intensification with micro- and milliscaled processes. Philipp Rudolf von Rohr has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications. He received several honors, including a honorary doctorate from Slovak Technical University in Bratislava in 2006. He is an active member of the relevant societies (SATW, EFCE) and chairs a competence center in energy research since 2014. Within Wyss Zurich, Philipp Rudolf von Rohr is mentoring the Liver4Life project together with Pierre-Alain Clavien.
Martin Schwab was trained in Biology with a PhD in neuroanatomy in Basel. He then switched fields to cell biological studies of neurodevelopment with a focus on the mechanisms of action of Nerve Growth Factor. Following his habilitation at the University of Basel and a second postdoctoral experience at Harvard Medical School, he became a group leader at the Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry in Martinsried (1979-1985). Martin Schwab was appointed Professor of Brain Research at the University of Zurich and Co-Director of the Brain Research Institute in 1985 and Professor of Neuroscience at ETH Zurich / University of Zurich) in 1997. He is a senior Professor in these positions since 2014. He founded the Zurich Neuroscience Center (joint center of the University of Zurich, the University Hospitals and ETH Zurich) in 1998 and acted as its chairman for 12 years. He also initiated and (co-)directed the National Center of competence in Research ‘Neural Plasticity and Repair’ (2001-2013). With his group in Zurich Martin Schwab discovered the existence of potent neurite growth inhibitory factors in the adult CNS and their enrichment in CNS myelin (1985, 1988). This new concept was rapidly adopted by the neuroscience community and became text book knowledge and the basis of further studies for a large number of neuroscience research groups up to the present day.
An important breakthrough was the demonstration that antibody-mediated neutralization of one of the most potent neurite growth inhibitory factors, Nogo-A, lead to long distance regeneration of injured nerve fibers in the rat spinal cord and to greatly improved functional recovery. These results overthrew the dogma that the adult mammalian CNS would be unable to regenerate. Today, anti-Nogo-A immunotherapy is widely seen as one of the most advanced and promising clinical approaches to improve the outcome of patients for spinal cord injuries and other disorders where nerve fibers of the central nervous system become injured. Martin Schwab serves as a mentor for the CeNeReg project.
Mark Tibbitt holds a BA degree in Integrated Science and Mathematics from Northwestern University. In 2012, he obtained his PhD degree, under the supervision of Prof. Kristi Anseth, from the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. Following his PhD, he conducted postdoctoral research as an NIH Fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Robert Langer at MIT from 2013 to 2017. In 2017, Mark was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zürich, directing the Macromolecular Engineering Laboratory. His main research interests relate to fundamental and applied studies on polymeric materials, including biomedical translation of this class of materials for tissue engineering and drug delivery. Mark Tibbitt serves as a mentor for the Liver4Life project.
Martin Wolf is professor of Biomedical Optics at the University of Zurich. He received his diploma in Electrical Engineering and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from ETH Zurich. Martin Wolf worked as postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prof. Wolf heads the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory, which specializes in developing techniques to non-invasively measure and quantitatively image oxygenation and other biomarkers of brain, muscle, tumor and other tissues. His aim is to translate these techniques to clinical application for the benefit of adult patients and preterm infants. He has co-founded two start-up companies. Martin Wolf serves as a mentor for the OxyPrem project.