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AGCT's entrepreneurial team

Management and Team

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Hans-Joerg Hess, PhD
CEO
Hans earned his PhD at the TU Berlin, where he also studied business administration and mechanical engineering. He worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company and as a senior corporate manager in M&A and business development. Hans was also a partner in an advisory firm specializing in venture capital transactions and co-funded multiple companies.
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Dirk Loeffert, PhD
COO
Dirk is a serial entrepreneur, owner of Bluecatalysis, co-founder of Biomillenia, Six Pines NV and Design Pharmaceuticals Inc. He has over 20 years of experience in product development and commercialization in the life science industry. After earning his Ph.D. in immunology, Dirk joined QIAGEN, a global leader in Life Sciences and molecular diagnostics products, where he became Global Head of Product Development Life Sciences and VP Research of Molecular Diagnostics in the US. He has a proven track record in building high-growth profitable product portfolios and has authored numerous patents.
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Dr. Dimitry Cherkasov
CTO and Founder
Dmitry has conducted in-depth research in nucleic acid chemistry, modified nucleotides and molecular biology at the University of Luebeck. He has authored numerous patents and is also an M.D. As the former head of molecular diagnostics at the University Hospital of Marburg, Dmitry contributes his experience from ten years in clinical diagnostics.
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Christian Grunwald, PhD
Director R&D
Christian studied chemistry and was awarded a PhD in biophysical chemistry from the University of Bochum. He worked for several years in different R&D positions at QIAGEN and Miltenyi Biotec. He is an expert in sample-prep and assay technologies and has a strong background in product development.
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Joachim Ribbe, PhD
Head of Business Development
Until 2019, Joachim was Vice President Corporate Business Development at QIAGEN, Hilden/Germany. In this function, he was globally responsible for technology and product licensing, for setting up OEM product marketing arrangements, and for strategic alliances in all markets. He joined QIAGEN as a Project Manager Protein Expression in 1992. In this role and in his later function as a Business Unit Manager Protein Expression/Reagents, he was responsible for product development, strategic marketing, and protein-related business development. In 2002, Joachim became Director Corporate Business Development, and in 2004 Executive Director Corporate Business Development. Before joining QIAGEN, Joachim worked for two years at DuPont as a Visiting Scientist in Wilmington/Delaware in the Genetic- and Protein- Engineering Group. Joachim obtained his PhD in microbiology and biochemistry at the University of Hamburg in 1990, working on gene and protein expression in bacteria. Due to his expertise Joachim is also a member of AGCT's Scientific Advisory Board.

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Fabian Bietz, PhD
Scientist Assay Development
Fabian was awarded a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Giessen. He studied protein/DNA interactions with three generations of "gene scissors". During his PhD and postdoc research, he worked on R&D projects for Cellectis and Syngenta.
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Yuan Cao, PhD
Senior Scientist Assay Development
Yuan received a PhD in Medical Genetics from the University of Edinburgh in 2012 and worked for QIAGEN (Suzhou) and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Her expertise lies in multiplex PCR-based molecular diagnostic assay development.
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Maren Egidi, PhD
Scientist Assay Development
Maren studied biology at the University of Giessen. She worked for four years as a scientist in pancreatic cancer research at the University of Halle/Wittenberg. She has extensive experience in sample preparation and a strong background in basic cancer research. 
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Claudia Gand
Office and Laboratory Manager, currently in parental leave
Claudia studied biochemistry and worked several years as a scientist in basic research on T-cell neoplasia. Due to her studies and work at the University of Greifswald Medical School she gained wide experience in cancer genetics and molecular biology. 
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Ramona Kepper
Scientist Assay Development
Ramona studied biology at the University of Giessen. She worked at the institute of medical virology and established a quantitative RT-PCR assay for detection of viral RNA. Due to her practical experience she gained extensive expertise in the field of molecular diagnostics.
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Julia Lau, PhD
Office and Laboratory Manager
Julia studied biology and received a PhD in cellular biology from the University of Marburg. Due to her work she gained wide experience in molecular and cellular biology.
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Vivek Mishra, Ph.D.
Scientist NGS Development
Vivek studied biotechnology at Bangalore University and received a PhD from University of Göttingen. As a post-doctoral researcher in Göttingen and at UCSF (University of California, San Francisco) Vivek gained extensive experience in cancer epigenetics and genomics research. Due to his academic work he has in-depth understanding of sample preparation for NGS assays including data analysis and interpretation.
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Patrick Unverzagt
Scientist Assay Development
Patrick studied biology at the University of Giessen and gained an M.Sc. Biology degree. Subsequent to his studies, Patrick worked as an R&D Scientist for GFE Blut. He is well trained in developing and validating PCR-based assays and sample preparation technologies.
Scientific Advisory Board

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Viktor Adalsteinsson, PhD
Viktor Adalsteinsson is Associate Director of the Gerstner Center for Cancer Diagnostics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. His research lab focuses on developing novel liquid biopsy techniques for cancer detection, treatment response monitoring, and molecular profiling of cancer evolution. Together with collaborators, he has analyzed over 10,000 liquid biopsy samples to date, and in 2017, Dr. Adalsteinsson was recognized as one of MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators Under 35.” Dr. Adalsteinsson holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT.
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Dr. Christof von Kalle
Christof von Kalle is Chair for Clinical Translational Sciences at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and Founding Director of the joint BIH and Charité Clinical Study Center. From 2005 to 2018 he was Director of the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) and headed the Department of Translational Oncology, at NCT and DKFZ in Heidelberg. He also received a tenured professorship at the University of Freiburg in 2004 and worked as an adjunct Professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and as Chief Research Officer at Sidra Institute, Doha/Qatar. Christof von Kalle’s key field of interest is clinical research in hematology and oncology and he is a leading expert in molecular and gene therapy for cancer and inherited diseases. In 2014 he founded the biotech start-up GeneWerk in order to bring new findings from gene therapy research to market maturity and thus make them available to patients.

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Holger Sültmann, PhD
Holger Sültmann is Head of the Division of Cancer Genome Research at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) within the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Heidelberg, Germany, and Full Professor at Heidelberg Medical School. After graduating in biochemistry from Tübingen University/Germany, he did his PhD studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen and received his state doctorate in Genetics in 2001. His work at DKFZ (since 2000) has included the initiation and coordination of several multi-disciplinary national (DHGP, NGFN) and international (ICGC) cancer genome research projects. The research aim of his division is to deploy high-throughput genomics and epigenomics technologies to identify, characterize, and translate cancer biomarkers for therapy resistance in cancer, especially lung adenocarcinoma. His current focus is on applying liquid-biopsy approaches for early detection and therapy monitoring of cancer.
Supervisory Board

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Norbert Basler
Norbert is founder, chairman and majority stockholder of Basler AG, a global market leader for digital cameras used in industrial applications (stock symbol: BSL). He is a technology expert in image digitization and a founding investor of AGCT.
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Claus Becker, PhD
Claus is the founder of TMG Technology Management Group, a management consulting firm focused on innovation and technology. He is an expert in control system theory and technology innovation management. Claus is a founding investor of AGCT

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Andreas Müller-Hermann
Andreas is one of the founders of a telecommunication software firm which became one of the leading suppliers for PC-based telecommunication software. The firm was merged with a market-listed company. Andreas is an experienced technology manager and investor and a founding investor of AGCT.