Dr. Christophe Echeverri (Lead Founder, CEO/CSO):
Dr. Echeverri's training as a molecular and cell biologist began at the University of Ottawa, studying cytoskeletal processes underlying mammalian neuronal differentiation and cell division. He then completed a PhD in Cell Biology (1998) at the University of Massachusetts in Worcester, focusing on the role of microtubule-based motors in a wide range of cellular processes. In 1998, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Anthony Hyman at the EMBL in Heidelberg, where, as a postdoctoral scientist, he co-directed the first genomic RNAi screening project with Dr. Pierre Gönczy. In 1999, Dr. Echeverri led the foundation of Cenix with Drs. Gönczy and Hyman as academic co-founders and Dr. Stefan Herr as business co-founder, and has since built up the company as its CEO/CSO from concept stage to its present profitability. Along the way, Dr. Echeverri was named one of the world's Top 100 Young Innovators in 2003 by MIT's Technology Review magazine, and emerged as a leading voice helping to drive the maturation of the RNAi screening field for both industry and academia. Having overseen the company's expansion to both Belgium and the USA, Dr. Echeverri is now based in the Minneapolis-St Paul area, where he is leading the build-up of Cenix USA while continuing to fulfill CEO/CSO duties for the Dresden and Belgium operations as well.
Dr. Birte Sönnichsen (COO, Co-Managing Director for Cenix Dresden):
Following her Biology studies, Dr. Sönnichsen completed a Dr. rer. nat. (PhD) carrying out research on the retention of ER proteins (1994) at the University of Göttingen. She then joined the laboratory of Dr. Graham Warren at Cancer Research UK (formerly, the ICRF) in London to study membrane disassembly of the Golgi apparatus during cell division. She followed-up this work as a postdoctoral scientist in the laboratory of Dr. Marino Zerial at the EMBL in Heidelberg, where, from 1997 to 2000, she examined the role of small Rab GTPases in endosome maintenance. Her first undertaking after joining Cenix in 2000 as its first senior scientist, was to direct the completion over the entire C. elegans genome of the RNAi screening project started by Drs. Echeverri, Gönczy and Hyman. She has since taken on increasing levels of responsibility within Cenix, culminating in her current dual position as COO and Co-Managing Director for the Cenix Dresden operation.
Dr. Christoph Sachse (Director, Cell-based Services):
Dr. Sachse first studied Biochemistry, earning a Diploma (MSc) from the University of Halle in 1994. He then completed a PhD (1998) and a first postdoctoral fellowship (1998-1999) in Dr. Jürgen Brockmöller's group at the University Clinic Charité Berlin, focused on hereditary polymorphisms of human drug-metabolizing enzymes, their impact on pharmacotherapy, and their potential for individualization of drug treatments. He continued working in the area of pharmacogenetics of cancer susceptibility during a second postdoctoral fellowship at the Biomedical Research Centre of the University of Dundee, Scotland, before joining Cenix in 2001 as a Research Scientist. Since then, Dr. Sachse has led numerous Cenix contract research and co-development projects with a wide range of industrial clients, taking on Group Leader duties. Since 2010, as Director of Cell-based Services at the Cenix Dresden operation, Dr. Sachse has continued to lead individual projects, in addition to also driving broader project management, marketing and business development activities.
Dr. Rachel H. Rondinelli (Senior Director, IP & Licensing):
Dr. Rondinelli received her degree in Biology (1989) from Millersville University (Millersville, PA) and her PhD in Microbiology/Cell and Molecular Biology (1994) from Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI), where her research focused on elucidating the role of ovarian hormones in polyomavirus induced mouse mammary tumorigenesis. She then completed two postdoctoral fellowships, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD) and Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia, PA), where she characterized androgen receptor mutations and gene expression patterns in prostate cancer. Since 1997, Dr. Rondinelli has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. As a registered United States patent agent (1999), she has extensive experience in preparing, prosecuting and managing multiple life science patent portfolios and has a proven track record for creating IP protection and value. Dr. Rondinelli has been responsible for Cenix IP and licensing activities since 2009, working from her base in Lansdale, PA, USA.
Dr. F. Oliver Gathmann (Director, IT):
After completing his undergraduate and MSc studies in Biology and Computer Sciences in Germany, Dr. Gathmann went on to obtain a PhD in Zoology and Theoretical Ecology from the University of Toronto in 2000. He then took on a position as Senior Software Developer at Cambridge Research Instrumentation Inc. (CRi) in Woburn, Massachusetts, where he designed and implemented a new application framework for CRi's Life Sciences instrumentation software. During this time, he also supervised a team of software developers through a series of instrument development projects, most prominently a novel high-speed microtiter plate reader. In 2001, Dr. Gathmann took on the position as Senior Software Engineer at Cenix to shape the development of a company-wide Laboratory Information Management System for genome-scale RNAi screening experiments. Since 2003, he has been leading software development and IT services as Director of IT for Cenix Dresden.
Karen Huppertz (Head Administrator, Finances & Legal):
After several years of administrative work in the legal field, Ms. Huppertz completed her Law studies at the University of Leipzig in 2000. She then worked in Human Resources at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biology and Genetics, where she was part of the founding administrative team who first established this institute in Dresden in 2001. From 2002 to 2005, Ms. Huppertz joined Gene Bridges GmbH, working in administration and finance, after which she started in financial controlling at Cenix. As such, Ms. Huppertz has over 14 years of administration experience, of which the past 8 years have been spent in the biotechnology industry. In parallel she also completed a degree in Business Administration in 2009. Based at the Dresden site, Ms. Huppertz now heads up financial and legal administration at Cenix.