Speakers 2021

Nicole Amberg

Institute of Science and Technology Austria

The STEM fatale Initiative


I am a postdoctoral FWF Hertha-Firnberg fellow in the lab of Simon Hippenmeyer at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria and my main goal is to uncover cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling how an organ of correct size and cell composition is built by focusing on the dissection of cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous functions of epigenetic mechanisms during neocortical development.

Thinking about the next steps of my career towards a leadership position, it was unavoidable to stumble across the phenomenon of the leaky pipeline. Thus, I have teamed up with colleagues to found “The STEM fatale Initiative” in 2020, which is a novel platform for women researchers and aims to promote gender equality in leadership positions in STEM. For being scientists, we have implemented a survey to collect data on factors impacting on women’s career decisions and trajectories. These data will allow the development of evidence-based, data-driven measures specifically tailored to the needs of women in STEM.

In my talk, I will walk you through the concept of The STEM fatale Initiative, present the survey data, and elaborate on our future goals and strategies.


Website: http://stem-fatale.com

Kiana Aran

CSO at Cardea

Assistant Professor at Keck Graduate Institute


Dr. Kiana Aran is an Associate Professor of Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics at Keck Graduate Institute, a member of the Claremont Colleges, a visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California Berkeley, and the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Cardea Bio. Dr. Aran also serves as a Consultant of Drug Delivery and Medical Diagnostics for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She received her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the City University of New York in 2007 and her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University in 2012. She then continued her postdoctoral studies in bioengineering at the University of California Berkeley and was a recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral training fellowship at the Buck Institute for Aging Research in 2015. Her research efforts focus on designing novel biosensing platforms, using 2D nanomaterials, for early disease diagnosis as well as utilizing biology as tech elements for a variety of biosensing applications. In addition to biosensing, she combines various engineering modules to develop tools to better understand the process of aging. Dr. Aran’s scientific vision is to explore the utility of nano-electronic systems to develop transformative and customizable platforms for multiomics applications and commercialization of these platform. Her efforts have been recently recognized by many awards in science and STEM including the Clinical OMICs 10 under 40 Award and the Athena Pinnacle Award. Dr. Aran was also the recipient of the NSF Career Award to develop the next generation of electronic sensors.


Website: https://www.aranlab.org//

Patrick Dieckhoff

Secretary General for Science Policy at Fraunhofer Gesellschaft


Patrick Dieckhoff is Secretary General of Science Policy of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Patrick studied chemistry (Diploma) at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster (Germany). He completed his diploma thesis in biochemistry during a research stay at the Eidgenössische-Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zürich (Switzerland). After completing his doctorate in microbiology at the Georg-August University of Göttingen (Germany) in 2004, he began his independent career as a writer for biotechnology industry news magazines at BIOCOM AG. Next, Patrick continued his work as a freelance journalist at Financial Times. This is where he first dealt with topics such as start-up financing and technology transfer. As office manager of the German Bioeconomy Council, he was in charge of the German government's advisory body for renewable resources from 2012 to 2015. Then in 2016, Patrick joined the department of Science Policy at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Berlin. As Secretary General of Science Policy, he and his team coordinate Fraunhofer’s science policy activities for the Fraunhofer President. He is also the office director of the Hightech-Forum – the central innovation advisory body to the German government.


In his speech, he will illustrate and discuss Fraunhofer’s role in the German innovation system and outline career prospects in science (policy).


Website: https://www.fraunhofer.de/de/ueber-fraunhofer/wissenschaftspolitik.html


Breanna Duffy

Research Operations and Outreach Director at New Harvest


Breanna is the research operations and outreach director at New Harvest, a global nonprofit that supports pre-competitive research in cellular agriculture. She holds B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering, where she focused on tissue engineering for medical therapeutics. Growing alarm over the environmental crisis and global food insecurity lead her to cellular agriculture, where she uses her background to help build a more sustainable and equitable food system. Cellular agriculture is the use of cell cultures to produce animal products without the need to raise and slaughter an animal. The field takes from decades of work in the medical space, where tissues are cultured for organ transplants. Breanna is focused on supporting scientists in creating the foundational research to translate those technologies into the food sector.


Website: www.new-harvest.org/

Maria Gomes Fernandes

Senior IPSC Scientist

Team Lead Cell Line Development at Meatable


As iPSC and tissue engineering scientist, Maria is responsible for cell line development. She’s an iPSC expert and highly experienced in working with stem cells and cell biology in general. She’s fascinated by the potential stem cells have, as they could become anything.

She came to the Netherlands for an internship at Leiden University Medical Centre, where she also received her PhD. After working at LUMC as a researcher, Maria felt that it was time to work on something more straightforward. She was one of the first who got recruited for Meatable and joined the team in spring 2019. She worked with the team to create that first piece of tissue, by the end of 2020 this resulted in the very first Meatable pork sausage. At Meatable she has the chance to contribute to something revolutionary, which will have an enormous impact worldwide.

Working @ Meatable in general: "It was a risk to start working for a start-up, but it was a risk I was willing to take. During my first job interview with Daan and Krijn, it became clear to me that their ambitions were really thought through. And that they would give it their all. I decided then and there to join the team and to be a part of that energy."


Website: https://www.meatable.com/

Mol Mir


Lab Assistant at Sánchez Alvarado’s Lab

Stowers Institute for Medical Research


Mol Mir is an artist and planarian biologist in Kansas City, MO, USA. After graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute with a BFA in Interactive Arts, they started working as a lab assistant in Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado’s lab at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. Mol specializes in building 3D models of planarian anatomy at the cellular level using serial block face scanning electron microscopy. They are currently working to understand the cellular architecture of protonephridia, the planarian excretory system. Mol also has experience working in many types of media, including drawing, sewing, and 3D modeling. In this interactive workshop, Mol will be demonstrating the many ways you can turn your own science into a work of art.


Website: https://molmir.com/

Lena Oesterlin-Meret

Tech Transfer Manager at the Life Science Factory


Lena Oesterlin-Meret is a Tech Transfer Manager at the Life Science Factory in Göttingen. The Life Science Factory was initiated by Sartorius, to promote the foundation of start-ups in the life science sector. Its aim is to strengthen research and development of innovative technologies with a clear focus on applications and to offer scientists the opportunity to take their first steps outside academic institutions. By January 2022, they will offer 3,200 m² of newly built facilities with fully serviced and equipped state-of-the-art laboratories, multi-purpose offices and event spaces.

In her job she connects start-ups with research institutes, clinics, industry partners and investors. She studied biochemistry in Bochum and after doing her PhD at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, she moved to Institute Curie in Paris as a researcher. Throughout her scientific career, she has always enjoyed networking and in her current job she made this passion a large part of her daily job.


Website: https://lifescience-factory.com/en/

Adam Ruben






Adam Ruben is a writer, comedian, storyteller, and molecular biologist. He is the author of Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School (Random House, 2010) and Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver Ball (Chicago Review Press, 2017).

Adam writes the humor column “Experimental Error” in the otherwise respectable journal Science; he has also been seen and heard on the Food Network’s Food Detectives, the Science Channel’s Head Rush, the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Kremlin, Discovery International’s Superhuman Science, the Weather Channel’s Weather Gone Viral, the Science Channel’s How Do They Do It? and What on Earth?, Netflix’s The Mortified Guide, and NPR’s All Things Considered and The Moth Radio Hour. He recently hosted the Science Channel’s You Have Been Warned and currently appears on the Science Channel’s What On Earth? and Ancient Unexplained Files and writes for the Emmy-nominated PBS Kids cartoon series Elinor Wonders Why.


In this talk, Adam will discuss “alternative” science careers—and why it’s dangerous to put “alternative” in quotation marks.



Website: http://adamruben.net/

Peggy Sotiropoulou

Chief Scientific Officer at T-knife


Dr. Peggy Sotiropoulou has 20 years of experience in oncology and oncoimmunology in the biotech industry and Academia. Peggy serves currently as Chief Scientific Officer of T-knife, an engineered TCR company building a pipeline of innovative therapeutics for solid tumors, leveraging a proprietary transgenic mouse platform to discover naturally selected fully human TCRs. Prior to joining T-knife, Dr. Sotiropoulou worked at Celyad Oncology, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of CAR-T cell therapies for cancer, where she most recently served as Head of Research & Development, leading the development of multiple autologous and allogeneic CAR-T cell candidates and non-gene edited allogeneic T cell platforms. Previously Dr. Sotiropoulou was Tenured Research Associate Professor in the Université Libre de Bruxelles from 2010 through 2017, leading research on the response and sensitization of recalcitrant tumors to therapy. During her academic career, Peggy concentrated her research on immuno-oncology and fundamental oncology, characterizing cancer onset and progression. Dr. Sotiropoulou holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Athens and a Ph.D. in Cancer Immunotherapy from the medical faculty of the University of Crete.



Website: https://t-knife.com/

Elisabeth Steib

Head of Text & Research at Kurzgesagt


Elisabeth Steib studied communication design. Even during her studies she was interested in the content of a project at least as much as in layout and design. After gaining initial work experience in the advertising industry, she joined kurzgesagt in 2016 as a researcher and script writer. Meanwhile, she heads the editorial department as Head of Research and Text.


Website: https://kurzgesagt.org/

Bartlett Warren-Kretzschmar

Teacher of Environmental Planning

Leibniz University Hannover

Coach for scientific communication and other courses at

Golin Wissenschaftsmanagement


Dr.-Ing. Bartlett Warren-Kretzschmar, was born in New York and studied Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at Cornell University. She has been teaching courses in landscape architecture and environmental planning at both American and German universities for the past thirty years. She was a guest professor in the international Master of Landscape Architecture programme at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Bernburg and professor in the Bioregional Planning Programme at Utah State University, where she also offered courses in research skills and scientific writing, as well as communication and rhetoric. Presently she is teaching in the Environmental Planning Department at Leibniz University Hannover.

In her workshop, she will teach you some principles of presentation & communication in science. The workshop is part of the SciencePlus® program designed byGolin Wissenschaftsmanagement.


Website: www.golin.net