Principal Investigators

Prof Markus Rehm

Prof Markus Rehm is Director of the Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology within the faculty of Energy-, Process- and Biotechnology of the University of Stuttgart, one of the leading technical universities in Germany.

 Prof Rehm also holds a visiting professorship at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, where he previously was appointed as a research lecturer in the Department of Physiology and Medical Physics and where he served as member of the Executive Council of the RCSI Centre for Systems Medicine.

His research team in Cell Biology and Experimental Systems Biology covers expertise in Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Imaging, and Computational Modelling. His group develops and utilizes innovative experimental and mathematical approaches to monitor key processes controlling cell suicide and proliferation signaling. In combination with complex systems analyses this strategy provides functional insight into the intricate control of cell fate decisions between death and survival.

Specialties: Cell Biology, Biophotonics and Imaging, Systems Biology, Systems Medicine, Cell Death and Survival Signalling.

Prof Rehm is the Coordinator of the MEL-PLEX Programme.

MEL-PLEX Projects 1, 4 and 10


Prof Dagmar Kulms

Prof Dagmar Kulms  is Head of Investigation for Experimental Dermatology and PD in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University Hospital of the TU-Dresden. Since 2000, she successfully supervised and co-supervised several PhD student projects (10), MD student projects (3) postdoctoral researchers (6) and MSc projects (15).

Prof Kulms main areas of expertise are: cellular and molecular analyses of signalling cross talk between cell death and survival pathways, especially in skin cancer; Development of an innovative 3D human organotypic skin-melanoma spheroid model suitable to mimic avascularised melanoma metastasis in vitro. Prof Kulms has a degree in education, being a professional educator for technical trainees and scientists (IHK).

She is currently involved in the “Master Program Regenerative Biology and Medicine” at the Centre of Regenerative Therapies Dresden.

MEL-PLEX Projects 2 and 5


 Prof Thomas Sauter

Prof Thomas Sauter  is professor of Systems Biology at the Life Sciences Research Unit at the University of Luxembourg. He was Head of the Doctoral School in Systems and Molecular Biomedicine from 2011 – 2014 and is Study Director of the Master Programme in Integrated Systems Biology at the University of Luxembourg. Since 1999, he supervised and co-supervised several PhD student projects (12), postdoctoral researchers (3) and MSc projects (28).

Prof Sauter main areas of expertise are: computational systems biology, qualitative and quantitative modelling and data integration, development of computational tools, applications: pro- and anti-apoptotic crosstalk in mammalian cells, UVB induced apoptosis, cancer specific PDGF signalling networks, integrated metabolic modelling of adipogenesis. Prof Sauter has a long standing experience in teaching in the field of systems biology, biotechnology, and bio-statistics.

MEL-PLEX Projects 3 and 7


 Prof Martin Leverkus (in memoriam)


Prof Martin Leverkus  was the Director of the Department of Dermatology and Allergology at RWTH University of Aachen and Principal Investigator of MEL-PLEX Project 4.

Prof Leverkus passed away suddenly on February 17th 2016.

Prof Patrizia Agostinis

Prof. Patrizia Agostinis is a Full Professor at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine of the KU Leuven, Belgium. Prof Agostinis has extensive expertise in research on cell death mechanisms/signalling pathways induced by oxidative and ER stress in cancer cells, acknowledged in more than 130 peer-reviewed articles (h index 41).

She is a member of the Board of Directors of the European Cell Death Society (ECDO, since 2012) and of the International Cell Death Society (ICDS, New York) and was a co-organizer of the ECDO symposium 2010 in Ghent (Belgium).

Prof. Agostinis has enduring expertise of research mentorship and supervised 6 post-doc, 15 PhD students and several master students. The group has established successful collaborations with international experts in the field of immunogenic cell death, ER stress and autophagy.

MEL-PLEX Project 6


 Prof Leonidas Alexopoulos

Prof Leonidas Alexopoulos  received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University (2004) and then became a postdoctoral scientist in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT (2006) and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School (2008).

He returned to Greece in 2009 where he is currently an Assistant Professor at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), director of the Systems Bioengineering Group, and co-founder of ProtATonce, a start-up company that specializes on multiplex assays. He has received several international awards, authored more than 40 scientific publications in leading journals, and he has collaborated with leading pharmaceutical companies on Systems Pharmacology including Pfizer, Vertex, and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Expertise: Systems Medicine, Translational systems biology, Multiplex proteomics and phosphoproteomics, pathway construction.

MEL-PLEX Project 8


 Prof Francesco cecconi


Prof Francesco Cecconi  is the Head of the ‘Cell Stress and Survival’ Unit, Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Copenhagen, Denmark. Prof. Cecconi has a long standing experience in teaching and supervising students and post-docs from different countries. Since 2000 he has supervised 19 postdocs, 21 PhD candidates and more than 100 Masters students.

The research group has been continuously funded since 2000 by research and research training grants from various national agencies and charities, such as the Telethon Foundation, the FISM, Italian Ministry of University and Research, the Italian Ministry of Health and the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC) and since 2013 he also received fundings from several Danish Foundations (Novo Nordisk, KBVU, Lundbeck, Danish National Research Foundation).

As Head of the Molecular Embryology Lab at the Department of Biology, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy, Prof Cecconi became a world-leader in the field of autophagy and published key papers on processes of cellular degeneration. In his new facilities he now investigates the role of autophagy in melanomagenesis. He is author of more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Cell, and Nature Cell Biology.

Since 2014, Prof Cecconi is the Deputy Director of the newly established Centre of Excellence for Autophagy, Recycling and Disease (CARD) at the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, funded by the Danish National Research Foundation.

MEL-PLEX Project 9


 Prof Joost van den Oord

Prof Joost van den Oord is full professor for the Faculty of Medicine at the KU Leuven.

MEL-PLEX Project 11


  Prof William Gallagher

 Prof William Gallagher, Chief Scientific Officer, is the founder and CSO of OncoMark. He also is the Director of Conway Institute at Unversity College Dublin (Ireland).

His academic research group, called the Cancer Biology & Therapeutics (CBT) Laboratory, focuses on the identification and validation of molecular determinants of tumour progression, particularly in breast cancer and melanoma.

MEL-PLEX Project 12


Prof Walter Kolch

Walter Kolch

Prof Walter Kolch is Director of Systems Biology Ireland at University College Dublin (Ireland). He is best known for his work in oncogene signal transduction, proteomics and systems biology. Having obtained a MD from the University of Vienna, Austria, he worked in academia, research institutions and pharmaceutical industry in the USA, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland.

His current research interest focuses on understanding how biochemical networks specify biological decisions, and how these properties can be exploited for improving the diagnosis and therapy of cancer. Having published >220 papers (H factor 72) he has a broad scientific scope and vast experience in leading large interdisciplinary projects.

He currently coordinates two large FP7 EU grants, ASSET and PRIMES, focusing on improving therapies for childhood and colorectal cancer, respectively. Before moving to Dublin in 2009 to set up Systems Biology Ireland he was the lead investigator in two large interdisciplinary UK projects: the IRColl RASOR, a major multi-disciplinary, four-University consortium with the remit to develop innovative proteomics technologies; and the Molecular Nose, a project developing array based and spectroscopic sensor technologies for the systematic mapping of signalling networks in mammalian cells.

He serves on several editorial boards and international scientific advisory boards. He was a Director of the Caledonian Research Foundation (2007-2010), President of the British Society for Proteome Research, (2007-10), and was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2006.

MEL-PLEX Project 13


Prof Zvia agur

Prof Zvia Agur pictureProfessor Zvia Agur is an eminent international biomathematician, who has made major contributions to the theory of disease dynamics, chemotherapy and vaccination policies optimization.

Prof. Agur is founder of the Institute for Medical BioMathematics (IMBM), has been the president of the Israeli Society of Theoretical and Mathematical Biology, a member of the Board of Directors of the European Society of Mathematical and Theoretical Biology, and an editor of several professional publications.

Her innovative research work has won national awards, has been published in a long line of leading scientific journals and is recognized by the academic community worldwide. Prof. Agur holds a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Université Libre in Brussels.

MEL-PLEX Project 14


 Prof Hans-Uwe Simon

Prof Hans-Uwe Simon is a full-professor and director of the Institute of Pharmacology at University of Bern. He is also the Vice-Dean for Research of the Medical Faculty. Since 1992, Prof Simon successfully supervised more than 40 PhD students and 20 postdoctoral fellows. PhD students of the Simon-lab won more than 10 national and international prizes and obtained all good job positions.

MEL-PLEX Project 15


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