Chief Executive Officer

Nicky Cooper

Drug discovery expert

Nicky has a background in biology and a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Greenwich, and more than 30-years’ experience in drug discovery. She has served in a range of lead drug discovery positions, including head of discovery at Sosei Group and Acacia Pharma, CSO at Peptinnovate and VP Drug Discovery Alliances at C4X Discovery. Nicky’s experience and knowhow in drug discovery is key for our drug discovery strategy and execution.

Contact Info

Chief Scientific Officier & founder 

Marcelo Ribeiro

hiPSC-derived cardiomyocyte expert

Marcelo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry form Lisbon University, Portugal. In 2008 he moved to the Netherlands, where he completed his Master’s in Drug Innovation at Utrecht University. He performed his PhD research at the department of Anatomy and Embryology of the Leiden University Medical Center on hiPSC derived cardiomyocyte maturation and disease modelling, and thereafter held a Postdoc position at the department of Applied Stem Cell Technologies at the University of Twente. Marcelo performed his scientific research with an entrepreneurial spirit and the ultimate goal of societal valorization. 

Contact Info

Chief Operational Officer & founder 

Lisanne Blauw

Cardiovascular genetics expert

Lisanne has a unique combined background in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Medicine at Leiden University, and decided thereafter to make the switch to the Master of Biomaterials & Tissue Biomechanics at Delft University of Technology. Lisanne holds a PhD in Medicine from Leiden University on genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases. 

Contact Info

Chair of scientific advisory board & founder 

Robert Passier

Cardiac disease modelling and hiPSC expert

Robert is Professor and Chair of the Department of Applied Stem Cell Technologies of the University of Twente and Professor at the Department of Anatomy and Embryology of the Leiden University Medical Center. His research group focuses on cardiac disease modelling based on human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC). He has extensive experience on cardiotoxicity and cardiac disease using hPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. Besides, Robert is leading  the research theme “heart disease” of the Institute for Human Organ and Disease Model Technologies (hDMT). 

Contact Info

Assistant Scientist

Tom Boonen

Engineering and product development expert

Tom obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Medicine, learning about the technical needs and requirements of hospitals, and performing research on de-cellularising pig arteries for use as coronary bypass grafts. Afterwards, he made the switch to the Master of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Twente with a specialisation in Bio-nanotechnology and Advanced Bio-manufacturing. He gained extensive knowhow on organ-on-a-chip models during several internships. He worked, among others, on a myocardial ischaemia model on-a-chip. Tom aims to translate research into viable products and make them available to the rest of the world.

Contact Info

Assistant Scientist

Chloë Kaal

Molecular biology expert

Chloë holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the Radboud University Nijmegen, specialized in medical and molecular biology. She holds a master’s degree in Molecular Mechanisms of Disease from the Radboud University Nijmegen, focused on studying underlying processes of disease and translating them into treatments for patients. During her internship and employment at the University of Twente in the research group of prof. Passier, she worked on maturation of hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes in a heart-on-chip model. Chloë aims to translate research on heart disease models to effective treatment for patients.

Contact Info

Financial and business strategy advisor

Marcel Zwaal

Marcel holds a Master degree in corporate finance from the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, and has over 15-years of experience in business development in pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He served in a range of management positions, including director of business control and planning at Crucell, CEO at DC Prime, director of corporate development at Galapagos and senior VP corporate development at Kiadis. Marcel’s extensive expertise has been instrumental in the development of River BioMedics.