Meet the River BioMedics' team


Nicky Cooper
Chief Executive Officer

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 River BioMedics’ drug discovery strategy and execution.

Marcelo Ribeiro
Chief Scientific Officer

Marcelo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Lisbon University, Portugal. In 2008 he moved to the Netherlands, where he completed his Masters 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. 

Lisanne Blauw
Chief Operational Officer

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. 


Jiayi Pei
Senior Scientist

Jiayi obtained a Master’s degree in Molecular Life Science from Wageningen University. During her PhD training at the University Medical Center Utrecht, she focused on acquired and inherited heart diseases and identified several pathomechanisms underlying those diseases. She then took a post-doc position at Netherland Heart Insitute and investigated potential druggable candidates for developing new therapeutic strategies for heart failure patients. Now, Jiayi aims to discover promising (novel) drugs for patients.

Chloë Kaal

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 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.

Daphne Laarveld

Daphne holds a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Laboratory Research from Saxion Enschede. Afterwards, she moved to Nijmegen to obtain her master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from the Radboud University. Through several internships, she has gained a special interest and knowledge in using microfluidic technology for (disease) modelling and drug evaluation. In Nijmegen, she worked on the vascularization of a tumor-on-a-chip model for enhanced evaluation of an anti-cancer adenoviral-mediated IgA therapy. Now, Daphne aims to use improved heart disease models for better drug discovery and development.

Anke Vollertsen
 Senior Engineer

Anke has a Master’s degree in Biophysics from the Humboldt University of Berlin and completed her PhD in the BIOS Lab on a chip group at the University of Twente. During her PhD and postdoc she focused on the parallelization and automation of microfluidic cell culture. As part of her work, she contributed to the development of the Translational Organ-on-Chip Platform which uses standardized interfacing of (bio)microfluidic modules to create a ‘plug and play’ system. Anke aims to use microfluidic technology to streamline and optimize the creation and maintenance of heart tissues for disease modeling.

Amélie Bocquet
PhD candidate

Amélie obtained a bachelor’s degree in digital sciences and biology, and a Master’s degree in Bionanotechnologies, from the JUNIA ISEN Lille engineering school, in France. During her Master’s internship, she worked on a microfluidic label-free method to analyse the viability of boar spermatozoa, in the group of Prof. Albert van den Berg, at the University of Twente. After graduating, Amélie started her PhD by joining River Biomedics and the BIOS lab-on-a-Chip group. She aims to develop a new microfluidic device to maintain heart tissues oxygen and nutrients supply, through flow recirculation automation. This technology will enable high-throughput drug screening for heart disease modeling.

Manuel Sambrotta
Junior Engineer

Manuel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pisa, with an industrial specialisation. He subsequently obtained a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, specialising in cells, tissues, and biotechnology engineering. During his Master’s internship, he worked on a 3D culture model for spinal cord regeneration, focusing on the analysis of a material based on Self-Assembling Peptides. Through this, he acquired knowledge and skills on neural regeneration, 3D cultures techniques and 3D bioprintig. Now, Manuel aims to reproduce cardiac models and tissues to use them as devices for the study of new drugs and therapies.

Drug discovery

Clare Murray

Clare has over 30 years’ experience in Drug Discovery and Development having worked in the Respiratory and Inflammation, Oncology and Emerging Innovations disease areas in AstraZeneca before joining C4X Discovery. Clare was Senior VP Drug Discovery at C4X Discovery, leading the biology teams and co-managing the research and development pipeline. She played a key role in the out licensing of the Orexin-1 receptor antagonist project to Indivior, and the partnering of the IL-17 inhibitor programme with Sanofi and the Nrf2 activator programme with AstraZeneca.

As Associate Director and Project Leader at AstraZeneca she provided leadership of cross-functional small molecule and biological drug discovery projects and supported development projects up to Phase 2 clinical studies. Clare was also involved in establishing the AstraZeneca Open Innovation platform and in managing academic industry partnerships.

Clare has published more than 20 scientific papers, has a PhD in Neuropharmacology and a first-class Biochemistry degree from the University of Kent, and is a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society.