Co-founder & director

Marcelo Ribeiro

Scientific and corporate development

Marcelo is leading the scientific development of River BioMedics’ screening platforms. 

He 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. 

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Lisanne Blauw

Business and corporate development

Lisanne takes care of the business development of River BioMedics.

She has a unique combined background in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering. Lisanne 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. 

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Robert Passier

Scientific advisor

Robert is our main scientific advisor. 

He 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). 

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Marcel Zwaal

Financial and business strategy advisor

Marcel is River BioMedics’s financial and business strategy advisor. 

He 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. Marcel 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 proven crucial for the development 0f River BioMedics.

Nicky Cooper

Strategic drug discovery advisor

Nicky Cooper advises on our drug discovery strategy.

She has a background in biology and a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Greenwich, and more than 30-years’ experience in drug discovery. Nicky 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.

Assistant Scientist

Tom Boonen

Research and product development

Tom is constantly advancing River BioMedics’ core technology.

He 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.

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