Dr. Volker M. Lauschke, Karolinska Institutet

Topic: Chemogenomic screening in organotypic and microphysiological patient-derived 3D cultures - towards reliable drug target identification in metabolic diseases

Volker M. Lauschke (V.M.L.) is Professor and group leader in Translational Pharmacology at Karolinska Institutet (KI), Stockholm, Sweden and Deputy Director of the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology (IKP) in Stuttgart, Germany. His research group engineers organotypic and microphysiological human tissue models to develop novel therapeutic strategies for inflammatory conditions (NASH), infectious diseases (COVID-19 and hemorrhagic fevers) and complex metabolic diseases (type 2 diabetes).

V.M.L. has authored over 140 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is the recipient of multiple awards in the area of genetics, pharmacology and drug discovery, including the Lennart Philipson Prize 2017, the AAPS High Impact Award 2020 and the ISSX Karl Netter Award 2023. Furthermore, he is a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher 2022 in Pharmacology (1 of 3 in Sweden). Besides his academic work, he is co-founder and CEO of HepaPredict AB, a biotech company offering 3D human liver models for drug discovery and development, as well as co-founder and CSO of PersoMedix AB, offering services for personalized drug response predictions.


Dr. Tuula Heinonen, Tampere University

Topic: The use and acceptance of in-vitro alternative methods (NAMS) in regulatory science now and future perspective

Professor Heinonen, Ph.D.  is an European Registered toxicologist having extensive theoretical education and over 25 years´ experience in drug and diagnostic development in industry and academia on mechanistic research, test method and testing strategy development, on method validation and GLP, on drug safety including molecular and animal toxicology and on project management. In pharma industry she has been working in various positions such as R&D director, project management, department head, study director for GLP- and non-GLP studies, and being responsible for whole drug development plan and especially for planning, executing and reporting animal and in vitro toxicological, drug safety and mechanistic investigations for new small molecules and biologicals according to the relevant regulatory requirements. In addition to non-clinical (52) studies she has been responsible for clinical (3) studies in antimicrobial field. Professor Heinonen has participated in pre-IND, NDA and scientific consultation meetings at FDA, EMA and some European pharmaceutical regulators. The therapy areas cover cardiovascular, neuronal, anti-infective, cancer and HRT. The scientific research is published in 75 international peer reviewed journals, 9 peer reviewed articles in scientific and conference books, 5 non-refereed scientific articles. 

Further, she has also been responsible to set up and be a director of OECD-GLP laboratories in pharma industry and academia (The Finnish Centre for Alternative Methods, FICAM). Professor Heinonen is the Finland´s PARERE person for EURL-ECVAM.


Dr. Mayoura Keophiphath, Diva Expertise

Topic: DIVA-Caps, a long-term and in vitro three-dimensional drug screening model for Obesity, Aging and related metabolic complications

Mayoura KEOPHIPHATH is the founder and the CEO of the French BioTech DIVA EXPERTISE, a Global Leader in the Applied Research on Human Adipose Tissue.

With a doctorate in physiology and physiopathology and an engineering degree in nutraceuticals, Mayoura has developed a large expertise and know-how in the biology of human adipose tissue and in the preclinical and clinical evaluation of health, beauty and well-being products. Promoting and Valorizing Research and Entrepreneurship are real challenges that she wanted to bring together by creating DIVA EXPERTISE whose aim is to develop deep innovative biological models and to support Health, Nutrition and Cosmetics industries in their Research and Development of efficient products.


Dr. Thomas Lundbäck, AstraZeneca

Topic: Towards highly miniaturised 3D cell models for chemistry optimisation

Thomas Lundbäck has been with Discovery Sciences and AstraZeneca for seven years and he transitioned into his current role as Senior Director in 2022. He is responsible for the Mechanistic Biology team in Sweden with the remit to provide world-class SAR profiling and bespoke mechanism of action studies across multiple drug modalities including small molecules, peptides, PROTACs, antisense oligonucleotides and siRNA. His organization primarily serves the Cardiovascular, Renal, and Metabolism and the Respiratory and Immunology therapy area organisations, but also Neuroscience and the Alexion AstraZeneca rare disease portfolio.

Thomas has more than 25 years of experience in life science research, including several transitions between academia and industry. He received his PhD in biophysics at the Karolinska Institutet, and following postdoctoral studies at University College London and Yale University, he joined Pharmacia & Upjohn in 1999, where he spent 10 years. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Thomas worked with the biophysics portfolio of products at GE Healthcare before he went back to the Karolinska Institutet. There he worked at Chemical Biology Consortium Sweden (CBCS), a national infrastructure for chemical biology research. It is in this setting that he encountered the cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA) and played a key role in the addition of HTS-compatible readouts to the technology.

Thomas brings a rich external network, which he leverages as an experienced organizer of scientific meetings, with the ELRIG Advances in Cell-Based Screening meeting in 2022 and the ELRIG Therapeutic OLIGO meeting in 2023 as highlights. Additional external roles include his service as chairman of the steering groups for CBCS and the Chemical Biology and Genome Engineering platform at SciLifeLab, a member of the ELRIG Science Strategy Committee, and the Industry Liaison Office for the EU-OPENSCREEN DRIVE project. Thomas is also an Associate Editor of the ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies journal.


Dr. Doris Wilflingseder, Medical University of Innsbruck

Topic: The breathtaking world of animal-free and immune-competent respiratory barrier models

After studying biology/zoology at the Leopold-Franzens-University of Innsbruck and my PhD at the Institute of Theoretical Surgery, I started working on host-pathogen interactions as a post-doc at the Institute for Hygiene and Medical Microbiology at the Medical University of Innsbruck (MUI). After a stay abroad in 2008/2009 at University College London, I set up my work group at the Institute for Hygiene and Medical Microbiology with third-party funding and have been successfully working for many years with my group (immunology and cell biology) on host-pathogen interactions and infection susceptibility within 3D models.

We lay a special focus on the use of relevant, human 3D cell culture systems and primary cells in order to simulate the course of an infection as 'realistically as possible in the petri dish' and thus gain insights that are not revealed when using 2D cultures or degenerated cell lines. From 2012 to 2019, I worked as an associate professor and deputy director at the Institute of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology at MUI and have a university professorship in infection biology since 2020. Over the years, I have successfully acquired competitive third-party funding (FWF, NIH, ÖNB), have published continuously (48 publications in the last 5 years), am committed to teaching infectiology and immunology, and have a self-designed course on alternatives to animal experiments in biomedical research in the MUI curriculum to teach junior scientists on the opportunities of human-centered models.


Dr. Andris Abramenkovs, Sartorius

Topic: Maximizing the Potential of 3D Organoid Research with Live-Cell Imaging and Isolation

Andris Abramenkovs, PhD, is a dedicated product manager for the CellCelector platform, with a passion for streamlining and expediting cell isolation workflows. After joining Sartorius, Andris worked as a field application scientist, specializing in Incucyte® and iQue® technologies. During his PhD studies, Andris focused on DNA damage and repair mechanisms, demonstrating his expertise in the field


Dr. Alexander Schreiner, Revvity

Topic: Preparing to take cell painting to the 3rd dimension

Alexander Schreiner is a principal R&D scientist and member of the Imaging and Detection Application Lab at Revvity with more than 20 years experience in the life science area. He is involved in the development of applications and the application related support for Revvity’s high content screening instruments. Alexander holds a doctorate in Biology from Goethe University in Frankfurt. During his PhD he worked on the identification and analysis of protein-protein interactions, followed by a postdoc period in Frankfurt where he worked on the analysis of unusual long signal peptides. He then moved to the UK to work as a postdoc at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute. After this Alexander joined the Light Microscopy Facility of the same Institute providing support and training for the different microscope systems within the facility.


Dr. Christian Parker, SLAS / Novartis

Topic: SLAS - An Introduction and Overview / A Simple Assay for Complex Biology

Christian Parker grew up in Scotland and received his first degree from Edinburgh University. Then he moved to the University of Bristol, England, to gain a Ph.D. with Prof. Steve Halford, FRS, developing a novel method to monitor long range DNA/protein interactions. This work resulted in papers published in Cell and Nature. Following that he obtained a NATO post-doctoral award to study transposition at Yale University with Nigel Grindley. After this fellowship he joined Procter & Gamble, where he worked in the Skin Care and Pharmaceutical groups. In 1999, he joined the high throughput screening group of Pharmacia in Kalamazoo. While in Kalamazoo he helped Dr. Brian Tripp of Western Michigan University to set up a Master’s degree course in High Throughput Screening. In 2003, he left Pharmacia to join the Lead Discovery Group of Novartis in Cambridge, MA., and in 2005 transferred to the Cell Based Screening group in Basel, Switzerland. At the end of 2009 he had the opportunity to set up a high throughput biology laboratory supporting target discovery projects. The group has developed from screening predominantly siRNAs and cDNAs to include pooled CRISPR approaches.

Christian's research group is involved with the development, optimization, validation, automation and data analysis of high throughput screens. These are conducted for a number of different therapeutic areas including: anti-infectives, autoimmunity and transplantation, CNS, respiratory, metabolic and cardiovascular disease areas.

During his industrial career he has worked with a number of different post-doctoral student developing novel informatics methods and biology projects. These projects have resulted in papers in journals such as JBC, J. Med. Chem., JACS, Antimicrob. Agents & Chemother., ChemBiochem., Bioorg & Med Chem Letts., J. Chem. Inf. Comput. Sci., J. Biomol. Screen and Assay Drug Dev. Technol. 

As well as reviewing manuscripts for a number of journals including J. Med. Chem. and Nature Biotechnology, Christian also served as Associate Editor for SLAS Discovery. Between 2007 and 2011 he was involved with the organization of the drug discovery conference MipTec; first as co-Chair of the Poster Session, he then took on the role as co-chair of the program committee and secretary to the session committee. During this time MipTec went from being a very small conference focusing on microtitre plate technologies, to being the largest drug discovery conference in Europe. In 2016 he was elected to the SLAS European Council for a three year appointment. Then in 2021, he accepted the role as a European Ambassador for SLAS as part of this role he has initiated regular virtual meet-ups to increase member engagement, as well as, face to face meetings when possible.