Scientific Teams

Miguel Torres

Miguel Torres

Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares
(CNIC)​ Spain

Miguel Torres, PhD, is a group leader of the of the Genetic Control of Organ Development and Regeneration Group at CNIC.

Dr. Torres has made important contributions to understanding organ development and regeneration mechanisms and has recently described the phenomenon of Cell Competition as an endogenous cell selection mechanism in the mammalian embryo. Furthermore, he established cell competition as a homeostatic mechanism that promotes the phenotypically silent elimination of defective cardiomyocytes and their replacement by healthy ones. His research has been funded by numerous national and international sources, and he is currently coordinating Leducq Foundation “Redox Regulation of Cardiomyocyte Renewal” network and the REANIMA project.

Thomas Eschenhagen

Thomas Eschenhagen

Universitaetsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)

Thomas Eschenhagen, PhD, is Director of the Institute of Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology at UKE.

The scientific career of Prof. Eschenhagen spans over 30 years in the field of molecular cardiology with a focus on adrenergic control of the heart, stem cells and tissue engineering. He pioneered the development of engineered heart tissue (EHT) and is working with his team towards repairing injured hearts with stem cell-derived EHT patches. His research activity has been funded internationally through grants from various public and private bodies, including an ERC Advanced Grant.


Mauro Giacca

King’s College London (KCL)
United Kingdom

Mauro Giacca, PhD, is a Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at KCL.

Prof. Giacca´s scientific career spans over 30 years in the international scientific arena, in particular in the field of molecular medicine with a major emphasis on gene therapy and cardiovascular disorders. His research interest focuses on the development of novel biotherapeutics for cardiovascular disorders, with particular reference to the identification of growth factors and microRNAs inducing cardiac regeneration after myocardial infarction. Prof. Giacca is an expert in the use of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for cardiovascular applications. He also maintains a strong interest in the molecular biology of HIV-1 infection. His research activity has been funded internationally through grants from various public and private bodies, including two ERC Advanced Investigator Grants.

Unviersity of Bern

Nadia Mercader

University of Bern (UBERN)

Nadia Mercader, PhD, is a Professor at the Institute of Anatomy,UBERN and visiting researcher at CNIC.

Prof. Mercader studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cardiac development and regeneration using the zebrafish model organism, that allows in vivo imaging of heart morphogenesis and has the capacity to regenerate the heart during adulthood. Her research activity has been funded internationally through grants from various public and private bodies, including ERC Staring and Consolidator grants.

Research Institute of Molecular Pathology

Elly Tanaka

Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP)

Elly Tanaka, PhD, is a Professor and Senior Scientist at IMP.

Prof. Tanaka is internationally recognised as an innovative scientist who pioneered molecular approaches to understanding the complex phenomenon of regeneration. In particular, Prof. Tanaka brought cutting-edge molecular biology and imaging techniques to the classical regeneration model Ambystoma mexicanum, the Mexican salamander axolotl. Her research activity has been funded internationally through grants from various public and private bodies, including two ERC Advanced Grants.

Weizmann Institute of Science

Eldad Tzahor

Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS)

Eldad Tzahor, PhD, is Head of the Molecular Cell Biology Department at WIS.

Prof. Tzahor is considered a world leader in the field of cardiac regeneration, and is involved in many international networks and collaborative research efforts and is the recipient of a number of prestigious grants and awards, including two ERC grants: Consolidator and Advanced, and the Levinson Prize in Biology.

Eva van Rooij

Eva van Rooij

Hubrecht Institute (KNAW)
The Netherlands

Eva van Rooij, PhD, is a group leader at KNAW, and Associate Professor at the University Medical Center, Utrecht in the Netherlands.

The research of Prof. van Rooij focuses on the molecular mechanisms behind the sometimes fatal disorder of cells in our hearts. Prof. van Rooij was the first person to demonstrate that microRNAs also play a large role in the thickening of the heart muscle – a condition that often leads to a total, often fatal, heart failure.


Christian Plank

Ethris GmbH (ETH) Germany

Christian Plank, PhD, is the co-founder and CSO of ETH and Professor at Technische Universität München.

Prof. Plank is a specialist in the development of delivery systems for nucleic acids. The research of Prof. Plank focuses on developing tools and technologies for targeted delivery of active substances and uses such tools for therapeutic purposes. In this context, a major focus has been the construction of virus-like particles for nucleic acid delivery.

Javier Terriente

Javier Terriente

ZeClinics SL (ZeC)

Javier Terriente, PhD, is the co-founder and CSO of ZeC.

Dr. Terriente is an expert in zebrafish development and the exploitation of this animal model in pre-clinical assays. He is also the scientific director of the company and is leading the design and development of the scientific services portfolio and internal drug discovery pipelines.

Rabea Hinkel

Rabea Hinkel

German Primate Center (DPZ)

Rabea Hinkel, PhD, is a Professor of Laboratory Animal Science at DPZ and the Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule, Hannover.

Prof. Hinkel´s research focuses on the translation of novel late-preclinical approaches to patient translation in cardiovascular research. Her research activity has been funded internationally through grants from various public and private bodies, including one ERC Starting Grant.

Santa Anna

Fabio Recchia

Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna (SSSA)

Fabio Recchia, PhD, MD, is a Professor of Physiology at the Institute of Life Sciences of the SSSA and Adjunct Professor of Physiology at the Cardiovascular Research Center of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia.

Prof. Recchia is studying the role of factors released by heart and skeletal muscle and named, respectively, “cardiokines” and “myokines”, as modulators of cardiac function and metabolism under physiological and pathological conditions in large animal models. His second line of experimental research is centered on new pharmacological and biological therapies for the treatment of heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Prof Recchia has provided internationally recognized scientific contributions to the fields of haemodynamics, cardiac metabolism and gene therapy and is one of the few investigators in Europe with a solid track record of studies in both canine and swine experimental models of cardiac diseases. His research has been funded continuously by the NIH for 16 years.


Ulrike Köhl

Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI)

Ulrike Köhl, PhD, MD, is an immunologist and a Qualified Person and full professor for immune oncology at the University of Leipzig as well as the head of IZI. From 2012 – 2017 she was a full professor and the director of the Institute of Cellular Therapeutics at the Hannover Medical School, Germany.

Currently she is sharing a position between Leipzig and Hannover in order to set up a network for advanced cellular therapeutics.
The research goals of Prof. Köhl have a clinical focus on the development and manufacturing of advanced cell-based therapies and the improvement of cell processing strategies. One further, but closely related focus of her work includes flow-cytometric quality control for Somatic Cell Therapy as well as Gene Therapy products, the determination of functional capability and multivariate immune reconstitution models to optimize the time points for cell-based therapies in stem cell and organ transplantation and in cancer treatment. She has a specific focus on primary human NK cells including chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) expressing NK cells. In addition she is working on harmonization of cell based therapies in international consortia. She is a member of numerous national and international societies and is serving as a reviewer for the European Medicine Agency.