Principal Investigators PDF Print E-mail



Marc Peschanski



Founder and Scientific Director of I-Stem is a medical doctor in Neurosciences. Entered at INSERM in 1982, he first worked on the neurophysiology and anatomy of pain in Paris and San Francisco. From 1985 his work was oriented towards the study of neuroplasticity and transplantation of foetal neurons, with which his team conducted the first clinical studies in France, starting in 1991 in patients with Parkinson’s disease, and the first world trial in Huntington’s patients from 1996, followed by a European study of Phase II. Co-founder of the Clinical Investigation Centre at the Henri-Mondor Hospital and to its associated Biotherapy branch.

Tasks in the project: Large scale automatable provision of undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells and differentiation into epidermic (basal keratinocytes and progenitors) and mesodermal lineages (mesodermal progenitors and myoblasts).  Functional exploration of pluripotent stem cells derived  models (RNA interference, overexpression); genetic engineering of hES and iPS cells through landing pad technology in collaboration with Partner 4 Cellectis and preparation of keratinocytes and myoblasts tool cell lines for HTS.   Functional analysis of toxicity pathways for the identification of relevant target(s) and assay development and validation based upon selected target(s). Technological transfer (keratinocytes and muscle lineages). Training in pluripotent stem cells biology (undifferentiated stem cells, keratinocytes and muscle progenies) and screening.





Vincent Lotteau



Tasks in the project: Generating engineered microvesicles for the vectorisation of reprogramming factors. Generating engineered microvesicles for the vectorisation of proteins for genomic modification of hiPS and hES cells. Reconstructing interactome of proteins involved in toxicology pathways.


Oliver Brüstle



Oliver Brüstle is Professor of Reconstructive Neurobiology at the University of Bonn. He is also Co-Founder and Scientific Director of LIFE & BRAIN GmbH, a biomedical enterprise serving as translational hub of the University of Bonn Medical Center. His field of interest is stem cell research, with a focus on stem cell-based brain repair. The Brüstle lab has particular expertise in the generation of neural cells from pluripotent stem cells and their application in models of neurological disease. Having been the first researcher working on human embryonic stem cells in Germany, he was instrumental in shaping the public debate around this sensitive topic and became a fierce political advocate of stem cell research.

Tasks in the project: Provision of stable neural stem cells, functional neuronal cultures in high purity for high-throughput toxicity screening applications; provision of spontaneously active neuronal networks and glial cells for acute neurotoxicity screening and implementation of newly established reporter constructs for the generation of human iPSC-derived neural reporter cell lines for specific toxicological responses. Novel bioassays for the evaluation of neurotoxic agents utilizing hiPS cell-derived neural cell populations.


Dr Daniella Steel

Daniella Steel




Since joining Cellartis in 2007, Daniella has worked with the differentiation and modification of hES derived cardiomyocytes and now coordinates the Product and Assay Development group of R&D1. Prior to this, Daniella gained a PhD in epithelial electrophysiology in cystic fibrosis, from The National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, London. During a 2 year post doc at McGill University, Quebec, Canada, Daniella studied ion channels and second messenger signalling important for diseases affecting the epithelia. Her research continued at Gothenburg University focusing on the mechanisms of epithelial mucin secretion, and then at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, studying maturation and function of intestinal epithelial. Daniella continued to research the mechanisms controlling phenotype development at the Chalmers University of Technology applying nano-scale surface modifications to guide neuronal progenitor differentiation.

Tasks in the project:  Provide access to Cellartis banked hESC lines. Evaluate scale-up of hIPS in Cellartis feeder free system followed by characterization. Deriving and characterizing hepatocyte-like and cardiomyocyte-like cells from hESCs and hIPS in a feeder-free culture system. Be a partner in the derivation and quality control of genetically engineered hES cell lines containing a reporter driven by a promoter relevant to the toxicity field. Production of hepatocyte-like and cardiomyocyte-like cells derived from pluripotent stem cells to partners in the assay development workpackage. Feedback information from the assay development workpackage to other workpackages for improvement of formats.  



David Sourdive



David Sourdive, Ph.D., co-founded Cellectis with Dr Choulika, and has served as Director since its inception in 2000. Prior to inception of the company, Dr Sourdive was the head of Biotechnology Laboratory at the Centre d'Etudes du Bouchet (French Ministry of Defence). At the same time, Dr Sourdive was heading a research group in Immunology at the Pasteur Institute. Dr. Sourdive attended Ecole Polytechnique and received a Ph.D. in Molecular Virology from University of Paris VII/Institut Pasteur. Dr Sourdive then applied recombination tracking technologies to antiviral immune memory, at the Emory University Vaccine Center in Atlanta.

Tasks in the project: Cellectis' contribution will essentially lie in (i) developing meganuclease-based genome engineering for iPS and hES cells, (ii) developing robust and reproducible genome engineering to improve the derivation of chosen cell/tissue types from human pluripotent stem cells. (iii) developing robust and reproducible genome engineering to turn pluripotent-derived cells into industrializable compound testers. (iv) developing methods based on direct meganuclease protein delivery to achieve targeted reproducible genome modifications in human pluripotent cells. Also in developing robust and reproducible genome engineering to turn pluripotent-derived cells into industrializable compound testers.



Cliff Elcombe




Dr Cliff Elcombe is co-founder and Research Director of CXR Biosciences Ltd. He is also a faculty member the Biomedical Research Centre, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee. He joined the University of Dundee in 1997 after a 18-year career (1979-1997) at Zeneca's (formerly ICI) Central Toxicology Laboratory in Cheshire, England, where he was a Senior Scientist in Investigative Toxicology.. He is the author or co-author of over 120 peer-reviewed publications and has served on several national and international advisory committees including the UK Advisory Committee on Pesticides and the UK Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment. Dr. Elcombe’s research interests are focused on understanding mechanisms of target organ toxicity thereby facilitating scientifically based risk assessment. He has long standing research interests in non-genotoxic carcinogenicity and the development of in vitro methods for prediction of toxicity and hazard assessment.

Tasks in the project: Characterization in functional and genomic assays of hepatocyte-like cells derived from stem cells. Contribute know-how in the field of reporter design and construction as well as the transfection of cell lines with key drug metabolising enzymes.  Evaluate prototype reporter or “tool” cell lines at low throughput using relevant biochemical and histochemical techniques. Develop drug discovery relevant assays utilising the tool cell lines produced in other workpackage.


Andrea Robitzki





Prof. Andrea Robitzki is the Director of the Biotechnological-Biomedical Centre at the Universität Leipzig. In 1991, she entered the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg and conducted research on tumour cell reaggregation. From 1998 onward she focused on the development of medical devices, micro-implants, and biohybrid systems at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering in St. Ingbert and since 2002 at the University of Leipzig. Actual developments and technologies are addressing real time cell and tissue based 96-well and 384-well-Microelectrode arrays as well as automated multiplexed screening platforms for High Content Screening.

Tasks in the project:  Cell and tissue-based impedance spectroscopy and electrophysiological recording on chip; semiconductor technology for cell-based chip fabrication. High Content Screening combined with photonic/optic high resolution monitoring and electrophysiological (functional) / impedimetric (toxicol.) recording. Bioengineering and cultivation of 2D and 3D hES/iPS related clusters on microarrays; biosensoric and electronic real time iPS/hES related cell assay development. Training in cell based microarray screening.

Roy Foster




Dr. Roy Forster is Scientific Director of CIT, a leading European Contract Research Organisation performing preclinical safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics studies on candidate drugs, biologics and vaccines. In this role, Dr. Forster provides advice on the nonclinical safety aspects of the development of new therapeutics. He has been active in preclinical safety and drug development for many years, working in France, England and Italy. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, London; Editorial Board member of several journals, visiting lecturer at Kings College, University of London and was coordinator of the FP6 RETHINK project on mini-pigs in toxicology. He is author of more than 50 scientific articles.

Tasks in the project: Will co-ordinate the WP4 and will be active in tasks 4.1.2 (adapting biological conditions of the assays), 4.1.3 (development of quality controls), 4.2 (technological resources for HTS) and 4.3 (Demo assay prototypes).

Julie Clements



Tasks in the project: Evaluation and scale up (technology transfer/industrialisation) with responsibility for:

  • Method transfer from other WP’s to an industrial scale lab
  • Refinement of protocols to high throughput assays to GLP including automation where appropriate
  • Generation of robust SOP’s and reproducible data
  • Validation of pre-defined chemicals in the assay systems
  • Commercialisation and market opinion of the assays developed


Although primarily responsible for the downstream application of the assays developed in other workpackages, involvement in these groups would allow the CRO partner to provide valuable input into the development of the assays and bring market experience to these groups.


Susanne Bremer-Hoffmann



Susanne Bremer is holding a PhD degree in biology obtained from the Charity University Hospital Berlin in Germany. After post-doctoral research at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Germany, S. Bremer joint the Institute for Health & Consumer Protection (IHCP) at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and became a team member of the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) in 1995. Currently S. Bremer coordinates institutional activities related to test development which includes the participation in several FP 6 and FP 7 projects. S. Bremer provides support to test developer in order to ensure that toxicological in vitro tests will meet ECVAM’s criteria for entering into (pre)validation.

Tasks in the project: The IHCP will support the development of quality standards for pluripotent stem cells for the various stem cell derived cell types that are used as basis for toxicity testing. The qualitative definition of cell population by an agreed set of marker as well as their quantification will be part of the acceptance criteria to be included in the various tests.


 Tommy B. Anderson



Tommy B. Andersson is Senior Principal Scientist in drug disposition in the DMPK Centre of Excellence. Tommy joined Astra Hässle 1993 and has held various positions in DMPK. From 2003 through 2008 he was the preclinical scientific lead for Exanta hepatotoxic investigations. In 2003 he was also appointed Professor at Karolinska Institutet, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Section of Pharmacogenetics in Stockholm. Tommy has an extensive experience in leading and coordinating international industrial and academic research collaborations. He has published over 125 original articles and reviews in the fields of environmental toxicology and drug metabolism in refereed journal.

Tasks in the project: Clinical Pharmacology and DMPK will perform functional analysis of the cells developed for tox screening. Functional characterization of both xenobiotic metabolism and important transporter functions like the OATP and OCT uptake transporters and several efflux transporters (Pgp, BSEP, BCRP, MRP2 and MATE).Develop assays for toxicity and analyse toxicity response (dose response) in differentiated hES cells and iPS cells with cell lines as compared with cell lines.



 Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg





Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg is a PhD and BSc.Med . He has 350 original papers, 18 500 citations and an h-factor of 74. He is ranked as the 4th most highly impact researcher of 4,000 in the field of drug metabolism  ( ) and one of the worlds most cited authors within the category Pharmacology . The current research is centered about genetic predictors for drug response and adverse drug reactions. In addition, new in vitro systems are developed for identification of new biomarkers predicting drug hepatotoxicity using 3D reactors from Stem Cell Systems where intact liver structures are obtained as usable for several weeks.

Tasks in the project:

  • Characterisation of cell systems with respect to competence for xenobiotic metabolism and toxicity
  • Toxicity testing of cells in artificial devices
  • Bioreactor systems based on primary human hepatocytes
  • Characterisation of xenobiotic metabolism 

Giovanna Lazzari




Giovanna Lazzari holds a degree in Veterinary Medicine and did her postdoctoral studies in Cambridge (UK) on germ cells biology. Currently she is Scientific Director of Avantea srl and teaches as contract Professor at two italian universities. Her research interests include biotechnology of reproduction, basic and applied research in molecular embryology with particular emphasis on oocyte and preimplantation embryo biology, reproductive toxicology, embryonic stem cells, development of alternative toxicological tests. She is project leader in 2 ongoing EU FP7 projects (Esnats, Plurisys).

Tasks in the project: To provide undifferentiated hES and committed neural precursors primed towards a given neural fate. To develop a toxicological assay on the neural precursors exposing them for at least 14 days to testing chemicals selected within the consortium.




Glyn Stacey




Glyn Stacey is the Head of the Division of Cell Biology and Imaging at NIBSC-HPA and is Director for the UK Stem Cell Bank funded by the Medical Research Council and BBSRC. At NIBSC he has developed a broad remit on cell biology issues relevant to the quality and safety of new biological medicines and therapies based on the use of human and animal cells. He has also chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of Stem Cells for Safer Medicine (a Govt/Pharma collaboration to establish stem cell-derived human models for toxicology) and serves on a number of steering groups for organisations supporting the development of cell based medicines. Glyn’s team most recently completed the establishment of a new and expanded GMP facility for the UK Stem Cell Bank that will continue its work to bank and distribute human stem cell lines for both research and human application.

Tasks in project: The UKSCB will provide banks of quality controlled hESCs and iPSCs for use in SCR&Tox labs and  will also contribute to training and development of cryopreservation technologies.


Christiane Dascher-Nadel
 (Project Manager)

Dr. Christiane Dascher-Nadel, Senior Project Manager at Inserm Transfert since 2003. Christiane received her PhD in molecular genetics at the Max Planck Institute, Göttingen, Germany in 1991 and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, USA, in the department of cell biology (1992 – 1996). In 1996 she joined the Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research (NIBR), Vienna, Austria, first as a laboratory head then as head of a R&D programme in the departments of Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases (1996 – 2001). With international experiences gained in both academic and industrial research she joined Inserm Transfert’s European Department in 2003 with the aspiration to contribute to the technology transfer between academic research and industry. Since 2006 C. Dascher-Nadel heads the team within the European and International Affairs Department which manages European projects mainly related to stem cells and biotherapy.

Tasks in the project: