Yunus Alpagu, PhD
Head of Cellular Models & Drug Development
In his role as Head of Cellular Models & Drug Development, Dr. Yunus Alpagu is responsible for leading CENTOGENE’s Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) program in support of our pharmaceutical partners, with disease models that represent many aspects of human diseases. iPSCs are an unlimited source from which to generate many different disease-specific cell...
... types in the laboratory, ultimately allowing for the acceleration in the development of orphan drugs.
Yunus received his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Middle East Technical University, where he received prestigious honors as valedictorian amongst his graduating class, allowing him to take a fast track and immediately start a PhD program. He went on to complete his PhD in Stem Cell Biology at the Nanyang Technological University and Institute of Medical Biology at A*STAR – Singapore.
At the beginning of his career, Yunus focused on academic research, serving as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, Germany. While there, he focused on the generation of functional muscle cells in vitro from pluripotent cells, making for the perfect transition and knowledge base to join CENTOGENE in 2018.
Senior Vice President Communications and Marketing
In his role as Senior Vice President Communications and Marketing, Angelos Baxevanis has the overall responsibility of further developing the marketing and communication strategies, establishing internal marketing workflows, and further positioning CENTOGENE as a leading provider of medical solutions for rare disease patients.
With over two decades of marketing and communications experience, Angelos joins CENTOGENE from AAB Consulting Inc., where he worked with Sobi Pharmaceuticals on various projects to enhance commercial capabilities in the rare disease area. Prior to this role, he led the Marketing Communication and Marketing Excellence department in Smith & Nephew, a leading FTSE-100 provider of medical equipment and technology. Angelos also served as Commercial Lead at Astra Zeneca, where he implemented a number of complex, strategic initiatives alongside the Executive Leadership Team and CEO. Prior to this role, he was Astra Zeneca’s Commercial Director – heading several transformation projects and guiding changes to nation-wide healthcare systems in six European countries. He developed his marketing and communications skills early on in his career at The Coca-Cola Company, where he held positions of increasing responsibility in consumer and trade marketing over his 10-year tenure.
Angelos holds an MBA from the Alba Graduate Business School and an M. Eng. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Patras in Greece.
Senior Vice President Business Development
Justin, as Senior Vice President of Business Development, leads a global team developing our pharmaceutical partnership strategy with the goal of maximizing value through accelerating and de-risking orphan drug programs for rare genetic diseases.
Prior to CENTOGENE, Justin was the Director of ...
... Business Development at Synthetic Genomics, Inc (SGI) and responsible for pharma and life science partnerships and collaborations. Justin also led the global marketing and sales activities for SGI-DNA, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SGI and life sciences company developing synthetic biology tools and technologies with global applications. He draws from more than 10 years as a cell biologist working in preclinical drug discovery first with the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) and then the Exploratory Technologies Group within Pfizer Research and Development.
His broad experience as a scientist and in scaling life science and biotechnology companies to meet the demands of their partners provides a unique perspective and helps CENTOGENE to build value as a company.
Claudia Cozma, PhD
Vice President Biomarker Development
Dr. Claudia Cozma is the Vice President of the Biomarker Development team at CENTOGENE and is responsible for leading the development, validation, and implementation of dried blood spot (DBS) based biochemical tests, especially including innovative biomarker identification and monitoring of rare diseases.
Additionally, she leads her team in the discovery of new biomarkers for rare diseases, including small metabolites, oligo-biopolymers, and proteins. Claudia oversees the team’s work with data analytics based on CENTOGENE’S developed machine learning algorithms and experimental confirmation of the biomarker candidates.
She finished her studies in Biochemistry and Ecology in Romania and holds a master’s in Biotechnology, followed by a doctorate in Natural Sciences in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Konstanz, Germany on the mass spectrometric structural studies of antibodies, namely epitope-paratope determination of polyclonal antibodies with application in Alzheimer Disease. She has experience in different mass spectrometric techniques, such as MALDI-ToF MS, MALDI-qToF MS, ESI-FT-ICR MS, MALDI-FT-ICR MS, ESI-ion trap MS, ESI-Orbitrap MS, ESI-TQ MS, ESI-IM-QToF, and ETD-QToF as well as hybrid techniques, such as affinity-MS, biosensor-MS, microchip-MS with application in proteomics, peptidomics, and metabolomics. She has worked at Centogene since 2014, providing outstanding know-how within the diagnostic world.
Christoph de Artiagoitia
Senior Vice President Finance & Administration
Christoph serves as the Senior Vice President of Finance & Administration at CENTOGENE and is responsible for the Finance, Controlling, and Purchasing department. He has vast experience in establishing and improving finance processes as well as optimizing and digitalizing business workflows. His leadership will ensure that the finance organization supports the company...
... towards continuous growth and expansion.
Christoph previously served as Head of Finance at the publishing company, Aschendorff, in Münster, Germany. His responsibilities included a complete digital transformation of the finance department as well as optimizing existing processes. As part of the company’s development, he supported the creation of the digital business. He has invested in several start-ups in young, growing German-based companies from different sectors (e.g. HR-Tech, real estate, healthcare) and served as member of advisory councils.
Earlier in his career, he worked for PwC as an auditor. He joined audits of a wide variety of small and large multinational clients in a broad range of different industries.
Christoph studied Economics at the Ruhr-University-Bochum and holds a master’s degree in Economics as well. He graduated as a German tax accountant.
Robert W. de Deugd
Senior Vice President Sales
Robert executes the position, Senior Vice President of Sales. He has broad international B2B, B2G, and B2C experience from various industries in Europe, the Middle-East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. His leadership background includes publicly and privately held companies in business segments such as healthcare, industry, and consumer. Roles have...
... included executive leadership of large-scale geographies, management of countries, and market clusters around the world as well as sales/service/rental/manufacturing operations. International experience includes growing business in highly-competitive developed markets, geographic expansion, and business development in emerging markets as well as portfolio management, restructuring, and turnaround tasks.
Robert brings extended experience in global strategy implementation and Go-To-Market Planning with execution through local sales organizations or via indirect channel management in partnership with GPO´s, dealers, and distributors. He has lived and worked abroad in countries in Europe and Asia, which exposed him to a wide diversity of cultural dynamics, practices, and experiences.
Robert has a General Management and Commercial background with Business Economics studies and further academic development through Executive Learning & Development programs at Harvard Business School in Boston, Institute of Management in Bangalore, Chalmers University in Gothenburg, and Copenhagen Business School.
Robert started his professional career with the Special Forces of the Royal Dutch Marines and spent about 15 years with Danish Nilfisk A/S and acquired companies in the highly-competitive cleaning equipment industry. In 2006, he started in Healthcare and Medical Technologies industry for Swedish Getinge AB. Robert has more than 20 years of international experience and has held senior positions in Europe and Asia.
Senior Director IT Operations
Michael serves as the Senior Director of IT Operations at CENTOGENE. He has a broad range of experience in transforming and improving IT services as well as optimizing infrastructure and applications towards an innovative and stable design. Michael also has more than 20 years of...
... experience in international leadership roles. He previously directed an IT stabilization program and led IT Operations at Bombardier Transportation, transforming single outsourcing into a controlled multiple vendor strategy. Prior to that, he worked at BMW for almost a decade, including the BMW- Brilliance joint venture in China, where he enabled the IT organization to cope with aggressive business growth in his role as the Manager of IT Application Operations. Michael started his career with software development and running projects in start-ups and midsize companies. He studied Business Informatics at Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University and holds a Dipl.-Wirtsch.- Inf. (DA). He also holds an executive Master of Business Administration (eMBA) degree from the Quantic School of Business and Technology (Washington, D.C.).
Director IT Portfolio Management
Andreas has held the position, Director of IT Portfolio Management at CENTOGENE GmbH since March 2018. In his current role, he leads an international team and is responsible for driving IT projects and optimizing CENTOGENE’s existing application landscape. He brings broad experience in project management having held such positions over the past 10 years.
Andreas previously served as Technology Business Partner at the cruise line, AIDA, in Rostock, Germany. There he was responsible for IT shared services across AIDA Cruises, Costa Crociere, P&O Cruises, and Cunard, and he worked closely with the Executive Board team to ensure seamless centralization of services. His responsibilities at AIDA included driving an outcome-based organizational alignment of united strategy, shared goals, objective agreement, and measurable activities. Prior to AIDA, Andreas worked as a business analyst in Germany, gathering vast experience in problem solving and determining operational objectives.
Andreas completed his studies at the University of Applied Science – Wismar, Germany in the field of Business Informatics. He also holds a General Management Programme – GMP certificate from ESCP Europe.
Krishna Kumar Kandaswamy, PhD
Director R&D Bioinformatics
CENTOGENE’s Director of R&D Bioinformatics, Dr. Krishna Kumar is responsible for creating genetic pipelines and applications for the biomedical interpretation of next-generation sequencing data. He also acts as a top contributing author for the Company, having been awarded the Nature Citation Award - Most-Cited Paper for 2018. Krishna’s focus is on the continuous...
... improvements of CENTOGENE’s diagnostic processes, via the discovery of new information buried within the vast data sources, and extraction with new algorithms. CENTOGENE’`s AI driven variant prioritization and fully automated variant classification are examples, where the R&D Bioinformatics Team was able to enhance diagnostic efficiency and knowledge through advanced data integration and in-depth algorithms.
Prior to joining CENTOGENE in 2014, he carried out his postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry. During this time, he developed machine learning algorithms to predict somatic mutations as well as computational methods for the identification and qualification of transcripts from high-throughput RNA sequencing. In addition to his hands-on experience in the biotechnology field, Krishna has contributed to 40+ peer-reviewed publications in international conferences and journals, including recognition as a highly cited article from Science Watch.
Krishna received his Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from PSG College of Technology - Coimbatore, India. He later went on to complete his PhD in Bioinformatics from the University of Lübeck, developing various machine learning algorithms for protein functional analysis.
Head of Human Resources
Daniela joined CENTOGENE in 2012, and serves as Head of Human Resources. She has the overall responsibility of working closely with the Executive Leadership team as a supportive liaison for the large and international team at CENTOGENE. Daniela plays a central role in the development of the company by providing solutions, development opportunities, and...
... onboarding processes.
She brings considerable international experience in the field of project management and building of organizational structures from experience gained from multicultural settings in the U.S. and Spain. Throughout this period, she gained valuable knowledge and skills that allows her to effectively support interpersonal relationships across all departments.
Daniela holds a degree in Administration and Management from ESA European School for Higher Education. Additionally, she partook in further education courses in publicism and Spanish at the Free University of Berlin.
Omid Paknia, PhD
Director Medical Reporting and Bioinformatics
In his role as Director of Medical Reporting and Bioinformatics, Dr. Omid Paknia has overall responsibility for analyzing whole exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing data, as well as ensuring the highest standards of quality and data security for all NGS analysis. He is also responsible for ensuring CENTOGENE’s laboratory operates within defined...
...operational, cost, and revenue parameters.
Omid brings over fifteen years of experience in molecular biology as a biologist and bioinformatician to his role. Before joining CENTOGENE, he completed his postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Molecular Biology in Hannover, Germany, and at the same time, was also an instructor to both PhD and master’s students. Previous experience includes his role as a Research Assistant at the University of Ulm in Germany, and at the University of Gorgan, Iran.
He graduated with his BS in Biology and Zoology from the University of Gorgan, followed by an MS in Medical Entomology from Modares University in Tehran. He then participated in the Tropical Ecology and Biodiversity module at the University of Ulm, received his PhD in 2010 from the University of Ulm.
Volha Skrahina, PhD
Vice Director Clinical Studies
In her role as Vice Director Clinical Studies, Dr. Volha Skrahina leads CENTOGENE’s worldwide epidemiological, observational non-interventional clinical studies. The studies aim to screen at-risk populations for rare hereditary diseases – providing newly-diagnosed patients knowledge on treatment and investigational drug trial opportunities. In addition, Volha...
... manages biomarker clinical studies to identify new molecules for rapid cost-effective disease testing, treatment monitoring, and personalization.
Volha and her team organize charity projects in developing countries all over the world. These projects lead to patient diagnostic opportunities as well as the discovery of previously unknown diseases.
Volha started her career in rare diseases with the investigation of genetics of Sudden Death Syndrome during her bachelor’s thesis at the Republican Theoretical and Practical Center – ‘Mother and Child’ in Minsk, Belarus. Afterwards, she analyzed the microbial translation system influence on host immune responses during her master’s thesis at the Max Plank Institute in Berlin, Germany. Her successful PhD thesis on the host fungal micronutrient interaction was completed at the Hans Knoell Institute in Jena, Germany in 2018.
Director of Corporate Projects
In his role as Director of Corporate Projects, Lennart is responsible for spearheading collaborations among departments in order to advance project outcomes and further the company’s success. With his extensive know-how in project management and strategic planning, Lennart leads the coordination, implementation, and completion of cross-functional projects at...
...CENTOGENE. Before joining CENTOGENE, Lennart worked at Identiv, Inc. – a technology company focused on providing security and RFID solutions, where he served as the Chief of Staff. Prior to this, he was based at Identiv’s headquarters in California, U.S. where he was responsible for investor relations as well as project financing and M&A projects. Alongside his decade of experience in the technology and financial sectors, Lennart was a freelance consultant to German start-ups and a Guest Lecturer at the International School of Management – Hamburg.
Lennart graduated with honors from the University of Hamburg, majoring in Business Administration.
Carsten Ullrich, PhD
Director Artificial Intelligence
Dr. Carsten Ullrich serves as the Director of Artificial Intelligence at CENTOGENE GmbH, where he applies AI solutions to further support and improve the diagnoses processes and to generate new knowledge about rare diseases. He is responsible for managing the company’s entire AI initiative, including evaluating the potential application of AI, identifying appropriate tools, ...
... and implementing solutions, as well as internal competency development and project portfolio expansion.
Prior to joining CENTOGENE, Carsten served as Associate Head and Senior Researcher at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH) in the Educational Technology Lab (EdTec Lab). He was appointed DFKI Research Fellow in 2018 for his outstanding scientific achievements and special accomplishments in technology transfer.
He received his PhD from the Department of Computer Science at Saarland University in 2007 with a thesis on AI-based pedagogically founded courseware generation for web-based learning. He then moved to Shanghai, China, serving as a PostDoc Researcher from 2007-2010 at the E-Learning Lab of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). From 2010 to 2013, Carsten took on the roles of Associate Researcher at SJTU - E-Learning Lab, leading Shanghai’s lab engagement in several EU projects, and Professor at SJTU -School of Continuing Education. In 2013, he returned to Berlin, Germany, to become the Associate Head of EdTec Lab, focusing on workplace-integrated learning supported by artificial intelligence service in Industry 4.0, emergency care, and aircraft assembly sectors.