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.
Senior Vice President Finance Strategy and Commercial Insights
In her role as Senior Vice President of Finance Strategy and Commercial Insights, Fanny is responsible for providing detailed commercial analytics to support the business planning cycle and strategy development of the financial and commercial positioning of the company. She steers the financial direction of the business and undertakes all strategic financial planning...
... and reporting to stakeholders, and, furthermore, handles all aspects of large transactions for the business. She is also responsible for all compliance activities in respect to U.S. listing.
Before joining CENTOGENE, Fanny served as Head of Quality Assurance and Professional Practice in the Internal Audit at Holcim, a listed multinational company in Switzerland, where she supported the change of the operational model as well as preparing group-wide and risk-based audit plans. Prior to that, she worked at KPMG for over 10 years in Hong Kong and Russia, where she was responsible for auditing listed companies and private clients in a wide variety of industries, as well as assisting companies listed on varying stock exchanges.
Fanny holds a BBA degree with a double major in Accounting and Finance from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and also studied at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a fellow member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in the United Kingdom and the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA), as well as a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) in the United States. Additionally, Fanny obtained the High Impact Leadership certificate from the University of Cambridge.
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-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University and holds a Dipl.-Wirtsch.- Inf. (BA).
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.
Marina Hovakimyan, PhD
Senior Director Operational Processes
In her role as Senior Director of Operational Processes, Dr. Marina Hovakimyan leads an international team of over 50 people and has the overall responsibility of planning and monitoring processes over several departments to ensure smooth running of day-to-day business while planning strategic goals in regard to operational activities.
Marina draws from more than 15 years of experience in developing diagnostic solutions and over 40 distinguished scientific publications. Having joined CENTOGENE in 2016 as a clinical scientist and scientific writer, Marina brings a scholarly perspective to operations that contributes to the development and success of the company.
She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Biochemistry from Yerevan State University - Armenia. Marina also received her PhD from the University of Rostock. She then prestigiously became an Associate Professor after writing her dissertation on experimental ophthalmology.
Senior Vice President Pharmaceutical Compliance
Ellen is the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Compliance and brings over three decades of experience in diagnostic and research laboratory quality to CENTOGENE. In her current role, Ellen is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the CAP diagnostic laboratory accreditation as well as the development of CENTOGENE’s Quality Management System.
She joined CENTOGENE in 2012 to lead the development of the quality system ̶ playing a central role in the company’s CAP/CLIA accreditation-ISO 15189 and CE Label of medical/in vitro devices. Prior to joining CENTOGENE, Ellen served in different Pathology Laboratory Management positions, focusing on quality and optimizing workflows within the U.S. She served as a clinical instructor for several universities within the U.S. as well as lectured in the U.S. and the UK.
Ellen is certified by the ASCP (American Society of Clinical Pathology), is an ISO 13485 Lead Auditor, and meets GCP and GMP requirements. She holds a master’s degree in Pathology and has taken further educational programs with the FDA, AFIP (Armed Force Institute of Pathology), Mayo Clinic, and Harvard. She also supported research grants, technical expertise, and publications at Case Western Reserve University (Geographical Medicine) and Cleveland Clinic.
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.
Florian Vogel, PhD
Senior Vice President Clinical Lab Operations
Dr. Florian Vogel currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Clinical Lab Operations at CENTOGENE GmbH. He has extensive experience in product development and streamlining of workflows for genetically based methods enabling the highest quality as well as high throughput testing. Florian has more than 10 years of know-how in molecular genetic assay...
... design and international leadership in various industry sections.
Within his current role, he holds disciplinary and budget responsibility for all five Diagnostic wet lab production departments in Rostock, Germany and the CLIA & CAP lab processing facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition, he is responsible for the Method & Process Development in Rostock. Before taking on this position, he served as Senior Director Research & Development from 2015-2018 at CENTOGENE. Leading up to this, he implemented a genetic quality control division for the biotech company, Euroferm GmbH, and built up a biosafety level 2 group for vaccine vector production. Prior to that, he was living in South Korea to set up a local German branch university and labs for chemical- and bioengineering as Head of White Biotechnology department including lab build out and starting industry collaborations.
Florian studied Biology at Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nurnberg and received his doctoral degree in Molecular Biology with summa cum laude.
Vice President Legal
Frank joined CENTOGENE in May 2015 as Head of our Legal and Human Resources departments. His responsibilities focus on providing support for both senior management and the Sales team, regarding all daily legal and contractual issues. Frank first studied Media Technologies at the Technical University of Ilmenau and graduated as a certified engineer...
... (Dipl.-Ing.). He then went on to study Law at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg and Willamette University in Oregon. After successful completion of his trainee period with the Higher Regional Court in Hamburg, he worked for two international law firms. Frank is experienced in private and commercial law, particularly with regard to contracts, but also has in-depth working knowledge of corporate and intellectual property law and international transactions.