Teaching Body


Prof. Brian Paegel, University of California, Irvine (USA)

Brian M. Paegel (rhymes with “bagel”) earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Duke University and his doctoral degree in chemistry from UC Berkeley working on miniaturized and integrated DNA sequencing technology development in collaboration with the Human Genome Project. He pursued postdoctoral studies in chemical biology and molecular evolution at Scripps Research. There, he studied the continuous evolution of catalytic RNAs, developing microfluidics for automation, reaction monitoring, and droplet compartmentalization. He was the recipient of both a NIH National Research Service Award (F32) and a Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00). In 2008, Paegel was appointed to the Scripps chemistry faculty, starting his independent career at the new east coast campus of Scripps Research in Jupiter, Florida. He received the NIH Director’s New Innovator award and an NSF CAREER award in recognition of his contributions in reaction miniaturization for enzyme evolution, and Scripps granted him tenure in 2017 for his work in the field of DNA-encoded libraries and drug discovery technology development. In 2019, Paegel rejoined the University of California System where he is Professor in the Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, and Biomedical Engineering at Irvine. His laboratory aims to deliver advanced parallel synthesis and screening platforms to support cross-disciplinary translational research initiatives. Paegel is deploying these platforms to eliminate the canonical sense of what is “druggable” within the cellular milieu and to democratize the discovery of new medicines. To this end, he has co-founded four start-up companies in the biotechnology and drug discovery space.



Prof. Stefan Arold, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, KAUST (SA)

Dr. Arold is a full Professor at the Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering Division (BESE), and a member of the Senior Management Team of the Computational Bioscience Research Center (CBRC) in the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). He was the Associate Dean of BESE from 2020 to 2023. Before joining KAUST in May 2013, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, UK (1998–2001), and had faculty appointments at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) (2001–2009) and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA (2009-2013).

Prof. Arold’s research aims at understanding the function and (de)regulation of cellular signalling networks in animals and plants. His research focuses on determining the molecular bases for cancer invasiveness, immune signalling and genetic diseases. His investigations are based on an integrated approach that combines structural biology (X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, small angle X-ray scattering, NMR), computational methods, biophysical and functional analyses. Results obtained inspire targeted inhibitor design and biotech applications (sensors, nanoreactors) based on synthetic biology approaches and interdisciplinary collaborations with material scientists and chemists. Since arriving in KAUST, he has established strong collaborations between KAUST and in-kingdom clinicians from several hospitals and research institutes, where he uses his expertise to unravel the mechanistic bases for genetic diseases, allowing to personalize therapeutic approaches. Prof. Arold has authored more than 170 publications in international journals, three book chapters, and obtained several patents.


Dr. Guido KochAmphilix, SynpleChem, eMolecules (CH)

Guido Koch is a co-founder and the CEO of Amphilx, a board member of the ETH Zürich spin-off SynpleChem and a Scientific Advisor for eMolecules in San Diego. From 2018 to 2020, Guido was the COO of Topadur Pharma and before a Director in Global Discovery Chemistry at Novartis. During his career in drug discovery and development in Pharma and Biotech, Guido has lead projects in different phases from target identification to early clinical stage including multiple kinase inhibitor developments. Highlights from >20 years of experience in pharmaceutical industry include significant contributions to one marketed product and 8 clinical candidates. Guido has established a global network with academia and the CRO community, which allows him to support drug discovery programs by external knowledge, the application of new technology and the effective use of resources. His research has culminated in >45 scientific publications and 10 patent applications. Educated at ETH Zürich, he received his Diploma in Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1991, followed from a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Basel. After a postdoc at Caltech, he joined the Novartis Institutes for Biochemical Research in Basel in 1997.
Business education includes a CAS in Entrepreneurship and a CAS for board members from the University of Bern.

Prof. Ben Schumann, Imperial College London (UK)

Ben was trained first as a biochemist in Tübingen/Germany and then in synthetic carbohydrate chemistry in the lab of Peter H. Seeberger at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces Potsdam and the FU Berlin. Developing vaccines against pathogenic bacteria based on synthetic glycans, Ben learnt to apply his compounds in biological settings in vivo and in vitro, receiving the Award for Excellence in Glycosciences and the Otto Hahn Medal by the Max Planck Society. During his postdoctoral work in the lab of Carolyn R. Bertozzi at Stanford University as a Humboldt fellow, Ben developed an interest for “precision tools” to study glycosylation of human cells. He started as a Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute and Imperial College London in 2018 to develop such tools, using a combination of organic and chemo-enzymatic synthesis, molecular and cell biology. The lab was part of a team that received the 2021 RSC Horizon Prize in Chemical Biology. Ben is an EMBO Young Investigator and has received the RSC Dextra Award in 2023 and the Biochemical Society Early Career Award in 2024. He received an ERC Starting Grant in 2023. He serves in the RSC CBBG and the ESBOC committees, as a co-Director of the Imperial College Glycobiology Network of Excellence and a Director of the MRes in Drug Discovery and Development at Imperial College.

Ahmed Mahmoud, Chemspeed
Ahmed Mahmoud is a chemical engineer and material scientist by training with extensive experience in laboratory automation. He did his masters in 2014 the elite program of advanced materials and processes (MAP) and his research in the Max-Planck institute (MPI) for the science of light investigating the synthesis and application of gold and silver photonic nanostructures. He then did his PhD research at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in the institute of particle technology and worked on developing automation systems and high throughput synthesis and experimentation for advanced opto-electronic materials such as quantum dots and perovskites for display and solar cell applications. Ahmed worked afterwards in 2019 at Clariant GmbH in Frankfurt in the R&D sector, group technology and innovation (GTI) in the high throughput experimentation laboratory as an automation scientist working with a variety of robotic systems and platforms serving diverse business units within the corporation. He currently works as a workflow architect in the business unit material science and life science designing and translating workflows for different companies and organizations across the globe to automated solutions at Chemspeed Technologies, Füllinsdorf.


Prof. Anna Mapp, University of Michigan (USA)

Anna Mapp is the Edwin Vedejs Collegiate Professor of Chemistry and a Research Professor in the Life Sciences Institute and Department of Chemistry at the University of Michigan. In that capacity she directs a multidisciplinary and diverse team that dissects structurally dynamic proteins dysregulated in disease and utilizes the insights gained to drug those proteins. Since 2000, Mapp and her group have focused on the development and implementation of chemical biology approaches to define activator-coactivator protein-protein interactions (PPIs) as well modulate them with small molecules. The network of transcriptional coactivator PPIs is frequently dysregulated in cancer and thus molecules that can target such dysregulation have considerable therapeutic potential. Through these efforts, Mapp and her colleagues discovered the first small-molecule transcriptional activation domains, developed in vivo covalent chemical capture to define key PPI networks in transcriptional response to cell stress, and identified a conserved mechanism of activator-coactivator complex formation over considerable structural diversity. This latter finding has enabled the discovery of a variety of small-molecule modulators that of such PPIs that are uniquely specific and potent. Mapp is the recipient of a number of awards for her scientific work, including election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Prof. Dirk Trauner, University of Pennsylvania (USA)

Dirk Trauner was born and raised in Linz, Austria, studied biology and chemistry at the University of Vienna, and received his Master’s degree in chemistry from the Free University, Berlin. He then pursued a Ph.D. in chemistry under the direction of Prof. Johann Mulzer. Subsequently, he became a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Samuel J. Danishefsky at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. After two years in New York City, Dr. Trauner joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where he rose through the ranks to become an Associate Professor of chemistry (with tenure) and a member of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In the summer of 2008, he moved to the University of Munich, where he served as a Professor of Chemical Biology and Chemical Genetics. In March of 2017 he returned to the U.S. to serves as the Janice Cutler Chair of Chemistry at New York University. Finally, in July 2022, he became a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor at the University of Pennsylvania with an appointment in the Perelman School of Medicine and in the Department of Chemistry.

Dr. Jingwen Shi, Member of the Board of Directors, Space Pharmaceuticals AG (Switzerland and China)

Dr. Jingwen Shi, a molecular biologist, collaborates with chemists and material scientists on interdisciplinary projects. Her 2012 PhD thesis at the Karolinska Institute focused on the Biocompatibility of synthetic nanomaterials for drug and gene delivery, exploring their physicochemical properties, pharmacokinetic profiles, and interactions with biological defense systems. Notable publications highlight her research, including studies on hemolytic properties of synthetic nano- and porous-silica particles (Acta Biomateriala, 2012) and nontoxic properties of zinc oxide nanoparticles against glutathione transferase 1 against silica nanoparticle toxicity (ACS Nano, 2012). Dr. Shi's contributions extend to developing Carbon nanotubes degraded by neutrophil myeloperoxidase to pulmonary inflammation. (Nature Nanotechnology, 2010). As a visiting scholar at the Max-Planck Institute, she focused on DNA-protein binding domains, later consulting with pharmaceutical firms such as Roche, Novartis, and Boehringer Ingelheim. Since 2017, she serves on the board of Space Pharmaceuticals AG, fostering successful partnerships.

Dr. Sacha Javor, CTO of Space Pharmaceuticals AG and GDBspace AG

Dr. Javor is the CTO of Space Pharmaceuticals AG and GDBspace AG, two spin-off companies of the University of Bern (UniBe). He is also a lecturer at UniBe, where he teaches chemical biology and data science. Dr. Javor earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the EPFL, working with Prof. Schlosser, and his doctoral degree in organic chemistry from the Reymond Laboratory at the UniBe. After several years of postdoctoral studies in supramolecular chemistry with Prof. Rebek and chemical biology with Prof. Janda at Scripps Research in La Jolla, he returned to the University of Bern. He has authored numerous publications (h-index 19) in the field of peptides, chemical biology and drug discovery. His current interests are focused on the development of new cheminformatics methods and concepts, with a particular passion for designing bioactive compounds and translating these innovative methods from academia to industry.