BioRevolution | Possibilities & Challenges

Monday, Nov 18, 2019

The Digital Revolution changed the world. The BioRevolution will transform it. (

Humans have been altering their environment ever since they first settled by cultivating plants and breeding animals. As we start to better understand the genetic code, we learn to read and write, correct, enhance, create, and destruct at lighting speed. Technologies like genome sequencing, synthetic biology, and CRISPR are the new tools that will soon transform the world.

Now is the time to reflect on how we ought to yield these revolutionary powers.

How will we shape the world now that we are able to cure genetic diseases before children are born and have the technology to design super-plants? What are our responsibilities as scientists and entrepreneurs to guide and control this process? How can we prepare ourselves for this new era of humanity and responsibly communicate this BioRevolution to society at large?

Keynote Speakers

  • John Doench, PhD – Associate Director of the Genetic Perturbation Platform, Broad Institute
  • Rodrigo Martinez – Chief Marketing & Design Officer, Veritas Genetics

Moderator: Cornelia Kroeger, PhD, Senior Consultant, Strategy and Leadership, Halloran Consulting  Group

  • Prof. Dr. med. Steven Hildemann, Chief Bio-Ethics and Employee Health Officer, Senior Vice President, Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
  • John Doench, PhD – Associate Director of the Genetic Perturbation Platform, Broad Institute
  • Rodrigo Martinez – Chief Marketing & Design Officer, Veritas Genetics
  • Aleksandra Stankovic, Director of the Human Performance Laboratory, Neural Systems Group, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School

Location: CIC, 5th Floor, One Broadway, Cambridge, MA
Time: 5:30PM (Registration) | 6:00PM (Start of Program)
Admission: Free (registration required)
5:30 to 6:00PM: Registration
6:00 PM to 6:45PM: Keynotes
6:50M to 7:35PM: Panel Discussion & Q&A
Networking Reception to follow in the Venture Cafe.
The event will end at 9:00PM
Supported by

Speaker and Panelist Biographies (in alphabetical order)

John Doench, PhD
Associate Director of the Genetic Perturbation Platform, Broad Institute

John G. Doench is an Institute Scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. In that capacity, he provides expert guidance on the design, execution, and analysis of genetic screens. He has contributed to numerous publications in fields such as infectious disease, cancer biology, and immunology, highlighting both his commitment to team-based science and ability to mentor and guide scientists from diverse backgrounds on the critical principles of genetic screens.

Additionally, as the Director of R&D in the Genetic Perturbation Platform (GPP), John  leads a group focused on the development of functional genomic techniques, first with RNAi and more recently with CRISPR technology. Here, his team demonstrated the potential of genetic screens with CRISPR and has since developed leading bioinformatics tools and screening libraries to enable community-wide usage of this powerful technology. Importantly, their efforts emphasize not only staying on the cutting-edge of newest approaches but also focusing on the reduction-to-practice that is critical for enabling collaboration with a broader community of researchers working in diverse and challenging model systems.

Prior to joining the Broad in 2009, John did his postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School, received his PhD from the biology department in Phil Sharp’s lab at MIT, and majored in history at Hamilton College. John lives in Jamaica Plain, MA with his wife and daughter, where he enjoys screaming for the Red Sox and Patriots, playing volleyball, running, and avoiding imminent death while navigating the streets of Boston on a bicycle.

Prof. Dr. med. Steven Hildemann (MD, PhD)
Senior Vice President – Chief Bio-Ethics and Employee Health Officer, Merck, KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Steven Hildemann, MD, PhD is a Physician Scientist serving as Chief Bio-Ethics and Employee Health Officer in Corporate Affairs at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
From 2014 to 2018 he served as Global Chief Medical Officer for the company’s Biopharma business, where he also lead Global Drug Safety (GDS) and the Global Chief Medical Office (CMO) responsible for Bioethics, Medical Governance among other.

Steven is a board certified internist and cardiologist with broad clinical training in Internal Medicine including Medical Hematology and Oncology, Gastroenterology, Rheumatology, Pulmonology and Infectious Diseases at University Hospitals in Munich. He co-led multiple Clinical Trials among other scientific engagements with the biopharmaceutical industry as an advisor and opinion leader.
Steven´s professional career is dedicated to improving the lives of patients suffering from severe and life threatening diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as MS, autoimmune diseases as well as metabolic disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart failure. He has helped change the practice of medicine by co-developing and launching several innovative, life- saving drugs which are current guideline therapy, globally.

As an active Professor of Medicine and member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Freiburg, Steven maintained clinical lecturing and regular patient-centric bedside teaching of medical students and young physicians to complement his contributions to Merck Healthcare as the Global Chief Medical Officer – living “as one for patients.”
Steven joined the pharmaceutical industry, 1998, in a country medical director role. He then contributed and served in roles of increasing responsibility at the local, regional and global level in Medical Affairs, Clinical Operations and Drug Safety. Through a series of large Biopharma acquisitions, Steven assumed local, regional und later global change leadership roles in major organizations such as Pharmacia, Pfizer, Schering-Plough and Merck & Co, Kenilworth, NJ, where he designed and fully implemented global organizations in Medical Affairs, Clinical Operations and Drug Safety.

Cornelia Kroeger, PhD
Senior Consultant, Strategy & Program Leadership, Halloran Consulting Group
Cornelia Kroeger has more than 12 years of training in biomedical research and strategic startup consulting and has extensive experience in evaluating and developing value creation strategies for a diverse span of life science companies, including therapeutic, medical device and digital health companies. She has worked across various indications (i.e. immune-oncology, oncology, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiology, orthopedics) and modalities (i.e. vaccines, small molecules, imaging, robotics, patient support apps).

Prior to joining Halloran, Cornelia was the Program Director for the strategic startup consultancy ACI, which focuses on the translation and scalability of European life science business models to the US market. Within this context she led the highly competitive company selection process, including company due-diligence and evaluation, designed investor decks and helped coach companies on their organizational structures, market access and design of U.S. operational strategies, resulting in $130 Mil capital raised and one successful acquisition.

Prior to that, Cornelia was a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute at MIT in the laboratory of Prof. Robert Weinberg, where she led pre-clinical research projects focused on tumor heterogeneity and cancer stem cells in treatment resistant tumors with high metastatic potential.

Rodrigo Martinez
Chief Marketing & Design Officer, Veritas Genetics

Rodrigo Martinez is Chief Marketing & Design Officer at Veritas Genetics – The Genome Company. Rodrigo lives at the crossroads of Biology, Technology, and Design and for the last 20 years he has led some of the most exciting projects in the life sciences revolution. Before joining Veritas, Rodrigo was Life Sciences Chief Strategist at IDEO, where he led & worked on 20+ projects from creating innovative health services & products to envisioning future tech for the year 2079.

Before IDEO Rodrigo was a Principal with The Boston Consulting Group. With Juan Enriquez, Rodrigo co-founded Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project and coined the term ‘bioeconomy’ in a series of papers and articles starting in 1997. Rodrigo’s work has won awards including Fast Company Most Innovative Cos 2018, CNBC 50 Disruptors, MIT Tech Review’s 50 Smartest Cos, Webby, among other; appeared in multiple media including CNBC, LA Times, WIRED, EDGE-Serpentine Gallery, and several books. He has been a keynote speaker & presenter at: TED Unplugged, DENT, World’s Top 50 Innovators, Summit at Sea, ARC Fusion, Near Future Summit, multiple TEDx events.

Rodrigo has been a regular guest lecturer at Harvard and MIT. He grew up in Mexico where he was a Bailleres Scholar at ITAM. Rodrigo was World Bank Scholar at Harvard where he received his MPA/ID. He serves on the Board of Advisors of WGBH and the Board of Advisors of Neo.Life. He lives with his wife and daughters in Massachusetts. Rodrigo is a freediver with a breath hold time of 5mins 10secs. He loves spicy food.

Aleksandra Stankovic, PhD
Director of the Human Performance Laboratory, Neural Systems Group, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School

Dr. Aleksandra Stankovic is the Director of the Human Performance Laboratory in the Neural Systems Group of the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she holds a faculty appointment. Her research aims to optimize human performance, particularly in extreme working environments. Sandra is an operational psychologist and aerospace human factors engineer by training, and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Harvard University, a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cambridge, and a Master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She completed her postdoctoral training with the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Behavioral Health and Performance research group. She is currently serving as the Principal Investigator on a NASA-funded research program to develop virtual reality-based training and behavioral health intervention protocols for long-duration spaceflight. She is particularly interested in cutting edge approaches to enhance human decision-making, and has performed extensive research investigating training, teaming, and cooperation between humans and robotic and autonomous agents.