Professor Dr. Steven A. Kushner:
Professor Dr. Steven A. Kushner is Full Professor of Neurobiological Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry of Erasmus MC. He completed his undergraduate degree summa cum laude at the University of Pennsylvania, studied Medicine and Neuroscience through the National Institutes of Health – Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of California, Los Angeles and received clinical training as a psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, including board certification. His laboratory is focused on developing advanced human organ-on-chip models of neuropsychiatric diseases, using a combination of electrophysiology (patch-clamp, MEA), calcium imaging, stem cell engineering and brain organoid technology to uncover the pathophysiology of mental illness. He has received several honors and awards, including Journal Watch Psychiatry (NEJM Group) recognition for one of the 10 most influential papers in clinical Psychiatry (2012, 2015), the prestigious NWO Talent Scheme Vidi Award and Erasmus MC Desiderius Award. He is the coordinator of the Institute for human Organ and Disease Model Technologies (hDMT) brain-on-a-chip program, founding member of the ENCORE Center for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, co-Director of the Academic Center of Excellence for Population Neuroscience, executive committee member of the European Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society (EMCCS), and former Chair of the Dutch Neuroscience Meeting.(2016).
Dr. Femke M. S. de Vrij:
Dr. Femke de Vrij is assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at Erasmus MC. She received her MSc degree in Medical Biology from the University of Utrecht in 1999. As a PhD student, she worked on the molecular basis of Alzheimer′s disease at the Dutch Brain Institute (NIN) in Amsterdam, where she obtained her PhD in 2005. After a postdoc at the department of Clinical Genetics at the Erasmus MC, working on the neurobiology of Fragile X syndrome, she joined the Neurobiological Psychiatry group in February 2010 where she is now coordinating the induced pluripotent stem cell related projects. Throughout her research, she has maintained a consistent theme of successfully establishing cell culture models for investigating brain disorders. She has managed to establish a wide diversity of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural cell culture techniques including 3D models, supervising a team of talented PhD and master students with the aim of studying the neurobiology of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. In recognition of her work, she received a Hersenstichting Nederland Fellowship in 2013, an Erasmus MC Human Disease Model Award in 2018, and was involved as iPSC scientist in multiple collaborative grants (Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Hersenstichting Nederland TNS program, NWO Zwaartekracht NOCI).
FFUND is a young and ambitious Dutch SME that provides full service consultancy in project management, assistance in development of exploitation strategies, active communication, and dissemination and promotion activities, based on years of experience. FFUND combines scientific expertise and in-depth knowledge of project management with translational science and life science entrepreneurship. During the CONNECT project, FFUND aids in management and developing dissemination strategies. Moreover, FFUND plans for success continuation of the technology by securing follow-up funding throughout the complete value chain from the early start, through controlled growth, until a successful exit. FFUND will ask the tough questions to clear up any ambiguities and spot the innovative strengths, ultimately leading successful commercialization of the CONNECT platform.