BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Prof. Dr. Brighton Samatanga (Founder)

Brighton is a molecular biophysicist with a general focus on unraveling the mechanisms of genome regulation. He is particularly fascinated by DNA and RNA regulation as well as the possibility to mimic, manipulate and reprogram these genomic and cellular processes. He holds a BSc. degree in Biochemical Engineering from the Jacobs University Bremen in Germany. His research there focused on the rational design and directed evolution of new enzymes. He conducted his MSc. degree in Biological Recognition at the same university, with a focus on the transport of antibiotics through membrane proteins. He received his PhD in Molecular Biophysics from Switzerland’s leading university, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH). His PhD thesis dissected the thermodynamics and dynamics of alternative splicing regulation by two major families of proteins. Subsequently, he pursued two successive post-doctoral stays at the University of Muenster and the University of Leipzig in Germany, where he employed single molecule techniques to dissect the regulation of the genome by RNA helicases and by CRISPR/Cas proteins, respectively. He holds several awards, has many peer-reviewed publications, is a reviewer for internationally acclaimed peer-review journals such as Nucleic Acids Research, and is also a member of various professional organizations such as the German Biophysical Society.

Dr. Taurai Tasara

Taurai is an expert on microbial infection and surveillance. He completed his veterinary medicine studies at the University of Zimbabwe in 1996 and then moved to the Institute for Veterinary Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Zurich for his PhD studies. Upon completion of his PhD, he worked in industry as a research and development scientist in DNA sequencing and gene expression analysis methods. In 2003, he returned the University of Zurich, joining the institute for Food Safety and Hygiene as a postdoc working on development and application of rapid molecular based methods for the detection of human pathogens transmitted through foods of animal origin. Since 2006 he has worked as a lecturer and independent research group leader at the Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene of the University of Zurich. Research in his group generally focuses on genome and phenome based characterization of bacterial pathogens of animal origin that are linked to the human food supply chain such as Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus and Shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli. He is a reviewer for many journals and has more than 70 peer-reviewed publications. His research group at the University of Zurich
is a partner of The Biotech Institute.

Dr. Cecilia Bartolucci

Cecilia is Coordinator of the Working Group “Food and Agriculture” within the “Science & Technology Foresight Project” of the National Research Council of Italy. The S&T Foresight Project with the support of international experts, carries out initiatives in order to define research strategies able to address crucial social problems related to food, health, energy, water as well as the cross-sectoral topic of breakthrough innovative materials. Cecilia holds a PhD in Chemistry and has over 20 years of experience in research in biochemistry and medicinal chemistry, and almost 10 years of experience in horizon scanning and interdisciplinary networking. She often acts as the CNR representative: e.g. as a member of the advisory board and chair at “G7 Health Expert Working Group Meetings” (2017); at “Tavolo Decade Italia per la Nutrizione”, established by the Italian Ministry of Health; as expert, involved in drafting the National Program of Research.

Dr. Cathrine Ziyomo

Cathrine is an expert in plant genetics and agriculture who aims to enhance human health using the latest technological advancements in DNA tools. Dr. Ziyomo currently holds a position as a molecular breeder at the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya, and was previously a maize Molecular Breeding Scientist Lead for Dupont Pioneer’s maize research program. She did her postdoctoral research at Donald Danforth Plant Science Centre in Missouri. She also held research assistant positions at the University of Minnesota and the International Rice Research Institute in the Phillipines. Dr. Ziyomo won numerous awards, scholarships and grants throughout her career. She also sits on numerous boards, and is a member of numerous professional affiliations (e.g. member of
Southern Africa Plant Breeders Association and member of the Crop Science Society of America). She also has several peer-reviewed publications.


Freedom Cheteni


Freedom is a seasoned educational expert and a STEM teacher in Palo Alto, California.  He is Founder and CEO of InventXR, an educational company.  He holds the same position for The Superintendents Journal (TSJ), a platform for school superintendents globally to share insights, their accumulated knowledge and experiences with the world at large.  Freedom is also member of the board of directors of the MyHeroApp. He holds a Master's degree in Molecular Biology and Public Health from New Mexico State University (USA), and a bachelor of arts degree in neuroscience from Colorado College (USA).