We make biomedical research more efficient, more agile, and more fun

Our Team

Our team combines the knowledge and expertise to continuously develop new project ideas together with partners and to support our research teams during running projects. We are here to find the answers to your questions. Just get in touch!

Management & Support Team

Dr. Christian Tidona

Managing Director

 Short Bio

Christian Tidona is a biotech entrepreneur and founder of the BioMed X Institute in Heidelberg, Germany. He studied biology and received his doctoral degree in natural sciences from the University of Heidelberg.

Throughout his career, his focus was always to seed innovation at the interface between academia and industry. Christian is co-founder of BioRN in Heidelberg, the cluster management organization at the heart of one of the strongest biomedical innovation hubs in Europe, co-founder of the Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine HI-STEM, and member of the Board of Directors of Yeda Research and Development, one of the world’s most renowned technology transfer organizations at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Christian is married and father of two children.


Dr. Thomas RĂĽckle

Senior Vice President Research

 Short Bio

Dr. Thomas RĂĽckle studied Chemistry and Toxicology at the University of Ulm, Germany, where he received his PhD in Organic Chemistry in 1996. After two postdoctoral fellowships at the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, and at the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, San Diego (CA), USA, he joined Serono International in Geneva (Switzerland). From 1998 to 2006, he led Research and Preclinical Programs in Autoimmune Diseases and Oncology.

From 2007 onwards, Thomas held several global roles in Project Management and Translational Medicine of Neurodegenerative Diseases and Oncology. From 2012 to 2016, he was Director of Translational Medicine at Medicines for Malaria Venture, the world’s leading NGO in antimalarial R&D.

Prior to BioMed X Institute, he spent 3 years as Chief Development Officer at GeNeuro, a clinical stage biotechnology company working in the field of autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases. Together with his teams, Thomas has brought over a dozen molecules from research into clinical trials. He is the principal or co-author of over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications and co-inventor on 23 patents.


Yvonne Stappenbeck

Vice President HR & Operations

 Short Bio

Yvonne has been at BioMed X since its foundation in 2013.

Being responsible for “almost everything except research” takes a strong passion for strategy and organization but above all for people and their needs. She sees her position as a great opportunity to help create a work environment that allows groundbreaking research and that her colleagues look forward to coming to every day.

Prior to her position as VP HR & Operations she was BioMed X’ Head of Operations until 2019 and Head of HR until Summer 2021.


Mark Johnston

Chief Executive Officer BioMed X USA

 Short Bio

Mark Johnston is a biotech entrepreneur who has founded/managed 6 companies in the areas of cell & gene therapy, contract manufacturing, and cell-based assays, including Vesta Therapeutics, ADMET Technologies, Cytonet, Promethera Biosciences, Novabiosis, and Transfecta Biosciences.

Passionate about enabling therapies and technologies that improve human health, Mark is particularly drawn to opportunities that involve deep science, as he enjoys the novelty and interdisciplinarity they entail. By working extensively with organ procurement organizations in the United States, Mark has also acquired expertise in organ donation & transplantation management. He is an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy and enjoys spending time with his husband and their Husky puppy, as well as hiking and going to the beach.

Mark received a bachelor’s degree in Physical Sciences (Mechanical Engineering, Math, and Physics) and an MBA from the London Business School.


Benjamin Raeder

Head of Operations

 Short Bio

Benjamin is a biologist by training. At BioMed X, he is in charge of the entire lab infrastructure. He uses his coordinating skills and his eye for detail to create a work environment for our research teams that makes it easy for them to focus on science.

Before joining BioMed X in December 2019, Benjamin was Laboratory Officer in Charge at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, and prior to this worked as an application development scientist in a Heidelberg biotech startup.


Susanne Burkhardt

Legal Management & Head of Christian Tidona’s Office

 Short Bio

Susanne has been working as Christian Tidona’s Personal Assistant since 2009; first at BioRN Cluster Management and since 2016 at BioMed X. She enjoys working in an international atmosphere and ensuring the smooth running of his office. In addition she deals with legal issues at BioMed X.

Previously, she managed the family offices of several leadership personalities in industry and politics in Berlin.


Rita Freischlad

Events Manager

 Short Bio

Rita is the Events Manager of BioMed X since January 2022, responsible for the institute’s events, including boot camps, recruiting events, career fairs, and others. She holds two master’s degrees: in Intercultural Communications and European Studies and in Translation.

She has worked or studied in six countries around the world and prides herself on being open-minded, endlessly positive, and highly creative.

Prior to starting at BioMed X, Rita has previously worked for the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) in Paris, and the German-American Institute: the Carl-Schurz-Haus in Freiburg.


Dr. Flavia-Bianca Cristian

Recruiting & Communications Manager

 Short Bio

Dr. Flavia-Bianca Cristian obtained her PhD in 2021 at the Institute of Human Genetics in Heidelberg, Germany, where she worked on a project concerning autism genetics.
Before her doctorate, Bianca studied biology in Romania, USA, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

A strong believer in the crucial role of communication in science and around it, Bianca is also involved in various science outreach projects in multiple languages, such as Pint of Science, Native Scientist, and the Romanian Science Festival.


Silke Lämmler

Executive Assistant

 Short Bio

Silke joined BioMed X in July 2020 and supports our research teams in many ways with her huge organizational competence.

She has a background in business administration and long-term experience in international work contexts. This, along with her interest for foreign cultures and her passion for languages, helps her master the special everyday challenges of BioMed X’s multicultural environment.


Marit Krötschel

Purchasing & Lab Management

 Short Bio

Marit is a biology lab technician by training and holds an M.Sc. in Health Science/Education. In the BioMed X Support Team, she has been in charge of purchasing and general lab management since February 2023. She uses her broad knowledge and coordinating skills gained during two decades of lab work. Her former experience in setting-up new laboratories helps to create an efficient environment to focus on science.

She joined BioMed X in 2016 as a research associate, working in the research teams of Immunosuppressive Microenvironment of Tumors (IMT) and RNA Splicing & Cancer (RSC). Next to the independent laboratory work, she was responsible for lab organization/ordering and training of new members.

Before joining BioMed X, Marit worked for 10 years as a biological technical assistant at the Max Planck Institute of Immunology and Epigenetics in Freiburg.


Cornelia Ochman

Lab Manager

 Short Bio

Cornelia is a biological technical assistant by training. In the BioMed X Support Team, she takes care of purchasing and general lab management.

She joined BioMed X in 2014 as a research associate in the research team Metabolism and Signaling in Cancer (MSC), where she supported all team members in their experimental work.

Prior to her engagement at BioMed X, Conny worked as a biological technical assistant at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg.


Ulla Sofija Prikule

Assistant to the Head of Research

 Short Bio

Sofija joined the Heidelberg BioMed X team in August 2023 as the Assistant of the Head of Research.

She has obtained a degree in Translation and Interpreting and worked in project management, assistance, and PR-related roles in Latvia, Germany, and Spain. With this experience and a few languages under her belt, she tries to make the executive team’s lives easier by assisting with communication and coordination tasks within our teams and with our clients.


Merve Pekerli

Intern - Events & Communications

 Short Bio

Merve joined BioMed X as an Events & Communications intern in April 2023. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Istanbul Technical University, where she studied Molecular Biology and Genetics. Now she is a master’s student at the University of Heidelberg, majoring in Molecular Biosciences.

Before moving to Germany, Merve volunteered in various student organizations, where she was involved in event management. In Heidelberg, she is also a Pint of Science volunteer. Merve likes to create spaces where everyone can feel comfortable and have fun.


Supervisory Board

Dr. Gerhard Ries


 Short Bio

Gerhard Ries studied law and received his PhD from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He has been a lawyer since 1998. Gerhard Ries specializes in corporate, association and foundation law. His main areas of practice are the formation, restructuring and transformation of companies as well as M&A business. For many years he has been advising private and public companies in the healthcare sector. Gerhard Ries is member of the supervisory boards of several companies, has himself managed companies as CEO and is also active on the boards of several foundations.

Fabian Engelhorn

 Short Bio

Fabian Engelhorn completed an apprenticeship in trade and commerce (Handelsfachwirt) in Munich, studied retail management at the University of Applied Sciences in Worms and then spent 18 months in the USA and Hong Kong undertaking overseas internships. He subsequently worked for two years as a member of the management team at Sportler AG, Bolzano, Italy. In 2003 he took over management of the family company Engelhorn GmbH & Co. KGaA, Mannheim and since 2015 has been CEO of the family owned company. He is active on the board of the Rhine-Neckar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) in his role as vice president, in the supervisory board of the Intersport eG, Heilbronn and the Rhein-Neckar-Löwen handball club, both in Mannheim.

Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum

 Short Bio

Bernhard Kirschbaum, PhD, studied and spent his early career as a researcher in biochemistry and physiological chemistry at the University of Konstanz, Germany, receiving his PhD in 1989. He moved on to work at the Rockefeller University in New York and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Subsequently, he joined the pharmaceutical industry where he covered a broad range of technological and disease areas. Before his retirement as an executive, he was head of Global Research and Early Development at Merck Serono. In this role he was a member of the Pharmaceutical Executive Committee. Prior to joining Merck KGaA in 2005 he was Vice President Discovery Research and Global Head of Therapeutic Domains Thrombosis & Angiogenesis for Sanofi-Aventis. He also worked for Aventis, Hoechst Marion Roussel in various senior positions and headed the Centre of Applied Genomics in Martinsried, Germany.