Leadership

Board of directors

President

Prof. Nouria HERNANDEZ

Nouria Hernandez studied biology at the University of Geneva and then at the University of Heidelberg, from which she obtained a Ph.D. in 1983.

She then joined Yale University, Connecticut USA, as a post-doctoral fellow. In 1987, she became head of a research group at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York.

She was named full professor in 1993 and in 1994, she was selected to become a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which then funded a large part of her research.

In 2004, she joined the University of Lausanne as a visiting professor and, in 2005, as a full professor and, until December 2014, as Director of the Integrative Genomics Center of the Faculty of Biology and Medicine. She was Rector of the University of Lausanne from August 2016 to July 2021.

Her research has focused on gene expression in human and mouse cells, specifically on the regulation and function of small non-coding RNA genes.

Chief Executive Officer

PD Dr. Davide STAEDLER

Graduated from the University of Lausanne (Faculty of Biology and Medicine, 2010) with a Master in medical biology and pharmacology, he holds a doctorate in medicinal chemistry at the suit EPFL (2014).

Davide Staedler has expertise both in academia and in industry. Since 2009 he is the CEO of TIBIO, a company specialized in scientific consulting in chemistry and biotechnology, which he founded during his studies in biology.

In 2015 he was appointed Scientific Director of the Scitec Research laboratory, one of the most important analytical laboratories in Switzerland. Passionate about industrial applications, he is a Member of the Board of some start-ups in the life sciences.

In parallel, he is also Privat Docent in pharmacology and toxicology at the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Lausanne as well as a Lecturer at the School of Biology of the same university, where he teaches entrepreneurship for biologists and industrial biotechnology.

Chief Operating Officer & Chairman of the BLACKSWAN Foundation

Dr. Olivier MENZEL, MBA

Olivier Menzel has long been interested in research. Doctor of Science (UNIL, EPFL) from the Swiss Institute for Experimental Research Against Cancer in 2006 led the Pediatric Surgery Laboratory of the University Hospitals of Geneva for seven years.

He worked for two years in the Management Team of the Swiss Medical Network, the second-largest group of private clinics in Switzerland. Since 2018 he is the Head of Strategic Partnerships at the Health 2030 Swiss Genome Center.

He also holds an Executive MBA in Health Management (HEC Lausanne). Olivier Menzel created the BLACKSWAN Foundation in 2010 to respond to the lack of interest and resources devoted to rare and orphan diseases.

Chief Scientific Officer

PD Dr. Marco PRUNOTTO

Marco Prunotto serves as Head of Translational Research at Galapagos NV, one of the largest European Biotech companies, leading a team of 30 scientists to advance molecules to patients in the therapeutic areas of inflammation and fibrosis.

Prior to that role, Marco joined the Immunology, Infectious diseases and Ophthalmology (I2O) Pharma Development division of the Roche/Genentech group in 2016 taking over the leadership of the Innovation group in 2018 where he expanded the scope of the projects within the broad therapeutic areas of immunology, infectious diseases and ophthalmology in constant dialogue with the molecule team members establishing collaborations within Roche/Genentech group as well as with top-notch Universities to innovate clinical data interpretation in the I2O therapeutic areas to ultimately improve and accelerate drug development. In that role, he pioneered the deployment of advanced analytics to I2O late-stage clinical datasets.

Prior to that role Marco joined Roche Preclinical Research and Early Discovery Organisation (pRED) back in 2010 from the Nephrology division of the Giannina Gaslini Children’s Hospital in Genoa, Italy where he conducted his second postDoc devoted to studying the pathobiology of membranous nephropathy. Within pRED he profiled early molecules for potential nephrology indications among other important research activities.

Marco also serves as a senior lecturer at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, his Alma mater, where he continues to investigate potential ways to find a treatment for the Alport Syndrome, a rare genetic renal disorder that starts already in early childhood.

At home, Marco loves books, astronomy, history, and mountaineering.

Chief Financial Officer

Fabiana CLERICI

Fabiana Clerici, Finance and Accounting specialist with federal professional qualification certificate, Sole Director and ASR-certified Auditor (Switzerland’s Federal Audit Oversight Authority), obtained the license of Senior Accountant Fiduciary in 2000 and since 2004 she has been managed the fiduciary company Newgest SA, based on Lugano.
She is a member of various associations such as Fiduciari Suisse and the Order of Accountants of Ticino (OCCT).
She has twenty years of experience in accounting, fiscal, financial, and tax consultancy.