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EPOC membership

Tom Simmons

Dr Tom Simmons - President

Tom is an RSE Enterprise Fellow in the Biochemistry Department in Cambridge and a GFC Fellow in Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the World Economic Forum. His research is focused on enzymes for biofuel production, as part of a pan-European industrial-academic collaboration, during which he has published papers in top-tier journals including Nature Chemical Biology and Nature Communications. Tom is co-author of an enzyme patent and has appeared as a scientific expert on Sky News and Channel 4 television. He is passionate about using scientific advances and expertise to make a difference in the world.


 Asha Recino

Dr Asha Recino – Secretary

Asha is a cell biologist with a particular interest in immuno-based pathologies, such as Type 1 diabetes, and cancer immunotherapy. Asha carried out her Marie Curie fellowship-funded doctoral work at the University of Bath where she elucidated how a specific Ras-associated protein can compromise cell division and possibly cancer. Through her postdoctoral research at the Department of Pathology in Cambridge she has expanded her area of expertise in immunology and is keen to identify novel therapeutic targets that contribute to the understanding and improved treatment of autoimmunity and cancer. She is also collaborating with researchers at the Cavendish Laboratory to develop novel nanotechnology-based biosensors. Asha sees EPOC as a fantastic way to forge collaborations, develop entrepreneurial skills, and be part of a multidisciplinary network.



Hervé Vaultrin - Treasurer 

Hervé’s background and experiences are related to accountancy and finance. He has worked for 11 years in the French workers cooperative's network, as a senior business advisor, where he was responsible for the development of workers cooperatives for the East of France. His duties were to supervise a portfolio of 60 cooperatives across a number of business sectors (monitoring activities, providing advice to the CEO and shareholders) and to help employees from “classical” businesses to save their jobs by buying out their companies and creating a cooperative (He carried out projects in business transfer and business recovery from start to finish). He recently moved to the UK, and after being a volunteer at the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPdA) and for EPOC, he is now a member of the finance team of the Stem Cell Institute.


Dr Hakan Bagci - HEAPP Leader 

Hakan is a postdoctoral scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge UK, where his research is focused on synthetic biology, genetic code expansion systems and genetic engineering. Following a Master's degree on functional genetics in Strasbourg, Hakan completed his PhD studies on stem cell biology and epigenetic reprogramming at Imperial College London, during which he co-authored in research articles and reviews published in peer-reviewed top tier journals including Cell, Molecular Cell, Cell Stem Cell and Nature Communications. During his PhD research, he also established interdisciplinary and international collaborations, and spent time as a visiting scientist in Zurich and Singapore. Outside his research, Hakan is keenly exploring the rapidly expanding business scene in Cambridge, is organising events to bridge academia, industry, and investors, is taking courses on fundamentals of business thinking, and is conducting consultancy work in life sciences; he believes that creativity, collaboration, and communication are keys to success. Hakan has recently joined the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge (EPOC) society as the Higher-education and Enterprise Alliance for entrepreneurial Postdoc Pathways (HEAPP) leader, where his role is to ensure an open communication amongst partner societies and businesses for the delivery of a solid European-wide entrepreneurial network.



Dr Ankita Singhal - Events Team Leader

Ankita is a structural biologist with a keen interest in translational biology. She graduated from ETH, Zurich and Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. Her graduate studies project has already enabled efficient drug designing for retinitis pigmentosa, a form of hereditary night blindness and currently the project has reached at a stage of drug screening in collaboration with Roche, Basel. She is currently a post-doc at Laboratory of Molecular Biology and working on a pharmacologically interesting class of membrane proteins to understand ligand binding and their downstream signaling mechanism. Apart from scientific research, she is quite enthusiastic about social entrepreneurship and human centered problem solving. She is still exploring the basics of a successful transition to an entrepreneurial world that includes both commercial and social ventures.



Dr Srishti Gupta - Networking Team Leader

Srishti has been working as a Post-doc at the Department of Veterinary Medicine for the past two years where her current research focuses on understanding dynamics of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) gene transfer using various chromatin conformation techniques.  She has been actively involved in the Departments’ Post-doc committee since formation.  Srishti completed her doctorate degree at the University’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology following undergraduate degree in Biotechnology from Bangalore, India.  She has been a recipient of multiple awards for academic excellence and leadership skills while studying in India. During her Postdoc, she completed a consulting project for a life-sciences start-up company. She then joined EPOC as the Communications and Networking team lead and has also been actively involved in establishing, Cambridge Minds, the Post-doc consulting scheme. Outside of work, she likes teaching children in under-developed areas of India over VoIP-based applications for a social enterprise, eVidyaloka, based in India.


Julia Tischler 

Dr Julia Tischler - Business Competition Team Leader 

Julia is especially interested in technology development within the life sciences, with the benefit of improved human health.
Following a PhD at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Molecular Biology in 2008, Julia joined California Institute of Technology as a Postdoctoral Associate investigating stem cell behaviour. In 2011 she arrived in Cambridge,  at the Gurdon Institute focusing on changes in stem cell metabolism and cell cycle dynamics as ‘drivers’ for stem cell differentiation. 
She has recently been a Finalist in the first-ever Cambridge Postdoc Business Plan Competition presenting an automated Fluidic Stem Cell Culture system. 
Outside the Lab, she is concerned with environmental conservation and she has been working part-time as a Team Leader for Fundraising for the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) for many years. 


 Claudio 6

Dr Claudio Dagostin

Born in Rome, Italy, Claudio Dagostin got his PhD in Chemistry (Mechanisms of Organic Reactions) from the University « La Sapienza » in 2000. After a short, but inspiring experience at GSK in Stevenage in 2001, he went for a post-doc at Imperial College London where he worked on Alzheimer's disease chemical probes. After that, in 2004, he started working in several companies in the Cambridge biotech cluster (i.e. Domainex and Astex Pharmaceuticals) where he deepened his knowledge in Medicinal Chemistry and in Fragment Based Drug Design. In 2012 he went back to academia at Cambridge University where he investigated challenging drug targets such as protein-protein interactions. He is currently working at Capital Cell, a life sciences specialised crowdfunding platform as business development associate.  He is a happy father of two children: Romeo (12) and Ariane (10).

Claudio co-founded EPOC in 2015 to support postdocs in their pursuit of entrepreneurial careers.  Following his role as the Society's Networking and Communication leader, Claudio now acts as an advisor to the Committee on various subjects.



Kasia Ladds

Kasia Ladds is a Marketing and Comms Associate, focused on helping Cambridge Enterprise engage with the University’s academic partners and providing marketing and communications support. Previously, Kasia served as a Communications Co-ordinator at Cambridge Assessment where she did copywriting, editing and editorial administration. A graduate of the University of Kent, Kasia earned a Masters of Creative Writing in 2012.



Dr Crina Samarghitean

Current and previous research works include bioinformatics services for communicable and non-communicable diseases, rare diseases, pandemic/health threats preparedness and control, global health.  With an extensive training and practical experience in medicine, medical informatics, bioinformatics, epidemiology, public health, data management, teaching, mentoring, leadership, digital health and medical services, Crina enjoy to develop big teams of people to be the best version of themselves. She produced more than 80 publications, public lectures, conference presentations and art&science exhibitions. For the importance, innovation, and quality of her research she received 23 publications, poster and travel awards and in 2011 she had the honor to represent Finland in the 61st Nobel Lindau meeting to meet 23 Nobel laureates and the 570 best young researchers in the world.
Prior to joining University of Cambridge as a research associate, Crina was involved in organizing events in academia and non-academia starting from workshops to international conferences in medicine and bioinformatics to biggest international sportive events such EYOF (European Youth Olympic Games) and SLUSH (focal point for Eurasian startups and tech talent to meet with top-tier international investors, executives and media). Crina founds participating in these events very inspiring and she wants to bring this experience to EPOC and Cambridge area.

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Dr Neil Rzechorzek - Advisory Chairperson

Neil joined the Department of Biochemistry (Cambridge) as a Postdoc in 2008, following a PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Institute of Cancer Research (University of London).  His research uses structural and biophysical methods to investigate metazoan DNA repair and replication mechanisms.

Outside the lab, Neil has a keen interest in the translation of ideas between the academic and private sectors.  During his first year in Cambridge he was appointed as a Business Fellow for the London Technology Network, with the remit of fostering new collaborations between the University and SMEs.  He subsequently spent two years as a member of CUTEC (Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club), acting as Director of Development in 2012.  In recent years he has undertaken a range of consultancy work for companies operating in the biotechnology / life sciences sectors.

Neil co-founded EPOC in 2015 to support postdocs in their pursuit of entrepreneurial careers.  Following his role as the Society's inaugural President, Neil now provides strategic guidance to the Committee as it seeks to expand on EPOC's range of events and initiatives.



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