People

The team behind The Brain Forum come from a variety of scientific and business backgrounds, but are united by a common vision.

Founder

Dr. Walid Juffali

Dr. Walid Juffali

Founder, The Brain Forum, Switzerland

Dr. Walid Juffali


Dr. Walid Juffali

Dr. Walid Juffali was the Chairman of the Juffali Group and founder of The Brain Forum which was launched in 2013 as part of W Science - an initiative established in Switzerland for the advancement of medical science with a focus on brain research and personalised healthcare.

An accomplished businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Dr. Juffali obtained his first degree from the University of San Diego, USA in 1977. He later earned his PhD in neuroscience at Imperial College London, UK in 2012.

In addition to his ongoing successful business and research ventures, Dr. Juffali was active in public service and philanthropy supporting many scientific and humanitarian initiatives.


Board of Foundation

Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo

Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo

Chairman, Tectus Group and ITI Group, Switzerland

Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo


Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo

Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo is a successful entrepreneur and multi-industrialist. He is Founding Shareholder and Executive Chairman of ITI Group. Since its formation in 1991, ITI Group built the largest broadcasting, media and entertainment group in Poland, and its core company, publicly listed TVN Group, was sold to Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. in 2015.

Mr. Valsangiacomo is Executive Chairman of the Tectus Group, which he has led since 2000, expanding the group’s focus from construction, engineering and real estate to new technologies in media, consumer and biomedical markets.

Since 1997 Mr. Valsangiacomo has been a Director of BBR Holdings (S) Ltd as well as a Board Member of other Tectus Group associated companies. He is founder of Tectus Dreamlab Pte Ltd, a cross-functional research centre in Fusionopolis, Singapore, leading various next-generation initiatives to serve global markets in partnership with Singapore research and government agencies.

Mr. Valsangiacomo is also a founding partner of Metaverse Holdings Ltd, a virtual reality company specialised in virtual live event experiences, NeuroPro Ltd, a company developing next generation tools for applied brain science and The Brain Forum, an independent charitable foundation dedicated to helping fulfil the potential of brain science to benefit humanity.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the School of Economics and Administration in Zurich. Mr. Valsangiacomo speaks English, German, Italian and French.

Dr. Jamil El-Imad

Dr. Jamil El-Imad

CEO, The Brain Forum, Switzerland

Dr. Jamil El-Imad


Dr. Jamil El-Imad

Dr. Jamil El-Imad is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, a Fellow at the Institution of Engineering and Technology London, as well as the Managing Director and Chief Scientist of NeuroPro - a Swiss-based medical technology research, design and commercialisation company focused on bringing innovative, safe and low-cost solutions for applied neural signal analysis to the research and healthcare community.

Mr. Urs Zeltner

Mr. Urs Zeltner

Vice Chairman Wealth Management, UBS AG, Switzerland

Mr. Urs Zeltner


Mr. Urs Zeltner

Mr. Urs Zeltner works at UBS Zurich, Switzerland as Vice Chairman in Wealth Management and is responsible for future success and growth. He supports the business in strengthening UBS relationships with existing clients and in forging new business.

In his more than 30-year career with UBS he has worked in several functions with task and result responsibilities, nationally and abroad. He gained successful experience in the retail business, wealth management, corporate and investment banking, as well as product and services units.

During his multi-year stays in Paris and New York, he gained profound and international experience.

Dr. Reto Heuberger

Dr. Reto Heuberger

Partner, Homburger AG, Switzerland

Dr. Reto Heuberger


Dr. Reto Heuberger

Dr. Reto Heuberger studied law and received his doctorate from the University of Berne, Switzerland and was admitted to the Bar in 1996. He worked as a research and teaching assistant in tax law at the University of Berne and as an associate in a law firm in Zurich before he obtained a Master of Laws degree (LLM) in international taxation from the New York University School of Law, USA. He joined Homburger in 2002 and became partner in 2009. He qualified as a tax expert in 2004. He works as a tax advisor with a focus on international tax law, particularly tax planning and the structuring of transactions, acquisitions, reorganisations and relocations. Dr. Heuberger has published various articles in his practice areas and his doctoral thesis on the hidden distribution of dividends.


International Advisory Board

Prof. Patrick Aebischer

Prof. Patrick Aebischer

President, EPFL, Switzerland

Prof. Patrick Aebischer


Prof. Patrick Aebischer

Prof. Patrick Aebischer was trained as an MD (1980) and a neuroscientist (1983) at the University of Geneva and Fribourg in Switzerland. From 1984 to 1992, he worked at Brown University, USA as an Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor of Medical Sciences. In 1991, he became the Chairman of the Section of Artificial Organs, Biomaterials and Cellular Technology of the Division of Biology and Medicine of Brown University. In the fall of 1992, he returned to Switzerland as a Professor and Director of the Surgical Research Division and Gene Therapy Center at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne. In 1999, Prof. Aebischer was nominated as President of EPFL by the Swiss Federal Council. He took office as President on March, 2000 and since January 2004, he is a member of the ETH Board.

His current research focuses on the development of cell and gene transfer approaches for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Prof. Aebischer is a member of numerous professional societies, both in Europe and the USA. He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a fellow of the Swiss Academy of Medicine. Prof. Aebischer is also a founder of two biotechnology companies: CytoTherapeutics (today Stem Cell Inc) and Modex Therapeutics (today IsoTis).

Prof. Alim-Louis Benabid

Prof. Alim-Louis Benabid

Chairman, Clinatec, France

Prof. Alim-Louis Benabid


Prof. Alim-Louis Benabid

Prof. Alim-Louis Benabid received his medical degree in 1970 and a doctorate in physics in 1978, both from Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France. He became a staff neurosurgeon at Joseph Fourier University, France in 1972, professor of experimental medicine in 1978, and professor of biophysics from 1983 – 2007. Prof. Benabid also had a fellowship in 1979 – 1980 in preclinical neuropharmacology in the laboratory of Floyd Bloom at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, USA. From 1988 to 2007, he directed the preclinical neurosciences unit at the French biomedical and public health research institution INSERM, and from 1989 to 2007, served as head of the neurosurgery department at the University Hospital of Grenoble, France. In other roles, Prof. Benabid coordinated the Claudio Munari Center for Surgery of Epilepsy and Movement Disorders at Hospital Niguarda in Milan, Italy from 1998 to 2007, and was a staff consultant at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, USA from 2000 to 2003. In 2007, Prof. Benabid joined the French Commissariat d’ Energie Atomique (CEA - France's nuclear and renewable energy commission) as a scientific adviser during the time a campus for public-private innovation was being created, the Grenoble Innovation for Advanced New Technologies (Giant) campus, which includes the Minatec research complex and the life-science cluster NanoBio. In 2009, he became Chairman of the Board of the Edmond J. Safra Biomedical Research Center at Clinatec, a translational biomedical technology organisation he helped found within Minatec. Clinatec was jointly created by CEA-Leti (Laboratoire d'électronique des technologies de l'information—an applied micro- and nanotechnology subsidiary of CEA), Grenoble University Hospital, INSERM and Joseph Fourier University. In 2013, when awarding Prof. Benabid a $100,000 Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research to fund continued research, the Michael J. Fox Foundation said in its award announcement that Benabid had published 523 scientific papers, achieving an H Index of 67, as well as given 18 honorary lectures, and received 23 medals and prizes.

Dr. Timothy Constandinou

Dr. Timothy Constandinou

Deputy Director, Centre for Bio-inspired Technology, Imperial College London, UK

Dr. Timothy Constandinou


Dr. Timothy Constandinou

Dr. Timothy Constandinou is a Reader in Neural Microsystems at Imperial College London and also Deputy Director of the Centre for Bio-inspired Technology. Dr Constandinou received BEng and PhD degrees in Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London in 2001 and 2005, respectively.

He leads the Next Generation Neural Interfaces research group at Imperial; a multidisciplinary team of approx. 15-20 full time researchers. The group utilizes integrated circuit and microsystem technologies to create advanced neural interfaces that enable new scientific and prosthetic applications. The ultimate goal is to develop devices that interface with neural pathways for restoring lost function in sensory, cognitive and motor impaired patients.

Within the IEEE and IET he serves on several committees/panels, etc, regularly contributing to conference organization, technical activities and governance. He is currently associate editor of IEEE Trans. Biomedical Circuits & Systems (TBioCAS), is chair-elect of the IEEE Sensory Systems Technical Committee, a member of the IEEE BRAIN Initiative Steering Committee, and member of IEEE BioCAS Technical Committee. He is currently chair of the IET Awards & Prizes committee and also serves on the IET Knowledge Services Board.

Prof. Murali Doraiswamy

Prof. Murali Doraiswamy

Director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Program, Duke University, USA

Prof. Murali Doraiswamy


Prof. Murali Doraiswamy

Murali Doraiswamy is a Professor and Director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Program at Duke University and a leading researcher at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.  He directs a clinical trials unit which has been involved with the development of many diagnostics tests and therapies used widely today. Murali has served as an advisor to leading government agencies, businesses and advocacy groups, and serves as the Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Future Council on Neurotechnologies and Brain Sciences.  He is the co-author of a popular book,The Alzheimer’s Action Plan.

Dr. Jamil El-Imad

Dr. Jamil El-Imad

CEO, The Brain Forum, Switzerland

Dr. Jamil El-Imad


Dr. Jamil El-Imad

Dr. Jamil El-Imad is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, a Fellow at the Institution of Engineering and Technology London, as well as the Managing Director and Chief Scientist of NeuroPro - a Swiss-based medical technology research, design and commercialisation company focused on bringing innovative, safe and low-cost solutions for applied neural signal analysis to the research and healthcare community.

Prof. Thomas Grunwald

Prof. Thomas Grunwald

Medical Director, Swiss Epilepsy Centre, Switzerland

Prof. Thomas Grunwald


Prof. Thomas Grunwald

Prof. Thomas Grunwald was born in 1956 in Germany and now lives in Zürich, Switzerland. He is a Neurologist, specialising in epileptology and clinical neurophysiology and especially in pre-surgical evaluations for epilepsy surgery at the Swiss Epilepsy Centre in Zürich. In addition, he is Senior Consultant for epileptology at the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Zürich and teaches neurology at Bonn University Medical Centre, Germany. His main area of research is cognitive neurophysiology of memory processes, and he cooperates in the study of neurophysiological correlates of artistic and rhetorical communication with the Zürich University of the Arts, Switzerland, and the University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Prof. Sean Hill

Prof. Sean Hill

Adjunct Professor, EPFL, Switzerland

Prof. Sean Hill


Prof. Sean Hill

Prof. Sean Hill is Co-Director of the Blue Brain Project and Co-Director of Neuroinformatics in the European Union funded Human Brain Project at EPFL. Prof. Hill also serves as the Scientific Director of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Prof. Hill has extensive experience in building and simulating large-scale models of brain circuitry and has also supervised and led research efforts exploring the principles underlying the structure and dynamics of neocortical and thalamocortical microcircuitry. He currently serves in management and advisory roles on several large-scale clinical informatics initiatives around the world. After completing his PhD in Computational Neuroscience at the Université de Lausanne, Switzerland, Prof. Hill held postdoctoral positions at The Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, USA and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA then joined the IBM TJ Watson Research Center where he served as the Project Manager for Computational Neuroscience in the Blue Brain Project until his appointment at the EPFL.

Prof. Nancy Ip

Prof. Nancy Ip

Dean of Science, Hong Kong University of Sceince and Technology, China

Prof. Nancy Ip


Prof. Nancy Ip

Prof. Nancy Ip is currently the Dean of Science, The Morningside Professor of Life Science, and Director of the State Key Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). She received her PhD in Pharmacology from Harvard Medical School, USA after which she held the position of Senior Staff Scientist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA. Since joining HKUST, she has served as Associate Dean of Science, Director of the Biotechnology Research Institute, and Head of the Department of Biochemistry. Prof. Ip's major research interests are in neural development and function as well as drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. She is well known for her seminal discoveries in the biology of neurotrophic factors, which are proteins that promote the survival, development, and maintenance of neurons in the nervous system. She has also made important contributions towards understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying brain development and synaptic plasticity, and their dysregulation in neurological disorders. Using this knowledge, her research team aims to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, and identify drug leads for these brain disorders. Furthermore, she plays a significant role in the development of biotechnology in Hong Kong, and has launched prominent collaborations with major biopharmaceutical companies, thus placing HKUST on the map for cutting-edge R&D in molecular neuroscience.

As a highly accomplished researcher, Prof. Ip has published over 260 scientific papers with more than 17,600 citations, and holds 41 patents. She was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, the World Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong and most recently, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has received numerous awards and honours including the National Natural Science Awards, the L'OREAL-UNESCO for Women in Science Award, and the "Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite" by the French Government. She is also the senior editor of the Journal of Neuroscience, and an elected Councillor for two leading global organisations in the fields of neuroscience and pharmacology: the Society for Neuroscience and the CINP (Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum). Furthermore, she is a member of the Global Agenda Council on Brain Research of the World Economic Forum.

Prof. Ryuta Kawashima

Prof. Ryuta Kawashima

Director, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer (IDAC), Tohoku University, Japan

Prof. Ryuta Kawashima


Prof. Ryuta Kawashima

Dr. Ryuta Kawashima is a Director of Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer (IDAC), Tohoku University from 2014. Throughout the years, Dr. Kawashima studied at Tohoku University School of Medicine, and the Graduate School of Medicine where he earned his M.D. He also spent some time in Sweden as a guest researcher at the famed Karolinska Institute.

He has succeeded in developing and spreading the use of a new system to improve the cognitive function of senior citizens suffering from senile dementia as well as healthy people by top-down application of the basic research findings involving functional brain imaging (Kawashima et al. 2005). The system to improve the cognitive function of dementia patients, called “learning therapy,” is used at more than 1,400 facilities (as of the end of 2011) for the care of more than 12,000 patients. The economic effect of the system has been estimated to reduce nursing care insurance costs by 100,000 yen per person annually (Organization of the Learning Therapy). The system has also been proven to be effective in preventing dementia (Uchida & Kawashima 2008), and is used for the welfare of senior citizens in 327 municipalities.

He has won the Prizes for Science and Technology, The Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2009. His scientific output includes over 250 peer reviewed papers and the 200 books.

Dr. Ismail Kola

Dr. Ismail Kola

Executive Vice President New Medicines, UCB, Belgium

Dr. Ismail Kola


Dr. Ismail Kola

Dr. Ismail Kola joined UCB from Schering-Plough Corporation where he was Senior Vice President of Discovery Research and Early Clinical Research & Experimental Medicine at the Schering-Plough Research Institute, the pharmaceutical research arm of Schering-Plough Corporation, and Chief Scientific Officer of the Schering-Plough Corporation. Dr. Kola came to Schering-Plough from Merck, where he was Senior Vice President of Basic Research and Site Head for Rahway, Montreal and Madrid. He also chaired Merck's Antibacterial and Antifungal Worldwide Business Strategy Team. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Research, and Global Head of Genomics Science and Biotechnology, at Pharmacia Corporation. Prior to his move to industry, Dr. Kola received a PhD in Medicine from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and was a Professor of Human Molecular Genetics at Monash University Medical School, Australia and Director of the Research Center for Functional Genomics and Human Disease. He was at Monash for approximately 15 years.

Dr. Kola holds Adjunct Professorships of Medicine at Washington University in St Louis, USA, and Monash University Medical School, Australia; a Foreign Adjunct Professorship at The Karolinska Institute, Sweden, and is a William Pitt Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge University, UK. He is a member of the Board of Athersys Inc., Biotie Therapies, and Astex Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Christof Koch

Dr. Christof Koch

Chief Scientific Officer, Allen Institute for Brain Science, USA

Dr. Christof Koch


Dr. Christof Koch

Dr. Christof Koch has dedicated his life to researching neuroscience, having spent 25 years at the California Institute of Technology, USA as a Professor in Biology and Engineering. In 2011, Dr. Koch left academia to join the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating resources to fuel discovery among researchers worldwide and to advance the scientific community's understanding of the brain in health and disease. He is leading a 10-year, large-scale, high throughput effort to build brain observatories to map, analyse, and understand the cerebral cortex. Dr. Koch has authored more than 300 scientific papers and articles, eight patents, and five books concerned with the way neurons process information and the neuronal and computational basis of visual perception, selective attention, and consciousness. Together with his long-time collaborator, Francis Crick, Dr. Koch pioneered the scientific study of consciousness. His latest book is Consciousness -Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist.

Prof. Hilal Lashuel

Prof. Hilal Lashuel

Associate Professor, EPFL, Switzerland

Prof. Hilal Lashuel


Prof. Hilal Lashuel

Prof. A Lashuel received his BSc degree in Chemistry from the City University of New York, USA in 1994 and completed his doctoral studies at Texas A&M University and the Scripps Research Institute in 2000. After obtaining his doctoral degree, he became a Research Fellow at the Picower Institute for Medical Research in Long Island New York. In 2001, he moved to Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women's Hospital as a Research Fellow in the Center for Neurologic Diseases and was later promoted to an Instructor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School. During his tenure (2001-2004) at Harvard Medical School his work focused on understanding the mechanisms of protein misfolding and aggregation and the role of these processes in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. In 2005 Prof. Lashuel moved to Switzerland to join the Brain Mind Institute at EPFL as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Neurosciences. Currently, Prof. Lashuel is an Associate Professor of Life Sciences and the Director of the Laboratory of Molecular and Chemical Biology of neurodegeneration. He is also the Secretary General of the Society for Advancing Science and Technology in the Arab World. In 2009, he was named by the Hebdo magazine (Forum des 100) as one of the most outstanding personalities in the French region of Switzerland and was recently named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Prof. Klaus Lehnertz

Prof. Klaus Lehnertz

Professor, University of Bonn, Germany

Prof. Klaus Lehnertz


Prof. Klaus Lehnertz

Prof. Klaus Lehnertz is a Physicist and Director of the Neurophysics Group at the Department of Epileptology at Bonn University Medical Center, Germany. In addition, he is Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Complex Systems and an affiliated member of the Helmholtz-Institute for Radiation and Nuclear Physics at Bonn University. He is Co-initiator of the International Seizure Prediction Group, which brings together researchers from a wide range of backgrounds including epileptology, neurosurgery, neurosciences, physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering to deepen scientific and medical understanding of epilepsy and to develop new diagnosis, treatment and intervention options for patients with epilepsy.

Prof. Lehnertz’s research interests include nonlinear dynamics, statistical physics, complex networks, neurophysics, computational physics, physics of imaging, medical physics, and epilepsy. He is the author of more than 200 original publications in international peer-reviewed journals, reviews, book articles, and books.

Prof. Pierre Magistretti

Prof. Pierre Magistretti

Dean, Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering, KAUST, Saudi Arabia and Professor, EPFL, Switzerland

Prof. Pierre Magistretti


Prof. Pierre Magistretti

Prof. Pierre J. Magistretti received his MD from the University of Geneva and his PhD in Biology from UCSD. He is currently the Dean of the Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia. He also has an affiliation as Professor of Neuroscience at the Brain Mind Institute, EPFL, Switzerland. Prof Magistretti's laboratory has discovered some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the coupling between neuronal activity and energy consumption of the brain. These findings are particularly relevant for understanding the origin of the signals detected by functional brain imaging, and are revealing a role of astrocytes in neuronal plasticity. Prof Magistretti is the author of over 240 publications in international peer-reviewed journals. He has been elected as the International Chair 2007-2008 of the Collège de France, Paris. He is a member of Academia Europaea and of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. He is the past-President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and the past-Secretary General of the Organization, of which he has been President since 2014. He is strongly engaged in the public understanding of neuroscience.

Prof. Henry Markram

Prof. Henry Markram

Director, Blue Brain Project, EPFL, Switzerland

Prof. Henry Markram


Prof. Henry Markram

Prof. Henry Markram is the founder of the Brain Mind Institute at EPFL, founder and director of the Blue Brain Project, and coordinator of the Human Brain Project. After earning his PhD with distinction at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, he was a Fulbright scholar at the National Institutes of Health, USA, and a Minerva Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research, Germany. In 1995 he returned to the Weizmann Institute, becoming an Associate Professor in 2000. In 2002 he became a full professor at EPFL. Prof. Markram's research has focused on synaptic plasticity and the microcircuitry of the neocortex, in which he has discovered fundamental principles governing synaptic plasticity (e.g. STDP, RSE, LTMP, neuromodulation) and the structural and functional organisation of neural microcircuitry. Key co-discoveries include the concept of Liquid Computing and the Intense World Theory of Autism. In 2005 he launched the Blue Brain Project to develop a general strategy for data integration in neuroscience and a specific strategy of predictive reconstruction to make experimental mapping of the brain tractable. Prof. Markram has published over one hundred papers, has been cited over 17,000 times. Since 2002, Dr. Markram has spearheaded Switzerland's ambition to become a world leader in High Performance Computing and to prioritise simulation-based research; these fields are now two of the three national research priorities declared by the Swiss government. Prof. Markram is also founder of Frontiers, a new model for peer-reviewed open-access publishing.

Prof. Miguel A.L. Nicolelis

Prof. Miguel A.L. Nicolelis

Professor, Duke University, USA

Prof. Miguel A.L. Nicolelis


Prof. Miguel A.L. Nicolelis

Prof. Miguel A.L. Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., is the Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience at Duke University, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering and Psychology and Neuroscience, and founder of Duke's Center for Neuroengineering. He is Founder and Scientific Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute for Neuroscience of Natal. Prof. Nicolelis is also founder of the Walk Again Project, an international consortium of scientists and engineers, dedicated to the development of an exoskeleton device to assist severely paralyzed patients in regaining full body mobility.

Prof. Nicolelis has dedicated his career to investigating how the brains of freely behaving animals encode sensory and motor information. As a result of his studies, Prof. Nicolelis was first to propose and demonstrate that animals and human subjects can utilize their electrical brain activity to directly control neuroprosthetic devices via brain-machine interfaces (BMI).

Over the past 25 years, Prof. Nicolelis pioneered and perfected the development of a new neurophysiological method, known today as chronic, multi-site, multi-electrode recordings. Using this approach in a variety of animal species, as well in intra-operative procedures in human patients, Prof. Nicolelis launched a new field of investigation, which aims at measuring the concurrent activity and interactions of large populations of single neurons throughout the brain. Through his work, Prof. Nicolelis has discovered a series of key physiological principles that govern the operation of mammalian brain circuits.

Prof. Nicolelis pioneering BMI studies have become extremely influential since they offer new potential therapies for patients suffering from severe levels of paralysis, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy. Today, numerous neuroscience laboratories in the US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America have incorporated Prof. Nicolelis' experimental paradigm to study a variety of mammalian neuronal systems. His research has influenced basic and applied research in computer science, robotics, and biomedical engineering.

Prof. Nicolelis is a member of the French and Brazilian Academies of Science and has authored over 200 manuscripts, edited numerous books and special journal publications, and holds three US patents. His award-winning research has been published in Nature, Science, and Scientific American and has been widely reported in national and international media. He is the author of Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines and How It Will Change Our Lives; and most recently co-authored The Relativistic Brain: How it Works and Why it Cannot be Simulated by a Turing Machine.

Prof. Chris Toumazou

Prof. Chris Toumazou

Director, Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Prof. Chris Toumazou


Prof. Chris Toumazou

Prof. Chris Toumazou is currently the Founding Director and Chief Scientist at The Institute of Biomedical Engineering Imperial College London, UK, Founder and Executive Chairman of Toumaz Technology, Chairman and CEO of DNA Electronics, and Director of the Winston Wong Centre for Bio Inspired Technology. He has published over 700 research papers and holds 40 patents in the field of semiconductors and healthcare many of which are now fully granted PCT. Prof. Toumazou is distinguished for his ground breaking innovations in silicon technology and integrated circuit design. His career began with the invention and development of an entirely novel concept of current-mode analogue circuitry for ultra-low-power electronic devices. For this, at 33 years old, Prof. Toumazou became one of the youngest ever professors at Imperial College London. However, it has been his success in applying silicon chip technology to biomedical and life-science applications, most recently to DNA analysis, that is leading to new innovations in the field of genetics, molecular biology and personalised medicine.

Prof. Toumazou has received many awards including The Royal Society Clifford Patterson Prize Lecture, entitled "The Bionic Man", for which he received The Royal Society Clifford Patterson bronze medal in 2003; the IEEE CAS Education Award 2005 for pioneering contributions circuits and systems for biomedical applications; the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal 2007 for pioneering contributions to British industry; and the IET Premium best paper award and the IEEE CAS outstanding young author award. In 2006 he was elected to Academia Europea.

Dr. Tej Tadi

Dr. Tej Tadi

CEO, MindMaze, Switzerland and USA

Dr. Tej Tadi


Dr. Tej Tadi

Dr. Tej Tadi is an Electronics Engineer and has pursued an advanced master in Virtual Reality & Computer Graphics at the EPFL, Switzerland. During his PhD (EPFL), he set up an immersive virtual reality system in combination with state-of-the-art brain imaging technologies enabling trans-disciplinary work in cognitive psychology, neuroimaging, and virtual reality. His research has led to important and highly visible scientific publications (Science) and awards (Pfizer Award for Neuroscience in 2009). Through his research, he has built a strong multi-disciplinary base spanning computer science, systems biology, neuroimaging, and computational and cognitive neuroscience. He founded MindMaze in 2011 to design and develop novel applications in Neuro-Rehabilitation, Game training & Interfaces. The technology platform from MindMaze will help in the neurology, psychiatry and sports rehabilitation. He recently launched the worlds first neurogoggles combining neural sensing with embedded motion capture cameras, to harness the power of players’ minds to enhance gameplay and experiences in both virtual and augmented reality. Dr. Tadi was nominated as a Young Global Leader 2015 by the World Economic Forum.

Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo

Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo

Chairman, Tectus Group and ITI Group, Switzerland

Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo


Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo

Mr. Bruno Valsangiacomo is a successful entrepreneur and multi-industrialist. He is Founding Shareholder and Executive Chairman of ITI Group. Since its formation in 1991, ITI Group built the largest broadcasting, media and entertainment group in Poland, and its core company, publicly listed TVN Group, was sold to Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. in 2015.

Mr. Valsangiacomo is Executive Chairman of the Tectus Group, which he has led since 2000, expanding the group’s focus from construction, engineering and real estate to new technologies in media, consumer and biomedical markets.

Since 1997 Mr. Valsangiacomo has been a Director of BBR Holdings (S) Ltd as well as a Board Member of other Tectus Group associated companies. He is founder of Tectus Dreamlab Pte Ltd, a cross-functional research centre in Fusionopolis, Singapore, leading various next-generation initiatives to serve global markets in partnership with Singapore research and government agencies.

Mr. Valsangiacomo is also a founding partner of Metaverse Holdings Ltd, a virtual reality company specialised in virtual live event experiences, NeuroPro Ltd, a company developing next generation tools for applied brain science and The Brain Forum, an independent charitable foundation dedicated to helping fulfil the potential of brain science to benefit humanity.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the School of Economics and Administration in Zurich. Mr. Valsangiacomo speaks English, German, Italian and French.

Prof. Tony Wyss-Coray

Prof. Tony Wyss-Coray

Professor, Stanford University, USA

Prof. Tony Wyss-Coray


Prof. Tony Wyss-Coray

Prof. Tony Wyss-Coray is a Professor of Neurology and Neurological sciences at Stanford University, USA and the Associate Director of the Center for Tissue Regeneration, Repair and Restoration at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. His lab investigates the role of immune responses in brain aging and neurodegeneration with a focus on cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. He combines the study of mouse models with human clinical samples using cytomic, proteomic, and bioinformatics tools. His most recent studies show that systemic circulatory factors can modulate neurogenesis, neuroinflammation, and cognitive function in mice and that factors from young mice can rejuvenate the aging brain. He is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health Director's Transformative Research Award, a Zenith award from the Alzheimer's Association, a distinguished scholar award from the John Douglas French Alzheimer Foundation, and he is an inventor on multiple patents.

Mr. Urs Zeltner

Mr. Urs Zeltner

Vice Chairman Wealth Management, UBS AG, Switzerland

Mr. Urs Zeltner


Mr. Urs Zeltner

Mr. Urs Zeltner works at UBS Zurich, Switzerland as Vice Chairman in Wealth Management and is responsible for future success and growth. He supports the business in strengthening UBS relationships with existing clients and in forging new business.

In his more than 30-year career with UBS he has worked in several functions with task and result responsibilities, nationally and abroad. He gained successful experience in the retail business, wealth management, corporate and investment banking, as well as product and services units.

During his multi-year stays in Paris and New York, he gained profound and international experience.


Organisational Team

Dr. Jamil El-Imad

Dr. Jamil El-Imad

CEO, The Brain Forum, Switzerland

Dr. Jamil El-Imad


Dr. Jamil El-Imad

Dr. Jamil El-Imad is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, a Fellow at the Institution of Engineering and Technology London, as well as the Managing Director and Chief Scientist of NeuroPro - a Swiss-based medical technology research, design and commercialisation company focused on bringing innovative, safe and low-cost solutions for applied neural signal analysis to the research and healthcare community.

Mr. René Brand

Mr. René Brand

Chief Financial Officer, The Brain Forum, Switzerland

Mr. René Brand


Mr. René Brand

Mr. René Brand holds a Master’s Degree from St.Gallen University (HSG) and is a charter holder of CFA, FRM and CAIA, all related to financial markets analysis, investment & risk management. He is the CIO of W Investments since early 2011 and was formerly working in different positions within Investment Banking & Brokerage at UBS, Berenberg & Valartis Bank.

Mr. Daniel Lo-Giudice

Mr. Daniel Lo-Giudice

Design Consultant, The Brain Forum, Switzerland

Mr. Daniel Lo-Giudice


Mr. Daniel Lo-Giudice

Mr. Daniel Lo-Giudice is a 3D designer and technologist. After studying engineering at university, Daniel had several years of production experience in the film and television industry before switching his focus to product design. Working on many consumer and medical products from concept to manufacturing, Daniel has developed a very broad skill-set. He is also very knowledgeable in IT systems and hardware. Now based in Zürich, Daniel is the Laboratory Manager and Design Consultant at W Science, a multi-disciplinary company driving innovation at the interface of computer science, healthcare and virtual reality.

Mrs. Dorota Pasinska

Mrs. Dorota Pasinska

Relationship Manager, The Brain Forum, Switzerland

Mrs. Dorota Pasinska


Mrs. Dorota Pasinska

Mrs. Dorota Pasinska is a Relationship Manager at W Science. She is responsible for developing and maintaining collaborative business relationships as well as management of partners and sponsors. Mrs. Pasinska also contributes to strategic planning, concept generation and business solutions. In addition to her role at W Science, Mrs. Pasinska has strong legal and tax qualifications and is a PhD research fellow in International Finance Law at the University of Zürich.

Dr. Mirjana Wojtal

Dr. Mirjana Wojtal

Programme Director, The Brain Forum, Switzerland

Dr. Mirjana Wojtal


Dr. Mirjana Wojtal

Dr. Mirjana Wojtal received her PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Groningen. In her roles as Scientific Advisor and Programme Manager, Dr. Wojtal has been engaged with internationally recognised academic experts as well as diverse industry partners to manage scientific research projects and leading interdisciplinary events at the interface of science, industry, entrepreneurship and investments. As a neurobiologist, Dr. Wojtal has been responsible for developing, executing and supervising science projects to further the understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases.

Mr. Daniel Zweifel

Mr. Daniel Zweifel

Marketing & Sponsoring Director, The Brain Forum, Switzerland

Mr. Daniel Zweifel


Mr. Daniel Zweifel

Senior leader at UBS with 20 years of global expertise in Marketing, Sales and Segment Management, Daniel is accomplished in driving and enabling strategic marketing programs to support sustainable business impact. He developed client-insight led marketing innovations, growth opportunity targeting and marketing impact measurement defined as key capabilities for success. 

Dream big - work hard - stay focused - and surround yourself with great motivated people!