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Current Members

EPOC Membership 







Dr Ashutosh Trehan - President

Ashutosh is a postdoctoral researcher at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge. His work focuses on understanding how a subset of immune cells, known as dendritic cells, detects cancer cells in the body and how this knowledge can be utilised for improving cancer immunotherapies. Prior to his postdoctoral work, Ashutosh completed his PhD from University of Turku, Finland, where he developed new methodologies for single-step mutagenesis and for analysing cyclic AMP (cAMP) kinetics. 
He has been with EPOC since 2017, where he has previously headed the training of postdocs in business skills and had organised courses in accounting and finance. He now oversees different initiatives and events organised by EPOC and provides direction for creating entrepreneurial awareness among postdocs in Cambridge.

Tom Simmons


Dr Tom Simmons - Chairman

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.

 Ankita Singhal


Dr Ankita Singhal - Head of Operations

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.

Maximiliam Ge


Maximilian Ge - Head of Business Development

Maximilian connects tech and entrepreneurship groups across the Cambridge entrepreneurial ecosystem. He worked at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Cambridge Judge Business School, Department of Computer Science and Technology (Computer Laboratory), Engineering Department and Institute for Manufacturing. He has a background in maths and computer science, and is doing research on business models of high-tech and biotech startups. He previously worked on tech startups in the UK and Germany (Techstars). He is a co-organiser of Silicon Valley Comes to the UK, Trustee and Chair of Hack Cambridge Foundation, adviser of WEF Global Shapers Cambridge Hub and was President and Chairman of CUTEC – Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club and CUE – Cambridge University Entrepreneurs. Maximilian has been a member of EPOC since it was founded in 2015 and is responsible for expanding and building the Society’s profile and network.



Inky Gibbens - Head of Business and Entrepreneurial Awareness

 Inky Gibbens grew up in a yurt just outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She studied languages and language endangerment at Leeds, Glasgow, Aberdeen universities & started her part-time PhD in Linguistics at SOAS, University of London, while working in a few London based EdTech startups. However, she quickly became disillusioned with academia and working long hours to build someone else’s dream, so she took the inevitable plunge and founded Tribalingual to tackle the big social issue that motivates her - that of language and cultural loss around the world.

At EPOC, Inky is responsible for organising inspiring events to further motivate postdocs to take the entrepreneurial plunge, to found companies that have the potential to change the world.


 Katharina Lauer

Dr Katharina Lauer - Head of Training 

Kathi is a virologist/immunologist with a strong interest in data driven applications in global health. She currently moved from a wet-lab position at the University of Cambridge to run the industry programme of ELIXIR, an inter-governmental institution with the aim to coordinate bioinfomatics resources and enable open innovation by researchers in industry and academia. Kathi is also part of a collaborative research project looking into the different ways companies generate value from openly available bio-data.
At EPOC, Kathi is responsible for organising training to support an innovation mindset in postdoctoral researchers, encourage entrepreneurial activities, and help them develop entrepreneurial skills. She further acts as a liaison to the P2i network and gives strategic advice on the development of business courses for postdocs to partner organisations.


Ioana Valea 2


Dr Ioana Valea -  Head of Sponsorship

Ioana has a doctorate in plant sciences and is working as a Research Associate at the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University. In her current project, she is thriving to further our knowledge in the field of phytohormones in different plant species like strawberries, rice, barley etc. by using certain optogenetic tools bioengineered in her current laboratory. Previous to moving to Cambridge, she obtained her PhD from the University of Tokyo, where she lived for nearly six years working on jasmonic acid mediated defence mechanisms in rice. She is enthusiastic about bringing Academia members closer to the industry and help build a lasting bridge between them.


Further information:

Asha Recino

Dr Asha Recino – Advisory Consultant

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.
Asha has been Executive Secretary of the society from December 2015 till October 2017. 

More info at:

Claudio Dagostin


Dr Claudio Dagostin -  Advisory Consultant

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. 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 Abzena plc, a life sciences specialised CRO as business development associate. He is a happy father of two children: Romeo (14) and Ariane (11).

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.


Neil Rzechorzek


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.



Past members