Christoph Merten

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Professor

Christoph Merten
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Born (1976-07-31) July 31, 1976 (age 46)
Bielefeld, Germany
NationalityGerman
CitizenshipGermany
OccupationProfessor and entrepreneur
Known forDevelopment of droplet-based microfluidic technologies for biomedical applications
Academic background
Alma materGoethe University of Frankfurt
Doctoral advisorChristian Buchholz
Academic work
DisciplineBioengineering
Sub-disciplineDroplet-based Microfluidics
InstitutionsÉcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Websitehttps://www.epfl.ch/labs/cryos

Christoph Merten (born (1976-07-31)July 31, 1976 in Bielefeld, Germany) is a German bio-engineer and entrepreneur, currently associate Professor at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and adjunct scientist at the Ludwig Cancer Research in Lausanne.[1][2][3] His research focuses on the development of biomedical microfluidics technologies for drug discovery, diagnostics and personalized therapy in cancer research.[4]

Career

Christoph Merten graduated in 1999 with a diploma in biochemistry from the Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, where he also obtained an intermediate degree (Vordiplom) in organic chemistry. He then pursued a PhD at the Paul Ehrlich Institute, where he worked on the directed evolution of Viral vector, graduating in 2004. He then moved to the University of Cambridge, where he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Medical Research Council (United Kingdom) Laboratory for Molecular Biology, focusing on high-throughput screening using emulsion technologies. In 2005, he started a second postdoctoral appointment at the Institut de science et d'ingénierie supramoléculaires (ISIC) in Strasbourg, France. There, he focused on droplet-based microfluidics for cellular assays and started his own research group in 2007. From 2010 to 2019, he served as group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, where he established high-throughput droplet-based microfluidic screening platforms. In 2019, he was named associate Professor of Biological engineering at EPFL.[5]

Research

During his PhD in the laboratory of Christian Buchholz at the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Christoph Merten's research focused on the development of gene therapy vectors using directed evolution.[6][7][8] As a postdoctoral researcher, he led the development of novel droplet-based technologies, notably allowing both higher throughput and the use of minimal sample volumes in biological screening assays.[9]

Christoph Merten currently leads the laboratory for biomedical microfluidics (LBMM) within the School of Engineering at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.[10] The laboratory uses droplet-based approaches to address questions related to personalized medicine, Screening (medicine).

In the context of cancer therapy, this work has allowed cost-efficient screening of numerous drug combinations on tumor samples issued from patient biopsies, paving the way to rapid determination of personalized treatment regimens for cancer patients.[11][12]

The laboratory also reported technologies improving the discovery of Monoclonal antibody therapy.[13][14]

Innovation

In 2017, Christoph Merten co-founded Velabs Therapeutics, a biotechnology startup aiming to develop droplet microfluidics technologies for the screening of therapeutic antibodies.[15] In 2019, the company announced that it had succesfully closed a financing round worth €3 million.[16]

Christoph Merten is also a co-founder of TheraMe!, a consortium which aims to develop technologies allowing personalized cancer therapies.[17]

Selected publications

  • Clausell-Tormos, Jenifer; Lieber, Diana; Baret, Jean-Christophe; El-Harrak, Abdeslam; Miller, Oliver J.; Frenz, Lucas; Blouwolff, Joshua; Humphry, Katherine J.; Köster, Sarah; Duan, Honey; Holtze, Christian; Weitz, David A.; Griffiths, Andrew D.; Merten, Christoph A. (2008). "Droplet-Based Microfluidic Platforms for the Encapsulation and Screening of Mammalian Cells and Multicellular Organisms". Chemistry & Biology. 15 (5): 427–437. doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2008.04.004. PMID 18482695.
  • Debs, B. E.; Utharala, R.; Balyasnikova, I. V.; Griffiths, A. D.; Merten, C. A. (2012). "Functional single-cell hybridoma screening using droplet-based microfluidics". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109 (29): 11570–11575. Bibcode:2012PNAS..10911570D. doi:10.1073/pnas.1204514109. PMC 3406880. PMID 22753519.
  • Chaipan, Chawaree; Pryszlak, Anna; Dean, Hansi; Poignard, Pascal; Benes, Vladimir; Griffiths, Andrew D.; Merten, Christoph A. (2017). "Single-Virus Droplet Microfluidics for High-Throughput Screening of Neutralizing Epitopes on HIV Particles". Cell Chemical Biology. 24 (6): 751–757.e3. doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2017.05.009. PMID 28552581.
  • Shembekar, Nachiket; Hu, Hongxing; Eustace, David; Merten, Christoph A. (2018). "Single-Cell Droplet Microfluidic Screening for Antibodies Specifically Binding to Target Cells". Cell Reports. 22 (8): 2206–2215. doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2018.01.071. PMC 5842027. PMID 29466744.
  • Eduati, Federica; Utharala, Ramesh; Madhavan, Dharanija; Neumann, Ulf Peter; Longerich, Thomas; Cramer, Thorsten; Saez-Rodriguez, Julio; Merten, Christoph A. (2018). "A microfluidics platform for combinatorial drug screening on cancer biopsies". Nature Communications. 9 (1): 2434. Bibcode:2018NatCo...9.2434E. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04919-w. PMC 6015045. PMID 29934552.

References

  1. "Christoph Merten". people.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  2. ORCID. "Merten CA (0000-0001-8790-4659)". orcid.org. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  3. "Biomedical microfluidics". www.unil.ch. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  4. "LBMM". www.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  5. "25 new professors appointed at the two Federal Institutes of Technology | ETH-Board". www.ethrat.ch. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  6. Merten, Christoph A.; Stitz, Jörn; Braun, Gundula; Medvedovska, Julia; Cichutek, Klaus; Buchholz, Christian J. (2006-03-01). "Fusoselect: cell–cell fusion activity engineered by directed evolution of a retroviral glycoprotein". Nucleic Acids Research. 34 (5): e41–e41. doi:10.1093/nar/gkl053. ISSN 0305-1048.
  7. Merten, Christoph A.; Stitz, Jörn; Braun, Gundula; Poeschla, Eric M.; Cichutek, Klaus; Buchholz, Christian J. (2005-01-15). "Directed Evolution of Retrovirus Envelope Protein Cytoplasmic Tails Guided by Functional Incorporation into Lentivirus Particles". Journal of Virology. 79 (2): 834–840. doi:10.1128/JVI.79.2.834-840.2005. ISSN 0022-538X. PMID 15613311.
  8. "Displaying Epidermal Growth Factor on Spleen Necrosis Virus-Derived Targeting Vectors". Virology. 305 (1): 106–114. 2003-01-05. doi:10.1006/viro.2002.1778. ISSN 0042-6822.
  9. "Droplet-Based Microfluidic Platforms for the Encapsulation and Screening of Mammalian Cells and Multicellular Organisms". Chemistry & Biology. 15 (5): 427–437. 2008-05-19. doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2008.04.004. ISSN 1074-5521.
  10. "LBMM". www.epfl.ch. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  11. Eduati, Federica; Utharala, Ramesh; Madhavan, Dharanija; Neumann, Ulf Peter; Longerich, Thomas; Cramer, Thorsten; Saez-Rodriguez, Julio; Merten, Christoph A. (2018-06-22). "A microfluidics platform for combinatorial drug screening on cancer biopsies". Nature Communications. 9 (1): 2434. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04919-w. ISSN 2041-1723.
  12. "Miniature testing of drug pairs on tumor biopsies". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  13. "Single-Cell Droplet Microfluidic Screening for Antibodies Specifically Binding to Target Cells". Cell Reports. 22 (8): 2206–2215. 2018-02-20. doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2018.01.071. ISSN 2211-1247.
  14. Debs, Bachir El; Utharala, Ramesh; Balyasnikova, Irina V.; Griffiths, Andrew D.; Merten, Christoph A. (2012-07-17). "Functional single-cell hybridoma screening using droplet-based microfluidics". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109 (29): 11570–11575. doi:10.1073/pnas.1204514109. ISSN 0027-8424. PMID 22753519.
  15. "About Velabs – Velabs". Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  16. "Velabs Therapeutics Announces €3 Million Series B Financing to Advance its Functional Antibody Screening Programme". www.b3cnewswire.com. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  17. "Microfluidic platform for the best possible cancer therapy". www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de. Retrieved 2021-02-24.

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