The in-house R&D activities at GATC Biotech are the main driving force behind our continuous drive for innovation. The R&D unit is responsible for product development and performance optimisation, as well as for the continuous advancement of our technical capabilities. The team has a proven track record of producing top-notch, cost-efficient services that deliver unmatched data quality. GATC Biotech scientists work hand-in-hand with all other departments to promptly provide customer-specific solutions that advance basic and applied research on an individual basis.
We are convinced that listening, understanding and working closely together are essential strengths to support you in reaching your scientific goals.
Meet our Research & Development team and see how their field knowledge and experience can benefit your project.
Tobias Paprotka, Ph.D.:
Dr. Paprotka joined GATC Biotech in 2012 to lead the Research and Development department. He has studied Biology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and obtained his PhD at the University of Stuttgart in 2009. In 2007 he worked several months in Brazil as DAAD scientist. Between 2009 and 2011, he has been scientific researcher in the HIV Drug Resistance Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the USA. His research focus was nucleic acid analysis, molecular virology, especially discovery and sequencing of novel viruses and epigenetics.
During his research, Dr. Paprotka has discovered and sequenced multiple new viruses and satellites. He presented his works at many international conferences and is first author of several peer reviewed papers which were published e.g. in Science. For his research he received the Norman P. Salzman Memorial Award of the National Institutes of Health in 2011.
GATC’s research and Development Department is responsible for the implementation of new protocols/workflows, the laboratory automation and the BioIT analysis at GATC. In addition, research projects with collaborators and publicly funded projects are guided by GATC’s R&D.
Benjamin Wahl, Ph.D.:
Dr. Wahl studied biochemistry at the University of Hannover from 2002 to 2007. He later joined the Institute of Immunology of the Hannover Medical School, where he received his Ph.D. in 2011. His research as a post-doctoral fellow mainly focused on the inspection of mice and human T cell and B cell repertoires based on next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis.
Dr. Wahl joined GATC Biotech’s R&D team in 2012. His main tasks involve the establishment and optimisation of laboratory workflows, particularly for the fields of plasma cell-free DNA and epigenetics. Dr. Wahl is a main contributor of scientific data to a range of publicly funded projects, including EpiFemCare, KlebsiCure and FORECEE.
Markus Schmitt, Ph.D.:
Dr. Schmitt studied Biology at the University of Heidelberg. In 2008, he obtained his Ph.D. at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) as part of the Infection and Cancer research program.
Dr. Schmitt continued his research in the same program as a post-doctoral fellow until 2014. His research focus was on the association between human papillomaviruses (HPV) and cancer of the uterine cervix, as well as the development of biomolecular technologies for improved cervical cancer precursor screening. Dr. Schmitt is an author of more than 45 peer-reviewed papers and holds a number of patents.
Dr. Schmitt has been a part of GATC Biotech’s R&D team since 2014. His main tasks include evaluation and implementation of the latest sequencing technologies, as well as development and optimisation of products and processes. Dr. Schmitt is also heavily involved in GATC Biotech’s research efforts for publicly funded projects, such as NanoDiaMed and SysClad.
Kerstin Rönsch, Ph.D.:
Dr. Rönsch received a double major in molecular medicine and political science at the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg in Germany. During her undergraduate studies, she also attended University of British Columbia in Canada as a DAAD fellow.
She went on to win a scholarship from the “Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes” for the support of her Ph.D. studies. In 2013, she obtained her doctoral degree in molecular medicine from the University of Freiburg. The focus of her Ph.D. thesis was on the molecular characterisation of tumour suppressor transcriptional inactivation during colorectal cancer progression. Dr. Rönsch continued her research as a post-doctoral fellow at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) where she investigated the molecular mechanisms of cancer metastasis.
In 2015, Dr. Rönsch joined GATC Biotech’s R&D team. Her main responsibilities include the development of new panels for cancer research, as well as providing support to various Horizon2020 and other publicly funded projects.
Yadhu Kumar, Ph.D.:
Dr. Kumar earned his master’s degree in biological sciences before going on to obtain a Ph.D. in bioinformatics from the Technical University of Munich. He continued his research as a post-doctoral scholar in the area of phylogenetics and metagenomics.
In 2006, he joined GATC Biotech’s Bioinformatics Development department. His main responsibilities in the company include the development of strategies, tools and pipelines to analyse and interpret NGS and Sanger sequencing data for academic and commercial projects. He is actively engaged in various publicly funded projects, including Klebsicure, NanoDiaMed and SysClad.
Sascha Kastens, M.Sc.:
Mr. Kastens studied bioinformatics at the University of Applied Sciences Bingen and at the University of Hamburg. He obtained his M.Sc. in 2012 after the successful development of LTRsift, a graphical user interface for semi-automatic classification and post-processing of de novo detected LTR retrotransposons. Mr. Kastens has extensive expertise in Software Development, especially with scripting languages like Python and R.
In 2012, Mr. Kastens joined the GATC Biotech R&D team, where he plays an instrumental role in developing bioinformatics pipelines for data analysis for sequencing projects.
Kapil Jhalani, M.Sc.:
Mr. Jhalani earned a M.Sc. degree in life science informatics from Bonn University. He went on to work as a research assistant in the Bioinformatics department at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne.
In 2013, Mr. Jhalani joined GATC Biotech as a bioinformatician. His main tasks in the company include developing and testing bioinformatics tools and automatic pipelines for sequencing data analysis. Mr. Jhalani is specialised in interpretation of sequencing results for projects that involve methylation profiling, variant or amplicon analysis.
Christoph Wenger, Ph.D.:
Dr. Wenger studied biotechnology at the University of Braunschweig and obtained his Ph.D. at the University Hospital of Ulm in 2000. His main research interest as a Ph.D. student and subsequently as a post-doctoral fellow at the University Hospital of Ulm was the molecular biology of pancreatic cancer.
From 2001 to 2008, Dr. Wenger was employed at CyBio AG in Jena, where he worked on the development and marketing of laboratory automation solutions. From 2008 to 2012, he performed high-throughput screening for drug discovery at Nycomed GmbH in Konstanz.
Dr. Wenger joined GATC Biotech’s R&D team in 2012. His main responsibility in the company is the development of automated procedures for next-generation sequencing solutions.