What are the people like at Hudson River Biotechnology?

We bring together the best people. Our HRB team members are experts in their fields and dedicated to take responsibility for a sustainable future. Within our work, we value innovation, integrity and personal development. Above all, every member of our team works towards a common goal. 

HRB strives to be diverse and inclusive. Our people come from a range of different backgrounds and expertises. For example, currently more than 13 nationalities work at HRB! Such diversity helps us excel.

Our management

Ferdinand Los, PhD

Dr. Ferdinand Los is a biologist, specialized in genetics and cell biology. After his MSc from Utrecht University (Netherlands), he trained for this PhD at the University of California San Diego and did a postdoc at Columbia University (New York). Afterwards, Dr. Los moved into science and business consulting and entrepreneurship.

Favorite plant: Cilantro
Nationality: Dutch

Lotte Westerhof, PhD

R&D Director
Lotte joined HRB early on. In and around the lab, she is best known for her fast-paced talking. The most exciting thing about HRB? ‘We are not only planning great things, we’re actually doing them!’

Favorite plant: Fern
Nationality: Dutch

Gabino Sanchez, PhD

Sales & Business Development Director
Gabino’s passion affects everything he does. Whether it’s brainstorming about new innovations, or cooking a nice paella, he gives it his all. In his position, Gabino aims to build a bridge between technological innovation and market pull. To him, HRB is an organization that blends science, boldness and positive energy with an ambitious goal: apply technologies to change the world into a better place.

Favorite plant: Ginkgo biloba
Nationality: Spanish

Inge van Bussel, PhD

R&D Project manager
Inge is HRB's in-house vegan (who would love for HRB to play a role in the meat revolution...) She supports the R&D team by managing all communication and timing around existing and upcoming projects. She particularly enjoys the fast growth of the company combined with the exciting and highly innovative activities that are taking place.

Favorite plant: Weeping willow
Nationality: Dutch

Kitty Huijben, BSc

R&D Operations manager
Kitty can be best described as knowing a lot about a lot! She makes sure that our R&D team can do their work, but she also takes care of our innovation projects. The ambitious, dynamic, and social environment is what makes her happy to be a part of the HRB team.

Favorite plants: Freesia
Nationality: Dutch

Our Scientific advisory board

Patricia Dankers​, PhD

Professor Dankers advises us on the design, development and implementation efforts with regard to automation and scaling of the TiGER workflow.

Enrico Mastrobattista, PhD

Professor Mastrobattista advises us on our nanoparticle delivery systems.​

John van der Oost, PhD

Professor van der Oost advises us on the further refinement of our TiGER workflow, for example through the development and application of improved proteins.

Our team

Unfortunately we cannot include all the members of our team, but here is a selection of the people that work at Hudson River Biotechnology.

Lena Maas, PhD

Team Lead Genetics
Lena works in HRB’s Genetics team. She is a molecular biologist with a strong background in plant regeneration. She enjoys that no day is like the other at HRB! The colorful and creative personalities surrounding her ánd HRB’s strong affinity for innovative solutions to many world’s problems, get her out of bed every morning. No challenge – the bigger the better even – will scare her!

Favorite plant: Monsteras
Nationality: German

Alberto Natali, PhD

Product development manager
Alberto is HRB’s solution-oriented scientist in the plant biochemistry department. He comes from a strong background in plant physiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, spectroscopy and imaging. Working at HRB stimulates his creativity and motivates him in his pursuit of innovation. He loves that the team at HRB is not scared to explore challenging ideas that can lead to groundbreaking discoveries.

Favorite plant: Wilson, his bonsai tree Nationality: Italian

Michael Torgbor, MSc

Research Technician Plant Tissue Culture/CRISPR
Michael is known as the maize guy here at HRB. Why? You’ll have to ask him when you see him. Michael’s ambition to improve crops and contribute to sustainability perfectly aligns with his work at HRB. The diversity and world class skillset of the team makes his job even better.

Favorite plant: Maize
Nationality: Ghanaian

Valérie Hoogers, MSc

Sr.Research Technician Plant Tissue Culture
Valérie is a Senior research technician in our Plant Tissue Culture team. Besides taking care of many lab tasks, she is also involved in realizing automation. The speed at which the teams are overcoming bottlenecks in the TiGER workflow and the importance of our approach in food security and a healthier planet is what makes her excited to work at HRB. She believes that we are a group of very skilled and enthusiastic people, generating amazing results. Besides working hard, she is known for being a passionate activist and for her bicycle commuting from Utrecht to Wageningen (and taking on ridiculous cycling challenges!).

Favorite plant: Ginkgo Biloba
Nationality: Dutch

Jelle van Creij, PhD

Specialist Bioinformatics
Jelle is HRB’s Specialist Genetics and Bioinformatics. He designs guides, analyses sequences, and conducts data management. He also develops new bioinformatics tools and loves to work on HRB’s many different types of projects that ask for creative and innovative ideas. Jelle is known for his love for peanut butter (even though it is only because of the practical room-temperature storage option), ‘excellent’ taste in movies, and being HRB’s Pun-master!

Favorite plant: Capsicum chinense v. red habanero
Nationality: Dutch

Menno Pijnenburg, MSc

Operations manager
Menno coordinates everything around our plant research. Competence and a can-do attitude are his favourite traits of professionalism. The effort to provide a tailor-made approach for each project is his favourite trademark of the company. Personal aims: Smoothing out communication between all layers of the company, increasing the focus of conducted research, and safeguarding the forward momentum of projects. Speaking of communication, he loves conversations, especially once the small talk is done!

Favorite plant: Tāne Mahuta, the so-called ‘God of the Forest’ Kauri tree
Nationality: Dutch

Valentino Giarola, PhD

Team lead Single Cell Regeneration
Valentino takes the lead in our Single Cell Regeneration work. He enjoys researching and developing ways to remove barriers that hamper the full application of gene editing in plants. By identifying crucial factors in cell proliferation, he helps to solve the primary bottlenecks of the regeneration of a single cell back into a plant. The journey aimed to create high-quality, safe, and sustainable crops, is what motivates him.

Favorite plants: Extromophile plant species
Nationality: Italian​

Venkatesh Prasad, PhD

Sr. Specialist: Plant Regeneration
Venkatesh is HRB’s scientific lead of the Plant Regeneration Technologies-team. His two decades of research experience, makes him a valuable expert in plant biotechnology. He is passionate about the implementation of in vitro tools to regenerate different crops. He strongly believes in collaboration, innovation, and speed. This is his mantra for technology-based impact. He never shies away from any recalcitrance crop and views this as an opportunity to innovate and implement new technologies. He strives to have a scientific impact in the global sustainable goals.

Favorite plant: any recalcitrant crop
Nationality: Indian

Lukas Blumberg, MSc

PhD candidate - genome editing
Lukas is a PhD candidate from the Wageningen University working on gene editing. He is our expert on Homology-directed repair (HDR) which is a challenging aspect of CRISPR. The most exciting about HRB for Lukas is HRB’s potential to revolutionize agriculture and address the pressing challenges in food production. He enjoys HRB’s young and highly diverse team. The scale-up mentality in which nothing is set in stone provides a dynamic work experience with a lot of space for personal development and growth.

Favorite plant: Desmodium gyrans (aka the dancing plant) – It appreciates his Techno playlist.
Nationality: German

Simone Scintilla, PhD

Team Lead Biochemistry
Simone is a team lead in HRB’s Biochemistry department, focusing on innovative plant cell delivery methods. As a chemist, Simone enjoys solving scientific puzzles and has regenerated genetically improved grapevine plants. Simone is passionate about contributing to sustainability and believes in the vital role of plants. He has a curious, sociable, and persistent nature, and he loves teamwork. His main goal is to contribute with his expertise and experience in creating sustainable solutions to make the world a better place.

Favorite plants: Dionaea muscipula and Delphinium but also Mango
Nationality: Italian

Henri van de Geest, PhD

Henri is one of our bioinformaticians, always analyzing every nucleotide that is getting sequenced at HRB! The constant drive to innovate and to be the best in what we do is what motivates him to work at HRB. Henri is known for his very peculiar pets: very tine shrimps! We are very lucky to have Henri on board as his motto is to never worry, bioinformaticians always got your back!

Favorite plants: Orchids, phaelanopsis
Nationality: Dutch