Nektarios Tavernarakis

Chairman of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Governing Board and Executive Committee
Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH)


Nektarios Tavernarakis is a distinguished Professor of Molecular Systems Biology at the Medical School of the University of Crete, in Heraklion, Greece. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH), the largest Research Institution in Greece. He has served as Director of FORTH’s Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), where he is heading the Neurogenetics and Ageing laboratory. He is the Director of the Graduate Program on BioInformatics at the Medical School of the University of Crete. He earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of Crete, and trained as a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. His work focuses on the molecular mechanisms of necrotic cell death and neurodegeneration, the interplay between cellular metabolism and aging, the mechanisms of sensory transduction and integration by the nervous system, and the development of novel genetic tools for biomedical research.

He is Chairman of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Governing Board and Executive Committee. He has been elected member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Academia Europaea, and corresponding member of the Academy of Athens. He has received several notable scientific prizes and awards, including two ERC Advanced Investigator Grants, and an innovation-supporting ERC Proof of Concept Grant.

He is also the recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award, the Helmholtz International Fellow Award, the EMBO Young Investigator Award, the Galien Scientific Research Award, the BioMedical Research Award of the Academy of Athens, the Bodossaki Foundation Scientific Prize for Medicine and Biology, and the Empeirikeion Foundation Academic Excellence Prize.

Professor Nektarios Tavernarakis is Vice-President of the European Research Council since 01 Jan 2021 and is responsible for the Life Sciences domain.


Inbal Zafir-Lavie

Dr. Zafir-Lavie is the CEO of Nevia Bio, developing a machine learning based platform for improving women’s healthcare. 

Dr. Zafir-Lavie has completed her PhD, cum laude, in 2010 the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, in antibody engineering and cancer immunology. Upon completing her PhD, Dr. Zafir-Lavie worked at Bio-Rad as project leader in the Protein Technologies Unit.

 In 2013 Dr. Zafir-Lavie joined Aevi Genomic Medicine as a team leader for the development of antibody gene-therapy platform and later as Israel R&D Site Head. Later on, she relocated to Philadelphia, PA USA to work as a Senior Scientist in the translational medicine group at Aevi Genomic Medicine, collaborating with Center of Applied Genomics at CHOP. In her work in the US, Dr. Zafir-Lavie has developed an innovative diagnostic assay and was involved in the development of biological drugs for autoimmune diseases.

Upon returning from the USA, Dr. Zafir-Lavie worked for Merck group as a senior scientist, and in 2020 Inbal joined Gina-Life as CEO and co-founder. She has been leading the company ever since.

Inbal is an experienced leader, and an expert in immunology, biomarkers and antibody engineering. She brings vast experience in developing diagnostic assays and bringing biological drugs to IND and clinical trials. 

Through her career Dr. Zafir-Lavie is seeking to promote translational work, which prolong patients’ lives. She is keen to promote technologies for improving women’s health.