September 4, 2020
Europe/Zurich timezone

Panellists & Moderator

Tanjil Amin 

Senior Proton Therapy Engineer at Varian Medical Systems

Tanjil completed his PhD in Physics in 2018. During his time at CERN he worked on the BioLEIR project which was a proposed biomedical research facility. 
His work focused on the optics of the extraction beamlines from the LEIR synchrotron to the experimental stations. As part of this research he was later based at TRIUMF where he used Monte Carlo simulations to investigate the production of PET isotopes in tissue during proton beam treatment and in external targets.
He now works for Varian Medical Systems at the proton beam therapy centre in Manchester, UK. His role involves providing escalated support to the customer, coordinating onsite radiation protection, and using data analytics to improve machine QA.

Eleonora Benhar

Head of Medical Product - Data scientist, Natural Cycles

Particle physicist Eleonora Benhar completed her PhD at the University of Geneva, while working at CERN on the search and subsequent discovery of the Higgs boson. After working as a postdoctoral researcher for Yale University, she transitioned from physics to fertility and joined the company Natural Cycles, that provides the first digital app to be FDA cleared and CE marked for contraceptive use. As Head of Medical Product, she is leading the team of data scientists responsible for developing the algorithm behind the app, continuously assessing its contraceptive effectiveness, and advancing women's health by doing research on our unique data.

Prof. Dr. Peer Bork

Director  of  EMBL HEIDELBERG (Scientific Activities) and Group Leader

Peer directs the EMBL-Heidelberg site, focusing on scientific activities. EMBL (European Molecular Biology laboratory) is an international research organization with headquarters in Heidelberg, where Peer is also senior group leader and head (with C. Müller) of the Structural and Computational Biology unit. In addition, he is honorary professor at the universities of Heidelberg and Würzburg as well as the Fudan university of Shanghai. 

Peer received his PhD in Biochemistry (1990) and his Habilitation in Theoretical  Biophysics (1995). His research group works in various areas of computational and  systems biology with a focus on function prediction, data integration and microbiomes. He has published more than 600 research articles, among them more than 80 in Nature, Science or Cell, and is among the most cited researchers in life sciences (>230.000 citations, H-factor of 205 in 2020). He is on the editorial board of a number of journals, including Science and Cell, and functions as senior editor of the journal Molecular Systems Biology.  

Peer co-founded five successful biotech companies, two of which went public.
More than 50 of his former associates now hold professorships or other group leader positions in prominent institutions all over the world. He received a number of awards, among them the "Nature award for creative mentoring" for his achievements in nurturing and stimulating young scientists and the prestigious "Royal Society and Académie des Sciences Microsoft award" for the advancement of science using computational methods.  He further obtained two competitive ERC advanced investigator grants and is elected member of the German national academy of sciences (Leopoldina), the European molecular biology organization (EMBO) and the Academia Europaea. 

Manuela CIRILLI (Moderator)

Section Leader Medical Applications, CERN

Manuela Cirilli joined CERN’s Knowledge Transfer Group in 2010, and she’s been leading the Medical Applications section of the group since 2016. Prior to this, Manuela was an experimental researcher in particle physics. She first came to CERN in 1997 as PhD student, to take part in the NA48 experiment and then moved to the ATLAS experiment.

Manuela holds a PhD in Particle Physics from the “Scuola Normale Superiore” in Pisa, Italy, as well as a Master in Science Communication and Journalism from the University of Ferrara, Italy. She is co-author of more than 320 peer-reviewed publications, including the article on the discovery of the Higgs boson by the ATLAS collaboration.

In parallel to her scientific career, Manuela has been engaging in science communication and popularisation since the early 2000s, for a variety of audiences and stakeholders of all ages.  Manuela is also actively involved in promoting STEM careers among young women and girls.

Adriano Garonna


I am a Physicist by education (MSc and PhD in Physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne-EPFL). I have worked in the last 10 years on accelerator technology for precise treatment of cancers with charged particles (TERA Foundation, CERN and EBG MedAustron Gmbh).

I am now co-founder and CEO of EBAMed SA, a start-up with the goal of providing access to safe and effective non-invasive methods to treat heart arrhythmias, thus addressing the limitations of today’s surgeries. 

Lukas Jaegerhofer

Head of Radiation Protection Health and Safety, MedAustron

Lukas Jägerhofer studied technical physics at the Technical University Vienna and received his PhD in 2012 for his work on the radiation protection concept of the MedAustron facility using MonteCarlo simulation techniques. MedAustron is a center for particle therapy as well as research which treats cancer patients since 2016. After working at CERN from 2009 onwards Lukas moved back to Austria in September 2012 where construction of the facility had already started. Shortly after, he became Head of Radiation Protection, setting up a RP-division, acting as a liaison officer to the authorities for the licensing process, as well as ensuring a safe facility during commissioning phase of the accelerator. Later he also took over responsibility for general safety as well as fire protection for the facility. He is also the assigned patient ombud.

Thiago VM Lima

Medical Physics Expert at Luzerner Kantonsspital

Thiago VM Lima graduated from the UFRJ -Brazil with a BSc in Physics with Medical Physics in 2006. He joined The Oxford University Hospital as a Healthcare Scientist in the Radiation Physics group in the Nuclear Medicine Section in 2007, as part of his training he undertook a MSc at the UCL in Radiation Physics. He joined CERN in 2012 in the ENTERVISION project where he was able to achieve his PhD from the UCL in UK. Since 2014 he has been working as a clinical medical physicist in Switzerland (firstly in Aarau and currently in Lucerne). Today he is the physicist responsible for one of the largest Radiology networks in Switzerland covering several imaging modalities ranging from conventional radiography to CTs and MRIs. He supports the Swiss clinical audits (an initiative from the Federal Office of Public Health) as an auditor and in the expert commission. His main tasks cover radiation protection (both patient and staff exposure), education (of different members of staff) and imaging topics (QA, optimisation, dosimetry...). 

Christina Vallgren

CEO/co-founder of Terapet SA

PhD in Applied Physics, MSc in Nuclear Physics and MBA, PMI
Before coming to CERN, Christina earned a MSc degree in nuclear physics from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden and was summer student at CERN in 2007. 
Right after her degree in nuclear physics, Christina came to CERN in 2008 for a PhD in applied physics. Since then, she has been spending the last 12 years at CERN (Summer Student 2007 -> PhD 2008-2011 -> Senior Fellow 2011-2014 -> Staff Physicist 2014-2019, all in the TE-VSC group). She was the main responsible for the LHC (Large Hadron Collider, 27 km, the world’s biggest accelerator) Beam Vacuum (the world’s biggest vacuum system) Operation and has also been supervisor for five master students and two fellows. From time to time, she is also active scientific journal referee for IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 
In 2019, she co-founded Terapet SA, a Geneva-based MedTech company together with Dr. Marcus Palm, a former CERN-physicist and Prof. Raymond Miralbell, former head of the Radiation Oncology Department at HUG and currently Medical Director at QuirónSalud, the first proton therapy facility in Spain.