ASciNA Leadership

ASciNA is lead by the board (Vorstand) consisting of the officers and chapter heads while the past presidents provide continuity. Our board members are distinguished Austrian scientists or scholars who live and work in the United States--most of them for a decade or more.

Franz Franchetti

President and Chapter Head, Pennsylvania

Franz Franchetti is an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He received the Dipl.-Ing. (M.Sc.) degree in Technical Mathematics and the Dr. techn. (Ph.D.) degree in Computational Mathematics from the Vienna University of Technology in 2000 and 2003, respectively. In 2006 he was member of the team winning the Gordon Bell Prize (Peak Performance Award) and in 2010 he was member of the team winning the HPC Challenge Class II Award (most productive system). In 2013 he received the CIT Dean's Early Career Fellowship awarded by the College of Engineering of Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Franchetti's research focuses on automatic performance tuning and program generation for emerging parallel platforms and algorithm/hardware co-synthesis. He targets multicore CPUs, clusters and high-performance systems (HPC), graphics processors (GPUs), field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), FPGA-acceleration for CPUs, and logic-in-memory and 3DIC chip design. He leads three DARPA projects in the BRASS, HACMS and PERFECT programs and is PI/Co-PI on a number of federal and industry grants. Since 2011 he is CTO of SpiralGen, Inc., a Pittsburgh area technology startup he co-founded in 2009. Franz has been playing the electric guitar on-stage in various rock bands since 1993. Watch him perform live or visit Wr. Neustadt’s newcomer festival SCHMU, where he performed and served as stage engineer. He is ASciNA President and leads the Western Pennsylvania chapter of Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America (ASCiNA).

Thomas Wallner

Vice-President and Co-Head, Mid West and Chicago

Dr. Thomas Wallner is a Principal Investigator and Manager of the Fuels, Engine and Aftertreatment Research Section at Argonne National Laboratory’s Center for Transportation. In this role Thomas and his team plan, perform and analyze work for research projects on engine and combustion topics spanning a range of fuels including hydrogen and natural gas, gasoline and alcohol fuels as well as diesel fuel and its alternatives. Before joining Argonne in 2005, Thomas worked for the Institute for Internal Combustion Engines and Thermodynamics at Graz University of Technology, where he also graduated with a MS (Dipl-Ing.) in 2001 and a PhD (Dr. tech.) in 2004 in Mechanical Engineering.

Since 2009 Dr. Wallner is also part of the adjunct faculty at Michigan Technological University. As Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Department he supervises and mentors students for the masters’ as well as doctoral research work. Dr. Wallner has published more than 50 peer-reviewed technical papers and holds a European Patent on Hydrogen Injection Strategies. Thomas is also an active member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and recipient of SAE’s Forest R. McFarland and Lloyd L. Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award. Dr. Wallner currently serves as an Associate Editor for SAE’s International Journal of Engines and vice chair of SAE’s Powertrains, Fuels and Lubricants Activity.

Thomas was born and raised in Graz/Austria, currently serves as ASciNA's Vice-President and is also the Chapter Head for the Chicago Chapter of the Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America (ASciNA).

Monika C. Trebo


Monika C. Trebo worked more than 13 years in Information Technology at the Stanford Genome Technology Center, Stanford School of Medicine, where she used her technical skills to keep IT running and her design background to communicate the Center’s achievements via the Web.

Living in an earthquake region, she also volunteered as a SCERT (Stanford CERT training is based on the standard Community Emergency Response Team [CERT] program developed by the Federal Emergency Management Association), as well as for the School of Medicine Building Response Team.

A member since the ASciNA Bay Area Chapter’s inaugural meeting in 2002, Monika Trebo was elected to co-chair the Chapter in 2006. Together with Susanne Pangratz-Führer and Sonja Schmid, she was able to regroup the chapter, and to recruit and retain members. In 2013, she took over the Presidency of the Bay Area Chapter. The Chapter’s membership base quadrupled between 2006 and 2015, making this Chapter the second largest within ASciNA.

Monika Trebo engaged in fostering the interaction between ASciNA Bay Area and the Startup Community by co-organizing events with the (then) Austrian Innovation Center Silicon Valley (founded by Mario Herger).

As a member of the Board, she is in charge of the member database and works with the President to communicate the organization’s goals and achievements via web site and social media.

In 2015, she started her own IT business. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

Gregor Kos

Vice-Secretary and Chapter Head, Montreal and Eastern Canada

I am a researcher and lecturer at at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

My research focuses on the analysis and modelling of urban air quality data. I also use infrared data for chemometric modelling, all of which I do with R and Matlab.

For molecular modelling I use the CAABA/MECCA box model.

I teach Thermodynamics and Analytical Chemistry.
 Follow me on Twitter

Dr. Günter Lepperdinger is co-founder of ASciNA. He is at the center of the Austrian ASciNA activities. Further, he is organizing the ASciNA Awards. For his years of service and his tireless leadership he received the ASciNA Champions Award, which was awarded as a surprise during the Celebration of 10 Years of ASciNA.

Günter Lepperdinger is Full Professor at the University of Salzburg. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry, is a developmental biologist by training and has worked in Biogerontology with specialization on Stem Cell Ageing since 2002 at “The Inst. for Biomedical Aging Research” in Innsbruck, Austria. He recently moved to Salzburg University to chair the Stem Cell Biology and Healthy Longevity Research Unit. He is Editor to Karger’s “Gerontology”, furthermore serving as an Editorial Board Member for many international scientific journals and engaged in European research projects on Aeging (e.g. MOPACT) and Tissue Engineering (e.g. VASCUBone). 

Elke Wagner

Vice-Cashier and Co-Head, Austria (Alumni)

Studies in Chemistry Karl-Franzens-University (KFU) and diploma thesis at the Institute of Biochemistry, KFU Graz (hormon-sensitive lipase trafficking in fat cells). Thesis in Biochemistry in adipose tissue regulation of lipoprotein-lipase deficient mice at the Institute of Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Microbiology, KFU- Graz, Austria. Post-Doc in cholesterol related diseases (lipid droplet characterization in fat cells) at the Medical Univ. Graz. Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), on implication of cholesterol transporters in atherogenic lesion development. During years as research fellow at the NHLBI engagement with different organizations such as the Board of Directors of the NHLBI Fellows Advisory Committee, and the ASciNA network (Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America). Since 2008 supports the ASciNA Alumni Chapter in Vienna. 2007 started working as Research Scientist for Baxter AG, Vienna, Dept. of Plasma Analytics (method development and optimization, methos validation, instrument qualification, stability studies). Currently working as Development Scientist in scientific process support and project management with Baxalta Vienna, Dept. of Plasma Analytics.

Hubert Zajicek

Immediate Past President and Chapter Head, South West

Dr. Hubert Zajicek is immediate past-president of ASciNA. He also was a co-founder and long-time board member of ASciNA, serving in many different capacities. He is CEO, co-founder and partner at Health Wildcatters, a seed stage healthcare accelerator in Dallas. He previously was managing director - medical technology of NTEC (North Texas Enterprise Center) - Medical Technology in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and organizer of the regions' largest medical technology investment conference, MedVentures every year. Before joining NTEC he held a faculty position in the Department of Internal Medicine - Nephrology and Cell Biology at UT Southwestern, where he also was a post-doctoral NIH-fellow. Hubert received his Doctorate in Medicine (M.D.) from the University of Vienna, School of Medicine (1996), and his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in 2006.

Peter Nagele

Past President and Chapter Head, Mid West and Chicago

Dr. Peter Nagele ist Gründung- und langjaehriges Vorstandsmitglied von ASCINA. Von 2008 bis 2011 bekleidete er das Amt des Präsidenten. Er arbeitet seit 2005 Anästhesist und klinischer Forscher an der Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, und leitet dort eine klinische Forschungsgruppe. Seine Forschung konzentriert sich auf kardiale Komplikationen von chirurgischen Patienten und genetische Risikofaktoren. Ein zweiter Schwerpunkt ist der von ihm entdeckte Ansatz, Patienten mit schwerer, therapieresistenter Depression mittels Lachgas zu behandeln, was innerhalb von wenigen Stunden zu einer deutlichen Verbesserung der depressiven Symptome fuehrt.

Er hat an der Uni Innsbruck Medizin studiert und seine Facharztausbildung in Anaesthesiologie und Intensivmedizin am AKH Wien abgeschlossen. 2005 habilitierte sich Peter Nagele an der Medizinischen Universität Wien und ist seither in den USA. 

Gerald Brandacher

Chapter Head, Washington, DC

Dr. Gerald Brandacher is scientific director of the Johns Hopkins Reconstructive Transplantation program. He is also an associate professor of surgery (PAR) in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

He is Past-President of the Austrian Society of Surgical Research, Board Member of the Composite Tissue Allotransplantation Working Group of the European Society of Organ Transplantation (ESOT), Co-chair of the American Society of Transplantation (AST) Vascular Composite Allotransplantation Advisory Council and is a Founding and Board Member of the American Society of Reconstructive Transplantation (ASRT).

Eva Fast

Chapter Head, Greater Boston

Dr. Fast originally came to Boston in 2005 to perform research in Developmental Biology for my Diploma thesis at the Dana-Farber Cancer insitute. After she graduated with a Dipl-Ing (FH) in Biotechnology from the University of Applied sciences (Fachhochschule) Krems she returned to Boston and completet a PhD in Biology at Boston University. After her graduation in 2013 she started Post-doc at Harvard University. she has been a participant at various ASCINA meetings, science talks as well as the mentoring programm.  Since 2013 she is the head of the ASCINA Greater Boston Chapter.

Jürgen Haberleithner

Chapter Head, Mexico

Jürgen Haberleithner is a Professor and Researcher at an APEC Study Center (Official Research Center of APEC - Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation - member countries), at the University of Colima, Mexico. His profile is a hybrid between international academic and business development. He holds a PHD in International Affairs (Political Science), at the University of Vienna (Austria). His main fields of research are socio-economics, Labor Market Policy and International Scientific Cooperation. He is head of ASCINA Mexico and president of the Austrian-Spanish Society.

Boris Hartmann

Chapter Head, Greater NY

Boris M. Hartmann is  a Research Assistant Professor  at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Here he leads a group of experimental immunologists mainly involved with antiviral defense and single cell gene expression in a multidisciplinary project. This project involves  both experimental and theoretical science and comprises groups from 4 institutions (Mount Sinai, Yale, Princeton and Ohio State). He is also the director of the immune assay core for a U19 funded project. He obtained PhD in Immunology/Biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (Boku) while working at the Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research. He got his postdoctoral training at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the fields of virology and immunology.  His publications are mainly in the fields of virology, immunology, dermatology and gene expression analysis.

Sebastian Linnemayr

Chapter Head, Pacific South

Sebastian Linnemayr is an economist at the RAND Corporation; associate director of the RAND Center on Research and Policy in International Development (RAPID), and Affiliate Professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He joined RAND in 2009 after having finished his position as postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Linnemayr has conducted research on health economics for over 15 years; his current research focuses on how principles of behavioral economics can be used to positively influence health behaviors.

Dr. Linnemayr has been invited by the National Institutes of Health to present his research and its potential applications to improving HIV care on several occasions, most recently at the Annual Meeting of the Microbicide Trials Network, and at the NIH’s Adherence Network Distinguished Speaker Series. Dr. Linnemayr is Principal Investigator of 3 NIH-funded grants that use Behavioral Economics to improve adherence to antiretrovirals among people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Irene Maier

Chapter Head, Austria (Alumni)

Irene is working as a researcher at UCLA. She graduated from University of Vienna and was awarded an international L’Oréal-UNESCO fellowship for her work on the development of an optical immunochip biosensor for rapid allergen detection in complex food matrices and allergy diagnosis. She is interested in the molecular understanding of immune diseases and emphasizes on interactions between immunoglobulin-like protein structures and antigens. Irene did a postdoc at Caltech before she changed to UCLA. In her postdoctoral work with NASA she established broad cancer research projects with a team of international collaborators committed to high-level space biology.

Sabine Waltl-Patankar

Chapter Head, Pacific North and Western Canada

Sabine works in the field of neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. Her work focuses on understanding the pathological mechanisms of Huntington’s disease, a so far incurable genetic disorder. She is involved in studying the effects of novel compounds targeting the disease.
Sabine studied Molecular Biology at the Karl-Franzens University of Graz and thereafter joined a PhD program at the Medical University of Graz. Her doctoral thesis was focused on neuroinflammation (inflammation of the brain) and its consequences to brain lipids. She graduated in 2013 from the Medical University of Graz.

Friedrich Wieser

Chapter Head, South East

Friedrich Wieser, MD, PD, is Head of the Ascina Chapter South East.  His research logically builds upon his prior work on endometriosis pathophysiology, genetics, and endometriosis in vitro and animal models, respectively.  His long-term scientific goal is to evaluate pathophysiology of endometriosis, to investigate the mechanisms of action of anti-inflammatory agents in this immunoinflammatory disorder, and to develop novel treatments with higher efficacy and fewer side effects.  Friedrich received his Doctorate in Medicine (MD) from the University of Vienna, School of Medicine (1993) and his Venia Docendi (PD) from the Vienna University School of Medicine (2004).