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 a 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).

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). 

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.

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).

Peter Ertl

Vice-Cashier and Chapter Head, Austria (Alumni)

Initially, Peter Ertl studied Food Sciences and Biotechnology at theUniversity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria. In 1997 Dr. Ertl entered a Ph.D. program in Chemistry at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) focusing on biosensor and bioassay development for the rapid identification of microorganisms. Following the completion of his Ph.D. in 2001, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley (CA, US) developing capillary electrophoresis chips (CE) for DNA analysis and fragment sizing. In 2003, he co-founded RapidLabs Inc. (Kitchener Ontario, Canada) a medical diagnostic device company in the field of antibiotic susceptibility testing where he worked as Director of Product Development until 2005. He then joined the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna Austria where he currently heads the Cell Chip research group at the Biosensor Technologies Department. He lectures various courses at the Technical University Vienna, University of Life Sciences Vienna and University of Applied Sciences. In 2011 he was appointed Adj. Assoc. Prof. (habilitation) in the field of Nanobiotechnology at the University of Life Sciences Vienna. In 2012 Dr. Ertl was awarded Fulbright Visiting Scholar at  the Department of Chemistry of the University of California at Berkele, while in 2013 and 2014 he was invited Visiting Scientist at the Nangyang Technological University, Singapore and the Medical Center of UC SanFrancisco. 

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 instrumental, observational data (air quality, occurrence of air, water and soil contaminants such as mercury and  (bio)organics). My current research focus is on predictive modelling using machine learning methods, all of which I do with R and Matlab.

I teach Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, Thermodynamics and Advanced Data Analysis at Concordia.

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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 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).

Michael J. Fink

Chapter Head, Greater Boston

Michael J. Fink is a postdoctoral research associate with George M. Whitesides at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard. His research investigates the influence of water in interactions of drug molecules with proteins, the role of fatty acids and its bacterial producers in the human gut, and methods for the storage of information in molecules.

Michael was born and raised in Vienna and obtained his undergraduate and graduate education in chemical engineering at TU Wien (Ph.D. 2013, biochemical engineering). He lives in Boston since August 2015.

Together with Magdalena Klemun (B.Sc. 2011, electrical engineering, TU Wien; now at MIT), Michael currently leads and coordinates the joint efforts of three Austrian student and ex-pat networks in the Greater Boston area (ASCINA, Harvard Club of Austria, TU Wien alumni club Boston). Magdalena and Michael aim to create a professional and social framework for exchange for all Austrians in Boston, to host eminent speakers from Austria for interesting events, and to promote the communication of our experiences abroad as a benefit for students and professionals back home.

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.

Nikolaus Hammler

Chapter Head, Bay Area

Nikolaus Hammler received his M.Sc. degree from Graz University of Technology. He is currently working on his PhD in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. His research interests are integrated circuit design, communication systems, signal processing and IT security/cryptography.
He held positions at NXP Semiconductors, Maxim Integrated, ST Microelectronics, Xilinx and Apple.

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.

Christine Marizzi

ASCINA Greater New York Chapter President

I studied genetics at the University of Vienna and my current position is Urban Barcode Project Manager at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's DNA Learning Center.

Daniel Pickem

Chapter Head, South East

Daniel Pickem received his B.S. degree from the University of Technology in Vienna in 2010 and an M.Sc. degree in electrical and computer engineering and a Ph.D. in Robotics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, focusing on self-reconfiguration of multi-agent robotic systems. In 2009, he received the Fulbright Student Fellowship to fund his studies at Georgia Tech. From 2008 to 2009, he was a research assistant at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, where he conducted research on massively parallel computing in the domain of signal processing. His work at Carnegie Mellon was supported by a fellowship from the University of Technology in Vienna. Currently, his research interests include autonomous systems, multi-agent control, and self-reconfiguration. For more information see

Andreas Strebinger

Chapter Head, Toronto and South-Central Canada

Dr. Andreas Strebinger is Associate Professor of Marketing at the School of Administrative Studies, York University, Toronto. His research focuses on globalization, digitalization and growth strategies for brands. Currently, he is working on cross-cultural communication strategies as well as on customer acceptance of new technologies like AI- and Blockchain-Enabled Services.

He regularly teaches in the summer program of  the University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, and was a visiting professor/scholar at the Ohio State University, the University of Graz, and  the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Wien), his Alma Mater.

His research has received numerous awards, among others from the American Marketing Association, the German Brand Association, the Austrian Advertising Research Association and the European Journal of Marketing. Dr. Strebinger also worked on various projects with large and medium-sized companies as well as with charitable institutions in North America and Europe.