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Gerard Klein Essink, Director, Bridge2Food (The Netherlands)
Gerard Klein Essink started Bridge2Food in 2002. He has worked in the international food industry for over 25 years after graduating in food chemistry and marketing from Wageningen University. His experience covers both business-to-consumer as well as business-to-business markets. He has fulfilled roles as Vice-President Sales and Business Development Manager for a FMCG company, as General Manager at an international food ingredient company, and as a researcher at Wageningen University. At Bridge2Food, he enjoys the independent and entrepreneurial environment and working with young professionals. Enabling business growth, innovation and personal development by connecting people and businesses together is one of his main drivers. Gerard is also a frequent speaker at international fora on proteins, healthy ageing and sport nutrition. Bridge2Food is an international platform company focusing on fast moving categories such as sports nutrition, healthy ageing, bars, ingredients and innovation.

Dieter Brigitta, Project Officer, BBI JU (Belgium)
Dieter Brigitta(1980) studied at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), where he obtained Masters in Applied Biological Sciences and International Relations & Conflict Management. After professional experiences at the Flemish government and in the private sector as a grants consultant, he joined the European Commission in 2012, where he managed EU-funded agri-food-related research & innovation projects. Since 2015, he is a Project Officer at the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a € 3,7 billion public-private partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC).

Prof. Dr. Kaisa Poutanen, VTT Technology Centre (Finland)
Kaisa Poutanen, DSc (Tech), Research Professor in food technology at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and invited honorary doctor in food sciences at University of Helsinki, has extensive track record in connecting food technology and nutrition sciences. Her research focuses on healthy plant based foods and concepts. She currently leads the focus area “Food Economy 4.0” at VTT, and is coordinator of the EU BBI project “Prominent” aiming at valorization of proteins in cereal side streams.

Dr. Alain Graf, CRDS, Südzucker (Germany)
Alain Graf studied chemistry from 2000-2006 at the Leibniz University of Hanover (Germany) and did his PhD with focus on biotechnology at the Institute of Technical Chemistry. In 2010, he joined Südzucker AG as senior research scientist and developed comprehensive expertise in protein processes from various plant materials for food and feed applications. This covers operation units for enzymatic conversion and downstream processing as well as experience in analytical characterization of proteins and carbohydrates.

Dr. Kenneth Harlow, CSO, Upfront Chromatography A/S (Denmark)
Kenneth Harlow holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and has extensive experience in protein chemistry with emphasis on protein structure-function and bioanalysis. He has employed all forms of chromatography at scales ranging from nanoliter HPLC to process-scale Expanded Bed Adsorption (EBA) chromatography at various timepoints during his career. Additionally, he has held both academic and private sector R&D and R&D Management positions and has served as director of R&D for several small biotech companies including Exiqon A/S, ilochip A/S, HygiaDx ApS and presently Upfront.
His broad career experience provides him with expertise in fields as diverse as food sciences to medical diagnostic devices, with the unifying theme of identifying, isolating, purifying and understanding the functions of proteins within the applications found in these various sectors.Kenneth has broad commercial experience working with Business Development, Intellectual Property and Innovation Management. He is an author/inventor onsix diverse patent families and he has published significantly in the top-tier,peer-reviewed scientific literature.


Dr. Dilek Ercili, Senior Scientist, VTT Technology Centre (Finland)
Dilek Ercili-Cura, PhD is a senior scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd team of Food Solutions. Her main research interests involve colloidal interactions in protein-stabilized food systems and rheological, microstructural characterization of biomaterials in bulk and at fluid interfaces. She currently investigates techno-functional properties of plant-based macromolecules, mainly proteins and targeted modifications induced by enzymatic hydrolysis or cross-linking reactions. She is supervising master and PhD thesis students and works actively in the EU BBI PROMINENT project.
  Dipl. LM-Ing. Jürgen Bez, Development Technology Vegetable Raw Materials, Fraunhofer-Institut (Germany)
Jürgen Bez (Dipl. LM-Ing.),
food technologist and project manager has long time experience in both processing and product development of ingredients from plant-based raw materials, and their chemical and technological evaluation as well as their application in food systems. He has managed several public and industry funded projects and is experienced in international research collaborations. He was project coordinator of the EU capacities project GLUTENFREE and was involved as work package or task leader in several other European projects such as HEALTHY PROFOOD, BIOPROFIBRE, CO-EXTRA and BIOBOARD. Currently Jürgen Bez is involved as WP-leader in the H2020 PROTEIN2FOOD project.

Ir. A.M. (Ariette) Matser, Wageningen University (The Netherlands)
Ariette Matser‘s main research focus is on sustainable food processing, including mild preservation, mild separation and resource efficient processing. Her activities include project acquisition and coordination of national and international projects. She coordinated Public Private Partnership project on Mild preservation of food products including e.g. high pressure pasteurisation and sterilisation, pulsed electric field processing, cold plasma and advanced heating technologies. She is now the project coordinator of Plant Meat Matters, a Public Private Partnership that will build the required scientific basis to understand the structuring process of meat analogues while including flavour components, fat and other ingredients. Together with industrial partners that span the entire vegetable protein chain and Wageningen University and Wageningen Research, this basis will be used to further develop technologies for making the next generation of consumer-accepted meat analogues with improved characteristics that can be produced more cost-effectively and will have reduced environmental impact compared to meat analogues currently available on the market.