Dr Nehrbass, originating from Rhineland-Palatinate, replaces Dr Catherine Larue who has guided LIH as CEO ad interim since January 2016 and who returns to her former position of CEO of the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg (IBBL).
After his biochemistry studies in Tübingen and Cambridge (United Kingdom), Dr Nehrbass completed his PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg in 1992. Dr Nehrbass was then offered the opportunity to work in the laboratory of the future Nobel Laureate, Prof Günter Blobel, at the Rockefeller University in New York, United States.
In 1998, he joined the Institut Pasteur in Paris as Research Director to set up his own laboratory. Six years later, he became the Founder, CEO and Scientific Director of the brand new Institut Pasteur in Korea, specialised in infectious diseases and cancer research and aiming at translating research excellence towards therapies that impact on patients. The institute namely worked on a compound against tuberculosis named Q203, the only new compound worldwide against totally drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria.
Based on the success of the Institut Pasteur Korea, Dr Nehrbass was invited back to Europe to build a Franco-German institute with the same ethos. In 2013, he became the Founder, CEO and Scientific Director of Ksilink in Strasbourg, a French-German Translational Research Centre created by seven academic and public funding partners. Aiming for innovative therapeutic approaches, Ksilink is specialised in patient-based disease models and personalised medicine. Ksilink aims at linking scientific and clinical excellence with biotech and pharma industry. The centre is well on its way to success.
At the forefront of technology development, Dr Nehrbass has witnessed first-hand the transformative potential it can have on healthcare. Luxembourg, through its intense investment over the last decade, is leading in key aspects of this technology trend. The next step will now be to translate scientific breakthroughs into actual improvement for patients. LIH will take a coherent and integrative translational approach, addressing unmet patients’ needs in a bed-to-bench-to-bed cycle. Luxembourgish researchers and clinicians are already working in this direction and Luxembourg is ideally positioned to lead the way.
‘I am convinced that the Luxembourg Institute of Health, in close collaboration with the other Luxembourgish partners, will play an important role in building effective translational programmes, which will impact on patients. With the openness, the flexibility and the ingenuity of Luxembourg, and its track record when it comes to opening and defining new fields of activity, there is no better place in the world to spearhead next generation healthcare at a nationwide level. In five years from now, LIH and Luxembourg institutions should be well on their way to lead patient-driven translational medicine and next generation healthcare at a European level”, declares Dr Nehrbass.