Dr. Klaus Schönenberger, MT, PhD
Chairman of the Board, co-founder

Klaus Schönenberger obtained an MS in Microengineering (1993), followed by a PhD (1996) from EPFL. After a post-doc at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, he spent over 10 years in the medical devices industry in leading positions such as Vice-President of Worldwide R&D in a $100m company and Global Vice-President of Research and Technology in a $1bn company. He has supervised the launch of over 25 electro-medical devices on the market and filed 23 patents. In 2009 he started-up the EssentialMed Foundation, an innovative non-profit venture, which he is now leading as its CEO. In 2011, he joined EPFL to initiate and lead EssentialTech, a program aimed at developing technologies and business models adapted to the context of low-income countries. He is currently leading several pioneering projects under the EssentialTech umbrella in various areas such as an infant incubator for developing countries, and two projects in the area of viral diseases such as Ebola. The flagship project of EssentialTech is project GlobalDiagnostiX: designing and deploying an appropriate digital x-ray imaging system and business model for developing and emerging countries. He also proposed and led the creation of a research center in Cameroon jointly operated by EPFL and the Polytechnic Institute in Yaoundé.

Dr. Soli Makohliso
Director Pristem Africa, co-founder

Dr. Solomzi Makohliso is the Deputy Leader of the the EssentialTech Program at EPFL. He is an international entrepreneur with biotechnology industry experience from the United States, Europe, and South Africa. He was also the founder and CEO of Ayanda Biosystems in Switzerland, and a Resident Entrepreneur at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa. He currently serves on the Swiss National Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation in Science & Technology with Africa. Previously, he served as a member of the Biotechnology Advisory Panel for the national Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in South Africa and was a Member of the Nanotechnology Advisory Board in South Africa. He holds a PhD in Biomaterials from EPFL.