Biosketches of Invited Speakers

Prof. Jürgen Drewe

Prof. Drewe studied Mathematics and Medicine at the Free University of Berlin, Germany. He obtained his M.D. from the Free University, and was registered as a Physician in 1984.

After a specialization in Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Medicine, and Toxicology in Germany and in Switzerland he was appointed in 2000 as a Professor for Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Basel. He acted as Vice President of the Cantonal Ethics Committee of Basel. Prof. Drewe joined Max Zeller Soehne AG, Romanshorn, Switzerland in 2009 as Head of Preclinical Research, and was appointed Senior Manager R&D in 2016.

His research focus is in drug toxicology, pharmacokinetic modeling and statistics, drug transport and drug resistance, and in drug-drug and drug-herb interactions. He is member of several scientific societies and serves as member of the scientific committee of ESCOP. Prof. Drewe has published over 250 research publications.


Prof. Dr. Jan Frank

Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany

Professor Frank graduated with a Diploma in Nutrition from Bonn University (2000), obtained a PhD in Food Science at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (2004), and received postdoctoral training at the Universities of Kiel and Hohenheim. He was a visiting scientist at the Linus Pauling Institute (USA), the University of Reading (UK) and the University of Surrey (UK).
Dr Frank was appointed Professor of Human Metabolomics at the Institute of Nutritional and Food Sciences at the University of Bonn in 2012 and, in 2013, Full Professor and head of the division Biofunctionality and Safety of Food at the Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition at the University of Hohenheim.
He is president of the Society of Nutrition and Food Science (, and editor-in-chief of NFS Journal, regional co-editor of Nutrition, and member of the editorial boards of The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, BioFactors, and Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.
His research interests lie in factors that determine the absorption, metabolism, and elimination of phytochemicals and different vitamin E congeners and in particular the long-chain vitamin E metabolites. Dr. Frank and his team examine novel strategies to overcome the low intrinsic oral bioavailability of phytochemicals and investigate the biological activities of potentially health-beneficial bioactives.


Prof. Elizabeth Joubert

Prof Elizabeth Joubert holds a Ph.D. in Food Science and is employed as a principal researcher by the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa.

Employment history
The main focus of her research during the past 35 years was on product research relating to the indigenous South African herbal teas, rooibos and honeybush. She published more than 170 scientific papers on the subject, and she is co-inventor of a number of patents.  She was responsible for developing several processes that are in use by the South African herbal tea industry. Since the early 1990s the scope of her research broadened to enhance the “healthy” image of these herbal teas and to move value-addition beyond their use as herbal teas. This new direction required a multi-disciplinary approach leading to strong ties with researchers at other institutions, both in South Africa and abroad. Most of her collaborative projects are a direct outcome of her interest in the phenolic composition of these herbal teas as they are key to their beneficial properties, as well as the key drivers for the development of new products.
Prof Joubert received several awards during her professional career, of which the ARC Executive Management Award for outstanding achievement as member of a multidisciplinary team on Honeybush Tea Research (1999) and the Indigenous Plant Use Forum “Plant-to-Product” Award (2009) for her role in the commercialisation of honeybush tea are specifically relevant to her research on South African herbal teas.


Dr. Frank Petersen

Executive Director Natural Product Unit, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research Basel, Switzerland

Frank Petersen studied microbiology at the universities of Hohenheim and Tübingen, Germany. After receiving his Ph.D. at the Institute of Microbiology/Antibiotics with Hans Zähner, he joined the natural products research group at CIBA-Geigy in 1991. As laboratory head in microbiology, he introduced new strategies in the detection of new natural products scaffolds from micoorganisms. Since 2001, he heads the natural products research unit at Novartis Pharma. He established microbial sourcing collaborations with various institutes in Africa and Asia.

He received visiting professorships at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica/ Chinese Academy of Sciences and at the SKKU University, Seoul, Korea. Since 2004 he advises governmental committees and scientific organizations on Convention of Biological Diversity and Nagoya Protocol related matters, eg at the European Commission, Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, Swiss Government, United Nations, WIPO, or at the NIH.


Prof. Heribert Warzecha,

Plant Biotechnology and Metabolic Engineering, Technical University Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany

Professor Heribert Warzecha studied “Pharmazie” at Mainz University and holds a PhD in Pharmaceutical Biology. After a research stay at the Boyce-Thompson-Institute for Plant Research at the Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, he obtained his habilitation in Pharmaceutical Biology and Botany in Würzburg. In 2007, he moved to Darmstadt and is now heading the research group Plant Biotechnology and Metabolic Engineering at the Technische Universität. His main research focus is the production of pharmaceuticals in plants and the engineering of metabolic pathways for the production of novel ingredients. He was chairing a pan-European research network (COST) devoted to plant metabolic engineering (