1. Tell me in 5 words who is Matthias Brand?
Scientist by day, boardgamer at night. Trying to find the fun in every aspect of life. People-centric. Fastidious. Unable to count to 5.
2. What made you join CeMM?
I was keen on doing my PhD in a supportive and collaborative environment, not the classical university setup in which neighboring labs barely talk to each other. When I first stepped into CeMM, I could clearly tell that it made up of like-minded people – you could sense the collective excitement of doing great science surrounded by great people… and I was hooked! (Allegations that the breakfast provided before Friday seminars would have influenced my decision cannot be confirmed or denied.)
3. What is it about science that interests you the most?
Science is like a gigantic, global group project that mankind is working on. Piece by piece, we’re all contributing to making the world a better place - our individual contribution might be small, but collectively our work has the potential to help literally thousands of people. Irrespectively of origins, skin color, age, sexual orientation or whatever, we all have a common language and goal in science. On a regular basis we interact with some of the smartest and most interesting people around us. Isn’t all that amazing?
4. What is the best career advice you ever received, or you can give to the CeMM community?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice – you cannot and will not know everything! People are generally keen on passing on their experience and are happy to help you out, so use your network as a resource. And chances are that your time at CeMM will have left you with an incredible number of connections all over Europe and the world…
5. Tell us what happened to you after you left CeMM?
After wrapping up my PhD in the midst of a pandemic and while starting a company, I jumped on the biotech rollercoaster by co-founding Proxygen in May 2020. Since then, we have grown to an incredible and truly interdisciplinary team of 20 talented and passionate people working hard to push the boundaries of the druggable proteome by developing molecular glue degraders against currently undruggable targets.
6. What book do you have on your night table at the moment?
“Blindness”, by José Saramago.
7. What is the last song you heard?
The original cast recording of Hadestown.
8. Any message you would like to give to the CeMMies or a former colleague?
Enjoy your stay at CeMM, I made friends for life during my time there. And remember, YOU are what makes it a special place to do science!
Matthias Brand studied medical and molecular biotechnology in Milan (Italy). For his PhD, he joined the group of Principal Investigator Georg Winter at CeMM in 2016, where he specialized on targeted protein degradation via small molecules. In particular, he worked on means to engineer selectivity into PROTACs and resistance mechanisms to this novel pharmacology. He furthermore contributed to the development of screening assays for the scalable identification of novel E3 modulators. Since 2020, he is VP Biology and co-founder of Proxygen, a biotech startup dedicated to the discovery and development of novel molecular glue degraders to treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.