Gretchen founded Trophic Communications in December 2017 bringing with her 20+ years as a strategic communicator and investor relations specialist in the global biopharmaceutical industry. With the company name inspired by ‘trophic factors,’ or molecules that are critical in the growth, survival and differentiation of neurons, Gretchen built the organization with the vision of cultivating, supporting and distinguishing life science companies at all stages of development. As Managing Director of Trophic, Gretchen has created a highly creative and lively work environment and has established a company culture in which bringing clients high-quality service and tangible results remains paramount.
Throughout her career, Gretchen has worked with and counseled a range of companies, from early-stage innovators to pharmaceutical leaders. A true entrepreneur, she also built the European office of MacDougall Biomedical Communications as Managing Director. In addition to 4 years on the management team of Ingenium Pharmaceuticals, her expertise is grounded in her career at Feinstein Kean Healthcare (Boston) where she oversaw the entire Corporate Practice, advising over 50 biotechnology and pharmaceutical clients.
Outside of her professional life, Gretchen is known for her ability to make salads (with homemade salad dressing!) that even the most vegetable-averse individuals will enthusiastically eat. Apart from that, Gretchen can also be found speedily biking through Munich, poring through New Yorker cartoons and bravely boating in the wilderness of Canada.
Stephanie May, PhD
Stephanie joined Trophic as Account Director and is a driving force in creating value-building communications strategies for both European and US companies. Before joining the team, Stephanie lead a number of successful industry debuts, investor relations projects and supported the development of countless corporate materials ranging from websites to corporate presentations. Having transitioned from neuroscientist to life science communications specialist some years ago, Stephanie brings a steadfast scientific and analytical perspective to the table and is committed to developing a deep understanding of the technology behind each company.
Stephanie holds a PhD in Neuroscience and Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and presently serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Alzheimer Society, Munich. In her free time, she is a stage diva, avid reader and fearless rock climber.
Eva joined Trophic as Account Director in June 2020, bringing over 8 years of corporate communications experience in the biotechnology sector. Before joining Trophic, she held the position of Associate Director, Investor Relations and Communications at NASDAQ-listed uniQure, an AAV-based gene therapy company operating in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Lexington, Massachusetts, in the US. During her tenure, Eva helped lead several successful financing rounds raising over $500 million. In addition, she was responsible for developing all aspects of uniQure’s corporate communications and building strong buy- and sell-side financial community relationships, logging many air miles on the trips back and forth to the US.
At Trophic, Eva leverages her expansive background in European and United States financial markets to support the ongoing development of Trophic’s international investor relations services as well as building the range of companies, technologies and products in development represented in Trophic’s client base.
Eva graduated from the University of Amsterdam, holding a degree in Business Economics and Child Development and is currently finalizing her Executive MBA at the Amsterdam Business School. With her native enthusiasm for biking, Eva likes to explore her new home in Munich and has become a fan of biergarten culture. She is also an expert in Surinam and Indonesian cuisine and is known to share outstanding Dutch gin with her colleagues.
Jacob Verghese, PhD
Jacob joined Trophic as Account Executive and is skilled in applying his extensive scientific background from 3 continents to the field of life science communications. As a trained Microbiologist, Jacob can dive deep into diverse topics, identifying and analyzing intricate details that form the building blocks used to develop highly-individualized content and strategies for clients. At Trophic, Jacob is responsible for supporting a range of projects for clients including development of key corporate messaging materials, scientific mechanism-of-action slides, websites, building focused media and investor lists, and facilitating non-deal roadshows. He also provides clients with speaker training workshops to accelerate their pitching ability and to concisely deliver the corporate story to a broad range of audiences.
Jacob’s background includes a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich and a PhD from The University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He currently serves as the presentation coach of the Amgen Scholars Program at Ludwig-Maximillians University in Munich.
On almost any day of the week, Jacob can be spotted zooming through Munich on a bright red Vespa. Having lived in Houston, Texas for a number of years, he is also the proud owner of an authentic cowboy hat and is sure that the world would be a better place if everyone was fluent in sarcasm.
Valeria Fisher, MSc
Valeria joined Trophic Communications as Account Executive after working in e-commerce at Amazon in the Transaction & Risk Management and Retail sectors. With a foundation in business backed by an MSc in Consumer Affairs from the Technical University of Munich and a BA in Sociology and German from Western Washington University, Valeria adds a fresh dimension to the Trophic team, contributing a methodical marketing perspective to all internal and external projects.
Based on her versatile professional and educational experiences, which include having worked for the marketing chair of the Technical University of Munich, as well as for the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, Valeria’s role at Trophic encompasses the generation of an immense array of social media content and graphics, supporting in the development of all types of materials such as press releases and positioning workshop presentations as well as successfully implementing media and investor relations efforts.
She is also a former Fulbright Fellow, having spent one year teaching English in Potsdam, Germany, and a recipient of the DAAD Study Scholarship for Graduates of all Disciplines, which funded her Master’s Degree.
Having grown up cross-culturally, Valeria speaks English, German and Italian fluently. When she is not at Trophic, you may find her lounging by the Isar (the mellow river that flows through Munich) with a spiralbound notebook for creative writing in hand, practicing dance moves and French vocabulary with friends, keeping her eyes peeled for fluffy four-legged critters and zealously snacking on pistachios and dark chocolate.
Marie-Theresa Weickert, PhD
Senior Account Executive
Marie joined Trophic Communications as Account Executive and provides the organization with another layer of strong, scientific support. Having joined the team while completing her PhD in Experimental Medicine from the Technical University Munich, she is enthusiastic to apply her scientific background, which also includes a Master’s in Biology from the University of Regensburg, to the expansive ecosystem of strategic life science communications and investor relations. As a part of the Trophic team, she is responsible for leading research for a variety of projects, supporting the development of content in both English and German and executing a number of individualized strategies for a wide range of clients. Her approach to the business, which includes gaining a comprehensive overview of what makes each client unique, germinates from a strong passion for effectively communicating about science.
When Marie isn’t at her desk, she can frequently be found in deep conversation with Willow “Bean” Roters and is known to have a drawer of tasty treats waiting to be consumed by Trophic’s most esteemed canine colleague. Apart from being an ardent office dog supporter, Marie is an active member of a nature conservation association and enjoys going hiking in the stunning mountainside of the Alps. She is also determined to deepen her knowledge of Italian cuisine but in the meantime makes outstanding “Schweinsbraten” and homemade “Knödel”, two classic and delightful staples of Bavarian cuisine.
Laura Mittmann, PhD
Senior Account Executive
Laura joined Trophic in 2019 as Account Executive after completing her PhD in the field of immuno-oncology at the LMU in Munich. This valuable training adds a solid scientific background in the field of immunotherapy as well as an abiding admiration for all immune cells to the Trophic team.
While conducting her Bachelor and Master’s studies of Biology at the University of Regensburg, Laura was awarded with a DAAD scholarship for an internship at the University of Sydney, broadening Trophic’s repertoire of all forms of proper English usage.
As a part of the Trophic team, she will use her passion for communicating advances in life science to support client accounts through content development to building media outreach strategies in both English and German, as well as conducting investor relations for both private and public biotechnology companies.
When Laura is not busy keeping the Trophic team sane, she is most likely cooking delicious pasta dishes or exploring the world above and below the sea from the deserts of the Oman to the underwater world of Mauritius.
Sophia Hergenhan, PhD
Senior Account Executive
Sophia joined Trophic as an Account Executive in 2020 after having completed her PhD at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. During her PhD, she deepened her scientific knowledge on a range of subjects including circadian biology, immunology and the microbiome. As part of the Trophic team, Sophia leverages her strong scientific foundation to build value for clients as they strive to effectively communicate about the unique aspects of their technologies and the potential impact of their products for patients. In addition to translating scientific concepts in to clear and understandable language, as a native German speaker, she also contributes to Trophic’s German translation capabilities.
A passionate foodie, when Sophia is not at work, she can be found expanding her culinary horizons at a variety of eateries. She also regales her colleagues with insider knowledge of Bavarian culture and Tracht-tricks. Earlier in her studies she had the opportunity to intern at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, which is where she fell in love with Scandinavia. She now prefers to travel to cold countries and enjoys experiencing and battling the rough weather that is native to northern regions.
Charlotte Spitz, PhD
Charlotte joined Trophic in 2021 as Account Executive after submitting her PhD thesis in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and immunology to the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. Having worked as a graphic designer, she brings to Trophic her passion for breaking down complex scientific concepts into an easily understandable and creative visual format for clients. Given her unique skills in addition to being a native German speaker, she is perfectly positioned at Trophic to tailor written and visual communication in both English and German.
When not at Trophic, Charlotte can be found covered in paint perfecting her skills to the likes of Bob Ross or even quickly pencilling sketches. She is always eager to travel the world to find interesting locations to paint, go diving or hit the slopes.
Desmond James, MA
Desmond joined Trophic in 2021 as Account Executive after completing his MA in Social Media Communications at the Dublin City University with a dissertation examining the importance of social media affordances in the wake of online social activism. Hailing originally from Detroit, Michigan, he brings with him a diverse background in the marketing, healthcare, and education industries. As a member of the Trophic team, Desmond applies his experience in digital media and patient advocacy to create compelling content that conveys the amazing work being conducted within the Life Sciences sector. A native English speaker, Desmond is also conversational in Japanese.
In his spare time, Desmond can be found writing short stories based on historical events or baking the best blueberry cobbler you’ll ever taste. He has lived in Detroit, Houston, NYC, Dublin, and is excited about making Munich his new home and continuing his love for the German language.
Rachael Feord, PhD
Rachael joined Trophic in 2021 as an Account Executive, bringing a unique scientific perspective to the team. Recently, she earned her PhD from the University of Cambridge, where she began her career by investigating neural networks in fruit flies and cuttlefish as well as network development in human cerebral organoids. At Trophic, Rachael combines her neuroscience background with her passion for graphic design to create thought-provoking and visually masterful content. She brings a keen eye and an admirable level of passion to the work that she does, and is committed to providing Trophic’s clientele with the best service possible.
When not working, Rachael enjoys listening and performing choral music, a hobby that has allowed her to perform on various stages from Hong Kong to the United States. She is also known for her love of cephalopods and her ability to make trendy 3D glasses for cuttlefish.
Luis joined Trophic Communications in late 2018 as an Intern and is an integral part of the team responsible for providing assistance on both short- and long-term projects including client-specific media monitoring, social media plan development, media outreach, English-to-German translations and a variety of content creation. Currently, a master’s student at the LMU University in Munich, Luis frequently applies his Molecular and Cellular Biology education to scan scientific texts and succinctly identify key information that can be used to support and enhance overall client service.
When he is not hard at work navigating the ins and outs of everything public and investor relations, Luis is tending to his beloved sourdough culture which has rendered dozens of mouth-watering bread loaves. In addition to his rigorous role as a sourdough-culture caretaker, Luis tutors university courses, frequents thrift shops to solidify his image as a “non”-hipster, ruins 2-3 industries a day as a result of being a millennial and has developed a problematic relationship with Sriracha, a heavenly red chili sauce that has recently launched a new flavor featuring MORE garlic.
Florence joined Trophic Communications as Business Manager and oversees all administrative aspects of the organization, ranging from contractual issues to financials and Human Resources. Having graduated with a degree in Law from the Universidad de Navarra, Spain, Florence previously headed the Project and Contract Department for Siemens in Tunisia before delving into business administration at MacDougall Biomedical Communications in early 2016. Florence is also the in-house language expert, speaking a number of foreign languages including English, Spanish, Catalan and French, among others. Despite her linguistic achievements, she has yet to master the art of effectively communicating with her dog, Willow “Bean”.
Willow “Bean” Roters
Vice President, Stress Management and Nutrition
Born 8 years ago in the heart of Bavaria, Willow “Bean” has a strong nose for business and biotech and an even stronger commitment to locating food and food-like substances. After working for years in a variety of office settings, Willow joined Trophic with substantial expertise in barking when the doorbell rings, demanding head pats during stressful situations and offering strategic counsel through tail wagging. Fluent in English, German, Bavarian and Labrador, Willow can often be heard contributing on conference calls with emphatic snores, sighs and sporadic toy squeaks. On the whole, Willow is delighted to be a part of the Trophic team, apart from having her photo taken every morning, and looks forward to the next apple core she’ll receive.
The team at Trophic has extensive experience in all facets of delivering value-building messages to external audiences through public and investor relations, scientific communications, corporate positioning, strategic counsel, crisis communications and patient advocacy.
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