Academics on the founder´s journey

March 5th, 10:30-11:00

Usually, when finishing university, with or without a PhD, graduates apply for jobs in academia or industry. One of the rarer career paths following graduation is taking the risk to become an entrepreneur. As a scientist with training in scientific reasoning, language, decision making and problem solving, one rapidly faces the profound gaps in expertise and experience that are critical for a successful entrepreneurship. The talk will reflect on different external stages entrepreneurs take on their journey, accompanied by the stages of internal development that are characterized by extremely endorphin-driven moments on one end and the ghastly feeling of moving on extreme thin ice on the other. The main objective of this talk is to sensitize the audience for risks and opportunities and shows why dealing with failure and success is a crucial point in every founder´s journey.

Dr. Stefan Merkl

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) & Co-Founder CrystalsFirst GmbH

Dr. Stefan Merkl studied Biology and Philosophy at the Philipps Universitiy of Marburg (Germany) and the Ruhr University of Bochum (Germany). He received his doctoral degree in 2015 after a research period at the institute of pharmaceutical chemistry of Philipps-University. His willingness to create and restless scientific enthusiasm made him cofound the science-driven startup CrystalsFirst. The company is a spin-off of the renowned drug design group of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Klebe and operates as a service provider for structure-based drug discovery. As such, it combines proprietary experimental technologies and efficient methods of chemoinformatics in order to implement a lean and fast drug discovery. Dr. Merkl´s main expertise is in the field of biophysics, specifically protein crystals and crystallography while his philosophical interests involve health and disease theories, chinese philosophy and the philosophy of mind. As a “biosopher”, he feels a strong passion for life itself, and in that way, work and free time activities like martial arts, music and obsessive discussions are reconciled and aligned perfectly in a wholeness.


International Institute of Molecular and
Cell Biology in Warsaw

4 Ks. Trojdena Street
02 - 109 Warsaw, Poland

tel. (+48 22) 597 07 00
fax (+48 22) 597 07 15


The symposium is funded by the "Excellent science" programme of the Ministry of Education and Science (formerly Ministry of Science and Higher Education).