Who we are

In 2016, Prof. A. Bechthold (University of Freiburg) and Prof H. Pfundner (Roche Pharma AG) created the idea of a new Master Program “Regulatory Affairs & Drug Development” within the existing Master’s degree program in Pharmaceutical Sciences. There is a need in the industry for university graduates with sound knowledge in the areas of pharmaceutical drug development and regulatory affairs. These topics are usually underrepresented in existing university programs of pharmacy, lifesciences and medicine. As a result, graduates from all faculties have difficulties finding employment within these areas of the pharmaceutical industry. Following the creation of the specialty “Regulatory Affairs & Drug Development ”, the association,  Academia Meets Industry e.V” was founded at the end of 2017. The major aim of this organization is to support talented young students in their education and facilitate a network between students, university personnel and industry representatives.

Please find below some information about the Board of Academia Meets Industry e.V. and the founding members.

Executive Board


Prof. Dr. Andreas Bechthold

Full Professor at the Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences and Chair of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology

Andreas Bechthold was appointed Professor at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg in 2001. After studying Pharmaceutical Sciences he completed his Ph.D. in the area of natural product biosynthesis at the University of Bonn. In 1992, he became a Postdoctoral Fellow in Seattle, USA and in 1993, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Kyoto, Japan. After his habilitation (1999) at the University in Tübingen, he was appointed to the University of Kiel. In 2001, he moved to Freiburg. Prof. Bechthold is married and has three children. Time spent with his family is most important to him. He hates arrogance and likes dedicated people.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Andreas Bechthold about the Master's Program "Regulatory Affairs & Drug Development" (in German only)

Dr. Friederike Zahm

Friederike Zahm brings 25 years of experience from the pharmaceutical industry to this organization. She studied pharmacy at the University of Saarbrücken and gained a PhD at the University of Basel working in virology and pharmacology. In 1986 she joined Roche in Norway and subsequently moved to the Basel headquarters where she held various senior positions within clinical development and global product strategy. She was a member of the board of directors for a Freiburg based Biotech Company between 2010 and 2012 and served as an advisory board member at the Landesstiftung Baden Württemberg in 2009/2010. In 2016 she left Roche to begin work as a consultant to both biotech and pharmaceutical companies.  Friederike is married and lives with her husband and their dog, a lively mini-doodle, in Freiburg. She is also engaged in local politics. She is a literature junky and reads whenever time allows.

Prof. Dr. Helmut Laaff

Prof. Dr. Helmut Laaff

Helmut Laaff has been running the private DermatoHistological Laboratory (DHL) in Freiburg since 1992. Over the years, the portfolio expanded to include methods of general pathology, hematopathology and molecular pathology. Consequently, in 2020 the DermatoHistological Laboratory changed its name to the Institute for Dermatohistology Pathology Molecular Pathology Prof. Dr. Helmut Laaff.
Helmut Laaff initially studied medicine in Tübingen and Rio de Janeiro. He completed his medical residency at the Institute of Clinical Pathology and the Department of Dermatology and Venereology in Freiburg. Afterwards he stayed abroad in NYC to specialize as a dermatopathologist.
In his free time, he enjoys skiing and mountaineering. In 2012, he climbed the Seven Summits – the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Helmut Laaf about the Master's Program "Regulatory Affairs & Drug Development" (in German only)


Henric Wassmer

Anna Resch

Anna Resch studied pharmacy at the University of Freiburg and graduated in 2013. Following she did a PhD in synthetic biology in Freiburg while working in parallel at Novartis, Pierre Fabre and Lilly also in Germany. As a postdoc, she is supporting the "Regulatory Affairs & Drug Development" program at the Freiburg University since March 2024. Her goal is to strengthen the exchange between university and industry. Furthermore she aims to support the students in this program to enable them taking positions in the pharmaceutical industry after their master degree. With her partner, Anna lives in Freiburg and loves outdoor activities, concerts and she enjoys to travel.

Jay Nowak

Jay Nowak, born in 1984, successfully completed his studies in business law at the Rheinische Fachhochschule in Cologne in 2007. In 2009, he joined the family business as the third generation and initially took over the commercial management for the Pharmaceutical Services business unit. He has been CEO at Glatt since 2020 and holds various other management positions within the group. One of his guiding principles is to "create and pass on knowledge". Above all, he is characterized by a passion for entrepreneurship and loyalty to his family and employees.

Michael Schwarze

After studying French, History and Italian in Germany and France, Michael Schwarze worked at the University of Cologne and Ingolstadt before he became Professor at the University of Klagenfurt in 2008. From 2010 to 2021 he was Professor of Romance Literature with emphasis on Italian Literature at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Amongst other positions he served as Dean of the faculty of Human Sciences for 4 years. Since February 2021 he is Vice Rector of Academic Affairs of the University of Freiburg which includes responsibilities for all learning and teaching related matters of the university.

Frank Bezner

Frank Bezner studied Greek and Latin Philology as well as German language in Tübingen, Germany. His main area of interest are the treasures of middle age and early modern Latin literature. After being a post doc in London, Heidelberg and Tübingen he became Professor of the Latin Medival Phylology faculty at Berkley University, USA in 2008. Since 2018 he is Professor of the respective field at the University of Freiburg and served as Dean of the faculty between 2019 and 2023.

Dr. Claudia Jessen-Trefzer

Dr. Claudia Jessen-Trefzer

Claudia Jessen-Trefzer has been working at the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg since October 2015. She habilitated in pharmaceutical biology in 2022. She completed her studies in chemistry at the University of Constance and her doctorate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. In 2012, she first went to Vienna (Austria) as a postdoc, after which she worked for DePuy Synthes / Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH (Switzerland). After a short subsequent postdoctoral stay at the University of Zurich, she moved to Freiburg. Dr. Jessen-Trefzer is married and has a son. She enjoys hiking and going to the cinema.

Other Founding Members


PhD in pharmacy from the University of Kiel.

He started to work for Hoffmann-La Roche in 1992. He held various senior positions in Europe and North America. Since 2006, CEO Roche Pharma AG Germany and „Geschäftsführer“ Roche Deutschland Holding GmbH. He is a Member of the Board of Directors at Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg, VFA (Verband Forschender Arzneimittelhersteller e.V.) und BDI (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie)

Dr. rer. nat. Ralf D. Hess

Dr. rer. nat. Ralf D. Hess

Principal Management Consultant und Member of the Task Force

Working on device and drug regulatory and quality (GxP/ISO) compliance. The customer service portfolio varies from manufacturers of small molecules and biological medicinal products to medical device companies and vaccine manufacturers to immunohistochemical, immunological, molecular biological and serological diagnostic laboratories. Operating worldwide as an auditor in the area of GxP/ISO with long-time experience in FDA remediation projects as well as in the regulatory development of combination products (drug device products).

Dr. Dieter Russmann MD

Dr. Dieter Russmann MD

Vice President Customer Strategy at Kinapse Ltd. London, Beirat Universität Freiburg

Dr. Jürgen Regenold

Dr. Jürgen Regenold

pharmacist and PhD in pharmacology from the University of Freiburg

Since 1994 CEO of Regenold GmbH in Badenweiler, a service provider specialized in regulatory affairs

Dr. Gabriele Weitnauer

Dr. Gabriele Weitnauer

“Akademische Oberrätin” at the University of Freiburg, Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology