The Board

Our board consists of specialists from various different science and business fields.

Prof. mult. Dr.rer.nat. Oliver Ullrich

President of the board

Oliver is Full Professor and Director of the Innovation Cluster Space and Aviation of the University of Zurich (UZH Space Hub), specialized in Anatomy, Cell Biology, Immunology and Aerospace Medicine. He is also Professor of Space Medicine (EAH Jena, Germany), Professor of Space Biotechnology (University of Magdeburg, Germany), elected Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics, President of the German Society for Aerospace Medicine, President of the Swiss SkyLab Foundation and initiator and leader of the Swiss Parabolic Flight program. He is recipient of several national and international research and teaching awards and has 18 years of experience as scientific leader of parabolic flight, suborbital ballistic rocket and International Space Station (ISS) missions in the ESA and NASA Space Life Sciences research program. He has a post-graduate diploma in Theology from the Pontifical Lateran University (Rome/Vatican). He is committed to innovation in space and actively supports entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships and is co-founder of four start-up companies. OliverÔÇÖs accumulated mission experience is 17 parabolic flight missions, 9 suborbital missions and 9 orbital missions. Oliver has flown more than 1200 parabolas and was more than 7 hours in microgravity in total.


Dr. oec. Christian Casal

Member of the board

Former head of McKinsey Switzerland until 2017, PhD in international business and economics, University of St. Gallen. Active investor and entrepreneur in several start-ups and mid-sized companies in Switzerland and abroad. Passion for high-tech Swiss landscape and space-related ventures. Member of several commercial and NGO boards. Participant of first and fourth Swiss Parabolic Flights in 2015 and 2018, as well as of first research flight of Zepplin NT Airship in 2017.

Prof. Prof. h.c. Dr. med. vet. Max Gassmann

Member of the board

Prof. Max Gassmann is a trained Swiss veterinarian with Peruvian roots. He is full professor of Veterinary Physiology and director of the institute, as well as chairman of the Zurich Center of Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP), both institutions located at the University of Zurich. He graduated in Zurich before moving as a postdoctoral fellow to Stanford University Medical School were he joint the team of Prof. Paul Berg (Nobel Prize Laureate). Back in Zurich he first was lecturer at the Institute of Human Physiology before heading the one in the Veterinary Faculty. Prof. Gassmann work focuses mainly on hypoxia and erythropoietin (Epo) in men since 1992 with special focus on the adaptation of humans to low oxygen supply as occuring at high altitude. He is member of the Leopoldina National Academy of Science, member of the Academia Europea, and has a standing visiting professorship at the Medical Faculty of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) in Lima, Peru. Moreover, he is corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Peru and Bolivia as well as member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences.

Capt. Martin Gerber, Msc.

Member of the board

Technical pilot and simulator instructor at Swiss Airlines on the Airbus A320 family. Super Puma captain for the Swiss Air Force, peace support missions in Bosnia and Kosovo. Experience as experimental pilot for new flight control systems and pilot assistance systems (DLR research helicopter).

4500 total flying hours on 15 different types of aircrafts and helicopters. Several years of experience as senior project manager for Thales, development of two Level-D full flight helicopter simulators, IPMA Level B project management certification. MSc. Mechanical Engineering ETH Zurich, specialized in numerical fluid dynamics and control systems.

Rudolf Guldener

Rudolf Guldener

Member of the board

Working as a teacher of physical education at a highschool in Zurich. Rudolf was lecturer for advanced didactics and Basketball in sports teacher training at the ETH Zurich and he used to coach the Swiss wheelchair basketball team. He is also a Swiss ski instructor.

Prof. Dr. sc. nat. Bruno Neininger

Member of the board

Bruno Neininger is CEO/COO of MetAir company – Switzerlands first airborne research facility founded in 1990 as a spin-off of ETHZ and PSI.

He became a glider pilot and instructor between 1974 and 1979 as a member and later president of the Academic Gliding Club of Zurich (AFG).

After his PhD in Atmospheric Physics at ETH Zurich he was convinced that atmospheric research can be done with small aircraft and miniaturized instrumentation. With this concept he co-founded MetAir AG in 1990. Since then, he was involved in more than 60 international airborne research campaigns, documenting meteorological and chemical processes in the atmosphere.

After retiring as a Professor at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) he engaged in continuing education for pilots and in probing the atmosphere using airborne platforms in Europe and Australia.

As a member of the STSB (Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board) he is also aware of the risks of flying and very much interested in reducing these risks.

Prof. Dr. med. Silvia Ulrich Somaini

Member of the board

Professor in Internal and Respiratory Medicine and director of the pulmonology clinic, University Hospital of Zurich, Head of the Pulmonary Hypertension unit, certificate of advanced studies in business administration, University of Zurich. Chair of the European Respiratory Society Pulmonary Hypertension group and Co-Chair of the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute High Altitude group. Longstanding interest in research in pulmonary hypertension, high altitude, physiology and pneumology.

Marc Studer

Capt. Dr. med. Marc Studer

Member of the board

Commanding officer and Fighter pilot Swiss Air Force, instructor pilot on PC-7 turboprop and F/A-18 Hornet, frozen Airline Transport Pilot License Swiss Aviation Training. Medical Doctor graduated from University of Zurich, researcher in Aerospace Medicine.

2500 total flying hours on 10 different types of aircrafts and fast jets. Research internship at Mayo Clinic Aerospace Medicine department Arizona, founder of 3 start-ups in the area of aviation, medicine and digital technology.

Dr. rer. nat. Cora S. Thiel

Member of the board

Research group leader, gravitational biology and cell biomechanics, University of Zurich (UZH), academician of the International Academy of Astronautics. Active investigator for the European, German and U.S. space life sciences research program, 10 years of experience in 16 parabolic flight research missions, 4 suborbital and 4 orbital missions, including experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) , Flight log: 1100 parabolas, Parabolic Flight Medal in silver.

Dr. phil. nat. Liliana E. Layer

Member of the board

Chief Scientific Officer at Prometheus Life Technologies. Studied biology in Heidelberg, Germany, and graduated with a diploma degree in molecular biology, cellular biology, and biochemistry. Obtained her PhD from the University in Frankfurt, Germany, did her postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, and was project leader at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Academic research experience in the fields of neurobiology, mobile genetic elements, immunology, and gravitational biology. Business know-how and industrial research experience from being product specialist and responsible for market development in a German biotech company, as well as working in the research and development department. Participates in parabolic flight, sounding rocket and International Space Station projects.