Executive Management Team

Executive Management

Thomas Heydler Photo

Chief Executive Officer

Thomas Heydler

Thomas P. Heydler joined Definiens in 2004. He brings more than 20 years of entrepreneurial expertise and in-depth knowledge of the global software business to Definiens.

Mr. Heydler was President and CEO at Barcelona Design Inc. based in San Jose, USA. Before joining Barcelona, Mr. Heydler served as President and CEO for InterPro Business Solutions, Inc., USA. He was Vice President and Executive Officer at Documentum Inc., a leading software and solutions provider with specific focus on the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry.

He built and drove Documentum’s European operations and assumed worldwide responsibility for Marketing and Documentum’s Application Business subsequently. Prior to this engagement, he served as Vice President and General Manager Europe for Cadence Design Systems and held senior leadership positions at Siemens AG.

Mr. Heydler holds a Diplom-Ingenieur degree in Electric Engineering and Computer Science from the Technical University in Munich.

Gerd Binnig, PhD Photo


Gerd Binnig, PhD

Dr. Gerd Binning founded Definiens with the goal to transform the image analysis industry by enabling more data to be extracted for better decisions. Dr. Binnig, along with his colleague Dr. Heinrich Rohrer, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1986.

Dr. Binnig and Dr. Rohrer were recognized for developing the powerful microscopy technique, which can form an image of individual atoms on a metal or semiconductor surface by scanning the tip of a needle over the surface at a height of only a few atomic diameters.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Dr. Binnig studied at the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1973 and his doctorate degree in 1978. After earning his doctorate, he joined a physics research group at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory prior to being assigned to IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. from 1985 to 1986. He was also a visiting professor at Stanford University from 1987 to 1988.

Dr. Binnig developed the Cognition Network Technology®, which uniquely enables Definiens software to analyze large numbers of images automatically, just like the human eye and brain are capable of doing. He started Definiens with the goal to transform the imaging industry by enabling more data to be extracted for better decisions.

Christiaan Neeleman Photo

Chief Operating Officer

Christiaan Neeleman

Christiaan Neeleman joined Definiens in 2013. He brings more than 25 years of general management experience, with a focus on healthcare imaging, to the company.

Prior to joining Definiens, Mr. Neeleman was the COO Product Group Lithography Applications for ASML. He also was responsible for the global X-Ray Systems Business and the Components Business of Philips Healthcare for 8 years. During his tenure at ASML and Philips Healthcare, Mr. Neeleman transformed businesses towards profitable growth, focusing on new markets, new technologies, efficiency, and teamwork. Mr. Neeleman has also held management roles in Philips’ mobile display businesses, and prior to that in Mettler Toledo.

In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Neeleman is responsible for leadership of research, development and professional services activities.

Mr. Neeleman has an MSc degree in Micro Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University Delft and an MBA from INSEAD.

Markus Rinecker, MD  Photo

Chief Financial Officer

Markus Rinecker, MD

Dr. Markus Rinecker joined Definiens in 2009. He brings more than 10 years of entrepreneurial and finance experience as well as in-depth clinical expertise to the company.

Prior to joining Definiens, Dr. Rinecker served as Managing Director at one of the leading surgical hospitals in Munich. While managing 350 employees with full P&L responsibility, he established a new department for open heart surgery and streamlined organizational processes to increase the organization’s profitabiligy. For the hospital chain Humaine Kliniken GmbH he evaluated potential acquisition targets and participated in multiple share deal transactions. He was also actively involved in the start-up venture ProHealth AG, which opened Europe’s first full clinical proton radiation center for cancer therapy, in March 2009.

Dr. Rinecker holds a Doctoral Degree in Medicine at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich as well as a Masters Degree in Business Administration of INSEAD, France and Singapore.

Ralf Huss, MD Photo

Chief Medical Officer

Ralf Huss, MD

Dr. Ralf Huss joined Definiens in 2013 and has more than 20 years of training and experience in histopathology and cancer research.

Prior to joining Definiens, Dr. Huss served as Global Head of Histopathology and Tissue Biomarkers at Roche Diagnostics, where he was involved in identifying new tissue biomarkers to stratify cancer patients as part of a global Personalized Healthcare strategy. Dr. Huss also co-founded the biotech company APCETH. He has training and experience in immunology, transplantation biology and stem cell research, has published more than 100 papers, and has worked with the Nobel Laureates Rolf Zinkernagel and E. Donnell Thomas.

In his role as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Huss plays a key role in expanding Definiens’ image and data analysis into Tissue Diagnostics and Clinical Digital Pathology.

Dr. Huss holds global academic appointments at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, USA. He is also a Professor of Systems Biology at the University College Dublin.

Thomas Nifong, MD Photo

Executive Vice President, Predictive Tests

Thomas Nifong, MD

Dr. Nifong joined Definiens in 2014. He brings more than 15 years of experience in clinical diagnostics development and operations, laboratory medicine, and project engineering.

Prior to joining Definiens, Dr. Nifong was Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations for Metamark Genetics, where he successfully led efforts to translate quantitative multiplex immunofluorescence research protocols into robust, reproducible laboratory developed tests (LDTs) for clinical use. He spent 10 years as a faculty member at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center where he gained extensive experience in molecular pathology, clinical laboratory medicine, and laboratory validation and management.

In his role as Executive Vice President of Predictic Tests, Dr. Nifong is responsible for regulated product development and commercialization for all clinical diagnostic projects incorporating Definiens technology. Dr. Nifong holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University and an MD from the University of Rochester. He completed his residency training in Clinical Pathology and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Pathology and a Fellow of the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the College of American Pathologists.

Michael Rasche Photo

Global Head of Sales and Business Development

Michael Rasche

Michael Rasche joined Definiens in 2015 bringing 25 years of experience in the healthcare arena, with particular focus on diagnostics and pharma.

He joined Definiens from AYOXXA Biosystems where he was Corporate Vice President of Global Commercial Operations. Prior to that he was Corporate Vice President of Global Marketing and Business Development for Dako (now Agilent Technologies). During his career he has held leadership positions with Roche and Bayer Diagnostics in Europe, the US, and Latin America across 9 different countries. Michael Rasche is excellent at building and mobilizing high-performing international teams who view it as their mission to deliver business critical projects. In his role as Global Head of Sales and Business Development, Mr. Rasche is responsible for continuing the momentum of Definiens driving sales in the strategic expansion from Research into the Clinical Development and Diagnostics Space.

Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board

Manfred Dietel, MD Photo

Manfred Dietel, MD

Dr. Manfred Dietel is Director, Institute of Pathology, Campus Charitè-Mitte. He is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the Association of German University Hospitals and a Member of the Board of Directors of the German Society of Pathology.

Jérôme Galon, PhD  Photo

Jérôme Galon, PhD

Specialized in the fields of immunology and cancer, Dr. Jérôme Galon, Research Director at INSERM, heads the laboratory of Integrative Cancer Immunology, Paris, France. Further, Jérôme Galon is a co-founder of HalioDx, and consultant and chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board.

Ronald Herbst, PhD Photo

Ronald Herbst, PhD

Ronald Herbst is VP Oncology at MedImmune

Dirk Jäger, MD Photo

Dirk Jäger, MD

Dr. Jäger is the Director Medical Oncology, National Center for Tumor Diseases and University Medical Center Heidelberg.

Holger Moch, MD  Photo

Holger Moch, MD

Dr. Holger Moch is the Director, Medical Division Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland. He is also a Full Professor of Pathology at the University of Zurich and Chairman, Institute for Pathology, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland.


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