Aletta Schnitzler

Over the years, my curiosity about how life in the world around us works has combined with the intense feelings that we need to find a way to preserve and protect it.


I have always been a passionately curious person, interested in understanding the world around me. Growing up in a scientific family it only seemed natural to pursue an education and career in biology, a field which brings seemingly boundless discovery that can help improve our health and lives.  Our team’s work at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, developing processes for the manufacturing of advanced cell therapies, aims to do just that.  I have found that some of the best ideas and most productive pursuits are realized when people from diverse backgrounds and expertise come together, be it over a lunchtime conversation or during a focused technology workshop.  Our company fosters a sense of community that enables these collaborative ideas to be sparked, both internally with colleagues and externally with our customers and partners.  Over the years, my curiosity about how life in the world around us works has combined with the intense feelings that we need to find a way to preserve and protect it.  Being a 350-year-old company, Our company has the long-term vision for not only how to enhance the human experience, but also for creating a sustainable future for generations to come. 

"Over the years, my curiosity about how life in the world around us works has combined with the intense feelings that we need to find a way to preserve and protect it. "

Aletta Schnitzler

Scientific Director, Project Leader


Joined Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany: 2010

Key research fields and topics

Aletta brings expertise in cell culture media formulation and single-use bioreactor systems for use in a complex regulatory environment.  Previous roles at MilliporeSigma include scientist in R&D and Field Marketing supporting small-scale chromatography devices and cell culture products for monoclonal antibody production.  Aletta received her Ph.D. in 2007 from Boston University School of Medicine in the fields of immunology and neuroscience, focusing on trophic factors that influence immune cell activation, as well as neural differentiation and maintenance of phenotype.

CV: Professional Career, Education & Scientific activities



  • Cultured Meat Symposium. 01Nov2018, San Francisco CA. Speaker: “Cultured meat manufacturing: Parallels to cell therapy bioprocessing”
  • International Society for Cell Therapy. 03May2018, Montreal Canada. Speaker: “Expansion of human induced pluripotent stem cells in suspension culture”
  • WPI 3rd Annual Advanced Biomanufacturing Symposium. 10Apr2018, Worchester MA. Speaker: “Manufacturing solutions for production of human induced pluripotent stem cells”, and Panellist: “Recent approaches for cell and tissue therapy process development”
  • Regenerative Medicine Manufacturing Society. 26Jan2018, Miami FL. Co-chair and speaker: “Process development considerations for cell manufacturing”
  • BioPharm International: Cell & Gene Therapy Bioprocessing & Commercialization. 26Sep2017, Boston MA. Speaker: “Investing in process development: Increased MSC production
    in stirred-tank bioreactors”
  • MilliporeSigma Upstream Innovation Tour, Asia. 30May2017 Seoul South Korea, 2Jun2017 Shanghai China. Speaker and panellist: “Single-use technologies support cell therapy manufacturing”
  • Cell & Stem Cell Research. 20Mar2017, Orlando FL. Speaker. “Single-use technologies support large-scale manufacturing of cellular therapies”
  • World Stem Cell Summit, Miami FL, 09Dec2016. Speaker and Panellist: “Automation in Manufacturing: Where are we?”
  • EMD Millipore Webinar Series. 5May2016. Presenter: “Serum-free media for therapeutic cell manufacturing”
  • ECI: Scale-up and Manufacturing. 20Jan2015, San Diego CA. Poster snapshot: “Upstream expansion solutions for stem cells”
  • EMD Millipore Upstream Innovation Event. 18Jun2014 Cambridge MA “Use of DoE in Media Formulation Development of CHO-based Antibody Production”


  • Schnitzler A, Lalli M, Aysola M, Anant J, Murrell J (2018) “Bioprocessing of human stem cells for therapeutic use through single-use bioreactors.” Bioreactors for Stem Cell Expansion and Differentiation, 1st Edition. CRC Press.
  • Lin-Gibson S, Hanrahan B, Matosevic S, Schnitzler A, Zhang J, Zylberberg C (2017) Points to consider for cell manufacturing equipment and components. Cell Gene Therapy Insights 3:793-805.
  • Schnitzler AC, Rigby S, Aysola M, Murrell J (2017) “Harvest of human mesenchymal stem cells from microcarriers. Development strategies for emerging therapies.” Development Strategies for Emerging Therapies eBook. BioPharm International 30:23-26.
  • Kwok CK, Ueda Y, Kadari A, Gunther K, Ergun S, Heron A, Schnitzler AC, Rook M, Edenhofer F (2017) Scalable stirred suspension culture for the generation of billions of human induced pluripotent
    stem cells using single‐use bioreactors. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 12(2):e1076-e1087.
  • Lawson T, Kehoe DE, Schnitzler AC, Rapiejko PJ, Der KA, Philbrick K, Punreddy S, Rigby S, Smith R, Feng Q, Murrell JR, Rook MS (2017) Process development for expansion of human mesenchymal stromal cells in a 50 L single-use stirred tank bioreactor. Biochem Eng J. 120:49-62.
  • Schnitzler AC, Verma A, Kehoe D, Jing D, Murrell J, Der K, Aysola M, Rapiejko P, Punreddy S, Rook M (2016) Bioprocessing of human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells for therapeutic use: Current technologies and challenges. Biochem Eng J. 108:3-13.
  • Kehoe D, Schnitzler A, Simler J, DiLeo A, Ball A (2012) Scale-up of human mesenchymal stem cells on microcarriers in suspension in a single-use bioreactor. BioPharm International 25:28-38.
  • Lopez-Coviella I, Mellott TJ, Schnitzler AC, Blusztajn JK (2011) BMP9 protects septal neurons from axotomy evoked loss of cholinergic phenotype. PLoS One 6(6):e21166.
  • Schnitzler AC, Mellott TJ, Lopez-Coviella I, Tallini Y, Kotlikoff M, Follettie M, Blusztajn JK (2010) BMP9 induces NGF as an autocrine/paracrine cholinergic trophic factor in developing basal forebrain neurons. J Neurosci 30: 8221-8228.
  • Schnitzler AC, Lopez-Coviella I, Blusztajn JK (2008) Differential modulation of nerve growth factor receptor (p75) and cholinergic gene expression in purified p75-expressing and non-expressing basal forebrain neurons by BMP9. Brain Res 1246:19-28.
  • Schnitzler AC, Lopez-Coviella I, Blusztajn JK (2008) Purification and culture of nerve growth factor receptor (p75)-expressing basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. Nature Protoc 3:34-40.
  • Kovacheva VP, Mellott TJ, Davison JM, Wagner N, Lopez-Coviella I, Schnitzler AC, Blusztajn JK (2007) Gestational choline deficiency causes global- and Igf2 gene- DNA hypermethylation by upregulation of Dnmt1 expression. J Biol Chem 282:31777-88.         
  • Schnitzler AC, Burke JM, Wetzler LM (2007) Induction of cell signaling events by cholera toxin B subunit in antigen-presenting cells. Infect Immun
  • Lopez-Coviella I, Mellott TJ,  Kovacheva VP, Berse B, Slack BE, Zemelko V, Schnitzler A, Blusztajn KJ (2006) Developmental pattern of expression of BMP receptors and Smads and activation of Smad1 and
    Smad5 by BMP9 in mouse basal forebrain. Brain Res 1088:49-56.
  • Hanley TM, Kiefer HL, Schnitzler AC, Marcello JE, Viglianti GA (2004) Retinoid-dependent restriction of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 replication in monocytes/macrophages. J Virol 78:2819-30.
  • Chen L, Liebman MA, Teodorescu-Frumosu S, Schnitzler AC, Sharon J (2003) Expression of a prototypic anti-colorectal cancer polyclonal antibody library in mammalian cells. Immunol Lett 88:135-40.
  • ZhouL, Schnitzler A, Agapite J, Schwartz LM, Steller H, Nambu JR (1997) Cooperative functions of the reaper and head involution defective genes in the programmed cell death of Drosophila central nervous system midline cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci 94:5131-6.