Dr Antonel Olckers founded DNAbiotec® in 2001 and has served as its CEO since then. Her expertise in science, innovation and business is integrated in DNAbiotec®. Over the past decade she has transformed DNAbiotec® into a sustainable knowledge based core biotech company. Dr Olckers obtained her PhD in molecular human genetics from the University of Pretoria (South Africa) with research performed at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore MD, USA. During her time at Johns Hopkins she maximised the opportunity to learn from the best in the field of human genetics how science is practised at the global level. After graduation she became the head of the Molecular Biology Group in the Department of Human Genetics (University of Pretoria), and subsequently was head of department, or Director as it was termed, of the Centre for Genome Research (CGR) at the North-West University (NWU).
Dr Olckers is a strong advocate for empowering the next generation of scientists and science leaders in South Africa and Africa. To this end DNAbiotec® provides training via the Essential Series of Short Courses™ where the DNAbiotec® Team share their expertise and experience with others who want to climb the same learning curve in science or science related business. The presentations of Dr Olckers on biotech business management, IP management, DNA forensic evidence, the knowledge economy, innovation and various science topics are popular because of the powerful narrative that is contains. It is based on her 11 years of experience in transforming a start-up biotech company into a success.
Prior to founding DNAbiotec® Dr Olckers was a full time academic and has supervised more than 30 post-graduate students, including 10 at the PhD level. She is currently appointed as an extra-ordinary professor in the Dept. of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria. She was previously associated with the Dept. of Immunology, also as an extra-ordinary professor, in the same faculty. She believes that strong collaboration between the public sector, academia and the private sector is essential.