Meet the keynote speakers

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Rodolphe Barrangou

Field of expertise: 
CRISPR and applications in bacteria

Current position: 
Todd. R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Professor in Probiotic Research at North Carolina State University

Speaker bio:
The Barrangou lab focuses on the evolution and functions of CRISPR-Cas systems, and their applications in bacteria used in food manufacturing. For his work establishing the biological function of CRISPR, Rodolphe received the 2016 Warren Alpert Prize, the 2016 Canada Gairdner International Award, the 2017 NAS Award in Molecular Biology and the 2018 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences, and was elected into the US National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Barrangou has also been involved with Caribou Biosciences Intellia Therapeutics, Locus Biosciences, and is the Editor in Chief of the CRISPR Journal.

Presentation title:
The CRISPR craze: from adaptive immunity to the genome editing revolution


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Paola Bonfante

Field of expertise:
Plant-Microbe interactions

Current position:
Professor, University of Torino

Speaker bio:
Paola’s research is focused on the biology of symbiotic associations, mainly mycorrhizas. She has studied the intimate interactions that occur between mycorrhizal fungi and plants, mostly focusing on cell plant re-organization upon AM fungal entry by using cellular and molecular approaches. Applying DNA technologies, early in the nineties, she provided contribution to the knowledge of mycorrhizal diversity in natural and agricultural environments. She has discovered a group of endobacteria which live inside mycorrhizal fungi and may modulate some of the functional traits of their fungal hosts. Her major current projects are focused on crop responses to soil microbiota and to the description of AM genomes.

Presentation title: Deciphering and exploiting beneficial mycorrhizal fungi

 

Read more about Paola Bonfante.

See Paola Bonfante's publication list.


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Richard H. Ebright

Field of expertise: 
Structure and function of bacterial transcription ; development of small-molecule inhibitors of bacterial transcription as antituberculosis agents and broad-spectrum antibacterial agents

Current position: 
Board of Governors Professor of Chemistary and Chemical Biology, Rutgers University; Laboratory Director, Wasman Institute of Microbiology

Speaker bio:
Richard H. Ebright, Ph.D., is Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University and Laboratory Director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology.  His research focusses on the structure, mechanism, and regulation of bacterial transcription complexes, and on development of inhibitors of bacterial transcription as antibacterial drugs.  His research employs tools of structural biology, biophysics, and drug discovery.  He received his A.B. (summa cum laude) and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.  He performed graduate research at Harvard and the Institut Pasteur and was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows.  He has received the Searle Scholar Award, the Schering-Plough Award of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Walter J. Johnson Prize.  He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Presentation title:
Small-molecule inhibitors of bacterial RNA polymerase: myxopyronins

Read more about Richard H. Ebright here.


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Hiroaki Suga

Field of expertise: 
In vitro synthetic biology

Current position: 
Professor

Speaker bio:
Professor Hiroaki Suga received his Ph. D. in Chemistry (1994) at MIT, USA. He was appointed in the Department of Chemistry, SUNY at Buffalo as Assistant/Associate Professor (1997-2002). In 2004, he moved to the Research Center and since 2010 has been in the Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science in the University of Tokyo. He is the recipient of Akabori Memorial Award 2014, Japanese Peptide Society, Max-Bergmann Gold Medal 2016, Nagoya Medal 2017 Silver, etc. He is also a founder of PeptiDream Inc. Tokyo, a publicly traded company in the first stock Tokyo exchange market, which has many partnerships with pharmaceutical companies in worldwide.

Presentation title:
In vitro pseudo-natural product biosynthesis and selection 

Read more about Hiroaki Suga here.


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Willem M de Vos

 

Field of expertise:

Microbiology and Microbiome

 

Current position:

Distinguished Professor at Wageningen University, Professor of Human Microbiomics and Director Human Microbiome Research Program Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki

 

Speaker bio:

Willem M. de Vos studied Biochemistry and obtained a PhD at Groningen University, partly at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. He has been >30 years Professor at Wageningen University, was Chair of Microbiology for 25 years, and now serves there as Distinguished Professor. He also serves >10 years at the University of Helsinki first as Finland Distinguished Professor and Finland Academy Professor, and now as Professor of Human Microbiomics. He has supervised >100 PhD students and published >750 peer-reviewed publications - ISI h-index >125 (GS >155). He obtained many (inter)national awards (EMBO, FEBS, NWO, ERC and others). 

 

Presentation title:

Biotechnology of the Human Microbiome -Targets and Therapies for the Tract

  

Read more about Willem M.  de Vos


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Wilfred van der Donk

 

Field of expertise:

Natural Product Biosynthesis

Current position:

Professor of Chemistry

 

Speaker bio:

Wilfred van der Donk was born in the Netherlands and moved to the USA in 1989 to pursue his Ph.D. at Rice University with Kevin Burgess. After postdoctoral work at MIT with JoAnne Stubbe, he joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1997, where he currently holds the Richard E. Heckert Chair in Chemistry. Since 2008, he is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Research in his laboratory focuses on using organic chemistry and molecular biology to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of enzyme catalysis. Of particular interest is the biosynthesis of antibiotics.

 

Presentation title: Biosynthesis and Engineering of Peptide Natural Products

 

Read more about Wilfred van der Donk here.

See Wilfred van der Donks publication list here.


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Edda Klipp

Field of expertise:

Theoretical biophysics/Computational systems biology

 

Current position:

Professor for Theoretical Biophysics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

 

Speaker bio:

Edda Klipp is full professor for Theoretical Biophysics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She has a doctoral degree in theoretical biophysics. In 2009 she was awarded an honorary doctor of Göteborg University. 2015 she was awarded the Caroline-von-Humboldt professorship at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Klipp carries out multi-disciplinary research projects to understand cellular organization, dynamics of cellular processes and stress response. Her group has long-standing experience in computational systems biology with focus on dynamic modelling of regulatory processes including signalling, cell cycle, metabolism, transcriptional regulation and growth control.

Presentation title:

Integration of metabolic processes into cellular dynamics – a modeler’s perspective

Read more about Edda Klipp.

Read more about the Theoretical Biophysics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 


Rino Rappuoli

Field of expertise: 

Vaccines

Current position: 

Chief Scientist and Head External R&D at GSK Vaccines, Siena Italy

Professor of Vaccines Research, Imperial College, London, UK

Speaker bio: 

PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena;visiting scientist at Rockefeller University and Harvard Medical School; elected member of US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and the Royal Society of London. Awards received include: the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, the Gold Medal by the Italian President, the Albert B Sabin Gold Medal, the Canada Gairdner International Award, the European Inventor Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2019 Robert Koch Award. He was nominated third most influential person worldwide in the field of vaccines (Terrapin).   He has published more than 690 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

 

He introduced novel scientific concepts: genetic detoxification; cellular microbiology; reverse vaccinology; pangenome. Developed licensed vaccines: acellular pertussis containing a non-toxic mutant of pertussis toxin; the first conjugate vaccine against meningococcus C; MF59, the first vaccine adjuvant after aluminium salts; meningococcus B; CRM197 that is used as carrier in many conjugate vaccines. Dr. Rappuoli is the Founder of the GSK Vaccines Institute for Global Health (GVGH).