Keynote Speakers 2019

Luiz Bertassoni | Oregon Health and Science University

Dr. Bertassoni leads a multidisciplinary research group working on various aspects of biomaterials and tissue engineering. The lab's 3D bioprinting research is focused on the fabrication of complex multitypic tissue constructs with functional vascular networks for regenerative applications. They also develop methods to 3D print cell-laden hydrogels and microfluidic devices. Their biomaterials research focuses on the design and synthesis of hydrogels for tissue engineering, growth factor and drug delivery, and the interaction of biomaterials with matrix molecules on the nanoscale. They also study the structural and mechanical property relationships in calcified tissues at different length scales, in both healthy and diseased conditions. They are particularly interested in the hierarchical organization of collagen in mineralized tissues and the specific mineral-matrix interactions regulating the biomechanics of calcified tissues.

Cole DeForest | University of Washington

Dr. Cole A. DeForest is a formally-trained chemical engineer with additional expertise in material science, organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, bioengineering, biophysics, protein engineering, and photochemistry. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington and a Member of the Institute for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine. His research aims to develop dynamically-tunable biomaterial platforms that aid in understanding fundamental biological processes and to exploit this ascertained information in the engineering of functional human tissue.
Marco Demaria | European Institute for the Biology of Aging

Dr Demaria obtained his PhD at the University of Torino, Italy, under the supervision of prof. Valeria Poli. In Poli’s lab, he characterized the role of the transcription factor STAT3 as a master regulator of cancer cell survival and metabolism. He joined the laboratory of prof. Judith Campisi at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, California USA, in the summer of 2010. There, he used a newly developed mouse model to navigate through the complex phenotypes of senescent cells, and showed both positive and negative roles of cellular senescence in different physiological and pathological context. He also started to be interested in therapeutic approaches to target the negative aspect of senescent cells. He joined the ERIBA in September 2015 as the Principal Investigator of the laboratory “Cellular Senescence and Age-related Pathologies”.
Holger Gerhardt | Max-Delbrück-Centrum for Molecular Medicine

The ultimate goal of Prof. Gerhardt's research activities is to advance our understanding of mechanisms and molecules controlling formation and patterning of a hierarchically branched vascular network in order to inform, innovate and implement therapeutic approaches to mitigate cardiovascular complications, and establish or restore tissue homeostasis in compromised patients.
His research group develops and uses genetic tools to image and manipulate molecules, complexes and cells in spatiotemporal controlled manner in vivo in mouse and zebrafish models. They further use iteration between predictive computational modeling and experimentation to develop hypothesis and systems level understanding of the processes at play.
Robert Guldberg | University of Oregon

Robert Guldberg, Ph.D. is the executive director of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact at the University of Oregon. He holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering as well as a master’s degree in bioengineering, all from the University of Michigan. Guldberg also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at Michigan before joining the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1996. At Georgia Tech, Guldberg was a professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, and served as executive director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. His research in the areas of regenerative medicine, biomaterials, stem cell therapies, and orthopedic medical devices is currently funded by the NIH, NSF, and DOD and has produced well over 200 publications to date. Over his 20+ year academic career, Dr. Guldberg has served as an advisor and board member for numerous biotechnology companies, patented several technologies, and co-founded four start-ups.

Zoltán Ivics | Paul-Ehrlich-Institut

The Division of Medical Biotechnology headed by Dr. Zoltán Ivics was formed in 1992 to address the research and regulatory needs created by the rapid progress in the development of innovative biomedicines, now termed advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs, including human and xenogeneic somatic cell therapy, gene therapy and tissue engineered medicinal products).
Dr. Ivics' focus is on Transposition and genome engineering. Transposons ("jumping genes") are discrete segments of DNA that have the distinctive ability to move and replicate within genomes across the tree of life. Transposons offer a new model to study DNA recombination in higher organism, as well as host-parasite interaction. They are also natural gene delivery vehicles that are being developed as genetic tools.
Dr. Ivics' research group has reconstructed an active transposon from DNA sequence fossils found in fish genomes. Sleeping Beauty not only represents the first DNA-based transposon ever shown to be active in cells of vertebrates, but the first functional gene ever reconstructed from inactive, ancient genetic material, for which an active, naturally occurring copy either does not exist or has not yet been isolated. Technologies based on Sleeping Beauty gene transfer have been revolutionizing genomic manipulations in vertebrate species.
Wolfgang Kastenmüller | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

Wolfgang Kastenmüller received his M.D. from the TU Munich, where he was also trained as an infectious disease specialist. He then carried out his post-doctoral training with Ronald N. Germain at the NIH, USA. In 2013 he returned to Germany to start his independent group at the University Bonn and has recently been recruited as Professor for Systems Immunology to the University of Würzburg. His lab focuses on cell-cell communication and interactions in the context of infectious diseases with a specific interest in the interface between innate and adaptive immunity. Using intravital microscopy his lab has identified the spatiotemporal dynamics of lymphocyte activation in the context of viral infections. In particular, his team has uncovered how CD4 T cell help for cytotoxic lymphocytes is orchestrated.
Sandra Loerakker | Eindhoven University of Technology

Sandra Loerakker is an assistant professor at the TU/e department of Biomedical Engineering (research group Soft Tissue Engineering and Mechanobiology). The ultimate goal of her research is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the biological mechanisms responsible for soft tissue development, homeostasis, and disease, and to translate those findings into novel therapies in the field of regenerative medicine. She primarily focuses on understanding how mechanical factors drive soft tissue growth and remodeling at different spatial and temporal scales.
Examples of her research include the computational analysis of growth and remodeling of native cardiovascular tissues; the analysis and prediction of in vivo remodeling of engineered cardiovascular tissues; systematic investigations of the potential impact of implant design on the remodeling of engineered tissues; the establishment of in vitro platforms to experimentally analyze soft tissue growth and remodeling; and the development of computational models to understand and predict the interplay between mechanics and cell-cell signaling in growth and remodeling.
Nicole Meisner-Kober | Salzburg University

Dr. Meisner-Kober is a molecular/cellular biophysicist with a dedication to leveraging RNA biology into pharmaceutical drug discovery, based on an in-depth understanding of molecular mechanisms in RNA regulation in health and disease.
She is interested in molecular mechanisms in cell to cell communication by exosomes and extracellular microvesicles; in vitro modelling of human diseases by iPS technology; molecular pathology and drug discovery regarding Amoyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.