PLENARY SPEAKERS

SUPRABIO 2019 conference will gather high-profile suprabiomolecular systems experts to deliver plenary speeches. The list includes:

Prof. Jennifer M. Heemstra

Prof. Jennifer M. Heemstra

Emory University, USA

Jen Heemstra received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. At Irvine, she performed undergraduate research with Prof. James Nowick investigating the folding of synthetic beta-sheet mimics, which instilled in her a love of supramolecular chemistry. Jen then moved to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she completed her Ph.D. with Prof. Jeffrey Moore in 2005 studying the reactivity of pyridine-functionalized phenylene ethynylene cavitands. After a brief stint in industry as a medicinal chemist, she moved to Harvard University to pursue postdoctoral research with Prof. David Liu exploring mechanisms for templated nucleic acid synthesis. In 2010, Jen began her independent career in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah, and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2016. In 2017, Jen and her research group moved to the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. Research in the Heemstra lab is focused on harnessing the molecular recognition and self-assembly properties of nucleic acids for applications in biosensing and bioimaging.

Talk title: Harnessing nucleic acid molecular recognition and self-assembly for biosensing and bioimaging

Prof. Jonathan Nitschke

Prof. Jonathan Nitschke

University of Cambridge, UK

Jonathan Nitschke received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College (USA) in 1995 and his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001 under the supervision of T. Don Tilley. He then undertook postdoctoral studies with Jean-Marie Lehn in Strasbourg under the auspices of a US NSF fellowship, and in 2003 he started his independent research career as a Maître-assistant (fixed-term independent PI) in the Organic Chemistry Department of the University of Geneva. In 2007 he was appointed University Lecturer at Cambridge, where he now holds a Professorship. He is the recipient of the Wolfson Research Merit Award of the UK Royal Society (2017), the International Award for Creative Work of the Japan Society of Coordination Chemistry (2016), the Bob Hay Lectureship of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2013), the Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize in Supramolecular Chemistry (2012), the Corday-Morgan Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2011), the Dalton Transactions European/African Lectureship (2011), the Werner Prize of the Swiss Chemical Society (2007) and the European Young Chemist Award at the first EuCheMS Congress (2006). He won an ERC Starting Grant (2011-2016) and an ERC Advanced Grant (2017-2021). His research program investigates the self-assembly of complex, functional structures from simple molecular precursors and metal ions.

Talk title: Complex supramolecular systems via subcomponent self-assembly

Prof. Alvaro Somoza

Prof. Alvaro Somoza

Madrid Institute for Advanced Studies in Nanoscience (IMDEA Nanociencia), Spain

Álvaro Somoza obtained his Ph.D. at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in the group of Prof. Carmen Carreño focused on the total synthesis of natural compounds. Then, he joined the group of Prof. Eric T. Kool at Stanford University where he worked on the preparation of modified ribonucleosides to study the role of hydrogen bonding interactions between RNA strands in RNA interference. Later on, he moved back to Spain and joined the group of Prof. Ramón Eritja at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine Barcelona. There, he studied the interaction of hydrophobic moieties in RNA derivatives with protein complexes involved in the RNA interference process. In 2009 he joined IMDEA Nanociencia and in 2014 was promoted to Research Professor. His research projects are focused on the use of modified oligonucleotides and nanostructures in diverse applications such as the preparation of structured materials as well as systems to detect and treat different diseases such as uveal melanoma, pancreatic cancer or Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Talk title: Smart Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Cancer

Prof. Francesca Baldelli Bombelli

Prof. Francesca Baldelli Bombelli

Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Francesca Baldelli Bombelli is associate Professor in Chemistry at the Politecnico di Milano. She currently works at the Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering in the SupraBioNanoLab (www.suprabionano.eu). She was Group Leader at the European Centre of Nanomedicine (CEN –http://nanomedicen.eu/) in 2013-2015. In 2011-2014 she was Lecturer in Nanotechnology and Colloid Science at the School of Pharmacy, UEA, Norwich, UK. She was Post-Doc researcher: 2009-2011 at CBNI, University College of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; 2006-2009 at the University of Florence; 2004-2006 at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden. She got her PhD in Chemical Sciences in 2004 at the University of Florence. Her research interests are focused on the development of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) for the diagnosis and treatment of untreatable diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative pathologies. Moreover, her research also aims at investigating the interactions between ENM and cellular machinery to improve their in vivo efficiency and evaluate possible toxicity effects.

Talk title: Functional hybrid Au-protein supraparticles for nanodelivery

Prof. Rachel O’Reilly

Prof. Rachel O’Reilly

University of Birmingham, UK

Rachel  is currently a Chair of Chemistry and Head of School at the University of Birmingham. She got her first degree from the University of Cambridge and went on to complete her PhD at Imperial College, London in 2003. She then moved to the US to undertaken post-doctoral work. In 2006 she took up a Royal Society Fellowship at the University of Cambridge and then in 2009 she moved to the University of Warwick and in 2012 was promoted to full professor. Earlier this year she moved to her current position. Her group undertakes research in the area of catalysis, responsive polymers, nanostructure characterization and DNA nanomaterials. She has published almost 200 papers to date and has received a number of awards, including the IUPAC-Samsung young polymer scientist award in 2012, and in 2013 the American Chemical Society Mark Young Polymer Scientist award. In 2017 she was awarded the Macromolecules/Biomacromolecules young investigator award from the ACS in recognition of her innovative research in polymer science. She is on the reviewing board of editors for Science and an associate editor for Macromolecules

Talk title: Using nucleobase interactions to prepare functional materials

Prof. Subi J. George

Prof. Subi J. George

JNCASR, India

Subi George is currently leading a supramolecular chemistry group at the  New Chemistry Unit of JNCASR, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore, India. He has obtained his PhD degree at the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, India in 2004 in the group of Prof A. Ajayaghosh. During 2005-2008, he has been a post-doctoral fellow at the Laboratory of Macromolecular and Organic Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands with Prof. Dr. E. W. (Bert) Meijer. He is the recipient of Swaranjayanti Fellowship from Department of Science and Technology of Government of India (2017), Asian Photochemistry Association (APA) Young Scientist award (2015), NASI-SCOPUS Young Scientist Award in Chemistry (2015), Chemical Research Society of India Bronze Medal (2015) and Materials Research Society of India Medal (2013). He was also the Young Associate of the Indian Academy of Sceicnes (2011). He is the member of Editorial Advisory Boards of Chemistry of Materials (ACS) and Material Horizons (RSC). He is also in the Editorial board of ChemNanoMat (Wiley) and also an Early Career Board Member of  ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. His current research interests focus on Functional Supramolecular Polymers, Living and Non-equilibrium supramolecular polymerization, Supramolecular Chirality and Organic-inorganic hybrid assemblies.

Webpage: www.jncasr.ac.in./george

Talk title: Biomimetic, Fuel-Driven Temporal Supramolecular Polymers

Dr. Gilles Guichard

Dr. Gilles Guichard

University of Bordeaux, France

Gilles Guichard graduated in chemistry from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie in Toulouse (1991) and University of Montpellier (1992) in France. He received his PhD from the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg (1996), working on immune recognition of pseudopeptides and synthetic vaccines. Following post-doctoral research with Prof. Dieter Seebach at the ETH in Zürich (1997) in the field of β-peptide foldamers, he joined the Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IBMC) in Strasbourg as a CNRS Chargé de Recherche (1998). Since 2006, he has been a CNRS Research Director. In 2009, he joined the Institut de Chimie et Biologie des Membranes et Nanoobjets (CBMN) and the Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologie (IECB) in Bordeaux as a group leader and became IECB co-director in 2018. His current research focuses on biomimetic chemistry of peptides, foldamer chemistry, self-assembly and biomolecular recognition including modulation of protein-protein interactions.

Talk title: Higher Order Structures and Molecular Recognition with Helical Foldamers

Dr. Seergazhi G. Srivatsan

Dr. Seergazhi G. Srivatsan

IISER Pune, India

S. G. Srivatsan received his master’s degree in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in 1995 and Ph. D. in Bioorganic Chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 2003 under the supervision of Prof. Sandeep Verma. He was an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Michael Famulok at University of Bonn, Germany, where he developed catalytic RNAs and pharmacophores that target protein-RNA complexes and their enzyme activity. Subsequently, he joined Prof. Yitzhak Tor group as a postdoctoral fellow in University of California, San Diego. He joined Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune in November 2008. He is currently an Associate Professor and a Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance Senior Fellow. His research interests lie in the area of nucleic acid chemistry and biophysics, particularly in the development of nucleoside analog probes for studying nucleic acid structure and function, functionalized nucleoside-based self-assemblies, and in the development of nucleic acid imaging tools. Webpage: http://www.iiserpune.ac.in/~srivatsan

Talk title: Functionalized Nucleosides as Supramolecular Synthons and Probes

Prof. Annemieke Madder

Prof. Annemieke Madder

Ghent University, Belgium

Annemieke Madder obtained her Ph.D in organic chemistry from Ghent University in 1997, under the direction of Prof. Dr. P. De Clercq working on the stepwise development of non-enzymatic hydrolases. As a national science foundation fellow, she went for postdoctoral stays with Prof. Dr. C. Gennari at the University of Milan and with Prof. Dr. R. Strömberg at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden to become acquainted with peptide and oligonucleotide chemistry respectively. She returned to Ghent to take up a position as Lecturer in 2002 and start her independent career. After climbing the ranks, she was promoted Full Professor at the Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry in 2014. Currently she is heading the Organic and Biomimetic Chemistry Research Group specialized in the design and synthesis of modified peptides and nucleic acids and methods for their conjugation and labeling.
More specifically, major research interests include:

– The construction of conformationally defined peptide architectures. Scaffold decoration, cyclisation and peptide stapling are used to impose a particular conformation and stability on the parent peptides. The synthesized compounds can find applications as peptide vaccins, protein mimetics, DNA-binding ligands and artificial receptors or synthetic antibodies.

– The development of new methods for crosslinking and labeling of biomacromolecules such as peptides, proteins and oligonucleotides. E.g. a very efficient furan-oxidation based method has been developed for the site-selective labeling or introduction of covalent bonds between two binding partners.

– The design of novel reactive peptide and oligonucleotide based probes, including peptide nucleic acids, for applications in antisense and antigene strategies, protein and miRNA/lncRNA target identification and receptor pulldown.

Talk title: Bottom-up design of molecular constructs for biosensing devices: from stabilized aptamers and crosslinked duplexes to protein conjugates and DNA directed immobilization

Prof. Jonathan L. Sessler

Prof. Jonathan L. Sessler

The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Prof. Jonathan L. Sessler was born in Urbana, Illinois, USA on May 20, 1956. He received a B.S. degree (with Highest Honors) in chemistry in 1977 from the University of California, Berkeley. He obtained a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Stanford University in 1982 (supervisor: Professor James P. Collman). He was a NSF-CNRS and NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Jean-Marie Lehn at L’Université Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, France. He was then a JSPS Visiting Scientist in Professor Tabushi’s group in Kyoto, Japan. In September, 1984 he accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is currently the Doherty-Welch Chair. Dr. Sessler has authored or coauthored over 700 research publications, written two books (with Dr. Steven J. Weghorn and Drs. Philip A. Gale and Won-Seob Cho, respectively), edited two others (with Drs. Susan Doctrow, Tom McMurry, and Stephen J. Lippard, Placido Neri and Mei-Xiang Wang), and been an inventor of record on over 75 issued U.S. Patents. To date, Dr. Sessler’s work has been featured on more than 50 journal or book covers. His current H-index is 100. Dr. Sessler is an Associate Editor for ChemComm and a member of the Editorial Board for Acc. Chem. Res. Dr. Sessler is a co-founder (with Dr. Richard A. Miller) of Pharmacyclics, Inc., which was acquired by AbbVie for $21B in 2015. He is currently launching Cible, Inc. with Dr. Jonathan F. Arambula and Ms. Karen Strnad. Dr. Sessler has served as the co-organizer of several international conferences in porphyrin, supramolecular, and macrocyclic chemistry and numerous ACS symposia. In addition to English, he speaks French, Spanish, German, and Hebrew reasonably well and can get by in Japanese. He struggles with Korean. He does not know any Chinese. Dr. Sessler’s work has been recognized with several awards, including the ACS Cope Scholar Award, the RSC Centenary Prize, the Southwest Regional ACS Award, the Molecular Sensors-Molecular Logic Gates Award, the CASE award, and the Hans Fischer Award. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors and was named Inventor of the Year at The Univ. of Texas at Austin in 2016. He recently received the 2018 Thomas Dougherty Award in Photodynamic Therapy from the Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines. In 2019, he will receive the C. David Gutsche Award in Calixarene Chemistry.

Talk title: Ion Pair Receptors: From Recognition and Transport to Logic and Self-assembly

Prof. Oliver Seitz

Prof. Oliver Seitz

Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

Oliver Seitz was born in Frankfurt am Main and studied chemistry at the Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. There he obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry with Horst Kunz. After postdoctoral research with Chi-Huey Wong at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, USA, he moved to the Technical University Karlsruhe. He became group leader in the Department of Chemical Biology at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology and obtained the venia legendi in Organic Chemistry from the Technical University Dortmund. In 2003 he was appointed Full Professor at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Oliver Seitz has a keen interest on developing chemistry that allows the interrogation and perturbation of cellular and biochemical processes. Recently, he is focusing on protein synthesis, peptide- and nucleic acid-templated chemistry and RNA imaging. He is a recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant and the Max Bergmann Medal 2018.

Talk title: Interrogating Biology with Nucleic Acid Assemblies