Prof. Maartje M.C. Bastings
Programmable Biomaterials Laboratory (PBL), Institute of Materials (IMX), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Maartje Bastings is a Dutch biomaterials engineer who specializes in the development of DNA-based supramolecular materials which display highly selective interactions with the biointerface. Balancing the interplay of structural rigidity and valency, she approaches the concept of multivalency as a geometric puzzle, guiding the design of nano-controlled materials. She demonstrated multivalent pattern recognition (MPR) as novel concept in multivalent binding. In MPR, interactions only take place when ligand and receptors are presented in rigid geometries with limited spatial tolerance. Her goal is to translate MPR as fundamental concept in the assembly of dynamic surfaces, control mechanical properties in soft matter, and explore the extent of conserved patterns in cellular signaling processes. Over the last 10 years, prof. Bastings has emerged as a specialist in bridging supramolecular materials with cell biology, always taking an engineering approach with a focus on biophysical quantification and stability of interactions. Crossing supramolecular materials engineering with biophysics and cell biology creates a research space with the potential to advance the impact of DNA-nanotechnology both as functional material and as bioengineering tool. Besides fundamental insights in interaction-engineering, these materials have the potential to truly become integrated with cellular (inter-)action.
Speech Title: Multivalency as Geometric Puzzle: Engineering (super)selectivity at the biointerface with DNA
Dr Francesca E Crawford
Chief Executive Officer, Somaserve Ltd
Dr Fran Crawford is PhD pharmacologist and a serial entrepreneur who has been closely involved in the growth of multiple life science businesses including Altacor (ophthalmology) as founder, Spirogen (oncology) and Sirus Pharmaceuticals (CNS delivery). With Beppe Battaglia and Denis Cecchin she has co-founded Somaserve, a UCL spin-out and is leading the company as CEO, driving seed and series A financing rounds to enable scientific innovation.
Somaserve is pioneering the development of targeted genetic nanomedicines which penetrate biological barriers using the proprietary polyNaut technology.
Polynaut is a patented, polymer nanovesicle which delivers its cargo to the interior of the cell (intracellular delivery through endocytosis), greatly enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of the encapsulated molecules. The polymer structure is highly flexible and can accept large nucleic acids (mRNA, siRNA, pDNA etc) and biologics -although the company’s main focus is on the bottleneck area of nucleic acid therapeutics delivery. There are two key differentiators of polyNaut from other delivery technologies, firstly penetration of biological barriers (ie BBB, immune, tumours) and secondly polyNaut can target cells of choice through functionalisation of the surface with peptide ligands using algorithms to engineer cell surface binding.
Speech Title: A platform nanotechnology: the creation of a biotech company.
Prof. Daniel Heller
Weill Cornell Medicine, United States
Dr. Daniel A. Heller, PhD, is Head of the Cancer Nanomedicine Laboratory, Member of the Molecular Pharmacology Program in the Sloan Kettering Institute at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine of Cornell University. His work focuses on the development of nanoscale technologies for the research, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.
Dr. Heller obtained his PhD in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010, working in the laboratory of Michael Strano. He completed a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in the laboratory of Robert Langer at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT in 2012. He is a 2012 recipient of the National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award, a 2015 Kavli Fellow, a 2017 recipient of the Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research, a 2018 American Cancer Society Research Scholar, a 2018 recipient of the CRS Nanomedicine and Nanoscale Drug Delivery Focus Group Junior Faculty Award, a 2018 NSF CAREER Awardee, a 2020 awardee of the Weill Cornell Graduate School Pharmacology Teaching and Mentoring Award, a 2021 American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow.
Speech Title: Coming soon.
Prof. Kostas Kostarelos
Nanomedicine Lab, Catalan Institute of Nanosciene & Nanotechnology (ICN2) and University of Manchester
Kostas is ICREA Professor and Severo Ochoa Distinguished Professor at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) in Barcelona (Spain). He is also Professor of Nanomedicine at the Faculty of Biology, Medicine & Health, the National Graphene Institute (NGI) and the Manchester Cancer Research Centre at the University of Manchester (UK).
Kostas read Chemistry at the University of Leeds and obtained his Diploma in Chemical Engineering and PhD from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, studying the steric stabilization of liposomes using block copolymer molecules. He carried out his postdoctoral training in various medical institutions in the United States and worked closely in his career with Professors Th.F.Tadros (ICI plc, UK), P.F.Luckham (Imperial College London), D.Papahadjopoulos (UCSF, USA), G.Sgouros (Memorial Sloan-Kettering, NY, USA), R.G.Crystal (Weill Medical College of Cornell University, NY, USA).
He was Assistant Professor of Genetic Medicine & Chemical Engineering in Medicine at Cornell University Weill Medical College when he relocated to the UK as the Deputy Director of Imperial College Genetic Therapies Centre in 2002. In 2003 Professor Kostarelos joined the Centre for Drug Delivery Research at the UCL School of Pharmacy as the Deputy Head of the Centre. He was promoted to the Personal Chair of Nanomedicine and Head of the Centre in 2007. The entire Nanomedicine Lab was embedded within the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences and the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester in 2013.
He has been invited Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (FRSM), and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) all in the United Kingdom. In 2010 he was awarded the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Professorial Fellowship with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba, Japan.
Kostas is the Founding and Senior Editor of the journal Nanomedicine (Future Medicine) and sits on the Editorial Advisory Board of ACS Nano (ACS), Nanoscale Horizons (RSC), npj 2D Materials & Applications (NPJ), Archives in Toxicology (Springer), Cell Reports Physical Science (Cell Press). He was included in the Highly Cited Researcher 2018 list in the Cross-Field category.
Speech Title: Clinical Translation of Graphene & Lessons Learnt
Prof. Sebastien Lecommandoux
University of Bordeaux, France
Sébastien Lecommandoux received his Ph.D. (1996) in Physical Chemistry from the University of Bordeaux. After a postdoctoral experience at the University of Illinois (UIUC, USA) in the group of Prof. Samuel I. Stupp, he started his academic career at the Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques as Associate Professor in 1998 and was promoted to Full Professor at Bordeaux INP in 2005. He is currently Director of the Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques (LCPO-CNRS) and is leading the group “Polymers Self-Assembly and Life Sciences”. His research interests include the design of bio-inspired polymers for biomaterials and pharmaceutical develoment, especially based on polypeptide, proteins and polysaccharide-based block copolymers self-assembly, the design of polymersomes for drug-delivery and theranostic, as well as biomimetic approaches toward design of synthetic viruses and artificial cells. He published over 200 publications in international journal, 6 book chapters and 12 patents (2 being licenced), with over 17000 citations (h-factor 64, Google Scholar). He is also co-director of the joint laboratory LCPO-L’OREAL and co-founder of Emissary Cosmetics. Sébastien Lecommandoux is recipient of the CNRS bronze medal (2004), Institut Universitaire de France Junior Chair (IUF 2007), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry RSC (2017), Seqens Award of the French Academy of Science (2019), Member of the Academia Europaea (2020), XingDa Lectureship Award from Peking University (2021). He has been Editor-in-Chief of Biomacromolecules (ACS) since 2020 after serving as Associate Editor since 2013. He is also in the Editorial Advisory Board of several international journals, including Bioconjugate Chemistry (ACS), Polymer Chemistry (RSC) and Biomaterials Science (RSC).
Speech Title: Biomimetic polymersomes as smart functional therapeutics.
Prof. Olivia Merkel
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany
Olivia Merkel has been a Professor of Drug Delivery at LMU Munich since 2015 and Chair since 2022. She is a Registered Pharmacist, received a MS (2006) and a PhD (2009) in Pharmaceutical Technology as well as numerous awards, including an ERC Starting Grant, ERC Proof-of-Concept Grant and ERC Consolidator Grant, the APV Research Award and the Carl-Wilhelm-Scheele-Award. Merkel is the author of over 100 articles and book chapters. She served as NIH reviewer from 2014-2015, SNF reviewer from 2018-2022, is an Editorial Board member for JCR, EJPB, Molecular Pharmaceutics and other journals, was the President of the German Controlled Release Society in 2020 and the Chair of the CRS Focus Group on Transdermal and Mucosal Delivery from 2020-2022, and currently is a scientific advisory board member of Coriolis Pharma, Carver Biosciences, and AMW. Her research focuses mainly on RNA formulation and pulmonary delivery for the treatment of a variety of lung diseases.
Speech Title: New Approaches for Therapeutic Pulmonary RNA Delivery.
Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro
Tel Aviv University, Israel
Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Ph.D. is a Full Professor at Tel Aviv University, where she is head of the Cancer Research & Nanomedicine Laboratory, Director of the TAU Kahn 3D BioPrinting Initiative, Director of Cancer Biology Research Center and its 17-affiliated hospitals and holds the Kurt and Herman Lion Chair in Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies. She served as Chair of the Department of Physiology ; Pharmacology, as President of the Israeli Controlled Release Society (CRS), and Chair of IACUC. She received her B.Pharm. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1995 and her Ph.D. (Summa Cum Laude) in Polymer Chemistry and Cancer Nanomedicine from the University of London in 1999 with Prof. Ruth Duncan. She then spent four years as Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard University and Children’s Hospital Boston working with Prof. Judah Folkman on Vascular and Cancer Biology. In 2003, she was appointed Instructor in Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She joined Tel Aviv University in 2006. She serves on the Board of Directors of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Member of 8400- The Health network, member of Scientific Advisory Boards (SAB) of the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery, Israel Cancer Association, Hospital Universitari VHIR, University of Lisbon, Rothschild and Fulbright Fellowships Committees, several VCs, biotech companies and editorial boards of scientific journals. Her multidisciplinary research laboratory focuses on basic research elucidating the mechanisms underlying the switch from cancer dormancy leading to the discovery of new molecular targets to interrupt tumor-host interactions. Her approach is followed by the design of highly-selective targeting molecules integrating engineering, biology, chemistry, medicine, bioinformatics, and nanotechnology to selectively guide drugs into pathological sites. Throughout, she has maintained an interest in understanding the biological rationale for the design of nanomedicines suitable for transfer into clinical testing. Her research led to the identification of P-selectin as a key regulator of brain cancers. This finding led to an ongoing 30-patient clinical trial evaluating P-selectin inhibitor as a therapy for glioblastoma and brain metastasis patients. She also developed a platform for 3D- bioprinted cancer models that is being exploited in an 80-patient clinical trial for personalized therapy of multiple types of cancers. This technology won the 2021 3D Printing Industry Award – Medical application of the year. She published more than 150 manuscripts, 13 book chapters, edited 2 books, is named inventor on 70 patents, some of which were licensed to Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies, and has delivered over 500 lectures worldwide. Her students are pursuing careers in academia, industry, and government. She is a founder of 3 spin-off companies and is actively engaged in translational research with several industry partners and in science outreach. She was awarded numerous prestigious grants and prizes, among them Fulbright, Rothschild, Wingate, Alon, Young Investigator Award of the EACR, JULUDAN Prize for the Advancement of Technology in Medicine, 2013 Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Founders Award for the Discovery of new molecular mechanisms and targets that would lead to new therapeutic approaches, 2019 CRS Translational Research Award, 2020 Youdim Family Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research, 2020 Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research, 2020 Michael Bruno Memorial Award, 2020 Humboldt Foundation Bessel Research Prize, 2021 Salisbury Award for Entrepreneurial Translational Research by the National Foundation for Cancer Research, 2021 AIM-HI accelerator fund Women’s Venture Competition-People’s Choice Award and elected to the 2022 CRS College of Fellows recognizing an exceptional individual who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to the field of delivery science and technology over a minimum of 10 years. Her scientific achievements were acknowledged numerous times by inclusion in honorary lists by leading magazines (Power Women List 2022- Forbes, Globes’ Woman of the Year 2019, named one of Israel’s Top 40 under 40 by The Marker, and by the Calcalist, and as one of 20 most promising Israelis by Yediot Aharonot). She was elected the 2019 Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Cancer Nanotechnology, was awarded the 2018 Israel Cancer Research Fund Professorship, represented Israel at the 2016 Biennale in Venice, building an installation on the Influence of Medicine on Architecture, and was awarded three times the La Caixa Bank Foundation grants, European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator, Advanced and two Proof of Concept (PoC) Grants.
Speech Title: Sensitizing P-selectin-expressing brain malignancies to immune checkpoint modulators.
Prof. Francesco Stellacci
Institute of Materials, Bioengineering Institute, and Global Health Institute, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Prof. Francesco Stellacci got his degree in Materials Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano in 1998 with Prof. Zerbi. He then moved as a post-doc with Prof. J.W. Perry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Arizona. In 2002 he became as assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT (Cambridge, USA). There he became associate professor with tenure in 2009. In 2010, he moved as a full professor to EPFL where he holds the Constellium chair. Stellacci has published more than 130 papers and has more than 15 patent applications. He has won numerous awards, among the the Technology Review TR35 ’top innovator under 35’, the Popular Science Magazine ’Brilliant 10’, and the EMRS EU40. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, of the Global Young Academy, and of the European Academy of Sciences.
Speech Title: Supramolecular Broad-Spectrum Antivirals.
Prof. Molly Stevens
University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Prof Molly Stevens FREng FRS is John Black Professor of Bionanoscience at the University of Oxford since April 2023 and also holds part-time professorships at Imperial College London and the Karolinska Institute.
She graduated with a First-Class Honours BPharm degree from Bath University in 1995 and a PhD from the University of Nottingham in 2001. After postdoctoral research in the Langer Lab at MIT, she joined Imperial College London in 2004 as a lecturer and was promoted to Professor in 2008 as one of the youngest Professors ever in the history of the institution.
Molly’s multidisciplinary research balances the investigation of fundamental science with the development of technology to address some of the major healthcare challenges. She is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of several companies in the diagnostics, advanced therapeutics and regenerative medicine space. Her work has been instrumental in elucidating the bio-material interfaces. She has created a broad portfolio of designer biomaterials for applications in disease diagnostics and regenerative medicine. Her substantial body of work influences research groups around the world (>430 publications, h-index 104, >44k citations, 2018, 2021 and 2022 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher in Cross-Field research).
Molly holds numerous leadership positions including Director of the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform “Smart Acellular Materials” Hub, Deputy Director of the EPSRC IRC in Early-Warning Sensing Systems for Infectious Diseases and Scientist Trustee of the National Gallery. She is Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK), Foreign Member of the National Academy of Engineering (USA) and International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Speech Title: Designing nanomaterials for advanced therapeutics and ultrasensitive biosensing.
Prof Xiaohe Tian
West China Hospital, Sichuan University, China
Xiaohe Tian obtained his MSc (2010) and PhD degree (2013) from The Department of Engineering and Materials and Biomedical Sciences Department, University of Sheffield, UK. From 2013 to 2015, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry, University College London, UK. In 2016, he returned to China his main research interesting are functional bio-imaging and nano-neuron science.
Speech Title: Rapid Amyloid-Beta Clearance through Blood Brain-Barrier in Alzheimer’s Disease.
Prof. Maria Vicent
Polymer Therapeutics Lab. Prince Felipe Research Center (CIPF), Spain
Dr. María J. Vicent is the head of the Polymer Therapeutics Lab. at Prince Felipe Research Center (CIPF) since 2006 and coordinator of the Advanced therapies Area. She is responsible for the Screening Platform, a Specialist Site in the European infrastructure EU-OPENSCREEN. She is part of the Strategic Committee of the Valencian Agency of Innovation (AVI), serves as Director at Large for the Controlled Release Society (CRS) since 2021 and She is editor in chief of Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. María’s research group (http://www.VicentResearchLab.com) focuses on the development of Polymer Therapeutics for unmet clinical needs. María has been funded by both national and EU grants (ERC-Co-MyNano, ERC-PoC-POLYIMMUNE, ERC-PoC-Polybraint; Fundation Health La Caixa). Several Idea and Women in Science awards. Fellow of the AIMBE CoF 2019 and CRS CoF 2021; Co-authored >145 peer-reviewed papers and 14 patents, 4 licensed and one being used for co-founding the company ‘PTS S.L.’ in 2012, now Curapath after acquisition by Arcline in 2021.
Speech Title: Coming soon.
Prof. Samuel Sánchez Ordóñez
Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, The Barcelona Institute for Science and Technology, Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies
Samuel obtained his PhD in Chemistry at Autonomous University of Barcelona in 2008. Currently, he is ICREA Research Professor, Group Leader and Deputy Director at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia. Before that, he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems Stuttgart, at the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden, Germany, and at MANA-NIMS in Japan. He is honorary adjunct Professor at POSTECH University in South Korea. Samuel received several awards (among others): The MIT TR35 Top Innovator Under 35 Spain 2014, Guinness World Records in 2010 and 2017, the Princess of Girona Scientific Award 2015 (Spanish King’s Foundation award) and the National Research Award for Young Talent 2016, the “Scientific Excellence award 2022” from the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry, the Banco Sabadell Foundation award for “Basic Science and Engineering award” 2022. He is elected member of the Young Academy of Spain since 2020. He received the prestigious ERC-Starting grant in 2013 and the ERC-Consolidator Grant in 2019, together with two ERC Proof of concept grants. Besides extensive public funding (>8Mi€), he has had 4 cooperation agreements with the Private sector and hospitals. He has published >160 papers with h-index of 69 and filed 7 patents one of them to be licensed to the spin off Nanobots Therapeutics of which he is co-founder. His group’s main interests are new types of advanced robotics from nano- to mesoscale, including self-propelled nanoparticles as intelligent vehicles in biomedicine to the 3D Bioengineering of biohybrid robots and actuators.
Speech Title: Chemically powered nanobots: swimming nanoparticles for biomedicine