Confirmed invited speakers



Dr. Iqbal Parker, South Africa

Title:
Whole genome sequencing in disease diagnosis

Brief Biography:
Professor Parker is the Director of the Cape Town Component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB). Prior to accepting this position, he was the Head of the Division of Medical Biochemistry and Director of Research for the Health Science Faculty at the University of Cape Town.
He obtained his PhD in Biochemistry in 1979, completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Gary Stein in the USA and returned to join the Department of Medical Biochemistry in 1981 where he was eventually appointed as the DG Murray Chair of Cancer Research. He was also promoted Ad Hominen to full Professor in Medical Biochemistry. He has been Director of the MRC Oesophageal Cancer Research Unit since 1998 and was awarded the DST/NRF Research Chair in Cancer Biology in 2007.
He was President of the South African Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SASBMB) between 1998 and 2001, is founder Secretary General of FASBMB (the Federation of African Societies of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and served in this capacity between 1996 and 2003. He is a founder member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and served as General Secretary from 2000-2004 and in 2010 he was elected Vice President of the Academy. He was appointed onto the 14-member international jury panel for the Loreal/UNESCO Awards for Women in Science for the period 1997-2002. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) as the Chair of the Committee on Symposia and Chair of the Wood/Whelan Travel Fellowships Committee. In 2003 he was awarded National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) award for "Outstanding Contributions in Science, Engineering and Technology" and in 2004 he was awarded the South African Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Gold Medal for his contributions to biochemistry.
Research Interests: Focuses on the molecular mechanisms in the development of oesophageal cancer such as genetic polymorphisms in the in cancer susceptibility, the role viruses and other infectious agents in oesophageal cancer and the identification and characterisation of anticancer drugs from natural sources.




Dr. Mauro Giacca, Italy

Title:
Steps towards cardiac regeneration

Brief Biography:
Mauro Giacca received his Degree in Medicine from the University of Trieste, Italy in 1984 and his PhD in Microbiology and Virology from the University of Genoa, Italy in 1989. Since 2004, Director of the Italian Component of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in Trieste, Italy, an international organization in the UN system for advanced research and education (www.icgeb.org). Since 2005, Full Professor of Molecular Biology at the Department of Medicine of the University of Trieste. From 2000 to 2005, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Founding Director of the Molecular Biology Laboratory of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy.
He has served on the Boards of various scientific organizations in Italy and abroad. Since 2012, he is an Expert Member in the National Committee for Biotechnology, Biosafety and Life Sciences (CNBBSV), an advisory body to the President of the Council of Ministers of the Government of Italy.
His current research interest focuses on the development of novel biotherapeutics for cardiovascular disorders, with particular emphasis on the identification of growth factors and microRNAs inducing blood vessel formation and cardiac regeneration. He is an expert in the use of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for cardiovascular applications. He also maintains a strong interest in the molecular biology of HIV-1 infection.
His research activity is funded internationally through grants from various public and private bodies, including a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Investigator Grant. He has published over 250 papers in peer-reviewed, international journals, in addition to several reviews or chapters in published books and university textbooks. He regularly contributes articles to national newspapers and popular science magazines.
Further information: http://www.icgeb.org/mauro-giacca.html




Dr. Linqiang Pan, China

Title:
Spiking neural P systems

Brief Biography:
Prof. Linqiang Pan received Ph.D in Mathematics from Nanjing University, China, in 2000. From 2001 to 2002, he worked at Huazhong university of Science and Technology (HUST), Wuhan, China as a post doctor. From 2003 to 2004, he was a visiting researcher at Rovira i Virgili University, Spain. Since 2005, he has been with HUST, Wuhan, China. In his research work, he has two fields of interest, which are systems biology (devoted to understanding the computations in biology) and membrane computing (developing human designed computing inspired by nature).
He is the dean of Department of Intelligence Science and Technology, and the head of the research group of Natural Computing at HUST. He is also active with several other scientific groups in China. He is deputy-chairman of Hubei Province Society for Operations Research and vice-director of Chinese Electron Academic Society: Graph Theory and System Optimization Specialized Committee.




Dr. Sorin Draghici, USA

Title:
Novel approaches for the analysis of gene signaling pathways

Brief Biography:
Dr Draghici currently holds the Robert J. Sokol, MD Endowed Chair in Systems Biology, as well as appointments as full professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University. He is also the head of the Intelligent Systems and Bioinformatics (ISBL) in the Department of Computer Science and the head of the Systems Biology in the Perinatology Research Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. Professor Draghici's work is focused on research in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data mining techniques applied to bioinformatics and computational biology. He has published two best-selling books on data analysis of high throughput genomics data, 8 book chapters and over 150 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. His research laboratory has a strong track record in developing tools for data analysis of high throughput data. His laboratory has developed 8 analysis tools in this area, tools that have been made available over the web for over 10 years to over 11,000 scientists from 5 continents. He has also co-authored 3 analysis packages in Bioconductor. His top 4 papers in this area have over 1,900 total citations, while this entire work gathered over 6,400 citations. During his 16 year appointments as faculty, he was able to attract $8,262,283 as PI and $27,418,291 as co-PI in NIH and NSF grants.




Dr. Bruno Péault, UK

Title:
Multipotent regenerative cells in adult organs:
from identification to medical utilization


Brief Biography:
Bruno Péault trained with Nicole LeDouarin in Paris and defended in 1987 a PhD thesis on the ontogeny of the blood and vascular systems. He then joined Irving Weissman’s laboratory at Stanford University. In 1989 he was also recruited at Systemix Inc., a biotechnology startup company co-founded by Weissman where he directly contributed to the identification and purification of human hematopoietic stem cells, transplanted ultimately in a large number of patients. Bruno Péault was then promoted Research Director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and established in 1992 an independent laboratory at the Embryology Institute in Paris, where he continued investigations on human blood stem cells, notably mapping their very origin in a territory adjacent to the embryonic aorta. His group also identified, purified and characterized epithelial stem cells in human upper airways. Bruno Péault was called in 1999 to launch at the Institut National pour la Santé et la Recherche Medicale (the French equivalent of NIH) a department studying hematopoietic, endothelial and liver stem cells. His team notably demonstrated that a class of hemogenic endothelial cells is at the origin of emerging human hematopoietic stem cells. In 2003 he moved to the Children’s Hospital and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh where, as co-director of the Stem Cell Research Center, he lead the prospective identification and purification of two novel categories of human multi-lineage stem cells, muscle myo-endothelial cells and pericytes. This work led to the demonstration that perivascular ancestor cells are at the origin of the elusive mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). He was recruited in 2008 as a Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, and in 2010 as Professor and Chair at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He currently holds both appointments and leads a collaborative program between both universities.




Dr. George-Lucian Moldovan, USA

Title:
Regulation of DNA repair during replication

Brief Biography:
Dr. George-Lucian Moldovan is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and the Penn State Cancer Institute, Hershey, USA. The specific research focus of the Moldovan laboratory is the control of DNA repair by the replication factor PCNA and its post-translational modifications in human cells. Dr. Moldovan obtained his PhD from the Ludwig Maximillians University of Munich and the Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, and did postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, USA. Dr. Moldovan has been named the 2013-2015 V Scholar by the V Foundation for Cancer Research.




Dr. Cristina Iftode, USA

Title:
Characterization of novel bioadhesive scaffolds for use in stem
cell therapies for the treatment of intervertebral disc


Brief Biography:
Dr. Cristina Iftode is Associate Professor of Genetics in the Department of Biological Sciences, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, USA. She received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from New York University Medical Center, New York, in 1999. Her thesis work was on the replication mechanism of simian virus 40. Between 1999 and 2001, Dr. Iftode did her postdoctoral training at Princeton University, Department of Molecular Biology, with Prof. Jane Flint. During this time and after joining Rowan University, Dr. Iftode’s expertise developed in the area of adenoviral transcription regulation, with emphasis on mechanisms of late gene expression. More recently, Dr.Iftode’s research focus shifted from fundamental research to biomedical applications. In this context, she developed two interdisciplinary biomedical research projects in collaboration with colleagues from other colleges and departments at Rowan. The first project is in the area of stem cell differentiation applied to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and benefits from a recently awarded NIH grant. The second project explores biomedical applications of nanotechnologies such as gold nanoparticle based- photothermal therapies for cancer treatment.




Dr. Norina Consuela Forna, Romania

Title:
Implications of robot-assisted implantation technologies
in therapeutic succes


Brief Biography:




Dr. Cristian Preda, France

Title:
Space-time clusters of lymphoma in northern France –
a scan statistics approach


Brief Biography:
Cristian Preda is professor of statistics at the University of Lille1, France. He taught in the Faculty of Medicine before coming to the Department of Mathematics at the University of Lille1 in 2008. His current research concerns regression models for functional data analysis and approximations for scan statistics distributions with applications in biostatistics. He is a member of the French Society of Statistics and of the Romanian Society of Statistics and Probability




Dr. Georges Uzan, France

Title:
Stem cells, from basic science to clinical applications

Brief Biography:
Georges Uzan trained and defended his PhD thesis on the molecular cloning of coagulation factors, in the laboratory of Pr Axel Kahn in Paris, in 1984. He then worked on the regulation of gene transcription during hematopoietic stem cell differentiation, showing the importance of the interactions between a limited set of transcription factors, which control specific programs of gene expression. In 1992, he was head of a team in the laboratory of hematology, in Grenoble, and was promoted Research Director. In search of models to study the dynamic of gene transcription regulation, he set up the model of mouse embryonic stem cells. He established the conditions for differentiating these cells into megakaryocytes and endothelial cells. Then, back in Paris, his research interest moved on the identification and the characterization of endothelial stem cells, taking as models circulating endothelial progenitors, human embryonic stem cells and later, induced pluripotent stem cells. In 2006, he participated to the creation of a startup, ABCell-Bio, which develops specific serum free media for stem cells. Since 2010, he works on the interactions of endothelial stem cells with different environmental niches, leading to endothelial specialization, such as in brain blood barrier, liver and arteries. In 2009, Georges Uzan launched InsermU972, an academic department working on the interaction between stem cells and their niches, with both cognitive and clinical research objectives. In 2013, he developed a new research program and circulating tumor cell characterization, in order to identify between them the most immature and aggressive and the origin of metastases. He joined a biotech company working in this field, ScreenCell, as Chief Scientific Officer, while still keeping his academic position.



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