Engineering Solutions for Cancer Conference Speakers
Professor Ruedi Aebersold
Prof. Aebersold is a native of Switzerland and a Swiss and Canadian citizen. He obtained his Ph.D. in Cellular Biology at the Bio centre of the University of Basel in 1983. He was a faculty member at the University of British Columbia, from 1988 until 1995 and then a faculty member at the University of Washington in Seattle until 2000 when he co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle. In 2004, he accepted a position as professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and the University of Zurich. Prof. Ruedi Aebersold is one of the pioneers in the field of proteomics. He is known for developing a series of methods that have found wide application in analytical protein chemistry and proteomics, such as a new class of reagents termed Isotope Coded Affinity Tag (ICAT) reagents used in quantitative mass spectrometry. Prof. Dr. Aebersold and his team of researchers use the protein profiles determined by this method to differentiate cells in different states, such as noncancerous versus cancerous cells, and to systematically study how cells respond to external stimuli. These "snapshot" profiles indicate which cells contain abnormal levels of certain proteins. This is expected to lead to new diagnostic markers for disease and to a more complete understanding of the biochemical processes that control and constitute cell physiology. Prof. Aebersold’s group has also pioneered the use of statistical models to determine the false discovery rates of peptide and protein identification in proteomic studies. These algorithms and the software tools that implement them are in use in more than 1000 laboratories worldwide. Recognizing that systems biology research is starved for high quality datasets that describe biological systems, the focus of his research is on the development and the application of new proteomics technologies. These technologies aim at detecting and quantifying the proteins and their interactions at the level of the complete proteome. Specific applications of the technology are directed towards the understanding of biological processes and the detection and validation of protein biomarkers for the early detection, diagnosis and classification of disease.
Prof. Aebersold serves on the Scientific Advisory Committees of numerous academic and private sector research organizations and is a member of several editorial boards in the fields of protein science, genomics, and proteomics. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his contribution to the field of protein sciences and proteomics including the ABRF Award (2008), the FEBS Buchner Medal (2006), and the HUPO Award (2005), the ASBMB Biemann medal (2002) the Widmer award ( 2002) the ASBMB Herbert Sober award (2009) the Otto Naegeli Prize (2009) and the 2003 World Technology award. He has published more than 500 peer-reviewed papers and reached an h-factor of 98.
Professor Molly Stevens
Molly Stevens is currently Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine and the Research Director for Biomedical Material Sciences in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College.
She has a large and extremely multidisciplinary research group of students and postdocs/fellows. The group is focused on both high quality fundamental science and translation for human health. Research in regenerative medicine within her group includes the directed differentiation of stem cells, the design of novel bioactive scaffolds and new approaches towards tissue regeneration. She has developed novel approaches to tissue engineering that are likely to prove very powerful in the engineering of large quantities of human mature bone for autologous transplantation as well as other vital organs such as liver and pancreas, which have proven elusive with other approaches. This has led to moves to translate the technology (including the founding of spin-out companies). In the field of nanotechnology the group has current research efforts in exploiting specific biomolecular recognition and self-assembly mechanisms to create new dynamic nano-materials, biosensors and drug delivery systems. Recent efforts by the Stevens group in peptide-functionalised nanoparticles for enzyme biosensing have enabled the most sensitive facile enzyme detection to date and have a host of applications across diseases ranging from cancer to global health applications.
Dr Armando del Rio Hernandez
Dr. del Río Hernández obtained his PhD (extraordinary award) in Chemistry from the Computense University in Madrid. Following this, he completed a period of postdoctoral training in the US. He worked at Columbia University of New York as a Research Fellow first, and as a Research Associate (equivalent to Research Assistant Professor), later. His pioneering research in the field of mechanotransduction showed how mechanical forces can unfold protein domains to expose cryptic sites, and to trigger downstream signaling pathways. Dr. del Río Hernández currently leads the Cellular and Molecular Biomechanics group in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London (http://biomechanicalregulation-lab.org). This is a multidisciplinary team that combines nanotechnology, and celular molecular biology tools with biophysical and bioengineering approaches to investigate how mechanical stimuli regulate the behaviour of cells and molecules in physiological conditions and in cancer. Dr. del Río Hernández is a leader in the field of mechanobiology and has published numerous papers in high impact factor journals such as Science, PNAS, and the Journal of Molecular Biology. His research has been selected by Thomson Reuters as the most influencial in the field of biology and biochemistry in 2009, and is substantially funded by European and UK research councils. He is a European Research Council fellow and an Editorial Board member of several journals.
Ben Fabry’s main research area is molecular, cellular and tissue biomechanics. After his studies at the Technical University of Dresden, he joined the Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine division at Draegerwerk AG, Lübeck, Germany, and subsequently the Department of Clinical Physiology at the University of Basel where he worked on respiratory physiology. His main contribution during that time was the development of the “Automatic Tube Compensation” mode, which is now an industry standard in modern intensive care ventilators. After receiving his doctorate degree in 1995, he was research assistant and after 1999 research associate at the Physiology Program, Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, where he worked on smooth muscle physiology and cellular biomechanics. His discovery that cells behave mechanically as a scale-free soft glassy material has advanced the prevailing sol-gel theory of cell mechanics and has led to fundamental insights into the pathophysiology of human diseases that are rooted in aberrant cell mechanics, such as asthma and cancer. Since 2003, Ben Fabry has been full professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and since 2005 has been co-director of the Center for Medical Physics and Technology at the University. His current research emphasis is on how cells respond to mechanical signals, and how they coordinate their mechanical behavior during contraction, migration, differentiation and proliferation. One specific focus of his research is cancer cell invasion in tissue. His approach has been driven by the idea that the complex mechanical behavior of cells can be understood from concepts derived from the physics of soft materials. He has also developed novel technologies including magnetic micro-rheometers, and computational methods for traction reconstruction in 3-dimensional tissue matrices.-
Professor Zoltan Takats
Professor Zoltan Takats obtained his PhD from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary. He has worked as a post-doctoral research associate at Purdue University, Indiana, USA. After returning to Hungary, he served as Director of Cell Screen Research Centre and also as Head of Newborn Screening and Metabolic Diagnostic Laboratory at Semmelweis University, Budapest.
Professor Takats was awarded the Starting Grant by the European Research Council in 2008 and he subsequently was appointed to a Junior Research Group Leader at Justus Liebig University, Gießen, Germany. He moved to the United Kingdom in 2012 and currently works as a Reader at Imperial College London. Professor Takats has pursued pioneering research in mass spectrometry and he is one of the founders of the field of ‘Ambient Mass Spectrometry’. He is the primary inventor of six mass spectrometric ionization techniques and author of 80 peer reviewed publications. He was the recipient of the prestigious Mattauch-Herzog Award of the German Mass Spectrometry Society and the Hungarian Star Award for Outstanding Innovators. He is the founder of Prosolia Inc, Medimass Ltd and Massprom Ltd, all companies pursuing analytical and medical device development.
Dr Sylvain Ladame
Dr Ladame has worked on the molecular recognition of nucleic acids (DNA/RNA) by either small molecules or proteins since joining the group of Prof. Balasubramanian in Cambridge (UK) as a Marie-Curie postdoctoral fellow in 2001. During his 5 years in Cambridge, he made a significant contribution toward understanding the role(s) played by G-quadruplex secondary structures formed in promoter and untranslated regions of human genes. He also engineered small molecules and proteins that specifically bind to these structures and have therapeutic (e.g. anti-cancer) potential. Dr Ladame then joined the CNRS in 2006 to start his independent academic research career within the Institute of Science and Supramolecular Engineering (ISIS, Strasbourg, France) working alongside Nobel Laureates Profs J.M. Lehn and Martin Karplus. During his four years as junior group leader in ISIS, Dr Ladame focused his research on the development of optical probes for sensing nucleic acid structures. In 2010, Dr Ladame chose to return to the UK and was appointed lecturer in biosensor development at Imperial College London. This move was mainly driven by his ambition to make his research more translational so that it has a stronger impact on people’s life. Since then, Dr Ladame has been working on the development of new chemical probes and devices for ultrasensitive sensing of circulating nucleic acids in blood as a mean to diagnose cancers early and non-invasively. He became senior lecturer in September 2015.
Professor Uwe Oelfke
Uwe began his career in Theoretical Nuclear Physics, gaining his PhD at the University of Hanover in 1990 and then moving to TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. Here he worked as a Post Doc, initially with the Nuclear Theory group and then moved to the Batho Biomedical Facility as a Research Associate, looking at Proton & Pion Therapy . At this stage he transferred from Nuclear to Medical Physics.
In 1997 he returned to Germany to join DKFZ in Heidelberg as a Research Associate, where he became a group leader in 2001 and received a Professorship of Medical Radiation Physics from Heidelberg University in 2004. During 15 years in Heidelberg, his research was focused on Adaptive and image-guided radiation therapy, treatment planning and modelling and Hadron therapy.
He firmly believes that Medical physics research on cancer imaging and therapy is an essential component to improve the clinical outcomes of radiation oncology and he moved to the UK to join the Institute of Cancer Research in 2013, as Head of the Joint Department of Physics.
Professor Marianne Rots
Professor Rots is professor of Molecular Epigenetics since 2010 in the Department of Pathology and Medical Biology at the University Medical Center in Groningen, the Netherlands. She studied Medical Biology at the University of Amsterdam and obtained her PhD at the VU Medical Center, Amsterdam in 2000 on mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy in childhood leukemia. Next, she decided to switch fields and trained for over a year as postdoctoral fellow in the Gene Therapy Center of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA. For the last decade, the Rots lab has been combining her expertise on gene therapy with the exploding science of epigenetics to establish Epigenetic Editing to obtain permanent therapeutic gene expression modulation. Her extensive toolbox of Epi-Editors containing various DNA (de)methylation and histone modifiers allows the unraveling of parameters underlying epigenetic synergy which bears the promise to achieve sustained gene expression modulation.
Her current laboratory includes 10 PhD students, all focusing on inducing gene-targeted epigenetic modifications (www.rug.nl/umcg/Epigenetic Editing). She has been first promotor of 6 PhD students, co-promotor of 2, and thesis supervisor of dozens of master students. She is actively involved in teaching at all levels (high school, BSc, MSc, PhD (including (international) thesis assessment committees) and post-graduates), female mentoring and public outreach activities. As scientific leader, she has participated (and still is involved) in several international (EU FP7 and H2020) projects. Furthermore, she got awarded with prestigious national and local career development grants (NWO-VIDI, Rosalind Franklin Fellowship). Invited lectures take place frequently, both international, as national. She is member of Dutch grant reviewing committees (NWO-TOP), serves as commissioning editor in the editorial board of Clinical Epigenetics and acts as research coordinator of an EU-ITN (www.epipredict.eu) and is vice-chair in a EU multinational COST action (CM1406: www.epichembio.eu)
Professor Christina Fotopoulou
Christina Fotopoulou trained in 2002 in obstetrics and gynecology and subspecialized in gynaecological oncology at the Charité University Hospital of Berlin in the surgical and systemic treatment of women with advanced gynaecological malignancies and completed her PhD thesis about “Current Aspects in the Operative Treatment of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer“. She is since 2013 a Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist in the Imperial College London Healthcare Trust in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London, and is a principal investigator of the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre, UK, leading the bioengineering group of the centre.
Christina has been the Vice Director of the Clinic for Gynecology at the Charité in Berlin, one of the largest reference and accredited centres for gynaecological cancer in Germany, as well the Principal Coordinator of the European Competence Center for Ovarian Cancer, which was created in 2007 in Berlin.
Her principal area of clinical practice is in exenterative procedures for advanced forms of pelvic malignancies and in the cytoreductive debulking of primary or relapsed ovarian cancer and the investigation of predictive and prognostic biomarkers of surgical outcome.
She is a member of the German AGO- Ovarian Cancer Steering Group and is the surgical lead in the European Network for Translational Research in Ovarian Cancer (EUTROC) in the working package “Predicting surgical outcome”.
She is on the editorial board of three journals and reviewer in numerous international gynaecological and oncological journals and is member of various international oncological committees, including ASCO, ESGO, IGCS, ESMO, ENGOT, AGO and NOGGO.
Professor Tony Ng
Professor Tony Ng has acquired a unique mix of training/expertise in Medicine over the years, Immunology, Cancer cell biology (particular focus on the mechanisms of cancer cell migration), Biochemistry (study of signal transduction in cancer cells) and Cell Biophysics/Imaging; and has therefore adopted a multidisciplinary approach to understand cancer metastasis. Because of his research background, his team is one of the few research groups in the UK & internationally, which can bridge the gap between Physics, Biology and Medicine, particularly in the field of translational cancer research. Professor Ng's cell biological imaging expertise is diverse and covers receptor signaling and intracellular trafficking (integrins EMBO J 1999/2001, EGFR/ErbB Science Signalling 2014, chemokine receptors, CD44 Nature Cell Biol 2012, Ephrin/Eph receptor Nature Neuroscience 2006), DNA repair (BRCA1 sumoylation; Nature 2009), protein kinases and phosphatises (Science 1999, Nature Cell Biol 2012), RhoGTPases, actin cytoskeleton remodeling/bundling proteins, etc. Technically, he has established in live and fixed tumour cell systems (including xenografts), imaging-based methods that can monitor post-translational modifications and protein interactions both in space and time. He has successfully combined the use of specialised imaging techniques, together with bioinformatics and network modelling to monitor biochemical events and therefore protein function in situ, in normal and tumour cells (Science Signalling 2011).
For clinical translation, he has pioneered the imaging of protein phosphorylation in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded breast cancer samples (Science 1999). More recently he has shown from using 419 breast cancer tumor samples that an optical imaging-derived parameter-based Bayesian model (reporting on the ezrin/radixin/moesin-cofilin pathway) predicted time-dependent metastatic relapse with an accuracy of up to 75% (Biochem Soc Trans 2014) .f. ~58% accuracy of the FDA-approved, 70-gene Mammaprint prognostic signature. Besides his clinical and broad range of basic science expertise, his strength also lies in his proven ability to coordinate and work cooperatively with colleagues and leaders in a wide variety of disciplines (imaging, cell biology, oncology, bioinformatics, surgery, pathology, genomics, as well as physical science disciplines such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering). These personal attributes have contributed to the continuing success of the KCL-UCL Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre (one of four centres funded by CR-UK & EPSRC, in association with the MRC and DoH (England), that he directs and coordinates since its inception in 2008. Under his leadership, the central mission of the Centre is to deliver a coherent & translationally oriented imaging-genomic combination approach, that he has pioneered in developing over the recent years, to individualise cancer treatment.
Professor Darrell Irvine
Darrell Irvine, Ph.D., is a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He also serves on the steering committee of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. His research is focused on the application of engineering tools to problems in cellular immunology and the development of new materials for vaccine and drug delivery. Current efforts are focused on problems related to vaccine development for HIV and immunotherapy of cancer. Dr. Irvine’s work has been recognized by numerous awards, including a Beckman Young Investigator award, an NSF CAREER award, selection for Technology Review’s ‘TR35’, election as a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, election as a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and appointment as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is the author of over 100 publications, reviews, book chapters and an inventor on numerous patents.
Professor Matt Trau
Matt Trau is currently a Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Centre for Personalised NanoMedicine at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. His research is dedicated towards developing innovative nano-diagnostics to help transform the healthcare system towards early detection of disease, and also to help enable the emerging “Wellness Industry” which aims to dramatically extend high quality human life through a combination of innovative diagnostic technology and preventative measures. Among Matt’s other roles, he is also deputy director and co-founder of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN). Since graduating from the University of Sydney (BSc Hons I, University Medal) and the University of Melbourne (PhD in Physical Chemistry, 1993), he has held positions within industry and academia across the globe. These include a Fulbright Research Fellowship at Princeton University, USA, a research scientist at Dow Chemical and ICI Pty Ltd. Matt has also been a Visiting Professor at two of the largest Cancer Research Centres in the world: The Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston (2000), and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Seattle (2008). Matt is internationally recognised for his innovative and cross-disciplinary research at the interface between chemistry, nanotechnology, biology and medicine. He has co-authored more than 130 publications, many of which appear in the highest impact journals in his field, e.g., two Science and two Nature publications which have been highly cited (eight Science and Nature family journal publications overall to date). His major awards and honours include an ARC Federation Fellowship (one of the most prestigious scientific fellowships in Australia), a Fulbright Research Fellowship to the US, a “Young Tall Poppy" Award for Queensland, a UQ Foundation/Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award, a Paul Harris Fellowship, and a Pink Circle Award for breast cancer research excellence. Among other grants, Matt is currently the lead investigator on a 5-year M$5 national collaborative research grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation (“Enabling Clinical Epigenetic Diagnostics: The Next Generation of Personalized Breast Cancer Care“).
Professor Valerie Weaver
Dr. Weaver is currently the Director of the Center for Bioengineering and Tissue Regeneration in the Department of Surgery, and is a Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Anatomy and Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at UCSF in San Francisco, CA. Her education took place in Canada, with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Waterloo, an Honors Bachelor’s and PhD degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa with a two year postdoctoral training at the Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada and a 5 year postdoctoral tenure at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at UC Berkeley with Dr. Mina J Bissell. Dr. Weaver was recruited to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadellphia where she joined the faculty in the Department of Pathology as an Assistant Professor and was appointed a full member of the Institute for Medicine and Engineering. In mid-2006 she relocated to UCSF in San Francisco as an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery with a joint appointment in Anatomy to take on the Directorship of the Center for Bioengineering & Tissue regeneration. She was invited to join the UCSF Cancer Center and Stem Cell Programs in 2007 and was cross appointed to the newly formed Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences in 2008 and was promoted to full Professor in 2010. Dr. Weaver has over 20 years of experience in leading interdisciplinary research in oncology, including leadership of significant program projects including the Bay Area Physical Sciences and Oncology program and the UCSF Tumor Microenvironment Brain Program that merge approaches in the physical/engineering sciences with cancer cell biology and emphasize the role of the tumor microenvironment. Dr. Weaver has been recognized for her research and leadership through receipt of several awards including the DOD BCRP Scholar award in 2005 and the DOD BCRP Scholar expansion award in 20013 for exceptional creativity in breast cancer research and the ASCB WICB Midcareer award for sustained excellence in cell biology research in 2014. Most recently she was elected as the chair of the AACR TMEN working group in 2015. Her research program focuses on the contribution of force, cell-intrinsic as well as extracellular matrix, to breast, pancreatic and glioblastoma tumor development and treatment.
Dr Hector Keun
Dr Keun is a Reader in Metabolic Biochemistry in the Department of Surgery & Cancer at Imperial College London and leader of the Cancer Metabolism and Systems Toxicology group. He joined Imperial in 2001 after completing his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at New College, Oxford and his DPhil in Structural Biology in the laboratory of Prof Iain Campbell at Department of Biochemistry, also within Oxford University. With expertise in NMR spectroscopy, bioinformatics, and metabolic biochemistry his research programme centres on the application of metabolic profiling (metabonomics/ metabolomics) to problems in toxicology and oncology. In 2009 he was awarded the European Chemical Industries Council (CEFIC LRI) Innovative Science Award for Using Metabonomic Biomarkers To Bridge The Gap Between Environmental Exposures And Human Health. To date Dr Keun is author of 100 publications that have received over 4500 citations. Dr Keun's research is supported by a number of FP7 consortia, AstraZeneca, CRUK, MRC, BBSRC, The Human Genetics Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK, COLIPA, CEFIC-LRI.
Professor R. Charles Coombes
Professor Coombes is Chair of Medical Oncology in the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, and Consultant Medical Oncologist, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
From October 2010, Professor Coombes has been the Director of the Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre and Cancer Theme Leader for the NIHR BRC.
He is engaged in developing novel methods for prediction of response to endocrine therapy in breast cancer and also carrying out research aimed at understanding the mechanisms of resistance to endocrine therapy and development of novel anti-cancer drugs. He works with scientists engaged in molecular target identification and chemists whose remit is to target specific signalling abnormalities to develop novel therapies for breast cancer. He also runs a translational laboratory which focuses on detection of micrometastatic disease and application to the treatment of breast cancer. He is Chairman of the International Collaborative Cancer Group. This is a multinational trial centre which is based within Imperial focussing on phase II and phase III studies in breast cancer.
Professor David Klug
Professor David Klug is Chair of Chemical Biophysics in the Chemistry Department at Imperial College London. He founded and chairs the Imperial College Institute of Chemical Biology (ICB) (www.chemicalbiology.ac.uk ) a network of over 80 research groups collaborating across the physical sciences-life sciences interface. He currently leads the Proxomics Project of the ICB (www.Proxomics.ac.uk ) a collaboration between eight research groups developing novel analytical platform technologies. His own work is focused on two groups of technologies for biomolecular analysis. The first is microfluidic and single molecule analysis techniques for single cell analysis and cell systems biology. The second is advanced spectroscopies, including optical analogues of 2DNMR, for structure-function analysis of proteins and protein complexes.
Precision Medicines Conference
Imperial College London | Copyright 2015
Conference Organiser: Dr Jennifer Podesta PrecisionMedicines@Imperial.ac.uk
Imperial College London | Copyright 2015
Conference Organiser: Dr Jennifer Podesta PrecisionMedicines@Imperial.ac.uk