Editorial Board

Patrizia Agostinis

The Nederlands, Leuven - Dr. P. Agostinis (PA) received her master in Biology at the University of Padova (Italy) and her PhD in biomedical science at the KU Leuven, Belgium, where she became first Research Associate of the Flemish Research Council (FWO) and then became Full Professor at the KU Leuven in 2008. PA is the group leader of the Cell Death Research & Therapy lab, at the Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine. The main research topics explored in her laboratory are the crosstalk between the ER and mitochondria, the molecular mechanisms of ER stress based and therapy-induced immunogenic cancer cell death, and the role of autophagy in cancer cell-stroma cell interactions. PA lab contributed to the molecular understanding of trafficking/emission of damage associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) and other immunomodulators and their in vivo role in antitumor immunity and to decipher the impact of endothelial cell-associated autophagy/vesicular trafficking in tumor angiogenesis and tumor dissemination. PA group is currently developing new anticancer vaccines based on the concept of immunogenic cell death and exploring the crosstalk between stromal cell-associated autophagy and anti-tumor immunity in melanoma.

KEYWORDS: ER stress; DAMPs; tumor microenvironment; autophagy; melanoma

Ivano Amelio

Ivano Amelio, Konstanz, Germany. Ivano Amelio holds the Carl Zeiss Endowed Chair for Systems Toxicology at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He received his training at the MRC Toxicology Unit of the University of Cambridge, where he was first awarded (in 2011) a Career Developmental Postdoctoral Fellowship and was later promoted (in 2015) to a Senior Scientist position. Originally, he received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2011) from the University of Rome TorVergata (Italy). In 2020 Ivano was awarded the prestigious AIRC Start-Up program, which led him to a tenure-track professorship with a joint appointment between the TOR Centre of Excellence in Rome (Italy) and University of Nottingham (UK) until 2022, when he joined the University of Konstanz.
Ivano is a member of the board of directors of the European Cell Death Organisation (ECDO) and member of a number of international advisory boards. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of Cell Death Discovery since 2018 and as member of the editorial board of Cell Death & Disease and Molecular & Cellular Oncology since 2017 and 2014 respectively.

KEYWORDS: p53, DNA damage response, hypoxia, miR, skin biology

Rami Aqeilan

Israel, Jerusalem - Rami Aqeilan is a group leader at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, faculty of Medicine. He received his PhD in 2003 for his research on utilizing pro-apoptotic proteins in cancer cell targeting using chimeric proteins in the laboratory of Haya Lorberoum-Galski. Rami then preformed his post-doctoral studies at Carlo Croce’s laboratory at the Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia investigating the role of gene products of common fragile sites (CFSs) in cancer and homeostasis. In 2005 he assumed his first faculty position as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at the Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio).  In 2008 he joined the faculty of Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rami has been studying the early events contributing to tumor initiation, in particular the contribution of CFS gene products, like WWOX and FHIT, to the tumorigenesis process. Another topic that is of Dr. Aqeilan’s research interest is regulation of the Hippo pathway in tumorigenesis. His research has taken advantage of mouse models, tissue culture and human clinical samples of osteosarcoma, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.

KEYWORDS: cancer genetics, animal models, genomic stability, osteosarcoma, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, Hippo pathway

Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat

Australia, Melbourne - Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat received her PhD from the University Paris XI in 2004 before moving to Melbourne, Australia, where she completed her postdoctural training in the Breast Cancer Laboratory at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. She joined the Stem Cells and Cancer Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research as a Group Leader in 2011. She is the recipient of the L'Oreal For Women in Science Fellowship, the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative prize and the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young researcher. Her current research interests include the study of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying lung development, activation of adult lung stem cells during repair and in lung diseases. Her laboratory most specifically focuses on the study of epigenetic regulators of embryonic and adult lung progenitor cells. She also investigates the cellular origin of lung cancer to decipher early events driving lung carcinogenesis.

KEYWORDS: lung development, lung cancer, DNA repair, epigenetics, stem cells

Georgia Atkin-Smith

Australia, Melbourne - Georgia Atkin-Smith is a senior postdoctoral researcher at the Walter and Eliza Institute of Medical Research (WEHI). She obtained her PhD from the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (Melbourne) with A/Prof Ivan Poon. During her doctoral studies, Georgia investigated how apoptotic cells disassemble into apoptotic bodies, and the role of this process in phagocytosis and viral propagation. Georgia has now expanded her interest in cell clearance. Her current research uses a variety of in vitro and in vivo imaging techniques to visualise the death, disassembly and engulfment of apoptotic cells during disease. Georgia is an NHMCR Investigator Grant Fellow and the President/Founder of the Australasian Cell Death Society..

KEYWORDS: phagocytosis, apoptotic bodies, imaging

Daniele Bano

Germany, Bonn - Dr Daniele Bano obtained his PhD at University of Padua, Italy. He joined the MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Leicester, as Postdoctoral Fellow from 2003 to 2007, and then he moved to the Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Zurich, from 2007 to 2008. Since 2008 he has been Program Leader at the MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Leicester. Recently, he has also been appointed as Group Leader at the DZNE, Bonn, Germany. His scientific interest focuses upon the role of calcium in neuronal degeneration and in the molecular events that modulate aging.

KEYWORDS: aging, neurodegeneration, mytochoindrial disfunction, epigenetics, apoptosis


Nick Barlev

UK, Leicester - Nick Barlev has obtained his joined PhD degree fromazan State University, Russia and University of Aarhus, Denmark. He carried out his postdoctoral training on molecular mechanisms of transcription regulation in the laboratory of Dr. Shelley L. Berger at the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia. He joined Tufts University, Boston in 2002 as an Assistant Professor to work on the role of  lysine-specific post-translational covalent modifications in regulation of tumor suppressor p53. In 2008 he moved to the University of Leicester, UK where his lab worked on various aspects of lysine methylation in p53, E2F1 and other critical transcriptional regulators. In 2015 Dr Barlev became the Head of Gene Expression Regulation Unit in the Institute of Cytology, Saint Petersburg, Russia. His team investigates the role of p53 as a gene expression regulator, lysine-specific methylation in tumor suppression/progression, DNA Damage response, and control of protein translation by proteasome-mediated degradation

KEYWORDS: p53, DNA damage response, EGFR, lung cancer, EMT

Jiri Bartek

Denmark, Copenhagen - Jiri Bartek is the Head of the Genome Integrity Unit at the Danish Cancer Society Research Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. His work focuses on molecular mechanisms of cell cycle control and genome integrity maintenance, and aberrations of these pathways in human diseases, particularly cancer. He obtained his MD and PhD degrees from Palacky University in Olomouc and Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague (both in the Czech Republic), respectively, where he also currently leads Laboratories of Genome Integrity. Before moving to his current position in Copenhagen in 1992, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London and the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, and as a group leader at the Cancer Research Institute in Brno and the Institute of Hematology in Prague. Jiri Bartek published over 350 original articles and reviews in the fields of cell and cancer biology, cell cycle regulation and DNA damage response, that are widely cited. His work was acknowledged by a number of prestigious awards in Denmark, Czech Republic and elsewhere, he is a member of editorial boards of multiple biomedical journals and a member of EMBO.

KEYWORDS: cancer biology, cell cycle regulation, DNA damage, ribosomal stress, p53

Hernan Bazan

USA, New Orleans - Hernan Bazan is Board-certified in Vascular Surgery (USA) and Program Director for the Vascular/Endovascular Surgery Fellowship at the Ochsner Clinic, New Orleans (USA).  He completed his undergraduate work at Vanderbilt University (B.S., 1994) and medical school training at Georgetown University (M.D., 2000) in Washington DC.  He was a Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Research Scholar at the National Institutes of Health (HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program) in Bethesda, MD (1996 - 1998). He conducted his General Surgery training at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York (2000 - 2005) and Vascular Surgery fellowship at Yale University/Yale-New Haven Hospital (2005 - 2007) in New Haven, CT. During his training, he was elected member of the medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) and he was awarded the HHMI Continuing Medical Studies Award for the work he conducted during his time at the NIH.   His areas of clinical interests are treatment of carotid artery disease, minimally invasive and open approaches to abdominal and aortic aneurysms, and the minimally invasive treatment of peripheral arterial disease.  He has an active atherosclerosis translational research program on the mechanisms involved in carotid plaque rupture and stroke.  He is the co-inventor of 5 patents and is the co-founder of a life sciences company aimed treating chronic pain thru safer novel non-narcotic molecules and a biotechnology company developing unique neuroprotection strategies for acute stroke.

KEYWORDS: carotid artery disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, vascular surgery

Nicolas Bazan

USA, New Orleans - After obtaining his MD in Tucuman, Argentina, Dr Nicolas Bazan was a postdoc at P&S, Columbia University, and Harvard Medical School. In his first lab at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, he found that ischemia or seizures cause an increase in free arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acid pools in the brain. He then discovered that the lipid mediator platelet activating factor (PAF) is released by injury and that PAF antagonism is protective in experimental stroke. He identified PAF binding in synaptic and intracellular membranes; defined PAF-mediated regulation of early gene expression; and found that PAF mediates long-term potentiation and memory. He also uncovered that the supply of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA to synapses is liver-regulated and that DHA is retained in photoreceptors by a "short loop" (RPE-to-photoreceptors) and a "long loop" (liver-to-retina). He found that Usher's Syndrome patients have DHA shortage in the blood, implicating the long loop in retinal degenerations. He and his colleagues discovered the synthesis and bioactivity of neuroprotectin D1, which arrests apoptosis at the pre-mitochondrial level, is anti-inflammatory, and is neuroprotective in experimental stroke and Alzheimer's disease models. He found NPD1 is decreased in the CA1 area of Alzheimer's patients. The recognitions he has received include the Javits Neuroscience Award, NINDS, NIH; elected to Royal Academy of Medicine, Spain; elected fellow, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin; and Proctor Medal, the highest honour of The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. He is the founding director of the LSU Neuroscience Center of Excellence, New Orleans. Dr Bazan's research focuses on synaptic signaling in neuronal plasticity, cell survival signaling in epilepsy and ischemia-reperfusion, and inflammatory signaling in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerations.

KEYWORDS: neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, ophthalmology, retinal diseases, apoptosis

Giovanni Blandino

Italy, Rome - Dr. Blandino graduated with Master Degree from University of Catania, Italy in 1990. He received High School degree in Oncology from the University of Milan, 1994. He performed his postdoctoral research activities at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel from 1995-1999. He is now Head of the Oncogenomic and Epigenetic Unit  and the Institutional Coordinator of Translational Research at Regina Elena Cancer Institute in Rome. He part-time Associate Professor at the Department of Oncology, at the McMaster University, in Hamilton, Canada. He has published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals. In aggregate, over the past twenty years much of his experimental, translational and clinical work has focused on the molecular understanding of the oncogenic role of mutant p53 proteins. At the present time, TP53 is the most studied tumor suppressor gene and it is the most frequent target for genetic alterations in human cancers. Because the frequency of TP53 mutations ranges from 50 to 70% of human cancers, TP53 protein has become the focus of very intense experimental and clinical cancer research. His research group has originally found that gain of function mutant TP53 proteins exert their oncogenic activities physically interacting with bona-fide transcription factors such as NF-Y, E2Fs, and thereby promotes aberrant transcription of genes involved in cell proliferation, invasion, migration and genomic instability. His group originally reported that gain of function mutant TP53 proteins modulate aberrantly the expression of Non-Coding Factors such microRNAs, circularRNAs. In addition to the TP53, his major current research focus is translational implications of small non- coding RNAs (microRNAs and circular RNAs) that are emerging as epigenetic powerful biomarkers for fine molecular stratification of human cancer, for its prevention, early detection and prediction of response to cancer treatment.

KEYWORDS: p53, Hippo signaling pathway, miRNAs, cancer

Klas Blomgren

Sweden, Stockholm - Klas Blomgren earned his MD in 1990 and his PhD in neurobiology in 1994 from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. After Postdoctoral training at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Japan, he has focused on mechanisms of perinatal brain injury, radiation-induced brain injury and neurogenesis. He currently works at the Department of Pediatric Oncology, The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, in Gothenburg and was appointed Professor of Pediatrics in 2008.

KEYWORDS: neurobiology, brain injury, radiotherapy, pediatric oncology

Martin Bushell

UK, Glasgow - Martin Bushell completed his Ph.D. under Dr S. Morley (1996-1999) and first short post-doc under Prof. Mike Clemens (1999-2001) examining the mechanisms by which translation is inhibited during the induction of apoptosis. With a Wellcome Trust International Travelling Fellowship (2001-2005) he spent two years at Stanford University (USA) under Prof. P. Sarnow (the final year was located at University of Leicester with Prof. Willis). He investigated cDNA micro-array analysis of mRNAs that are polysomally associated during apoptosis and successfully identified 200 mRNAs that are co-ordinately regulated during this process and the mechanisms by which these mRNAs are selected for translation. Following a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship, he was made an associate professor at University of Nottingham (2005-2010) to study the control of translation during apoptosis. Interestingly, his group found that all of the mRNAs translationally up-regulated during the induction of apoptosis possessed potential microRNA (miRNA) binding sites within their 3`UTR which led to investigating how miRNAs regulate gene expression. He is now at the MRC Toxicology Unit in Leicester (2010-present) and holds an MRC non-clinical senior fellowship, a program leader position within the Unit and a Readership within the University of Leicester. He is currently investigating how microRNAs and translations are involved in the response to toxic insults, including poor maternal diet and neuronal cell death. His group has determined the basic underlying mechanisms by which microRNAs control gene expression involving eIF4A2, inhibiting the scanning of the ribosome.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, miRNAs, translational control, toxicology, cancer

George Calin

USA, Houston - George Adrian Calin received both his MD and PhD degrees at Carol Davila University of Medicine in Bucharest, Romania. After working in the field of cytogenetics as an undergraduate student with Dr Dragos Stefanescu in Bucharest, he completed a cancer genomics training in Dr Massimo Negrini's laboratory at University of Ferrara, Italy. In 2000 he became a postdoctoral fellow at Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA, and while working in Dr Carlo Croce's laboratory, Dr Calin was the first to discover the link between human cancers and microRNAs, a finding considered as a milestone in microRNA research history. He has now developed an independent research group at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and produced a new advance by linking a new class of non-coding RNAs to cancers, namely the ultraconserved genes. He is presently an Associate Professor in Experimental Therapeutics at MDACC and studies the roles of microRNAs and other non-coding RNAs in cancer initiation and progression, as well as the mechanisms of cancer predisposition and explores new RNA therapeutic options for cancer patients.

KEYWORDS: miRNAs, cancer, familial predisposition to cancer, non-coding RNAs biomarkers

Michelangelo Campanella

UK, London - Michelangelo Campanella (Pharm.D.) completed his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology in 2005 under the supervision of Prof. Rosario Rizzuto. In the same year, he moved to the University College London (UCL) supported initially by the Accademia dei Lincei (Rome), the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and then subsequently as a Marie Curie Research Fellow, in the laboratories of Prof. Michael R. Duchen. In 2008 he received a Lectureship in Pharmacology by the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences of The Royal Veterinary College to create a research group affiliated at the UCL Consortium for Mitochondrial Research. In 2011 he established a collaborative activity with the European Brain Research (Rome) to unravel the metabolic re-adaptations and driven damages associated with the brain's pathologies. His expertise is in cell biology with prevalent focus on mitochondrial function, dependent Ca2+ signalling and molecular regulation of the F1Fo-ATPsynthase. The work of his research group currently aims on the quality control mechanisms of the Macro and Targeted Type of Autophagy, towards mitochondria (or Mitophagy), a process on which the homeostasis of the mitochondrial network depends. Up and downstream steps of mitophagy regulation are investigated in the context of cell transformation or degeneration in order to delineate novel mitochondrial targets for pharmacological intervention.

KEYWORDS: brain diseases, calcium signaling, autophagy, mitophagy, cancer therapy

Eleonora Candi

Italy, Rome - Eleonora Candi, received the Ph.D. degree at the Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences of University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, in 1995. She did her pre- and post-doctoral training, from 1993-1998, at the Skin Biology Branch, NIAMS, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA, working under the supervision of Dr PM Steinert on transglutaminases and their substrates. From 1999 to 2001 she received a Telethon Research Fellowship to study the role of transglutaminases in the genetic disease lamellar ichthyosis. Currently, she is full-professor in Molecular Biology at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Department of Experimental Medicine and Surgery. Her current research interests include the role of p63, homolog of p53, and non-coding RNAs in epithelia development and tumour formation, using both in vitro and in vivo models.

KEYWORDS: skin development, skin cancer, p53/p63, non-coding RNAs, animal models

Michele Carbone

USA, Honolulu - Dr. Michele Carbone conducts his scientific research at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, a state-of-the-art research facility located in Honolulu, HI. "I believe that success in life is determined by a combination of good luck and hard work," says Dr. Carbone. He says that he felt very lucky to be offered a Visiting Fellow position at the National Institutes of Health's Child Health Division, part of the National Institutes of Health, soon after obtaining his medical degree from the Rome's La Sapienza University.  "Little did I know," mused Dr. Carbone, "that when I accepted that position that I would end up spending the rest of my professional career in the United States." After working at the NIH for several years, Dr. Carbone realized that he loved the work environment  so characteristic of the US: an environment that encourages creativity, collaboration, and dedication, fostering academic and professional growth. Dr. Michele Carbone is a board-certified Pathologist, and most of his research has focused on malignant mesothelioma, a cancer that is often associated with asbestos exposure. His research into why most people who have been exposed to asbestos do not get mesothelioma has led him to investigation of interactions between genetics and the environment. Dr. Carbone is a strong proponent of multidisciplinary collaborative team research. His team's research has been characterized by laboratory research, fieldwork, and by teamwork. The research team includes scientists from multiple countries, who specialize in different disciplines including pathology, surgery, genetics, molecular biology, geology and mineralogy, and public health.

KEYWORDS: mesothelioma, checkpoint inhibitors, biomarkers, targeted therapies, genome sequencing, gene therapy

Guo-Qiang Chen

China, Shanghai - Dr. Guo-Qiang Chen received his Ph.D from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) School of Medicine (formerly Shanghai Second Medical University). He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Science, the Dean of SJTU School of Medicine, Vice President of SJTU, and Director of the Key Laboratory of Cell Differentiation and Apoptosis of Chinese Ministry of Education. He also holds an Honorary Professor title at University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine and Sydney University School of Medicine. Dr Chen made significant contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying arsenic trioxide therapy of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a unique subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He has also been working on the identification of anti-AML natural compounds (such as adenanthin and pharicin B), molecular mechanisms of AML development, as well as bone marrow niche and cancer microenvironment for normal and malignant hematopoiesis respectively. To date, Dr. Chen has published over 150 scientific articles with more than 6000 citations for the top articles and received several national awards, including the Second Prize of the National Natural Science Award by State Council of China.  He serves on the editorial boards of J Hematology and Oncology, Chemico-Biological Interact, Am J Blood Res, Sinica Science Life Science, and Cell Death and Disease.

KEYWORDS: hematology, acute promyelocytic leukemia, bone marrow, cancer microenvironment, hematopoiesis

Quan Chen

China, Beijing - Quan Chen is a Professor at State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology in the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He holds an adjunct appointment in the College of Life Sciences, Nankai University. Dr. Chen obtained his PhD in Cell Biology in the area of mitochondrial biology in 1993 from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He then went to the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester for his postdoctoral training under the supervision of Dr. Caroline Dive and Alastair Watson in John Hickman's laboratory. During that time he started to work in the area of apoptosis and drug resistance in cancers with a focus on mitochondria and Bcl-2 family proteins. He continued to work on the radiation induced apoptosis when he moved to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Dr. Alex Almasan's Laboratory in 1997 before he moved back to China in 2000 to start his own independent research laboratory. His research here focuses on the molecular regulation of mitochondrial apoptosis, mitochondrial dynamics and mitochondrial quality control. In particular, he wishes to understand how apoptotic signals are sensed by Bcl-2 and its family proteins to regulate mitochondrial permeabilization and cytochrome c release for the activation of apoptosis. Research from Dr. Chen's group is supported by peer reviewed grants from the Nature Science Foundation of China, the Ministry of Sciences and Technology of China and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, mitochondrial dynamics, autophagy, cancer metastasis

Sai-Juan Chen

China, Shanghai - Dr Sai-Juan Chen received her Ph.D from Paris VII University of France in 1989. She is a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, a member of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Vice Chair of the Chinese Association of Science and Technology, Director of the State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics and Director of the Shanghai Institute of Hematology. Dr Chen has made significant contributions to the understanding and cure of leukemia. She played a pivotal role in elucidating the pathogenesis of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) and the mechanisms of therapeutic effects of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic trioxide (ATO) on APL. By targeting PML-RARα, an oncoprotein resulting from the disease-specific chromosomal translocation t(15;17), she organized clinical studies to treat APL patients with ATRA/ATO-based combination therapy. Her innovative therapy rendered APL from a highly fatal malignancy to a highly curable disease (5 year event-free survival about 90%). Dr Chen is currently studying another type of acute myeloid leukemia and has discovered small compounds oridonin and Eriocalyxin B to be capable of targeting the oncoprotein AML1-ETO and prolonging the lifespan of leukemic animals. Dr Chen made several important breakthroughs in molecular characterization of genetic abnormalities associated with the pathogenesis of leukemia. She cloned PLZF-RAR fusion gene as a result of a variant translocation, t(11;17), in APL. She also identified several new chromosomal translocations in other types of leukemia, critical to the understanding of leukemogenesis. Dr Chen has published over 300 papers in high impact international journals with over 15000 citations. She received several national awards, including the Second Prize of the National Natural Science Award by State Council of China.

KEYWORDS: acute promyelocytic leukemia, PML-RARα, cancer therapy, cancer genetics

Jerry E Chipuk

USA, New York City - Jerry Edward Chipuk is an Associate Professor with Tenure in the Departments of Oncological Sciences and Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City; he also serves as an Associate Director of the National Cancer Institute - Designated Tisch Cancer Institute. He earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Case Western Reserve University, and obtained post-doctoral training with Douglas R. Green Ph.D. at the La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Chipuk laboratory studies: (1) the impact of mitochondrial composition and shape on cellular metabolism and commitment to apoptosis, (2) how cancer-promoting pathways converge on mitochondrial function to regulate malignancy and chemotherapeutic success, and (3) novel contributions of the mitochondrial network in tissue homeostasis.

KEYWORDS: mitochondrial apoptosis, cancer biology, melanoma, drug resistance, signal transduction

Gennaro Ciliberto

Italy, Naples - Professor Gennaro Ciliberto has more than 25 years of research management experience and is a Molecular and Cellular Biologist at University of Catanzaro Magna Graecia, Italy. He has been Full Professor of Molecular Biology since 1990 and in March 2012, he was appointed Scientific Director of IRCSS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, "Senatore G. Pascale" in Naples. He has expertise in the areas: control of gene transcription; signal transduction by cytokines and growth factors; somatic gene therapy; cancer cell biology and genetics; as well as immunotherapy of cancer. His past experience at Merck (1991-2009) included responsibilities for several early drug discovery programs (target identification to phase I clinical trials) and membership of several Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) decision-making committees. For 3 years (2006-2009) he was Site Head and Managing Director at "IRBM P. Angeletti" in Pomezia, and manager of approximately 200 staff members. He also had international responsibilities at MRL for Basic Research efforts in Oncology (August 2008 - September 2009). Since 1989, he has been an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). He is co-author of approximately 200 publications in peer-reviewed international journals and is naturally a reviewer and editorial board member of several international journals as well as an editor of textbooks for graduate students.

KEYWORDS: cancer stem cells, cancer vaccines, somatic gene therapy, cytokines, acute phase response control

Mads Daugaard

Canada, Vancouver - Dr. Mads Daugaard is Head of the Molecular Pathology & Cell Imaging Laboratory at the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) – a University of British Columbia (UBC) and National Cancer Research Centre of Excellence in Canada – and Assistant Professor at Department of Urologic Science at UBC. Mads received his PhD in molecular cancer biology from Department of Cell Death and Metabolism at the Danish Cancer Society and Faculty of Medicine, University of Copenhagen, with Professor Marja Jäättelä. He subsequently did a postdoc at the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre and Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at UBC with Professor Poul Sorensen. In 2012, Mads co-founded two biotech companies where he currently serves as chairman of the board of directors. Mads's current work focuses on basic and translational cancer research emphasizing on cell death pathways, stress signaling, DNA repair mechanisms, and experimental targeted cancer therapeutic and diagnostic technologies.

KEYWORDS: cell death pathways, stress signaling, DNA repair, cancer therapeutics

Klaus-Michael Debatin

Germany, Ulm - Prof. Klaus-Michael Debatin received his M.D. and doctorate degree from the University of Heidelberg, followed by a research fellowship in immunology and training in pediatrics, pediatric hematology/oncology and immunology. From 1990 to 1993 he was a Heisenberg Fellow (associate professor) of the German Research Council (DFG) with projects at the NCI, Bethesda/USA, Hôpital Necker, Paris, and the German Cancer Center (DKFZ). In 1994 he became Head of the Division of Haematology/Oncology of the University Children's Hospital Heidelberg, and Head of Department of Molecular Oncology of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Since 1997 he is Chairman and Physician-in-chief of the University Children's Hospital and led the DKFZ research department until 2004. Since 2004 he is Dean of the Medical Faculty of the University of Ulm. Already in the late 1980s, his research concentrated on the role of apoptosis and apoptosis signalling in diseases. The discovery of the CD95/APO1/Fas system in 1989 was followed by the first description of apoptosis induction in human leukemia cells (1990). Subsequently, the Debatin lab was involved in the identification of the critical role of the CD95 system in deregulated apoptosis in T-cells in HIV infection and genetic diseases of abnormal lymphoproliferation and auto-immunity. His lab was among the first to identify apoptosis signaling as a key feature of cytotoxicity mediated by anticancer agents (1996) and to identify molecular mechanisms regulating sensitivity to cell death induction in tumor cells and has identified an intact apoptosis signaling system as an important prognostic factor in leukemia (2008). The Debatin lab has also made major contributions for understanding sensitivity and resistance in tumor cells and provided first proof of principle for the clinical use of apoptosis sensitizing drugs (2002). Klaus-Michael Debatin received numerous awards including the German Cancer Award (2002) as well as the Descartes Research Prize (EU Science Award) in 2006. He served in many national and international science committees, is an elected member of the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) and the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, and is currently also head of the scientific board of the German Cancer Aid and member of the scientific board of the European School of Hematology. Klaus-Michael Debatin is a regular reviewer for Blood, Cell, Cancer Cell, Cancer Research, Cell Death & Differentiation, Journal of Immunology, Nature Medicine, Nature Cell Biology and Oncogene.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, immunology, HIV, leukemia, pediatric oncology

Ronald DePinho

USA, Houston - Our laboratory studies the molecular and biological processes governing the development of cancer, the basis for aging and degenerative diseases and the maintenance of normal and cancer stem cells. We have produced an array of discoveries leading to better methods of early cancer detection, improved cancer patient care and new cancer drug development. The range of our research includes cancer drug and biomarker development, cancer gene discovery, stem cell biology and development of genetically engineered mouse models to study cancer in humans.

KEYWORDS: cancer biology, tumor microenvironment, role of telomerase in cancer and age-related diseases, genetically engineered mouse models


Grant Dewson

Australia, Melbourne - Grant Dewson received his PhD in from the University of Leicester (UK) in 2002 on the molecular control of eosinophil apoptosis. He then continued his post-doctoral studies with Prof Gerry Cohen at the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit (Leicester, UK) prior to joining the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (Melbourne, Australia) as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr Ruth Kluck. In 2011 he established his own laboratory at WEHI, in the Cell Signalling and Cell Death Division headed by Prof. David Vaux. His group investigates the fundamental mechanism controlling apoptotic cell death, in particular how the effector proteins Bak and Bax are activated to form the apoptotic pore that damages mitochondria to kill cells.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, Bcl-2 family, Bak/Bax, mitochondria, mitophagy, cancer

Marc Diederich

South Korea, Seoul - Marc Diederich earned his PhD in molecular pharmacology in 1994 from the University Henri Poincaré Nancy 1, France. After training at the University of Cincinnati, USA, he focused his research on cancer and leukemia cell signaling pathways and gene expression mechanisms triggered by natural compounds with epigenetic-, anti-inflammatory- and cell death-inducing potential. He currently directs the Laboratory for molecular and cellular biology of cancer (LBMCC) at Kirchberg Hospital in Luxemburg. He was appointed associate Professor of Biochemistry at the College of Pharmacy of Seoul National University in 2012. Since 1998, he has been the organizer of the "Signal Transduction" meetings in Luxembourg.

KEYWORDS: autophagy, mitophagy, neuroblastoma, cardiac glycoside, chemoresistance, mTOR, anemia, erythropoiesis, cancer, epigenetic

Volker Dötsch

Germany, Frankfurt - Volker Dötsch obtained a PhD from the ETH in Zürich (1994) investigating the interaction between proteins and solvent molecules by NMR spectroscopy. As a postdoctoral fellow he used NMR to determine the structure of protein-DNA complexes at the Harvard Medical School (1994-1998). In 1998 he moved as assistant professor to the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). In 2003 he was appointed professor at the Institute of Biophysical Chemistry of the Goethe University in Frankfurt. His research interests focus on the structural and functional characterization of members of the p53 protein family, in particular p63. In addition, his laboratory uses a combination of NMR spectroscopy and cell-free protein expression to investigate the structure of membrane proteins and studies components of non-ribosomal peptide synthetases. The main research technique is liquid state NMR spectroscopy and he has developed methods to investigate conformation and dynamics of biological macromolecules in living cells by in-cell NMR.

KEYWORDS: structural biology, p53/p63, NMR spectroscopy, membrane proteins, macromolecule dynamics

Colin S Duckett

USA, Ann Arbor - Dr. Duckett is a Professor of Pathology and Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, with an active research laboratory focused on the regulation of NF-κB transcription factor complex and apoptosis in CD30-positive malignancies. He played seminal early roles in the original identification and characterization of NF-κB, and he co-discovered the IAP family of apoptotic regulators and signal transduction molecules. Dr. Duckett is also the Director of Research Programming of the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) at the University of Michigan, a 150 acre campus dedicated to inter-disciplinary research programs. He has served on numerous review panels and editorial boards, and consulted and served on the scientific advisory boards of several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Duckett holds several additional leadership positions within the University: he is the Co-Director of the Cancer Cell Biology Program within the UM Comprehensive Cancer Center and Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology.

KEYWORDS: Hodgkin disease, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, apoptosis, NF-κB signaling

Paul Ekert

Australia, Melbourne - Paul Ekert is a laboratory head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for medical Research in Australia. He is also a Pediatrician with a special interest in Molecular Pathology and holds honorary appointments at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and the Royal Children's Hospital. His laboratory studies two major themes. The first is the molecular pathways by which cytokine signalling pathways and cell death pathways intersect. The second is the way in which deregulated Hox gene expression contributes to oncogenesis. The laboratory focuses particularly on regulated HoxB8 and HoxA9 expression in myeloid cells.

KEYWORDS: oncogenes, neuroblastoma, exome sequencing, acute myeloid leukemia

Gian Maria Fimia

Italy, Rome - Gian Maria Fimia Ph.D. is a principal investigator at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. Spallanzani. In 1996, he received his Ph.D. in Human Biology at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza,' Italy. Then, he moved to the IGBMC Istitute in Strasbourg, France, in the lab of Dr Paolo Sassone-Corsi to study the regulation of the cAMP pathway and, in particular, the role of the transcription factor CREM in male germ cell differentiation. In 2001, he joined the National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. Spallanzani in Rome, Italy. His current scientific interests are related to the regulation of the autophagic process, with particular focus on the role of autophagy in host-pathogen interaction during viral and bacterial infection.

KEYWORDS: autophagy, host-pathogen interactions, M. tuberculosis, HCV, HIV

Alessandro Finazzi-Agrò

Italy, Rome - Alessandro Finazzi Agrò, MD, PhD in Biochemistry has been a Full Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 1975 at the Universities of Cagliari, L'Aquila, Rome "La Sapienza" and finally Rome "Tor Vergata" where he served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and as Rector. He also worked as visiting scientist at the Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill (New Jersey, USA) and at Royal Marsden Hospital (Sutton, UK). He has authored more than 200 papers mainly on the physicochemical properties of redox metalloproteins, the pathophysiological role of hydrogen peroxide and the biochemistry of endocannabinoids and their medical relevance.

KEYWORDS: metal-containing enzymes, cell differentiation, cell death, metabolism, ROS, cancer, aging


Robin J Franklin

UK, Cambridge - Robin Franklin is Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, UK. He has joint appointments at the Department of Veterinary Medicine and at the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair. He is Director of the Neural Stem Cell Programme of the Cambridge MRC Centre for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Director of the MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair. He obtained both his undergraduate degrees from the University of London; a physiology degree from University College London (1985) and a degree in veterinary medicine from The Royal Veterinary College (1988). His subsequent career has been at the University of Cambridge. During his research career he has been interested in Central Nervous System (CNS) repair mechanisms and primarily in the biology of myelin repair. Current research interests include: cellular and molecular mechanisms of CNS remyelination, in particular identifying the environmental and cell intrinsic factors (especially transcription factors) regulating the differentiation of adult CNS stem cells.

KEYWORDS: stem cells, oligodendrocytes, remyelination, myelin, olfactory

Bernardo S Franklin

Bonn, Germany - Bernardo S Franklin is a Professor of Immunology at the Institute of Innate Immunity at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn and a visiting Professor at the Medical Faculty of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. His scientific experience spans through different immunology fields (from infectious parasitic diseases to autoinflammatory diseases, atherosclerosis, and crystalopathies). He received his MSc at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ, Belo Horizonte, Brazil), under the supervision of Dr. Alvaro Romanha, where he investigated the mechanisms by which Trypanosoma cruzi parasites evade the gamma Interferon-mediated anti-parasitic immunity. In his Ph.D., he worked with Ricardo Gazzinelli at the FIOCRUZ, and Douglas Golenbock, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMASS Med, Worcester, US) to identify and target the Toll-like receptors involved in the innate immune recognition of malaria parasites. He has worked directly with malaria patients in endemic transmission areas in the Brazilian Amazon and with bird and mouse models of malaria in the lab. His first post-doc was devoted to identifying circulating microvesicles and cell-free nucleic acids as innate immune triggers of Plasmodium vivax malaria. In 2010, he moved to Germany for post-doctoral training at the newly created Institute of Innate Immunity, headed by Eicke Latz. There, they discovered novel extracellular functions of inflammasomes. In 2018, Bernardo was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Bonn. He expanded his research to the cross-talk between cells of the innate immune and coagulation systems and how these systems interact during steady state, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. He has attracted a considerable amount of third-party funding, including an ERC Starting Grant, authored highly-cited publications, and contributed to successfully shaping the immunology research landscape in Bonn.

KEYWORDS: inflammasomes, platelets, neutrophils, innate immune cells, malaria

Lorenzo Galluzzi

USA, New York City - Lorenzo Galluzzi received his M.Sc. in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy) in 2004 and his Ph.D. in Oncological Sciences from the University of Paris Sud/Paris XI (France) in 2008. From 2008 to 2011, he conducted postdoctoral research at the Institut Gustave Roussy (Villejuif, France) under the supervision of Guido Kroemer. From 2012, he works as a Research Manager in the same laboratory. Besides being part of the Editorial Board of Cell Death and Disease, Lorenzo operates as Editor-in-Chief for OncoImmunology and Molecular and Cellular Oncology. He is particularly fascinated by several aspects of mitochondrial cell death, apoptosis, oncometabolism and tumor immunology.

KEYWORDS: cell death, autophagy, tumor metabolism, tumor immunology, radiation oncology

Alberto Gandarillas 

Madrid, Spain - Alberto Gandarillas obtained his PhD degree at the Autónoma University of Madrid/CSIC. During his PhD, he identified novel tumour antigens one of which Podoplanin, is currently used in prognosis of invasive cancer. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Fiona Watt at the Cancer UK, in London. Here, he found the first function of proto-oncogene MYC in stem cells and studied the relationship between epidermoid differentiation and apoptosis. Subsequently, he was postdoctoral fellow at the IGM of Montpellier, of the CNRS/Université Montpellier II, in France. He then became a permanent investigator at the INSERM Institute and moved to the Université Montpellier I. In Montpellier, he studied the epidermal cell cycle in deep and contributed to the first tissue-specific MYC KO mice in skin, liver and mammary gland. He co-discovered the maternal effect of CRE recombinase in transgenic mice, today of wide application and unveiled a novel epidermal cell cycle. He currently runs a multidisciplinary team in the IDIVAL Institute in Santander, Spain, focusing on translation research. The Group includes biologists, physicist and clinicians, of which five are heads of cancer-related departments (Radiotherapeutic Oncology, Maxilofacial Surgery, Othorynolaringology, Pediatric Surgery and Plastic Surgery). They mostly investigate a novel epithelial pathway controlling cell fate in response to genetic damage.

KEYWORDS: Melanoma, Cancer, Cell Cycle

Atan Gross

Israel, Rehovot - Atan Gross received his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He conducted postdoctoral research at Washington University in St Louis and at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School. He joined the Weizmann Institute as a Senior Scientist in 2000 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007. His scientific interest focuses on elucidating the mechanisms that balance between cell life and death with a special emphasis on the BCL-2 family members, mitochondria, and the DNA damage response.

KEYWORDS: BCL-2 family members, mitochondria, DNA damage response, apoptosis

Ya-Jun Guo

China, Shanghai - Dr Yajun Guo graduated from the Third Military Medical University in China in 1978 and received his Ph.D. from the Shanghai Second Military Medical University. He did his post-doctoral training in Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of China. He went to Harvard School of Medicine in 1989 as a visiting professor and then, joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University as an assistant professor in 1993. In 1996, Dr Yajun Guo become a professor in Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in San Diego and relocated his laboratory to Eppley Cancer Research Institute of Nebraska University Medical Center at Omaha in 2000. Starting from 1994, Dr Yajun Guo established the Shanghai Tumor Immunology and Gene Therapy Center as an international research program and in 1999, he enlarged the center into the present International Joint Cancer Institute. From 2009, he has been working as a director of PLA general hospital cancer center. Dr Yajun Guo's Lab focuses on experimental cancer immunotherapy and immunogenetherapy. The ultimate goal of their research will be further developing the novel strategy for generation effective cellular cancer vaccines and monoclonal antibody-based immunotherapy protocols such as it can be translated into clinical treatment for human cancers. Dr Yajun Guo has received many honor and awards and invited to give lectures at many international conferences. His is a distinguished professor and director at Shanghai International Joint Cancer Institute, PLA General Hospital Cancer Center and Chinese National Engineering Research Center for Antibody Medicine. He is also a PI of the National key Basic Research program Project "Structure and function of antibody" and is conducting Seven clinical trials of therapeutic antibodies in China. Currently, Dr Yajun Guo has several visiting professorships in University of West Australia (2008 Rain Professor), Imperial College of London (2008-2010) and several Universities in China.

KEYWORDS: immunotherapy, cancer vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, cancer

Georg Häcker

Germany, Freiburg - Georg Häcker studied medicine (final exam 1990) at the University of Ulm, Germany, and received his MD degree in 1991. He started his clinical training before moving to Melbourne, Australia, for post-doctoral research at the Walter and Eliza Hall-Institute. In 1996 he returned to Germany and started his research group at the Technische Universität München, Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene. In 2000 he became associate professor. He completed his specialist training in Medical Microbiology in 2002. In 2009 he moved to the University of Freiburg, Germany, where he is full professor and chair and heads the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University Medical Center Freiburg. His main research interests are the role of cell death in infection and other cellular responses of mammalian cells to the infection with pathogens.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, immunology, virology, BH3 proteins

Maho Hamasaki

Japan, Osaka - Maho Hamasaki received her PhD from the Graduate University of Advanced Studies in 2003 where she worked in the laboratory headed by Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi - one of the founders of the autophagy field. Her Post-Doctoral research at Ohsumi's lab focused on solving mechanistic insight on autophagy in yeast. During two research stays at EMBL, in Dr. Gareth Griffith's laboratory between 2008-2009 and Dr. Marko Kaksonen in 2010, she gained expertise in both EM and nano-scale CLEM. In 2010 she joined the Graduate School of Medicine in Osaka University, Japan, as an assistant professor and where she is currently an Associate Professor. Her research interests are focused on how autophagosomes form, and how organelles interact with each other during autophagy-induced conditions using mainly imaging tools from live cell imaging to EM.

KEYWORDS: autophagosomes, live cell imaging, electron microscopy, cell death

Ygal Haupt

Australia, Victoria - Dr Ygal Haupt undertook his PhD studies with Prof. Jerry Adams at the Walter and Eliza Hall institute in Melbourne studying oncogene collaboration in transgenic mice, which led to the identification of Bmi1. This was followed by postdoctoral research with Prof. Moshe Oren at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, where he discovered the degradation of p53 by Mdm2. In 1997 he established his own lab as a faculty member of the Hadassah Medical School at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. Since 2008 he has been located at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, Melbourne, Australia, where he heads the Tumour Suppression Laboratory. Dr Haupt is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and a VESKI Innovation Fellow. His major research interests are the mechanism and regulation of tumour suppression, with a focus on the regulation of the p53 and PML tumour suppression pathways. Dr Haupt's laboratory also studies the link between E3 ligases and cancer and how to exploit this link therapeutically.

KEYWORDS: p53, PML, E3 ligases, cancer

Sudan He

China, Suzhou - Sudan He is Professor of Cell Biology at Soochow University, China. She received her Ph.D. from Peking Union Medical College in 2008. She did her post-doctoral training at the National Institute of Biological Sciences in Beijing. Since December 2010, she has served as a faculty member at the Cyrus Tang Hematology Center at Soochow University. Her research interests include the molecular mechanisms of cell death as induced by death receptors, Toll-like receptors, and infection by pathogens, and the physiological and pathological roles of necroptosis.

KEYWORDS: Toll-like receptors, necroptosis, virology, apoptosis

David Heery

UK, Nottingham - David Heery is Professor of Gene Regulation and Head of Molecular and Cellular Sciences at the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham. He graduated with a PhD (1990) from the National University of Ireland for studies of gene regulation in prokaryotes. This was followed by postdoctoral research at the IGBMC Strasbourg (1990-1995) investigating the transactivation functions of retinoic acid and estrogen receptors, and identification of their transcriptional cofactors. During this time he was supported by personal fellowships from EMBO and the Association pour la Recherche sur la Cancer. Following this he was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship at the London Institute where he discovered the LXXLL motif that mediates interactions between Nuclear Receptors and their cofactors. Following the award of a Wellcome Senior Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Sciences (1998-2005), he started a group at the University of Leicester investigating structure-function relationships of histone acetyltransferases such CBP, SRC1, and MOZ. He was appointed to a chair at the University of Nottingham in 2005. Current interests include the role of chromatin modifying enzymes in leukaemia, breast cancer and lung disease, and the discovery of small molecule inhibitors targeting lysine acetyltransferases.

KEYWORDS: histones acetyltransferases, chromatin, leukemia, breast cancer, lung cancer

Marco Herold

Australia, Melbourne - Dr Herold is a Laboratory Head in the Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute (Australia). He is an expert in developing novel mouse models of human cancer using the CRISPR/Cas9 methodology. Therefore Dr Herold has recently been also appointed as the Head of the new Genome Editing Laboratory at WEHI. Dr Herold's PhD at the University of Würzburg (Germany) addressed key questions in apoptosis and cancer. His major research interest is the identification of novel genes involved in apoptosis, and finding new targets for cancer therapy using whole genome CRISPR/Cas9 screening techniques in vitro and in vivo.

KEYWORDS: cell death, BH3-mimetics, cancer therapy, CRISPR

Claudio Hetz

Chile, Santiago - Claudio Hetz was originally trained as Molecular Biotechnology Engineer at the University of Chile and performed his Ph.D thesis in Biomedical Sciences at Serono Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Switzerland. Then he did his postdoctoral training at Harvard University with Stanley Korsmeyer and then Laurie Glimcher. He joined the University of Chile during 2007 and rapidly advanced to Full Professor at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. He is also adjunct Professor at Harvard and the co-Director of the Biomedical Neuroscience Institute (BNI) at the University of Chile. His research focused on understanding the molecular basis of protein folding stress, its relationship to pathological conditions affecting the nervous system, the generation of new animal models, and the development of prototypic strategies to prevent neuronal damage. He has received important award including the TWAS-ROLAC Young Scientist Prize as outstanding young scientist in Latin America, the FEBS Anniversary Prize, finalist in the Eppendorf and Science Award in Neurobiology, and received the Cell Biology Society prize as the best young scientist of Chile.

KEYWORDS: protein misfolding, neurodegeneration, unfolded protein response, gene therapy

Satoshi Inoue

Japan, Tokyo - Satoshi Inoue is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tokyo, and a staff member at the National Cancer Center Research Institute (Tokyo, Japan). He completed his Ph.D. with Prof. Shigeki Mizuno at the University of Tohoku (1998-2001) and post-doctoral training with Dr. Toshiki Tamura at the Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution (2001-2002) where he studied the mechanisms of silk fibroin secretion (Tsukuba, Japan). He then continued his post-doctoral studies with Prof. Gerald Cohen at the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit (Leicester, UK) prior to joining the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at the University Health Network (Toronto, Canada) as a post-doctoral fellow with Prof. Tak W Mak where he investigated mechanisms of apoptosis and tumorigenesis. He is currently working with Prof. Hiroyuki Mano using genomics to understand tumour biology.

KEYWORDS: aging, apoptosis, breast cancer

Bertrand Joseph

Sweden, Stockholm - Bertrand Joseph is Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. He earned his PhD from the University of Lille I, France, in 1997 and was then trained as postdoctoral research fellow at the Toxicology Unit, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden (1998-2000) and at the Ludwig Cancer Research-Stockholm Branch, Sweden (2000-2003). His current research interests are in the molecular signaling which regulates the decision between life and death at the cellular level and how its deregulation is implicated in human diseases. Investigations are performed in various models of human diseases ranging from cancers to neurodegenerative disorders.

KEYWORDS: neurodegeneration, cancer, immunology, epigenetics, glioma

Mathias Jucker

Germany, Tübingen - Mathias Jucker is a Professor of Cellular Neurology and a director at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research at the University of Tübingen, Germany. His department is also part of the German Center of Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE). He studied Neurobiology and did his PhD at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1988 before working as a PostDoc and Research Scientist at the National Institute on Aging, NIH, in Baltimore, USA. He returned to Switzerland as an assistant professor at the University of Basel, and was called to his current position in Tübingen in 2003. Jucker has received several honors and prizes for his research, most recently the Science Prize for Dementia Research of the Academy of Sciences, Hamburg, Germany (2013) and the MetLife Award for Medical Research of the MetLife Foundation, New York (2014). Mathias Jucker´s main areas of research are the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease. He has provided groundbreaking findings in fundamental research, e.g. in promoting the prion paradigm as a unifying pathogenic principle for most age-related neurodegenerative diseases. His laboratory also generated a variety of murine models of Alzheimer´s disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathies and these models are now used all over the world. Particularly noteworthy are his efforts to translate fundamental research into clinical settings exemplified by his biomarker work on murine and human bodily fluids and his commitment to the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN) of which he is the coordinator in Germany. Along with his scientific achievements Mathias Jucker has been successful in promoting young researchers. He is also speaker of the Graduate School of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience in Tübingen and has supervised more than twenty-five doctoral students, many of whom have now become themselves group leaders and professors in renowned research institutions.

KEYWORDS: brain aging, Alzheimer’s disease, murine animal models, amyloid angiopathies

Mari Kaartinen

Canada, Montreal - Mari Kaartinen received an MSc degree in organic chemistry from University of Jyvaskyla in Finland and her PhD in 1999 in biochemistry from the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology in University of Kuopio in Finland. She completed her postdoctoral training in bone and extracellular matrix biology in the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. She joined McGill University as an Assistant Professor in 2002 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2009. She has acted as Director of Biomedical Sciences in the Faculty and is interested in promoting critical thinking and academic integrity. Her research interests broadly involve understanding extracellular factors and their posttranslational processing, particularly by transglutaminase enzymes, in regulation of matrix assembly and cell behavior. Her specific focus is on factors modulating mesenchymal stem cell survival, function and differentiation to adipocytes and osteoblasts and how this links to pathophysiology of osteoporosis and defects in energy metabolism and adipogenesis. Her expertise involve transgenic animal models, cell and matrix biology, biochemistry and chemical biology.

KEYWORDS: transglutaminase enzymes, extracellular matrix assembly, mesenchymal stem cells, metabolism

Michael Karin

USA, San Diego - Dr Michael Karin received his BSc in Biology in 1975 at Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel and his PhD in Molecular Biology in 1979, University of California, Los Angeles. Dr Karin is currently a Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Pathology at the School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, where he has been on the faculty since 1987. He was a cofounder of Signal Pharmaceutical (currently Celgene) and served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Signal Research Division of Celgene. Dr Karin also served as a member of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Health Sciences and has been an American Cancer Society Research Professor since 1999 and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences since 2005. He is a leading world authority on signal transduction pathways that regulate gene expression in response to extracellular stimuli, infection and stress. Key achievements include the definition of cis elements that mediate gene induction by hormones, cytokines and stress, identification and characterization of the transcription factors that recognize these elements and the protein kinase cascades that regulate their activities. Much of Dr Karin's current activity is focused on understanding the link between inflammation, cancer and metabolic disease as well as on understanding the signaling mechanisms used by receptors involved in inflammation (TNF receptors) and innate immunity (TLR2 and NLRs). He has published over 300 scientific articles and is an inventor on over 25 different patents or pending patent applications. Recently, Dr Karin was ranked first worldwide by the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) in a recent listing of most-cited molecular biology and genetic research papers published in prestigious journals.

KEYWORDS: protein kinases, oncogenes, transcription factors, signal transduction, gene expression

Thomas Kaufmann

Switzerland, Bern - Thomas Kaufmann received his Diploma (equivalent to M.Sc.) in Biochemistry in 2000 and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2003, both from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He then moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, as a postdoctoral fellow within the group of Dr Andreas Strasser (2004-2007). In 2008 he was awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship to start his own research lab at the Institute of Pharmacology, University of Bern, Switzerland, where he currently holds the position of a group leader. Research interests of his lab cover the mechanisms of apoptosis regulation by BCL-2 family members and inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins, deregulation of apoptosis in cancer and other diseases and biology of myeloid cells (in particular granulocytes).

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, cancer, granulocytes, BCL-2, IAP

Gemma Kelly

Australia, Melbourne - Dr Gemma Kelly received her PhD from The Cancer Research UK Institute for Cancer Studies at The University of Birmingham, UK. She joined the group of Professor Andreas Strasser in the Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in 2009 as a Kay Kendall Leukemia Fund visiting research fellow. In 2019 she established her own research group in the Blood Cells and Blood Cancer Division at WEHI with the aim to improve therapeutic outcomes for patients with aggressive lymphomas. The team are focused on the interrogation and manipulation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway for cancer therapy and an understanding of the deregulation of the TP53 tumour suppressor pathways in therapy resistant cancers.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, MCL-1, MYC, BH3-mimetic, TP53, blood cancer

Daniel Klionsky

USA, Ann Arbor - Dr Klionsky received his PhD degree from Stanford University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He was a Professor of Microbiology at the University of California, Davis until 2000 and held a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1997-1998. Dr Klionsky joined the Life Sciences Institute in 2002 and was appointed as the Abram Sager Collegiate Professor of Life Sciences in 2003. He received the Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars from the National Science Foundation in 2003 and was named an Education Mentor by the National Academies in 2006. Dr Klionsky is currently the Alexander G Ruthven Professor of Life Sciences. His research is focused on autophagy in yeast cells, a mechanism for delivering cytoplasm to the lysosome or vacuole. Autophagy plays a role in normal cell physiology and is connected with a range of diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration and microbial infection. Dr Klionsky has produced more than 90 research papers, over 80 review articles, 14 pedagogical papers, two patents, an educational video and a 2004 book on autophagy, and was the editor of three volumes of Methods in Enzymology on auotphagy. Dr Klionsky was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009.

KEYWORDS: autophagy, cancer, neurodegeneration, ATG

Ruth Kluck

Australia, Melbourne - Ruth Kluck obtained her PhD at the Queensland Institute for Medical Research (Brisbane, Australia) in 1996, on the biochemistry of apoptotic cell death. In post-doctoral work with Don Newmeyer (La Jolla, USA) she studied how mitochondrial permeability was regulated by the Bcl-2 family, and reporting that Bcl-2 blocks apoptosis by inhibiting cytochrome c release. In 2002 she joined the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (Melbourne, Australia) where her group employs a range of genetic, biochemical and structural approaches to investigate the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis, in particular how Bak and Bax change conformation and oligomerise to form the apoptotic pore.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, BAX, BAK, structural biology

Sergio Lavandero

Chile, Santiago - Sergio Lavandero obtained his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Chile in 1993 studying the role of basic fibroblast growth factor in the function and development of the rat mammary gland. Sergio Lavandero currently holds a position as full professor in two academic units of the Universidad de Chile (Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Faculty of Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences and The Program in Cell & Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine). He is also Senior Investigator in the Center for Molecular Studies of the Cell at the University of Chile. Sergio Lavandero's scientific interests are currently oriented towards the study of cell signaling pathways involved in cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, death and survival with particular emphasis on osmotic stress, oxidative stress and IGF-1 using modern techniques in cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology. He was the Research Director (1998-2002) and Graduate Director (2002-2004) at the Faculty of Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Chile. He was also the coordinator for the Program for the Development of Scientific Resources in Biological Sciences supported by the University of Chile and the American State Organization (OEA). Finally, he was acting President (2003-2004) and representative (2002-2004) for the area of biological sciences in the Senior Scientific Council FONDECYT/CONICYT in Chile.

KEYWORDS: cell signaling pathways, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, cell death, oxidative stress, IGF-1

Gianmaria Liccardi

UK, London - Dr Gianmaria Liccardi is a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London (UK). In 2011 he received his PhD in Molecular Oncology from University College London, (UK) investigating the role of EGFR signaling in DNA repair following chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Subsequently, he moved to the ICR investigating the importance of inflammation and cell death in tissue homeostasis, mitosis regulation, and cancer. His research has contributed to the understanding of chromosomal instability, regulation of cell death during development, TNF signaling, ubiquitin signaling, Sumo-mediated regulation of Inflammasome, DNA repair and chemotherapy response in ER-negative and Triple Negative Breast cancers.  Since 2010 he is a junior lecturer at UCL teaching Cellular Physiology at both undergraduate and graduate level and in 2018 he has joined the Msc in Medical Oncology run by the ICR as lecturer teaching Evasion of Apoptosis.

KEYWORDS: chromosomal instability, TNF signaling, ubiquitin, DNA repair, breast cancer

Andreas Linkermann

Germany, Dresden - Dr. Andreas Linkermann, Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology (FASN), is a senior consultant and deputy director at the Division of Nephrology, Medical Clinic 3, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus at the Technical University Dresden, Germany. He was trained at the Division of Nephrology at the Christian-Albrechts-Univeristy Kiel, Germany. As a clinician scientist, research in his laboratory is supported by the Heisenberg Professorship program of the German Research Foundation. He focuses on the mechanisms and the immunogenicity of regulated cell death during ischemia, transplantation, acute kidney injury and autoimmunity. With a special interest in pathways of regulated necrosis (necroptosis, ferroptosis, pyroptosis) and necroinflammation, the general idea is to prevent clinically relevant regulated necrosis. For the mechanistic insights into signalling pathways of necroptosis and ferroptosis and their role in preclinical pathophysiologic settings he received the Carl-Ludwig-Award and the Franz-Volhard-Award of the German Society of Nephrology (DGfN), the Rudolf-Pichlmayr-Award of the German Society of Transplantation and was named honorary member of the European Academy of Tumor Immunology.

KEYWORDS: cell death, acute kidney injury, kidney transplantation, antibody-mediated rejection, ischemia-reperfusion injury, phagocytosis, autophagy

Stuart Lipton

USA, San Diego - Stuart A Lipton, MD, PhD is currently Senior Vice President, Professor, and Scientific Director of the Center for Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, with co-appointments at The Salk Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, and UC San Diego, where he is also a clinical neurologist. He completed his clinical and scientific training at Harvard, and a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Torsten Wiesel when Wiesel won the Nobel Prize. Dr Lipton then spent 25 years on the faculty at Harvard before moving to La Jolla in the fall of 1999. He is best known for characterizing the mechanism of action and contributing to the clinical development of the latest FDA-approved treatment for Alzheimer's disease, the drug Memantine (marketed in the US as Namenda). His group also recently characterized the molecular pathways for protecting nerve cells by Erythropoietin (a drug marketed for the treatment of anemia under the names EPO, Procrit, or Epoetin). Lipton, in collaboration with Jonathan Stamler, discovered the chemical reaction termed S-nitrosylation, initially on NMDA receptors, as a ubiquitous redox-regulator of protein function. Recently, S-nitrosylation has been shown to modulate a large number of critical effectors in health and disease. Additionally, Lipton was the first to clone and characterize the transcription factor MEF2C, and showed that it is a redox-regulated effector of NMDA receptor activity, which controls neurogenesis from ES cells and is involved in the etiology of autism-spectrum disorders. In 2004, Dr Lipton won the Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine, considered one of the top fix or six medical prizes worldwide, for his discovery of the mechanism of action of Memantine.

KEYWORDS: neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, ion channels, glutamate receptor, apoptosis, AIDS, stem cells

Carlos Lopez-Otin

Spain, Oviedo - Carlos Lopez-Otin is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Oviedo (Spain). In recent years, his research team has focused on the study of the mechanisms of tumor progression. This work has led them to the identification of more than 60 novel human proteolytic enzymes. In parallel studies, based on the generation of mouse models of loss-of-protease function, his group has provided new insights into the role of these enzymes in tumor development, including the identification of proteases with paradoxical suppressor-suppressor properties. These in vivo studies have also allowed them to define the roles of proteases in a variety of processes such as iron metabolism, bone development, thermal nociception, or accelerated aging. His group has also established novel molecular links between aging and suppression-suppression and has developed new strategies for treating diseases associated with protease dysregulation. In collaboration with Chris Overall, Carlos Lopez-Otin has introduced the novel concept of Degradome to define the complete set of proteases produced by a cell, tissue or organism, and has developed novel experimental approaches for the global analysis of these enzymes in normal and pathological conditions. He has also contributed to the annotation and evolutionary analysis of diverse mammalian genomes, such as human, mouse, rat, chimpanzee and platypus. Carlos Lopez-Otin is member of many Editorial Boards, Scientific Societies and Committees, including the Royal Academy of Sciences-Spain and The Academia Europaea, and has received several honors including the "Santiago Ramon y Cajal" National Award for Research.

KEYWORDS: proteolysis, cancer genomics, aging, mouse animal models

Frank Madeo

Austria, Graz - Professor Frank Madeo is based at the Center of Molecular Biosciences, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, Austria. He completed his PhD thesis on Yeast genetics in 1997, at the University of Tübingen, Germany and became a group leader there. He was awarded a Heisenberg-Fellowship from the German Science Foundation (DFG) in 2003. Since 2004 he has been a Full Professor at the University of Graz, Austria. Frank Madeo discovered and initiated the emerging field of yeast apoptosis and is currently the most cited researcher in the area of yeast programmed death and apoptosis according to ISI science citation index. His research interests focus on the identification of regulators and mechanisms of different modes of cell death (apoptotic, autophagic, and necrotic death) as well as aging mechanisms in yeast.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, aging, oxidative stress, autophagy, neuroscience

Roberto Mantovani

Italy, Milan - Dr Roberto Mantovani, Full Professor in Genetics, earned his MD degree in 1985 and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Milan, Italy, in 1989. He was a Post-doc at LGME Strasbourg, France, studying transcription of MHC Class II genes in BLS syndromes. In 1992 he started his lab at the Department of Genetics of the University of Milan. In 1998, he moved to the University of Modena, Italy, as an Associate Professor. He is currently at the University of Milan. Dr Mantovani has always been involved in studies to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying transcription, using the conserved NF-Y factor as a paradigm. More recently, his lab identified the genomic targets of p63 in keratinocytes and is involved in studies to reconstruct the p63-regulated network. He is also interested in developing small compounds that interfere with the activity of transcription factors. He is a co-founder of GeneSpin, a spinoff company of the University of Milan, focusing on the development of ChIP reagents and on systems to detect genotoxic stress in yeast.

KEYWORDS: NF-Y factor, p63, skin, genotoxic stress, transcriptional regulation

Jean-Christophe Marine

The Netherlands, Leuven - Jean-Christophe Marine obtained his PhD from the University of Liège, (Belgium, 1996), and was a Howard Hugues Medical Institute Fellow at the St Jude Children's Research Hospital (Memphis, USA, 1996-99). He was a Marie Curie Fellow at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO, Milan, Italy, 2000-2003). He became a junior VIB Group leader in 2004 at the University of Ghent (Belgium) and moved his laboratory to the University of Leuven (KULeuven) in 2010 where he is now Professor, senior VIB group leader (Center for the biology of disease) and head of the Cancer Genetics program at the KUL human Genetics Department. He received several national and international prizes, including the EMBO Young Investigator award in 2006, for his work on p53 modifiers. His interests focus on the analysis of pathways governing the genesis, progression and maintenance of cancer with a particular interest in melanoma.

KEYWORDS: p53, melanoma, tumor heterogeneity, tumor resistance, single-cell analysis

Seamus Martin

Ireland, Dublin - Seamus Martin holds the endowed Chair of Molecular Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He is a PhD graduate of The National University of Ireland and held post-doctoral fellowships at University College London, UK (with Ivan Roitt), and The La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, San Diego, USA (with Doug Green). He is an author of the 11th and 12th Editions of the classic Immunology textbook 'Essential Immunology'. Prof. Martin has received several prestigious national and international awards for his research including: Wellcome Trust Prize Fellowship, Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship, Science Foundation Ireland Investigator awards, The BA Charles Darwin Award (2005), The GlaxoSmithKline Award of The Biochemical Society UK (2006) and The Boyle Medal (2014), Ireland's most prestigious science prize. His lab works on many aspects of programmed cell death (apoptosis), especially the links between cell death, inflammation and cancer. Examples of his work include: the development of annexin V-labeling, which has become the gold standard for measuring apoptosis (Martin et al., 1995), dissecting caspase activation cascades (Slee et al., 1999), oncogenic Ras-initiated autophagic cell death (Elgendy et al., 2011) pro-inflammatory signaling by apoptotic cells (Cullen et al., 2013) and activated Parkin can promote apoptosis (Carroll et al., 2014). He was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 2006 and the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in 2009. He is a member of several editorial boards and is Editor-in-Chief of The FEBS Journal.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, inflammation, cancer, Ras, autophagy

Pier Giorgio Mastroberardino

The Netherlands, Rotterdam - Pier Giorgio Mastroberardino is a group leader in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He received his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy, studying the role of the crosslinking enzyme transglutaminase 2 in Huntington’s disease. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Emory University, first, and then at the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative diseases, University of Pittsburgh, investigating the molecular pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). His laboratory is still interested in elucidating the mechanisms underlying PD, with particular focus on mitochondrial dysfunction, control of redox homeostasis, iron metabolism, and genomic instability. Pier Giorgio also holds a Global Executive MBA degree and is actively engaged in promoting interactions between industry and academia as well as in valorization of scientific discoveries.

KEYWORDS: Parkinson’s disease, mitochondrial dysfunction, iron metabolism, Huntington’s disease, redox homeostasis

Ulrich Maurer

Switzerland, Freiburg - After studies of Biotechnology and Biology, Ulrich Maurer obtained his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Frankfurt/M, Germany. Following a first postdoctoral training in the Dept. of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Ulm, Germany, he joined Doug Green's lab at the La Jolla Institute in San Diego to work on the regulation of programmed cell death by kinase signaling.
Now at the University of Freiburg, Germany, his lab focuses on the regulation of cell death and inflammation and the posttranslational modifications involved in these processes.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, p53, inflammation, kinase signaling, SPATA2

Kim McCall

Kim McCall is Professor and Chair of Biology at Boston University.  She received her Ph.D. in Genetics from Harvard University training with Welcome Bender, and was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow with Hermann Steller at M.I.T. She started her research laboratory at Boston University in 1998. Dr. McCall’s research focuses on cell death and phagocytosis using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system.  Her current research interests are the cross-talk between dying and engulfing cells, mechanisms of non-apoptotic cell death and neurodegeneration

KEYWORDS: cell death, phagocytosis, neurodegeneration, oogenesis, Drosophila

Pascal Meier

Switzerland- Zurich - Dr Pascal Meier studied for his Diploma (Swiss equivalent to MSc) in Developmental and Molecular Biology and PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. He then moved to the London Research Institute (LRI, former ICRF) at Cancer Research-UK, London, to work as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2000, Pascal started his own research laboratory in the Breakthrough Research Centre based at the Chester Beatty Laboratories in the Institute of Cancer Research, London. He is a member of the Cell Death Society and recently he was awarded membership of the EMBO Young Investigator Program (YIP). Dr Pascal Meier leads the Apoptosis in Cancer Team at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre. He and his colleagues are investigating how to encourage apoptosis to take place in breast cancer cells, to make them more sensitive to treatment. This work could have important implications in the future for expanding treatment options for women with breast cancer.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, breast cancer, inflammation, treatment resistance and tumour surveillance

Gerry Melino

Italy, Rome and UK, Cambridge - Gerry Melino is Professor of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rome "Tor Vergata" and also at DZNE in Bonn, Germany. He is member of the Academia Lincei as well as of the Academia Europaea. For 19 years he was programme leader at the Toxicology Unit of the Medical Research Council, Cambridge University, UK. His scientific interest focuses upon programmed cell death in cancer and skin. Gerry's major work investigates the p53 family members – p63 and p73. The molecular events driven by DNA damage to elicit the function of p63/p73 is investigated in vitro (transcriptional targets, proteosomal degradation, inhibitors) as well in ad hoc transgenic animal models.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis; p63/p73; skin; DNA damage; transgenic animal models

Ute Moll 

USA, New York - Ute Moll received her MD from University of Ulm, Germany, and is currently Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Pathology, Stony Brook University, USA where she helps to integrate research programs with clinical programs. Since 2007 she also holds a Visiting Professorship at the Department of Molecular Oncology, University of Göttingen, Germany. She did her clinical training in Anatomic & Clinical Pathology at Stony Brook University and is Board-certified in Pathology. She conducted postdoctoral research with Professor Arnold Levine at Princeton University. Dr Moll's laboratory is focused on the regulation of the p53 tumour suppresser in normal and cancer cells, as well as the role of the p63 and p73 homologs in cancer, development and tissue homeostasis. She has gained international recognition for the discovery of the p53 transcription-independent mitochondrial death program and the characterization of its mechanism of action. Her lab also discovered that the deltaNp73 isoform is oncogenic and frequently upregulated in a broad spectrum of human carcinomas, circumventing the need for p73 gene mutation since it functions as a pan-family inhibitor of p53, TAp63 and TAp73. Another achievement was the discovery that p73 plays an autonomous role in maintaining genomic stability and normal ploidy in cells. Most recently, her lab discovered that loss of p73 expression, which frequently occurs in human non-Hodgkin B-lymphomas, promotes extranodal tumour dissemination which contributes to poor prognosis.

KEYWORDS: p63 and p73, cell death, non-Hodgkin B-lymphomas, cancer and metastasis.

Daniel Murphy

Scotland, Glasgow - Dr. Daniel Murphy from Galway, Ireland, received his PhD at the University of Virginia before moving to San Francisco to complete a postdoc with Gerard Evan at UCSF.  In 2008 he returned to Europe as a junior group leader at the Julius Maxmillians University of Wuerzburg, followed in 2012 by a senior lectureship at University of Glasgow Institute of Cancer Sciences, where he works presently.  The focus of Dr. Murphy’s research is the many roles of MYC in cancer, with a particular emphasis on genetically engineered mouse models of cancer.  He pioneered development of an allelic series of mice to allow for selective deregulation of MYC in any adult murine tissue and is currently focused on MYC’s role in lung and pancreatic cancers.  A major theme in his lab is the identification and therapeutic exploitation of MYC-driven cancer cell vulnerabilities, including metabolic and oxidative stress, and the role of ARK5/NUAK1 and other AMPK-related kinases in protecting cancer cells from such stress.

KEYWORDS: MYC-driven cancer, metabolic stress, oxidative stress, ARK5, NUAK1

Pierluigi Nicotera

Germany, Bonn - Pierluigi Nicotera received his MD from the University of Pavia, Italy, in 1982 and his PhD from the Karolinska Institutet in 1986. In 1995 he was appointed Professor of Toxicology at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Between 2000-2009 he was Director of the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit, Leicester, UK. His early research was concerned with the mechanisms of Ca2+-mediated cytotoxicity but now focuses on the mechanisms of cell death in toxic injury and neuronal disease. Currently, Nicotera is Director of a new German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, Germany.

KEYWORDS: neurodegenerative disease, cell death, Ca2+ mediated cytotoxicity, p73

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, calcium ion, reactive oxygen species, endonucleases, glucocorticoids

Clare Parish

Australia, Melbourne - Associate Professor Clare Parish heads the Stem Cells and Neural Development laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, the University of Melbourne, Australia. She obtained her PhD in neuroanatomy from Monash University, Australia and subsequently trained in stem cell biology at the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden). she has a broad research interest relating to disease modeling and reparing the injured brain. Her research places a strong emphasis on understanding neural development, with the idea that repairing the injured brain will require recapitulation of many of these early events. Consequently her expertise encompasses; neural development, directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, molecular mechanisms underlying neural development and axonal targeting (with a particular interest in Wnts and chemokines), and improving cell-based therapies for neural injuries. In more recent years her research has expanded to also examine the potential of 3D bioengineered scaffolding in brain repair.

KEYWORDS: neural development and injuries, stem stells, WNT pathway, chemokines

Francesca Pentimalli

Francesca Pentimalli is Associate Professor at the LUM University Research Scientist. She has been the Group Leader at the National Cancer Institute of Naples, IRCCS Pascale Foundation, where she coordinated the Cell Cycle & Cancer laboratory. She was also Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Biology, College of Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. She obtained her Degree in Biological Sciences in 1997, her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Genetics in 2002, and Specialized in Clinical Pathology and Biochemistry at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy. From 2001 to 2006 she worked as Post-Doctoral Fellow first at the Kimmel Cancer Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, then at the University Federico II, School of Medicine.
From 2006 to 2007, she worked as Assistant Editor for Nature Reviews Cancer and Nature Reviews Genetics, at the Nature Publishing Group, London, UK. She has authored over a hundred articles in the field of cancer genetics and therapeutics.

KEYWORDS: cancer research; cell cycle

Angelo Peschiaroli 

Italy, Rome – Angelo Peschiaroli Ph.D. is a Senior Researcher of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) at the Institute of Translational Pharmacology (IFT). He obtained in 2002 the PhD in “Human Biology: cellular and molecular basis”, at the University of Rome “Sapienza”, working on the molecular mechanisms linking the control of cell proliferation and the muscle differentiation program. In 2002 he joined as post-doctoral research fellow the New York University School of Medicine, where he was interested in the control of cell growth by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. In 2007 he was appointed as Research Assistant at the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI-IRCCS) until 2011 when he was appointed as Researcher at the CNR. His current research interests are related to the dysregulation of the ubiquitin system in human disease and the role of p53 family genes in cancer.

KEYWORDS: ubiquitin, cell cycle, p53 family members, cancer

Stefano Piccolo

Italy, Padua - General interests and key questions. We study how cells sense their environment and use this information to build and maintain tissues with specific form, size and function. We are also interested in how disruption of these homeostatic mechanisms leads to tumor formation, progression and metastasis, hoping to identify new routes for the treatment of incurable cancers. Specifically, our research focuses in three areas:   (1) Mechanotransduction. Tissue architecture, mechanical forces and cell shape are overarching, yet poorly understood regulators of cell behavior. (2) Molecular attributes of cancer stem cells. (3) Growth factor signaling. Our approach to these goals entails both hypothesis-driven and data-driven investigations and combines an interdisciplinary set of expertise, ranging from molecular, biochemical and cell biological tools to animal models, tissue engineering, material science and "omic" approaches.

KEYWORDS: tissue architecture, HIPPO pathway, stem cells, YAP and TAZ

Paolo Pinton

Italy, Ferrara - Dr. Pinton obtained his PhD from the University of Padua (2001) and is currently full professor of General Pathology at the University of Ferrara (Italy) and President of the Italian Society of Cell Biology and Differentiation (ABCD). Dr. Pinton has an established international recognition in the field of calcium (Ca2+) signaling and and mitochondria involvement in different physio-pathological processes. He obtained novel, unexpected insights in the fields of Ca2+ signaling and cellular metabolism. These new concepts include among others the participation of mitochondria in cellular Ca2+ homeostasis and their role in translating calcium signals into events as diverse as the stimulation of metabolism and induction of cell death, the occurrence of tight signaling interactions between the ER and mitochondria and, for the first time, the role of the oncogene Bcl-2 in reducing Ca2+ transfer from the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria and the importance of that for its mechanism of action as oncoprotein. Most recently, Dr. Pinton's research has focused on clarification of the mechanisms by which oncogenes and onco-suppressors modify intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and how these signaling changes at mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs) regulate the process of cell death under different physio-pathological conditions. Thanks also to the work from the Pinton's lab, MAMs have been identified as a critical hub in the regulation of cell death and tumor growth. The main research lines of his team are: i) Mitochondrial dysfunctions and diseases, ii) Onco-regulators at the MAMs and iii) Molecular identity and regulation of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore.

KEYWORDS: mitochondrial dysfunctions, cell death, Bcl-2, MAMs (mitochondria-associated-membranes)

Gabriel Rabinovich

Argentina, Buenos Aires - Rabinovich was born in Córdoba, Argentina in 1969 and obtained his first degree in Biochemistry and his PhD from the School of Chemical Sciences at the National University of Córdoba. He has mentored numerous PhD and post-doctoral fellows, served on the editorial board of several journals, held visiting professorships at international universities and is member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the Third World Academy of Sciences and the Argentinean Academy of Sciences. He is Senior Investigator of the National Research Council (CONICET) and Professor of Immunology at the School of Exact and Natural Sciences, University of Buenos Aires. He currently heads the Division of Immunopathology at the Institute of Biology and Experimental Medicine (IBYME) and is Deputy Director of IBYME.

Gabriel Rabinovich's laboratory is interested in understanding the function of glycans and glycan-binding proteins in cellular processes relevant to immune regulation, tolerance and angiogenesis in health and disease. Together with his team, Rabinovich has demonstrated that galectin-dependent regulatory programs can blunt harmful immune responses by selectively depleting pathogenic T cells, triggering differentiation of tolerogenic dendritic cells and promoting polarization of macrophages and microglia toward an anti-inflammatory phenotype. They demonstrated that malignant cells can use the galectin-glycan pathway to create immunosuppressive networks that thwart antitumor responses. Notably, they found that galectin-glycan interactions can also preserve angiogenesis in tumors refractory to anti-angiogenic treatment by recapitulating the signaling activity of vascular endothelial growth factor. These findings open new possibilities for development of therapeutic strategies aimed at potentiating antitumor responses, limiting autoimmune inflammation and overcoming aberrant angiogenesis.

KEYWORDS: glycans, glycan-binding proteins, inflammation, angiogenesis, cancer

Krishnaraj Rajalingam

Germany, Mainz - Krishna Rajalingam heads a cell death signalling group at the Institute for Biochemistry II in Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany. He received his Ph.D. (2004) in Molecular cell biology from Humboldt University /Max Planck Institute for Infections Biology in Berlin. Krishna's lab is interested in understanding the molecular signalling machinery modulating tumour cell survival and migration. In particular, his lab focusses on elucidating the physiological role of IAPs, biology of RAF kinases and cell death mediated by bacterial toxins. Krishna was an Emmy Noether fellow of the DFG (2007-2012) and subsequently been selected to be a fellow of the Boehringer Ingelheim foundation (2012).

KEYWORDS: cancer, IAP, RAF kinases, bacterial toxins, cell death

Jean-Ehrland Ricci

France, Nice - Jean-Ehrland Ricci received his master’s degree and his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France, where he studied Fas- and T-Cell Receptor-mediated apoptosis in human T cells. Then he joined Dr. Douglas R. Green Laboratory in San Diego for his post-doctoral training where he studied the metabolic regulation of caspase dependent and independent cell death. Since 2006, he leads the “Cancer, Metabolism and Immune Response” team at Inserm U1065 (Mediterranean Center for Molecular Medicine Research, C3M), Nice, France. His research focuses on how metabolism and metabolic enzymes controls signaling pathways, cell death and immune responses going from pre-clinical models to clinical studies.

KEYWORDS: cell metabolism, apoptosis, immune responses, cancer

Nirmal Robinson 

Adelaide, Australia - Nirmal Robinson is the head of Cellular Stress and Immune Response Laboratory at the Centre for Cancer Biology, University of South Australia, Adelaide. Prior to joining the Centre for Cancer Biology, he was a principal investigator at the CECAD Research Centre, University of Cologne, Germany. Nirmal did his postdoctoral training at the National Research Council of Canada and he holds a PhD from University of Bonn, Germany. He also holds a master’s degree in pharmacy. His areas of research interests are: 1) Mechanisms of cellular adaptation in cancer and bacterial infection, 2) Molecular interface between metabolism and immunity and 3) Inflammation and Cell death mechanisms associated with cancer and bacterial infections.

Key words: Cell stress, Cell death, Autophagy, Immunometabolism, Infection and Cancer

Barak Rotblat

Israel, Negev - Barak Rotblat is a senior lecturer at the department of Life Sciences in Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel and a member of the National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev. He completed his PhD training in 2007 at the Department of Neurobiochemistry, Tel-Aviv University, Israel, studying the biophysical properties of the Ras oncogene (supervised by Prof. Yoel Kloog). He went for postdoctoral training at the Department of Molecular Oncology at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Canada (supervised by Prof. Poul Sorensen), where he studied a protein ubiquitin E3 ligase known to be involved in cancer and found that it is also important in and relevant to neurodegeneration. For his second postdoc (2012) he moved to the MRC Toxicology Unit, Leicester, UK (supervised by Prof. Gerry Melino), to study the link between transcription and selective translation. Currently, Barak and his team study the biological functions of long noncoding RNA and translation regulation in cancer.

KEYWORDS: ubiquitination, neurodegeneration, long noncoding RNA, cancer, translation regulation

Thomas Rudel

Germany, Würzburg - Thomas Rudel received his PhD at the University of Tübingen, Germany. From 1995 to 1997, he did his postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute for Biology, Department for Infection Biology in Tübingen and at the Scripps Research Institute, Department for Immunology. He then joined the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin as a group leader. Since 2008 he has held the chair of Microbiology at the University of Würzburg, Germany. His current research focuses on the role of programmed cell death in bacterial infection and the connection of infection and cancer development. In particular, he and his co-workers study the molecular mechanism underlying the modulation of host apoptosis by infecting bacteria. This includes studies on bacterial pathogenicity factors targeting mitochondria and components of the host's apoptosis machinery.

KEYWORDS: bacterial infection, cancer development, mitochondria, apoptosis

Massimo M. Santoro

Prof. Massimo M. Santoro obtained his Master's Degree at the University of Turin, Italy, and obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the Open University of London, UK. Prof Santoro completed his post-doctoral training at the University of California in San Francisco, USA. Upon his return to Italy in 2008, he established his first independent laboratory at the University of Turin's Molecular Biotechnology Center. Later, he was appointed Full Professor and Group Leader at the VIB Vesalius Research Center of the University of Leuven, Belgium. In 2018, he joined the University of Padua as Chair of Cell Biology at the Department of Biology and in 2020 the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM) as Principal Investigator. He has been awarded an EMBO (2004) and HFSP (2005) long-term fellowships, as well as the HFSP Career Developmental Award (2008), the Marie Curie Reintegration Grant (2010), the Odysseus-FWO Career Grant (2014), the ERC Consolidator Grant (2016), ERC Proof of Concept (2020).

His lab is focused on studying how cell signaling and metabolism regulate endothelial biology and cancer progression. To accomplish this goal his lab is taking advantage of innovative genetic and imaging technologies as well as new molecular and metabolic approaches in vertebrate models, such as zebrafish and mouse.

Kristopher Sarosiek

USA, Boston - Kristopher Sarosiek is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Biology at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Dr. Sarosiek received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology from the University of Miami School of Medicine under the mentorship of Izidore Lossos, MD.  Dr. Sarosiek subsequently completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the laboratory of Anthony Letai, MD, PhD, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/ Harvard Medical School where he studied the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway.  In 2016, Dr. Sarosiek established his laboratory at the Harvard School of Public Health within the John B. Little Center for Radiation Sciences.  The long-term goal of Dr. Sarosiek’s laboratory is to develop a better understanding of how cell death is regulated in healthy and diseased cells in order to expose novel opportunities for therapeutic intervention and disease prevention.

KEYWORDS:  apoptosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, brain injuries, AL amyloidosis

Akira Sawa

USA, Baltimore - Akira Sawa is Director of Program in Molecular Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. Akira Sawa is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist initially trained in Japan (University of Tokyo Hospital, under the supervision of Masaaki Matsushita) after graduating from University of Tokyo in 1990. Having received basic research training from Solomon Snyder in the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, he was first appointed as Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychiatry in 2001. His program covers both basic and clinical research, focusing on schizophrenia and related disorders; and the role for cell death during development and aging, especially cell death triggered by oxidative stress that impact mental functions.

KEYWORDS: schizophrenia, cell death, oxidative stress, development and aging

Kate Schroder

Australia, Queensland - Kate Schroder heads the Inflammasome Laboratory, and is Deputy Director of the Centre for Inflammation Research and Disease, at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Australia. Kate received her PhD in 2005 for her research investigating mechanisms of macrophage activation by interferons and Toll-like receptors, in the laboratory of David Hume. Her subsequent postdoctoral position with David Hume and Matthew Sweet investigated the transcriptional programs triggered by macrophage differentiation and Toll-like receptor ligation. A key focus of these studies was to define species differences in the TLR4-dependent responses of human versus mouse macrophages. She then joined Jurg Tshopp's group in Switzerland as a Research Fellow, and gained expertise in Nod-like receptor and inflammasome biology. In 2013, she established her new laboratory, which integrates molecular and cell biology approaches with in vivo studies to gain a holistic understanding of inflammasome function during infection, and inflammasome dysfunction in inflammatory disease. Current research directions include the molecular mechanisms governing inflammasome activity and caspase activation, the evolutionary biology of inflammasomes, and the cellular mediators of inflammasome-dependent inflammation.

KEYWORDS: inflammatory disease, inflammasome function and dysfunction, apoptosis, autophagy

Federico Sesti

USA, New Jersey - Federico Sesti received his Laurea (MSc.) and Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Genova, Italy. He is Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University. Dr. Sesti is a Fulbright Scholar and serves as reviewer for international, federal and private funding agencies and for more than fifty journals. The research of the Sesti’s laboratory revolves around the molecular basis of neuronal aging in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Major areas of focus include ion channels, aging, neurodegenerative disease, and their associated cell signaling. The lab studies how excess reactive oxygen species modify potassium channels and how this mechanism - which the lab has been the first to demonstrate - contributes to the progressive decline in neuronal function which is typical of aging and of neurodegenerative disease.

KEYWORDS: neurodegenerative disease, reactive oxygen species, potassium channels, aging

Vuk Stambolic

Canada, Toronto - Vuk Stambolic is a cancer researcher at the Ontario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the University of Toronto, Canada. Dr. Stambolic is interested in deregulation of signal transduction pathways in cancer with a focus on the biology of the PTEN tumor suppressor and the relationship between obesity and cancer. His laboratory utilizes biochemical and genetic model organism approaches to discover and investigate the mechanistic events underlying tumorigenesis. Dr. Stambolic's work has recently extended into the area of translational cancer medicine, with his active participation in clinical trials aimed at using metformin, a commonly prescribed type 2 diabetes drug, as an anti-cancer agent.

KEYWORDS: PI3K signaling pathway, PTEN, cancer, cancer treatment

Flavie Strappazzon 

Rome, Italy - Dr. Flavie Strappazzon is a junior head of a laboratory at the IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome (Italy). She received her master and her PhD in Cell Biology at the University of Joseph Fourier (Grenoble, France). During this period, she acquired a solid knowledge in Cell Death and Neurosciences. Next, she moved to Italy (Rome) to perform two post-doctoral trainings in the field of Autophagy. In 2018, she started her research group working on selective autophagy and, in particular, on mitophagy in the context of autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases. Her lab is contributing to the molecular understanding of this process in order to define new therapeutical approaches for neurodegeneratives and/or autoimmune diseases.


Liming Sun

China, Shanghai - Liming Sun, Ph.D., is a professor at Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her research primarily concerned with the molecular mechanism of necroptosis signaling, and its relevance to human diseases. Her major scientific contributions include: (1) Discovered MLKL as a key component of necroptosis pathway at the downstream of RIP3; (2) Identified the autophosphorylation site on RIP3, which is required for MLKL recruitment; (3) Identified the phosphorylation sites on MLKL that are catalyzed by RIP3, which are required for releasing its autoinhibition; (4) Screened out new necroptosis inhibitor NSA, and defined its targeting site on human MLKL-Cys86; (5) Developed monoclonal antibodies that specifically recognize p-RIP3 or p-MLKL, which potentially serve as important tools to dissect necroptosis signaling in vivo; (6) Found microtubule-targeting agents (MTAs) utilize membrane bound-TNF to kill the adjacent tumor cells, which reframed our fundamental understanding on how MTA drugs utilize the tight contact between solid tumor cells to induce cancer-cell-to-cancer-cell killing and eventually shrink the entire tumor with “snowball” effect; (7) Identified Tenascin-C (TNC), released by necroptotic myofibers, as a key factor to promote muscle stem cell (MuSC) proliferation through directly stimulating EGF receptor (EGFR) cascade in MuSCs during regeneration, which provided us a paradigm for understanding that necroptosis, as a form of “altruistic suicide”, contributing the conditional niche for adult stem cell proliferation upon injury.

Stephen Tait

UK, Glasgow - After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, U.K. with a BSc in Medical Microbiology, Stephen obtained his D.Phil from the University of Sussex, U.K. where he investigated viral immune evasion strategies (based at the Pirbright Institute). He then completed postdoctoral training at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, USA. Stephen joined the faculty at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in 2012, where he holds a joint appointment with the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow. His lab interests centre on mitochondrial cell death and its myriad of roles in cancer biology.

KEYWORDS: mitochondria, cell death, cancer

Nektarios Tavernarakis

Greece, Irakleion- Nektarios Tavernarakis is a Research Director (Professor) at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, in Heraklion, Crete, Greece, heading the Caenorhabditis elegans molecular genetics laboratory. He earned his PhD degree at the University of Crete, studying gene expression regulation in yeast, and trained in C. elegans genetics and molecular biology at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. His research focuses on studies of neuronal function and dysfunction, using nematodes as a model organism. His main interests are the molecular mechanisms of necrotic cell death in neurodegeneration and senescent decline, the molecular mechanisms of sensory transduction and integration by the nervous system, the interplay between cellular metabolism and ageing, and the development of novel genetic tools for C. elegans research. He is the recipient of a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Investigator grant award, an International Human Frontier in Science Program Organization (HFSPO) long-term award, the Bodossaki Foundation Scientific Prize for Medicine and Biology, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel research award, and is a European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) Young Investigator.

KEYWORDS: necrotic cell death, neurodegeneration, sensory transduction, C. elegans development and ageing

Peter Vandenabeele

Belgium, Ghent - Peter Vandenabeele's research group is based at the VIB Inflammation Research Center (www.vib.be) and Ghent University (www.irc.ugent.be), Belgium. Peter Vandenabeele performed his PhD at the Ghent University in the group of Prof. Walter Fiers. In 1996, he became PI at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB). His research activities focus on molecular mechanisms of different cell death modalities, their regulation, their functional interactions and the role herein of caspases, RIPK and other signalling molecules. These phenomena are studied in an integrated way at the level of biochemistry, cell biology and various inflammatory diseases models. His research increasingly uses omics approaches, high content screening and development of conditional transgenic models provided by excellent core facilities present at the department and VIB. His group also includes the subunits of Prof. Wim Declercq focusing on cell death and inflammation in skin biology and Prof. Mathieu Bertrand working on cell death and inflammation signalling during ER stress. Peter Vandenabeele's work has been published in more than 302 articles and has been cited over 24000 times, with an h index of 84 (WoS). Peter Vandenabeele is currently president of European Cell Death Organization (ECDO) (www.ecdo.eu) (2014), he has been chairman of the 2003 and 2010 ECDO meetings organized in Ghent and his lab is housing the secretariat of ECDO. He was a Member of the Board of Directors of the Ghent University (2012-2014) and of the Ghent College University (2007-2013). He received the prestigious Methusalem grant from the Flemish Government (2009) for the continuation and consolidation of fundamental research in cell death and inflammation and setting up HCS screening facilities. He has been elected as member of the Flemish Royal Academy of Belgium in Sciences and Arts (Brussels, 2012), received the career award from European Academy of Tumor Immunology (EATI) (Paris, 2013) and received the Francqui chair at the Antwerp University (2013).

KEYWORDS: necroptosis, skin biology, omics, ER stress

Ilio Vitale

Italy, Turin - Ilio Vitale is a Group Leader at the Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine, Candiolo Cancer Institute FPO - IRCCS (Candiolo, Italy) and Professor of Neurobiology at the Department of Biology of University of Rome “Tor Vergata” (Rome, Italy). Ilio received his Ph.D. from the University of Rome “Roma Tre” (2007) and then performed a post-doc at the Gustave Roussy Comprehensive Cancer Center (Villejuif, France; 2007-2012) under the supervision of Prof G. Kroemer. Subsequently, he worked as a Group Leader at the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute and at the Department of Biology of University of Rome “Tor Vergata” (Rome, Italy) (2013-2019). He also operates as Editor-in-Chief for Molecular and Cellular Oncology. Ilio currently works on projects aimed at evaluating the interconnection between chromosomal instability, cancer stemness and tumor immunology for the development of novel immunotherapeutic strategies.

KEYWORDS: aneuploidy, cancer stem cells, cell death, chromosomal instability, mitosis

Domagoj Vucic

USA, San Francisco - Domagoj Vucic, PhD, is a Senior Scientist at Genentech, Inc. in South San Francisco, USA. He obtained his BSc from the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, USA. He completed his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr Vishva Dixit. Dr Vucic's laboratory investigates the physiological role of inhibitors of apoptosis (IAP) proteins in tumour progression, maintenance and resistance to anti-cancer treatments. At Genentech, his group is developing IAP-antagonistic compounds that promote death of cancer cells and/or sensitize IAP-expressing tumour cells to pro-apoptotic stimuli such as Death Receptor agonists. His laboratory also studies the biological role of modulators of signaling pathways (e.g. ubiquitination-mediated regulation of NF-κB pathways), and their involvement in cellular processes triggered by TNF family ligands and other pro-inflammatory agents.

KEYWORDS: TRAIL, TNF, CD95, signaling pathways

Ruoning Wang

USA, Columbus - Ruoning Wang earned his bachelor's degree in Medicinal Chemistry from China Pharmaceutical University, followed by MS degree in Biochemistry from Nanjing Medical University and PhD degree in Gene & Development from the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center. He was further trained in Immunology and Cancer Biology at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a postdoctoral fellow and joined The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital at the Ohio State University as a Principal Investigator. The overarching theme of his research interest is to understand the interplay between metabolic pathways and signaling cascades, and how such interplay impacts cell division, death and differentiation in the context of tumorigenesis and immune response. Specifically, his lab focuses on 1) understanding the cellular mechanism of metabolic checkpoint, 2) delineating metabolic signatures of immune cells and tumor cells, and understanding how the altered metabolic landscape impacts the immunosuppressive nature of the tumor’s microenvironment, and finally 3) translating the above knowledge to novel therapeutic strategies to treat cancers and autoimmunity.

KEYWORDS: metabolic checkpoints, tumorigenesis, immunity

Xiaochen Wang

China, Beijing - Xiaochen Wang received her Ph.D in molecular biology from Peking University and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was an assistant investigator from 2006 and associate investigator from 2011 at National Institute of Biological Sciences (NIBS, Bejing, China) until she moved to Institute of Biophysics (IBP), Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) in 2016. Xiaochen was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Early Career Scientist. She is currently a principal investigator at IBP, CAS. Wang lab studies mechanisms controlling various aspects of apoptotic cell removal and utilizes C. elegans as a multicellular model to investigate the regulation and function of lysosome homeostasis.

Key words: phagocytosis, lysosome, C. elegans

Eileen White

USA, New Jersey - Dr. Eileen White received a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a PhD in Biology from SUNY Stony Brook in the Department of Dr. Arnold J. Levine. She was a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Stillman at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. There she discovered that one of the oncogenes of the DNA tumor virus adenovirus encoded an inhibitor of programmed cell death or apoptosis (E1B 19K) that was a viral homologue of the human bcl-2 oncogene. She went on to establish that oncogene activation that deregulates cell growth also activates apoptosis, and that inhibition of apoptosis promotes cancer and treatment resistance. These findings revealed roles for the p53 tumor suppressor in activating apoptosis and suppressing cancer and for the Bcl-2-related anti-apoptotic proteins blocking apoptosis and promoting cancer. 

She is currently Deputy Director, Chief Scientific Officer, Associate Director for Basic Science at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Rutgers University. Dr. White has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute and the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research. She has received a MERIT Award from the NCI, an Investigatorship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Red Smith Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. White is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. White has been or is a member of the Scientific Review Boards for the Starr Cancer Consortium and the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, Bcl-2, cancer, autophagy

Jens Wiltfang

Germany, Göttingen - Professor Jens Wiltfang, MD, is Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the university hospital in Essen, Germany. He obtained his MD at the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover in 1986 and his PhD in 1988. He then did four years of basic research in neuroscience and proteinbiochemistry at the Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen on a post-doctoral fellowship of the German Research foundation (DFG) and a Max-Planck postdoc fellowship. In 1997, he became head of the research groups Molecular Neurobiology and Neurochemical Dementia Diagnostics, Department of Psychiatry, University of Göttingen; his main research topics were identification of new neurochemical dementia markers by clinical proteomics, identification of new drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's dementia (AD), and basic research related to the pathophysiology of AD using transgenic cell culture and animal models. After having received the call for a position as university professor ("C3-Extraordinariat") at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Jens Wiltfang left Göttingen for Erlangen, where he became Vice Clinic Director to the Department of Psychiatry as well as head of the research laboratory for Molecular Neurobiology and Neurochemical Dementia Diagnostics. In 2007, he took over his current position in Essen. Now, his work focuses on the identification of neurochemical biomarkers for early and differential diagnosis of dementia; as well as the development of new drugs for pharmacotherapy of Alzheimer's disease. In addition to the above he's also looking for similarities in insulin signal transduction, Diabetes mellitus type 2 and Alzheimer related dementia.

KEYWORDS: neurodevelopment, Alzheimer’s disease, pharmacotherapy, insulin signal transduction

W. Wei-Lynn Wong

Switzerland, Zurich – Lynn Wong received her PhD from the University of Toronto in 2005. She completed her postdoctoral training in Melbourne, Australia at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and LaTrobe University. In 2012, she established her research group at the University of Zurich, Switzerland and in 2015 she received the Clöetta Medical Research Fellow to continue her position. Our research focuses on identifying how E3 ligases regulate signaling pathways critical in response to infections or disease by altering inflammation and immunity. We examine signaling pathways using biochemical methods, localization and assess the changes in immune cell activation and regulation of inflammation.  There are two themes in the research: 1) Molecular mechanism of inflammation and immune function influenced by mitochondrial dynamics. 2) Involvement of the immune system to promote inflammation and tissue damage under acute or chronic disease.

KEYWORDS: TNFSF signaling, immune function, inflammasome, auto-inflammation, cell death

Will Wood

UK, Edinburgh - Professor Will Wood received a Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from University College London before moving to Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, Portugal, to work as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2006 he started his own research laboratory in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Bath (UK) as a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship. He is currently a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bath, where his lab investigates the molecular mechanisms that underlie Drosophila macrophage migration in vivo. He is particularly interested in how these immune cells prioritise competing cues such as damage signals released from wounds and 'eat me' signals arising from apoptotic corpses as well as the guidance cues that direct their developmental dispersal during embryogenesis.

KEYWORDS: Drosophila, embryonic blood cells, migration, chemotaxis

Jim Xiao

China, Sichuan - Dr Zhi-Xiong Jim Xiao received BS from Sichuan University, PhD from University of Massachusetts at Amherst and postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. He was appointed as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine in 1996 and promoted to Associated Professor and Full professor. He joined in Sichuan University, China, as Director of Center of Growth, Metabolism and Aging in 2010. His research interest is cell cycle, tumor suppressor proteins and cancer cell biology. He has made important contributions in the mechanisms of tumor suppressors and tumorigenesis. He received numerous awards including Anna Fuller Foundation, American Cancer Society, Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health. His current research focuses on signaling transduction and cancer metastasis.

KEYWORDS: p53,  Pin1, PML, DNA damage, regulation, metabolism, aging

Huang-Tian Yang

China, Shanghai - Huang-Tian Yang is the Associate Director and Professor of the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS), Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine. She received her PhD at Yamagata University School of Medicine, Japan. She was a faculty member/research follower at Nantong University School of Medicine, Yamagata University School of Medicine, and NIH/NIA. Since 2000, she has taken current position as a Group Leader in IHS. Her scientific interest focuses on the regulation of physiopathology in myocardial contractility and identification of novel targets and therapeutic intervention for the prevention and treatment of ischemic myocardial injury. The current projects developed by her team are mainly centered around i) regulation of pluripotent stem cell differentiation, especially cardiomyocyte differentiation; ii) roles and regulations of Ca2+ signals in lineage commitment, cardiomyocyte maturation and ischemic injury; and iii) molecular mechanisms and application potential of intermittent hypoxic adaptation- and natural compound-conferred cardioprotection against ischemic injury.

KEYWORDS: pluripotent stem cells, cardiomyocytes, calcium signaling, cardiac ischemy, hypoxia

Avraham Yaron

Israel, Rehovot - Avraham Yaron received his Ph.D. from The Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School (Israel) in 2000. From 2000 to 2006, he conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University and Genentech under the supervision of Marc Tessier-Lavigne. From 2006, he works as senior scientist and principal investigator, Weizmann institute of science, Israel Several aspects of axonal degeneration and peripheral neuropathy are his main interests.

KEYWORDS: axonal mRNA trafficking, neurodegeneration, axonal degeneration, axonal guidance


Junying Yuan

USA, Boston - Dr Junying Yuan received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University in 1989 and her undergraduate degree from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, in 1982. Dr Yuan carried out her Ph.D. thesis work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory of H. Robert Horvitz where she studied the mechanism of programmed cell death in the nematode C. elegans. After her Ph.D. studies, she established her own laboratory as a Principal Investigator of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Her laboratory made the groundbreaking discovery revealing the functional role of caspases in controlling apoptosis in mammalian cells in 1993. She joined the Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, in 1996 and was appointed a Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School in 2000. Dr Yuan is a fellow of the American Arts and Science and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has made many important discoveries in the mechanisms of cell death. She is a leading world expert on cell death including both apoptosis and necrosis. Her recent works focus on the alternative mechanisms of cell death. Her laboratory identified necrostatins, a family of small molecule inhibitors of necroptosis, a regulated necrotic cell death mechanism.

KEYWORDS: cell death, cellular signaling, nectrostatins, neurobiology

Zahra Zakeri

USA, New York City - Dr Zahra Zakeri received her Ph.D. from St. John's University, NY and continued as a post-doctoral fellow and associate research scientist at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. She taught at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School - University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey before moving to Queens College, NY, where she is Professor and Director of the MARC Program. She has served on numerous grant review panels in the US, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Israel and Iran. She is on the editorial boards of several journals and acts as a reviewer for many other journals. Her research has touched on many areas of cell death, including stress and heat shock genes, ceramide and sphingomyelin, autophagy and phagocytosis, cell death in development and aging, cyclin dependent kinases, the role of apoptosis in teratogenicity, viral manipulation in cell death, and the role of genetic sex on sensitivity to cell death. She has co-edited several books, including two volumes of Methods in Enzymology. She was a co-founder of the first Gordon Conferences on Cell Death, Scientists Without Borders, and the International Cell Death Society, for which she is currently President. She has won several awards, including most recently, "Ambassador for Science" awarded by the International Cell Death Society.

KEYWORDS: cell death, stress genes, phagocytosis, aging

Gerard Zambetti

USA, Memphis - Gerry Zambetti, PhD, is a Member of the Department of Biochemistry and Vice President & Director of Academic Programs in Biomedical Sciences at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis TN, USA. His research focuses on the effectors and mediators of the p53 tumor suppressor signaling pathway. Specific areas of study include genotype-phenotype relationships associated with germline p53 mutations, the impact of these mutations on childhood cancers, and the mechanisms through which p53 induces cell death, for example, the regulation of downstream target genes such as PUMA.

KEYWORDS: p53, pediatric cancers, PUMA, adrenocortical carcinoma

Jingwu Zang

China, Shanghai - Jingwu Zang received his medical degree in Shanghai JiaoTong University School of Medicine (formerly Shanghai Second Medical University) and went on to earn his PhD in Immunology in Belgium, where he started his illustrious pursuit of a cure for multiple sclerosis through basic and clinical research. He later received an advanced research fellowship award from US National Multiple Sclerosis Society and conducted his postdoctoral research on multiple sclerosis in Harvard Medical School. Dr Zang joined faculty of Neurology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine and obtained a US medical licensure through a clinical residency program there. Prior to his career in Shanghai, he had been Professor of Neurology and Immunology and Research Director of Multiple Sclerosis Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Dr Zang has published about 160 scientific articles in prestigious journals, chapters and books and received many international science awards. He is well known for his pioneering work in T cell vaccination as a treatment for multiple sclerosis, which led to landmark publications in Science. Dr Zang was the scientific founder of Opexa Pharmaceuticals, a spin-off biotech company of Baylor College of Medicine. In his recent career in China, Dr Zang established the Institute of Health Sciences with Chinese Academy of Sciences as the founding director and the Institut Pasteur Shanghai (Chinese Academy of Sciences and Institut Pasteur Paris) as the Chinese founding director. Among other academic positions he held in China are Dean of School of Medical Sciences (Shanghai JiaoTong University) and Director of Shanghai Institute of Immunology. In June 2007, Dr Zang joined GlaxoSmithKline as Senior Vice President to head GSK R&D Center in China.

KEYWORDS: T cell vaccines, multiple sclerosis, Immune circuits (Th1, Th 17 and regulatory T cells), autoimmune diseases

Jianke Zhang

USA, Philadelphia - Jianke Zhang obtained his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Purdue University in the USA, after college education in Microbiology at Northwest University, Xi’an, China. Following a brief postdoctoral training in Biochemistry at Purdue University, he moved to University of California at Berkeley to work as a Special Research Fellow of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America. He then joined the faculty at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He is currently Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Director of Ph.D. program in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis, Director of the Flow Cytometry Core, and member of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Vaccine Center. He has a long interest in apoptosis and necroptosis mediated by FADD, RIP1 and RIP3 during mouse development and immune responses. He had served a 5-year term as a member of the Editorial Board of J. Biol. Chem., and currently serves as an Associate Editor in Front. Cell. Dev Biol.  He served as ad hoc reviewer for Nature Rev. MCB, Nature Rev. Immunol., PNAS, Blood, J. Immunol. and other journals.

KEYWORDS: apoptosis, necroptosis, RIP1, RIP3, FADD proteins