Dr. Hiyaa Ghosh received her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and postdoctoral training from Columbia University in the United States. Her investigations of adult blood-cells, using in vivo genetic fate-tracking was among the first evidences that demonstrated the requirement for active maintenance of differentiated adult cells. She was awarded the prestigious Scholars Award from the American Society of Haematology for her investigations during her postdoctoral-training in Immunology. Before starting her laboratory at NCBS, she worked as a Fellow in the Dept. of Neuroscience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, studying neuronal regeneration. Her laboratory at NCBS focuses on adult brain homeostasis and neuroinflammation, seeking to understand genetic regulations that enable homeostatic maintenance of cellular form and function in the adult brain, and deregulations thereof, that may contribute to neuro-pathologies. She has been a Ramanujan Fellow, and is currently an EMBO Global Investigator and Wellcome Trust-DBT Senior Fellow.
Dr. Taekjip Ha is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He develops and uses single molecule and single cell measurement tools to study life at high resolution. Dr. Ha received a bachelor in Physics from Seoul National University in 1990 and Physics Ph.D from University of California at Berkeley in 1996. After postdoctoral training at Stanford, he was a Physics professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign until 2015. Dr. Ha serves on Editorial Boards for Science. He is a member of the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Medicine, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the 2011 HoAm Prize in Science and was elected as President of the Biophysical Society in 2021.
Ramanujan Hegde earned his MD and PhD from UCSF in 1999, completing his thesis work in the laboratory of Vishwanath Lingappa. He then started his own laboratory at the US National Institutes of Health, rising to the position of Senior Investigator. In 2011, Hegde moved to the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, where he is currently a Programme Leader and Joint Head of the Cell Biology Division. Research in the Hegde lab is focused on understanding the molecular basis of intracellular protein organization. His current interests include the mechanisms underlying membrane protein biogenesis and the quality control of multi-subunit protein complexes. Hegde’s work has been recognized by several honours, including his election as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and Fellow of the Royal Society.
Hauke Hillen is a professor at the University Medical Center Göttingen and a Research Group Leader at the Max-Planck-Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen, Germany. Hauke studied biochemistry at the University of Tübingen, Germany and then did his PhD with Patrick Cramer at Ludwigs Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. In 2018 he became a Project Leader at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. In 2020 he started his own independent research group at the University Medical Center Göttingen and the Max-Planck-Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences. Hauke’s research is aimed at unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying gene expression in human mitochondria, and how defects in this process lead to diseases. His lab combines cutting-edge structural biology methods such as cryo-electron microscopy with biochemical, biophysical and cellular techniques. Using this integrated approach, Hauke and his team have been able to obtain detailed molecular insights into mitochondrial transcription, RNA processing and other steps of mitochondrial gene expression.
Pascal Kaeser is a Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. His current work focuses on mechanisms and roles of neurotransmission in the vertebrate brain, with research projects on both classical synaptic transmission and on neuromodulatory signaling. Pascal earned his MD degree at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He investigated the neuro-invasion of prions in the laboratory of Adriano Aguzzi at the University of Zurich for his doctoral studies. During his postdoctoral training, he dissected mechanisms of synaptic vesicle exocytosis in Thomas Südhof’s lab at UTSoutwestern Medical Center and at Stanford University before starting his own laboratory at Harvard.
Born and raised in Germany, Professor Karbstein received a Vordiplom from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, and a Diplom from the Universität Witten/Herdecke. For her Ph.D. she moved to Stanford University and joined the laboratory of Dan Herschlag, where she used kinetic and thermodynamic analyses to study catalysis and conformational changes in RNA enzymes. After completing her doctorate, she joined the Doudna lab in Berkeley, where she developed a biochemical system to study ribosome assembly. In 2006, she joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and moved from there to Scripps Florida in 2010. She is now a Full Professor at The Scripps Research Institute, as well as a Full Professor and DEI Liason at The Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology in Jupiter, Florida. In addition to her science, Dr. Karbstein is passionate about educating the next generation of scientists and promoting access to science opportunities for everyone. In addition to being a scientist, Dr. Karbstein is a single mother of two teenage daughters, one in college, and one finishing up high school.
Yamuna Krishnan is a Professor of Chemistry, and Faculty at the Grossman Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Her group has pioneered the development of DNA-based molecular devices to interrogate organelles in live cells. Her group has thereby unplugged decades-old bottlenecks in chemical imaging and enabled the study of cell physiology at the nanoscale. She was on Cell’s 40 under 40 list of scientists shaping current and future trends in biology. Her work has been recognized by the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for Chemical Sciences, the Infosys Prize for Physical Sciences, the Ono Pharma Foundation Breakthrough Award, the Sun Pharma Award for Basic Medical Research and the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award.
Eva Kummer is an expert in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Eva obtained a Diploma in Human Biology from the University of Greifswald. For her PhD, she relocated to the University of Heidelberg to investigate the operating principles of molecular chaperones in Bernd Bukau’s group. During her postdoc in Nenad Ban’s lab at ETH Zurich, her work revealed key snapshots of mitochondrial ribosomes during translation. Since 2021, she has been an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, focusing on structural studies of the mitochondrial gene expression system.
Dr. Nick Lane is Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry at University College London. He was a founding member of the UCL Consortium for Mitochondrial Research and is Co-Director of the UCL Centre for Life’s Origins and Evolution. His research is about how energy flow has shaped evolution from the origin of life to the emergence of complex traits such as sex, death and consciousness. Prof. Lane has published more than 100 papers in top journals including Nature, Science, Cell and PNAS. He is best known for his five books on energy and evolution, including most recently Transformer: The Deep Chemistry of Life and Death, which Science described as “A thrilling tour… Masterful.” He has received many awards for his work, including the 2015 Biochemical Society Award and the 2016 Royal Society Faraday Prize. Bill Gates calls him “One of my favourite science writers”.
Marius Lemberg was born in Germany. He studied Biochemistry and Natural Sciences at the Universities of Tübingen, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. Lemberg received his doctorate at the Institute of Biochemistry at the ETH where he was awarded the silver medal for his outstanding dissertation. From 2004 to 2007 he was a postdoctoral researcher at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK. Since 2017 he has been an associate professor (W2) at the Center for Molecular Biology at the University of Heidelberg (ZMBH), where he has been a research group leader since 2007. In 2021 he became a Full Professor for Biochemistry (W3) at the Biochemistry Center of the Medical Faculty of Cologne University. Lemberg's research focuses on molecular mechanisms that monitor protein homeostasis in eukaryotic cells. He combines classic cell biology and membrane biochemistry with proteomics methods for substrate identification.
Hansong is an expert in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genetics. She earned her PhD with Prof Robin May at the University of Birmingham, where she probed infections of mammalian cells by a fungal pathogen Cryptococcus. She then joined Prof Patrick O’Farrell’s lab at the University of California San Francisco as a postdoc fellow to study mtDNA inheritance in Drosophila. In 2017, Hansong established her own group at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge on a Wellcome Sir Henry Dale Fellowship to continue her research on mtDNA transmission and maintenance and how that impacts health and disease. Hansong is an EMBO Young Investigator and a recipient of the 2020 Leverhulme Philip Prize in Biological science. Her work has made mitochondrial genetics accessible in a multicellular animal. In particular, Hansong showed that deleterious mtDNA mutations are selectively eliminated by purifying selection during oogenesis, but certain sequence polymorphisms can grant pathogenic mitochondrial genomes a selfish advantage so that they outcompete functional genomes and impair health. Hansong also demonstrated that homologous recombination occurs in animal mitochondria and capitalised on this to develop the first system to isolate recombinant mtDNA, providing a means to genetically engineer animal mtDNA.
Dr. Merbl earned her BSc in computational biology, summa cum laude (2003) from Bar-Ilan University, and her MSc in immunology (2005) in the lab of Prof. Irun Cohen at the Weizmann Institute. Dr. Merbl earned her PhD in systems biology (2010) from Harvard Medical School. Working at the meeting point between biochemistry, proteomics, and immunology, Dr. Merbl is addressing both basic and translational research questions in the field of cancer and immunity. Her lab focuses on uncovering regulatory mechanisms of the epiproteome, by studying changes in posttranslational modifications and protein degradation. Her lab developed several platform technologies which enable the analysis of biological samples in different disease settings. In the context of cancer, harnessing these approaches they have uncovered mechanisms regulating anti-tumor immunity by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. They also revealed the modified immunopeptidome landscape in cancer. These discoveries set the basis for translational research for biomarker and target discovery as well as novel therapeutic opportunities in a diverse set of human pathologies. Dr. Merbl is the recipient of numerous awards for her scholastic and academic excellence, including the Peter and Patricia Gruber Award, an ERC Starting and Consolidator Grants, innovation awards in collaboration with leading pharma companies and the Israeli Centers of Excellence - Young Investigator Award. She is also a co-founder of two biotech companies based on her technologies.
Michal Minczuk is a MRC Investigator at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit (MBU), leading a research programme in Mitochondrial Genetics. His programme encompasses the development of methods for controlled editing of the mammalian mitochondrial genome, mechanistic studies of mitochondrial gene maintenance and expression in health and disease, and the development of advanced gene therapies for mtDNA dysfunction. Michal obtained a PhD from the University of Warsaw (2003). From 2004–2007 he was an FEBS Postdoctoral Fellow in the group of Prof. Sir Aaron Klug at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge. Michal joined the MRC MBU in 2007, later he became a tenure-track MRC Investigator, with tenure in 2015. In 2019, Michal co-founded Pretzel Therapeutics, a start-up biotechnology company that focuses on the development of therapies to treat unmet needs in diseases driven by mitochondrial dysfunction.
Naomi Moris is a Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute, London (UK) where she leads the Developmental Models laboratory. She and collaborators have previously described the development of 3D human ‘gastruloids’ that undergo self-organisation and axial patterning to mimic elements of the peri-gastrulation stage human embryo, including organised somitogenesis. Her team are now interested in refining such stem cell-based embryo-like models, using them to explore principles of early organogenesis, and developing a suite of disease models for a range of conditions, including congenital abnormalities.
Dimple Notani is Associate Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India. She is an EMBO Global Investigator and a Wellcome-DBT India Alliance Fellow. Her group uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand the dynamic interplay between the chromatin organization, distal regulatory elements and non-coding RNAs in gene regulation
Jonathon Pines is the Head of the Division of Cancer Biology and Chris Marshall Professor of Cell Biology at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). He cloned Cyclin for his PhD with Sir Tim Hunt at the University of Cambridge, and cloned human cyclins A and B1 with Tony Hunter as part of his post-doctoral work at the Salk Institute. He returned to Cambridge to establish his laboratory at the now Gurdon Institute, where he remained until his move in 2015 to the ICR. His work has focussed on the control of mitosis; in particular, how cells trigger mitosis and its subsequent regulation by the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome and the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint. He was one of the pioneers of using GFP to tag proteins in mammalian cells, and innovated the use of GFP as an assay for proteolysis in living cells. He was elected a Member of EMBO in 2001, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2005, and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016.
Markus Ralser is a distinguished Biochemist and Einstein Professor of Biochemistry, currently serving as Director of the Department of Biochemistry at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin (GER). Markus is also affiliated with the Berlin Institute of Health (GER) and the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford (UK). He is further a founder of Eliptica limited, a UK-based start-up company focused on human proteomics. Markus completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Salzburg (AUT) and earned a PhD in Neurodegenerative disorders from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (GER). He pursued postdoctoral training in mass spectrometry under Cornelis Jakobs at VU Amsterdam (NL), before starting his own Junior group at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics and later at the University of Cambridge (UK). Markus' lab is dedicated to exploring the evolutionary origins and logic of metabolic networks, investigating their responses to stress and their interactions with the genome and proteome to define the cell’s phenotype. Markus' research relies on the development of large-scale proteomic, metabolomic, and computational technologies, which enable the study of metabolism in its biological complexity. Markus' methods have found broad applications, especially in the study of metabolism in yeast and humans. Markus has received several prestigious awards, including recognition by funding agencies such as the ERC and Wellcome Trust. He is also an EMBO member and has received multiple prizes, such as the Wellcome Beit Prize, the Colworth Medal, the Starling Medal, and the EMBO Gold Medal.
Joanna Rorbach obtained a PhD degree in mitochondrial genetics from Newcastle University, UK. From 2009-2016 she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, Cambridge, UK, investigating the long-unresolved problem of mitochondrial transformation. As a postdoctoral researcher, she also assisted in the development of targeted zinc-finger nuclease technology to selectively remove deleterious mitochondrial mutation and extended her studies on mitochondrial genome. In 2017, she established her research group at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing – Karolinska Institute Laboratory in Stockholm. Joanna has extensive experience in investigating molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial gene expression and has been involved in the characterisation of several novel disease-associated genes. Her research employs multidisciplinary approaches, including high-throughput gene targeting, proteomics and cryo-EM methods, to understand molecular pathways involved in mitochondrial pathologies.
Peter Walter’s lab seeks a molecular understanding of how cells control the quality of their proteins and organelles during homeostasis and stress. They aim to understand how the rewiring of these processes connects to various diseases, including cancer, diabetes, cognitive disorders, and aging. Peter attended the Freie Universität Berlin, received his MS in Organic Chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 1977 and his PhD in Cell Biology at The Rockefeller University in 1981. In 1983, Peter joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco, where he served as department chair from 2001 until 2008. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Inventors. Peter’s recent awards include the 2014 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, the 2014 Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the 2015 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science, the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, and 2020 UCSF Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award.
Z. Hong Zhou
Dr. Z. Hong Zhou is currently a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at UCLA and the founding director of UCLA’s Electron Imaging Center for NanoMachines. Zhou was a Pew scholar and a Burton medalist. His scientific inquiries in biomedical research range from structural studies of herpesviruses, dsRNA viruses, to complexes involved in pathogenesis of protozoan diseases, cancer and aging. His group was the first to determine atomic structures of herpes simplex virus, varicella zoster virus, Epstein-Barr virus, human cytomegalovirus, human herpesvirus 6, Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. They have uncovered the mechanism of RNA transcription among dsRNA viruses, including the diarrhea-causing rotavirus. Other significant contribution includes the discovery of protein translocation mechanisms of anthrax and malaria organisms. Dr. Zhou also made pioneering contribution in cryogenic electron microscopy (cryoEM). His group demonstrated experimentally construction of backbone model and atomic models of large biological machines de novo by cryoEM in 2008 and 2010, respectively. In recent years, Zhou continues to contribute in method development as demonstrated by the recent software packages of cryoID and IsoNet.