Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Prof. Maya Schuldiner was born in Israel. She graduated magna cum laude with a BSc in Biology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1998. She went on to complete both her MSc and a PhD in genetics, also at the Hebrew University, in 1999 and 2003. Maya conducted postdoctoral research in the Laboratory of Jonathan Weissman at the University of California in San Francisco from 2003 until 2008, when she joined the faculty of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. She has been a tenured associate professor since 2015 at the department of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science and a Full Professor since 2020.
Schuldiner serves as a reviewing editor in eLife and is a member of the editorial board of Life Science Alliance, Current Opinion in Cell Biology, BBA-Molecular Cell Research, PLoS Biology and Science Open. Schuldiner received a Human Frontiers Science Program Career Development Award in 2008 and became a member of the EMBO Young Investigator Programme in 2011 and of EMBO in 2017. She received three consecutive European Research Council grants (StG in 2010, CoG in 2015 and in 2020). Schuldiner is also the recipient of the FEBS Anniversary and National prizes (2015, 2017) and the EMBO Gold Medal award (2017). She was elected a member of Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences and will be awarded the Jean Vance award for breakthrough discoveries in the contact site field this 2020. Schuldiner currently holds the Dr. Omenn and Martha Darling Professorial Chair in Molecular Genetics.
Maya Schuldiner is Married to scientist Oren Schuldiner from the Dept. of Molecular Cell Biology also at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Together they are dedicated to combining their career with raising their three children: Daniel, Noam and Mattan.
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at University of California, San Diego, USA
Dr. Ferro-Novick’s research has focused on understanding the directionality of vesicle traffic in the early secretory pathway in yeast and mammalian cells. Over the years her laboratory has made several seminal findings to the field of membrane traffic. Since 2007, the Ferro-Novick laboratory has shown that vesicle coat proteins play a pivotal role in directing a transport vesicle to its correct target membrane. This finding has changed the way we think about coat proteins and vesicle targeting, and has revealed that phosphorylation plays a key role in ordering vesicle targeting and fusion events. In 2010, Dr. Ferro-Novick’s laboratory showed the importance of the Rab GTPase, Rab1, in initiating autophagy, a catabolic process that targets proteins for degradation. More recently, her laboratory has shown that coat proteins play a key role in autophagosome formation. Dr. Ferro-Novick was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012 and was the 2013 Laureate Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, a prestigious lecture series that highlights significant advances in Biomedical Research. She has also successfully trained numerous pre-doctoral students and postdoctoral associates at both Yale and UCSD.Susan Ferro-Novick is a Distinguished Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Ferro-Novick was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was an early graduate student of the future Nobel Prize winner Randy Schekman. She began her faculty career at Yale University and later moved to the University of California, San Diego. Ferro-Novick was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator from 1994 to 2016. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012, recognized for her work in characterizing the transport protein particle (TRAPP) complex.
More info: http://cmm.ucsd.edu/ferronovick/About%20Us.html
Maria João Amorim
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Oeiras, Portugal
Maria João Amorim is a Portuguese Virologist. She obtained her PhD in Virology from the University of Cambridge, UK, country where she also did three post-docs (in yeast genetics and more in virology). She is the Group Leader of the Cell Biology of Viral infection lab at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Portugal. Her lab aims to understand how viruses interact with the host and employs soft matter principles, cell biology and virology approaches. As PI (since 2012), she received several competitive grants, including an ERC consolidator grant, authored 14 manuscripts, and overall sums 24 peer-reviewed publications. She serves in scientific boards at National, European and International level (Wellcome trust, ERC, human Frontiers, ANR, etc). Maria João engages the public in science and education. She organizes the IGC summer school (https://gulbenkian.pt/ciencia/summer-schools/undergraduate-summer-school/) and she is active in promoting equal opportunities for women in STEM fields (recognized in invitation for the International Visitor Leadership Program of 2018 held by the US State Department about women in STEM). As a virologist, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemics she has been informing the public on the progress on SARS-CoV-2 (in over 25 interviews in the radio, TV, journals, and other channels).
Department of Cell and Chemical Biology at the Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands
Montse Bárcena obtained her PhD at the Universidad Autónoma (Madrid), working on hexameric helicases in the group of José María Carazo. In 2003, she worked in the lab of Teresa Ruiz at Vermont University as a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow, elucidating conformational changes of the glycolytic enzyme phosphofructokinase. At the end of 2003, she joined the Koster lab thanks to an EMBO fellowship (2003) and a Marie Curie fellowship (2005). Since then, she has been investigating viruses and viral replication. In 2010, she was awarded a MEERVOUD NWO grant to establish her own group at LUMC. Her research focuses on virus replication of positive-strand RNA viruses like coronaviruses, arteriviruses or picornaviruses using a multidisciplinary approach including classic and novel imaging techniques like correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) and cellular cryotomography.
University of Heidelberg, Germany
Professor Dr. Ralf F.W. Bartenschlager received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Heidelberg in 1990. He was appointed as Professor of Molecular Virology at the Institute for Virology, University of Mainz, in 2000, and moved to University of Heidelberg in 2002. He is currently Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases Molecular Virology at University of Heidelberg and Head of the Division of Virus-Associated Carcinogenesis at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany.
Professor Bartenschlager’s most prominent work is on the life cycle of hepatitis C virus (HCV) that provides basis for the development of effective and safe specific antivirals. Professor Bartenschlager and his colleague identified a method to replicate HCV in cell culture and make “replicons” (fragments of the virus’s RNA). His studies resulted in the invention of the new generation of anti-HCV drugs called the DAA (Direct Acting Antiviral) with a 95% success rate in curing HCV infection with minimal side effects.
Professor Bartenschlager has published his research of more than 300 articles in renowned journals. He has been a Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina since 2013. He was a recipient of many awards including Robert Koch Award (2015), Lasker-DeBakey Award (2016), Hector Prize (2017) and Prince Mahidol Award (2019).
Plant Research Lab at Michigan State University, USA
Federica Brandizzi is a plant cell biologist who studies the biology of the endoplasmic reticulum, focusing on the mechanisms that control the establishment and maintenance of the structure and function of this ubiquitous organelle.
After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Rome II, Italy, Federica Brandizzi received her PhD at the same university in 1997 studying the reproductive biology of Iridaceae (advisor: Maria Grilli Caiola). After an Italian National Center for Research fellowship at the University of Oxford, UK, Federica Brandizzi completed her first post-doctoral experience in the laboratory of Ian Moore studying plant transcription factors, and then she trained for her second post-doctoral experience in the lab of Chris Hawes at Oxford Brookes University, UK, studying plant endomembranes and developing advanced confocal microscopy techniques for investigating the dynamics of plant cell organelles. In 2003, she became a Canada Research Chair and associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2006, Federica Brandizzi became an associate professor at Michigan State University Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan, where she developed an integrated plant genomics and advanced microscopy platform to study plant endomembranes, with a focus on the endoplasmic reticulum, and engineer plant biomass for yield, stress responses on earth and in space.
Federica Brandizzi received several recognitions, including the prestigious Michigan State University Innovator of the Year award (2020). Numerous federal agencies support the fundamental research (e.g., NIH, NASA, DOE, NSF), and MSU commercialization awards support applied work in the Brandizzi lab. Federica Brandizzi has co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, several patents and invention disclosures. She is currently a Science Director of the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and senior editor for The Plant Journal.
More info: https://brandizzilab.natsci.msu.edu
Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, Hamburg, Germany
Wolfram Brune is a virologist who investigates the molecular genetics and pathogenesis of cytomegalovirus, a herpesvirus with world-wide distribution.
After studying medicine at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Maryland at Baltimore, Wolfram Brune received his MD degree in 1995 for studies on papillomavirus replication at the German Cancer Research Center (advisors: Matthias Dürst and Harald zur Hausen). After an internship in pediatric neurology, he trained as a postdoc at the University of Munich with Ulrich Koszinowski and as a visiting research fellow at Princeton University with Tom Shenk. In 2002, he became an independent Junior Group Leader at the Rudolf Virchow Center for Experimental Biomedicine, University of Würzburg. In 2005, he became Head of the Divison of Viral Infections at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin. In 2010, he joined the Heinrich Pette Institute and became a professor of virology at the University of Hamburg. Since 2015 he serves as the Deputy Scientific Director of the Heinrich Pette Institute. His laboratory uses forward and reverse genetics to study cytomegalovirus-host interaction with a focus on viral subversion of programmed cell death, autophagy, and innate antiviral defenses. His lab also investigates the molecular basis of the cytomegalovirus host species specificity.
Wolfram Brune received several fellowships and awards such as the Robert Koch Postdoctoral Prize (2003) and support by the Emmy Noether Program (2000-2006). He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Virology and Apoptosis and serves as associate editor of Virology Journal and PLoS Pathogens. He has also served on the advisory board of the Society of Virology (2011-2020) and is initiator and co-organizer of the annual Mini-Herpesvirus Workshop (since 2006).
Nuffield Department of Orthopaedic and Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences at the University of Oxford, UK
Dr. John Christianson received a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University of Chicago and completed his post-doctoral studies at Stanford University. He was a Group Leader at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research-Oxford and is currently an Associate Professor in NDORMS at the University of Oxford and a Cancer Research UK Senior Research Fellow. His research aims to understand the protein quality control mechanisms of the mammalian endoplasmic reticulum (ER) - how they maintain organelle homeostasis, respond to stress, and how they unwittingly support cancer proliferation. The lab has pioneered proteomic strategies to identify and map the functional networks of the ubiquitin-proteasome dependent process known as ER-associated degradation (ERAD). His group has helped to define the key ubiquitin ligase complexes of ERAD responsible for degrading misfolded secretory proteins and maintaining ER homeostasis during chronic proteotoxic stress. The group has identified an evolutionarily conserved, ER-resident complex functioning as a transmembrane domain insertase and demonstrated key membrane protein clients to be crucial for robust maintenance of cholesterol homeostasis. The lab is currently defining the extensive network of ER-resident ubiquitination machinery, their functions and relationship to organelle homeostasis. By comprehensively defining key contributors to ER homeostasis, the lab seeks to identify novel small molecule targets whose modulation could induce cell death, as part of a therapeutic strategy to treat multiple myeloma.
Division of Pathophysiology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria
I am originally from Vienna, where I did my doctoral thesis working on trafficking of neurotransmitter transporters. I moved then to Basel (Switzerland) to work with Hans-Peter Hauri and then with Dirk Bumann. In the Hauri lab, I worked on a kinome screen for regulators of the secretory pathway. In the Bumann lab, I worked on autophagic clearance of Salmonella. In 2011, I started my junior group at the Biotechnology Institute Thurgau at the University of Konstanz (Switzerland and Germany). In 2016, I accepted a professorship at the University of Oslo (Norway). As of 2021, I am a professor at the Medical University of Innsbruck (Austria), where I acting as a director of the Division of Pathophysiology. Throughout my career as a group leader, I have focused on various aspects of membrane trafficking and proteostasis and their regulation by singling pathways.
More info: https://www.i-med.ac.at/pathophysiologie/
University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry, USA
Zachary Freyberg is a cell biologist who investigates fundamental cellular processes underlying human neuropsychiatric disorders. Zachary Freyberg received his BS degree at Yale University in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry in 1997. While at Yale, he began his studies examining vesicle trafficking in the laboratory of Dr. Pietro De Camilli. Zachary then received his MD and PhD degrees at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2004. For his PhD, Zachary investigated the roles of phosphoinositide lipid signaling in secretory vesicle biogenesis from the Golgi apparatus in the laboratory of his advisor, Dr. Dennis Shields. After completing his clinical training in psychiatry at Cornell in 2008, he trained as a postdoc at Columbia University in the laboratories of Dr. Jonathan Javitch and David Sulzer, focusing on mechanisms of dopamine neurotransmission at the vesicle level. Zachary became an independent investigator at Columbia in 2014 and later moved his laboratory to the University of Pittsburgh in 2016 where he is now an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Cell Biology. His laboratory uses a combination of genetic, pharmacological and imaging approaches to study the molecular mechanisms of dopamine signaling across multiple levels: (1) activity-dependent dopamine signaling at the synaptic level; (2) signaling at the molecular level by cryo-electron microscopy and in situ cryo-electron tomography imaging; and (3) dopamine signaling at the cellular level and its relevance to metabolic regulation and dysfunction. This research has culminated in the recent discovery of Ribosome-Associated Vesicles (RAVs), a novel highly dynamic subcompartment of the endoplasmic reticulum that may provide a mechanism for local translation in secretory cells. Zachary has received several fellowships and awards including the APA GlaxoSmithKline Fellowship (2006), Laughlin Fellowship of the American College of Psychiatrists (2007), Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars Award (2011), Leon Levy Investigator Award (2012), Rising Star Research Award (2017), and the A.E. Bennett Award for Basic Research from the Society of Biological Psychiatry (2019). He has received support from the National Institutes of Health (2011-present), US Department of Defense (2016-present) and the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health (2020-present). Zachary has also served as an editor for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology since 2017 and has been co-organizer of the annual Molecular Psychiatry meeting since 2019.
Cancer Research Center of Toulouse, France
I started my scientific career as a Research Engineer in the laboratory of Pr. Casteilla in Toulouse, working on the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells from adipose tissue. I then did my PhD in Dr. Kermorgant's team in London characterizing at the molecular level the oncogenic potential of mutant forms of the c-Met tyrosine kinase receptor. In particular, I was able to show that their trafficking and localization were disrupted, and that their aberrant signaling from the endosomes was at the origin of their oncogenic potential. I then joined Dr Camonis' laboratory in Paris as a postdoctoral scientist (2010-2013) and identified the pro-apoptotic kinase STK38 as a novel autophagy regulator. In parallel, I also showed that autophagy is involved in the tumorigenesis of triple negative breast cancers, and that inhibiting it could represent an effective and innovative therapeutic solution.
I was then recruited as an Inserm scientist in Dr. Manenti's team at the Toulouse Cancer Research Center (CRCT) where I study how deregulation of autophagy could have a key role in the oncogenic potency and regulation of cellular functions in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). We have shown that the mutated FLT3-ITD receptor induces a high basal autophagy necessary for the in vitro and in vivo proliferation of leukemic cells. In addition, we have just established that autophagy in AML cells, by participating in lipid degradation via the regulation of contacts between the mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum, maintained a high oxidative metabolism. In January 2021 I joined Dr Sarry's team, still at the CRCT, to study if and how autophagy participates in the establishment of therapeutic resistance mechanisms in AML, notably by modulating their energy metabolism.
Institut Jacques Monod, CNRS-Université de Paris, France
Sebastien Léon is a research director at CNRS and has been a group leader at the Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, France since 2012. His team is interested in understanding the cellular responses to metabolic alterations, as well as the resistance mechanisms to the metabolic inhibitor 2-deoxyglucose, mainly using yeast as a model system.
More info: https://www.ijm.fr/en/657/equipes/leon.htm
Institut Necker Enfants Malades, Inserm U1151, Paris, France
My main interest in biology concerns intracellular compartments membrane dynamics, trafficking and interconnections. After a PhD in Physiology and Cell Biology at Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6 University (2003), I specialized myself on endosomal membrane dynamics (Postdoc #1 (2004-2009), University of Geneva, Dept of Biochemistry, Geneva, CH) and on biology of phosphoinositides on endosomal features of Alzheimer’s disease (Postdoc #2 (2009-2010), Columbia University, Cell Biology and Pathology Dept, NYC, USA). After having a permanent position at Inserm, I studied the role of autophagy in alimentary lipids behavior in human enterocytes (Centre de Recherches des Cordeliers (2010-2013), Paris) and I finally joined the Cell Biology department of Institut Necker Enfants Malades in 2014 to develop projects on basic autophagy in the context of stress sensing. The research goal of my team is to understand how mammalian cells organelles cooperate with autophagic machinery to respond to stress stimuli.
IGBMC, Strasbourg, France
Catherine Tomasetto obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Strasbourg in Molecular. She completed her training in the USA, as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Cancer Genetics at Harvard University in Boston. She then joined a research unit in Strasbourg, the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology, and today she leads a team working on the Molecular and Cellular Biology of Breast Cancers at the IGBMC. The team's work focuses on characterizing the role of breast cancer proteins with the aim of advancing fundamental knowledge and improving the management of the disease.