Keynote Speakers

Prof. Molly Stevens, FRS FREng (UK)

John Black Professor of Bionanoscience , University of Oxford

Kavli Institute for Nanoscience Discovery
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics
Department of Engineering Science

Designing and translating materials for advanced therapeutics and biosensing (virtual talk)


Prof. Molly Stevens FREng FRS is John Black Professor of Bionanoscience at the University of Oxford and also holds part-time professorships at Imperial College London and the Karolinska Institute. Molly’s multidisciplinary research balances the investigation of fundamental science with the development of technology to address some of the major healthcare challenges. She is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of several companies in the diagnostics, advanced therapeutics and regenerative medicine space. Her work has been instrumental in elucidating the bio-material interfaces. She has created a broad portfolio of designer biomaterials for applications in disease diagnostics and regenerative medicine. Her substantial body of work influences research groups around the world (>430 publications, h-index 104, >44k citations, 2018, 2021 and 2022 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher in Cross-Field research)..

Prof. Dr. David W. Grainger (USA)

University Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering, Ole and Marty Jensen Endowed Chair, School of Dentistry, and Distinguished Professor of Molecular Pharmaceutics, The University of Utah

Allogenic mesenchymal cell sheet properties in regenerative medicine strategies


David W. Grainger is a University Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering, and Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Utah, USA.  Grainger’s research focuses on improving cell regenerative therapy through allogenic approaches, implanted medical device and clinical diagnostics performance, and nanomaterials toxicity.  His research awards include the 2020 International Award from the European Society for Biomaterials, a 2016 Fulbright Scholar Award (New Zealand), the 2013 Excellence in Surface Science Award (Surfaces in Biomaterials Foundation), the 2007 Clemson Award for Basic Research (Society for Biomaterials), the 2005 American Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer’s Association’s “Excellence in Pharmaceutics” award, and 2019 Daniels Fund Award for Education in Research Ethics.  Grainger emphasizes translational approaches to clinical biomaterials, and validation of clinical effectiveness in implants and drug delivery systems for value-based medicine.

Prof. Dr. Suzie H. Pun (USA)

Washington Research Foundation Professor of Bioengineering and Director for the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute, University of Washington

Biomaterials for cancer immunotherapy applications


Suzie H. Pun is the Washington Research Foundation Professor of Bioengineering and Director for the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute at University of Washington. She is a fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has been recognized with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the University of Washington’s Marsha Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award for her dedicated mentoring of students. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering. Suzie Pun received her B.S. from Stanford University and her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in Chemical Engineering.

Prof. Dr. Massimo Mastrangeli (NL)

Associate Professor, Electronic Components, Technology and Materials

Delft University of Technology

Microelectromechanical organs-on-chip


Massimo Mastrangeli is Associate Professor in the Electronic Components, Technology and Materials (ECTM) group of the Microelectronics department of Delft University of Technology (Delft, NL), where he is developing innovative microelectromechanical organ-on-chip devices and platforms. He got his BSc and MSc degrees cum laude in Electronic Engineering from University of Pisa (IT), and his PhD degree in Materials Engineering from University of Leuven (BE). He held research positions at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, CH), Université Libre de Bruxelles (BE) and Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (Stuttgart, DE). Massimo is also Guest Lecturer at EPFL and Board Member of the European Organ-on-Chip Society (EUROoCS).

Prof. Dr. Chantal Pichon (FR)

Professor, Center for Molecular Biophysics, CNRS University of Orleans

Messenger RNA vaccines and therapeutics


Chantal Pichon is Professor at the University of Orleans (France), senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France as Innovation chair laureate. Dr. Pichon is conducting interdisciplinary projects based on chemistry and molecular and cell biology with a crosstalk between basic and applied research. Her main research activities are dedicated to the use of nucleic acids as therapeutics, especially messenger RNAs as vaccines and therapeutics. Her lab is developing innovative formulations for their delivery for various applications: mucosal vaccination, immune cell-based therapies and protein replacement therapy. She is also developing a challenging project to build an economically sustainable biotechnology process for production of high-quality mRNA therapeutics, opening their use in different applications.

Prof. Dr. Khalid Salaita (USA)

Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry and Director for Graduate Studies, Emory University

DNA Mechanotechnology: nucleic acids that sense and generate molecular forces enable a new class of biomedical applications and diagnostics


Khalid Salaita is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry and Director for Graduate Studies at Emory University. His lab currently investigates the use of nucleic acids as molecular force sensors, smart drugs, and synthetic motors. In recognition of his independent work, Khalid has received a number of awards, most notably: the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the Camille-Dreyfus Teacher Scholar award, the NSF Early CAREER award, the Kavli Fellowship, and Merck Future Insight Prize. Khalid is currently the director of the Center on Probes for Molecular Mechanotechnology, and an Associate Editor of SmartMat.

Prof. Dr. Carole Bourquin (CH)

Full Professor, Pharmacology, University of Geneva

Nanomaterials for drug delivery in cancer and inflammation


Carole Bourquin is full professor of Pharmacology at the University of Geneva. She heads the group of Immunopharmacology of Cancer at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Western Switzerland. Her research focuses on uncovering mechanisms that control immune activation in cancer, in order to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy in patients. Prof. Bourquin addresses these questions using translational approaches that range from preclinical cancer models to patient-oriented research. An important aspect of her work is the use of nanodelivery systems to target immunomodulatory drugs to their site of action. Prof. Bourquin is also a practicing clinical pharmacologist at the Geneva University Hospital.

Dr. Gregoire Altan-Bonnet (USA)

Senior Investigator and Deputy Chief, Laboratory of Integrative Cancer Immunology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Building models of CAR-T signal integration, using automatized/dynamic high-dimensional dynamic profiling


I have been trained in Statistical Physics and nonlinear dynamics (PhD) and in Immunology (post-doctoral studies). My field of expertise is Systems Immunology. The ImmunoDynamics group I have been heading since 2005, first at Memorial Sloan Kettering and at the NCI since 2016, has been developing experimentally validated quantitative models of different aspects of the immune response. In particular, we have addressed the interplay between the robustness and variability of self/non-self discrimination, as well as the bridging of local and global cytokine regulations in the immune system. We are currently focused on developing quantitative models of leukocyte-leukocyte communications within the cytokine network and exploring applications of machine learning to the field of cancer immunology and virology.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Spatz (DE)

Director, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research; Founding Director, Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering and Full Professor of Biophysical Chemistry, Heidelberg University

Matter to Life: Bottom-up assembly of synthetic cells


Prof. Dr. Joachim Spatz is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research. He is the Founding Director of the Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering and Full Professor of Biophysical Chemistry at Heidelberg University. His research encompasses the fields of cellular biophysics, materials science, cell biology, interface science, and physics of soft matter. The primary scientific goal of the Spatz group is to develop technologies, based on physics, chemistry and materials science, for unraveling fundamental problems in cellular science, as well as to construct life-like materials. This includes pathophysiology of cells and cell cohorts by analyzing and manipulating cells on the nanoscale; how to bottom-up assemble synthetic cell functions and materials; the role of growth factors in cellular mechanobiology; and the role of polysaccharides of the extracellular matrix in regulating cell fate. Dr. Spatz earned his Ph.D. in Physics at Ulm University. He is the author of over 600 publications and has received numerous prestigious awards including his recent appointment as a member of the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences.

Invited Speakers

Dr. Inge Wortel (NL)

Assistant Professor, Data Science, Institute for Computing and Information Sciences, Radboud University

When motility matters: simulating host-pathogen interactions during Listeria invasion of the gut epithelium


After a journey through the fields of Chemistry (BSc, 2014), Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (MSc, 2016) and Computational immunology (PhD, 2021), Inge Wortel’s research interest is how tools from across disciplinary boundaries can help us make sense of the complexity of our immune system. How can we get to the essence of dynamical processes in immunology, translating complex datasets into simple insights?


Inge was recently awarded an AiNed Fellowship grant to build a group in the Data Science department at Radboud University (the Netherlands), where she and her team combine simulation models and AI to uncover the when, where, and how of key events in immunoimaging data. In her work, Inge takes a “less is more” approach to build simple models that are “wrong but useful” in debugging our understanding of immune dynamics. Her talk at BIC will showcase how such a simulation model helps pinpoint the key factors governing host-pathogen dynamics in the gut.

Dr. Nicholas Reynolds (AU)

Head, Self-assembled Nanomaterials Lab, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences

Unravelling the role of amyloids in viral infections


Dr. Reynolds is the head of the self-assembled nanomaterials lab at the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences (LIMS) in Melbourne, Australia. He obtained his PhD from the University of Sheffield, and has held positions at the University of Zurich, CSIRO and Swinburne University of Technology. Dr Reynolds’ interdisciplinary research focuses on the design, discovery, characterisation and biological interactions of self-assembled proteins and peptides. He works closely with academics, industry and clinicians on projects spanning biomaterials and understanding disease. Since 2020 Dr. Reynolds has become interested in uncovering the roles of amyloid protein assemblies in viral infections, including COVID-19.

Dr. Tilo Netzer (CH)

Head of Commercial Development, Business Unit mRNA, Lonza AG

Optimizing GMP manufacturing of mRNA lipid nanoparticles


Tilo Netzer is Head of Commercial Development in the Business Unit mRNA at Lonza AG in Basel, Switzerland. In this function he is responsible for building the service offering for Lonza clients such as biopharma companies in the area of mRNA development and manufacturing. This includes the encapsulation of the mRNA in LNPs. He is in this position since middle of 2020 when Lonza started manufacturing of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine Spikevax®. Before that time Tilo was head of Preclinical Development at Lonza. Earlier in his career he spent more than 20 years at the German pharma company Merck Serono in different roles in clinical development and at the Pharma consulting company PharmaLex. Tilo is a pharmacist by training and has a PhD in Pharmacology.

Dr. Bart Spee (NL)

Associate Professor , Utrecht University

Liver adult stem cells for advanced in vitro models and whole organ engineering


Dr. Spee has more than 20 years’ experience in Molecular Biology, and is (co)author of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Following a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology on pathways of regeneration and fibrosis of liver diseases, he took up a position as post-doc at the department of pathology at the University of Leuven, Belgium, under guidance of prof. Roskams. Here he used molecular tools combined with the vast tissue bank at the pathology department, resulting in an increased knowledge on the activation of the adult stem cells of the liver including its neoplastic offspring. After an internship at the Laboratory of Experimental Carcinogenesis (NIH, Bethesda, US) with Dr. Thorgeirsson where he worked on cholangiocarcinoma’s, he returned to Utrecht University as an associate professor. Currently he is investigating the use of stem cells including adult stem cells (organoids) for functional recovery of liver diseases. One of the focus points of his research is the creation of physiologically relevant in vitro liver models using biofabrication technology that can be used for drug toxicity testing and personalized medicine approaches. This biofabrication technology is also explored for the development of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) such as bioengineered livers as an alternative to organ donation.