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Plenary Speakers

Opening Lecture

Sabine Ladstätter

Austrian Archaeological Institute, Austria
'World Heritage Site Ephesus'
Saturday, Sept 3, 16:30–17:30

Sabine Ladstätter is the Director of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, and is Excavation Director at Ephesus.  She holds her degrees from the University of Vienna (Ph.D.) and the Karl-Franzens-Universität (University of Graz), and her areas of specialization are Roman archaeology, landscape archaeology, pottery, and archaeological method. Dr. Ladstätter was named Austrian Scientist of the Year in 2011, and her book "Bones, stones, shards. Adventure Archaeology" was chosen as the best popular science book in Austria in 2014.

FEBS Sir Hans Krebs Lecture

Kári Stefánsson

deCODE genetics, Iceland
'Genetics of common diseases'
Sunday, Sept 4, 11:30–12:30

Kári Stefánsson has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director since he founded deCODE genetics in August 1996. He was appointed the Chairman of the Board of Directors of deCODE genetics in December 1999. From 1993 until April 1997, Kári Stefánsson was a professor of Neurology, Neuropathology and Neuroscience at Harvard University; from 1983 to 1993, he held faculty positions in Neurology, Neuropathology and Neurosciences at the University of Chicago. Kári Stefánsson received his MD and Dr. Med. from the University of Iceland and is board-certified in neurology and neuropathology in the USA. He has published numerous articles on the genetics of common/complex diseases and has been among the leaders of the world in the discovery of variants in the sequence of the human genome that associate with the risk of common/complex traits. Kári Stefánsson was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential men of the year for 2007 and by Newsweek as one of the 10 most important biologists of the 21st century. He was the recipient of the Jakobus Award 2007, The World Glaucoma Association Award for present scientific impact 2007, The European Society of Human Genetics Award 2009, and The Andre Jahre Award 2009.
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FEBS Theodor Bücher Lecture

Elena Conti

Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Germany
'Molecular mechanisms of RNA degradation'
Sunday, Sept 4, 14:30–15:30

Elena Conti studied Chemistry at the University of Pavia in Italy and received her PhD in 1996 from the Faculty of Physical Sciences at Imperial College London. For her post-doctoral studies, she joined the laboratory of John Kuriyan at the Rockefeller University in New York, where she worked on the mechanisms with which proteins are imported into the nucleus. In 1999, Elena Conti established her own research group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, where she started to work on the mechanisms with which RNAs are exported to the cytoplasm. Her research developed to tackle how RNA export is connected to previous steps of RNA maturation and to subsequent steps of RNA surveillance and turnover. In particular, her group has been studying the molecular mechanisms of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, an mRNA surveillance pathway that detects and degrades defective mRNAs with premature stop codons. Elena Conti’s group has also been extensively working on the chemical mechanisms of RNA degradation, with a particular focus on the exosome complex. To obtain molecular insights into these processes, her group uses a combination of structural biology, biochemistry and biophysical approaches. Since 2007, Elena Conti has been a director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich, where she is head of the Structural Cell Biology Department. In recognition of her work, she received the Leibniz Prize in 2008, the FEBS Sir Hans Krebs medal in 2011 and the Louis Jeantet Prize in 2014.
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FEBS Datta Lecture

Anthony Turner

Linköping University, Sweden
'Digital health - The biochemical interface'
Monday, Sept 5, 11:30–12:30

Anthony (Tony) Turner’s name is synonymous with the field of Biosensors. In November 2010, he joined Linköping University to create a new Centre for Biosensors and Bioelectronics. His previous 35-year academic career in the UK culminated in the positions of Principal of Cranfield University at Silsoe and Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology; he is now an Emeritus Professor at Cranfield. In addition to his academic and management roles, he had overall responsibility for leveraging Cranfield University's IP via spin outs and licensing. In 2016, Prof. Turner was awarded the Ukraine’s highest academic honour, the Vernadsky Gold Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. He was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in 2013 and was made a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry in 1996. He was awarded a Higher Doctorate (DSc) for his exceptional contribution to biosensors by the University of Kent in 2001 and an Honorary DSc by the University of Bedfordshire in 2008, where he served as a Governor for six years. He was made a Foreign Associate of the USA National Academy of Engineering in 2006, for his work on glucose sensors, environmental monitors and synthetic recognition molecules and is a Visiting Professor at various universities in the UK, Italy, Korea, Japan and China. Anthony Turner has over 750 publications and patents (>350 refereed journal papers and reviews) in the field of biosensors and biomimetic sensors and is probably best known for his role in the development of glucose sensors for home-use by people with diabetes. He has an h-index of 67. He published the first textbook on Biosensors in 1987, is Editor-In-Chief of the principal journal in his field, Biosensors & Bioelectronics, and chairs the World Congress on Biosensors, which he founded in 1990.
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IUBMB Lecture

Kamil Uğurbil

University of Minnesota, United States
'Imaging brain function and connectivity with ultrahigh field magnetic resonance'
Monday, Sept 5, 14:30–15:30

Kamil Uğurbil currently holds the McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair Professorship in Radiology, Neurosciences, and Medicine and is the Director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) at the University of Minnesota. He was educated at Robert Academy, Istanbul (high school) and Columbia University, New York. After completing his BA and PhD degrees in physics, and chemical physics, respectively, at Columbia, he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1977, and subsequently returned to Columbia as a faculty member in 1979. He moved to the University of Minnesota in 1982 where his research in magnetic resonance led to the evolution of his laboratory into an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research center, the CMRR. The work that introduced magnetic resonance imaging of neuronal activity in the human brain (known as fMRI) was accomplished independently and simultaneously in two laboratories, one of which was Kamil Uğurbil's in CMRR. Since then, his focus has been on development of methods and instrumentation capable of obtaining high-resolution and high-accuracy functional information in the human brain, targeting neuronal organizations at the level of cortical columns and layers; this body of work has culminated in unique accomplishments such as the first imaging of orientation columns in the human primary visual cortex, as well as numerous new instrumentation and image acquisition approaches for functional and anatomical neuroimaging at very high magnetic fields.
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Plenary Lecture

Fahri Saatcioglu

Oslo, Norway
'Molecular mechanisms of androgen signaling in prostate cancer'
Tuesday, Sept 6, 11:30–12:30

Fahri Saatcioglu is professor at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, as well as a senior scientist at Oslo University Hospital, Norway. He did his postdoctoral training and served as an assistant research scientist at University of California at San Diego before moving to Oslo. His group aims to understand how androgens, male sex hormones, exert their effects on the normal physiology, as well as their role in disease states. Androgens bind to the intracellular androgen receptor, a ligand-activated transcription factor that affects the phenotype of the cell through modulation of gene expression. To understand this process, Saatcioglu laboratory has been using molecular, biochemical, cell biological and genetic approaches and has made significant contributions to structure/function analysis of the androgen receptor, identification and characterization of its target genes, and the interactions of androgen signaling with other signaling pathways. Since androgens have a significant role in prostate cancer, this work has also been relevant for the identification and validation of biomarkers or therapeutic targets in this disease. To learn more about the speaker, click here

PABMB Lecture

Alicia Kowaltowski

Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
'Diet, energy metabolism and mitochondria'
Tuesday, Sept 6, 14:30–15:30

Alicia Kowaltowski holds an MD (1997) and PhD (1999) from the State University of Campinas, Brazil, having done part of her doctoral work in the University of Maryland in Baltimore, USA. She did her post-doctoral training in the Oregon Graduate Institute, USA, and is currently a full professor in the Department of Biochemistry, University of São Paulo, Brazil. In 2006 she was a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She specializes in understanding the relationships between energy metabolism, mitochondrial ion transport and redox state. She is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed international publications, which have accumulated over 5500 citations, with an h-index of 40. Since 2007, she has been Treasurer of the Brazilian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SBBq), Associate Member of the Brazilian Academy of Science and Member of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 
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FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award Lecture

Fiona Watt

King’s College London, UK
'Exploring cell–cell interactions in mammalian skin'
Tuesday, Sept 6, 17:30–18:30

Fiona Watt, Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London, is the winner of the 2016 FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award, which will be presented at the FEBS Congress. She receives the award for uncovering the mechanisms that control mammalian epidermal stem cell renewal and differentiation, and for discovering how these processes are deregulated in cancer, wound healing and inflammatory skin disorders. Fiona Watt has made numerous fundamental discoveries, most recently about how the epidermis interacts with different classes of dermal fibroblasts, and how these normal signalling mechanisms go awry in cancer and skin disease. She was one of the first to discover that processes such as inflammation, physical forces and epigenetics influence skin stem cell behaviour. 
Fiona Watt obtained her first degree from Cambridge University and her DPhil, in cell biology, from the University of Oxford. She was a postdoc at MIT, where she first began studying differentiation and tissue organisation in mammalian epidermis. She established her first research group at the Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology and then spent 20 years at the CRUK London Research Institute (now part of the Francis Crick Institute). She helped to establish the CRUK Cambridge Research Institute and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research and in 2012 she moved to King's College London to found the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine. Fiona Watt is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She is internationally recognised for her work on stem cells and their interactions with the niche in healthy and diseased skin and she leads the UK Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Initiative.

EMBO Lecture

Jacques Pouyssegur

CNRS, France
'Targeting pHi control & bioenergetics in rapidly growing hypoxic tumours'
Wednesday, Sept 7, 11:30–12:30

Over the last 35 years, Jacques Pouyssegur’s group has combined genetics and molecular biology to study the mechanisms of action of growth factors and has characterized the major signaling pathways controlling cell proliferation. His team has made a substantial contribution to the areas of cell surface glycoproteins, metabolism, intracellular pH regulation and the structure of human Na/H exchangers, and established that intracellular pH and MAP kinase (ERKs) signaling are critical for cell cycle entry. During the last 15 years the group has turned its interest to another essential growth mechanism: how do cells control their nutrient supply? This key process has led him to investigate mechanisms of hypoxia signaling, angiogenesis, nutritional stress and aberrant metabolism in tumors. Currently his group pursues the analysis, at a fundamental level, of the physiological role for key targets induced by nutritional stress and hypoxia in tumors. The focus is on tumor aberrant glucose metabolism (Warburg effect), glycolysis and mitophagy/autophagy driven by HIF, with a special interest in translational research applied to triple-negative breast cancers, glioblastoma and lung cancers. Numerous anticancer targets are in the process of being validated in preclinical mouse models by this team (carbonic anhydrases CA9, CA12, bicarbonate transporters NBCs, monocarboxylate transporters MCT1, MCT4, their chaperone CD147/Basigin and aminoacid transporter LAT1/CD98…). These targets all share a common participation to the ‘Darwinian’ tumour selection and progression within the hypoxic, acidic and nutrient-deprived tumour microenvironment.
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Plenary Lecture

Seppo Meri

University of Helsinki, Finland
'Self-nonself discrimination by the complement system'
Wednesday, Sept 7, 14:30–15:30

Seppo Meri is a Professor of Immunology at the Haartman Institute, 
University of Helsinki, Finland. He established his research career at the University of Helsinki, Finland, having also served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas with Prof. Michael Pangburn in 1988 and in 1989–90 as an EMBO stipendiate with Prof. Peter J. Lachmann, at MRC, Cambridge, UK.  His current publication record includes 230 original publications and 130 reviews or textbook chapters in the fields of immunology, protein biochemistry and clinical microbiology. His h-index is 58 and his articles have been cited over 10,000 times (August, 2015). His main research interests are the following:  innate immunity — especially the complement system, self-protection against complement and its failure (innate autoreactivity); microbial evasion of the complement system; and complement-mediated killing of tumor cells. Seppo Meri is a member of the FEBS Publications Committee and he is the Secretary General of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS).
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FEBS Journal Award Lecture

Fatima Al Oraifi

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
'Detection of novel germline mutations for breast cancer in non-BRCA1/2 families'
Wednesday, Sept 7, 17:30 – 18:00h

Fatima Aloraifi is currently a Plastic Surgery trainee in the United Kingdom. She was awarded a scholarship to attend medical school in Ireland (Royal College of Surgeons) where she also continued her basic surgical training. Fatima was awarded a PhD in Genetics in 2014 from University College Dublin, where she conducted research on the topic of familial breast cancer. Her research interests include causal variant discovery through targeted sequencing methodologies and genome regulation.

FEBS Letters Award Lecture

Jan Löwe

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, United Kingdom
'Closing the cohesin ring by structural biology'
Wednesday, Sept 7, 18:00–18:30

Jan Löwe's group focuses on the structure and function of key proteins in the cytoskeleton of bacteria and eukaryotic cohesin, using tools of modern cell and structural biology. Among the molecules he is studying, many of which act as filament-driven motors, are the complex structures involved in bacterial cell division and bacterial DNA segregation. Jan completed his PhD at the Max-Planck Institute in Martinsried with Robert Huber. He then joined the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology as an EMBO long-term fellow in 1996, becoming a group leader in 1998. He won a Leverhulme Prize for Biochemistry in 2002, the EMBO Gold Medal in 2007 and has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008 and of Germany's Leopoldina in 2013.

Closing Lecture

Bruce Alberts

United States of America
'The problems and challenges in biomedical sciences'
Thursday, Sept 8, 11:30–12:30

Bruce Alberts, a prominent biochemist with a strong commitment to the improvement of science education, was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama in 2014. Dr. Alberts served as Editor-in-Chief of Science (2009-2013) and as one of the first three United States Science Envoys (2009-2011). He is now the Chancellor’s Leadership Chair in Biochemistry and Biophysics for Science and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, to which he returned after serving two terms as the president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Alberts is also noted as one of the original authors of The Molecular Biology of the Cell, a preeminent textbook in the field now in its sixth edition. For the period 2000 to 2009, he served as the co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, an organization in Amsterdam governed by the presidents of 15 national academies of sciences and that was established to provide scientific advice to the world. Widely recognized for his work in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, Alberts has earned many honors and awards, including 16 honorary degrees. He currently serves on the advisory boards of more than 20 non-profit institutions, including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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