Speakers 2020


Erika Shugart

 When the concepts of transitioning from academia and alternate careers were quite nascent, Erika Shugart decided to venture head on into the arena of science policy and communication directly after obtaining her PhD from the University of Virginia. She went ahead with interviewing scientists in various fields from policy to tech and built a blog on alternate career paths, during a time the idea of blogs didn’t exist. This novel idea landed her an internship at the National Research Council (NRC) at the National Academy of Science (NAS). From there on, it was an upward journey to a full time communications job at the NAS and finally making director. She then moved on to be an integral part in the conception of the ‘Marian Koshland Science Museum’ dedicated to the memory of Marian Koshland. Currently, she heads the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), focusing on molding it into an umbrella organization that provides a broad platform for engaging, scientific collaborations. 

 

Maria Chatzou Dunford

Dr. Maria Chatzou is a bioinformatitics expert, biotech innovator, passionate enterpreneur, and CEO & Founder of Lifebit AI (London, UK). Maria holds a PhD in Biomedicine, MSc in Bioinformatics and BSc in Computer Science and Biomedical Informatics. As a researcher at the Centre for Genomic Regulation, in Barcelona, Spain, she designed and deployed tools that facilitate the analysis of Big Biomedical Data, allow for biological discoveries, and promote personalised medicine. She was also part of the developing team of Nextflow, a programming framework that is revolutionising the computational analysis of genomic data. Now she is putting all her effort in Lifebit AI to bring this revolution to a next level. Lifebit is using Nextflow and artificial intelligence to provide easy, reliable, and smart cost-saving cloud computing solutions for bioinformatic pipelines at a new scale. Apart from that, Maria is a frequent visitor of confernces and symposiums. She loves to talk about industry, HPC, Cloud & Big Data, Genomics Workflows, Personalized Medicine, Women in Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Start-Ups and Deep Tech Innovations.

 

Grace Hsu 

Grace Hsu brings science to life with stunning animations: As a scientific animator, she knows how to communicate science and medical topics to patients, but also to investors and executives of the  pharma industry, and designs user interfaces for applications as well  as illustrations to for scientific journals. She is currently a member of the animation lab of Dr. Janet Iwasa at the University of Utah as well as a freelance medical Illustrator and Storyboard artist. She obtained her BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Waterloo, Canada, a master’s degree  in Biotechnology from Harvard University and a master’s degree in Biomedical Visualization from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

 

Daniela Maisel

Daniela Maisel is a scientist with diverse working experience both as a researcher as well in leadership at Roche, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. She received her diploma in Bioinformatics from the Eberhard-Karls university in Tübingen, Germany and her PhD in Molecular Biomedicine from the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany. After her PhD, she joined the pharmaceutical research unit of Roche in Penzberg, one of the largest biotech centers in Europe. There, she was the first bioinformatician by training and helped to establish the bioinformatics unit. She later moved into leadership positions and is now Site Head of the Roche Innovation Center in Munich (RICM) as well as Head of RICM Site Operations. She thus knows a lot about the manifold career opportunities that exist for young scientists who are considering to move to industry  - and by the way, also how to reconcile family life with a succesful career.

 

Feodora Lenz

The Innovation Campus SNIC (Start-up + Network + Innovation + Campus) is a unique network that links science, business and municipal business support services. Lea Feodora Lenz will as part of this year's Career Fair talk about the opportunities for young scientists with great ideas and how these ideas can be set into action in the form of a start-up or an academia-industry collaboration. SNIC's main focus is the transfer of knowledge and bridging the gap between research instiutions and companies, taking the expertise of both worlds und ultimately strenghthening entrepreneurial dynamics. SNIC is providing a platform for innovation and development in the region of southern Lower Saxony, a vision of course applicable anywhere!  

 

Richard Sever

Richard Sever is Assistant Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press in New York and Co-Founder of the preprint server bioRxiv. He obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology from University of Cambridge. He moved to the editorial field afterwards. After serving as an editor at Current Opinion in Cell Biology and Trends in Biochemical Sciences, he became an executive editor of Journal of Cell Science. Later on, he moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The use of preprints has become widespread in the field of biology recently after the launch of bioRxiv, which is a great initiative for communicating science at a much higher speed than before.

 

Spencer Wells 

Spencer Wells is a geneticist, anthropologist, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and founder and CEO of the consumer genomics company Insitome. He has started his academic career at the University of Texas at Austin studying Biology. He then took up postgraduate studies at Harvard University, working with Drosophila genetics. His true interest, however, lay in the population genetics of humans and not fruit flies. So soon after receiving his PhD, he moved to Stanford University to conduct postdoctoral studies in human anthropology. This is where his journey of exploring human history started. He conducted his first field trip in 1996 to Central Asia, collecting DNA samples from indigenous populations, but since then has visited more than a hundred countries. Especially instrumental in mapping the historic migration of humans around the globe was his launch of the Genographic Project, which he led from 2005 to 2015. Spencer Wells has a special talent for engaging with the public – be it through numerous documentaries, the insight podcast he co-hosts or through one of the books he has written. And just when you thought that this scientist could not get any more interesting, he owns a blues club.