Speakers 2018

For Horizons 2018, we have received confirmations from 21 distinguished scientist from around the world. Find out more about each of them below. Click on speaker's name for more details.


 Clive BrownOxford Nanopore Technologies, UK

Modern renaissance man and Chief Technology Officer of Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Clive Brown joins Horizons 2018. His company’s MinION is the first commercial platform to allow portable, true single-molecule sequencing, making biological analysis possible for anyone, anywhere. With the power to directly sense DNA, RNA, and proteins, this astonishing tech has just started the next revolution in sequencing.



Bianxiao CuiStanford University, California, USA

Cui lab's research is focused on biophysics of neurons. They investigate mechanisms of retrograde axonal transport and develop new methods for the optical and magnetic manipulation of cellular signaling and axonal transport. They also work in the field of nanotechnology by developing novel nanosensors for probing processes in living cells.



Mara DierssenCentre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain



Anne-Claude GavinEuropean Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany

The Gavin group investigates a broad range of the cell's building blocks. One major topic is the proteome, where they could find evidence for the importance and conservation of protein complexes. Currently, they are intensively studying lipids, their synthesis, transport and interaction with lipid-binding proteins. A common denominator for both sides is their interest in finding associations with diseases like cancer.



Daniel GerlichInstitute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna, Austria



Leo James, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK



Florian JugMax Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany

Jug's lab focuses on computational image analysis employing various classical machine learning algorithms and Bayesian graphical models and deep learning. From a computational point of view they are interested in object segmentation and tracking, e.g. cells or nuclei, that enables easy and powerful data curation workflows, building feature rich ‘downstream’ quantification pipelines. They are currently pursuing projects that aim at understanding  apical constriction during gastrulation in C.elegans, mitotic cluster formation in Drosophila and Tribolium



Yamuna KrishnanUniversity of Chicago, USA

Krishnan lab is focusing on understanding and engineering the functions of unusual forms of DNA and harnessing this information to create DNA based nanodevices for applications in bionanotechnology. They assemble the synthetic strands into nanoscale assemblies that can be artificially choreographed with a specific function in them. They seek to create advanced bio imaging tools such as ‘DNA origami’ based fluorescent sensors. These nanomachines have the potential to solve long lasting challenge of quantitative measurements required to solve biological questions. 



Ulrike KutayInstitute of Biochemistry, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland

Kutay lab focuses on two fundamental cellular processes - nuclear envelope dynamics and nucleo-cytoplasmic transport. They use various cell biology and biochemistry methods to unravel how nuclear envelope is reorganised in cell division and how the nuclear pore complex is rearanged. They are also working on expanding our understanding of how pre-ribosomal subunit are exported from the nucleus to finish their maturation and function in the cytosol.



Danielle LaurencinInstitute Charles Gerhardt Montpellier, Montpellier, France

Laurencin published successful reserach on analyzing the mineral phase in biomaterials such as bones and teeth. This helps to understand which changes occur when bones are aging and how their inorganic structure looks compared to those characteristics from young bones. For this, she achieved great success on the field of oxygen-17 solid state NMR, which is quite a challenging task. Currently, her lab is known for the synthesis and anaylsis of metal complexes that can be used in chemical, energy and medical applications. Beside investigating nanoparticles and molecular magnets, her group has strong interest in method development and improvement regarding NMR.



Polly MatzingerNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Maryland, USA

Polly Matzinger's webpage



Osamu Nureki, University of Tokyo, Japan

Nureki Lab aims to unravel various biological processes at an atomic level using X-ray crystallography together with structure-based mutant analysis and computer simulations. Their research mainly focuses on non-coding RNA, trans-membrane sensing receptors and transporters, and structure-based cancer research.  



Roeland Nusse, Stanford University, California, USA

Roeland Nusse is among the pioneers of the study of Wnt pathways. He will come to us from Stanford University to talk about recent achievements in understanding the involvement of Wnt signaling in the regulation of growth, development and integrity of tissues. Currently his lab works on identification of Wnt-responsive stem cells in tissues by lineage tracing, regulatation of Wnt signals in normal tissues and after injury, influence of Wnt signaling on polarization of asymmetrically dividing stem cells. Roeland Nusse is for sure the best person to ask everything you wanted to know about how Wnt signals control stem cells.



Katherine Pappas, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

The Pappas group focuses on the biology of the ethanologenic bacterium Z. mobilis. Their omics approach of bacterial genome and transcriptome in stress response, plasmid biology and cell-cell signaling gives rise to the development of genetic tools using transposable elements and genetic engineering to generate bacterial strains, which efficiently produce bioethanol from crop biomass. The basic research and modification of Z. mobilis open the perspective of exploiting this microorganism for industrial production of biofuels.



Anna Marie Pyle, Yale University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New Haven, USA



Floyd Romesberg, Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, California, USA

Romesberg’s team is on a mission to expand the genetic alphabet. By developing a third artificial base pair, they were able to replicate the DNA bearing these unnatural nucleotides in vitro and also recently in single bacterial cells! Their groundbreaking discovery hopes to revolutionize the field of protein therapeutics, aiding in the development of novel antibiotics, aptamers and much more.



Neville SanjanaNew York University, New York City, USA

Sanjana Lab uses a combination of genome engineering, pooled genetic screens, molecular genomics, electrophysiology and imaging techniques to better understand the functional principles of human genome and fight genetic diseases. They have recently developed methods for high-throughput genome editing and functional genomic screens allowing identification of functional elements in the noncoding genome.



Sjors Scheres, Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England

The Scheres lab implements 3D-Cryoelectron Microscopy to visualize the dynamics of molecular machines and complexes. The main focus is found on two sections: the first is the development of algorithms that facilitate the image processing and classification of projections (such as RELION), which is highly complicated given the structural heterogeneity of complexes. The second part focuses on the structure and dynamics of amyloid filaments, an important component in Alzheimer's disease. 3D-Cryo EM is a powerful tool to unravel the structural interconvention between the ''healthy'' and pathological versions of these proteins.



Michael SheehanCornell University, New York, USA



Kikuë Tachibana-Konwalski, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna, Austria

Kikuë Tachibana-Konwalski's webpage



Elizabeth Villa, The University of California, San Diego, USA

Villa Lab focuses on “bringing structure to cellular biology”. They develop tools, which combine cell biophysics, computational analysis, cryo-electron microscopy and tomography to characterize macromolecular complexes in their native environment. Currently their main macromolecular structure of interest is nuclear periphery