Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Key Speakers

Nabil G. Seidah

Dr. Seidah obtained his BSc in 1969 from Cairo University in Giza, Egypt, and his PhD in 1973 from Georgetown University, in Washington, DC. In 1974, he started studying the processing of precursor proteins at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (IRCM) and in 1976 he discovered -endorphins and largely contributed to the biochemical characterization of the proopiomelanocortin (POMC, the -endorphin precursor) and pro-Atrial Natriuretic factor (proANF). Since 1983, he is the director of the Laboratory of Biochemical Neuroendocrinology.

Dr. Seidah discovered and cloned seven (PC1, PC2, PC4, PC5, PC7, SKI-1 and PCSK9) of the nine known enzymes belonging to the convertase family. During this period, he also greatly contributed to demonstrating that the proteolysis by the proprotein convertases is a wide mechanism that also concerns “non-neuropeptide” proteins such as growth factors, α-integrins, receptors, enzymes, membrane-bound transcription factors, and bacterial and viral proteins. In 2003, he identified PCSK9 and showed that point mutations in the PCSK9 gene cause dominant familial hypercholesterolemia, because of a gain of function related to the ability of PCSK9 to enhance the degradation of cell surface receptors, such as the low-density lipoprotein receptor. He has since worked on the elucidation of the functions and mechanisms of action of PCSK9 both in cells and in vivo, and is interested in the elaboration of specific PCSK9 inhibitors.

Over the last 40 years, Dr. Seidah has attracted more than 110 graduate students and post­ doctoral fellows. He is member of numerous scientific associations including the Cancer Research Society and the American Heart Association. In 1991, he was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 1995 Medical Research Council Scientist Award, and was made a member of the Order of Quebec in 1997 and the Order of Canada in 1999. In 2001, he received the McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada and the Parizeau Prize of the Association Canadienne-Française pour l'avancement des sciences. He has been endowed with a Canada chair since 2003. In 2009 he received the Pfizer Distinguished Cardiovascular-Metabolic Research Jean-Davignon Award. He has been invited as a speaker to more than 400 national and international conferences. He organized the first Keystone Conference on the proprotein convertases and in 2006 was the chair of a prestigious Gordon Research Conference on Proprotein Processing, Trafficking and Secretion. He has been selected to present the prestigious “Jacques Benoît” lecture at the 7th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology held in Rouen France in July 2010. In 2011, he was awarded the Wilder Penfield prize for the best scientist in Québec working in the biomedical field. In 2013, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and was invited to present the “Simon Pierre-Noël Memorial Lecture” at the Canadian Lipoprotein conference in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. In 2014, he received in Winnipeg the “Jacques Genest” Lecturer Award from the Canadian Society of Endocrinolgy and Metabolism.


Dr. Seidah is internationally recognized as a world leader in convertases and their physiological roles. His numerous publications that tally more than 700 peer reviewed manuscripts have been widely recognized, and in fact he is cited as the most recognized protease expert in Canada and 6th worldwide. Indeed, Pubmed cites N.G. Seidah as the topmost in Canada and the 1st out of the worldwide 20 top scientists working on “Proprotein Convertases” since 1971. His H index = 87.

Lecture: PCSK9: from bench to bedside


Hossein Baharvand

Hossein Baharvand is distinguished Professor and Director of Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology, where he firstly joined in 1995. He received his B.Sc. in Biology from Shiraz University in 1994, and M.Sc. in Developmental Biology from Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran in 1996. He received his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Khwarizmi University (formerly Tarbiat Moallem University) in 2004. He is founder of department of stem cells in 2002 and later Royan institute for stem cell biology and technology in 2010. In 2012, he became Professor at Royan Institute. He is also appointed as the head of department of Developmental Biology at University of Science and Culture (2006-now). He generated the first mouse and human embryonic stem cells (2003) and induced pluripotent stem cells (2008) in Iran. This has enabled his team to pursue many avenues of research into translational research and regenerative medicine. His research interests center on improving the translational research and regenerative medicine mainly through the understanding of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology and Biologically inspired Engineering. He is working on transdifferentiation and pluripotent stem cell differentiation into cardiomyocytes, neural cells, hepatocytes, and beta cells. He is also studying the pluripotency mechanism; and germ cell biology. In addition, he is investigating the biologically inspiring engineering on stem cells and developmental biology. He is also making numerous contributions to clinical trials and tissue-specific stem cell transplantation; and he is developing cell manufacturing. He has given numerous invited talks and tutorials. He was the editor of four international books which were published by Springer (2010 and 2012) and John Wiley, USA (2015). He has published 229 international and 100 national peer-reviewed papers, as well as six chapters in international books, seven books in Persian, and eight translated English text books into Persian. As of August 2015, Google Scholar reports over 4,400 citations and h-index 34 to his work. He is the editorial board member of six international journals (e.g., Journal of Biological Chemistry and Scientific Reports from Nature Publishing Group). He holds two USA patents derived from his research. He has received 27 international and national awards including 10th (2004), 12th (2006), and 17th (2012) annual Razi research award on medical science hosted by Iran Ministry of Health and Medical Education, 26th Khwarizmi International Award (2013), hosted by Iran Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, 27th annual book of the year of the Islamic republic of Iran (2010), Academy of Medical Sciences of Iran (Dr. Hadavi’s Award in 2010, 2014) and distinguished Iranian scientist in Biotechnology (2015). He is the winner of the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Prize for research in the field of Biology (2010). Moreover, he was introduced as distinguished Professor in 3rd term of Allameh Tabatabaei’s Award hosted by Iran vice Presidency for Science and Technology, Presidency and National Elite Foundation (2014). He is the winner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-Equatorial Guinea international prize (2014) for research in life sciences due to improving the quality of human life with his stem cell research and its numerous applications in regenerative medicine.

Lecture: Reprogramming of cell fate for brain development and regenerative medicine



Annik Prat received her PhD in molecular biology in 1988 from the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France. After 3 years at the Biozentrum in Basel, Switzerland, as a post-doctoral fellow, she became Associate Professor in Molecular Biology at the University Pierre et Marie Curie, where she cloned and characterized a newly discovered metalloprotease, nardilysin. Since 1997, she is a staff scientist at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (IRCM). She developed mouse models for the proprotein convertases that demonstrated their essential functions in embryonic development and/or adult tissues. She recently demonstrated that circulating PCSK9 originates from the liver, and controls the levels of both the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and the very low-density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR) in liver and peripheral tissues, such as the visceral fat, and accordingly participates in the etiology of atherosclerosis in mice.

Lecture: Understanding the physiological impact of PCSK9 deficiency in mouse models


Hossein Najmabadi

Professor Hossein Najmabadi is the director and founder of Genetics Research Center (GRC), University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences (USWRS) and serves as the head of GRC, head of Medical Genetics Department. Prof. Najmabadi, MT (ASCP), PhD, received his PhD-degree in Molecular Biology, Double Minor in Human Genetics and Biochemistry at the University of North Texas, Denton in Texas, USA. He received two postdoctoral fellowships at harbor - UCLA, Los Angeles, USA. He earned his faculty position in 1997 at GRC-USWRS as Assistant Professor, and was appointed as the head and director of the only approval Genetics Research Center, Tehran, Iran. His areas of research are mainly focused on genetics of hereditary disorders such as intellectual disability, hereditary hearing loss, alpha- and beta-thalassemia, and neuromuscular disorders. In 2006, he earned Professor Degree in the GRC-USWRS, where he is still currently working as full-faculty member. He has played an active role in the development of the quality and quantity of education and research in GRC-USWRS and make this center as a leading or reference center for genetic diagnosis of intellectual disability (ID), Neuromuscular Disorders, and hearing loss (HL), where has awarded prestigious scientific national and international degrees. Dr. Najmabadi discovered more than 150 novel genes involved in syndromic and non-syndromic IDs in the Iranian population, and found the causative gene mutations for thousands of Iranian families up to now. More recently, he has published an article in Nature [2011; 478(7367):57-63.], in which he represents his breakthrough work in identification of 50 novel genes for autosomal recessive intellectual disabilities. His researches on different genetic disorders (-thalassemia, -thalassemia, muscular disorders, HL, IDs) have published in about 200 scientific national and international journals with high citation index, and several MS and PhD student thesis (more than 150 graduated MS and PhD students). As a result of his scientific efforts the Iranian Human Gene Bank was established in 2003, which has been published in Journal of Human Mutation (J Hum Mut. 2003; 21:146-50). He also created Iranian Mutation Database which has been documented in Human Mutation Journal. He established the molecular genetics diagnosis of many common hereditary diseases for the first time in his own laboratory (Kariminejad - Najmabadi Pathology & Genetics Center). Professor Najmabadi is a regular member of several international societies including the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG), Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), and the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and several national societies, such as Iranian Genetic Society, Iranian Medical Genetic Society, as well as Iranian Neurogenetic Society in addition to his active role in organizationof national and international congress in the country. He received the distinguished service award for his research activities, and is the second Iranian person to ever win the scientific award of the country. Furthermore, he received Elite Foundation award, for the best scientist 2011 from Elite Foundation of Iran, Ceremony of the Allameh Tabatabaei Festival. In 2012, he received annual prize for the best scientist 2012 from the Medical Council of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Lecture: A decade later: Deep sequencing makes another breakthrough in revealing over 100 novel genes for recessive cognitive disorders


Saman Hosseinkhani

Saman Hosseinkhani is currently professor of Biochemistry at Tarbiat Modares University. He received his B.Sc. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Shiraz University. He also received his PhD in Biochemistry from University of Tehran in 2002. He has joined Department of Biochemistry, Tarbiat Modares University since 2003. His research career is mainly on protein engineering of firefly luciferase and its application as a gene reporter within biological system. His recent work is mainly focused on discrimination of apoptotic pathway within stem cell development and death using design of new luciferase-based gene reporter assays. Moreover, developments of peptide and liposomal carriers have been designed for gene delivery based on luciferase assay.

He has published 145 international peer-reviewed papers, 2 reviews in international journals, and six books in Persian. He has received different international and national awards including young scientist (IUBMB, 2005), Horizon 2020 (from European commission) and Razi medical award.

Lecture: Apoptosome formation in cell death and differentiation: design of new gene reporter assay


Mohammad Ali Faghihi

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Hussman Institute for Human Genomics

University of Miami


Mohammad A. Faghihi, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at The Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Faghihi will also serve as a member of the Center for Therapeutic Innovation at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics. He received his medical doctorate (M.D.) degree from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Iran in 1994. He received his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden in 2009. He served as a Senior Staff Scientist at the Department of Neuroscience at the Scripps Research Institute, Florida, before joining University of Miami. Dr. Faghihi is an expert in the field of RNA genetics, interested in non-coding RNA, particularly natural antisense transcripts and their involvement in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Fragile X Syndrome.

Lecture: NGS: principles and applications


Andreas Houben

Dr. Andreas Houben is the Research group leader of “Chromosome Structure and Function” in Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research.The group is interested in deciphering the function, regulation and evolution of plant chromosomes.

They have particular interests in:

The structure and regulation of mono and holokinetic centromeres are still enigmatic. Particularly they are interested in the role of the centromere during the process of uniparental chromosome elimination, which occurs in several interspecific hybrids of plants. Supernumerary chromosomes (B chromosomes) are used as a model to reveal the mechanism of chromosome nondisjunction.

In plants, the cell cycle dependent phosphorylation of histone H3 has been linked to chromosome condensation and segregation. Their results indicate that Aurora and Haspin kinases have the ability to phosphorylate histone H3, which is essential for genetic stability. They aim to determine the interaction between different histone modifications and their corresponding regulators.

Engineered minichromosomes offer an enormous opportunity to plant biotechnology as they have the potential to simultaneously transfer and stably express multiple genes. Following a top-down approach, they truncated endogenous chromosomes in barley (Hordeum vulgare) and in Arabidopsis by integration of T-DNA constructs containing telomere sequences.

To analyse the structure and dynamics of specific chromosomal domains (eu- and heterochromatin, centromere, telomere) they label them by GFP, FISH and immunostaining and analyse them in interphase and during cell divisions by Super Resolution Microscopy. In particular, they investigate the function of the SMC complexes cohesin and condensin.

Lecture: Centromere biology meets plant breeding


Ann Ehrenhofer-Murray

Institute of Biology, Humboldt-University in Berlin, Germany

Vice-president, German Genetics society

Ann Ehrenhofer-Murray, who is both a Swiss and British national, was born in 1966. She studied biochemistry at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and received her PhD there in 1994. For her doctoral thesis, she worked on multidrug resistance genes in yeasts. For her postdoctoral studies, she moved to the lab of Professor Jasper Rine at the University of California, Berkeley, to study gene silencing and DNA replication in yeast. In 1997 she started her own research group at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, and obtained the habilitation from the Humboldt University Berlin in 2003. After a brief stint at the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen in 2004 and 2005, she obtained a full professorship for genetics at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Her current research interests are:

- Global distribution and regulation of histone modifications in the yeast genome

- Posttranslational modifications on histone variants

- Regulation of heterochromatin protein binding to chromatin

- Molecular mechanisms of cellular aging

- Regulation of tRNA function by RNA methylation

Lecture: Epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation: lessons from yeast



Managing Director, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Gatersleben, Germany

Professor Andreas Graner has a PhD in Plant Genetics from the Technical University of Münich, Germany. He has been the Managing Director of IPK since 2007. Prior to that, he chaired the International Barley Sequencing consortium, and was a Scientific Advisory Board Member for the Biodiversity and Genetic Resources unit at the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (2006–2008). Among his other professional experiences, Andreas was Head of the Federal ex situ Genebank at IPK Gatersleben, Germany (1999), and Professor for Plant Genetic Resources at the University of Halle, Germany (1999).

As a molecular geneticist, Andreas has been involved in the development of genomics resources and deployment of molecular tools for crop genetics and breeding for over 30 years. Currently, he is actively involved in the establishment of Biodiversity Informatics at the IPK, which involves the convergence of classical genebank documentation with Bioinformatics and includes the development of software tools for the analysis and visualization of PGR-related data.

Andreas is convinced DivSeek will help build an infrastructure to systematically capture and store genomics and phenomics data, to be converted into high-value information that will enable informed access to PGR for research and breeding.

Lecture: Management, analysis and utilization of plant genetic resources


Elahe Elahi

Elahe Elahi is professor at the School of Biology at the University of Iran. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970, and her PhD from the University of Michigan in 1976. She did post-doctoral work at UCSF (University of California at San Francisco medical school), and returned to Iran just after the revolution at the end of 1979. Her research has been mostly on human medical genetics, but she occasionally diversifies into fields that include barcoding and bioinformatics. She and her colleagues identified FBXO7 as a causative gene of Parkinson’s disease, LTBP2 as a causative gene of primary congenital glaucoma, and CYP27A1 and ST6GALNA5 as causative genes of coronary artery disease by genetic linkage analysis and exome sequencing. Her emphasis has been on neurodegenerative diseases, and is presently trying to identify molecular pathways possibly involved in the etiology of glaucoma.

Lecture: History of our genetic studies on neurodegenerative diseases


Dirk-Jan de Koning

I am professor in Animal Breeding and head of the Section on Quantitative Genetics. I am interested to dissect the genetic basis of variation in complex traits and use of this information in breeding programs. My research covers traditional livestock species as well as excursions to fish, mice and even plants.

  • MSC, Wageningen University 1996
  • PHD, Wageningen University 2001
  • 2007 - 2010 Band 4 Group Leader*, Roslin Institute
  • 2003 - 2007 Career Track Appointment, Roslin Institute
  • 2001 - 2003 Post- Doctoral position, Roslin Institute
  • 1997 - 2001 PhD Student, Wageningen University
  • 1996 – 1997 MTT Agricultural Research Centre of Finland

*1-10-2007: Merger of the Roslin Institute with University of Edinburgh

Current research

My research focuses on linking DNA variation to functional variation in livestock and beyond. I am interested in experimental design as well as data analysis and bioinformatics. A large research project is on the development of novel tools for molecular breeding in CP2 of Mistra Biotech. We also have an exciting collaboration on RNA sequencing with Leif Andersson and the group of Paul Siegel. At HGEN this collaboration includes Fernando Lopes-Pinto, Anna-Maja Molin and Göran Andersson.

We are in the process of establishing more research in the area of aquaculture. Furthermore I have some residual research projects at The Roslin Institute at The University of Edinburgh. On the periphery I am Deputy Editor-in-Chief for G3|Genes, Genomes, Genetics, editor for Heredity, and editor for Genetics.

Lecture: Using DNA variation and functional variation to better understand and predict livestock performance


Bahram B. Soltani

Dr. Soltani received his PhD at the University of British Columbia (UBC)/ Canada in 2006, and did his post-doctoral works both in UBC and AAFC/ Canada until 2008. Currently, he is an associate professor in molecular genetics at Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran/ Iran. His current research is mostly on human genetics, aiming at the discovery of novel miRNAs which are involved in cancer and cardiogenesis. He and his colleagues discovered and functionally characterized hsa-miR-6165, hsa-miR-11181, and couple of other novel miRNAs which are involved in Wnt, TGFB and neurotrophin signaling pathway. His emphasis has been on colorectal cancer and cardigenesis in which, Wnt, TGFB signaling pathways play pivotal roles.

Lecture: Bioinformatics prediction and experimental verification of novel miRNAs located in human genome


Ghasem Hosseini Salekdeh

Royan Institute, Tehran, Iran

Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII), Karaj, Iran

Dr. Salekdeh joined Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran in 2002 after receiving his PhD in Genetics. He started his collaboration with Department of Stem Cells at Royan Institute, Tehran in 2005. His researches focus on discovery of novel pathways and genes involved in embryonic cell proliferation and differentiation, using proteomics and genomics approaches. He is the chair of Asia Oceania Human Proteome Organization (AOHUPO) Embryonic Stem Cell Membrane Proteome Initiative (AOHUPO ESC-MPI). He is also Director of Human Y Chromosome Proteome Project. He is a council member of AOHUPO and HUPO. On a national level, Dr. Salekdeh is Co-founder of Iranian Proteomics Society and President-elect of society since 2004. He is on a number of editorial boards, including Nature Scientific Reports, Journal of Proteome Research and Proteomics journal. He received several awards and honors including National Biotechnology Award (2007), National Razi Medical Science award for advance technologies (2009), the Khwarizmi International Award for fundamental research (2010), and Hadavi award from Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences (2010 and 2014), and Distinguished Scientist in Biotechnology (2013). He has published over 100 peer-reviewed international journals such as Nature Biotechnology, Nature Protocol, Molecular Cellular Proteomics, Stem Cells, Journal of Hepatology, and Journal of Proteome Research.

Lecture: Generation and isolation of human ISL1+ multipotent cardiac progenitors from pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic applications


Goodarz Najafian

Wheat Breeder and DG, Seed and Plant Improvement Institute (SPII), Karaj, Iran

Career history:
  • 1991-2003 wheat Breeder, Agricultural and natural resources research center of Kermanshah, Iran.
  • 2003-till now, Wheat Breeder, national coordinator of wheat breeding program for temperate areas of Iran.
  • 2004 till now: in charge of cereal chemistry and technology Unit, Cereal Research Dept., SPII.
  • 2006-2008: Deputy of head, cereal research Dept., SPII. Iran.
  • August 2013-February 2014: Head Cereal Research Department, SPII, Iran.
  • February 2014 till now: Director General, Seed and Plant Improvement Institute (SPII), Iran.
Highlights of Research history:
  • Running of more than 70 research projects in the background of wheat breeding, wheat quality.
  • Responsibility or contribution to more than 45 research papers in scientific journals (in either Persian/English)
  • Responsibility/contribution in presentation of more than 60 research titles in scientific national/international conferences
  • Releasing of 5 irrigated wheat cultivars (Bahar, Parsi, Sivand, Sirvan, Baharan) from 2007 till now in the capacity of irrigated wheat breeding program coordinator for temperate areas of Iran.
  • Publication of one book issue: Differential characteristics of grown wheat trade cultivars and promising lines of Iran based on UPOV standards.
  • Contribution to running of scientific workshops in drought stress background (international: 2009, Karaj, Iran) wheat quality (National, 2010 Karaj, Iran) etc.
  • National focal representative in International association of cereal and technology science (ICC) from 2004 till 2010.
Lecture: Genetic Improvement in grain yield, Agronomic and quality traits of wheat over eighty years breeding in Iran


Klaus Palme

Klaus Palme pioneered plant hormone signalling and functionally characterized the transport machinery for the plant hormone auxin. With these discoveries he made a globally acknowledged breakthrough which has fuelled the analysis of this important plant process for many years and by numerous followers around the world. He is heading a reference laboratory for plant physiology and instrumentation/technology development. His work is acknowledged by several prizes and election as member to several international scientific societies. He also played a decisive role to create the Freiburg Institute of Systems Biology (ZBSA). Currently Prof. Klaus Palme serves as Head of the Department of Molecular Plant Physiology, Executive Director of the Institute of Biology (Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg) and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Freiburg Center for BioSystems Analysis (ZBSA).

Lecture: From high resolution phenotyping enables systems biology insight into single cells and organs from model plant Arabdidopsis thaliana


Farhad Abdolkarim Barzinji

Year Position Institute
Currently General Manager of (Microgene) Microgene Diagnostic Center/Sulaimaniya

Head of Dep. Of Microbiology
/ Supervisor & Lecturar (SU)
Sulaimanya Univarsity
2008 - 2010 Dean of -MRC- Medical Research Center HMU/ Erbil/ Iraq
2006 Professor of Biology (IRI Program) HMU/ Erbil/ Iraq


Visiting Research Scientist
Div. of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry – UMKC – MO, USA
1998 -2002
Senior Research Scientist & Group Leader Dep. Of Microbiology/ Stockholm’s University/ Sweden

Post doctoral Fellow
Dep. Of Microbiology/ Stockholm’s University/ Sweden

Major Achievements
Year Subject University / Country
2011 Staretde and established Microgene Diagnostic Ceneter Harem Hospital/ Sulaimaniya
2006 - 2010 Established Medical Research Center (MRC/ HMU -Erbil) HMU – Erbil – KRG - Iraq
2002 Co – founder of a Swedish biotechnology company – PlasEx AB Stockholm’s University – Sweden
2001 International patent (PCT/EP02/0678) Stockholm’s University – Sweden
1998 – 2002 Coordinated a scientific relation between Dep. Of Microbiology at Stockholms University and international Biotechnological Companies (Pharmacia, Bio-gaia, SA Bioproduct – South Africa) Stockholm’s University – Sweden
2000 Construction of E.coli strain for overproduction of the biosubstance (Shikmik Acid) that uses as a base substance for Tami Flue (Influenza Vaccine) Stockholm’s University – Sweden
Lecture: enetically identification of gas-exposed victims of Halabche


Stephen Little

Chief Executive Officer (Director), Premaitha Health Company, Manchester Science Park, Manchester, United Kingdom

Stephen is a successful serial biotechnology entrepreneur. He is the former CEO of DxS, an innovator in the field of personalised medicine, developing and manufacturing companion diagnostics. DxS was funded with £3.5M in 2001 and was sold to QIAGEN BV in 2009 for £85M. DxS pioneered the use of molecular diagnostic tests such as KRAS and EGFR mutation analysis to predict the use of novel cancer therapies. In 2009, DxS was acquired by QIAGEN and Stephen became Vice President of Personalised Healthcare, responsible for developing companion diagnostic partnerships with the pharma industry. Prior to his leading role at DxS, Stephen worked for 20 years in various senior positions in the diagnostic divisions of Astra Zeneca and ICI. He holds a PhD from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Lecture: The IONA test – non-invasive prenatal screening using semi-conductor next generation sequencing


Angjelina Belaj

Department of Olive Growing, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training-IFAPA, Cordoba, Spain
Specialist in olive germplasm management, olive molecular evaluation, olive biodiversity and olive breeding

Angjelina Belaj has been involved in the development of genetic resources and deployment of molecular tools for olive genetics and breeding programs for over 20 years. Currently, she is actively involved in the management and application of international olive collection in Cordoba, Spain and she is directly involved in olive breeding programs using autochthonous and wild olive varieties.
She has delivered invited talks and keynote speeches at many international conferences held in different countries.

Lecture: Olive Genetic Resource: Current status of characterization, evaluation and use


Giovanni Destro Bisol

Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Rome “La Sapienza”
2004/current Editor of the "Journal of Anthropological Sciences" (formerly "Rivista di Antropologia" 2009 - 2013 Associate Editor of "BMC Evolutionary Biology"
2013/current Associate Editor of "American Journal of Physical Anthropology"
Research activity concerns genetic variability and peopling processes and data sharing in Life Sciences and Open Science
Pascali VL, Bisol GD, et al. Chimpanzee DNA profiles on trial. Nature. 1994 Feb 24;367(6465):692-3.
Tishkoff SA, Destro-Bisol G, et al. Haplotype diversity and linkage disequilibrium at human G6PD: recent origin of alleles that confer malarial resistance. Science. 2001 Jul 20;293(5529):455-62.
Destro-Bisol G et al. Variation of female and male lineages in sub-Saharan populations: the importance of sociocultural factors. Molecular Biology and Evolution . 2004 Sep;21(9):1673-82.
Anagnostou P, *Capocasa M, Milia N, Sanna E, Battaggia C. Luzi D, & *Destro-Bisol G. When data sharing gets close to 100%: what human Paleogenetics can teach the Open Science movement. PLoS ONE 10: e0121409. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121409.
*Destro Bisol G, *Anagnostou P, *Capocasa M, Bencivelli S, Cerroni A, Contreras J, Enke N, Fantini B, Greco P, Heeney C, Luzi D, Manghi P, Mascalzoni D, Molloy J, Parenti F, Wicherts JM & G Boulton. Perspectives on open science and scientific data sharing: an interdisciplinary workshop. . Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 92:179-200
Lecture: Genetic and linguistic diversity of Italian populations


Klaus Ammann

Position: Chairman EFB Section on Biodiversity
Organisation: University of Bern

Klaus Ammann is emeritus Honorary Professor for Biodiversity and former Director of the Botanical Garden, University of Bern Switzerland. He lectured on Plant Systematics, Evolution and Biogeography, and on Air Pollution Biomonitoring
Studies, Positions
  • Born December 6, 1940
  • Studies at University of Berne: Thesis on Vegetation History 1972, summa cum laude Prof. Dr. Max Welten
  • Studies at Bergen Norway, Prof. Dr. Knut Faegri, 1966,
  • Duke University NC USA, Drs. Bill and Chichita Culberson 1975, and
  • Kingston, Jamaica W.I. 1992,
  • Lecturer University of Bern Dept. of Cryptogamic Botany (Lichens and Mosses) 1976 - 2006
  • Director Botanic Garden, University of Berne 1996 - 2006
  • Prof.hon. University of Berne 2000
  • Sabbatical Missouri Botanical Garden, Prof. Dr. Peter Raven 2003
  • Retirement from Bern University and Botanic Garden: February 28, 2006
  • Guest Prof. Delft University of Technology 2006-2008 Engineering and Ethics, Communication, Biosafety
  • Guest Prof. at Sabanci University Istanbul February to June 15, 2009
Committees, among others
- Chair European expert committee on plant conservation, Council of Europe 1998-2004 - Chair Swiss committee for cryptogamic botany in Swiss academy of science 1990-2000 - Member of steering committee Planta Europa – 2002-2006
- Biosafety Committee of the Government of Switzerland 1995-2007,
- Chairman of Section Biodiversity of European Federation of Biotechnology 2004 -
- Editorial Board (Ecology) and Initiator of Environmental Biosafety Research, 2001-2010
- Board of Directors Gensuisse, 2000
- Advisory Board Internutrition 2000
- Member Board of Directors Africa Harvest 2004-2006
- Member Advisory Board African Technology Development Forum ATDF,
- Member of Steering committee PRRI 2005
- Member of Scientific Committee 2nd World Scientific Congress Challenges in Botanical Research and Climate Change Delft, Netherlands, 29 June - 4 July 2008
- Harmonics Network, Chairman international section, http://harmonik
- Editor Journal New Biotechnology, Elsevier Co. Amsterdam 2010 -
- Guest Editor Journal of New Biotechnology: Vatican conference on GM crops and developing countries May 2009, online open source publication 20101130:
- Black Sea Biotechnology Association, Board of Trustees 2010
Lecture: Merging Biotechnology and Organic Farming