Michael Borg obtained his PhD from the University of Leicester, UK, in 2010. He worked as a BBSRC-funded Postdoc at the same university from 2011 to 2014. From 2014 to 2020, he held the position of Lise Meitner Fellow and Senior Postdoc at the Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna, Austria. Since 2021, he has been serving as a Group Leader in the Department of Algal Development and Evolution at the MPI for Biology in Tübingen, Germany. Leading a research group focused on understanding genetic and chromatin-based mechanisms in the development of complex multicellular organisms, Michael Borg's interdisciplinary approach combines genomics, cell biology, biochemistry, and evolutionary biology.
Kai Sandvold Beckwith is a dynamic research scientist whose career encapsulates an unyielding pursuit of scientific knowledge and innovation. Currently serving as a Research Scientist/Coordinator at EMBL, Germany, Kai's focus lies in investigating genome organization within individual cells. With an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship under their belt, Kai's postdoctoral work extended the horizons of super-resolution microscopy for three-dimensional genome analysis. Earlier, at NTNU, their exploration of host-pathogen interactions and novel nanotechnology applications underscored their multifaceted scientific approach. Kai Sandvold Beckwith's trajectory exemplifies unwavering dedication to groundbreaking research, continuously propelling the boundaries of biological comprehension.
Born in Great Britain. Study of Natural Sciences (Biochemistry), University of Cambridge, UK (1996 – 2000), doctorate in Structural Biology at University of Oxford, UK (2004), postdoctoral fellow at LMU, Munich (2005 – 2006), group leader at EMBL, Heidelberg (2006 – 2018), programme leader at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK (2017 - 2021), director at Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (since 2021).
Gray Camp is reconstructing and exploring uniquely human development.
Human development: The lab applies and develops single-cell genomic methods to reconstruct differentiation trajectories, trace lineages, perturb gene networks, and spatially map cell states in three-dimensional (3D) tissues engineered from human pluripotent stem cells (often-called “organoids”). They collaborate to engineer next-generation human models that include vascular and immune competency in order to gain access to more relevant human physiology.
Human disease: The lab is using 3D organoid and other human model system technologies to understand human disease and to develop therapies. The major goal is to develop accurate and personalized models of various disorders, and assist with the development of novel corrective therapies.
Human EvoDevo: The lab is generating cell atlases of great ape organs in order to understand similarities and differences between humans, chimpanzees/bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. In parallel, they are generating stem cell-derived organoids from each of these species in order to understand and model organ development across the great apes.
The Ebisuya group recapitulates developmental mechanisms in vitro to study how we humans are different from other species, and develops novel tools to manipulate tissue shape and function.
Cross-species comparisons of organoids
Human development is in general slower than mouse development, …but why? To study the biophysical mechanism of interspecies differences in developmental tempo, we make organoids from pluripotent stem cells. Organoids offer an ideal in vitro platform to compare different species under the same experimental conditions.
Dr. Viktorija Glembockyte is a Junior Group Leader at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, before which she was working in the same institute as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow in the lab of Prof. Dr. Philip Tinnefeld. Her research focuses on the development of fluorescence-based diagnostic assays based on plasmonic DNA origami nanoantennas, succeeding in detecting single DNA molecules that can indicate antibiotic resistance on a battery-powered smartphone microscope.
Dr. Florian Halbritter (PhD) studied Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück. In 2008 he entered a PhD program in Stem Cell Bioinformatics under the supervision of Simon Tomlinson and Ian Chambers at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine of the University of Edinburgh. After graduating in 2012 he worked as a postdoc at the University of Edinburgh before moving to the laboratory of Christoph Bock at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 2015. He joined St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute (CCRI) as a Principal Investigator in 2018. As a computational biologist, Florian Halbritter studied the epigenome of stem cells, immune cells, and cancer using functional genomics technologies. He developed and applied data analysis methods and analyzed thousands of genomics datasets.
Leo James received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 2000, where he worked on antibody structure and design including the first humanised antibody CAMPATH. He post-doc’d in the labs of Prof. Dan Tawfik and Sir Greg Winter, investigating molecular mechanisms of antibody pathogenicity. In 2007, Leo established an independent group at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (http://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/group-leaders/h-to-m/l-james). His lab studies intracellular host-pathogen interactions, in particular during early post-entry infection, using a broad range of in vitro and in vivo techniques. Leo’s lab discovered the interface on HIV capsid that is used to recruit cofactors for nuclear import and the dynamic pores through which the virus recruits dNTPs for encapsidated DNA synthesis. He also discovered TRIM21, the mammalian cytosolic antibody receptor, and continues to work on the molecular mechanisms that underpin intracellular humoral immunity and its role in antiviral defence.
Since 2015 Assistant Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
2008 – 2015 Postdoc, National Institute for Medical Research (The Francis Crick Institute), UK
2008 PhD, University of Geneva, Switzerland and Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany
With a degree in biochemistry from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 2007, she obtained her PhD in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biomedicine and Biomedicine in 2013 at the same university. Her early career early career focused on thyroid biology, thyroid hormone regulation and signaling hormonal regulation and signaling pathways that mediate oncogenic transformation in this oncogenic transformation in this tissue (2007-2013). Subsequently, and after two two stays in the laboratory of Dr. Elaine Fuchs (Rockefeller University, NY, USA), the University, NY, USA), Dr. Sastre-Perona completed her postdoctoral stay at NYU Langone (2007-2013) where she studied the transcriptional transcriptional mechanisms that control cancer stem cell cancer stem cell populations of squamous tumors, focusing on skin cancer (2014-2019). These studies were key to identify mechanisms and biomarkers of skin squamous cell carcinoma progression. In 2020 she joined IdiPAZ as a Miguel Servet researcher, to focus on the study of head and neck cancer, a subtype of highly aggressive squamous carcinoma. Her research focuses on the identification of functional biomarkers that mediate resistance to different therapies using multiomic techniques as well as functional genomics in patient samples and advanced patient-derived patient-derived organoid models.
The Revilla-i-Domingo lab is interested in unravelling and understanding the gene regulatory networks that control stem cell functions in sponges. Our work mainly capitalizes on the establishment of a novel sponge regeneration system, which allows us to interrogate stem cell self-renewal and differentiation processes. We are implementing a number of single-cell transcriptomic and genomic techniques, as well as advanced computational methods, to infer gene regulatory interactions. Our research addresses fundamental questions in three main areas: Unravelling Basic Principles of Regeneration and Stem Cell Biology, Understanding Early Animal Evolution, and Exploring Deep-Sea Sponge Ecology.
Katrin Rittinger obtained a degree in chemistry from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She then went on to do a PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg in the group of Roger Goody, characterising the nucleotide and oligonucleotide-binding properties of HIV reverse transcriptase and the mechanism of action of non-nucleoside RT inhibitors. After a short postdoctoral period at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, Germany, she came to theMedical Research Council National Institute for Medical Research (now part of the Francis Crick Institute) in 1996 for a second postdoc, working on the structural characterisation of 14-3-3/ligand complexes and the regulation of Rho family GTPases.
Dr Berend Snijder is a cell biologist with an extensive background in both computation and statistics of large data, working on the basic principles of cellular behavior and processes surrounding cancer and immunology. He is broadly interested in the application and development of new methods for quantitative cell biology and systems biology, with a keen focus on the biological question. Berend’s lab specializes in automated microscopy, and utilizes image analysis and machine learning to interpret their results. They then integrate these results with different ‘omics’ datasets, such as gene and protein expression, and lipid abundance data, to reveal the molecular systems at work. Within their lab, big data analysis is key to identify the critical signals and build predictive quantitative models.
Giuseppe Vicidomini graduated with honors in computer science from the University of Genoa (Italy) in 2003. He received his Ph.D. from the same university in 2007, focusing on image processing for fluorescence microscopy.
From 2008 to 2011, Vicidomini worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Germany). There, he revolutionized stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy by developing a technique that achieved high spatial resolution with reduced light dose, enabling its application in live-cell imaging.
Since 2011, Vicidomini has been affiliated with the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), led by Prof. Alberto Diaspro. He became a principal investigator in 2016 and obtained tenure in 2019. Additionally, he serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Genoa.
Vicidomini's research primarily focuses on STED microscopy and its integration with fluorescence-correlation spectroscopy (STED-FCS). He has also contributed to the development of single-photon-avalanche diode (SPAD) arrays for fluorescence microscopy. His innovative scanning microscopy technique doubles the spatial resolution of conventional microscopy and enables live-cell, multi-color, and three-dimensional imaging, incorporating time-resolved spectroscopy.
Professor Joachim Wittbrodt is a renowned researcher in the field of developmental biology and physiology. He currently serves as the co-speaker of the Cluster of Excellence 3D Matter Made to Order and is a member of the graduate school HBIGS. Professor Wittbrodt's work has received support from various public donors, including the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the European Research Council (ERC), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Volkswagen Foundation.
Throughout his career, Professor Wittbrodt has held prestigious positions and received offers from esteemed institutions. In 2006, he accepted an offer for a full professorship at Heidelberg University and a directorship at the Research Center Karlsruhe. Prior to that, he declined an offer for a full professorship at the University of Geneva in 2005.
Before joining Heidelberg University and the Research Center Karlsruhe, Professor Wittbrodt served as a group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg from 1999 to 2007. He was associated with both the Developmental Biology Unit and the Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit during his tenure at EMBL. Before that, he worked as a junior group leader at SFB 271, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen from 1995 to 1998. He also gained valuable research experience as a postdoctoral fellow at the Biocentre, University of Basel, Switzerland, from 1991 to 1994.
Daniel Zilberman is an accomplished professional in molecular biology and genetics. Currently holding the position of Professor at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) since 2021, he brings a wealth of experience to the table. With previous roles including Group Leader at the John Innes Centre, UK, Associate Professor at UC Berkeley, and Assistant Professor at the same institution, Daniel's academic journey has been marked by consistency and dedication. His educational background comprises a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a postdoctoral stint at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Noteworthy achievements include the 2017 ERC Consolidator Award, the 2016 HHMI-Simons Foundation Faculty Scholar recognition, and the 2009 Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator award. Daniel's research predominantly delves into understanding DNA methylation within chromatin, using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model, and exploring the evolution of eukaryotic DNA methylation across various species.