Invited speakers

  • Matrix mechanosensing: from scaling concepts in ’omics data to mechanisms in the nucleus and tumor heterogeneity 

         D Discher, University of Pennsylvania, USA

  • (Tentative title) Bacterial collective behaviour

         K Drescher, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Germany

  • (Tentative title) Cell membrane perforation by immune proteins 

         B Hoogenboom, University College London, UK

  • Evolutionary self-organisation: lessons from the polarisation machinery in budding yeast

         L Laan, TU Delft, The Netherlands

  • Cell Division: Mechanical Integrity with Dynamic Parts

         S Dumont, UCSF, USA

  • Disassembling actin filaments with proteins and mechanical stress

         G Romet-Lemonne, IJM, France

  • Nuclear Reprogramming: A Leap Forward Through Mechanobiology

         G V Shivashankar, Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore

  • Shaping cell contacts during tissue morphogenesis

         PF Lenne, Marseille Luminy, France

  • Shiladitya Banerjee (University College London, UK)
  • Alexander Bershadsky (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
  • Kevin Chalut (University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Nir Gov (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)
  • Gijsje Koenderink (AMOLF, The Netherlands)
  • Cristina Marchetti (Syracuse University, USA)
  • Rudolf Merkel (Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany)
  • Francois Nedelec (EMBL Heidelberg, Germany)
  • Wouter Roos (RUG Groningen, The Netherlands)
  • Erich Sackmann, Technische Universität München, Germany)
  • Kheya Sengupta, CINaM - Interdisciplinary Center of Nanoscience of Marseille, France
  • Ulrich Schwarz (Universität Heidelberg, Germany)
  • Tom Shimizu (AMOLF, The Netherlands)
  • Margarita Staykova (University of Durham, UK)
  • Ana Suncana Smith (Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany)
  • Raphael Voituriez (UPMC, France)
  • Gijs Wuite (VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Speaker biographies

  Dennis Discher is the Robert D. Bent chaired Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of a National Cancer Institute-funded Physical Sciences Oncology Center at Penn, where he has been since 1996.  His lab discovered matrix elasticity effects on stem cell differentiation and generally takes a soft matter physics and polymer approach to cell biology questions. Recent efforts focus most specifically on mechanobiological determinants of DNA damage and genome variation, as well as macrophage engineering to infiltrate and attack tumors. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the US National Academy of Medicine, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He earned his PhD from UC Berkeley & UC San Francisco in membrane biophysics and splicing biochemistry, was a Postdoctoral Fellow in computational biophysics at University of British Columbia & Simon Fraser University, and holds appointments at Penn in Engineering & Applied Science as well as the Graduate Groups in Physics and Pharmacology. Additional honors and service include the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award from the Humboldt Foundation of Germany and member of the Editorial Board of Science.

Knut Drescher received his undergraduate education in physics at the University of Oxford, before pursuing a PhD in biophysics at the University of Cambridge. He became interested in molecular biology and bacterial biofilms during his postdoctoral training at Princeton University, in the Department of Molecular Biology from 2011-2014. In 2015, Knut Drescher moved to the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Germany, where he is leading a research group focused on combining methods from physics and molecular biology to understand bacterial collective behaviors. Knut Drescher is also a professor of biophysics at the Philipps University of Marburg, where he teaches undergraduate courses.

  Bart Hoogenboom is Professor of Biophysics at the London Centre for Nanotechnology and at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London. He has was awarded his PhD on high-Tc superconductivity at the University of Geneva in 2002, developed atomic force microscopy (AFM) instrumentation as a postdoc in Basel, and since 2007 has led a biophysics research group in London, where he uses AFM in combination with other techniques to understand physical mechanisms of biomolecular processes. His research highlights include the first visualisation of the DNA double helix in solution, the nanomechanical and computational characterisation of different phases formed by disordered assemblies of nuclear pore proteins, and the elucidation of mechanisms of membrane perforation by antimicrobial peptides and by pore forming proteins in bacterial attack and immune defence.

Liedewij obtained her PhD in Physics (2009) by combining minimal in vitro experiments and theory to study cytoskeletal forces and organisation in the group of Marileen Dogterom. Subsequently she joined the lab of Andrew Murray at Harvard to investigate evolutionary dynamics in the polarisation network in budding yeast. In October 2014 Liedewij started her own group at Delft University of Technology, where she combines minimal in vitro systems, experimental evolution, quantitative cell biology, physical modelling and bioinformatics to obtain a quantitative molecular understanding of the reorganization of the yeast polarity network over evolutionary timescales.

  Sophie Dumont is from Québec, Canada. She received her B.A. in physics from Princeton University, and Ph.D. in biophysics from UC Berkeley where she probed the mechanics of individual biomolecules with Carlos Bustamante. She was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and postdoc at Harvard Medical School where she worked on the mechanics of cell division with Tim Mitchison. She started her lab at UCSF (University of California, San Francisco) in 2012, and her group focuses on the self-organization and emergent mechanics that drive robust chromosome segregation.

Shivashankar is currently a Principal Investigator and Deputy Director of the Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore. Shivashankar carried out his PhD research at the Rockefeller University (1994-1999) and Postdoctoral research at NEC Research Institute, Princeton USA (1999-2000). He started his laboratory at the National Center for Biological Sciences, TIFR- Bangalore, India (2000-2009). He then relocated to a tenured faculty position at the National University of Singapore in 2009. His scientific awards include: the Birla Science Prize (2006), The Swarnajayanthi Fellowship (2007). In addition, he was elected to the Indian Academy of Sciences (2010). He edited the Methods in Cell Biology series book on “Nuclear Mechanics and Genome Regulation” (2010), Elsevier Press. More recently, he also heads the Joint Research Laboratory with the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology (IFOM), Milan, Italy and he was appointed as an IFOM-NUS Chair Professor in 2014.

    Pierre-François Lenne studies the physical principles that underpin the morphogenesis of animals.  CNRS research director and group leader at the Developmental Biology Institute of Marseille France, he develops and applies quantitative approaches to understand how mechanical and physical interactions are organized at cell surfaces and how these interactions give rise to cell and tissue responses. To tackle these questions, his current research focuses on two aspects of tissue morphogenesis, namely tissue shaping and polarization.

Key dates

  • Early booking deadline for exhibitors:
    29 March 2018
  • Abstract submission deadline [extended]:
    25 May 2018
  • Early registration deadline:
    29 June 2018
  • Registration deadline:
    17 August 2018