Keynote Speakers


Kristi Anseth, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor and Tisone Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University of Colorado, Boulder
Member, National Academy of Engineering, Sciences and Medicine
Member of the National Academy of Inventors

Professor Kristi Anseth and her research group pioneer the development of biomaterials to serve as synthetic extracellular matrix (ECM) analogs that capture key features of the biochemical and biophysical aspects of a cell's niche - an environment that is not only tissue specific, but can be strikingly heterogeneous and dynamic. Unique to her approach is the ability to create cell-laden matrices in three-dimensional space in which the matrix properties can be changed on demand - so-called 4D biology. Ultimately, Dr. Anseth and her group seek to understand how cells sense, store, and exchange information with the ECM and then use this knowledge to engineer biomaterial niches as cell delivery vehicles for tissue regeneration, in vitro models of disease, and physiologically-relevant models for drug discovery and screening. Her materials-first approach provides tools to perform unique cell biology experiments and address major hurdles in regenerative medicine.

David Bishop, Ph.D.
Professor, Head of the Division of Materials Science & Engineering
Director of the CELL-MET Engineering Research Center
Boston University

Professor Bishop's interests lie in nanotechnology, low temperature physics, mechanical properties of materials at low temperatures, MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) and NEMS (nanoelectromechanical systems), MEMS in lightwave networks, all-optical switching, superconductivity and superfluidity, magnetic vortices in superconductors and their phase transitions, the Casimir effect and Casimir oscillators, energy efficient networking, electron coherence effects in metallic nanostructures at low temperatures, and cybersecurity and protecting critical infrastructure.

Kevin Healy, Ph.D.
Professor, Bioengineering and Materials Science & Engineering
Former Chair, Department of Bioengineering
University of California, Berkeley

Professor Healy is the Jan Fandrianto and Selfia Halim Distinguished Professor in Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in the Departments of Bioengineering, and Materials Science and Engineering. He served as Chair of the Department of Bioengineering from 2011 to 2015. He received a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester in 1983. He obtained graduate degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania (M.Eng.: 1985; Ph.D.: 1990). He is a thought leader and innovator working at the interface between stem cells and materials science to develop dynamic engineered systems to explore both fundamental biological phenomena and new applications in translational medicine. His group currently conducts research in the areas of: bioinspired stem cell microenvironments to control stem cell lineage specification and self-organization into microtissues or organs; bioinspired systems for regenerative medicine; biological interfaces; and, microphysiological systems for drug toxicity screening. Major discoveries from his laboratory have centered on the control of cell fate and tissue formation in contract with materials that are tunable in both their biological content and mechanical properties. These materials find applications in medicine, dentistry, and biotechnology. Prof. Healy has authored or co-authored more than 350 published articles, abstracts, and book chapters. He recently co-edited a multi-volume scholarly reference work on the biomaterials field, containing an all-encompassing comprehensive treatise that accurately captures the diversity, breadth, and dimensions of the field. He is an elected Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE), and recently received an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Award. He has chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Biomaterials and Biocompatibility, and has been honored with the 2011 Clemson award for outstanding contributions to basic biomaterials science. He is a named inventor on numerous issued United States and international patents relating to biomaterials, therapeutics, stem cells, and medical devices, and has founded several companies to develop these systems for applications in biotechnology and regenerative medicine. He is currently an Associate Editor of The Journal of Biomedical Materials Research and Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine. He has served on numerous panels and grant review study sections for N.I.H. and international scientific agencies. He has given more than 300 invited lectures in the fields of Biomedical Engineering and Biomaterials.

Our work has emphasized creating both healthy and diseased model organ systems, we call microphysiological systems or 'organ chips', to address the costly and inefficient drug discovery process. The average time to develop and launch a new drug is 10-15 years, and costs ~ $5-3b. The poor efficiency and high failure rates are attributed to the heavy reliance on non-human animal models employed during safety and efficacy testing that poorly reflect human disease states. With the discovery of human induced pluripotent stem cells, we can now develop organ chips to be used for high content drug screening, disease modelling, and numerous other applications. While organ chips are poised to disrupt the drug development process and significantly reduce the cost of bringing a new drug candidate to market, organ chip technology is much more robust and creates a whole new paradigm in how to conduct biological science, and advances medicine in revolutionary ways. While chips featuring single organs can be of great use for both pharmaceutical testing and basic organ-level studies, the huge potential of organ chip technology is revealed by connecting multiple organs on a single chip to create a scalable integrated human system for mechanistic biological studies and devising therapies for common, rare, and difficult to study diseases. Ultimately, the vision is to reduce or eliminate the use of animals in drug discovery, and conduct 'clinical trials' in patient-specific organ chips that can accommodate variations in genetics, environment, and lifestyle.

David Largaespada, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development
Director, Brain Tumor Program, Masonic Cancer Center
American Cancer Society Research Professor
Associate Director for Basic Sciences, Masonic Cancer Center
University of Minnesota

Dr. David Largaespada, Ph.D., is a Full Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Genetics, Cell Biology and Development and the Associate Director for Basic Research in the Masonic Cancer Center at University of Minnesota. He is an authority on mouse genetics, gene modification and cancer genes. He received his B.S. in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 1987 and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology with Dr. Rex Risser at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992. He did a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute working with world-renowned geneticists Dr. Nancy Jenkins and Dr. Neal Copeland, where the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America awarded him a postdoctoral fellowship. He joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in late 1996. Dr. Largaespada currently holds the Hedberg Family/Children's Cancer Research Fund Chair in Brain Tumor Research. He was awarded the American Cancer Society Research Professor Award in 2013, the highest award given by the ACS. Dr. Largaespada is an authority on mouse genetics, gene modification, cancer genes, and disease models. His lab specializes in cancer functional genomics using in vivo transposon mutagenesis and targeted nucleases. Current projects are focused on sarcomas, brain tumors, hepatocellular carcinoma, and Neurofibromatosis Type 1 syndrome. He is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota. He is the Associate Director for Basic Research in the Masonic Cancer Center at University of Minnesota. Dr. Largaespada currently holds the Hedberg Family/Children's Cancer Research Fund Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research. Dr. Largaespada was awarded the University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professorship in 2000 and the American Cancer Society Research Professor Award in 2013. He has published over 170 scientific articles, many in high impact journals such as Science, Nature and Nature Genetics. Dr. Largaespada has co-founded three biotechnology companies.


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