Invited Speaker

We are proud to announce the following confirmed speakers for the 2nd CRC1208 conference:

PATRICIA BASSEREAU
Institut Curie, Paris, France

Patricia Bassereau is currently CNRS Directrice de Recherche (equivalent to professor) at the Institut Curie in Paris where she is the leader of the group "Membranes and cellular functions". She obtained her PhD in Soft Matter at the University of Montpellier where she started her carrier in 1986 on the structure of self-assembled surfactant-based systems. She spent one year as a visiting scientist at the IBM Almaden Center (San Jose, USA) on thin polymer films. She moved to the Institut Curie in 1993 to work on questions related to "Physics of the cell."
With her group, she develops a multidisciplinary approach, largely based on synthetic biology and biomimetic systems, as well as quantitative mechanical and microscopy methods to understand the role of biological membranes in cellular functions. Additionnally, she studies in vitro and in cellulo the mechanics and the generation of cellular protrusions.
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MAGDALENA BEZANILLA
Dartmouth College, USA

My research program aims to identify the intracellular factors responsible for patterning the extracellular matrix over macroscopic length scales. As a model, my lab has primarily used plant cells to approach this problem. Plant cells are encased in a carbohydrate extracellular matrix that defines cell shape and thus alterations in cell shape serve as a simple readout of defects in extracellular matrix patterning. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, work from my group continues to analyze how polarized secretion is established and maintained, how the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons are linked, and how these processes lead to patterning the extracellular matrix.
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CAREN CHANG
University of Maryland, USA

We are interested in understanding the mechanisms by which plants perceive signals and convert this information into physiological changes. The signal we have been focusing on is ethylene, a simple gaseous molecule that has profound effects on many aspects of plant growth and development, including fruit ripening, senescence, abscission and responses to biotic and abiotic stress. Our research utilizes a combination of molecular genetics, cell biology, proteomics and transcriptomics to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms of ethylene signaling using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
We have also investigated the evolution of plant hormones focusing on the charophyte green algae, the closest living relatives of land plants. Charophytes and land plants shared a common ancestor more than 450 million years ago. More recently, we have uncovered novel signaling by the well known precursor of ethylene, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), a small molecule that is readily converted to ethylene in seed plants.
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SCOTT EMR
Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

Dr. Emr is the first Director of the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology and he is the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University. Dr. Emr has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and as a foreign member of the European Molecular Biology Organization. Dr. Emr received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1981. He completed postdoctoral research on protein trafficking in the yeast secretory pathway in 1983 at the University of California, Berkeley in the laboratory of Dr. Randy Schekman. Prior to joining the faculty at Cornell University, Dr. Emr also held positions at the California Institute of Technology (Assistant and Associate Professor; 1983 – 1991) and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine (Distinguished Professor and Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; 1991 – 2007).
The Emr lab studies the molecular mechanisms responsible for the biogenesis, maintenance and function of the lysosome and has defined a pathway for the selective sorting and degradation of lysosomal membrane proteins.
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CHRISTINE FAULKNER
John Innes Center, Norwich, UK

Research in the Faulkner lab focuses on how cell-to-cell communication regulates plant responses to an attack from a pathogen. They focuse on the following questions:
How do plasmodesmata open and close?
Why do cells communicate during defence?
Do pathogens try to control plasmodesmata?
The lab uses cell and molecular biology approaches to specifically investigate how the intercellular channels that connect neighbouring cells, called plasmodesmata, open and close to control the exchange of materials between cells during immune responses.
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ALAIN FILLOUX
Imperial College London, UK

Our research project aims to tackle the problem of persistence and chronic infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. P. aeruginosa is a gram-negative bacterium and an opportunistic human pathogen, responsible for numerous nosocomial infections in immuno-compromised patients. These infections are fatal in cystic fibrosis patients.
Our project follows several research lines, which deal with essential molecular mechanisms involved in biofilm formation and type VI protein secretion system (T6SS). These two key processes are co-regulated and highly relevant for P. aeruginosa pathogenesis. The regulatory control involves signalling pathways associated with two-component regulatory systems and the intracellular second messenger c-di-GMP. We address these questions using multi-disciplinary approaches in molecular microbiology,  genetics, cellular microbiology, structural biology and biochemistry. 
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VOLKER HAUCKE
Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie Berlin (FMP) Berlin and Institute for Pharmacy, Free University of Berlin

Volker Haucke is Director of the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie Berlin (FMP) and Professor of Molecular Pharmacology at the Institute for Pharmacy of the Free University of Berlin. He was awarded a PhD ("summa cum laude") biochemistry (1997) by the University of Basel for his work on the mitochondrial protein import machinery (lab of G. Schatz).  He trained as a postdoc in the research group of Pietro De Camilli at Yale University School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Since 2007, he is a member of the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence. Volker Haucke was spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centres (SFB) 449 (Structure and Function of Membrane Integral Receptors) and 958 (Scaffolding of Membranes - Molecular Mechanisms and Cellular Functions).
For his work, he has received numerous awards. Since 2014 Haucke is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and since 2017 a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
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BEN LUISI
University of Cambridge, UK

Structural and functional studies of assemblies of riboregulation and transport
We are exploring the structure and function of the RNA degradosome assembly from bacteria, to understand their multifaceted regulatory functions. The multicomponent degradosome assembly can target specific transcripts by interacting with non-coding regulatory RNAs, and our structural and biochemical studies are providing insight into the mechanism of this targeted gene silencing. The structure of the catalytic domain in complex with RNA substrate and other structural information has enabled us to propose models for substrate recognition and allosteric activation of components of the degradosome assembly.
We have also undertaken a study of bacterial systems which transport proteins and antibiotics outside of the cell. We have obtained the structure of tripartite assemblies that span the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria. A structural view of these systems has helped to understand the molecular bases of bacterial virulence and drug resistance.
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THOMAS MARLOVITS
CSSB Centre for Structural Systems Biology, Hamburg, Germany
Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria

 

The Marlovits group studies the structural basis for assembly, regulation, and function of transmembrane molecular machines. Especially the type III secretion system, delivering bacterial toxins ('effectors') of Gram-negative pathogens from the bacterium to its host cell, is in the focus of our studies.
We focused (1) on determining the secretion path of injectisomes, (2) on understanding the mechanism of transport, and (3) on visualizing protein transport in situ. We discovered that substrates are inserted into the secretion path in a polar fashion - N-terminal regions first – and that they are transported in an unfolded state. To understand, whether such a behavior is in fact observed in situ, we analyzed protein transport across membranes in a near-native state using cryo electron tomography. For the first time, we were able to visualize pathogenic type III secretion systems in action.
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BRUNO MIROUX
CNRS, Paris, France

Our laboratory is interested in the structure, structural dynamics and physical chemistry of membrane proteins, either in vivo within a lipid bilayer, or in vitro after solubilization and stabilization by classical or alternative surfactants such as amphipols. Our proteins of interest cover various domains of fundamental and medical biology: (i) Energy coupling & supramolecular organization of respiratory chain complexes.
(ii) Molecular Signalization Pathway of GPGRs with the study of HEDGEHOG Pathway, the study of Signal Transduction by GPCRs using liquid state NMR and GPCR Cristallization. (iii) Transport and Membrane Dynamics in Bacteria including the biochemistry of Iron Transport in Haemophilus, the membrane biogenesis in E. coli, solid state NMR of membranes and membrane proteins.
My current research focuses on the construction of synthetic bacterial strains harbouring an internal storage membrane organelle to study foreign membrane proteins in vivo using biophysical methods.
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MARK SANSOM
University of Oxford, UK

We are interested in using computational methods to explore the relationship between structure and function in membrane proteins, in particular ion channels, membrane transport proteins, and bacterial outer membrane proteins. Computer simulations allow membrane proteins to 'come alive' - that is, we can simulate the motions of membrane proteins and use this to explore the relationship between (static) structure and dynamic function. This is relevant to a number of areas ranging from biomedicine to nanotechnology.
Our research forms a core component of the Structural Bioinformatics and Computational Biochemistry Unit (http://sbcb.bioch.ox.ac.uk). This embraces all areas of computational studies of membrane proteins and related systems, ranging from molecular simulations of channels and transporters, to computational bionanoscience, and membrane protein folding and stability. We are also interested in multi-level simulations of membrane proteins in the context of addressing the 'gap' between molecular and systems descriptions of membranes.
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PETER SEBO
Institute of Microbiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic

Peter trained as postdoc at the Institut Pasteur in Paris and is a groupleader at the Institute of Microbiology of the CAS in Prague since 1995. His current R&D interest focuses on next generation whole cell pertussis vaccines and his science is on the mechanisms of immunosubversive action of the adenylate cyclase toxin (ACT) of Bordetella pertussis. He co-invented the use of AC toxoid as antigen delivery tool for immunotherapeutic cancer vaccines that are in clinical trials. He serves as professor of microbiology at the University of Chemical Technology in Prague and He founded the Institute of Biotechnology of CAS and the BIOCEV research center near Prague.
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