SPEAKERS

KEN BERNSTEIN

Dr. Bernstein has studied the physiology and biochemistry of the renin-angiotensin system since 1987.  His research concerns two important areas: the angiotensin II AT1 receptor and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE).  Dr. Bernstein’s cloning of cDNA encoding the AT1 receptor in 1991 was a major discovery in understanding the RAS. In 1988 and 1989, Dr. Bernstein’s laboratory was one of two to first clone and characterize the structure of ACE.

Bernstein was also the first to discover that the ACE gene contains two distinct promoter regions, a promoter used by endothelium to make somatic ACE, and an intragenic testis-specific promoter used by developing sperm to make a smaller version of the ACE protein.  In recent years, Dr. Bernstein’s lab created a series of mice with unique mutations in the ACE gene, focusing on the physiologic role of ACE in individual tissue types, such as the heart and the kidney.  These animal models addressed the role of local vs systemic angiotensin II generation, as well as the physiologic role of ACE apart from blood pressure control.  Finally, Bernstein’s lab has identified important functional differences between the two catalytic domains of ACE.  This has clinical implications in that other labs have developed prototypic ACE inhibitors specific for each ACE catalytic domain  In 2005, Dr. Bernstein shared the AHA’s Novartis Prize for Hypertension Research with Dr. Barry Brenner.  In 2007, Dr. Bernstein received the AHA’s Basic Research Prize.

PHILLIP BIRD

I am a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). After receiving my doctorate in E.coli molecular genetics from the University of Melbourne in 1984, I worked in the USA as a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Foundation Fellow studying eukaryotic protein trafficking, first at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and then at the University of Texas in Dallas. On returning to Australia I worked at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories on pathogen vaccine antigens, before joining Monash University. At Monash I described a new group of human intracellular protease inhibitors (serpins) that protect protease-producing cells from self-induced damage. One of the proteases controlled in this way is granzyme B, a key component of the killing machinery of cytotoxic lymphocytes. I have an on-going interest in the delivery, roles and regulation of granzyme B.

MATT BOGYO

Dr. Bogyo received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997. After completion of his degree he was appointed as a Faculty Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Bogyo served as the Head of Chemical Proteomics at Celera Genomics from 2001 to 2003 while maintaining an Adjunct Faculty appointment at UCSF. In the Summer of 2003 Dr. Bogyo joined the Department of Pathology at Stanford Medical School and was appointed as a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 2004. His interests are focused on the use of chemistry to study the role of proteases in human disease. In particular his laboratory is currently working on understanding the role of cysteine proteases in tumorgenesis and also in the life cycle of the human parasites, Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii. Dr. Bogyo currently serves on the Editorial Board of Biochemical Journal, Chemistry and Biology. and Molecular and Cellular Proteomics and is an Academic Editor at PLoS One. Dr. Bogyo is a consultant for several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in the Bay Area.

KLAUDIA BRIX

Klaudia Brix is Professor of Cell Biology at Jacobs University Bremen and Co-Coordinator of the DFG priority program SPP 1629 “Thyroid Trans Act – Translation of Thyroid Hormone Actions beyond Classical Concepts”.

Klaudia Brix received her PhD from University of Bonn. She is on the Editorial Board of EJCB, and reviews for foundations, research councils, universities, and several scientific journals. She is Member of ASCB, BSMB, DGE, DGZ, DHV, ESE, ETA, NYAS, and IPS where she was Vice-President from 2007 to 2009. Klaudia Brix was Chair 2012 of the Gordon Research Conference on “Proteolytic Enzymes & Their Inhibitors”.

Klaudia Brix’ research focuses on the biomedical significance of proteolysis in epithelia like epidermis of the skin, intestinal mucosa, and the thyroid gland. A combination of biochemical, cell and molecular biological methods is used to analyze the importance of cysteine cathepsins for the maintenance of epithelial cells’ functions.

KELLY CHIBALE

Kelly Chibale obtained his PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the University of Cambridge in the UK in 1992). Postdoctoral stints followed at the University of Liverpool (UK) and at the Scripps Research Institute in the USA. Thereafter, Kelly was a Sandler Sabbatical Fellow at the University of California San Francisco, a US Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and Visiting Professor at Pfizer in the UK. He became full Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2007 and he holds a South Africa Research Chair in Drug Discovery. He is also Director of both the Medical Research Council Drug Discovery and Development Research Unit at UCT and UCT’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D).

Kelly’s research is in the field of drug discovery, underpinned by medicinal chemistry.

BART DE STROOPER

Bart De Strooper is professor at the University of Leuven, director of the VIB Center for the Biology of Disease and founder and co-director of LIND, Leuven research Institute for Neuroscience & Disease.

His scientific work is focused on the investigation of basic mechanisms causing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease starting from the genetic forms of these disorders. In all his work he uses transgenic approaches, primary cultures of neurons and biochemistry, sophisticated imaging and molecular biology.

His major findings are the role of presenilin in the proteolysis of the amyloid precursor protein and Notch, the role of PARL in mitochondrial apoptosis, and the cell biology of gamma-secretase and intramembrane proteolysis.

He received his M.D. in 1985 and Ph.D. in 1991 from KU Leuven and did a postdoc at EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany.

Together with Christian Haass, Bart De Strooper received the Potamkin Award of the American Academy of Neurology in 2002. Other awards include the 2003 Alois Alzheimer Award of the Deutscher Gesellschaft für Gerontopsychiatrie und psychotherapie, the Joseph Maisin Prize in 2005 for fundamental biomedical sciences, and the 2008 Metlife Foundation Award for medical research.

VISHVA DIXIT

Vishva Dixit has made many contributions to biomedicine and his early work on apoptosis is prominent in introductory textbooks of biology and medicine [for a historical perspective see Nature (2008, 453:271-273) and Nature Cell Biology (2010, 12:415)].

His laboratory was among the first to: i) show that caspases are components of the death receptor-induced apoptotic pathway; ii) demonstrate that death receptors signal by an entirely novel mechanism of recruiting and activating a death protease (FLICE/caspase-8) by an induced proximity mechanism; iii) identify the mammalian death protease equivalent to the CED3 protein in worms (YAMA/caspase-3) as well as other pro-apoptotic caspases including caspase-6,-7 and -9. iv) show that the death domain-containing molecule MyD88 is a key signaling adaptor; vi) discover paracaspases and metacaspases: two ancient families of caspase-related proteins, one of which plays a key role in MALT lymphoma; vii) discover the non-canonical inflammasome pathway.

JAMES HUNTINGTON

Jim Huntington graduated in 1989 from the University of Kansas with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and mathematics. During this time he worked as a research assistant in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department and at the Merck subsidiary InterX under Takeru Higuchi, Ooi Wong and Jose Alexander. He subsequently worked as a chemist at Alza Corporation in California for three years. He obtained a PhD from Vanderbilt University in 1997 for work on the biophysical characterisation of members of the serpin family of proteins with Peter Gettins. His research on the serpins continued during his postdoc with Robin Carrell at the University of Cambridge, where he used X-ray crystallography to determine the mechanisms of serpin function. He was appointed principal investigator at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research in 1999, University Reader in 2007 and Professor in 2011. His research focuses on serpin function and dysfunction, and on the regulation of blood coagulation.

JOHANNA JOYCE

Johanna Joyce is currently an Associate Member in the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and an Associate Professor in Weill Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York, USA. She received her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Cambridge, England and completed her postdoctoral training at UCSF. Dr. Joyce has received career development awards from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation and the V Foundation for Cancer Research, and was recently awarded the Boyer Young Investigator Award for Basic Cancer Research. Her research interests are to understand the mechanisms by which stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment regulate cancer development, metastasis, and response to therapy, with a particular focus on the roles of proteases in these processes.

 

DAVID KOMANDER

David Komander, Ph.D., is a group leader at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. After undergraduate studies in Germany and Scotland, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Dundee where he worked with Dario Alessi and Daan van Aalten on protein kinase structures. During his postdoctoral training at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, with Prof. David Barford, he started to work on deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs), and his work provided structural insights into the tumour suppressors A20 and CYLD. His own lab set out to understand the differences between the eight ubiquitin chain types, and how they are assembled, recognised and hydrolysed by proteins. David is a EMBO Young Investigator and Fellow of the Lister Institute for Preventive Medicine.

SEAMUS MARTIN

Seamus Martin holds the endowed Chair of Molecular Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He is a PhD graduate of the National University of Ireland (1990) and has held post-doctoral fellowships at University College London, UK (with Ivan Roitt), and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, San Diego, USA (with Doug Green). He is an author of the 11th, 12th and 13th Editions of the best-selling Immunology textbook ‘Essential Immunology’.

Seamus is interested in all aspects of programmed cell death (apoptosis), especially the links between cell death, inflammation and cancer. He introduced annexin V-labeling, which has become the gold standard for measuring apoptosis (Martin et al., 1995), unravelled the apoptosis-associated caspase activation cascade (Slee et al., 1999), showed that oncogenic Ras promotes autophagic cell death (Elgendy et al., 2011) and that apoptotic cells can be pro-inflammatory (Cullen et al., 2013).

He is the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief of The FEBS Journal (from Jan 2014) and is an Editorial Board member and Receiving Editor for several journals including: Cell Reports (Cell press); Science Signaling (AAAS); Oncogene (Deputy editor & Receiving Editor); The Journal of Biological Chemistry; Cell Death and Differentiation (Nature Publishing Group); and Oncogenesis (Nature Publishing Group He has received several prestigious national and international awards for his research including: Wellcome Trust Prize Fellowship Award (1994-1996); Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow Award (1996-2001); Science Foundation Ireland Awards (2002-07 & 2008-14); the BA Charles Darwin Award (2005); and the GlaxoSmithKline Award of The Biochemical Society UK (2006) Seamus was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 2006 and the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in 2009.

SHEENA McGOWAN

Dr. Sheena McGowan completed her PhD studies in Microbiology (2004, Monash University). She completed a post-doctoral research position in the laboratory of Prof James Whisstock, undertaking a complete change in research fields from her postgraduate training in Microbiology. In 2010, Dr. McGowan was awarded both an National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Award (relinquished) and an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship. In 2011 she established her own laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University. She is a structural microbiologist with extensive experience in protein crystallography, molecular biology, biochemistry and biophysics. Her has a keen interest in the development of novel therapeutics to combat malaria, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality around the globe.

CHRIS OVERALL

Dr. Overall is a Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Metalloproteinase Proteomics and Systems Biology at the University of British Columbia. He completed his undergraduate, Honors Science and Masters degrees at the University of Adelaide, South Australia; his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto; and was a MRC Centennial Fellow in his post-doctoral work with Dr. Michael Smith, Nobel Laureate, Biotechnology Laboratory, University of British Columbia. On Sabbatical in 1997-1998 he was a Visiting Senior Scientist at British Biotech Pharmaceuticals, Oxford, UK and in 2004/2008 he was a Visiting Senior Scientist at the Expert Protease Platform, Novartis Pharma, Basel, Switzerland where he learned industrial scale concepts and the nature of drug development. He is currently an External Senior Fellow, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies – FRIAS, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Dr. Overall won the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis CIHR Award as 2002 CIHR Scientist of the Year, the University of British Columbia Killam Senior Researcher Award (Science) 2005, and was the Chair of the 2003 Matrix Metalloproteinase Gordon Research Conference and the 2010 Protease Gordon Research Conference.  Professor Overall is the pioneer of degradomics, indeed he coined this term and was recognized by the 2011 International Proteolysis Society with a Lifetime Achievement Award , by the Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand with the 2012 Barry Preston Award, and in 2013 by the International Association of Dental Research Distinguished Scientist Award for Research in Oral Biology.

IRIT SAGI

Israel-born, Prof. Irit Sagi, holds Ph.D. degrees in biophysics/ bioinorganics from Georgetown University and post-doctoral experience within the Weizmann Institute of Science, at the lab of Prof. Ada Yonath, the 2009 Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry. Prof. Sagi has served as president of the Israel Biophysical Society since 2009, as the scientific coordinator of the Institute Pasteur-Weizmann council since 2012, and is currently chairing the new “Wizo-Weizmann Institute Education Center” for the promotion of women and young scientists.

Sagi is the incumbent of the Maurizio Pontecorvo Professorial Chair, has received the 2003 Weizmann Institute Scientific Council Prize for Chemistry, won the 2006 “Inventor of the year award” from YEDA Ltd., and the 2013 Juludan Prize award for outstanding research projects in the exact sciences and advanced biomedical research.

Currently, Prof. Sagi is developing and applying unique, multidisciplinary and biophysical approaches to investigate tissue and extracellular remodeling molecular processes. The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) prototype antibodies, as revealed by her research, are currently being developed for clinical use in inflammatory and cancer diseases. She continues to develop novel integrated experimental tools, tailored to deciphering the extracellular matrix molecular remodeling code at near atomic resolution in healthy and diseased tissues, using her unique biophysical approach to decipher molecular mechanisms of dysregulated tissue proteolysis/remodeling and to develop a new generation of safe and effective drugs.

GUY SALVESEN

Guy Salvesen earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cambridge University in 1981. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Georgia, Strangeways Laboratory and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. In 1987 he was appointed Assistant Medical Research Professor at Duke University, where he maintains an adjunct appointment as Assistant Professor of Pathology. Dr. Salvesen was recruited to Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in 1996.  He is Director of the Program in Apoptosis and Cell Death Research, Dean of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Director of Scientific Training at Sanford-Burnham, and holds an Adjunct Professorship at the University of California, San Diego.  He is on the editorial board of several journals, Vice Chair for the Americas and Reviews Editor of the Biochemical Journal, and Co-founder of the International Proteolysis Society.

YASIEN SAYED

Yasien Sayed is an associate professor (Biochemistry and Cell Biology) in the School of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has been at the University of the Witwatersrand since 2002. After a research visit to the Johns Hopkins University in 2003, where he worked with Dr Ernesto Freire, he returned to South Africa to set up his research in the field of HIV subtype C protease. He, therefore, expanded his research interests in protein biochemistry to include a detailed characterisation of the structural and functional properties of the less well-studied protease from non-B HIV subtypes. The South African subtype C protease (C-SA PR) differs by eight amino acid residues from the well-characterised subtype B protease (B-PR). Professor Sayed’s group was the first to show that the current protease inhibitors do not bind as effectively to the C-SA PR as they do to B-PRs. His group was also the first to publish the three-dimensional structure of the C-SA PR in 2012. Although the global structures of the C-SA PR and B-PRs are remarkably similar, he is interested in understanding the impact of flap and hinge dynamics on functionality. Another aspect of his research involves the identification of novel lead compounds that may be used to target subtype-specific proteases. Professor Sayed has received funding from numerous agencies including the Carnegie Corporation (New York), NRF (SA) and the Medical Research Council (SA). Professor Sayed is currently a C3-rated scientist.

ATSUKO SAHARA – FUJISAWA

Everybody calls her Atsuko because of her complicated family name. She is a professor of the Inst. Frontier Med. Sci., Kyoto University, an interdisciplinary institute for regenerative medicine. She has been interested in regulatory mechanisms of cell-cell interactions that include cell-cell signaling and adhesion in multicellular organisms. After she learned alphabet of molecular biology in Inst. Mol. Biol. I, University of Zurich, from Prof. Charles Weissmann, and worked as a postdoc in Cancer Inst., Tokyo, she started to investigate skeletal myogenesis as a section chief of Dept. Mol. Genet. (Director: Dr. Yo-ichi Nabeshima) in Inst. Neurosci., Nat. Center of Neurol. and Psychiatry. There she identified a novel gene termed Meltrin alpha (ADAM12) that participates in myogenesis. Since this discovery, her research in the Tokyo Metropolitan Inst. Med. Sci., and then, in Kyoto University has been mainly focused on roles and functions of ADAM family proteins in development and tissue regeneration.

SHARON STACK

Dr. M. Sharon Stack received her PhD degree in Biochemistry from the University of Louisville, completed post-doctoral training in biochemical pathology at Duke University Medical Center, and served for several years as a Research Assistant Professor in Pathology at Duke. In 1994, she joined the faculty in the Department of Cell & Molecular Biology at Northwestern University where she rose through the ranks to tenured Professor. While at Northwestern, Dr. Stack was also Program Leader of the Tumor Invasion, Metastasis and Angiogenesis Program of the NCI-designated RH Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (RHLCCC) and a member of the RHLCCC Executive Committee. She joined the University of Missouri in 2007 as Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences. She is currently (since 2011) Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Director of the Harper Cancer Research Institute, University of Notre Dame. Dr. Stack is on the Editorial Board of Cancer Research and is a retired member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Biochemical Journal Editorial Boards. She has published over 125 peer-reviewed research articles and reviews. Her overall research focus is in the area of molecular mechanisms of metastasis. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which tumor cells orchestrate multiple microenvironmental cues to regulate the expression and activity of metastasis-associated proteinases is the major focus of the laboratory.

WALTER STÖCKER

Walter Stöcker studied chemistry and biology at the University of Munich, Germany. After receiving his doctoral degree in Munich in 1984, he was a scientific assistant at the Institute of Zoology, University of Heidelberg, Germany, and did research as a visiting scientist at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany. He received his habilitation in biology from the University of Heidelberg in 1992, and became associate professor of zoology at the University of Münster, Germany in 1996. Since 2003, he is a full professor and chair at the University of Mainz, Germany. His research focuses on the structure and function astacin-like zinc peptidases and their interactions in the proteolytic web.

 

TAISUKE TOMITA

Dr. Taisuke Tomita is Associate Professor of Department of Neuropathology and Neuroscience at Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo. As undergraduate as well as graduate student at Dr. Takeshi Iwatsubo’s lab, he worked in the pathobiology of presenilin/gamma-secretase and his works were published in PNAS, JBC and J Neurosci. He then continued research on the secretases at Takeshi’s lab as Assistant Professor, and analyzed the assembly mechanism of the gamma-secretase (Nature 2003). He has been working on the structure-function relationships of the gamma-secretase using enzymology, cell biology and chemical biology. His group unveiled the structure of presenilin, identified the binding site of small compounds and developed novel gamma-secretase inhibitors/inhibitory antibodies/modulators. Dr. Tomita received the Basic Research Award 2010 from Japan Society for Dementia Research and 48th Erwin von Balz Balz prize (2011).

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