ISEV2018 Plenary Speakers
Mina J. Bissell, PhD
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Ana Maria Cuervo, MD, PhD
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Daniel J. Klionksy PhD
University of Michigan
Alex Loukas, PhD
Australian Institute of Tropical
Health & Medicine
Graça Raposo, PhD
Institute Curie - France
Randy Schekman, PhD
University of California - Berkeley
Plenary Speaker Biographies
Mina J Bissell is Distinguished Scientist, the highest rank bestowed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and serves as Senior Advisor to the Laboratory Director on Biology. She is also Faculty of four Graduate Groups in UC Berkeley: Comparative Biochemistry, Endocrinology, Molecular Toxicology, and Bioengineering (UCSF/UCB joint program). Having challenged several established paradigms, Bissell is a pioneer in breast cancer research and her body of work has provided much impetus for the current recognition of the significant role that extracellular matrix (ECM) signaling and microenvironment play in gene expression regulation in both normal and malignant cells. Her laboratory developed novel 3D assays and techniques that demonstrate her signature phrase: after conception, “phenotype is dominant over genotype.”
Bissell earned her doctorate in microbiology and molecular genetics from Harvard Medical School, won an American Cancer Society fellowship for her postdoctoral studies, and soon after joined LBNL. She was the founding Director of the Cell and Molecular Biology Division and later the Associate Laboratory Director for all Life Sciences at Berkeley Lab where she recruited outstanding scientists and developed a strong program in cell and molecular biology and breast cancer.
Bissell has published more than 400 publications and is one of the most sought-after speakers in the field. She has received numerous honors and awards, which include: U.S. Department of Energy’s E.O. Lawrence Award, AACR’s G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award, the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award, Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Brinker Award, BCRF Foundation’s Jill Rose Award, Berkeley Lab’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Prize, American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor, MD Anderson Cancer Center’s highest honor – the Ernst W. Bertner Award, the Honorary Medal from the Signaling Societies in Germany, ASCB’s highest
honor – the E.B. Wilson Medal, and the 2017 AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research. Bissell is an inspiring mentor and in her honor, the University of Porto, Portugal established the Mina J. Bissell Award which is given every three years to a person who has dramatically changed a field. She is the recipient of Honorary Doctorates from both Pierre & Marie Curie University in Paris, France and University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Bissell is not only an elected Fellow of most U.S. honorary scientific academies, including National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Medicine (NAM), and American Philosophical Society (APS), but she also sits on many national and international scientific boards and continues to engage in full-time research, among other scientific activities.
Ana Maria Cuervo is the R.R. Belfer Chair for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Professor in the Departments of Developmental and Molecular Biology and of Medicine of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and co-director of the Einstein Institute for Aging Studies. She obtained her M.D. and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular biology from the University of Valencia (Spain) and received postdoctoral training at Tufts University, Boston. In 2002, she started her laboratory at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she continues her studies in the role of protein-degradation in neurodegenerative diseases and aging.
Dr. Cuervo has received prestigious awards such as the P. Benson and the Keith Porter in Cell Biology, the Nathan Shock Memorial Lecture, the Vincent Cristofalo and the Bennett J. Cohen in basic aging biology and the Marshall Horwitz and the Saul Korey Prize for excellence in research and in Translational Medicine. She delivered prominent lectures such as the Robert R. Konh, the NIH Director’s, the Roy Walford, the Feodor Lynen, the Margaret Pittman, the IUBMB Award, the David H. Murdoxk, the Gerry Aurbach and the Harvey Society Lecture. She is currently co-Editor-in-Chief of Aging Cell and has been member of the NIA Scientific Council and of the NIH Council of Councils.
Cell biologist Daniel J. Klionsky, Ph.D., is the Alexander G. Ruthven Professor of Life Sciences at the University of Michigan. Dr. Klionsky holds joint appointments as a faculty member at the Life Sciences Institute, where his lab is located, and in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Working primarily with baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Dr. Klionsky’s research focuses on the cellular process known as autophagy, which literally means “self-eating.” Autophagy is the process by which cells break down cellular components to survive stress conditions such as starvation. The failure of autophagy plays a role in cancer, neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson and Alzheimer diseases, and other areas of human health. Using biochemistry, Dr. Klionsky’s lab has been asking questions about the individual molecules involved in the transport of proteins and cellular signaling related to autophagy. Answering these questions could help guide new therapeutic applications to treat or prevent certain diseases.
A native Californian, Dr. Klionsky received an A.B. in Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1980. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1986, which was followed by Helen Hay Whitney and American Cancer Society Senior Postdoctoral Fellowships at the California Institute of Technology. In 1990, Dr. Klionsky joined the faculty of the University of California, Davis; he was a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1997. He moved to U-M as a full professor in 2000, and in 2003, because one of the founding faculty members of the U-M Life Sciences Institute. Dr. Klionsky’s passion extends to the classroom as well as the lab. He received the National Science Foundation Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars in 2003. In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences named him an Education Mentor for developing “active learning” approaches to undergraduate biology courses. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009, was named a Thompson Reuters Citation Laureate in 2013, and was awarded the van Deenen Medal from the University of Utrecht in 2015. Since the journal’s founding in 2005, Dr. Klionsky has also served as the editor-in-chief of Autophagy.
Alex Loukas is a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow at James Cook University (JCU) in Cairns, QLD. He obtained his BSc and PhD from University of Queensland. He conducted postdoctoral work at University of Edinburgh, held an assistant professorship at George Washington University, and led a group at Queensland Institute of Medical Research before moving to JCU Cairns as a professorial tropical research leader in 2010. Loukas’ research interests focus on the molecular basis of host-parasite interactions, and exploiting that knowledge to develop (1) anti-helminth subunit vaccines, and (2) next-generation biologics for treating inflammatory and metabolic diseases using human parasite challenge models and recombinant parasite proteins. His work is currently funded by NHMRC, NIH (US) and various pharmaceutical companies.
G. Raposo received her PhD in 1989 in Membrane Biology and Immunology at the University of Paris VII where she specialized in electron microscopy and membrane biology. From 1990 to 1995 she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Immunology Center in Marseille and then in the Dept of Cell Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. As a CNRS Research Director she is the deputy Director of the Dept of Cell Biology and Director of the Training unit at Institut Curie. Her major research interests focus on the biogenesis and functions of exosomes and lysosome related organelles with implications in neurodegenerative disorders, lysosomal diseases and cancer. She have pioneered studies on exosomes secreted by immune cells but also other cells. Her group also started to unravel the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the biogenesis of melanosomes, the lysosome related organelles of epidermal melanocytes, studies that open a new avenue to modulate pigmentation in health and disease. In 2012 she was awarded the CNRS Silver Medal and in 2013 the Descartes Huygens Price from the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. Since 2015, she is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).
Dr. Randy Schekman is a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He studied the enzymology of DNA replication as a graduate student with Arthur Kornberg at Stanford University. His current interest in cellular membranes developed during a postdoctoral period with S. J. Singer at the University of California, San Diego. At Berkeley, he developed a genetic and biochemical approach to the study of eukaryotic membrane traffic. Among his awards are the Gairdner International Award, the Albert Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with James Rothman and Thomas Südhof. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, a Foreign Associate of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, a Foreign Associate of the Royal Society of London and an Honorary Academician of the Academia Sinica. In 1999, he was elected President of the American Society for Cell Biology. In 2002 he was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Annual Reviews of Cell and Developmental Biology. From 2006 - 2011 he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the NAS. In 2011, he was appointed Editor-in-Chief of an Open Access journal, eLife, sponsored by the HHMI, Wellcome Trust and the Max Planck Society.
Schekman’s laboratory investigates the mechanism of membrane protein traffic in the secretory pathway in eukaryotic cells. His approach began with a genetic and biochemical dissection of the secretory pathway in the yeast, S.cerevisiae. His lab discovered the genes and proteins that assemble proteins into the endoplasmic reticulum membrane, package proteins into coated (COPII) transport vesicles and deliver vesicles by fusion at a target membrane. The genes and proteins his lab discovered in yeast have counterparts in all eukaryotes and have been implicated in several human genetic diseases. The evolutionary conservation of the pathway discovered in Schekman’s lab encouraged the biotechnology industry to use yeast as a platform for the production of clinically important human secreted proteins. Approximately one-third of the world supply of recombinant human insulin is made by secretion in yeast and the entire world supply of recombinant hepatitis b vaccine is made in vesicles produced in yeast. As hepatitis b infection is the major cause of liver cancer in the world, this vaccine promises to reduce the incidence of liver cancer by 90%. In recent years his lab has turned from yeast to mammalian cell culture to investigate aspects of human physiology and disease that are not readily studied in yeast.