Dr. Chris Mason is a Professor of Genomics, Physiology, and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine and Director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction. His laboratory creates and deploys new genomics technologies and predictive algorithms for medicine, which helps to ameliorate human disease and lays the foundation for long-term human survival on other planets. Dr. Mason’s work spans >300 peer-reviewed papers, five patents, five diagnostics tests, and the foundation of 10 biotechnology companies and 3 non-profits. Dr. Mason also holds affiliate faculty appointments at the New York Genome Center, Yale Law School, and the Consortium for Space Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of The Next 500 Years: Engineering Life to Reach New Worlds.
Professor Edith Heard was born in London. She was introduced to biology while taking the Natural Sciences Tripos for her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Cambridge in the 1980’s. Inspired by her teachers at the time, she switched her focus from physics to biology and graduated in Genetics. Edith then went on to obtain her PhD from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (later Cancer Research UK) at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, in London. Thereafter, she spent nine years at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a permanent researcher, before undertaking a one-year sabbatical at Cold Spring Harbor in the USA. In 2001, she set up her own group at the Institut Curie and in 2010 became Director of the Institute’s Genetics and Developmental Biology Unit. Edith was appointed as a Professor of the Collège de France in 2012, holding the Chair of Epigenetics and Cellular Memory. In January 2019, Edith started as Director General of EMBL. Her current research focuses on understanding how chromatin and chromosome organisation participate in gene regulation.
Dr. Judith Zaugg heads the Systems Epigenetics group at EMBL (Germany) and co-heads the Stem Cell-Niche Networks group at the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU) at the university hospital Heidelberg. Prior to joining EMBL, Judith did her postdoctoral work at Stanford University (US) and obtained her PhD from EMBL-EBI and Cambridge University (UK). Her current research aims at understanding how cells integrate genetic information, epigenetic make-up, and extrinsic signals from their microenvironment, to give rise to complex cellular phenotypes, including differentiation, function, and cellular cross-talk. For this the group combines (single cell) multiomics profiling with advanced computational modelling of gene regulatory networks. A specific system of interest is the bone marrow stem cell niche, where the group investigates the cross-talk between the different stem cell populations and mature immune cells during ageing and in the context of hematological malignancies. For this work she was recently awarded the prestigious ERC consolidator grant. A second line of research focusses on immune cells, specifically on genetic and epigenetic factors that contribute to their function and interaction with somatic cells, e.g. during neuroinflammation.
Olli Kallioniemi, M.D., Ph.D. Director of Science for Life Laboratory, a national infrastructure for life sciences in Sweden and professor in Molecular Precision Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet. He was previously the founding director of FIMM (in 2007-2015). Olli Kallioniemi has a broad experience in launching and leading research organizations, promoting careers of young scientists, creating infrastructures and creative research environments and collaborating broadly within the Nordics, in the EU and globally.
Olli Kallioniemi received his M.D. in 1984, Ph.D. in 1988 and specialty training in laboratory medicine in 1991 at the University of Tampere in Finland, undertook a postdoc at UC San Francisco in 1990-1992 and was nominated as faculty at the National Human Genome Research Institute (1995-2002). Prof. Kallioniemi’s research group is currently active in individualized systems medicine of cancer, with a focus on improving the diagnostics and therapy of leukemia, prostate, ovarian and pediatric cancers. Olli Kallioniemi has facilitated launch of grand challenge initiatives in personalized medicine in Finland and Sweden, involving close collaborations with hospitals, health care organizations and industry.