Keynote Speakers

We are proud to have several highly distinguished world-leading scientist as our keynote speakers!
List of Speakers
  • Professor Christopher E. Mason, Weill Cornell Medicine, USA
  • Professor Ewan Birney, EMBL Deputy Director General
  • Dr. Judith Zaugg-Romer, EMBL Heidelberg
  • Professor Olli Kallioniemi, Director of SciLifeLab, Sweden
Christopher E. Mason

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.


Ewan Birney

Professor Ewan Birney is Deputy Director General of EMBL and Director of EMBL-EBI. He completed his PhD at the Wellcome Sanger Institute with Richard Durbin. In 2000, he became Head of Nucleotide data at EMBL-EBI and in 2012 he took on the role of Associate Director at the institute. He became Director of EMBL-EBI in 2015. Ewan led the analysis of the Human Genome gene set, mouse and chicken genomes and the ENCODE project, focusing on non-coding elements of the human genome. Ewan’s main areas of research include functional genomics, DNA algorithms, statistical methods to analyse genomic information (in particular information associated with individual differences in humans and Medaka fish) and use of images for chromatin structure. 

Judith Zaugg-Romer

Dr. Judith Zaugg-Romer 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

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.