Keynote Speakers

Sir Adrian Bird

Sir Adrian Bird has held the Buchanan Chair of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh since 1990. He graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Sussex and obtained his PhD at Edinburgh University. Following postdoctoral experience at the Universities of Yale and Zurich, he joined the Medical Research Council’s Mammalian Genome Unit in Edinburgh. In 1987 he moved to Vienna to become a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Molecular Pathology. Following his return to Edinburgh he was founding Director of the Centre for Cell biology (1999-2011), a governor of the Wellcome Trust and subsequently a trustee of Cancer Research UK. Adrian Bird’s research focuses on the basic biology of DNA methylation and other epigenetic processes. He identified CpG islands as gene markers in the vertebrate genome and discovered proteins that read the DNA methylation signal to influence chromatin structure and gene expression. Mutations in one of these proteins, MeCP2, cause the severe neurological disorder Rett Syndrome. Dr Bird’s laboratory established the first mouse model of this condition and showed that the severe neurological phenotype is reversible, raising the possibility that Rett syndrome can be cured. Bird was knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to science.

Professor Charlie Gourley

Charlie graduated with Genetics and Medicine degrees from Glasgow University, UK, in 1991 and 1994, respectively. From 1998 to 2005, he trained in medical oncology at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre, UK, during which he was awarded a PhD in ovarian cancer genetics from the University of Edinburgh and an NHS Education for Scotland Clinician Scientist Award. He was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Medical Oncology at the University of Edinburgh in 2005, Reader in Medical Oncology in 2011 and Professor of Medical Oncology (Personal Chair) in 2012. He received a Scottish Senior Clinical Fellowship Award in 2010. He became Director of the Nicola Murray Centre for Ovarian Cancer Research in 2016, Clinical Director of the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Edinburgh Centre in 2019 and Clinical Director of the Cancer Research UK Scotland Centre in 2022. He is a member of the CRUK Clinical Research Committee and the German Cancer Aid Scientific Review Committee. Charlie’s clinical research focus is ovarian cancer clinical trials. He was UK Lead for the SOLO1 trial, which led to the first-line licence for olaparib in BRCA-mutant ovarian cancer, and for the GOG281/LOGS trial of trametinib, which is the first positive randomised controlled trial in low-grade serous ovarian cancer. Charlie’s translational research focuses on genomic characterisation of ovarian cancer in order to facilitate the discovery of biomarkers of ovarian cancer drug sensitivity and resistance. His current priorities include whole-genome sequencing of ovarian cancer tumours from across Scotland in order to improve patient selection for novel therapies and exomic sequencing of low-grade serous ovarian cancers from patients recruited into the GOG281/LOGS study in order to improve patient selection for MEK inhibition. His research group have also recently reported a comprehensive genomic characterisation of endometrioid ovarian cancer.

Professor Alois Jungbauer

Professor Alois Jungbauer holds a doctorate in food technology and biotechnology from BOKU. He is a retired professor of Downstream Processing at the Institute of Bioprocess Science and Engineering at BOKU University and adjunct professor at University of Adelaide. He is currently working in the field of bioprocess engineering of proteins, viruses and gene therapy vectors. He has published more than 400 papers on recombinant protein production, bioseparation and advanced materials for bioprocess engineering, 17 patents and 12 book chapters as well as a monograph entitled “Protein Chromatography, Process Development and Scale Up”. He co-founded the Biotechnology Journal and served as executive editor. He is also Vice President of the European Society of Biochemical Engineering Science.

Professor Sir David MacMillan

Professor Sir David W. C. MacMillan was born in Bellshill, Scotland and received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where he worked with Dr. Ernie Colvin. In 1990, he began his doctoral studies under the direction of Professor Larry Overman at the University of California, Irvine, before undertaking a postdoctoral position with Professor Dave Evans at Harvard University in 1996. He began his independent career at University of California, Berkeley, in July of 1998 before moving to Caltech in 2000 as the Earle C. Anthony Chair of Organic Chemistry. In 2006, Dave moved to Princeton University as the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Chemistry. He served as Department Chair from 2010–2015 and is currently the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University of Chemistry. Dave shares the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Benjamin List “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis.” His research interests encompass a wide range of organic chemistry, including the development of new areas in organocatalysis and photoredox catalysis. MacMillan was knighted in the 2022 Birthday Honours for services to chemistry and science.

Dr Marinna Madrid

Marinna obtained her Ph.D. and MA in Applied Physics from Harvard University, where she co-invented laser-based intracellular delivery techniques. Marinna leads Cellino’s partnerships with autologous iPSC-derived cell therapy developers, including Kapil Bharti at the NEI on their clinical-stage autologous therapy for age-related macular degeneration. Marinna holds several patents & peer-reviewed publications, including the first review paper on autologous induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based cell therapies. Marinna is a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 awardee for healthcare.

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