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 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.

Nabiha Saklayen

As co-inventor of Cellino’s core technology, Nabiha has led the company since its inception in 2017, driving initial academic collaborations (Harvard Stem Cell Institute/Harvard Medical School) through finding product-market-fit in autologous iPSC biomanufacturing. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) International Fellow. Nabiha was selected as a Pioneer in MIT Tech Review's 35 Innovators under 35 list for her patented inventions in cellular laser editing. She is also the inaugural Tory Burch Foundation Fellow in Genomics at the Innovative Genomics Institute led by Nobel Laureate Dr. Jennifer Doudna.Nabiha is also a TED speaker and co-creator of I Am a Scientist, an educational program running in 50 states that inspires children to explore science.

ESACT 2024 BEGINS

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