Affinity Interactions: a 360° vision of Past, Present and Future (Sponsored by SPBT)
Prof. Christopher R. Lowe
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Professor Christopher R. Lowe was originally trained as a biochemist (University of Birmingham) and following postdoctoral positions in Liverpool and Lund (Sweden) and a lectureship at the University of Southampton, he was appointed to the University of Cambridge in 1984 to found the Institute of Biotechnology, which he ran for 23 years prior to subsequently merging it with the Department of Chemical Engineering to form the Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology, now based at West Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics. The principal focus of his research programme has been the healthcare biotechnology sector, particularly in biologics, microbial technology and biosensors. He has over 400 peer-reviewed publications, 8 books and monographs, >100 patents and has supervised 99 PhD students. He has won a number of National and International prizes: Pierce Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Affinity Chromatography (1989), David Curnow Prize (Clinical Chemistry)(1991),“Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement (1996)” Jubilee Medal: The Chromatographic Society (2002), Henry Dale Medal, Prize and Life Membership: The Royal Institution (London)(2003), RSC Sensors Silver Medal (2006) and a “Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education (2007)” and he has the title of “Most Entrepreneurial Scientist of the UK”. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours, the title BBSRC Commercial Innovator of the Year in 2011, visiting chair at the Australian National University in Canberra (2016), a visiting “Super-Professor” in Japan (2017) and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Surrey (2019). He has been the driving force for the establishment of 12 spin-out companies, including Prometic Biosciences Inc, Cambridge Sensors Ltd, Psynova Neurotech Ltd, Paramata Ltd, Smart Holograms Ltd, TumourVue Ltd, Continuous Diagnostics Ltd and Royale Therapeutics Ltd, is on the Editorial Boards of International Journals, sits or has sat on a number of UK Research Council and Government committees, multiple International Granting Organisations and is actively engaged in technology transfer and entrepreneurship worldwide. After formal retirement, he has been re-employed by the University to establish the Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences (CATS) to promote research, translation, education (Master’s in Therapeutic Sciences) and policy in therapeutic sciences.
Designing new approaches to ultrasensitive biosensing and therapeutics
Prof. Molly M Stevens
Imperial College London, United Kingdom
Prof. Molly M Stevens (FREng FRS) is a Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine and the Research Director for Biomedical Material Sciences in the Department of Materials, the Department of Bioengineering and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London. Prof Stevens’ multidisciplinary research balances the investigation of fundamental science with the development of technology to address some of the major healthcare challenges. Her work has been instrumental in elucidating bio-material interfaces. She has created a broad portfolio of designer biomaterials for applications in disease diagnostics and regenerative medicine. Her substantial body of work influences research groups around the world with over 30 major awards for the groups research and Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher in Cross-Field research. Prof. Stevens holds numerous leadership positions including Director of the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform “Smart Acellular Materials” Hub, Deputy Director of the EPSRC IRC in Early-Warning Sensing Systems for Infectious Diseases and has previously served as President of the Royal Society of Chemistry Division of Materials Chemistry
NC-VVIRAL: a Novel Bioprocess Toolbox for the Affinity Purification of Therapeutic Viruses
Prof. Stefano Menegatti
North Carolina State University, United States
Dr. Menegatti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University, where he works on innovative downstream bioprocessing and analytical technologies. His group introduced the paradigm of “flow-through affinity chromatography”, where process-/product-related impurities are captured as the cell culture harvests flow through the affinity adsorbent, while the product flows through unbound. His efforts on continuous biomanufacturing technologies – now focused on CRISPR Cas nucleases, viral vectors for in vivo and ex vivo gene therapy, and bispecific antibodies – have received numerous awards including the NSF CAREER award and the ALCOA Foundation Research Achievement Award.
Structural modeling in the AI era - peptide-protein interactions as example
Prof. Ora Schueler-Furman
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Prof. Ora Schueler-Furman is a Full Professor and a Group Leader in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her interest lies in the basic understanding and leveraging of the basic principles that underlie communication between proteins. Her group develops and applies novel approaches to model the structure and binding properties of protein interactions, in particularly those mediated by short, flexible linear motifs. She is a leading figure in the field of peptide-protein docking and a long-time member of the Rosetta community. Originally from Switzerland, she moved to Israel to study Biology, expanding to computational structural biology during her PhD studies with Profs. Hanah Margalit and Ron Elber, all at the Hebrew University. She then joined the group of David Baker at the University of Washington, Seattle, for post-doctoral studies, and has been back at the Hebrew University since 2005, where she holds a position at the Faculty of Medicine. Thanks to an ERC starting grant, she was able to also establish a wet lab, in which her group can validate models, and expand to more complex systems. In the past few years, her group has developed different ways to model peptide-mediated interactions that are mainly based on the observation that peptides can be seen as complementing receptor structure, and therefore modeled using approaches developed for protein folding (see e.g. Alam, PLoSCB 2017; Khramushin, PNAS 2022; Tsaban, Nat Comm 2022). This has major implications on how to approach these interactions.
The design of evolution and the evolution of design
Prof. Andreas Plückthun
University of Zurich, Switzeland
Andreas Plückthun, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Trained in chemistry at the University of Heidelberg, he received his PhD at the University of California at San Diego, was Postdoc at Harvard, group leader at the Max-Planck-Institute in Martinsried, and became then full Professor in Zurich. His research on protein engineering has included pioneering work on antibody engineering, the development of ribosome display, new scaffolds (the DARPin technology and Armadillo Repeat Proteins), engineering of stable G-protein coupled receptors towards high stability, and a new retargeting platform for gene therapy. He is member of the German Academy of Science (Leopoldina) and recipient of many international awards, including the Anfinsen Award of the Protein Society for "pioneering contributions to protein engineering". His work has been published in over 500 papers, which have been cited over 50,000 times. He co-founded four successful biotech companies: Morphosys, Molecular Partners, G7 Therapeutics (fused with Heptares/Sosei) and Vector BioPharma.
Medical applications of single-domain antibodies: molecular imaging and beyond
Prof. Nick Devoogdt
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Prof. Nick Devoogdt is a Full Professor at VUB in the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. In 2014 he co-founded the Brussels spinoff company Camel-IDS where he is still active as a scientific advisor. His research aims to develop novel applications in molecular and nuclear imaging and targeted therapies. His current focus is on the camelid single-domain antibody-technology as targeting vehicles in disease areas ranging from oncology and immunology to cardiovascular research, inflammation and diabetes. More in particular, his research is focused on the generation of new probes for their application (nuclear or other types of imaging and therapy) in small animal models of disease, and translate proficient compounds to the clinic.
Multimodality is fundamental to protein interactions
Prof. Monika Fuxreiter
University of Padova, Italy
Monika Fuxreiter is a computational chemist, known for the concept of fuzziness in protein interactions. She is a full professor at University of Padova, Italy.
She received her PhD in quantum chemistry and protein crystallography in Budapest, Hungary. She was a postdoc at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, with Arieh Warshel, 2013 Nobel laureate in chemistry; and then at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. After returning to the Institute of Enzymology, Budapest, Hungary, she started to work on molecular mechanisms of disordered proteins. She coined the concept of fuzzy interactions with Peter Tompa. 2009-2011 she was a visiting scientist in the Weizmann Institute in Israel and the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC, Cambridge, UK. From 2012, she was a full professor in Debrecen, Hungary. Since 2020, she works at the Department of Biomedicine as well as Department Physics and Astronomy, developing multi-disciplinary approaches to protein condensates. In addition to scientific research activity, she has published two books, received numerous awards and performed extensive science dissemination activities.
Mark Howarth is a Professor of Protein Nanotechnology at Oxford University Department of Biochemistry. He is moving to the Department of Pharmacology at Cambridge University at the end of 2022. He co-founded the company SpyBiotech and has been awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Norman Heatley Award. He did postdoctoral studies at MIT with Alice Ting, where he developed monovalent streptavidin and single-molecule probes for tracking receptors. His doctoral work was with Tim Elliott at Southampton University on MHC class I-peptide quality control. His current work is on innovating ultra-stable protein interactions for manipulating immune responses.