Keynote speakers

Prof. Bart Deplancke

Prof. Bart Deplancke graduated as a Biochemical Engineer at Ghent University (Belgium, 1998) after which he pursued doctoral studies in Immunobiology at the University of Illinois (USA) and postdoctoral work in regulatory genomics at the Harvard and UMass Medical Schools. In 2007, he established his lab at the EPFL School of Life Sciences where he is now a Full Professor, Vice-Dean of Innovation, and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics member and is developing new experimental and computational approaches to study the biology of the genome. The Deplancke Lab has by now built a sizeable toolkit, involving microfluidics, high-throughput sequencing, and single-cell genomics. This toolkit is being used to address questions pertaining to the origin, diversity and function of stromal cells in adipose tissue as well as to how genomic variation affects molecular and organismal diversity. He has published > 100 articles in well-known peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Nature Methods, Nature Metabolism, Cell, and Science. In 2017, he was elected to the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF); in 2021, he received the Cloëtta Prize for outstanding contributions to biomedical research; in 2022, the Leenaards Prize for Biomedical Translational Research as well as a prestigious SNSF Advanced Grant (ERC equivalent); and in 2023, he was awarded EMBO membership. He is also the co-founder of two Biotech companies (Genohm, Acquired by Agilent in 2018; and Alithea Genomics).

Prof. Javier Gonzalez

Prof. Javier Gonzalez is interested in human fuel use. How we get fuel from our diet, burn fuels during exercise; and store fuels when they exceed our requirements. He is motivated by curiosity, and understanding ways to improve human health and performance.

Prof. Javier Gonzalez research group employs a variety of methods to understand human fuel use, including indirect calorimetry, tissue biopsies and stable isotope (IV) infusion and ingestion. They use these methods across laboratory-based and free-living studies in primarily randomized controlled trials.

He joined the Department for Health at the University of Bath in 2014 as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) before being promoted to Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in 2017, Reader (Associate Professor) in 2020 and Professor of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2022. He is also a consultant to sports teams and the industry.
In recognition of his research, he received the Julie Wallace Award 2018 from the Nutrition Society. He is also an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism.

Prof. Luke O’Neill

Prof. Luke O’Neill is Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He is a world expert on innate immunity and inflammation. His main research interests include Toll-like receptors, Inflammasomes and Immunometabolism. He is listed by Thompson Reuters/ Clarivates in the top 1% of immunologists in the world, based on citations per paper. Professor O’Neill is co-founder of Sitryx, which aims to develop new medicines for inflammatory diseases. Another company he co-founded, Inflazome was recently acquired by Roche.

He was awarded the Royal Dublin Society / Irish Times Boyle Medal for scientific excellence, the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for Life Sciences, The Society for Leukocyte Biology (SLB) Dolph O. Adams award, the European Federation of Immunology Societies Medal, the Milstein Award of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society and the Landsteiner Award from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy, EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Prof. Maria Falkenberg

Prof. Maria Falkenberg defended her Ph.D. thesis (2000) at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, after spending three years as a visiting student with Prof. I.R. Lehman, Stanford University School of Medicine. After postdoctoral work with Prof. Nils-Göran Larsson (2001-2002), she was appointed assistant professor at the Karolinska Institutet (2003). Since 2011, she is professor of medical biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg. The Falkenberg laboratory studies DNA replication in mammalian mitochondria, using in-vitro biochemistry, structural biology and and cell biology to study the underlying enzymatic processes. The laboratory also investigates the molecular consequences of disease-causing mutations affecting mitochondrial DNA replication and develops new, rational therapeutic approaches.

Dr. Christiane A. Opitz

Dr. Christiane A Opitz studied medicine in Heidelberg, the US, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as Molecular Cell Biology at the ZMBH and EMBL in Heidelberg. After completing her doctorate in medicine, she did postdoctoral research at the University of Indianapolis, USA, at the University of Tübingen, Germany and finally at the German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ, in Heidelberg. She has worked as a resident in the department of Neurooncology and the department of Neurology at the University Hospital Heidelberg. In 2013, Opitz started the junior research group “Brain Cancer Metabolism”, and since 2022 she heads the division of “Metabolic Crosstalk in Cancer” at DKFZ. 

Christiane Opitz’s research focusses on tryptophan catabolism and metabolic signaling through the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). Her laboratory investigates how these pathways regulate tumor cell intrinsic malignant properties as well as anti-tumor immunity. 

Christiane has recently been awarded an ERC consolidator grant “CancAHR” to study the controversial role of AHR activation in cancer. She has received numerous awards including the the prize of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the Bayer Early Excellence Award, the Hella Bühler Prize of the University of University of Heidelberg or the Ita Askonas Prize of the European Federation of Immunological Societies for her work on tryptophan catabolism in cancer.