2015 Fast Congress Banner
2015 Fast Congress Banner
2013 Archived Content

Speaker Biographies 


Karen Burg:

Karen Burg is the Director of the Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering (IBIOE) and the Hunter Endowed Chair and Professor of Bioengineering. A graduate of North Carolina State University (B.S., Chemical Engineering) and Clemson University (M.S., Ph.D., Bioengineering), Karen completed a tissue engineering postdoctoral fellowship at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, before joining the faculty at Clemson University. Honors to Karen include a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the inaugural Swiss AO Research Prize, recognition as a Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s TR100 Young Innovator, an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow, an American Council on Education Fellow, and a U.S. Department of Defense Era of Hope Scholar. She has given over 200 invited presentations on the subject of engineered tissues; 3-D engineered tissue technologies from her IBIOE research team serve as the basis for a spin-off company.

Linda Griffith:

Linda G. Griffith, Ph.D., is the School of Engineering Teaching Innovation Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering and MacVicar Fellow at MIT, where she directs the Center for Gynepathology Research and the DARPA-/NIH-funded Human Physiome on a Chip Program. Dr. Griffith received a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia Tech and a Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley, both in chemical engineering. Dr. Griffith’s research is in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Her laboratory, in collaboration with J. Upton and C. Vacanti, was the first to combine a degradable scaffold with donor cells to create tissue-engineered cartilage in the shape of a human ear. The 3-D Printing Process she co-invented for creation of complex scaffolds is used for manufacture of FDA-approved scaffolds for bone regeneration. She is also a pioneer in devising ways to control nanoscale stimulation of cells by molecular cues, and in creation of 3-D tissue models for drug development. Her work has been featured on television documentary shows including Scientific American Frontiers. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Popular Science Brilliant 10 Award, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the MIT Class of 1960 Teaching Innovation Award, Radcliffe Fellow and several awards from professional societies. She has served as a member of the Advisory Councils for the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at NIH. As chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for Biological Engineering at MIT, she led development of the new Biological Engineering SB degree program, which was approved in 2005 as MIT’s first new undergraduate major in 39 years.

Engineering Functional 3-D Tissue Models 

Amir Aref:

Dr. Aref’s current work at the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School and previous research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology and Cancer Science Institute is having an impact on the application of biotechnology and nanotechnology to the study of stem cells and cancer. Dr. Aref has developed novel microfluidic devices and methods allowing unprecedented access and observation of stem cells and cancer cells as they spread throughout the body.

Michael Atkinson:

Mike Atkinson is Director of the Institute of Radiation Biology, Helmholtz-Zentrum Munich and is Professor of Radiation Biology at the Technical University of Munich. His research interests are the understanding of long-term health risks following exposure to low doses of radiation and improving the treatment of radiation-resistant cancers.

Anthony Bahinski:

Anthony Bahinski, Ph.D., MBA is currently a member of the Advanced Technology Team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University where he is helping to develop novel Organ-on-a-Chip technologies for more predictive in vitro assays for safety and efficacy of drugs, vaccines and biologics. Dr. Bahinski received his Ph.D. in Physiology from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA and his MBA from Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. He has extensive experience in pharmaceutical Drug Discovery, Development and Safety. He has led several drug discovery groups and was St. Louis Site Lead of Safety Pharmacology at Pfizer, prior to joining the Wyss Institute. He is a member of the Review Editorial Board of Frontiers in Pharmacology of Ion Channels and Channelopathies and a newly elected member of the Board of Directors of the Safety Pharmacology Society.

Jonathan Garlick:

Dr. Jonathan Garlick’s expertise is in stem cell biology, the regulation of wound repair and human tissue engineering. He has used stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells to develop highly predictive 3-D skin-based platforms that have been used to study the molecular basis of oral and skin diseases and to advance the use of stem cells in regenerative therapies. 3-D skin-like tissue platforms developed in his lab are used by many drug and cosmetic companies to assess the safety and efficacy of their products in development.

Thomas Goodwin:

Dr. Thomas J. Goodwin, NASA/JSC Disease Modeling and Tissue Analogues Laboratory, is an expert in the bioengineering and regeneration of human tissues. Dr. Goodwin’s predictive technologies include holding patents to advanced and emerging 3-D normal human tissue analogues for the development of functional tissue-like-assemblies (TLAs), development of predictive human organoid platforms for viral infectivity studies and to survey viral growth kinetics and host genomic, proteomics and metabolomics. This next-generation 3-D tissue technology serves as a platform for high-throughput DNA and RNA viral seed production and vaccine development.

Sonia Grego:

Sonia Grego, Senior Scientist at RTI International, leads the bioengineering group which develops novel technologies for life science applications for NIH, DOD and other federal and commercial clients. Her current research activities include microfluidic cell cultures and in vitro preclinical platforms for drug development; she is the Principal Investigator for the DOD-/DTRA-funded development of an in vitro 3-D Fluidic-Enhanced Airway Model (FEAM). Dr. Grego has expertise in microfabricated devices, MEMS and optoelectronics, with emphasis on sensor miniaturization, endoscopic medical imaging and lab-on-a-chip diagnostics. She earned her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and held two postdoctoral positions in biophysics, including one at Department of Cell Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has co-authored more than 35 invention disclosures and more than 40 scientific publications.

John March:

John March received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.  He started at Cornell University in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering in 2005. 

Jeffrey Morgan:

Jeff Morgan is Professor of Medical Science and Engineering at Brown University and Co-Director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering. A graduate of Syracuse University and Harvard University with postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Whitehead Institute, he was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School prior to joining Brown. Dr. Morgan has received numerous national as well as international awards and patents for his research in gene therapy and tissue engineering and he has co-founded three companies including his latest, Microtissues, Inc. His lab invented the 3D Petri Dish, a new technology for growing cells in three dimensions with applications in cancer research, toxicity testing, drug discovery and tissue engineering. TIME magazine named the bioartificial ovary developed using the 3D Petri Dish as one of its top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2010. Dr. Morgan has published over 130 peer-reviewed papers, reviews and book chapters and has edited two books and is an inventor of 10 U.S. and international patents.

Joan Nichols:

Joan E. Nichols, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Internal Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology and the Associate Director of Research for the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She has been involved in research projects looking at the alterations in immune response of the lung after exposure to pollutants and/or respiratory and has expertise in the areas of general immunology, inflammation, disease pathogenesis, stem cell characterization/differentiation, wound healing, lung defense and respiratory pathogens. Dr. Nichols has been using adult and embryonic stem cells as well as tissue engineering techniques to produce human ex vivo organoids/tissue constructs to use as human model systems to study disease pathogenesis and the human response to respiratory pathogens such as avian-influenza and other biosafety level 2, 3 and 4 pathogens. A recent publication highlights the use of acellular whole-lung scaffolds to produce lung tissue. Dr. Nichols’s publications include original research in cell biology, virology, immunology, tissue engineering and nanobiology. Her research efforts as first author or supporting author have been presented in Nature, Science, Journal of Virology, Journal of Tissue Engineering and Langmuir as well as numerous other journals.

Yubing Xie:

Yubing Xie, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), SUNY Albany. Dr. Xie obtained her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Dalian University of Technology and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She received her postdoctoral training in stem cell biology and tissue engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Ohio State University. Dr. Xie’s research interest includes the interdisciplinary stem cell nanobiotechnology for creating 3-D functional tissue models to understand diseases, screen pharmacological and biological agents and develop therapeutics. Dr. Xie has received the prestigious NSF CAREER Award and her research has been supported by NSF CBET, DBI and NSEC, NIH NIDDK, International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI) and NYSTEM. She has published over 50 peer-referred journal papers, e.g., Advanced Materials, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Biomaterials, Analytical Chemistry and Tissue Engineering. Dr. Xie is the editor of The Nanobiotechnology Handbook that was published by CRC Press in November 2012. She serves as editorial board member of the Journal of Tissue Science and Engineering and Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, reviewer for NSF technical review panels and scientific reviewer for journals in the field.

Phenotypic Drug Discovery 

D. Lansing Taylor:

We have embraced the Quantitative Systems Biology approach that integrates experimental and computational methods in our drug discovery and development programs, especially in cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and infectious diseases. Dr. Taylor began his academic career at Harvard University and remained at Harvard until 1982, developing and using novel fluorescence-based reagents and imaging technologies to investigate fundamental cellular processes in living cells. He then moved to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) as a Professor of Biological Sciences and as Director of the Center for Fluorescence Research in the Biomedical Sciences continuing to develop and to apply novel fluorescence-based technologies. Dr. Taylor left CMU to start a series of companies: Cellomics-High Content Screening, Cellumen-early safety assessment and Cernostics-cancer diagnostics. Dr. Taylor returned to academia at the end of 2010 to continue his academic interests which now link large-scale cell and tissue profiling with computational and systems biology to optimize drug discovery and diagnostics.

Anne Carpenter:

Dr. Carpenter leads the Imaging Platform, a team of biologists and computer scientists who develop image analysis and data mining methods and software that are freely available to the public through the open-source CellProfiler project. She collaborates with dozens of biomedical research groups around the world to help identify disease states, potential therapeutics, and gene function from microscopy images. Carpenter is a Massachusetts Academy of Sciences fellow, an NSF CAREER awardee, and has also been funded by the NIH, Human Frontiers in Science, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Mark Mercola:

Dr. Mark Mercola is Professor of Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego, and Professor and Director of the Muscle Development and Regeneration Program at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. He is well-known for identifying many factors involved in heart formation, and established assay development and screening at the SBMRI screening center (Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics), which operated as part of the NIH MLPCN screening initiative. He serves on multiple advisory boards, including Vala Sciences (San Diego) and the Human Biomolecular Research Institute (San Diego).

Erik Hett:

Dr. Erik Hett received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in the lab of Dr. Eric Rubin, studying protein-protein interactions important for mycobacteria. His postdoctoral research was conducted in the lab of Dr. Deborah Hung at Harvard, Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, where he conducted phenotypic HTS and utilized proteomics for target ID. He is currently a chemical biologist in the MedChem Department at Pfizer.

Zhuyin (Julie):

Dr. Zhuyin Li is the Guanine Team Biology Leader in the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), at the National Institutes of Health. Prior to NCATS, she was an Associate Director at Sanofi. There, she headed the Global High-Content Screening and US Assay Development and Screening Department. Julie received her Ph. D. in Biophysics Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

Monica Schenone

Monica Schenone received her Lic. in Chemistry from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. As a senior member of the proteomics platform at the Broad Institute she is the leader of the biochemical target identification efforts within the Proteomics Platform as well as being a key leader of the overall mechanism of action effort at the Broad. Schenone uses state of the art proteomic techniques to identify protein targets that bind to drugs and drug-like molecules to understand their mechanism of action and potential use in disease therapy.

Screening and Functional Analysis of 3-D Models 

Aaron Morris:

Dr. Aaron Morris is the Head of a Cancer Biology laboratory within Sanofi Drug Discovery & Preclinical Development. He is currently leading target identification and validation efforts for a mutant K-Ras phenotypic synthetic lethal screen. Dr. Morris has been at Sanofi for 9 years heading phenotypic screening programs for several disease areas. Prior to joining Sanofi, Dr. Morris led oncology and angiogenesis discovery research initiatives within Cambridge biotechnology companies. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in endocrinology at the University of California San Diego, Department of Medicine, and received his Ph.D. in Biology from Boston University.

Geoffrey A. Bartholomeusz:

Dr. Geoffrey Bartholomeusz is director of the siRNA screening service at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. His research interests focus on developing 3-D spheroid cell culture models for target identification utilizing high throughput screens.

Nathalie Picollet-D’Hahan:

Dr. Nathalie Picollet-D’Hahan is a Senior Researcher and Group Leader in cell biology and 3-D cell culture at CEA. Her post-doctorate was in electrophysiology, and she holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering.

Adina Vultur:

Adina Vultur, Ph.D. is a Staff Scientist in the laboratory of Dr. Meenhard Herlyn at the Melanoma Research Center, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA. Her thesis work as a graduate at Queen’s University, Canada (2005), showed the importance of cell-to-cell adhesion in modulating STAT3 pathway activity. She then joined Dr. Richard Jove’s laboratory (City of Hope, CA), to focus on STAT3, breast cancer, and advanced tissue culture models for biological and therapeutic studies. Her interest in translational research and improving patient treatment strategies led her to Dr. Herlyn’s laboratory in 2007, where she is currently developing advanced melanoma models for high throughput screening and the identification of novel and effective targeted therapies.

Physiologically-Relevant Cellular Tumor Models for Drug Discovery 

Omar S. Aljitawi:

Dr. Omar Aljitawi is interested in exploring the interaction of stem cells with their microenvironment and in utilizing these interactions in expanding umbilical cord blood stem cells, in improving umbilical cord blood homing post-transplant, and in developing three-dimensional leukemia and myeloma in vitro models for chemotherapy testing.

Geoffrey A. Bartholomeusz:

Dr. Geoffrey Bartholomeusz is Director of the siRNA screening service at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. His research interests focus on developing 3-D spheroid cell culture models for target identification utilizing high throughput screens.

David Nolte

David D. Nolte is a Professor of Physics at Purdue University, working in the fields of molecular diagnostics and drug screening. He received his baccalaureate from Cornell University in 1981, his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988, and had a post-doctoral appointment at AT&T Bell Labs before joining the faculty at Purdue. He has been elected Fellow of the Optical Society of America, Fellow of the American Physical Society and Fellow of the AAAS. In 2005 he received the Herbert Newby McCoy Award of Purdue University. He has founded two biotech startup companies in diagnostic screening and high-content analysis, and is currently the president of Animated Dynamics (anidyn.com).

Nathalie Picollet-D’Hahan:

Dr. Nathalie Picollet-D’Hahan is a Senior Researcher and Group Leader in cell biology and 3-D cell culture at CEA. Her post-doctorate was in electrophysiology, and she holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering.

Adina Vultur:

Adina Vultur, Ph.D. is a Staff Scientist in the laboratory of Dr. Meenhard Herlyn at the Melanoma Research Center, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA. Her thesis work as a graduate at Queen’s University, Canada (2005), showed the importance of cell-to-cell adhesion in modulating STAT3 pathway activity. She then joined Dr. Richard Jove’s laboratory (City of Hope, CA), to focus on STAT3, breast cancer, and advanced tissue culture models for biological and therapeutic studies. Her interest in translational research and improving patient treatment strategies led her to Dr. Herlyn’s laboratory in 2007, where she is currently developing advanced melanoma models for high throughput screening and the identification of novel and effective targeted therapies.


Short Courses: 

Nasim Annabi:

Nasim Annabi is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. Her research involves tissue engineering of cardiac and vascular tissues, focusing on the cell and tissue responses to their microenvironment. She has developed advanced biomaterials with controlled physical and biological properties combined with microscale techniques to control tissue microarchitecture. She has synthesized and characterized various 3-D cell-laden hydrogels for different tissue engineering applications. In particular, she has recently developed technologies to engineer novel, highly elastic cell-laden hydrogels with excellent properties for cardiovascular tissue engineering. She has published 33 peer-reviewed papers in the tissue engineering field. In addition, she is the author of five book chapters and two patents. She has also given over 20 seminars at various conferences and academic institutions.

Nicolas Atrux-Tallau:

Nicolas Atrux-Tallau, Ph.D., is postdoctoral researcher at the ESPCI ParisTech. He obtained his doctorate in Skin Biology and Physiology with a Pharmaceutical Technologies background from University of Lyon, School of Pharmacy. Dr. Atrux-Tallau first experienced skin research on Pr. Howard I. Maibach’s team at UCSF, Department of Dermatology, and is currently working on Pr. Jérôme Bibette’s team at ESPCI and is aiming to use millifluidic technology for reconstructing microscale skin tissue in hydrogel microcapsules.

Utkan Demirci:

Dr. Demirci leads a group of 30 researchers focusing on micro- and nano-scale technologies for applications in medicine. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1999 as a James B. Angell Scholar (summa cum laude) from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received his M.S. degree in 2001 in Electrical Engineering, M.S. degree in Management Science and Engineering in 2005 and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2005, all from Stanford University. Dr. Demirci creates technologies to manipulate cells in nanoliter volumes to enable solutions for real-world problems in medicine, including applications in infectious diseases and early cancer diagnostics, cell encapsulation in nanoliter droplets for cryobiology and 3-D bottom-up tissue engineering models. His research interests involve applications of microfluidics and acoustics in medicine. Dr. Demirci has published over 70 articles in journals including PNAS, Advanced Materials, Nature Materials, Small, Trends in Biotechnology, Chemical Society Reviews and Lab-chip, over 150 conference abstracts and proceedings, 10 book chapters and an edited book. His work was highlighted in WiredMagazine, Nature Photonics, Nature Medicine, MIT Technology Review Magazine, Reuters Health News, Science Daily, AIP News, BioTechniques and Biophotonics. His work has been recognized by numerous national and international awards including the NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award (2012) and the IEEE-EMBS Early Career Achievement Award (2012). He was selected as one of the world’s top 35 young innovators under the age of 35 (TR-35) by the MIT Technology Review.

Stephen Florczyk:

Dr. Florczyk is a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at NIST. He has researched cancer (tumor microenvironment), tissue engineering and biomaterials with a focus on the use of natural materials. He has published 11 papers and one book chapter. He is currently researching the differentiation of human bone marrow stromal cells on 3-D scaffolds using microarrays and proteomic analysis.

Stephen Gundry:

Stephen Gundry received two Bachelor of Science degrees in both Engineering Science and Physics from the City University of New York at the College of Staten Island in 2003. He also earned a Master of Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering from the City University of New York at the City College of New York (CCNY) in 2009 and is currently a Ph.D. csandidate at this institution. His interests include biologically inspired algorithms, artificial intelligence and telecommunications. In 2004 and 2005, he was a researcher at the Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Laser Research Facility at CCNY. In 2012, he was the Entrepreneurial Lead for the application of artificial intelligence to personalized medicine in oncology funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps.

Markus Rimann:

Markus Rimann started his scientific career in 1996 at ETH Zurich, Switzerland where he was working in the field of biotechnology developing new gene regulation systems and introducing lentiviral gene transfer systems in the lab. During his Ph.D. at ETH Zurich, he was working on non-viral transfection systems to improve cutaneous wound healing in normal and diabetic rats. Then he moved on to University Zurich for his postdoc to develop gene transfection systems to stably integrate reporter systems for non-invasive tracking of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells in mice: a future application to treat osteoporosis. His actual position at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) started in 2011. At ZHAW, his focus is on 3-D cell culture systems and the usage in the cosmetic, medtech and pharma industries. The scope of the projects includes the translation of 3-D cell culture systems on high- throughput screening platforms (production, maintenance, compound application, assay adaptation, IC50-calculations) and also bioprinting, e.g., skin.

Gregory Timp:

Gregory Louis Timp received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986 working with Mildred Dresselhaus. After a postdoc at IBM with Alan Fowler, he joined Bell Laboratories in 1988, where he pursued nanostructure physics. In 2010, he joined the faculty of Notre Dame to pursue nanobiotechnology with an appointment jointly in Biological Sciences and Electrical Engineering. He is the Keough-Hesburgh professor of Engineering and Systems Biology. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He has published over 100 articles in scientific journals and holds 10 patents.