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Dr Lena Smirnova

Johns Hopkins University | USA


Dr. Smirnova is an assistant professor at the Environmental Health and Engineering Department at Bloomberg School of Public Health and Center of Alternatives to Animal Testing, Johns Hopkins University, where she is leading the Education Program and Program on microphysiological systems. She has joint appointments at Johns Hopkins School of Engineering and Georgetown University. Her research focuses on the development of new approach methodologies for developmental neurotoxicity testing and understanding gene environmental interactions in autism. She promotes the idea of organoid intelligence as a new field to address cognition with an in vitro brain model – a brain microphysiological system. She received her Ph.D. from Charite Free University, Berlin, and PostDoc training at Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. She is a Co-organizer of a series of conferences on Microphysiological Systems (MPS) and leading the board of trustees of the International MPS Society.

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Dr Simone Sidoli

Albert Einstein College of Medicine | USA


Simone Sidoli is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 
He approached mass spectrometry (MS) at the University of Parma (Italy), his hometown. Next, he moved to the University of Southern Denmark (Odense, DK) for his PhD, where he developed methods for protein analysis, processing large datasets and learned to maintain state-of-the-art instrumentation. In 2014, he joined Ben Garcia’s lab, located within the Epigenetics Institute at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA, USA). In this environment, he investigated human disease systems by developing a proteomics and computational pipeline to link cell signaling cascades (protein phosphorylation) with chromatin changes (histone modifications). Simone joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2019, where he is now studying aging using cell culture models and biopsies for human with exceptional longevity. In particular, he is using an innovative 3D cell culture system to model cell senescence and study the mechanisms of anomalous chromatin decondensation.


Dr Daniel Nieto García

Maastricht University | Netherlands

Dr. Daniel Nieto is Assistant Professor on Biofabrication for Regenerative Medicine at MERLN Institute, Complex Tissue Regeneration Division of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at Maastricht University; and research faculty at the Biomedical Engineering Department of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He got his M.Sc in Experimental Physics at the National University of Ireland (2009) and his Doctorate in Photonics and Laser Technologies (2012).  He had postdoctoral stays at Harvard Medical School (HMS), the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), National Centre for Laser Applications (NCLA) of Ireland, and at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). Author of more than 60 publications, 4 book chapters and 70 communications to national and international conferences worldwide. He has generated 4 patents and is founder of a technological company, 3Dbiolux.  His multidisciplinary research is packed with his achievements and contributions to technology development for tissue and organ engineering, enabled via a unique combination of physics, photonics and biomedical engineering approach:

  • Development of volumetric bioprinting systems for exploring the biofabrication of microvasculature and micro-scaffolds for supporting the generation of organs and complex tissues.

  • Hand-held Biopens for tissue regeneration (skin, cornea, and trauma defects).

  • Novel multimaterial 3D Biofabrication systems to overcome the lack of vascularization and oversimplified structures for tissue and organ engineering.

  • Multiorgans/tumour biochips for monitoring and modelling tumour, and for evaluating personalized drugs.

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Dr Stefanie Klima

University of Pretoria | South Africa

Dr Stefanie Klima is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Neuroendocrinology at the University of Pretoria. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Konstanz, Germany. In the lab of Prof Marcel Leist, she developed new approach methods for (developmental) neurotoxicity testing, while aiming to gain a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of toxicity. She applied the newly developed test systems to screen a broad range of compounds like environmental toxicants, small molecules, and biotoxins. Another research focus of hers is the interplay between chromatin changes and nervous system development. She investigated the effects of compound exposure on the normal reorganisation of chromatin structure during neuronal differentiation. Building on this research, she now investigates the role of chemotherapy-induced senescence and the regulation of heterochromatin structure and in breast cancer cells from black African patients.

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Dr Mubeen Goolam

University of Cape Town | South Africa

Dr Mubeen Goolam is the Principal Investigator of the Stem Cell Modelling of Development and Disease Group in the Department of Human Biology and the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cape Town. Mubeen received his BSc in Genetics and Microbiology and his Honours and MSc degrees in Medical Cell Biology from the University of Cape Town. In 2012 he was awarded the Mary Gray Fellowship to St John’s College, at the University of Cambridge and undertook a PhD in Physiology, Development and Neuroscience in the Zernicka-Goetz lab. He then moved to the University of Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow to Wolfson College and took up a post-doctoral position in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in the Robertson Lab. He returned to the University of Cape Town in 2020 to establish his own independent research group. Research in the Goolam lab focuses on using stem cells to model development and disease in culture. They are developing the first African-specific models of the brain and neural tube to investigate early human brain and spinal cord development as well as create a model to study neurodevelopmental disorders in a dish. 


Prof. Pradeep Kumar

University of the Witwatersrand | South Africa

Prof. Pradeep Kumar is a Personal Professor of Pharmaceutics at Wits’ Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, a Senior Researcher at the Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform (WADDP) Research Unit, and the Chair of the School of Therapeutic Sciences’ Teaching and Learning Committee. Prof. Kumar has more than 14 years experience in academic teaching and research with pharmaceutics as the core subject along with biomaterial design, tissue engineering, and nanomedicine. As an Expert Group Member, he proudly contributed to the IAP Statement on Regenerative Medicine published in 2021. Prof. Kumar’s research findings have been published as over 300 publications and he has supervised/co-supervised 15 PhD students to graduation/completion. Prof. Kumar is an inventor on 32 granted patents from 08 patent families. For further information on his scientific credentials, please visit: 

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