Current Plenary Speakers

Prof. Jennifer Elisseef, Johns Hopkins University

Professor and Director, Translational Tissue Engineering Center
Wilmer Eye Institute and Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Orthopedic Surgery, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Elisseeff is the Morton Goldberg Professor and Director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Wilmer Eye Institute with appointments in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Science and Orthopedic Surgery.  She received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and a PhD in Medical Engineering from the Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Later she was a Fellow at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Pharmacology Research Associate Program, where she worked in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Dr. Elisseeff is committed to the translation of regenerative biomaterials and has founded several companies and participates in several industry advisory boards including the State of Maryland’s Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO). She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, a Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum. In 2018, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine.

Prof. Axel Haverich, MH Hannover
More information will be available soon.

Prof. Melissa Little, Murdoch Children's Research Institue Melbourne

Professor Melissa Little, BSc PhD GAICD, FAAHMS, FAA is the Theme Director of Cell Biology at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. She is internationally recognised for her work on the systems biology of kidney development. For more than two decades, her work has investigated the molecular and cellular basis of kidney development and disease. This fundamental research has underpinned her pioneering studies into potential regenerative therapies for kidney disease. As a result, her team have developed approaches for directing the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells to human kidney organoids. Her group are applying this knowledge to disease modelling, drug screening, cell therapy and tissue engineering. Professor Little is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow at MCRI, Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia and Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne. Melissa is also President of the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research, Vice-President of the Board of ISSCR, and immediate past President of ASSCR. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, Professor Little’s work has been recognised by many awards, including the GlaxoSmithKline Award for Research Excellence (2005), AAS Gottschalk Medal in Medical Sciences (2004), Eisenhower Fellowship (2006), ANZSCDB Presidents Medal (2015), Boerhaave Professorship, Leiden University (2015), UNSW Eureka Prize (2016) and the NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship Biomedical (2018), Honorary Doctorate, Leiden University (2019) and the prestigious Alfred Newton Richards Award (2019).

Prof. Shruti Naik, New York University

Dr. Shruti Naik is an Assistant Professor at New York University School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania-National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnership Program. There she discovered that normal bacteria living on our skin, known as the commensal microbiota, educate the immune system and help protect us from harmful pathogens. Her work unveiled how immune cells work with our microbial partners to prevent disease and has opened the door for microbiota-based therapies in the skin. As a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellow at the Rockefeller University, Naik found that epithelial stem cells can harbor a memory of inflammation which boosts their regenerative abilities. The Naik lab studies the dynamic interactions between immune cells, epithelial cells, and microbes in the skin with a focus on 3 major areas of research:  Tissue regeneration and cancer, host-microbe interactions, and early in life immunity. 
Naik is a strong advocate for increasing diversity in science and promoting the advancement of underrepresented and marginalized groups. For her research and advocacy, she has received numerous awards including the Regeneron Award for Creative Innovation, the L’Oréal For Women in Science Award, the Damon Runyon Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientist, the Sartorius and Science Prize Finalist for Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy, the Tri- Institution Breakout Award, the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists and the International Takeda Innovators in Science Award.

Prof. Noriyuki Tsumaki, Kyoto University

Noriyuki Tsumaki is currently Professor at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, Japan, where he researches cartilage biology pathology, and regeneration using cell reprogramming technologies. He earned his M.D. from Osaka University, Japan, and joined the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery there in 1989. He completed his Ph.D. also at Osaka University in 1996 and soon after joined Yoshi Yamada’s laboratory at the National Institute of Dental Research, N.I.H., U.S.A., as a visiting fellow. He returned to Osaka University as Assistant Professor in 1998 and was promoted to Associate Professor at the Department of Bone and Cartilage Biology in 2007. Noriyuki joined CiRA as Professor in 2011.

Prof. Peter Zandstra, University of British Columbia

Peter Zandstra graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McGill University in the Department of Chemical Engineering, obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of British Columbia in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and continued his research training as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the field of Bioengineering at MIT.  In 1999, Dr. Zandstra began his faculty appointment at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterial and in 2016 was appointed University Professor, the university’s highest academic rank.  In July 2017, Zandstra joined the University of British Columbia as the Founding Director the School of Biomedical Engineering and as the Director of the Michael Smith Laboratories. In these roles, he aims to build programs with deeper interactions between the Faculties of Applied Science, Science and Medicine, especially as related to innovative research and training programs.
Peter is the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering and is a recipient of a number of awards and fellowships including the Premiers Research Excellence Award (2002), the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship (2006), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2007), and the University of Toronto's McLean Award (2009). Dr. Zandstra is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Peter’s research focuses on understanding how complex communication networks between stem cells and their progeny influence self-renewal and differentiation, and how this information can be applied to the design of novel culture technologies capable of controlling cell fate.