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Cell adhering to glass; actin cytoskeleton in red, focal adhesion contacts in green and yellow (permission F Rehfeldt)
Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Kevin Kendall FRS, Professor Stephen Busby FRS, Professor Costantino Creton, Dr Florian Rehfeldt and Professor Gabriel Waksman FRS and Dr Walter Federle.
This meeting celebrates the 100th anniversary of the discovery that cells require adhesion to a solid surface to grow outside the animal organ. As new culturing techniques now allow organ growth in the laboratory, it is timely to discuss cell adhesion in relation to implantation, cancer, tooth decay, parasitic diseases, bacteria, virus attack, nanoparticle toxicity, theory, computer modelling, ethics and many related topics. The outcomes will impact across all scientific disciplines.Biographies of the organisers and speakers are available below. Recorded audio of the presentations will be available on this page after the event and the papers will be published in a future issue of Philosophical Transactions B.
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This meeting is immediately followed by a related satellite meeting at the Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre.
This event is intended for researchers in relevant fields and is free to attend. There are a limited number of places and registration is essential. An optional lunch is offered and should be booked during registration (all major credit cards accepted).
Enquiries: Contact the events team
Professor Kellar Autumn, Clark University, USAVan der Waals adhesion supporting the gecko
Professor Autumn's research focus lies at the interface of biology (biomechanics), engineering (contact mechanics and materials science), and physics (intermolecular and interfacial forces. He is best known for discovering how geckos stick to walls and for inventing the adhesive nanostructure. Prof. Autumn received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1988, and his Ph.D. in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley in 1995. He was an Office of Naval Research Postdoctoral Fellow until 1998, when he joined the faculty of Biology at Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon. Prof. Autumn has authored over 60 papers, and Thompson/ISI lists him as a highly cited author in the field of Materials Science and Engineering. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Special Creativity Award.
Dr Walter Federle, University of Cambridge, UKWet but not slippery: biomechanics of insect attachment organs
Dr Walter Federle is a Senior Lecturer for Integrative and Comparative Biology at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK. Following his Diploma in Biology he obtained his PhD in 1998 from the University of Würzburg, Germany. He was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, and the University of California, Berkeley, USA, as well as at the University of Würzburg. Since joining the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge in 2005, his research has focused on the role of mechanical factors in insect-plant interactions, as well as on animal biomechanics and the biophysics of biological adhesion.
Professor Kevin Kendall FRS, University of Birmingham, UKOrganiser and chair of sessions 1 & 8
Professor Kevin Kendall received his PhD from Cambridge and has worked for 20 years in industrial research at ICI, and also 20 years in Universities at Monash, Akron, Keele and now Birmingham. He started his research career studying friction and adhesion and became interested in the energy balance method for calculating adhesion forces. He has applied this method to many different areas including adhesive joints, composites, slurries, nanoparticles, cells and viruses. He has also been involved in the fossil energy crisis and applies fuel cells to avoid carbon emissions, especially operating a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with a filling station on the Birmingham University campus as shown in the picture. He is now back in industry, CEO of Adelan Ltd, an SME developing several EU projects. He has written more than 300 publications and patents and was elected FRS in 1993.
Dr Florian Rehfeldt, Georg-August University Goettingen, GermanyInfluence of substrate elasticity on cell development
Florian Rehfeldt, born in 1975 in Munich, Germany, studied Physics at the Technische Universität München (TUM) in Germany and received his PhD in Physics in 2005 for his work on “Novel Ultrathin Polymer Films as Biomimetic Interfaces” working with Prof. Dr. Motomu Tanaka and Prof. Dr. Erich Sackmann at the Institute for Biophysics E22. In 2006, he moved to University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to work with Prof. Dr. Dennis E. Discher on cell mechanics and the design of biomimetic hydrogels as in vitro culture systems with well-defined elasticity and was awarded a Feodor-Lynen-fellowship of the Alexander-von-Humboldt foundation. He returned to Germany end of 2008 and worked as a senior post-doctoral fellow in the 3rd Institute of Physics – Biophysics directed by Prof. Dr. Christoph F. Schmidt at the Georg-August-University in Göttingen. Since 2011 he is leading the Cell & Matrix Mechanics group in this institute and aims at elucidating the complex interplay of mechanics and biochemistry determining cell behavior.
Professor George Whitesides, Harvard University, USAPatterned surfaces, roughness and coating chemistry
George M. Whitesides. Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor. Born, 1939, Louisville, KY. A.B., Harvard, 1960. Ph.D., 1964, California Institute of Technology (with J.D. Roberts). Faculty: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963 to 1982; Harvard University, 1982-present.
Memberships and Fellowships: Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, American Philosophical Society; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, New York Academy of Sciences, World Technology Network, and American Chemical Society; Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Science; Honorary Member of the Materials Research Society of India; Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Royal Society of Chemistry (UK); Foreign Associate of the French Academy of Sciences; Honorary Professor, Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), India.
Present research interests include: physical and organic chemistry, materials science, biophysics, complexity and emergence, surface science, microfluidics, optics, self-assembly, micro- and nanotechnology, science for developing economies, catalysis, energy production and conservation, origin of life, rational drug design, cell-surface biochemistry, simplicity, infochemistry, electromagnetic and flames, and soft robots and machines.
Professor Dr Erich Sackmann, Technische Universität München, GermanyChair of session 2
Erich Sackmann received his Diploma in Physics in 1961 and did his PhD in Physics in 1964 with Professor Theodor Förster (the discoverer of energy transfer, FRET) at University of Stuttgart. He worked for two years as a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill and 5 years at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. From 1974 -1980 he was professor of physics and head of the biophysics department at the University of Ulm and from 1980 to 2003 he held the same position at the Physics Department of the Technical University Munich. Presently he is Professor Emeritus at the Technical University Munich.
Research interest: From 1965 to 1970: Physics of liquid crystals and photophysics of organic solid state. Since 1970: Biological Physics with special emphasize on physics of biological membranes, cell adhesion and cell mechanics.
Professor Gabriel Waksman FMedSci FRS, University College London, UKOrganiser and Chair of Session 3
Gabriel Waksman obtained his PhD in 1982 from the University of Paris. After a short spell in industry and a postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University in New York, he joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine (St Louis, USA) in 1993. In 2000, he became the Alumni Endowed Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, and in 2002 was appointed the first Roy and Diana Vagelos Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. In 2003, he moved to London (UK) to take up the Joint Chair of Structural and Molecular Biology at University College London and Birkbeck College London. The same year, he was awarded a Wolfson-Royal Society Merit Award and was appointed the Head of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology at UCL/Birkbeck. In 2006, he was appointed to the Courtauld Chair in Biochemistry at UCL, became Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (now Research Department of Structural and Molecular Biology) at UCL and was appointed Head of the School of Crystallography (now Department of Biological Sciences) at Birkbeck. He was elected to EMBO in 2007, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2008, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012, and a member of the German Academy of Sciences in 2013, He maintains an active research programme in the Structural and Molecular Biology of Bacterial Secretion Systems funded by a senior investigator award from the Wellcome Trust, an Advanced ERC grant, and a programme grant from MRC.
Professor Stanislav Gorb, Kiel University, GermanyAttachment mechanisms in nature
Stanislav Gorb is a group leader at the Zoological Institute of the University of Kiel, Germany. He received his PhD degree in zoology and entomology at the Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. Gorb was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna, Austria, a research assistant at University of Jena, a group leader at the Max Planck Institutes for Developmental Biology in Tübingen and for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany.
Gorb’s research focuses on morphology, structure, biomechanics, and evolution of surface-related functional systems in animals and plants, as well as the development of biologically inspired technological surfaces and systems. He received the Schlossmann Award (1995), Science Award of the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Science in Germany (2005), International Forum Design Gold Award (2011); Materialica "Best of" Award (2011), Transfer-Price of Schleswig-Holstein (2011) and was the BioFuture Competition winner for his works on biological attachment devices (1998). Gorb has authored three books; more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals; and four patents. He is corresponding member of Academy of the Science and Literature Mainz (since 2010), Germany and member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Germany (since 2011).
Dr Pietro Cicuta, University of Cambridge, UKMalaria parasites adhering to red cells
Pietro Cicuta is a Reader in Biological Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University. He obtained his PhD in 2003, and is presently active in research at the frontier between soft matter physics, optical methods and cell biology. He addresses question ranging from the regulation of gene expression in bacteria, to biological fluid flows, and mechanics and phase behaviour of lipid membranes. His lab uses and develops advanced imaging, photonic and microfluidic sample control, and quantitative modelling.
Professor Elspeth Garman, University of Oxford, UKAnti-viral adhesion molecular mechanisms
Elspeth Garman is Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Director of the University of Oxford’s Doctoral Training Centre Systems Biology Programme. Her doctorate is in experimental nuclear physics, but after 7 years of further nuclear research, she changed fields to structural biology. As well as determining protein structures, some of which have been relevant to cell adhesion, her group works to improve methods for protein crystallography diffraction experiments. She has worked extensively to move macromolecular cryo-crystallographic techniques, and also the understanding of radiation damage effects during X-ray experiments, from anecdote to more firmly based methodology. Most recently, her group’s 3-D modelling of absorbed dose distributions in crystals during X-ray exposure have allowed new strategies for optimising diffraction data collections. She has also developed a high throughput microbeam Proton Induced X-ray Emission (microPIXE) technique for unambiguously identifying metals in proteins and determining their stoichiometric ratios accurately.
Dr David Bhella, University of Glasgow, UKStructure of viruses adhesion molecules
David Bhella is a programme-leader in the Medical Research Council Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow (CVR). His research focuses on the structural biology of viruses and virus-host interactions. He began his career working as a diagnostic virologist and electron microscopist in the Royal London hospital. Pursuing his interest in electron imaging of viruses he undertook his PhD at Birkbeck College London with Professor Helen Saibil FRS before moving to Glasgow to establish his own programme of virus structure research. His laboratory is currently investigating several virus systems including caliciviruses, hepatitis C virus, influenza virus, measles virus and respiratory syncytial virus.
David has a long standing interest in public engagement and working with schools audiences to enthuse students about careers in the sciences and in particular microbiology. Over the past decade he has built a thriving programme of outreach activities in the CVR in partnership with Glasgow Science Centre.
Dr Chin Yong, Science and Technology Facilities Council, UKProtein structures and adhesion forces
Chin Yong is a member of Senior Research Scientist of the Scientific Computing Department at Daresbury Laboratory since 2000. He has extensive research experience in a wide-range of molecular modelling fields including polymers, particle bombardment, nano-surface contacts, mineral surface interactions and biological simulations, using a variety of techniques such as the molecular dynamics, Monte Carlo and ab-initio electronic calculations. Since 2010, he is also an active support scientist for the CCP5* community, in particular, in areas of potential model development. Chin Yong is also the developer of DL_FIELD, a powerful potential model development and editing software tool for DL_POLY (a molecular dynamics simulation software package) as a result of culmination of many years’ experiences in molecular modelling research.
*CCP5 is the Collaborative Computational Project for computer simulation of condensed phases. It provides and maintain software infrastructure for the UK research community and is funded predominantly by the EPSRC.
Professor Stephen Hart, University College London, UKGenetic influence on contact structures
Stephen Hart, PhD, is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the Institute of Child Health, University College London. He is a graduate of Liverpool University and received his PhD from the University of Cape Town in Microbial Genetics in 1992. His current research is in the development of nanoparticle technologies for genetic therapies of inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis and paediatric cancers such as neuroblastoma. He has more than 100 publications in this field and is also an inventor on seven patent applications covering synthetic gene delivery technologies. He is the founder scientist of a spin-out company, Nanogenic Solutions Ltd. and is a current committee member for the American Society of Gene Therapy.
Professor Costantino Creton, ESPCI CNRS, FranceChair of session 5
Costantino Creton graduated in Materials Science from the EPFL (Switzerland) in 1985. He then obtained his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University (USA). After a post-doc at the IBM Almaden Research Center (USA), he joined the ESPCI ParisTech first as a post-doctoral associate in 1993 and, since 1994 as a C.N.R.S. permanent researcher. He was promoted CNRS research director (equivalent to Professor) in 2001and since 2009, he is coordinating the research activities of the Soft Polymer Networks research group of the laboratory. He holds also since 2011 the position of scientific chairman of the Performance Polymers technology area of the Dutch Polymer Institute. He has published more than 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals, nine book chapters, more than 100 conference proceedings and has given more than 70 invited and plenary lectures at international conferences.
Professor Terry Tetley, Imperial College London, UKNanoparticle-cell interactions in relation to their toxicity in vitro
Professor Terry Tetley heads the Lung Cell Biology group within the division of the National Heart & Lung Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London. Her research has focused on mechanisms of pulmonary inflammation, tissue injury and disease due to inhalation of airborne pollutants, including environmental particulate air pollution, asbestos, cigarette smoke, engineered nanoparticles and microbial material, focussing on their role in diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, lung cancer and, more recently, cardiovascular disease. She initiated the Imperial College strategy on “Nanoparticles and Health” in 2006 and in her more recent work on ambient air pollution and engineered nanoparticles, she is addressing the role of oxidative stress, particle uptake and translocation, inflammatory mediator and signalling pathways in collaboration with a multidisciplinary group of scientists, from Imperial College, UK, Europe and the USA.
Professor Orest Blaschuk, McGill University, CanadaChair of session 6
Dr Orest Blaschuk is a tenured Associate Professor at McGill University. He has worked in the field of cell adhesion for over two decades. In 1996, Dr Blaschuk co-founded Adherex Inc., a publicly traded McGill spin-off oncology company where he served as Chief Scientist (1996-2006) and consultant (2006-2009). Adherex developed anti-cancer drugs based on intellectual property generated in Dr Blaschuk's laboratory at McGill University. The Adherex drug ADH-1 reached Phase II clinical trials as an anti-cancer agent and was given orphan drug status by the FDA for the treatment of melanoma. Dr. Blaschuk thus has proven expertise in drug discovery and development from the laboratory to the clinic. Dr Blaschuk received his BSc, MSc and PhD degrees from the Universities of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Toronto, respectively. He has authored 73 scientific journal articles and book chapters. Dr Blaschuk is also named as an inventor on 49 US patents.
Professor Liam Grover, University of Birmingham, UKChair of Session 7
Professor Liam Grover’s research focuses on the interactions that occur between materials and biological systems. By enhancing our understanding of these interactions, he has been able to design implantable materials that are capable of initiating the tissue regeneration process. Prior to setting up his research group at the University of Birmingham, UK, he worked at McGill University in Montreal, where he specialised in the mechanisms known to influence the bone formation process. Professor Grover has published in excess of 100 papers, is named on five patent filings and has written four book chapters. He was one of the youngest researchers to be made a fellow of the institute of materials and was made one of the youngest professor’s in the history of the University of Birmingham at the age of 32.
Professor Otto-Wilhem Merten, Généthon, FranceAdvances in cell culture; anchorage dependence
Otto-Wilhelm Merten has a degree in biotechnology (PhD) and today is the head of the group of Applied Vectorology and Innovation at Généthon. He has a large scientific experience gained during his stays at the Inst. Pasteur (Paris/F) as well as at the Sandoz Research Inst. (Vienna/A). Over the last 20 years, he has dealt with the development and optimization of serum-free and animal-free media for the cultivation of various cell lines (hybridomas, Vero, BHK 21, MDCK) and the production of different biologicals including monoclonal antibodies, recombinant proteins, various viruses. In addition, he was involved in the development of processes for the production of viruses for vaccine purposes (influenza, rabies, polio). During the last years he was involved in the development and scale-up of production and purification processes for viral vectors starting at the Inst. Pasteur in Paris and continuing as head of the department of Bioprocess Development at Généthon. Since 2010 he is in charge of the group of Applied Vectorology and Innovation (enabling technologies) in view of the general optimisation of vector production. Since expert in animal cell technology he was member of the executive committee of the European Society for Animal Cell Technology for 16 years and its chairman from 2001 to 2005. Otto-Wilhelm Merten is Adjunct Professor at the University of Life Sciences in Vienna and Visiting Professor at IBET/UNL in Lisbon.
Dr Birgitta Söder, Karolinska Institutet, SwedenThe association between dental biofilm and cancer
Birgitta Söder, professor em., in Odontological prophylaxis at the Karolinska Institutet, Department of Dental Medicine, Huddinge. Research activities involve epidemiological and clinical studies of the relationship between dental plaque- oral hygiene, gingival inflammation – periodontitis and systemic diseases, particularly the role of oral infections in cardiovascular diseases and cancer, including systemic makers relating cardiovascular and cancer diseases and periodontitis as well as the role of bacterial interactions. Other research areas of interest are the influence of anxiety and stress-related mental depression on periodontal health as well as tobacco related periodontal diseases. The overall goal is prevention of gingival inflammation and periodontitis. Dr Söder was 1998 awarded the IADR Oral Health Research Group Award and 2004 the IFDH, research award. Former President of the International Association for Dental Research: Oral health Research Group. She is currently research group leader for studies in collaboration with University of Helsinki, Finland as well as studies at University of Pisa.
Dr Rik Bryan, University of Birmingham, UKCadherin molecules and bladder cancer
Rik Bryan qualified in Medicine at the University of Birmingham and subsequently entered surgical training. After completing a PhD in bladder cancer biology he became a Specialist Registrar in Urology. After 4-years as a Specialist Registrar, Rik left clinical urology to assist with the set-up of the Bladder Cancer Prognosis Programme at the University of Birmingham, and was then subsequently appointed as a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Cancer Sciences. Rik is now the Chief Investigator of the Bladder Cancer Prognosis Programme which incorporates the SELENIB clinical trial, and is also a member of the Trial Management Group for the POUT trial with responsibility for biospecimen collection and translational research. Rik sits on the Council of The Royal Society of Medicine Section of Urology, and has been elected as Secretary for the section for the 2015-16 session, and is also a regular Reviewer for European Urology.
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