Prof. Alim-Louis Benabid received his medical degree in 1970 and a doctorate in physics in 1978, both from Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France. He became a staff neurosurgeon at Joseph Fourier University, France in 1972, professor of experimental medicine in 1978, and professor of biophysics from 1983 – 2007. Prof. Benabid also had a fellowship in 1979 – 1980 in preclinical neuropharmacology in the laboratory of Floyd Bloom at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, USA. From 1988 to 2007, he directed the preclinical neurosciences unit at the French biomedical and public health research institution INSERM, and from 1989 to 2007, served as head of the neurosurgery department at the University Hospital of Grenoble, France. In other roles, Prof. Benabid coordinated the Claudio Munari Center for Surgery of Epilepsy and Movement Disorders at Hospital Niguarda in Milan, Italy from 1998 to 2007, and was a staff consultant at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, USA from 2000 to 2003. In 2007, Prof. Benabid joined the French Commissariat d’ Energie Atomique (CEA - France's nuclear and renewable energy commission) as a scientific adviser during the time a campus for public-private innovation was being created, the Grenoble Innovation for Advanced New Technologies (Giant) campus, which includes the Minatec research complex and the life-science cluster NanoBio. In 2009, he became Chairman of the Board of the Edmond J. Safra Biomedical Research Center at Clinatec, a translational biomedical technology organisation he helped found within Minatec. Clinatec was jointly created by CEA-Leti (Laboratoire d'électronique des technologies de l'information—an applied micro- and nanotechnology subsidiary of CEA), Grenoble University Hospital, INSERM and Joseph Fourier University. In 2013, when awarding Prof. Benabid a $100,000 Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research to fund continued research, the Michael J. Fox Foundation said in its award announcement that Benabid had published 523 scientific papers, achieving an H Index of 67, as well as given 18 honorary lectures, and received 23 medals and prizes.
Prof. Olaf Blanke is the founding Director of the Center for Neuroprosthetics, Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Cognitive Neuroprosthetics at EPFL, Switzerland. He also directs the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at EPFL and is Professor of Neurology at the Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland. Prof. Blanke's research is dedicated to the neuroscientific study of multisensory body perception and its relevance for self-consciousness by using a broad range of methods such as invasive and non-invasive electrophysiology, brain imaging in healthy subjects, and neurological and psychiatric patients. Most recently he has pioneered the joint use of engineering techniques such as robotics and virtual reality with techniques from cognitive neuroscience and their application to systems and cognitive neuroprosthetics and neuro-rehabilitation.
Prof. Edward Boyden is an Associate Professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute. As a Professor with the MIT Media Lab, he leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which develops tools for analysing and engineering the circuits of the brain. These technologies, created often in interdisciplinary collaborations, include optogenetic tools that enable the activation and silencing of neural circuit elements with light, 3D microfabricated neural interfaces that enable control and readout of neural activity, and robotic methods for automatically recording intracellular neural activity and performing single-cell analyses in the living brain. He has launched an award-winning series of classes at MIT that teach principles of neuroengineering, starting with basic principles of how to control and observe neural functions, and culminating with strategies for launching companies in the nascent neurotechnology space. He also co-directs the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering, which aims to develop new tools to accelerate neuroscience progress.Amongst other recognitions, he has received the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award (2013), the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Prize (2013), the largest brain research prize in the world, the Perl/UNC Neuroscience Prize (2011), the AF Harvey Prize (2011), and the Society for Neuroscience Research Award for Innovation in Neuroscience (RAIN) Prize (2007). He has also received the NIH Director's Pioneer Award (2013), the NIH Director's Transformative Research Award (2012 and 2013), and the NIH Director's New Innovator Award (2007), as well as the New York Stem Cell Foundation-Robertson Investigator Award (2011) and the Paul Allen Distinguished Investigator Award in Neuroscience (2010). He was named on the World Economic Forum Young Scientist list (2013), the Wired Smart List "50 People Who Will Change the World" (2012), the Technology Review World's "Top 35 Innovators under Age 35" list (2006), and his work was included in Nature Methods "Method of the Year" in 2010.
Dr. Catsicas has a background that spans academia and business. He obtained his PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and continued with post-doctoral studies on the principles of neuronal development at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, USA. He started his career as the Head of Neurobiology at the Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology in Geneva. Returning to academia, he joined the University of Lausanne as Professor and Chairman of the Cell Biology and Morphology Institute, and later as Vice-President of Research and Professor of Cellular Engineering at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2005 he co-founded a private group of biotechnology companies and his passion for education brought him back to academia in 2011 as Provost and Executive Vice President of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Catsicas was appointed Executive Vice President for Innovation, Technology and R&D, and Chief Technology Officer of Nestlé SA in 2013. He is also the Chairman of Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences and a board member of Nestlé Health Science SA, Nutrition-Wellness Venture AG and Nestlé Skin Health SA. He is also an active board member for the Foundation Solar Impulse, Lausanne, Switzerland and Foundation Latsis International, Geneva, Switzerland.
Prof. Elena Cattaneo is the Director of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative Diseases at the Department of Biosciences as well as co-founder and first appointed Director of UniStem, the Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Milano. The main research theme of her laboratory is the molecular pathophysiology of Huntington's disease (HD). In particular, the laboratory aims to exploit recent advances in embryonic and induced stem cell biology to obtain the medium-sized spiny striatal neurons that degenerate in HD and would be an important tool for disease modeling and studying early pathogenic aspects. On the other hand, the lab is pursuing a detailed characterisation of the function of the HD gene in health and disease and has identified a number of molecular pathways targeted by the gene. The lab's ultimate goal is to identify cells, molecules and pathways that are suitable for therapeutic intervention and new reagents for drug screening in Huntington's disease.Prof. Cattaneo has received numerous individual and group research grants, including recent grants from the CHDI Foundation in the USA, Telethon in Italy, and the European Union. She is a past coordinator of the EU project Neurostemcell (2008-2013) and the current coordinator of a new EU consortium, Neurostemcellrepair (2013-2017), as well as an Italian network on stem cells for Huntington's disease (2013-2016) funded by the Ministry of Research and University.
Prof. Grégoire Courtine was trained in mathematics, physics, and neurosciences. He received his PhD degree in Experimental Medicine in 2003 from the Inserm Plasticity and Repair, France. After post-doctoral training at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA where he became an associate researcher for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, he then established his own laboratory at the University of Zurich in 2008. He received the Schellenberg Prize for his work in paraplegia and a fellowship from the European Research Council in 2009 for the significant progress he made in the development of neurotechnologies. In 2012, he accepted the International Paraplegic Foundation chair in Spinal Cord Repair in the Center for Neuroprosthetics at EPFL. Over the past 15 years, Prof. Courtine has implemented an unconventional research programme with the aim to develop radically new treatment paradigms to improve motor function in severely paralysed people. The results of this research were recognised in various high-profile publications, such as Science and Nature. In 2013, he was invited to share his personal and scientific journey at TEDGlobal.
Prof. Monica Di Luca has been Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Milan, Italy since 1999. She graduated in Chemistry and Pharmacology from the University of Milan in 1986 and completed her PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Milan in 1992, and in medical sciences at the University of Utrecht in 1993. Her primary research interest is related to the brain and synaptic plasticity both in physiological and pathological conditions, with the primary aim to apply her basic findings to the cure of neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s Disease. She is author of more that 190 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals.
She is member of the Council and Executive committee of several national and international scientific organisations. From 2000 to 2006 she performed as Secretary General of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and from 2005 to 2010 she was Chair of the International Brain Organisation Western Europe Chapter. She was Vice-President of the European Brain Council until 2012. At present she is President of FENS.
Prof. John P. Donoghue is a neuroscientist known for his pioneering work in the field of human brain computer interfaces, as well as for research on brain function and plasticity.
He is the founding Director of the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, based at Campus Biotech in Geneva, Switzerland.
He founded the Brown Institute of Brain Science at Brown University, Rhode Island, USA where he spent more than 30 years and where he maintains a professorship. He also holds an adjunct professorship at the EPFL and is a visiting professor at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
Prof. Donoghue was a co-founder of an early neurotechnology startup company, Cyberkinetics.
He has spoken worldwide, including lectures at the World Economic Forum, the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Science and an Alfred Nobel Symposium.
His work has been widely featured in the media, including the New York Times, the Economist, the Financial Times, as well as US and international television.
In 2013 his BrainGate neurotechnology, that aims to restore movement for people with paralysis, was recognised by the first Israel B.R.A.I.N. (Breakthrough Research And Innovation in Neurotechnology) prize, as well as the German Zülch in 2007, the Roche-Nature Medicine 2010, and Schrödinger prizes 2012.
Prof. Donoghue is a Fellow of several academies including the US Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academy of Inventors. He was also a member of the National Institutes of Health Committee for The White House BRAIN Initiative.
Prof. Shumin Duan graduated from Bengbu Medical College, China in 1982 and received his PhD from Kyushu University, Japan in 1991. After his postdoctoral training from 1997 to 1999 at the University of Hawaii and the University of California at San Francisco, USA he worked as a Principal Investigator in the Institute of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences from 2000 to 2009. In 2010 he moved to his current position as President and Dean of the Zhejiang University School of Medicine, China. His research interests focus on synapses and the function and mechanisms of neuron-glia interactions in health and disease. He has made a number of contributions in the field of glial cell studies, including the roles of glial cells in synaptic plasticity and mechanisms of signaling molecule release from glial cells. Prof. Duan is an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a member of The World Academy of Sciences for the Developing World. His professional activities include President of the Chinese Neuroscience Society, member of the Governing Council of the International Brain Research Organization, and member of the International Affairs Committee of the Society for Neuroscience. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Neuroscience Bulletin, the official journal of the Chinese Neuroscience Society, and serves as an editorial board member for several international neuroscience journals, including the Journal of Neurophysiology, Glia, Neurobiology of Disease, Hippocampus, Cell Calcium, and PLOS ONE.
Dr. Anirvan Ghosh received his BS in Physics from California Institute of Technology, USA, his PhD in neuroscience from Stanford University, USA and did his postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School, USA. He was on the faculty at The John Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA from 1995 to 2003 prior to moving to the University of California, San Diego, USA as the Stephen Kuffler Professor of Biology. He served as Chair of the department from 2008 to 2011. In 2011 Dr. Ghosh joined Roche as Global Head of Neuroscience Discovery. In this role he heads the neuroscience research and drug discovery effort from target identification to entry into human, with major programmes in neurodevelopmental disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and schizophrenia. Since 2012 he also serves as Head of the Biomarkers and Clinical Imaging group in the neuroscience therapeutic area.
In addition to leading neuroscience drug discovery programmes at Roche, Dr. Ghosh heads research labs in Basel, Switzerland and San Diego, USA. Research in Dr. Ghosh's lab is focused on understanding how the connections in the brain are established during development and how they may be affected in neurodevelopmental disorders. Major contributions from his lab have included the identification of activity-dependent transcription actors that regulate neuronal development and the discovery of Leucine Rich Repeat (LRR) proteins as key regulators of synapse formation and function.
He is recipient of several awards including the Pew Scholar Award, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award, and the UCSD Revelle College Outstanding Faculty Award.
Dr. Rafi Gidron is a technology and social entrepreneur who founded and managed technology companies in multiple disciplines as well as nonprofit initiatives. Most notably, Gidron was involved in one of the most successful exits in Israel's hi-tech industry: the acquisition of Chromatis Networks by Lucent. Dr. Gidron is the founder and chairman of Israel Brain Technologies, co- founder of Give to Cure. He's also an active angel investor in various technology startups. Gidron holds a PhD from Columbia University, USA where he also served as Associate Director of National Science Foundation Center for Telecommunications Research.
Prof. Nancy Ip is currently the Dean of Science, The Morningside Professor of Life Science, and Director of the State Key Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). She received her PhD in Pharmacology from Harvard Medical School, USA after which she held the position of Senior Staff Scientist at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA. Since joining HKUST, she has served as Associate Dean of Science, Director of the Biotechnology Research Institute, and Head of the Department of Biochemistry. Prof. Ip's major research interests are in neural development and function as well as drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. She is well known for her seminal discoveries in the biology of neurotrophic factors, which are proteins that promote the survival, development, and maintenance of neurons in the nervous system. She has also made important contributions towards understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying brain development and synaptic plasticity, and their dysregulation in neurological disorders. Using this knowledge, her research team aims to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, and identify drug leads for these brain disorders. Furthermore, she plays a significant role in the development of biotechnology in Hong Kong, and has launched prominent collaborations with major biopharmaceutical companies, thus placing HKUST on the map for cutting-edge R&D in molecular neuroscience.
As a highly accomplished researcher, Prof. Ip has published over 260 scientific papers with more than 17,600 citations, and holds 41 patents. She was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, the World Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong and most recently, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has received numerous awards and honours including the National Natural Science Awards, the L'OREAL-UNESCO for Women in Science Award, and the "Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite" by the French Government. She is also the senior editor of the Journal of Neuroscience, and an elected Councillor for two leading global organisations in the fields of neuroscience and pharmacology: the Society for Neuroscience and the CINP (Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum). Furthermore, she is a member of the Global Agenda Council on Brain Research of the World Economic Forum.
Dr. Eric Karran joined Alzheimer's Research UK in 2012 and has responsibility for driving forward the research strategy as well as high-level external representation of the charity. Eric has extensive dementia research experience gained from working in the pharmaceutical industry, holding senior positions in neuroscience drug discovery research groups (most recently Vice President Neuroscience Research at Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Belgium), focusing on finding therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease. He has interacted widely with leading academic groups in the UK, Europe and the USA, as well as working with public funding agencies. Eric is also Visiting Professor at the Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium; Honorary Research Associate at the Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, UK; and Visiting Professor of Neurodegenerative Disease at the University of Lincoln, UK.
Dr. Christof Koch has dedicated his life to researching neuroscience, having spent 25 years at the California Institute of Technology, USA as a Professor in Biology and Engineering. In 2011, Dr. Koch left academia to join the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating resources to fuel discovery among researchers worldwide and to advance the scientific community's understanding of the brain in health and disease. He is leading a 10-year, large-scale, high throughput effort to build brain observatories to map, analyse, and understand the cerebral cortex. Dr. Koch has authored more than 300 scientific papers and articles, eight patents, and five books concerned with the way neurons process information and the neuronal and computational basis of visual perception, selective attention, and consciousness. Together with his long-time collaborator, Francis Crick, Dr. Koch pioneered the scientific study of consciousness. His latest book is Consciousness -Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist.
Dr. Ismail Kola joined UCB from Schering-Plough Corporation where he was Senior Vice President of Discovery Research and Early Clinical Research & Experimental Medicine at the Schering-Plough Research Institute, the pharmaceutical research arm of Schering-Plough Corporation, and Chief Scientific Officer of the Schering-Plough Corporation. Dr. Kola came to Schering-Plough from Merck, where he was Senior Vice President of Basic Research and Site Head for Rahway, Montreal and Madrid. He also chaired Merck's Antibacterial and Antifungal Worldwide Business Strategy Team. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Research, and Global Head of Genomics Science and Biotechnology, at Pharmacia Corporation. Prior to his move to industry, Dr. Kola received a PhD in Medicine from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and was a Professor of Human Molecular Genetics at Monash University Medical School, Australia and Director of the Research Center for Functional Genomics and Human Disease. He was at Monash for approximately 15 years.
Dr. Kola holds Adjunct Professorships of Medicine at Washington University in St Louis, USA, and Monash University Medical School, Australia; a Foreign Adjunct Professorship at The Karolinska Institute, Sweden, and is a William Pitt Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge University, UK. He is a member of the Board of Athersys Inc., Biotie Therapies, and Astex Pharmaceuticals.
Prof. Stephanie Lacour holds the Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Neuroprosthetic Technology at the School of Engineering, EPFL, Switzerland. She received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from INSA de Lyon, France, and completed postdoctoral research at Princeton University, USA and the University of Cambridge, UK. She is the recipient of a University Research Fellowship from the Royal Society, UK, a European Research Council Starting Grant, the 2011 Zonta Award (2011) and the 2014 World Economic Forum Young Scientist Award (2014). She was also listed in the 2006 MIT Technology Review TR35.Prof. Lacour’s research is devoted to advancing fundamental concepts in man-made electronic interfaces applied to biological systems. Specifically, her focus is on designing and manufacturing materials and electronic devices with mechanical properties close to that of the host biological tissues, so that long-term reliability and minimal perturbation are induced in vivo and/or truly wearable systems become possible. Her team implements soft bioelectronic interfaces for implantable neuroprostheses and prosthetic tactile skin.
Prof. Pierre J. Magistretti received his MD from the University of Geneva and his PhD in Biology from UCSD. He is currently the Dean of the Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia. He also has an affiliation as Professor of Neuroscience at the Brain Mind Institute, EPFL, Switzerland. Prof Magistretti's laboratory has discovered some of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the coupling between neuronal activity and energy consumption of the brain. These findings are particularly relevant for understanding the origin of the signals detected by functional brain imaging, and are revealing a role of astrocytes in neuronal plasticity. Prof Magistretti is the author of over 240 publications in international peer-reviewed journals. He has been elected as the International Chair 2007-2008 of the Collège de France, Paris. He is a member of Academia Europaea and of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. He is the past-President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and the past-Secretary General of the Organization, of which he has been President since 2014. He is strongly engaged in the public understanding of neuroscience.
Prof. Henry Markram is the founder of the Brain Mind Institute at EPFL, founder and director of the Blue Brain Project, and coordinator of the Human Brain Project. After earning his PhD with distinction at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, he was a Fulbright scholar at the National Institutes of Health, USA, and a Minerva Fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research, Germany. In 1995 he returned to the Weizmann Institute, becoming an Associate Professor in 2000. In 2002 he became a full professor at EPFL. Prof. Markram's research has focused on synaptic plasticity and the microcircuitry of the neocortex, in which he has discovered fundamental principles governing synaptic plasticity (e.g. STDP, RSE, LTMP, neuromodulation) and the structural and functional organisation of neural microcircuitry. Key co-discoveries include the concept of Liquid Computing and the Intense World Theory of Autism. In 2005 he launched the Blue Brain Project to develop a general strategy for data integration in neuroscience and a specific strategy of predictive reconstruction to make experimental mapping of the brain tractable. Prof. Markram has published over one hundred papers, has been cited over 17,000 times. Since 2002, Dr. Markram has spearheaded Switzerland's ambition to become a world leader in High Performance Computing and to prioritise simulation-based research; these fields are now two of the three national research priorities declared by the Swiss government. Prof. Markram is also founder of Frontiers, a new model for peer-reviewed open-access publishing.
Prof. Karlheinz Meier is a Professor of Experimental Physics at Heidelberg University, Germany. He received his PhD in 1984 from Hamburg University, Germany. For more than 30 years he worked in experimental particle physics, contributing to several experiments at the CERN and DESY laboratories. He designed and implemented a large-scale data selection system for an LHC experiment at CERN. Since 2005 he has shifted his interest towards custom hardware implementations of neural circuits. He has initiated and led two major European initiatives in the field (FACETS and BrainScaleS) and is currently co-director of the Human Brain Project.
Dr. Ignacio Muñoz-Sanjuán is an expert in neurodevelopment, neural physiology and stem cells, concentrating on the identification and pharmacological modulation of novel pathways for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. He completed his PhD in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA and received a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship to investigate the molecular basis of early neural development at Rockefeller University, USA. After this postdoctoral fellowship, he joined Merck Sharp & Dohme in the UK as a Research Fellow. There, he led a program on the pharmacological modulation of targets critical for adult neural stem cell proliferation and synaptic plasticity that focused on finding new treatments for psychiatric conditions. He then joined Amgen Inc as a Senior Scientist, where he led several projects in the area of neurodegeneration, with an emphasis on non-amyloid strategies for Alzheimer's disease.Dr. Muñoz-Sanjuán joined the CHDI in 2007. The CHDI Foundation is a research and development organisation whose single focus is to develop therapeutics for Huntington's disease (HD). As the Vice President for translational biology at the CHDI Foundation, he is responsible for the oversight of all therapeutic programmes, including all molecular (gene therapy and antibodies), cell therapy, and small molecule therapeutics of relevance to HD. Part of his work at the CHDI Foundation is to identify critical pathogenic mechanisms and to develop disease progression biomarkers which can help in understanding the potential effectiveness of novel treatments for this fatal, genetic neurodegenerative disorder. Besides the development of molecular therapies, he is also responsible for the development and evaluation of potential therapeutic molecules based on the major biological mechanisms thought to be implicated in HD: synaptic physiology of the basal ganglia, neuroinflammation, autophagy, Huntingtin expression and toxicity, and epigenetic mechanisms.
Prof. Miguel A.L. Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., is the Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience at Duke University, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering and Psychology and Neuroscience, and founder of Duke's Center for Neuroengineering. He is Founder and Scientific Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute for Neuroscience of Natal. Prof. Nicolelis is also founder of the Walk Again Project, an international consortium of scientists and engineers, dedicated to the development of an exoskeleton device to assist severely paralyzed patients in regaining full body mobility.
Prof. Nicolelis has dedicated his career to investigating how the brains of freely behaving animals encode sensory and motor information. As a result of his studies, Prof. Nicolelis was first to propose and demonstrate that animals and human subjects can utilize their electrical brain activity to directly control neuroprosthetic devices via brain-machine interfaces (BMI).
Over the past 25 years, Prof. Nicolelis pioneered and perfected the development of a new neurophysiological method, known today as chronic, multi-site, multi-electrode recordings. Using this approach in a variety of animal species, as well in intra-operative procedures in human patients, Prof. Nicolelis launched a new field of investigation, which aims at measuring the concurrent activity and interactions of large populations of single neurons throughout the brain. Through his work, Prof. Nicolelis has discovered a series of key physiological principles that govern the operation of mammalian brain circuits.
Prof. Nicolelis pioneering BMI studies have become extremely influential since they offer new potential therapies for patients suffering from severe levels of paralysis, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy. Today, numerous neuroscience laboratories in the US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America have incorporated Prof. Nicolelis' experimental paradigm to study a variety of mammalian neuronal systems. His research has influenced basic and applied research in computer science, robotics, and biomedical engineering.
Prof. Nicolelis is a member of the French and Brazilian Academies of Science and has authored over 200 manuscripts, edited numerous books and special journal publications, and holds three US patents. His award-winning research has been published in Nature, Science, and Scientific American and has been widely reported in national and international media. He is the author of Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines and How It Will Change Our Lives; and most recently co-authored The Relativistic Brain: How it Works and Why it Cannot be Simulated by a Turing Machine.
Dr. Stephen N. Oesterle joined Medtronic in 2002 as Senior Vice President for Medicine and Technology. In this role, Dr. Oesterle provides executive leadership for Medtronic scientific research, formation of technological strategies and continued development of strong cooperative relationships with the world's medical communities, technical universities, financial institutions and emerging medical device companies. Previously, Dr. Oesterle served as Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard University Medical School, USA and as Director of Invasive Cardiology Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA. A teacher and innovator in the field of cardiac catheterisation, he has also developed and directed interventional cardiology programmes at Georgetown University, USA and Stanford University, USA.
Dr. Oesterle participates as a director or observer for multiple device start-up companies and has served as an advisor to engineering boards at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University and University of Minnesota, USA. He is a member of the Lemelson-MIT Prize jury and Chair of the Executive Advisory Board for USA FIRST robotics in Minnesota, USA. Dr. Oesterle is a 1973 summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College and received his medical doctorate in 1977 from Yale University, USA. He completed his internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA and served a fellowship in interventional cardiology at Stanford University, USA.
Prof. Andrea Pfeifer co-founded AC Immune in 2003 and, since then, holds the position of CEO. Prior to AC Immune she was head of Nestlé’s Global Research in Lausanne, Switzerland and manages a group of more than 600 people. While at Nestlé, she led the scientific development of the first Functional Food, LC1, and one of the first Cosmoceutical products in a joint venture with L’Oreal, Innéov Fermeté. She also co-founded the Nestlé Venture Capital Fund, 1 Euro 1000M Life Science corporate venture fund.
She serves as chairwoman of the Biotechmedinvest AG Investment Fund, Basel and AB2Bio, Lausanne and is member of the Supervisory Board of Symrise AG, Holzminden. Prof. Pfeifer is a member of the CEOi Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease. She was recognized in 2009 as Technology Pioneer by the WEF and Swiss Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst&Young. Additional recognition include the BioAlps prize 2013, the election as one of the 10 women in biotech from Fierce Biotech ad one of the 300 most influential personalities in Switzerland.
Prof. Pfeifer holds PhD in Toxicology, Cancer Research from University of Würzburg, Germany and continued with post-doctoral work in Molecular Carcinogenesis at the National Institutes of Health, Human Carcinogenesis Branch, in Bethseda, USA. She is a registered Toxicologist and Pharmacist, received her habilitation from the University of Lausanne Switzerland and is an honorary professor at the EPFL, Switzerland. She has published more than 200 papers and abstracts in leading scientific journals.
Prof. Bernard Poulain is CNRS Senior Research Director at Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives and University of Strasbourg, France. Since 2009, he is also the Deputy Scientific Director at the CNRS National Institute for Biological Sciences, France in charge of Neuroscience and Cognition, and since 2012, Director of the Institute "Neurosciences, cognitive sciences, neurology and psychiatry" at the French National Alliance for Life Sciences and Health (Aviesan), which groups together the main stakeholders of life and health sciences in France. In 1986, he defended his PhD thesis (supervised by Ladislav Tauc) at the University Pierre and Marie-Curie, France and defended his HDR in 1996 at the University of Strasbourg, France. His research is primarily dedicated to the understanding of the basic aspects of synaptic transmission (focusing on functional presynaptic plasticity in mollusca (Aplysia) and more recently in mammals) and the mechanisms by which bacterial protein toxins affect synaptic transmission and attack neural cells. He has authored more than 120 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and books.Dr. Poulain is also Director of the Neuropôle Strasbourg, Member of the Scientific Council of Biology and Health Department, at the University of Bordeaux and Member of the Scientific Council of University Paris René-Descartes. He is involved in the ERANET-Neuron (development of the strategic agenda).
Prof. Chris Toumazou is currently the Founding Director and Chief Scientist at The Institute of Biomedical Engineering Imperial College London, UK, Founder and Executive Chairman of Toumaz Technology, Chairman and CEO of DNA Electronics, and Director of the Winston Wong Centre for Bio Inspired Technology. He has published over 700 research papers and holds 40 patents in the field of semiconductors and healthcare many of which are now fully granted PCT. Prof. Toumazou is distinguished for his ground breaking innovations in silicon technology and integrated circuit design. His career began with the invention and development of an entirely novel concept of current-mode analogue circuitry for ultra-low-power electronic devices. For this, at 33 years old, Prof. Toumazou became one of the youngest ever professors at Imperial College London. However, it has been his success in applying silicon chip technology to biomedical and life-science applications, most recently to DNA analysis, that is leading to new innovations in the field of genetics, molecular biology and personalised medicine.
Prof. Toumazou has received many awards including The Royal Society Clifford Patterson Prize Lecture, entitled "The Bionic Man", for which he received The Royal Society Clifford Patterson bronze medal in 2003; the IEEE CAS Education Award 2005 for pioneering contributions circuits and systems for biomedical applications; the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal 2007 for pioneering contributions to British industry; and the IET Premium best paper award and the IEEE CAS outstanding young author award. In 2006 he was elected to Academia Europea.
Prof. Martin Vetterli received his Dipl El-Ing from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ), Switzerland in 1981, his MSc from Stanford University, USA in 1982, and the Doctorat ès Sciences from EPFL, Switzerland in 1986. After his dissertation, he was an Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering at Columbia University, USA and in 1993, he became an Associate Professor and then Full Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, USA. In 1995, he joined EPFL as a Full Professor. He has held several positions at EPFL, including Chair of Communication Systems and Founding Director of the National Competence Center in Research on Mobile Information and Communication Systems (NCCR-MICS). From 2004 to 2011 he was Vice President of EPFL and from 2011 to 2012, he was Dean of the School of Computer and Communications Sciences.
Prof. Vetterli works in the areas of electrical engineering, computer sciences and applied mathematics. His work covers wavelet theory and applications, image and video compression, self-organised communication systems and sensor networks, as well as fast algorithms, and has led to more than 150 papers. He is the co-author of three textbooks. His research has resulted in 24 patents that led to technology transfers to high-tech companies and the creation of several start-ups. His work won him numerous prizes, such as best paper awards from EURASIP in 1984, the IEEE Signal Processing Society in 1991, 1996 and 2006, the Swiss National Latsis Prize in 1996, the SPIE Presidential Award in 1999, the IEEE Signal Processing Technical Achievement Award in 2001 and the IEEE Signal Processing Society Award in 2010. He is a Fellow of IEEE, of ACM and EURASIP, was a member of the Swiss Council on Science and Technology (2000-2004), and is an ISI highly cited researcher in engineering. Since January 2013 Prof. Vetterli has been the President of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Prof. Tony Wyss-Coray is a Professor of Neurology and Neurological sciences at Stanford University, USA and the Associate Director of the Center for Tissue Regeneration, Repair and Restoration at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. His lab investigates the role of immune responses in brain aging and neurodegeneration with a focus on cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. He combines the study of mouse models with human clinical samples using cytomic, proteomic, and bioinformatics tools. His most recent studies show that systemic circulatory factors can modulate neurogenesis, neuroinflammation, and cognitive function in mice and that factors from young mice can rejuvenate the aging brain. He is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health Director's Transformative Research Award, a Zenith award from the Alzheimer's Association, a distinguished scholar award from the John Douglas French Alzheimer Foundation, and he is an inventor on multiple patents.