KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Janelle Ayres

The Salk Institute

Janelle Ayres received her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. She did her PhD training at Stanford University School of Medicine in the laboratory of David Schneider and her postdoctoral studies with Russell Vance at UC Berkeley.
She joined the faculty of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies as an Assistant Professor in the Nomis Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis in 2013 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017. Traditionally, host-microbe interactions are thought of in terms of conflict. Dr. Ayres’ research approaches these interactions from a different perspective and aims to understand evolved co-operative defenses that promote host health while having a neutral to positive impact on microbial fitness. She discovered that in addition to resistance mechanisms, animals rely on disease tolerance mechanisms that are essential for survival of microbial interactions and promote host health without killing the pathogen. More recently, her lab has shown that microbes (both benign and pathogenic) have evolved ways to promote host health as a means to promote their own fitness. Her program continues to elucidate co-operative defense mechanisms and understand how these defenses affect host-microbe co-evolution and the evolution of virulence. Her ultimate goal is to develop therapies that promote co-operative defenses during infection to combat the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance.She is the recipient of several awards including Searle Scholar Award, the DARPA Young Faculty Award, Ray Thomas Edwards New Investigator Award and a Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Senior Research Award.

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Daniel Cua

Merck

One of the biggest catalysts right now in biotech and biopharmaceuticals is immuno-oncology. And one of the biggest regions for this research is the Bay Area.

Merck’s Dan Cua is in the middle of it all.

As a senior principal scientist in Immuno-Oncology Discovery, Dan currently works at Merck Research Laboratories' Palo Alto site (which will be relocated to South San Francisco in 2019) and is an expert in the field of immunology, an area that will help to advance Merck’s world-class immuno-oncology research.

Vishva M. Dixit, M.D.

Vice President of Physiological Chemistry at Genentech, Inc.

His interests include cell death, NF-kβ signaling, role of ubiquitin modification in disease pathogenesis, and characterizing regulatory complexes within the innate immune system, especially, the Inflammasome.

A historical perspective of his contributions is documented in three accounts published in Nature (2008, 453:271-273), Nature Cell Biology (2010, 12(5): 415) and The Journal of Immunology (2013, 190:3-4).

Ana Domingos

University of Oxford

Ana I Domingos currently works at the Obesity Laboratory, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) and is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford. Ana does research in Obesity while integrating aspects of Neuroscience and Innate Immunity. The laboratory of Dr Domingos focuses on neuroimmune mechanisms underlying obesity. Using optogenetics and multiphoton microscopy, among other tools, the laboratory of Dr Domingos has recently discovered a direct connection between adipocytes and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Welcome Trust, the Human Frontiers Science Program, the European Molecular Biology Organization, and the Gulbenkian Foundation fund the laboratory of Dr Domingos. She has undergraduate training in mathematics, doctoral training in neurobiology mentored by Prof. Dr Leslie Vosshall and postdoctoral training in metabolism mentored by Prof. Dr Jeffrey Friedman, both at the Rockefeller University.

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Florent Ginhoux

Senior Principal Investigator
Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN)

Florent Ginhoux graduated in Biochemistry from the University Pierre et Marie CURIE (UPMC), Paris VI, obtained a Masters degree in Immunology from the Pasteur Institute in 2000 and his PhD in 2004 from UPMC, Paris VI. As a postdoctoral fellow, he joined the Laboratory of Miriam Merad in the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM), New York.
In 2008, he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, MSSM and member of the Immunology Institute of MSSM. He joined the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), A*STAR in May 2009 as a Junior Principal Investigator. He is now a Senior Principal Investigator and an EMBO Young Investigator and his laboratory is focusing on the ontogeny and differentiation of macrophages and dendritic cells in both humans and mice

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Paul Kubes

University of Calgary, Canada

Paul Kubes is the Snyder Research Chair in the Department of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Calgary and a Canada Research Chair. He studied at Queen’s University and Louisiana State University. He has devoted much of his time to investigating the role of leukocyte recruitment in various inflammatory diseases using cutting edge imaging techniques in vivo. He is the founding director of the Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation.

Luke O’Neill

Trinity College Dublin

Professor Luke O’Neill holds the Chair of Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin where he leads the Inflammation Research Group. He has a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of London and carried out Post-Doctoral research at Cambridge U.K. His research is in the area of the molecular basis to inflammation with a particular focus on innate immunity, Toll-like receptors, inflammasomes and metabolic reprogramming in inflammation.
In 2016 he was named by Clarivates/Thompson Reuters as one of the world’s most influential scientists, being in the top 1% in Immunology. He is co-founder of 2 Spin-out companies - Opsona Therapeutics and Inflazome, which is developing new treatments for inflammatory diseases. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016.

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Michal Schwartz

The Maurice and Ilse Katz Professorial Chair in Neuroimmunology, Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Michal Schwartz’ studies revolutionized the current understanding of degenerative conditions of the central nervous system. Her theory not only broke long-held dogmas, but also shattered a conceptual wall between the brain and the immune system, which plays a fundamental role throughout life in supporting brain plasticity – with far-reaching clinical implications for behavior, cognition, stress, neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases.
Professor Schwartz has received numerous prestigious awards for her research, including the Friedenwald Award from ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology), the American Spinal Cord Injury Association’s Distinguished Heiner Sell Memorial Lectureship and the NARSAD (National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders) Distinguished Investigator Award. Additionally, Schwartz was selected as one of the Career Women of the Year 2000 in Israel, and in 2006 as one of the top ten “Women to Watch”. Schwartz’ developments of her theory of “protective autoimmunity” has inspired the search for new therapeutic strategies, harnessing or modulating immune cells to fight ageing, and acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases.

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Carola Vinuesa

Australian National University

Carola Vinuesa was born in Spain and obtained a medical degree at the University Autonoma of Madrid. She undertook specialist clinical training in the UK and in 2000 was awarded a PhD by the University of Birmingham. A year later she was the recipient of a Wellcome Trust International Travelling prize Fellowship to do postdoctoral work at The John Curtin School for Medical Research in The Australian National University.
Since 2006 she has been a group leader. She has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the year (2008), the Gottschalk Medal of the Australian Academy of Sciences (2009). In 2015, she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. She is currently Professor of Immunology at the Australian National University and Director of the Centre for Personalised Immunology (CPI), an NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence

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