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Dr. Peter Hagemann
Peter Hegemann is a Hertie professor for neuroscience and head of Experimental Biophysics at Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin. In 2019 he won a Warren Alpert Foundation Prize for the discovery that lead to the new technology – optogenetics. Hegemann’s research focused almost entirely on the characterization of natural sensory photoreceptors. Hegemann has characterized behavioral and photoelectric responses of the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas, a work that cumulated in the claim that the photoreceptors for these responses a rhodopsins that unify the sensor and ion channel in one protein. He has finally proven this concept by identifying the light gated channel channelrhodopsin, and its functionality in animal cells. His group characterized this protein in molecular detail by a wide range of biophysical techniques which lead to the deciphering of the ion channel mechanism, including gating and ion selection. This work was the basis for the discovery of Optogenetics, a technology where light activated proteins – first of all channelrhodopsin – allow to control selected cells of large networks as the animal brain with unprecedented precision in space and time just by application of light. The Hegemann group also works on light-activated enzymes which further expand the optogenetic applications to important biochemical pathways.
Dr. Skirmantas Kriaučionis
Skirmantas Kriaučionis is an Associate Professor in University of Oxford, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. After graduating from Vytautas Magnus University he got Darwin Trust Scholarship for doctoral studies in the University of Edinburgh. Post-doctoral work he did in Rockefeller University in New York. Since 2010 he has established a group in Oxford, where his work aims do understand the function of DNA modification in genomes of normal and cancer cells.
Marius Bauža is a senior research fellow in O’Keefe group (which received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014). He has a background in physics (Vilnius University) and engineering (University College London) and for the last several years has used his expertise to study how the brain works. He takes part in developing, testing and using Neuropixels silicon probes. These high-density probes can record neural activity from an unprecedented number of cells and could potentially open a new era of chronic and acute electrophysiology recordings from awake animals. Marius has already used these probes to show that grid cell pattern is more local than previously thought. Patterns of simultaneously recorded grids deform in sync, suggesting that the grid cell system could still act as a universal spatial metric. He is actively participating in studying the neural basis of spatial cognition in the hippocampal and parahippocampal formations. In addition, he is participating in other cutting edge research projects, such as the Honeycomb Maze behavioural test platform.
Prof., PhD, Dr. Habil. Vaidutis Kučinskas
Prof., PhD, Dr. Habil. Vaidutis Kučinskas is an active full member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. He is a chairperson of the Division of Biological, Medical and Geosciences, and the chief scientist and head of the Human Genome Research Centre at the institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University. Prof. Vaidutis Kučinskas is a leading and one of the most cited researches in the Baltic countries (overall citations in ISI Web of Science database exceed 8000, h-index 28). He has published scientific papers in the most prestigious international research journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Genetics, PLOS One, American Journal of Human Genetics, European Journal of Human Genetics, Annals of Human Genetics and others.
Prof. Vaidutis Kučinskas has established the modern Human Genome Research Centre at Vilnius University and developed an excellence centre for fundamental and clinical research in genome diversity and inherited diseases in Lithuania.
Prof. Vaidutis Kučinskas scientific activities, which have been mainly devoted to human genome diversity studies, and results of the research performed together with scientists from different countries enabled essential reconsideration of the histories of the origin of the Baltic populations, identification of their genome diversity and similarities, and a better understanding of the ongoing microevolutionary processes. Application of the results of genome research in clinical practise resulted in the discovery of a new genetic syndrome, which was named Alkuraya-Kučinskas syndrome (MIM 617822). Prof. Kučinskas is a leader of and a participant in multiple international research projects, a board member of international scientific journals, a board member of the Federations of European Medical Academies, and an independent evaluator of the European Commission, member of the European Science Foundation College of expert reviewers, and other scientific committees in and outside Europe.
Prof. Matthias W. Hentze
Matthias Hentze is currently the Director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Co-Director of the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU) in Heidelberg(Germany). Following medical studies in Germany and the U.K., and his qualification as a medical doctor, he obtained his postdoctoral training at the NIH (USA) in the late eighties, when he and his colleagues discovered “iron-responsive elements” initiating his interests in RNA biology (translation, mRNA stability, NMD, miRNAs) and diseases of iron metabolism (anemias, hemochromatosis, degenerative diseases). Recent work by the Hentze group has uncovered hundreds of new RNA-binding proteins, including many metabolic enzymes. Their current work uncovers new functions for RNA in the direct regulation of protein function (‘riboregulation’) and elucidates connections between metabolism and gene regulation. Prof. Hentze is a co-founder of the MMPU, a joint interdisciplinary and translational research unit of the Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University and the EMBL, which bridges between medicine and molecular biology. Matthias Hentze’s research contributions have been recognized in numerous ways including Germany’s most prestigious scientific award, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 2000, the 2007 Lautenschläger Research Prize of Heidelberg University, and the 2015 Feodor Lynen Medal of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In 2017, he was awarded the Doctor of Science honoris causa by the Australia National University (ANU) in Canberra. He is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the Academia Europaea. In 2016, he became the first German scientist elected as a Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science. In 2018, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Matthias Hentze was a co-founder of Anadys Pharmaceuticals (San Diego), and serves on numerous international scientific advisory and editorial boards
Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn
Jean-Marie Lehn became Professor of Chemistry at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg in 1970 and from 1979 to 2010 he was Professor at the Collège de France in Paris. He is presently Professor at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS). He shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987 (with Donald Cram and Charles Pedersen) for his studies on the chemical basis of “molecular recognition” (i.e. the way in which a receptor molecule recognizes and selectively binds a substrate), which also plays a fundamental role in biological processes.
Over the years his work led him to the definition of a new field of chemistry, which he has proposed calling “supramolecular chemistry” as it deals with the complex entities formed by the association of two or more chemical species held together by non-covalent intermolecular forces, whereas molecular chemistry concerns the entities constructed from atoms linked by covalent bonds. Subsequently his work developed into the chemistry of self-organization processes, based on the design of “programmed” chemical systems that undergo spontaneous assembly of suitable components into well-defined supramolecular species, directed by the supramolecular processing of molecular information. More recently, the implementation of dynamic features and of selection in both molecular and supramolecular chemistry led to the development of “constitutional dynamic chemistry”, concerning entities able to undergo reorganization in response to external stimuli, thus leading to the emergence of an “adaptive and evolutive chemistry” towards a chemistry of complex matter.
Author of more than 1000 scientific publications, Lehn is a member of many academies and institutions. He has received numerous international honours and awards.