Plenary & Invited Speakers

Plenary Speaker

Zihe Rao - Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. The atomic resolution structure of HSV Capsids.

Tsinghua University. Member of  Presidium of  Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor of Tsinghua University / Nankai University,  Former President of Nankai University, Former Director-General of Institute of Biophysics, CAS. Zihe Rao is a Biophysicist and Structural Biologist, mainly engaged in the study of the three-dimensional structures of proteins and viruses related to human infection or those with important physiological functions, as well as in the development of innovative drug treatment. To date, Prof Rao has published 332 peer-reviewed papers in international scientific journals with over 10,000 citations. Prof. Rao got his Ph.D. from St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research and Department of Biochemistry,University of Melbourne, Australia in 1989. From 2003, Prof. Rao was elected as a Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of Hertford College, Univeristy of Oxford, a Member of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Honorary Doctor of University of Glasgow and Hong Kong Baptist University. From 2014-2017, Prof. Rao served as the President of International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB). From 2006-2017, he served as the Chairman of Biophysics Society of China. 


Invited Speakers

Srishti Dar - Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India. Breakingdown Complexity: in vitro Reconstitution of Cytokinesis.

My graduate research with Dr. Thomas Pucadyil, at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune has led to the development of a novel assay system of supported membrane tubes that allows for quantitative fluorescence microscopy- based detection and analysis of protein and membrane dynamics (Dar et al., Nature Protocols, 2017). We have used this assay to tease apart the mechanism by which dynamin catalyzes membrane fission (Dar et al., Nature Cell Biology, 2015) and investigate the role of the membrane binding pleckstrin homology domain in the fission reaction (Dar and Pucadyil, MBoC, 2017). Presently, I am working as an INSPIRE faculty at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India on an independent project on building an assay system of protein-encapsulated GUVs to understand actomyosin ring dynamics.

Mibel Aguilar  - Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Monash University. Biomembrane Plasticity – what, how and why of membrane structure and function 

Professor Aguilar is a Bioanalytical and Biophysical Chemist at Monash University whose research focuses on biomembrane nanotechnology, peptide biomaterials and peptidomimetic drug design. She completed her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Melbourne studying the metabolism and toxicity of paracetamol. She then completed a Post Doctoral position at St Vincent's Institute for Medical Research working on developing physical models for protein analysis and purification. She then moved to Monash University where her group now focuses on peptide-based biomaterials and drug design and biomembrane nanotechnology and are developing novel compounds that allow us to exploit the potential of peptides as drugs and biomaterials. 

Quan Hao – University of Hong Kong. Structural studies of new post-translational modification erasers/readers.

Professor Quan Hao joined the HKU Faculty of Medicine as Professor in Physiology and Structural Biology in July 2008. He obtained a BSc degree in Physics from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and PhD in Crystallography from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He conducted his postdoctoral research at the University of York and the University of Liverpool. He joined De Montfort University (UK) as Lecturer in Biophysics in 1994. Prior to joining HKU, he served as the Director of Macromolecular Facility of Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (MacCHESS) and Adjunct Associate Professor of Applied Engineering Physics at Cornell University, USA. His research interests include structural and functional studies of sirtuin family proteins and crystallographic methods.


Sihyun Ham - Department of Chemistry, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul, Korea. Title TBC.

The Ham lab develops, elucidates, and applies innovative computational methods to understand biomolecular interactions related to human diseases and cellular functions. The main research topics focus on examining thermodynamics and dynamics of protein aggregations, protein-protein interactions, and protein-DNA interactions.


Pingbo Huang - Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Mechanosensitive channels: from cell swelling to hearing.

Huang received his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Cincinnati and did postdoctoral studies at the UNC-Chapel Hill, after graduating from Peking University. He joined the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2003, at which he is now an Associate Professor in the Division of Life Science and Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.  His laboratory combines molecular biology, biophysical, and engineering approaches to study mechanotransdution in hair cells in the inner ear, chemical and mechanical regulation of ion channels, and molecular mechanobiology.  He has published in influential journals such as Nature Cell Biology, eLife, PNAS, and JBC. He is currently serving as the Vice President of the Biophysical Society of Hong Kong.

N.R. Jagannathan – All India Institue of Medical Sciences (MRI)Study of Cancer Metabolism by MRI and in-vivo MR Spectroscopy.

Professor & Head of the Department of NMR & MRI Facility at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Research interests are in clinical and pre-clinical cancer using MRI and MRS. Author or co-author of over 300 publications and 5 edited volumes. He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences (FASc, Bangalore); Fellow of National Science Academy (FNASc, Allahabad); Fellow of National Academy of Medical Sciences India (FAMS), Fellow of Indian National Science Academy (FNA, Delhi) and Fellow of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM, USA). He is the Associate Editor of Biophysical Reviews (Springer) and is a member of Editorial Boards of: (i) NMR Biomedicine (John Wiley); (ii)  MAGMA (Springer); (iii) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Elsevier); (iv)  Magnetic Resonance Insights (Libertas Academica); and (v)  Biomedical Spectroscopy & Imaging (IOS Press). Dr. Jagannathan is currently the President of Indian Chapter of ISMRM; Vice-President of Molecular Imaging Society of India; and member of Chapters Committees of ISMRM; member of Quantitative Imaging Network of NCI, NIH. He was the past President of Asian Biophysics Association (ABA) and Indian Biophysical Society (IBS). 

Ichio Shimada – University of Tokyo (Structural Biology)

Professor Ichio Shimada is the Professor of Structural Biology in the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Tokyo. His research interests are the development of NMR methodologies for studying larger protein complexes and functional analyses of proteins, including membrane proteins. He has served as Director and Scientific Advisor of the Biomedicinal Information Research Center at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology as well as Dean of the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is currently a council member of The International Council on Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems (ICMRBS) and The International Society of Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR) and he was elected an ISMAR fellow in 2017, for his contributions to the field of magnetic resonance.

Hye Ran Koh – Department of Chemistry, Chung-ang University, Korea). Investigation of RNA interference by single mRNA imaging at the single-cell level.

Hye Ran Koh received her Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Seoul National University, Korea in 2009. She pursued the single-molecule fluorescence bio-imaging at the molecular and cellular level at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA from 2010 to 2015. And she moved to Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA as a research scientist in 2016, focusing more on the mRNA imaging at the single-cell level. She is currently an assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea. Her research interest includes the molecular mechanisms of RNA-mediated gene regulation at the single-molecule level, the subcellular localization and  the quantification of diseases-related genes at the single-cell level as well as the development of a cutting-edge technique complementing current sequencing methods in RNA biology and its application to cancer diagnosis.

Sara Baratchi - RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Towards Understanding Mechanotransduction of Blood Flow.

Sara received her PhD in cell biology from Deakin University, Australia in 2011. She has published over 35 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. She joined RMIT University in 2012 to study the role of mechanosensitive ion channels in endothelial cells using microfluidics and super-resolution microscopy techniques. She is currently an ARC DECRA Fellow and RMIT Vice Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research interests include studying general mechanisms of cellular mechanotransduction, and in particular the mechanotransduction of blood flow in endothelial cells and leukocytes.

Masahito Yamazaki - Shizuoka University, Japan. Single GUV studies on mode of action of antimicrobial peptides and cell-penetrating peptides 

Masahito Yamazaki received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Kyoto University, and now he is the professor at Nanomaterials Research Division in Research Institute of Electronics and at Integrated Bioscience Section in Graduate School of Science and Technology, Shizuoka University. His group now focuses on developing new methods for imaging functions and dynamics of biomembranes and cells to reveal their mechanisms. Yamazaki Lab has developed the Single Giant Unilamellar Vesicle (GUV) Method to obtain detailed information on the elementary processes (such as rate constants) of interactions of peptides/proteins and bioactive compounds with biomembranes. 

Won Do Heo – Department of Biological Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, South Korea. Title TBC.

Professor Heo is Group Leader in the Bio-Imaging Group at the Center for Cognition and Sociality, Institute for Basic Science (IBS). His group has developed novel optogenetic methods for spatio-temporal control of cell signaling and protein oligomerization.

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