Science and Society
Detlef Weigel is a German-American scientist widely known for his contributions to plant biology. After studies of biology and chemistry in Bielefeld and Cologne, he received his PhD from the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen in 1988. After postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty of the Salk Institute, La Jolla, in 1993. In 2002, he founded the Department of Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.
Weigel initially focused on flowering and the patterning of flowers. His group was, for example, the first to demonstrate that developmental control genes from the model plant *Arabidopsis thaliana* could be used to alter the behaviour of other species in a meaningful way. He also discovered how floral patterning is achieved through the interaction of a flower-specific transcription factor with proteins that provide positional cues during both vegetative and floral development, he identified the first plant microRNA mutant, and he laid the foundation for the discovery of the mobile signal controlling flowering. In more recent years, Weigel's focus has increasingly turned to the study of genetic variation and the performance of hybrids. As one example, he and his collaborators enabled genome-wide association mapping in *Arabidopsis thaliana* by developing the first haplotype map for a non-human organism. Weigel also showed that this species is an excellent model for studying hybrid necrosis, a widespread incompatibility phenomenon in plants including crops. He and his colleagues established autoimmunity as the common underlying principle, and demonstrated that at least one case can be traced back to aberrant interaction of a plant pathogen receptor with another plant protein.
Weigel has received the Dieter Rampacher Award of the Max Planck Society, the Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation, the Charles Albert Shull Award of the American Society of Plant Biologists, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award of the Deutsche Forschungs Gemeinschaft and the Otto Bayer Award of the Bayer Foundations. He has been elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the US National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Hochedlinger, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, a Principal Faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and an Investigator at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Center for Regenerative Medicine. He received his B.Sc. in biology and his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Vienna. From 1998-1999, he worked with Erwin Wagner at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna and from 2000-2003 as a Visiting Graduate Student and Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds-Fellow with Rudolf Jaenisch at the Whitehead Institute/MIT. He spent another three years as a post-doctoral fellow in the Jaenisch lab. During his stay at the Whitehead Institute, he worked on nuclear transfer in mice to show that terminally differentiated lymphocytes and malignant melanoma cells remain amenable to reprogramming into a pluripotent state. Moreover, in collaboration with George Daley, he has established the first proof-of-principle model for "therapeutic cloning" in mice. After becoming an Assistant Professor at Harvard, Dr. Hochedlinger continued work on nuclear reprogramming by focusing on a novel method that had been previously developed by Dr. Yamanaka and involves introducing defined transcription factors into somatic cells, generating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Dr. Hochedlinger's lab has reproduced and improved this technology and has contributed to an understanding of its mechanism. He is currently using the mouse and human system to further elucidate the mechanism of in vitro reprogramming and has recently produced the first iPS cells devoid of any genetic manipulation. Dr. Hochedlinger is a Kimmel and V Scholar and has been awarded the NIH Director's Innovator Award in 2007, and in 2009 he was awarded one of fifty Early Career Scientist Awards from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Educated at the University of Oxford, Professor Bayley spent most of his academic career at leading US academic institutions, including Harvard, MIT, the University of Massachusetts and Texas A&M University. He returned to the UK in 2003 as the Professor of Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford.
Professor Bayley's research interests lie in the exploration of membrane protein structure and function, and the use of molecular engineering techniques that transform these proteins into unique measurement systems for exploring the chemistry of individual molecules. Of particular interest are the analysis of DNA at the single molecule level, and the potential for ultra-fast gene sequencing using nanopores. Professor Bayley founded Oxford NanoLabs (now Oxford Nanopore) in 2005 and he was named Chemistry World Entrepreneur by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2008.
Life after Darwin
Jean-Jacques Cassiman can be considered one of the leading Belgian scientists in the field of genetics. He studied medicine at the Catholic University of Leuven and obtained a PhD there after a stay of 5 years at Stanford University in California, USA.
In recognition of his achievements in the field of human genetics he received the Franqui Chair prize at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in 1998. Furthermore, he was awarded with the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Iuliu Hatieganu, Romania.
Professor Cassiman is member of several scientific commissions and societies. He was secretary-general of the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) for six years and became a liaison officer for the ESHG and the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies between 2001 and 2006. Editorial boards such as the "European Journal of Human Genetics" and the "Journal of Applied Genetics" count Professor Cassiman as a member.
His first encounter with the world of chromosomes was much supported by Herman Verresen and Herman Vanden Berghe, both professors at the KUL. The latter is the founder of the Centre of Human Genetics at KUL, and it is due to his guidance and enthusiasm that Cassiman stayed to witness the beginning of the DNA research era. Having one of the pioneers of the genetic research in Belgium as a mentor together with the fact that genetics was a relatively new field at that time certainly captivated Cassiman, so much so that he has currently become the head of the Center of Human Genetics at KUL.
In 1998, Cassiman proved by DNA comparison that the heart kept as a relic since the French revolution was that of Louis XVII, son of Marie-Antoinette. He was also commissioned to ascertain that the corpse buried in Les Invalides in Paris is indeed the body of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Dr. Eamonn F. Healy is a professor of chemistry at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. He received a doctorate in chemistry in 1984 from the University of Texas at Austin where he was a student of Dr. Michael J. S. Dewar. His current research focuses on the design of structure-activity probes to elucidate enzymatic activity. The interdisciplinary approach includes molecular modeling for the simulation of inhibitor binding, overexpression of the target proteins and in vitro assays of enzymatic activity and inhibition.
In 2001 he appeared in Richard Linklater's film "Waking Life" in which he discussed concepts similar to a technological singularity. He explains that we are beginning a new kind of evolution, which involves bio-technology (artificial intelligence, neuro-biology), which will occur much more rapidly, also referred to as 'telescopic evolution'.
Gregory Stock is the CEO of Signum Biosciences, which specializes in cellular signal transduction for the development of therapeutics for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Napo Pharmaceuticals, which develops drugs for AIDS-related diarrhea and Type II diabetes.
Previously, he directed the Program on Medicine, Technology and Society at UCLA's School of Medicine. He holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar and won the Freund-Porter Entrepreneurship award.
Gregory Stock is best known as the author of, amongst other publications, "Redesigning Humans", which won the Kistler Prize for science, and "The Book of Questions", which sold over 2.5 million copies and has been translated into 17 languages. He has made more than a thousand radio and television appearances, including CNN, PBS and the BBC. His interests lie in the delicate interplay between biotechnology and ethics, and its evolutionary impact on humanity's future.
For more info go to http://www.gregorystock.net/
Dr. Kevin Foster is currently a principal investigator and lecturer at the Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University. He studied Zoology at the University of Cambridge, and in 2000 received his PhD from the University of Sheffield for studies on conflict resolution in Vespinae wasps. In 2006, after post-doctoral fellowships at Rice University in Houston, the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin and the University of Helsinki, Finland, Dr. Foster began his independent lab at the Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University. In September of 2010, he will be moving his research program to the Biochemistry department at the University of Oxford. Even at this early stage of his career, Dr. Foster has emerged as a leading experimental and theoretical authority on the evolution of social behavior. His research and writings have ranged from traditional models of insect sociality to mathematical models of biofilm formation in microbes, and even to speculations on the spite, altruism and cooperation that must occur among sperm.
Science and Society
Danielle Raspoet is the secretary of the Flemish Council for Science and Innovation (VRWI) since April 2006. The VRWI aims to stimulate scientific research and to provide advice and expertise to the Flemish government. Currently Danielle Raspoet is also a member of the Board of Directors of the VIB.
After obtaining her Ph.D. at the University of Ghent in 19902, Danielle Raspoet was active as a scientific advisor at the Cabinet of the federal Ministryer for Budget and Science Policy. Consecutively she became senior researcher at the Flemish Science Policy Council and coordinator of the Science and Innovation section ofat the Cabinet of the Flemish Ministerry of for Economy, Energytrepreneurship, Science, Innovation and Foreign Trade and Science Policy.
Willy De Greef
Willy de Greef is an expert in plant biology with extensive experience in tropical crop breeding and in technology transfer related to agricultural biotechnology.
He has been head of regulatory affairs for biotechnology leaders such as Plant Genetic Systems, Syngenta Seeds, head of regulatory affairs and new projects for D1 oils plant science and secretary general for EuropaBio. Moreover he has been involved in the policy and public debate on agricultural biotechnology (OECD, UNIDO, Biodiversity Convention, Cartagena Biosafety Protocol) and in the development of rational regulatory frameworks for biotechnology for developing countries.
He has been involved not only in the developement of "Plants of the Future", but has gathered great in-the-field experience by working as a research manager in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Cameroon. His main interest is not so much to develop new crops but focuses mainly on how to efficiently introduce these crops in the developing countries where they are most needed.
Dr. Autumn Fiester is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Bioethics and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She received her PhD in moral philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and her AM in sociology from Harvard University. Her research interests include clinical ethics, moral theory, and animals & bioethics.
Koen Kas is CSO of Pronota NV, the company he founded in 2004 under the name Peakadilly as a spin-off from the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) and the University of Ghent. Pronota is specialized in the discovery and development of new protein biomarkers for the management of cardio-renal diseases, sepsis, a pregnancy disease and ovarian cancer. Professor Kas is currently also a guest professor at the University of Ghent, Belgium and Chairman of the scientific committee of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation. He is scientific advisor for a number of technology companies in different areas as well as for the Belgian government which he advises on the allocation of grants to the biotech industry.
Previously, Professor Koen Kas was the Director of the Drug Discovery at the functional genomics company Galapagos. Furthermore, he headed two cancer drug discovery and diagnostic programs both at Tibotec and later at Virco. He was also an appointed professor at the University of Leuven and a lecturer at Harvard University, Boston, USA. He received his PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Antwerp in 1989. At the same university Professor Kas obtained also his degree in Business Administration.
Stijn Desmyter received his PhD in Bioscience Engineering at the K.U.Leuven (Belgium). In 2003 he joined the National Institute for Criminalistics and Criminology. The NICC is the forensic science institute from the Belgian Ministry of Justice. As forensic expert in genetic identification, he is responsible for the mitochondrial DNA profiling in criminal case files. His accredited lab unit also performs research in the field of forensic nonhuman genetics. At the symposium, he will discuss the various job responsibilities of a scientific staff member at the NICC.
Dr. Bart Claes graduated in Zoology and received his Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Ghent, Belgium.
In 1989 he was advisor to the Flemish government preparing and drafting the Flemish Action Program for Biotechnology (which ultimately lead to the setting up of the VIB).
In 1990 he joined the European Patent Office (EPO; the centralised European patent granting authority in Munich, Germany) as a patent examiner specialised in biotechnology. After a few years, he qualified as a European patent attorney and joined the Legal Department of the EPO where amongst other things he was actively involved in the implementation of the EU Directive for Biotechnological inventions, both on national and European level and the revision of the European Patent Convention. He served as head or a member of various EPO delegations to the European Parliament and Commission, the Council of Europe, WIPO, UPOV, and others. He served in numerous advisory groups on national and international level as IP expert for biotech.
In 2005 he was appointed as a Member of the Boards of Appeal, the judicial body of the European Patent Organisation with final jurisdiction over the European patent granting procedure, where he judges in biotechnology and bio-pharmacy cases.
Bassem Hassan obtained a PhD in genetics at Ohio State University, Ohio (USA) in 1996. From 1996 until 2001 he worked as a postdoc at Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas (USA). In 2001, Bassem Hassan moved to VIB, Belgium to become groupleader of the Neurogenetics group at the VIB Department of Molecular and Developmental Genetics at K.U.Leuven. His main research interests are the development and differentiation of neurons using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. In 2003, he was awarded the European Molecular Biology Organizations (EMBO) Young Investigator Programme (YIP) Award for his seminal work in neuronal development. In 2009, he was elected as EMBO member.
Magic and the Mind
Roy Zaltsman is a well renowned professional Israeli mind reading artist, with extensive experience in both corporate and private events in Israel and over seas. He is one of the most fascinating mind readers in Israel, well known for his performing abilities and stage presence.
His shows are highly interactive and astonishing. As well as his 'Just what you were thinking!' show for Corporate Entertainment and private functions, Roy hosts conferences, is a perfect 'crowd builder' in trade exhibitions, and holds mnemonic workshops for company executives, in which he shares his expertise with corporate applications.
He appeared in the Israeli TV program "The Successor" with Uri Geller, and regularly appears in various TV shows, demonstrating his knowledge about mind-reading and mnemonics.
Bernard Lernout has been in the high-tech & ICT business for 25 years, working for companies like Colruyt (Dolmen) and Wavefront Technologies USA in product development, marketing, sales and management. As a freelancer he took care of Market Validation & Start-Up Management projects for Software.com USA (NASDAQ Open Wave) and GlobalEnglish Corporation USA (privately held). He has also been a trainer and learning-expert in Mind Mapping, Radiant Thinking and Speed-reading (Buzan Centre certified) since 1995. 2003 he started "het leerhof", which is a center in lifelong learning.
Herwig Deconinck and Lisa Boelaert
Herwig Deconinck and Lisa Boelaert are the founding partners of True Colours, a consulting organization that focuses on individual and team coaching, leadership development, the implementation of HR processes and process consultation in organizational change projects. They have performed several projects for the VIB: coaching programme for group leaders, facilitating the group leader retreat in 2008, organizing trainings on interviewing skills and also facilitating workshops on assertiveness and time management at the yearly VIB seminar.
Herwig has a master's degree in Educational Sciences and is a qualified coach and a certified LIFO-practitioner. He began his career in a Bank (Fortis), and found his place in the HR profession after a job in the socio-cultural sector. Firstly as a training manager of a sectoral training organisation for the metal industry in Flanders (Agoria), afterwards as a Manager Training and Development of a large insurance company. He started his consulting career at Bekaert-Stanwick and started his business as an independent consultant in 2003. As a guest lecturer he teaches courses on leadership and teamwork at several colleges and universities (HOWEST, Katho, K.U.Leuven, PHL)
Lisa started her business as an independent consultant after having worked for 4 years as a consultant for Bekaert-Stanwick. She also has 6 years experience as an HR professional for PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Catholic University of Leuven. She has a master's degree in Psychology and is a qualified coach and a certified MBTI-practitioner. As a guest lecturer she teaches courses on leadership and teamwork at several colleges and universities (Katho, K.U.Leuven, PHL)
Herwig and Lisa are working together for 9 years now and have also worked on projects with Els Deboutte and Anton Stellamans, facilitators of 2 other workshops at the VIBes conference.
Liselotte Baeijaert (°1963) is a Belgian coach and trainer who has been working with people in organisations for almost 20 years.
Liselotte holds university degrees in philology (literature and linguistics), drama and pedagogical skills (University of Louvain, Belgium). After a couple of years overseas' experience (Taiwan, teacher at Feng Chia University), she worked in different companies as a management and communication trainer (AGF), coach and facilitator (ING Bank) and became an independent business owner in 1999 (IVCO).
In 2006 she created Ilfaro (www.ilfaro.be) with Anton Stellamans. They wrote a book together about personal and team resilience. Their clients can be both big corporations (Pharma, food industry, telecom, banks) and non for profit organisations, and they sometimes work for secondary and polytechnic schools. As an Ilfaro coach, Liselotte is very keen on using the Solution Focused approach in her work and in helping other professionals (coaches, teachers, counselors, managers, HR people,...) to use the SF approach too. She has been an active member of "Solworld", the international community of Solution Focused workers since 2005.
Els graduated as an Industrial Psychologist and has built up 8 years of experience as a consultant and 9 years of internal HR experience. After starting her career at the Belgian Railways, she moved through both the profit and non-profit sector in working for PricewaterhouseCoopers, DuPont de Nemours and finally Imec, the largest independent nano-electronics research center in Europe. On content level she gained knowledge and understanding in training and guiding groups, organizations and individuals in the area of change management, HR and project management. In 2009, she started Elsewhere Consulting, a consulting organization focussing on bringing out what's best in groups and individuals from a Solutions Focused angle. Els regularly joins forces with True Colours of Herwig Deconinck and Lisa Boelaert, facilitators of another workshop at this VIBes conference.
An engineer (Louvain) and a doctor in applied physics (Stanford), Jean-luc Doumont is Principiæ's more visible face. Over the years he has run several hundred training sessions, thus addressing thousands of attendees in English, French, Dutch, and Spanish, on topics of scientific, technical, or business communication, pedagogic approaches, statistical thinking, and related themes.
Jean-luc is one of the very few trainers in the field to combine a top-notch technical background with acclaimed communication and teaching skills. Thanks to this unusual combination, he approaches professional communication in an innovative, engineering-like way that contrasts sharply with the tradition of the field, rooted in the humanities. He is thus well received by engineers, scientists, and managers, who say that they are "on the same wavelength" - a prerequisite to effective learning.
An articulate, entertaining, and thought-provoking presenter, Jean-luc is a popular keynote or invited speaker worldwide. In recent years, he is giving guest lectures increasingly often at top-ranked graduate engineering schools, such as at MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Georgia Tech, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, UC San Diego, UCLA, U of Maryland, Harvard, and Penn State.