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Spiros N. Agathos

Spiros N. Agathos is Full Professor of Biological Engineering at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and group leader of Bioengineering within its Earth & Life Institute (ELI) where he is involved in research projects on bioprocess optimisation, pollutant biodegradation and biotechnology for sustainability. He studied Chemical Engineering (Dipl.Eng, National Technical University of Athens, Greece and M.Eng, McGill University, Canada) and obtained a Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA). Previously, he held professorships at the University of Western Ontario (Canada) and Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA). He is a consultant to government agencies and industry worldwide and a frequent invited speaker for both scientific and general audiences. To date, he has published more than 170 scientific articles (130 of which in peer-review international journals and 43 book chapters) and holds 4 patents. He is Associate Editor of Biochemical Engineering Journal and Editorial Board member of several other international journals. He has edited three volumes in Kluwer’s Focus on Biotechnology book series and is Volume editor for Elsevier’s major reference work, Comprehensive Biotechnology (2nd Edition). He is an elected Fellow of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology and of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (USA).

Stephano Donadio

Stefano Donadio received his doctorate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Naples, Italy. He was a postdoc at Johns Hopkins University, IIGB-CNR (Napoli) and University of Wisconsin-Madison, before starting his career in industry first at Abbott Labs (Chicago) and then Lepetit (Italy). In 1996, he was among the founders of Biosearch Italia, a spinoff of the Lepetit research center on antibiotics, which became the first Italian biotech to be quoted on the Italian stock market. Following its acquisition by Pfizer, he cofounded new industrial initiatives in antibiotics/natural products and is currently CEO of Naicons Srl. He currently serves as FEMS Secretary General. Dr. Donadio's research focusses on antibiotics and other bioactive metabolites and on the microorganisms that produce them. His group currently employs the tools of microbiology, molecular biology and natural product chemistry in a drug discovery environment. His research contributions include elucidating the mechanism of polyketide biosynthesis; developing artificial chromosomes for actinomycetes; establishing glycopeptide biosynthesis in industrial relevant strains; discovering novel genera, families, and suborders within the Actinobacteria; and discovering and establishing the mechanisms of action of novel classes of bioactive compounds. His research work has been supported by various grants from Italian and European institutions and reported in over 120 publications and patent applications. He has made important contributions to two antibacterial drugs in advanced clinical development (dalbavancin and ramoplanin).

Ruud Luiten

Ruud Luiten, PhD (1986) on Molecular Biology(Nijmegen University, NL), started his career at Gist‐brocades R&D, Delft where he successively became Scientist involved in strain improvement programs (1986 – 1992), Department Head, Gist‐brocades R&D, Department Bacterial Genetics (1992 – 1993), Senior Scientist in various functions of R&D organization involved in the development of novel protein production systems (1993 – 1995); Senior Scientist Strain Improvement at Genencor International Technology transfer and implementation of protein (enzyme) production processes to US based company (1995 – 1996); Senior Scientist DSM Anti‐Infectives, Delft Modern (recombinant DNA) and classical strain improvement with a variety of microorganism for the production of proteins and small molecules (1996 – 2003); Competence Manager Custom Fermentation. DSM Biotechnology Center, Delft, NL, involved in New Business Development for DSM BioSolutions, the custom manufacturing business unit for pharmaceuticals produced by microbial fermentation (now Patheon Inc., BIO) (2003 – 2014); Responsible for managing the New Lead Screening process and drafting proposals for development and production implementation activities. Competence Manager, DSM Biotechnology Center, Delft, NL; Project Management (2014 – present).

Jay D Keasling

Jay D. Keasling received his Bachelor's Degree (1986) at the University of Nebraska‐Lincoln where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity. He became M.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan in 1988. He went on to complete his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Michigan in 1991 under the supervision of Bernhard Palsson. He did a postdoctorate, Biochemistry, at Stanford University in 1991‐1992. He is currently Hubbard Howe, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley; Associate Laboratory Director and Senior Faculty Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Chief Executive Officer and Vice President for Fuels Synthesis, Joint BioEnergy Institute and Director, Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center. He received many awards including Herman S. Block Award, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago, 2014. Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Division Award, Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Division, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2013. George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology, Biotechnology Industry Organization, 2013. Promega Biotechnology Research Award, American Society for Microbiology, 2013. Marvin Johnson Award in Microbial and Biochemical Technology, Division of Biochemical Technology, American Chemical Society, 2013. He is considered one of the foremost authorities in synthetic biology, especially in the field of metabolic engineering. He is author of more than 300 peer‐reviewed publications. The research in the Keasling Laboratory focuses on the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for degradation of environmental contaminants or for environmentally friendly synthesis. To that end, we have developed a number of new genetic and mathematical tools to allow more precise and reproducible control of metabolism. These tools are being used in such applications as synthesis of biodegradable polymers, accumulation of phosphate and heavy metals, and degradation of chlorinated and aromatic hydrocarbons, biodesulfurization of fossil fuels, and complete mineralization of organophosphate nerve agents and pesticides.

Stefan Pelzer

Stefan Pelzer, studied biology at the University of Bielefeld and received his PhD (1997) at the Department of Microbiology/ Biotechnology of the University of Tuebingen (Germany). Until 2001 he supervised his own research group at the University of Tuebingen analyzing the biosynthesis of balhimycin, a model glycopeptide antibiotic. In 2001 he joined the biotech start up Combinature Biopharm AG in Berlin as a VP of Microbiology being responsible for the establishment of high throughput Actinomycetes based technologies as well as project manager of several customer projects. From 2004 onwards he was VP of Science being responsible for the overall research strategy of all natural product related lead/drug optimization projects. In 2008 he moved to the leading European White Biotechnology company B.R.A.I.N AG in Zwingenberg (Germany) and took over the position of Corporate Development. As such he was responsible for business development, project management, technology scouting and expansion of the academic network. In 2012 he moved to the specialty chemical company Evonik Industries AG (the former Degussa) at the Health & Nutrition biotechnology R&D site in Halle/Westfalia (Germany) as a project manager for Natural Products. In 2013 he received the position Director R&D, now responsible for a R&D project portfolio comprising topics like secondary metabolite production, Bacillus based probiotics and products and services improving the digest efficiency in animal nutrition.

Jose A Salas

José A. Salas graduated from the University of Oviedo, Spain with a Ph.D. on Streptomyces cell differentiation. After post‐doctoral stays at the Universities of Cambridge and Leicester (UK), he returned to Oviedo as Lecturer in Microbiology and he is at present Full Professor of Microbiology. His major scientific interests are the isolation and characterization of biosynthetic pathways for bioactive compounds produced by actinomycetes and the generation of novel derivatives from natural products by combinatorial biosynthesis. He has published more than 170 research and review articles and filed 14 international patents. He has participated in several research projects of the European Union funded within the different Framework Programmes. He has been manager of the Spanish Biotechnology programme and he is member of the Editorial Board of Chemistry & Biology, Journal of Antibiotics and Marine Drugs.


Christopher Voigt

Christopher A. Voigt, Professor of Biological Engineering, Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Synthetic Biology Center, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Lixin Zhang

Lixin Zhang, is a Director of Drug Discovery Center for Tuberculosis and Deputy Director of CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology & Immunology at Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Before joining IMCAS, Dr. Zhang served as president, section head of drug discovery and senior scientist, respectively, in 3 pharmaceutical companies in USA: SynerZ, Cetek and Microbia, Inc. He once worked as a postdoc at Emory Univ. on structure and functional analysis of 14-3-3 proteins in cell proliferation and differentiation signal pathway and dissect the role of 14-3-3 in ASK1-mediated apoptosis for potential therapeutic intervention. Prof. Lixin Zhang has contributed significantly to the marine natural products (NPs) based drug discovery field with 7 books, 26 patents and more than 140 major publications of high SCI (Scientific Citation Impact) factors. His Avermectin project won China award for "Excellence to improve science and technologies” and the paper was published in PNAS. He co-edited a book in 2005 with Prof. Arnold Demain on natural products by Humana Press. He was recognized as an Awardee of “One Hundred Talents Program” and an Awardee for National Distinguished Young Scholar Program in China and was awarded the Chief Scientist of a “973 Program”, the largest basic science consortium grant in China. He will be presented the Roche Award for Excellence in Research in 2014 and was the invited as plenary speakers for the 12th International Symposium on the Genetics of Industrial Microorganisms (GIM-2013) and United Nations science forum “Sustainable development, science and technology” at the United Nations headquarters in New York in 2003. He served on the Executive Board of International Symposium on the Biology of Actinomycetes (ISBA) and the International Chemical Biology Society (ICBS). He successfully organized international symposia such as the inaugural conference of BISMiS, and “China-U.S. NIH-IOM TB Drug Discovery Forum: Exploring Opportunities for Research Collaboration” in Beijing. He has been appointed as founding Editor-in-Chief for “Synthetic cell”, and an associate Editor-in-Chief for “Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology”, and “Frontiers in Antimicrobials, Resistance and Chemotherapy”. He is on the editorial board of 7 other peer-reviewed journals and awarded as visiting Professors in Harvard, Cornell and Boston University. He has trained more than 50 postdocs, Ph.D. and master students from more than 10 different countries.