Speaker profiles

As speakers are confirmed their profiles will appear below

  • Diego Ghezzi - Medtronic Chair - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

    Professor Diego Ghezzi holds the Medtronic chair in neuroengineering at the School of Engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. He received his M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering (2004) and Ph.D. in Bioengineering (2008) from Politecnico di Milano. From 2008 to 2013, he completed his postdoctoral training at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova at the department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies; where he was promoted to Researcher in 2013. In 2015, he was appointed as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Bioengineering in the EPFL Center for Neuroprosthetics.


    His research activities are primarily focused on the implementation of novel technological approaches for sight restoration, and in general the development of neuro-artificial interfaces and tools for the non-invasive stimulation of the brain with light.

  • Dan Hewak - Professor of Optoelectronics - University of Southampton

    Prof Daniel W Hewak, FInstP, is Professor of Optoelectronics at the University of Southampton, specialising in the production and application of chalcogenides. He has worked with novel materials since 1982 and is recognized internationally as a leader in the production and use of chalcogenides and a pioneer in their fabrication and application. His research has led to IR fibres for sensing, medical and aerospace, fibre amplifiers for telecom, the first chalcogenide-glass lasers and also solar-cell, thermoelectric and memory devices. This diversity is a testament to the truly advanced functionality of chalcogenides. Dan is invited to speak at several major international conferences each year, most recently at SPIE Security & Defence Conference (Dresden, Sept 2013), Photonics Global Conference (Singapore 2012), International Symposium on Non-Oxide and New Optical Glasses (St Malo, France 2012). Over the past five years, Dan has contributed to the management of several large projects, notably the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics (CIMP), which provides strong background for this current proposal. His research is well funded by industry, including Merck, Pirelli and DSTL and currently via Samsung’s Global Research Outreach Program, and he works closely with Ilika Technologies Ltd on material development and characterization. He has authored over 270 papers and conference publications (h-index 34), holds 9 patents, with 3 licensed to industry. As Co-I and PI, he has received research funds totalling £11.8M since 2008.

  • Jean-Christophe Leroux - Full Professor in Drug Formulation and Delivery - ETH Zurich

    Jean-Christophe Leroux received his B.Pharm. from the University of Montreal, followed by a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Geneva. From 1996 to 1997 he completed a postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco and then joined the University of Montreal as an assistant professor. He was promoted to the ranks of associate professor in 2002 and full professor in 2007. In 2001, he was awarded the Canada Research Chair in Drug Delivery. Prof. Leroux joined the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH Zurich as ordinary professor at the end of 2008, and became head of the institute in 2014. His research interests include the design of novel biopolymers and drug delivery systems (liposomes and nanoparticles) as well as the targeting of anticancer drugs and nucleic acids. Recently, he has been involved in the development of new polymer therapeutics for Celiac disease (clinical phase 1/2 completed) and in the evaluation of colloidal antidotes for the treatment of toxicosis. He is the author or coauthor of more than 185 refereed articles (h-index: 65), 14 book chapters and 18 patents/patent applications. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Controlled Release, and serves in the editorial board of several pharmaceutical journals. He has received several prestigious distinctions such as the the Steacie Fellowship (2008), the Debiopharm Life Sciences Award (2010), the APV Research Award (2014) and the Phoenix award (2015) for innovative research in pharmaceutical technology. He co-founded Versantis AG and Inositec AG.

  • Robin Nicholas - Professor of Physics - University of Oxford

    Professor Nicholas' research group studies the properties of a variety of semiconductors, including photovoltaic devices, graphene and carbon nanotubes. They use both optical and electrical techniques including the use of high magnetic fields, low temperatures, Raman scattering and fluorescence. More details are available at their website.

  • Amalia Patane - Professor of Physics - University of Nottingham

    Professor Patane's research focuses on the quantum behaviour of electrons in semiconductor nanostructures and their application in photonics and electronics. Research highlights include the imaging and manipulation of the wavefunction of electrons confined in low dimensional systems, the development of biocompatible nanocomposites based on colloidal nanocrystals and the investigation of novel non-linear electron dynamics.

  • Saverio Russo - Professor of Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials­ - University of Exeter

    The physics of future electronics is largely driven by the needs for reducing the size, enhancing the performances and combining novel functionalities in a single electrical device. The science of systems which are just one or few hundreds of atoms –i.e. nanoscale systems- differs significantly from that of macroscopic devices as it thrives primarily on the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics. This is leading to the discovery of a new realm of physical properties.

    Professor Russo's research group is pioneering the novel science found in nano-systems. In particular, they are currently studying the electrical properties of graphene materials, which are just one or few carbon atom thick with honeycomb structure. In these materials charge carriers have a record high mobility at room temperature and behave as massless Dirac fermions.

    Highlights from their recent breakthroughs include the discovery of the best known transparent material able to conduct electricity in 2012 in collaboration with the team of Dr M.F. Craciun. This is FeCl3-intercalated few layer graphene, and its electrical conductivity is more than 1000 times better than the one of pristine graphene. Read more about this news fromBBCForbesReuters or read the original scientific manuscript published in Advanced Materials (Advanced Mater. 24, 2844 (2012)).

    They recently discovered that the properties of FeCl3-intercalated few layer graphene, such as electrical conductivity and structure of the material, are also stable in extreme conditions of high levels of humidity (up to 100%) and temperatures as high as 600 C. Read more about this discovery in the newsEl Mundo or read the original manuscript published in Nature Scientific Reports (Scientific Reports 5, 7609 (2015)).

  • Alberto Striolo - Professor of Molecular Thermodynamics - UCL

    Professor Alberto Striolo is a Professor of Molecular Thermodynamics at University College London (UCL) and also Deputy Head for Enterprise as well as Chair of the Council of Partners (CoP) and World Package Leaders (WPLs) involved in the European funded project ShaleXenvironmenT.

    Professor Stirolo was awarded his doctorate in chemical engineering from University of Padova, Italy in 2002 and is now a member of the Molecular and Engineering Thermodynamics group at UCL. The research of the group builds on fundamental thermodynamics and transport knowledge, acquired in the Chemical Engineering curriculum. They synergistically combine analytical theory and advanced simulation techniques (ranging in scale from the electronic to the atomic, molecular, and coarse-grained levels) with state-of-the-art experimental tools to advance the understanding of molecular-level phenomena, particularly those occurring at interfaces. Their motto is ‘Rerum Cognoscere Causas’. Once we understand the molecular-level phenomena that dictate macroscopic outcomes, we seek to design materials and processes to optimize various applications.

    Applications of current interest include catalysis and molecular separations, nuclear waste management, energy storage in electric double layer capacitors, hydraulic fracturing, environmental impacts of nanotechnology, biological interfaces, innovative manufacturing technologies, and particulate systems.

  • Gerard Tobias - Research Lead - Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB)

    Gerard Tobias obtained the degree in Chemistry (with Honours) from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2000), Master in Materials Science and Ph.D. with European mention (UAB, 2004). He has been a research visitor at Ames Laboratory (United States) and at EMAT (Belgium). Between 2004-2009 he worked at the University of Oxford. Since 2009 he leads research on "Carbon Nanomaterials and Inorganic Nanostructures" at the Materials Science Institute of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC). Dr. Tobias is a member of the Management Committee of the European COST Action TD1004 on "Theragnostics Imaging and Therapy” and is the coordinator of the European project RADDEL.

  • Amaia Zurutuza - Scientific Director - Graphenea

    Amaia Zurutuza obtained her PhD in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (UK) in 2002. During her PhD she worked in the research of novel polymers for biomedical applications. After completing her PhD she did two post-doctoral fellowships working within two European projects in the field of molecularly imprinted polymers. At the beginning of 2004, she joined Controlled Therapeutics Scotland Ltd. (UK) where she was a Senior Polymer Scientist working in the R&D of new controlled drug delivery systems. Her research contribution in Controlled Therapeutics lead to the publication of 3 patents in novel biodegradable and biostable polymers for controlling drug delivery. In April 2010 she joined Graphenea as the Scientific Director.

  • After Dinner Speaker

  • Jorge Cham - Creator - Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD) Comics

    Jorge Cham was born and raised in the Republic of Panama. He obtained his B.S. from Georgia Tech and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, specializing in Robotics. He was subsequently an Instructor and Research Associate at Caltech from 2003-2005, where his work focused on developing “Smart” Neural Implants. He is also a founding board member of Endeavor College Prep, a non-profit school for kids in East L.A., and co-founder of PHDtv, a video science and discovery outreach collaborative that aims to close the gap between researchers and the public. He travels and presents all over the world to thousands of graduate students, faculty and administrators on the graduate student experience. To date, two screenplays “The PHD Movie” and “The PHD Movie 2” and five PHD book collections have been published. He lives near Los Angeles with his family. 

    Jorge Cham is the creator of Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD), the comic strip about life (or the lack thereof) in Academia. Often called the Dilbert of academia, PHD has appeared in the Stanford, MIT, Caltech and Carnegie Mellon newspapers among others, and is published online where it receives over 8 million visitors a year from over 1000 universities and colleges worldwide.

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