The Keynotes

Birgit Schoeberl

Global Head Translational Modeling & Simulation at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR)

Eske Willerslev

Willerslev started out as a microbiologist, then moved into the field of invertebrate systematics, and later into plant and mammal ecology. Over the past six years Willerslev has focused his research in understanding processes forming contemporary human disease load, and human genetic diversity and distribution. He has more than 200-peer-reviewed papers (first publication 1999), of which more than 40 are published in the journals Nature and Science. He has been heading several largescale multidisciplinary international research projects and has communicated his scientific work to the public through multiple films, popular books.


Among his scientific achievements are:

- Establishing the field of ‘Ice Core Genetics’ - today a widely recognized and active research field (PNAS, 1999).

- Establishing the field of ‘Environmental DNA’. Today widely recognized field (Science, 2003).

- Heading team proposing new theory for the origins of insects (Science, 2006).

- Heading team showing forested Greenland 400 thousand years ago from environmental DNA (Science, 2007).

- Heading team sequencing the first ancient human mitochondrial genome (Science, 2008).

- Heading team finding oldest evidence of human presence in North America through DNA studies on ancient feaces – more than 14 thousand years ago (Science, 2008).

- Heading team sequencing the first ancient human nuclear genome (Nature, 2010).

- Heading team sequencing first Aboriginal Australian genome (Science, 2011).

- Heading team conducting first large-scale study on Ice Age megafauna (Nature, 2011).

- Heading team finding evidence of trees in glaciated Scandinavia (Science, 2012).

- Heading team sequencing the oldest genome to date from a c. 700-thousand-year old horse (Nature, 2013).

- Heading team discovering a dual origin for Native Americans (Nature, 2014).

- Heading team conducting first large-scale environmental DNA study (Nature, 2014).

- Heading team sequencing the ancient American human genome (Clovis) (Nature, 2014).

- Heading team establishing ancient genetic structure in Europe (Science, 2014).

- Heading team conducing the first large-scale population genomic study of the New World Arctic (Science, 2014).

- Heading team conducting the first true ancient population genomic study (not genomewide capture) (Nature, 2015).

- Heading team sequencing the genome of Kennewick Man (Nature, 2015).

- Heading team conducting the first large-scale genome study on peopling of the Americas (Science, 2015).

- Heading team finding the oldest direct evidence of plaque and showing its evolutionary development through time (Cell, 2015).

- Heading team conducting the first metagenomics study on ancient sediments (Nature, 2016).

- Heading first population genomic study of Aboriginal Australians (Nature, 2016).

Peer Bork

Peer is senior group leader and head (with C. Müller) of the Structural and Computational Biology unit at EMBL, a European research organization with headquarters in Heidelberg. In addition, he is honorary professor at the universities of Heidelberg and Würzburg as well as the Fudan university of Shanghai.

Peer received his PhD in Biochemistry (1990) and his Habilitation in Theoretical Biophysics (1995). His research group works in various areas of computational and systems biology with a focus on function prediction, comparative analysis and data integration. He has published more than 600 research articles, among them more than 80 in Nature, Science or Cell, and is among the most cited researchers in life sciences (>230.000 citations, H-factor of 203 in 2020). He is on the editorial board of a number of journals, including Science and Cell, and functions as senior editor of the journal Molecular Systems Biology.

Peer co-founded five successful biotech companies, two of which went public. More than 50 of his former associates now hold professorships or other group leader positions in prominent institutions all over the world. He received a number of awards, among them the "Nature award for creative mentoring" for his achievements in nurturing and stimulating young scientists and the prestigious "Royal Society and Académie des Sciences Microsoft award" for the advancement of science using computational methods. He further obtained two competitive ERC advanced investigator grants and is elected member of the German national academy of sciences (Leopoldina), the European molecular biology organization (EMBO) and the Academia Europaea.

Wendell Lim


Wendell Lim Ph.D. is a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at University of California, San Francisco. He is the Director of the UCSF/UCB NIH Nanomedicine development center and director of the SynBERC.

Ursula Klingmüller

Prof. Ursula Klingmüller studied Biology at the Universities of Bayreuth and Heidelberg. During her diploma and graduate thesis at the Center for Molecular Biology in Heidelberg (ZMBH) in the group of Prof. H. Schaller she addressed virus-host-cell interactions of Hepatitis B viruses.

As postdoctoral fellow she was funded by a stipend by the DFG and examined in the groups of Prof. L. Cantley at Harvard Medical School and the group of Prof. H. Lodish at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical

Research in Boston, USA, signal transduction through the erythropoietin receptor.

In 1996 she returned to Germany to head an independent Hans-Spemann-Junior Group at the Max-PlanckInstitute for Immunbiology in Freiburg. In 2003 she was awarded a Theodor-Boveri-Group at the German

Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg and since 2007 heads the division „Systems Biology of Signal Transduction“ at the DKFZ.

In 2011 she was appointed as W3-professor at the University of Heidelberg.

Ursula Klingmüller has published more than 100 high rank publications, is member of multiple large research networks and is member of several organization committees of international conferences.

In 2016 she was elected as member of the German Ethics Council. Her research combines the quantitative analysis of information processing in and cell fate decisions with mathematical modeling in order to unravel key regulatory mechanisms and predict strategies for effective intervention in diseases such as cancer.

Michael Yaffe

Professor Yaffe is the David H. Koch Professor of Science and Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at MIT, where he has been a member of the faculty since 2000; he is also an attending surgeon at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Professor Yaffe earned his M.D.-Ph.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University. He then completed a residency in General Surgery at University Hospitals of Cleveland and New England Deaconess Hospital, and a fellowship in Surgical Critical Care, Trauma and Burns at Harvard Medical School's Harvard-Longwood Critical Care Program. He was a post-doctoral fellow with Lewis Cantley in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. Professor Yaffe is the Scientific Editor-in-Chief of Science Signaling, and a member of the Editorial Boards of Molecular & Cellular Proteomics and Cell Cycle. In 2021, Professor Yaffe was elected to the Association of American Physicians and was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. He is a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps and a decorated veteran of the war in Afghanistan.


Professor Yaffe is a co-founder of Consensus Pharmaceuticals, the DNA Repair Company, On-Q-ity, and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. He also a co-founder and a member of the scientific advisory board of Applied Biomath and Thrombo Therapeutics.

Robert Balderas

Bob Balderas is VP of Biological Sciences at BD.