Jacopo Di Russo: Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research, RWTH Aachen University & DWI - Leibniz-Institute for Interactive Materials, Germany
After receiving his M.Sc. in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Florence in Italy, Jacopo Di Russo moved to Germany thanks to a Marie Curie Fellowship. There he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Muenster, studying the physiological function of endothelial basement membrane laminins. In 2015 he joined the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg (Germany), deepening his knowledge of cell adhesion at biophysical levels. Since 2019 he has been a group leader at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany. Jacopo Di Russo’s research aims to understand the interplay of extracellular matrix biochemical and physical information in controlling epithelial mechanobiology.
Nicholas Kurniawan: Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
Nicholas Kurniawan’s research focuses on understanding why and how cells behave the way they do in different physical and mechanical environments. To answer this question, he engineers biomimetic cellular environments at multiple scales—from 2D micropatterns to 3D extracellular matrices and bioreactors—where every physical and mechanical cues to the cells can be precisely controlled. These in vitro platforms enable him to systematically break down the origins of basic cellular behavior, such as adhesion, orientation, migration, and differentiation. The overarching goal is to use the obtained insights to direct cell response in vivo, for example, to promote tissue regeneration or to slow down disease progression.
Laurent Pieuchot: CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), France
Laurent Pieuchot's group is interested in understanding how cells interact with their physical environment by developing interdisciplinary approaches that combine cell biology, material sciences, biophysics and modelling. They have recently shown that cells and tissues can respond to cell-scale curvatures through a process called curvotaxis. Dr Pieuchot's group is also developing biomimetic cell micro-environments, nanoscale self-assembled signalling platforms, bio-derived microsystems and bioactive materials, at the interface between biology and material sciences.
Srikala Raghavan: A*Star Skin Research Lab, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore
Dr Srikala Raghavan obtained her Ph.D from the University of Cambridge and did her post-doctoral training with Prof Elaine Fuchs at the University of Chicago and later at The Rockefeller University. In 2005, Dr Raghvan established her lab at Columbia University NY, at the College of Dental Medicine and Dept of Dermatology. In 2012, she was recruited to inStem Bangalore to establish the Centre for Inflammation and Tissue Homeostasis where she is an Associate Professor. In January 2020, Dr Raghavan joined A*SRL, A*STAR as a Principle Investigator. The Raghavan Lab studies stem cell homeostasis and immune regulation in the skin.
Stéphane Verger: Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, Sweden
Stéphane is a plant biologist, and associate professor at the Department of Plant Physiology of Umeå university, a part of Umeå Plant Science Centre. After finishing his Ph.,D (2011-2014; IJPB, Versailles, France) on the physiological and chemical basis of cell adhesion in plants, he turned to the study of plant biophysics and mechanosensing (2014-2018; ENS, Lyon, France). Since starting his independent group in 2019 one of his main interests has been studying the contribution of biomechanics and mechanosensing for cell adhesion in plants using novel and interdisciplinary approaches, including micromechanical tools, confocal microscopy and computational modeling.