Confirmed plenary keynote lectures

Please find below more information about the keynote speakers

*This information will be updated and new speakers will be added.

Prof. Annelien Bredenoord
Ethics of innovative technologies

Prof Annelien L. Bredenoord PhD (1979) is a full professor of Ethics of Biomedical Innovation at the University Medical Center Utrecht and Utrecht University, The Netherlands, as well as member (as of 2015) of the Senate of the Dutch Parliament, on behalf of the political party Democrats 66 (D66). Her political portfolios are health care, ethics, privacy & data protection, and family law.

Her research group seeks to identify, evaluate and promote policies and practices that ensure that biomedical innovation develops in an ethically and socially responsible matter. Recent advances in biological and medical research, such as regenerative medicine and stem cell research, next generation DNA sequencing, genome editing, reproductive technologies, biobanking and Big Data, continuously raise ethical and societal challenges: how to translate biomedical innovations from basic research into clinical care and society in an ethically sound way?

Bredenoord co-authored over 100 articles (published in top journals among which Science, Nature, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Reviews Genetics, BMJ and Plos Medicine) and supervises several PhD students. She obtains funding from among others EU Horizon 2020, KWF (Dutch Cancer Society), NWO Gravitation program and The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development ZonMw (among which a personal VENI grant).

Annelien is member of several international committees among which the former Chair of the Ethics Committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), member of the Scientific Board of the European Meeting on Psychosocial Aspects of Genetics (EMPAG) and The Hinxton Group. In The Netherlands, she is member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), member of the Board of the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the National Indication Committee Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis, the L’Oréal UNESCO: For Women in Science Award Committee, and UMC Utrecht’s Research Ethics Committee (IRB).

She is frequently invited in Dutch popular media to discuss the ethical aspects of biomedicine.
Twitter: @albredenoord
Website (in Dutch):

Dr. Jason Ekert
Novel 3R technologies in early drug discovery

Dr. Jason Ekert has been head of the Complex In Vitro Models (CIVM) group for the last three years in the In Vitro In Vivo Translation department in the Research organization at GlaxoSmithKline. He leads an integrated enterprise strategy for sustained, portfolio driven growth in R&D applications of complex human-relevant and translatable complex in vitro models (eg Spheroids, Organoids, Microphysiological systems and bioprinting).

The CIVM group drives the coordination and prioritization of development and integrated use of complex in vitro technologies for target identification/validation, efficacy, safety and DMPK studies.

He has led a cross-functional matrix team for the last three years at GSK that is a multi-disciplinary team (Scientists that span from target ID/validation, screening, lead optimization, safety, DMPK and the research units) which coordinates activities, collaborates externally and identifies ready soon platforms that can positively impact the portfolio.

He is the vice-chair elect for the IQ-MPS affiliate. Dr Ekert received his PhD in Medical Science from Adelaide University in Australia. He performed post-doctoral training at the University of California, Davis and Coriell Institute for Medical Research.

Before coming to GlaxoSmithKline Dr Ekert worked for 11 years at Janssen BioThereapeutics in early biotherapeutic drug discovery in target discovery, drug validation and mechanism of action studies applying 3D cell cultures, induced pluripotent stem cells and primary cells in complex cell-based assays across multiple therapeutic areas.

Dr. Donald Ingber
Novel non‐animal technologies in disease mechanisms (microphysiological systems, organoids and Organ‐on‐a‐Chip)

Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He received his B.A., M.A., M.Phil., M.D. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Ingber is a pioneer in the field of biologically inspired engineering, and at the Wyss Institute, he currently leads a multifaceted effort to develop breakthrough bioinspired technologies to advance healthcare and to improve sustainability. His work has led to major advances in mechanobiology, tumor angiogenesis, tissue engineering, systems biology, nanobiotechnology and translational medicine. Through his work, Ingber also has helped to break down boundaries between science, art and design.

Ingber has authored more than 450 publications and over 120 issued or pending patents, founded 5 companies, and been a guest speaker at more than 500 events internationally. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was named one of the Top 20 Translational Researchers world-wide in 2012 (Nature Biotechnology), a Leading Global Thinker of 2015 (Foreign Policy magazine), and has received numerous other honors in a broad range of disciplines, including the Robert A. Pritzker Award and the Shu Chien Award (Biomedical Engineering Society), the Rous Whipple Award (American Society for Investigative Pathology), the Lifetime Achievement Award (Society of In Vitro Biology), the Leading Edge Award (Society of Toxicology), Founders Award (Biophysical Society) and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Innovator Award.

One example of Ingber’s most recently developed technologies are Human Organs-on-Chips. These are microfluidic cell culture devices created with microchip manufacturing methods and lined by living human cells, which are being used to replace animal testing as a more accurate and affordable in vitro platform for drug development and personalized medicine. In 2013, Ingber’s work on Organs-on-Chips was honored by the NC3Rs Annual Award from the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research, London; in 2015, this technology was named Design of the Year by the London Design Museum and was also acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City for its permanent design collection; and in 2016, they were named one of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2016 by the World Economic Forum.

Prof. Dr. Malcolm MacLeod
Data quality in translational research

Malcolm Macleod is Professor of Neurology and Translational Neurosciences at the University of Edinburgh, member of the UK Commission for Human Medicines and the UK Reproducibility Network. He also leads the European Quality in Preclinical Data IMI project and the SE Scotland Stroke Research Network. He was co-CI of the EuroHYP trial of brain cooling for acute stroke and is UK coordinator for the PRECIOUS trial of preventing complications following stroke.

Since founding the Collaborative Approach to Meta-analysis and Review of Animal Data form Experimental Studies (CAMARADES) in 2004 his research has largely focussed on how best to increase the value of biomedical research. This has included work with funders, journals (including randomised studies of different approaches to improve quality, and the proposed MDAR Minimum Standards Framework) and most recently with institutions (recently appointed Research Improvement lead at the University of Edinburgh).
He led the development and implementation of the SyRF platform ( which supports systematic reviews of in vivo research.

Since 2007 he has been clinical lead for Neurology at NHS Forth Valley. For more information visit: and for more information about his talks visit:

Warlow’s Stroke: Practical Management (ISBN: 978-1-118-49222-2)

Dr. Russell Thomas
Computational systems toxicology-real world evidence

Russell Thomas is the director of the Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Center is performing solutions-driven research to rapidly evaluate the potential human health and environmental risks due to exposures to environmental stressors and ensure the integrity of the freshwater environment and its capacity to support human well-being. Dr. Thomas has a broad, multidisciplinary background and experience.

Dr. Thomas’ formal academic training includes a B.A. in chemistry from Tabor College, an M.S. in radiation ecology and health physics from Colorado State University, and a Ph.D. in toxicology also at Colorado State. Following his doctoral studies, Dr. Thomas performed postdoctoral research in molecular biology and genomics at the McArdle Cancer Research Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. Following his academic training, Dr. Thomas performed bioinformatics and genomics research in the biotechnology sector and gained experience in high-throughput screening and in vitro assay development in the biopharma sector.

Prior to coming to the U.S. EPA, Dr. Thomas worked as an investigator and senior manager at a non-profit research institute.

Prof. Joseph Wu
Stem Cells and Genomics for Precision Medicine

Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD is Director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and Simon H. Stertzer, MD, Professor of Medicine and Radiology at the Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Wu received his MD from Yale University School of Medicine. He trained in internal medicine and cardiology at UCLA followed by a PhD in the Dept of Molecular Pharmacology.

His lab works on biological mechanisms of patient-specific and disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The main goals are to (i) understand basic cardiovascular disease mechanisms, (ii) accelerate drug discovery and screening, (iii) develop “clinical trial in a dish” concept, and (iv) implement precision cardiovascular medicine for prevention and treatment of patients.

Dr. Wu has received numerous awards, including National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award, NIH Roadmap Transformative Award, American Heart Association (AHA) Innovative Research Award, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers given out by President Obama, AHA Established Investigator Award, Burroughs Wellcome Foundation Innovation in Regulatory Science Award, AHA Merit Award, and AHA Distinguished Scientist Award. Dr. Wu serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Keystone Symposia, FDA Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee, AHA National Board of Directors, Chair of the AHA Basic Cardiovascular Science Council, and Chair of the AHA National Research Committee.

Dr. Wu is an elected member of American Society of Clinical Investigators (ASCI), Association of University Cardiologists (AUC), American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Association of Physicians (AAP), and National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

Dr. Ger Janssen
Digital Twins for Personalized Healthcare

Ger Janssen has a PhD in Applied Physics from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. He joined Philips in 2001 and in all his responsibilities in the company computational modelling is a recurring theme, in which he has now over 20 years of experience. He is currently head of the Digital Twin department in Philips Research and since 2018 also Program Manager Patient Digital Twin. In these roles he is shaping the digital twin activities of Philips from R&D to operational and clinical space. For these activities the guiding principle is that all Philips solutions should address the quadruple aim: better health outcome, better patient and staff satisfaction against lower costs.