Plenary Speakers

Molly Stevens (Sunday 20 August 2023)

Healing the body and detecting diseases earlier through new materials

Prof. Molly M. Stevens FREng FRS is Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine and the Research Director for Biomedical Material Sciences in the Department of Materials, in the Department of Bioengineering and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Her multidisciplinary research balances the investigation of fundamental science with the development of technology to address some of the major healthcare challenges. Her work has been instrumental in elucidating the bio-material interfaces. She has created a broad portfolio of designer biomaterials for applications in disease diagnostics and regenerative medicine.

Prof. Stevens holds numerous leadership positions including Director of the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform “Smart Acellular Materials” Hub and Deputy Director of the EPSRC IRC in Early-Warning Sensing Systems for Infectious Diseases. She is a Foreign Member of NAE and the founder of several companies in the therapeutics and diagnostics space.

Marc Koper (Monday 21 August 2023)

How to make green hydrogen

Marc Koper is Professor of Surface Chemistry and Catalysis at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He received his PhD degree (1994) from Utrecht University (The Netherlands) with a thesis on nonlinear dynamics and oscillations in electrochemistry. He was an EU Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ulm (Germany) and a Fellow of Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) at Eindhoven University of Technology, before moving to Leiden University in 2005. His research in Leiden focuses on fundamental aspects of electrocatalysis, theoretical and computational electrochemistry, and electrochemical surface science, in relation to renewable energy and chemistry. He has received various national and international awards, among which the Spinoza Prize of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (2021), Allen J. Bard Award for Electrochemical Science of The Electrochemical Society (2020), the Netherlands Catalysis and Chemistry Award (2019), and the Faraday Medal (2017) from the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is currently President of the International Society of Electrochemistry.

Jennifer Thomson (Monday 21 August 2023)

GM Crops and New Agricultural Improvements for Africa: women’s perspectives.

Jennifer Thomson (PhD Rhodes) is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Cape Town. She held a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard, was Associate Professor in Genetics at the University of the Witwatersrand, visiting scientist at MIT, and Director of the Laboratory for Molecular and Cell Biology for the CSIR (the first woman Director) before becoming Head of the Department of Microbiology at UCT in 1988, when she became the first department head in the Science Faculty. She won the L’Oreal/UNESCO prize for Women in Science for Africa in 2004 and received an Honorary Doctorate from the Sorbonne University. Her research field is the development of genetically modified maize resistant to the African endemic maize streak virus and tolerant to drought. She has published four books on Genetically Modified Organisms, namely Genes for Africa, Seeds for the Future (written during a Bellagio residency), Food for Africa and GM Crops: The Global Divide. She is a frequent speaker at international meetings, including the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. She became the President of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) in 2016 and was re-elected for another five-year term in 2021. In 2019 she was awarded the International Prize for the Protection of Human Rights by the Accademia dei Lincei of Italy for her work with OWSD.

Charlotte Williams (Tuesday 22 August 2023)

Sustainable polymer chemistry using catalysis to make polymers from renewables and in chemical recycling

Charlotte Williams is a professor of Inorganic Chemistry and an EPSRC Established Career Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Her research interests lie in polymerization catalysis, inorganic and polymer chemistry. She is particularly focussed on carbon dioxide utilization by copolymerization and on the production of bio-derived polyesters, polycarbonates and block polymers. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society. Her work has been recently recognised by the Leverhulme Medal of the Royal Society, The Royal Society of Chemistry Tilden Medal (2021), an OBE for Services to Chemistry (2020), Macro Group UK Medal (2019), DeChema Otto Roelen Catalysis Medal (2018), The UK Catalysis Hub Sir John Meurig Thomas Medal (2017) and the Royal Society of Chemistry Corday Morgan Medal (2016).

Bartosz Grzybowski (Tuesday 22 August 2023)

Synthesis, processes and reaction discovery in the age of computers

Bartosz A. Grzybowski is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UNIST and a Group Leader at the IBS Center for Soft and Living Matter. He is also Professor at the Institute of Organic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences. Although he has spent a large fraction of his research career on esoteric problems of self-assembly and non-equilibrium systems, he considers his most impactful discoveries to be in the area of computer-driven synthesis (e.g., the Chematica/Synthia and Allchemy programs). Grzybowski is an author of ca. 300 articles, and over the years received numerous accolades of which the 2016 Feynman Prize and the 2022 Foundation for Polish Science Prize are closest to his heart. He started several companies – most recently, Allchemy, Inc. – and has advised various industrial and governmental bodies in areas ranging from AI to oil drilling.

Nicola Spaldin (Wednesday 23 August 2023)

Materials Chemistry and the Future of Human Civilization

Nicola Spaldin is the Professor of Materials Theory in the Department of Materials at ETH Zürich. She studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, where she obtained a B.A. in Natural Sciences in 1991. She then moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned her PhD in Chemistry in 1996. She next worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Applied Physics Department at Yale University, before moving back to California, where she was Assistant Professor (1997-​2002), Associate Professor (2002-​2006) then Full Professor (2006 – 2010) in UC Santa Barbara’s Materials Department. Spaldin moved to ETH in 2011. She is best known for her development of the class of materials knows as multiferroics, which are simultaneously ferromagnetic and ferroelectric. She is a passionate science educator, recipient of the ETH Golden Owl award for excellence in teaching, and coordinator of her Department’s BSc curriculum revision, “The Materials Scientist 2030, Who is She?”. When not trying to make a room-temperature superconductor she can be found playing her clarinet, or skiing or climbing in the Alps.

Hiroaki Suga (Thursday 24 August 2023)

De novo discovery of pseud-natural peptides and products

Hiroaki Suga is a Professor of the Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science in the University of Tokyo. He received Ph.D. at MIT (1994) followed by post-doctoral fellow in MGH (1997). He was Assistant and tenured Associate Professor in the State University of New York, University at Buffalo (1997-2003) and Professor in the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology in the University of Tokyo (2003-2010). Since 2010, he has the present position.

He is the recipient of Akabori Memorial Award 2014, Max-Bergmann Medal 2016, Nagoya Medal Silver 2017, Vincent du Vigneaud Award 2019, Bohlmann Lecture 2019, MIT TY Shen Lecture 2020, ETHZ Prelog Lecture 2020, Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 2020, and Hisayuki Matsuo Award 2022. He is the 121st President of Chemical Society of Japan, and a member of Council of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Cabinet Office of Japan. His research interests are in the field of peptides/proteins/RNAs and drug discovery. He is also a founder of PeptiDream and MiraBiologics in Japan, serve as the Chair of Editorial Board of the RSC Chemical Biology.

Timothy Caulfield (Thursday 24 August 2023)

Science & the Misinformation Crisis!

Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. His interdisciplinary research on topics like stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science, and public health policy has allowed him to publish over 350 academic articles. He has won numerous academic, science communication, and writing awards, and is a Member of the Order Canada and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He contributes frequently to the popular press and is the author of two national bestsellers: The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin 2012) and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash (Penguin 2015). His most recent book is Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety (Penguin Random House, 2020). Caulfield is also the co-founder of the science engagement initiative #ScienceUpFirst and was the host and co-producer of the award-winning documentary TV show, A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, which has been shown in over 60 countries, including streaming on Netflix in North America.

Chad A. Mirkin (Friday 25 August 2023)

Exploring the Matterverse with Nanomaterial Megalibraries

Dr. Chad A. Mirkin is the Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, and Medicine at Northwestern University. He is a chemist and a world-renowned nanoscience expert, who is known for his discovery and development of spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) and SNA-based biodetection and therapeutic schemes, Dip-Pen Nanolithography (DPN), related cantilever-free nanopatterning and material discovery methodologies, On-Wire Lithography (OWL) and Co-Axial Lithography (COAL), and contributions to supramolecular chemistry and nanoparticle synthesis. Mirkin received his B.S. degree from Dickinson College (1986) and a Ph.D. degree from the Penn State University (1989). He was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT prior to becoming a professor at Northwestern University in 1991. He has authored over 840 manuscripts and over 1,200 patent applications worldwide (over 400 issued) and founded multiple companies, including AuraSense, Exicure, TERA-print, and Azul 3D. Mirkin has been recognized with over 230 national and international awards, including the Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine, the SCI Perkin Medal, the Wilhelm Exner Medal, the RUSNANOPRIZE, the Dan David Prize, and the Sackler Prize in Convergence Research. He served for eight years on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology, and he is one of very few scientists to be elected to all three US National Academies. Mirkin has served on the Editorial Advisory Boards of over 20 scholarly journals, and he is the founding editor of the journal Small. At present, he is an Associate Editor of JACS and a PNAS Editorial Board Member. He has given over 860 invited lectures and educated over 300 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, of whom over 120 are now faculty members at top institutions around the world.