Andrew Hammond

is a  research associate in the Crisanti Lab at Imperial College in London. He pioneered the gene drive technology, developing the first ever gene drive system in the course of his PhD.

Funded by the Bill & Meliha Gates Foundation, he used this system for population control of  malaria mosquitoes, for which he got a lot of mainstream media attention. He will talk about this project and ethical implications of releasing genetically engineered organisms beyond control to fight malaria in developing countries.

Joachim Hauber

is head of the Cell-Biology and Virology Department at Heinrich-Pette-Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology (HPI) in Hamburg. He investigates the biology of human retroviral like HIV-1, HTLV-1 and Herpes-Simplex-viruses (HSV).

In 2007 he published a breakthrough in AIDS research, successfully removing viral DNA from the HIV host cell genome. This is enabled by the recombinase Brec-1 developed in an artificial evolution approach, excising the provirus from the DNA of the Host Cell with stunning precision.

Prof.  Hauber will give a talk about the potential and future of Brec-1 as new gene editing tool.

Ute Modlich

is the head of LOEWE-Research Group for targeted Gene Modification in Stem Cells at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in Langen, Germany. Her group is interested in modifying the blood systems via gene transfer to hematopoietic stem cells. Furthermore, they do research on the differentiation of blood cells.

In 2015 Prof. Modlich published her research on “Lentiviral Gene Therapy Using Cellular Promoters Cures Type 1 Gaucher Disease in Mice”. The paper shows the potential feasibility of genome editing.

At this year’s ESCH she will give a talk about targeted gene modification in stem cells.

Vincent M. Rotello

is the Charles A. Goessmann Professor of Chemistry and a university distinguished professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He has been selected as one of the most cited researchers in materials science and engineering by Elsevier Scopus data and has been recognized as one of the “most influential scientific minds” by Thomson Reuters.

With his group, he develops synthetic interfaces, which are used for various biological applications, such as gene/drug delivery and sensors combining synthetic organic chemistry and nanotechnological methods. In his talk he will tell about his current research, including a very promising CRISPR/Cas delivery system, which is based on gold nanoparticles and achieved a delivery rate of 90%.

Daan C. Swarts

is a postdoctoral researcher at the Jinek group of the Department Biochemistry at the University of Zurich and is moreover associate editor at bio-protocol. He obtained his Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Wageningen University, The Netherlands and afterwards a fellowship at the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

In his research he focuses on nuclease-nucleic acid interaction and mechanisms, especially regarding prokaryotic argonaute proteins. Hereby he discovered, that some argonaute proteins, unlike their mRNA cleaving eukaryotic analogues, were acting as DNA-nucleases.

Being the first to postulate this, Dr. Swarts is going to talk about the potential of prokaryotic argonaute proteins as novel genome editing tools.