Stream Leader: Glenn King

Invited Speakers

Yun-Ru (Ruby) Chen – Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Protein misfolding and therapeutics in neurodegenerative diseases.

The Chen lab focuses on elucidating the disease mechanisms of amyloidosis in the aspects of protein misfolding and the medical consequences. They have characterized folding and misfolding properties of amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau in Alzheimer’s disease (2011 JBC, 2011 FASEB J, 2014 FEBS J), discovered TDP-43 oligomers in frontotemporal lobar dementia (FTLD-U) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by a self-generated conformational specific antibody (2014 Nature Comm.), and established the first model of dipeptide repeats in ALS (2016 JBC).

Pingbo Huang - Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Mechanosensitive channels: from cell swelling to hearing.

Huang received his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Cincinnati and did postdoctoral studies at the UNC-Chapel Hill, after graduating from Peking University. He joined the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2003, at which he is now an Associate Professor in the Division of Life Science and Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. His laboratory combines molecular biology, biophysical, and engineering approaches to study mechanotransdution in hair cells in the inner ear, chemical and mechanical regulation of ion channels, and molecular mechanobiology. He has published in influential journals such as Nature Cell Biology, eLife, PNAS, and JBC. He is currently serving as the Vice President of the Biophysical Society of Hong Kong.

Rob Vandenberg - University of Sydney. Exploring Acyl-Amino Acids as Inhibitors of Glycine Transporters for the Treatment of Chronic Pain.

Rob Vandenberg received his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Sydney in 1989 did postdoctoral work at the Garvan Institute, Sydney, and the Vollum Institute for Advanced Biomedical Sciences, Portland Oregon, before being appointed in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Sydney in 1995. In 2010 he was appointed as Professor and Head of Discipline of Pharmacology. Rob's research interests have focused on understanding how neurotransmitter transporters work. These proteins play key roles in regulating neurotransmission in the central nervous system and are also the targets of a number of theraputic drugs and drugs of abuse. The laboratory uses a number of state-of-the-art molecular and biophysical techniques to understand mechanism of transport, and how drugs interact with and modulate transporters. His current research on Glycine Transporters has led to the development of acyl-amino acids as potential therapeutics for the treatment of chronic pain.

Steve Petrou, Director of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Head of the Florey Department, The University of Melbourne, Co-Leader of the Epilepsy Research Theme and Deputy Director of the Centre for Neural Engineering, The University of Melbourne. Title TBA.

Steven is a PhD trained neuroscientist who focuses on the disease biology of neurogenetic disorders. His interdisciplinary research includes ion channel biophysics, neurophysiology, animal models of neurogenetic disorders, molecular and cellular biology with real world experience in the biotech industry. He is a globally-recognised leader in the field of ion channel neuropathies, with a particular focus on rare epileptic encephalopathies, a range of genetic epilepsies affecting infants and young children with devastating impact for them and their families. In 2015 he was admitted to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. Steven has published extensively and has an h-index of 43. He is acutely aware of the need to translate discoveries to treatments, and is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of RogCon Inc and Praxis Precision Medicines, companies pioneering breakthroughs for epileptic encephalopathies caused by SCN2A mutations. Currently, Steven has attracted over $40 million in research support, including $14 million as Chief Investigator on an NHMRC Program Grant. Steven is actively involved in teaching and mentoring and currently supervises a number of Honours, Masters and PhD students including several interdisciplinary projects across engineering and physics. Steven is passionate about consumer engagement and public outreach, and regularly participates in genetic epilepsy family forums and public lectures.

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