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Professor Geoff Pilkington

Professor of Cellular and Molecular Neuro-Oncology and Head of Brain Tumour Research Centre

(University of Portsmouth)

Paper presenting: 3D modelling for chemo sensitivity testing in neurology

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Geoff has spent his entire career in brain tumour research, having started work on chemical neuro-carcinogenesis where he studied brain cancer stem cells and brain tumour development at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in the early 1970s and subsequently spent 23 years at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, latterly as Professor of Experimental Neuro-oncology.In 2003 he moved to the School of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, University of Portsmouth, as Professor of Cellular & Molecular Neuro-oncology & Director of Research.

Over the years the research focus of his group has been development of models for the study of intrinsic brain tumours, elucidation of the mechanisms underlying diffuse local invasive behaviour in glioma, delivery systems for passage of agents across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and development of novel strategies for mitochondrial mediation of apoptosis in glioma. He has published numerous papers on the results of his research on human glioma and has developed various “all human” three-dimensional in vitro models to study brain tumour invasion and the BBB. At the University of Portsmouth he has established an excellent suite of laboratories and a host of state-of-the-art equipment in which to accommodate the Brain Tumour Research Centre.

Dr Christophe Lacroix

Professor for Food Biotechnology

(Laboratory of Food Biotechnology, ETH Zurich)

Paper presenting: In vitro modeling of colonic fermentation, challenges and solutions

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Christophe Lacroix has been Full Professor for Food Biotechnology at the Institute of Food Science and Nutrition at the ETH Zurich since August 1, 2002.

Born in 1958 in Dijon, France, he studied Food Technology at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Industries Agricoles et Alimentaires in Massy, France, where received his food engineering degree in 1980. He then moved to Québec Canada where he completed a MSc and a PhD under the supervision of Professor F. Castaigne at Université Laval. From 1984 to 2002 he was Professor of Dairy Biotechnology in the Department of Food and Nutrition Sciences in Université Laval. He also lead the Dairy Research Centre STELA, from 1995 to 2002, and initiated in 1997 and was responsible until the end of 2002 for the Canadian Research Network on Lactic Acid Bacteria.

At the Laboratory for Food Biotechnology ETH Zurich he has extended his research area to develop fundamental knowledge on lactic acid and probiotic bacteria and selected metabolic activities with high potential, and their utilization in foods with improved quality, safety and benefits on consumer health. His research includes the development of technologies for production of lactic acid and probiotic bacteria, and control and modulation of physiology; the molecular characterization and utilization of specific metabolic activities of food bacteria and bifidobacteria; study on the complex intestinal microbiota with a new in vitro colonic system with immobilized cells; and modeling, control and optimization of complex food biotechnological processes such as cheese manufacture.

Dr Dominic Williams

Associate Director

Preclinical Hepatic Safety


Paper presenting: Novel Human-based Hepatic Safety Models for Mechanistic Risk Assessment: Deployment within the AstraZeneca hepatic safety toolbox

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Dominic joined AstraZeneca in 2014 and is Associate Director within Drug Safety & Metabolism (DSM, Cambridge UK), the Preclinical Hepatic Target Organ Lead and co-Chair of the Hepatic Safety Knowledge Group.

He sits on the AZ Post-Doc Committee which awards up to 50 post-doc positions each year, and has oversight of over 130 post-doc positions.

Until 2017, he was co-ordinator of the IMI1 consortium, MIP-DILI, and has been part of other EU initiatives (SAFE-T, SafeSciMET).

Prior to joining AZ, Dominic has 15 years of academic experience in translational hepatic drug safety from within the UK’s only MRC funded Centre for Drug Safety Science, at the University of Liverpool and secured funding of over £10M.

Dominic led a research group and trained & developed 14 PhD and 6 Master’s students, some of whom are current employees of AstraZeneca.

Dominic has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications on drug safety. Dominic sits on the Scientific & Nominations Sub-committees of the British Toxicology Society and has been a member of a Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Expert Advisory Group.

Dr Murat Cirit

Director of Translational Center of Tissue Chip Technologies

(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Paper presenting: Translational applications of microphysiological systems

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Murat Cirit, PhD, is a Research Scientist at MIT & director of the Translational Systems Pharmacology Team. Murat completed his PhD at NCSU focusing on systems biology of growth factor-mediated signal transduction pathways. After completion of his PhD, he worked in the pharmaceutical industry focusing on preclinical drug discovery for oncology. He brings an interdisciplinary and systematic approach through his extensive experimental knowledge and computational modeling with an understanding of biological, physiological, and physical processes. His main research experience is systems pharmacology, systems biology, applied tissue engineering, cell biology and signal transduction networks. His current focus as the scientific lead is integrating various scientific fields to build interacting MPSs by interfacing platform engineering & tissue engineering for pharmacology studies.

Dr Paul Walker

Head of Toxicology


Paper presenting: Combined in silico and 3D in vitro approaches for the accurate prediction of human drug induced liver injury

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Paul Walker is the Head of Toxicology at Cyprotex where he is responsible for the development of new assays and management of client work performed within the Toxicology Group.

Paul obtained his Ph.D. from King’s College London in Molecular Toxicology being awarded the Tadion-Rideal prize for molecular sciences (2004). Paul further developed his understanding of molecular biology and toxicology during his post-doctoral years at the University of Manchester with a keen interest in the application of high content screening within this field.

Paul joined Cyprotex in 2010 with his research interests focused on the role of drug metabolism in drug toxicity and in vitro assays to predict toxicity in early drug discovery. His team are focused on: 1. Developing and evaluating novel cellular systems to improve the prediction of toxicity. 2. Evaluate current industry utilised mechanistic endpoint assays in predicting toxicity. 3. The importance of drug metabolism and appropriate cellular models in our mechanistic understanding of toxicity. 4. Integrating in vivo exposure in interpretation of in vitro data, and 5. Modelling approaches combining ADME, PK and in vitro Tox assays to predict toxicity.

Professor Tommy Andersson

Senior Principal Scientist


Paper presenting: Novel Microphysiological Multi-Organ Systems for Studies of Human Metabolic Diseases in Drug Discovery

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Tommy B Andersson joined AstraZeneca 1993 where he has held several positions in Drug metabolism and Pharmacokinetic departments as well as in Clinical Pharmacology. He was also appointed Professor at Karolinska Institutet in Drug Metabolism 2003. He is now a Senior Principal Scientist at AstraZeneca R&D, Gothenburg, at Cardiovascular and Metabolic disease function and currently leading the development of microphysiological systems at the department. He has an excellent track-record of developing and executing strategic and operational plans across boundaries in complex global matrix organisations. Extensive experience in leading cross-functional problem solving groups delivering expert evaluations, plans and solutions.  Strong scientific expertise with over 160 publications (H-index 56, over 9000 citations) and recognized as a key opinion leader in drug metabolism, disposition and toxicology.

Dr Hassan Rashidi

Senior Research Associate in Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine


Paper presenting: Development of a novel xeno-free protocol to generate phenotypically stable three dimensional hepatospheres from human pluripotent stem cells

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Hassan completed his PhD on extra-mesodermal differentiation potential of human mesenchymal stem cells and graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2012. Following this, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in Prof. Kevin Shakesheff’s laboratory to develop novel methodologies to heal large bone defects. In October 2014, He joined Prof. David Hay's laboratory at the University of Edinburgh to develop an extracorporeal liver device. Hassan has developed a novel fully-defined and GMP-ready protocol to efficiently generate pluripotent stem cell-derived 3D hepatospheres, which remains metabolically activefor over a year in culture.

To be confirmed

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