Plenary Speaker:

Vladimir Torchilin, Northeastern University, Boston, USA

Vladimir P. Torchilin is a University Distinguished Professor and Director, Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Nanomedicine, Northeastern University, Boston.

He graduated from the Moscow University with MS in Chemistry, and obtained there his Ph.D. and D.Sc. in Polymer Chemistry and Chemistry of Physiologically Active Compounds in 1971 and 1980, respectively. In 1991, Dr. Torchilin joined MGH/Harvard Medical School as the Head of Chemistry Program, Center for Imaging and Pharmaceutical Research, and Associate Professor of Radiology. Since 1998 Dr. Torchilin is with Northeastern University. He was the Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1998-2008. His research interests include liposomes, lipid-core micelles, biomedical polymers, drug delivery and targeting, pharmaceutical nanocarriers, experimental cancer immunology. He has published more than 400 original papers, more than 150 reviews and book chapters, wrote and edited 12 books, including Immobilized Enzymes in Medicine, Targeted Delivery of Imaging Agents, Liposomes, Nanoparticulates as Pharmaceutical Carriers, Biomedical Aspects of Drug Targeting, Handbook of Nanobiomedical Research, Smart Pharmaceutical Nanocarriers and holds more than 40 patents. He is Editor-in-Chief of Drug Delivery, Current Drug Discovery Technologies and of OpenNano and on the Editorial Boards of many journals including Journal of Controlled Release (Review Editor), Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (Co-Editor), Bioconjugate Chemistry, Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, Molecular Pharmaceutics. Among many awards, Professor Torchilin was the recipient of the 1982 Lenin Prize in Science and Technology (the highest award in the former USSR). He was elected as a Member of European Academy of Sciences. He is also a Fellow of American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), and of the Controlled Release Society (CRS), and received the 2005 Research Achievements in Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery Award from the AAPS, 2007 Research Achievements Award from the Pharmaceutical Sciences World Congress, 2009 AAPS Journal Award, 2009 International Journal of Nanomedicine Distinguished Scientist Award, 2010 CRS Founders Award, 2012 Alec Bangham Life Achievement Award, 2013 Journal of Drug Targeting Life Achievement Award, and 2013 Blaise Pascal Medal in Biomedicine from the European Academy of Sciences. In 2005-2006 he was a President of the Controlled Release Society. In 2011, Times Higher Education ranked him number 2 among top world scientists in pharmacology for the period of 2001-2010, and his H-index according to Google Scholar is 103 with more than 53,000 citations. His research was supported by more than $30 million (total) he received as grants from the government and industry over the last 20 years.

Keynote Speakers:

Giuseppe Battaglia, Department of Chemistry, University College London, England

Giuseppe Battaglia is an EPSRC Established Career Fellow and 2018 ERC-CoG grantee, the Chair in Molecular Bionics in the Department of Chemistry and Honorary Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University College London (UCL). Prior to joining UCL, Giuseppe held positions as Lecturer -2006, Senior Lecturer -2009 and Professor -2011 in the Departments of Materials Sci. Eng. (2006-2009) and Biomedical Science (2009-2013) at the University of Sheffield.

Giuseppe has published over 100 research articles, reviews and book chapters and he is named inventor in 9 patents. He was awarded the 2009 HFSP Young Investigator Award jointly with Prof A. Engler from UCSD, the 2011 APS/IoP Polymer Physics Exchange Award Lecture, the 2011 GSK Emerging Scientist Award, 2011 ERC Starting Grant, the 2012 Award for special contribution to Polymer Therapeutics, the 2014 RSC Thomas Graham Award Lecture, 2015 SCI/RSC McBain Medal for Colloid Science and the 2016 Anhui 100 Foreign Talent Award.

Ari Helenius, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Roland Brock, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands

Roland Brock is professor of biochemistry and head of the Department of Biochemistry at the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
He studied Biochemistry in Tübingen and at the University of Chapel Hill in North Carolina followed by a PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen.
In 2001 he became head of an independent research group at the University of Tübingen and in 2006 he was appointed to his current position. From the very beginning of his scientific career peptides and advanced microscopy played a role. For the past 16 years his main interest has been the fundamental understanding and application of cellular drug import.
His group has made significant contributions towards the understanding of the uptake mechanism of cell-penetrating peptides and the elucidation of structural principles of efficient delivery systems. This knowledge was applied to the development of synthetic polymers for drug delivery and for the development of delivery strategies for oligonucleotides.

Ülo Langel, Stockholm University, Sweden/Tartu University, Estonia

Ülo Langel is a Professor at the Department of Neurochemistry, Stockholm University, and at the Institute of Technology, Tartu University. Prof. Langel graduated from Tartu University, Tartu, Estonia, as bioorganic chemist in 1974; he has received his PhD degree twice: in 1980 from Tartu University, Tartu, Estonia (bioorganic chemistry), and in 1993 from Tartu University/Stockholm University (biochemistry/neurochemistry).
His professional experience includes a career at Tartu University, Tartu, Estonia (from junior research fellow to Associate Professor, Visiting Professor, and Professor 1974-now); The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA (Associate Professor, and Adjunct Professor 2000-now); and Stockholm University (from research fellow to Associate Professor, Professor and Chairman, 1987-now). He is a Honorary Professor at Ljubljana University, Slovenia. He is a Chairman of the Board of small companies Pepfex (Stockholm) and Cepep (Estonia). In 2013 he was elected a member of Academia Europaea and foreign member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. His research interests are in peptide delivery of drugs.

Confirmed Speakers:

Archana Chugh, Kusuma School of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India

Dr Archana Chugh is currently Associate Professor at Kusuma School of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India.

Her major research focuses on peptide mediated therapeutics – broadly based on membrane active peptides (both CPPs as well as AMPs).

Under a collaborative project, her lab has shown that CPPs can successfully deliver antifungal compound for fungal keratitis management. Recently in vivo studies have been also conducted corroborating our in vitro results.

Keeping in view the versatility of cell penetrating peptides, her lab has developed/characterized novel cell penetrating peptides from toxins and from marine resources. Her lab has also developed novel mitochondria targeting peptide and chloroplast targeting peptide. The peptide-drug interactions with the cell membrane of various living cells (plants and mammals) are being characterized using Confocal Laser microscopy, FACS, CD spectra, electron microscopy and AFM. Also the lab is interested in assessing the potential of AMPs as CPPs and vice versa.

Her other research interests include plant phenomics, transformation, IPR issues and governance of novel life science technologies such as nanomedicine and synthetic biology. 

Sebastien Deshayes, CNRS Montpellier, France

Sébastien Deshayes graduated in Organic Chemistry in 1999 at the University of Nice-Sophia-Antipolis (France) and in Molecular Biology and Biotechnologies in 2001 at the Free University of Brussel (Belgium).

In 2005, he received his PhD in Biophysics from the University of Montpellier (France) achieving the physico-chemical characterization of peptides for the delivery of therapeutic agents under the supervision of Dr. Frédéric Heitz. He then joined the group of Pr. R. Robert Brasseur at the Centre for Digital Molecular Biophysics of Gembloux (Belgium) as a post-doctoral fellow to develop a method for the de novo molecular modelling of the secondary structure of peptides.

In 2007, he was appointed as a junior researcher (Chargé de Recherche) at CNRS at the Montpellier Cell Biology Research Center (France) in order to design, develop and optimize peptide-based nanoparticles (PBNs) for in vitro and in vivo delivery of therapeutic agents.

ORCID :                    0000-0002-4684-9152

ResearcherID:           J-9228-2018

Andrew E. Firth, University of Cambridge, UK

Andrew Firth is a bioinformatician and virologist at the University of Cambridge. After a PhD in astronomy, and bioinformatic postdoctoral studies in New Zealand and Ireland, Andrew moved to Cambridge to establish a lab working at the interface of computational and experimental virology.

Andrew’s interests include RNA virus comparative genomics, virus gene expression mechanisms, translational control, ribosome profiling, NGS data analysis, novel virus discovery, and RNA structure and function

Rennos Fragkoudis, University of Nottingham, UK

Rennos Fragkoudis is a virologist whose main research interest is the pathogenesis of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) and in particular of alphaviruses and bunyaviruses. In 2003, he commenced a postgraduate research position at the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Professor John Fazakerley studying the pathogenesis of Semliki Forest virus (SFV) in mammalian model systems. In 2007 he joined Dr Alain Kohl’s group as a post-doctoral research fellow working on arthropod immune responses (including immune signaling pathways and RNA interference; RNAi) against arboviruses.

In 2012, Rennos initiated his career as an independent researcher by moving to The Pirbright Institute as a Fellow in Arbovirus Pathogenesis. Current research projects include the role of RNAi in controlling arbovirus infections in mosquitoes and ticks, development of improved vaccines against Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and the role of lipid metabolism in arbovirus replication in mammalian and arthropod cells. Rennos has authored or co-authored around 20 papers in international peer-reviewed journals as well as presenting his work at international conferences. Since March 2018 he is a Senior Research Fellow in Arbovirus Pathogenesis at the University of Nottingham. He has an established network of collaborators in the UK, Europe and further afield.

Shiroh Futaki, Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University, Japan

Shiroh Futaki obtained his Ph.D. in 1989 from Kyoto University, Japan. Following his appointment as a Research Associate and an Associate Professor at the University of Tokushima, he moved to Kyoto University in 1997.

Meanwhile, he spent 16 months (1989-1991) in the US as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Biochemistry, Rockefeller University. He has been a Professor of Biochemistry at the Institute of Chemical Research, Kyoto University, since 2005.

His research interests include design of bioactive peptides having unique functions (cell penetration, DNA-binding, and so on).

He has published more than 220 original research papers and 40 review publications in leading journals in peptide science and chemical biology.

He is now appointed as the Vice President of The Japanese Peptide Society.

Henry David Herce, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

His research is focussed on drug design and delivery using a broad spectrum of multidisciplinary approaches.

As an undergraduate he studied in Argentina were he obtained a major in Physics conducting research in mathematics and theoretical physics.

He obtained a PhD in Physics at North Carolina State University (USA) where he applied molecular dynamics simulations to understand the effects of long range interactions and ionic solutions.

He expanded his training as a postgraduate incorporating a diverse range of theoretical and experimental methods from biophysics, chemistry, molecular biology and medicine.

John Howl, Faculty of Science & Engineering, School of Pharmacy, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK

John Howl. BSc, PhD.

Professor Howl currently leads an active research group that is focussed upon the development and applications of bioportides as a novel class of bioactive cell penetrating peptide. A particular long-term objective is the identification of cell-, organelle- and protein-targeting bioportides that can be used to modulate intracellular pharmacology. He is also the current UK Council Member of the European Peptide Society.

Arwyn Tomos Jones, Professor of  Membrane Traffic and Drug Delivery, Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Redwood Building, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales

Arwyn gained his PhD in protein crystallography at Birkbeck College, University of London and undertook postdoctoral positions investigating membrane traffic on the endocytic pathway at the University of Liverpool, Harvard University and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Heidelberg as an EMBO and Alexander von Humboldt fellow. He was then appointed as lecturer at the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University where he is now Professor of Membrane Traffic and Drug Delivery.

Research projects in his lab fall under themes of cancer cell biology, endocytosis and drug delivery. A major scientific objective is linking fundamental endocytosis research to better understand the cellular delivery of drug delivery vectors including cell penetrating peptides, exosomes synthetic  nanoparticles and also antibodies targeting plasma membrane receptors. Recent work within his wide network of collaborators has concentrated on strategic approaches to plasma membrane targeting to stimulate endocytosis and intracellular targeting. This, using therapeutic antibodies and also ligand decorated thermo- and bioresponsive nanoparticles.

Arwyn has published widely within these fields and his group has made significant contributions to the current understanding of the way drug delivery vectors interact with cells, enter cells and traffic on endocytic pathways that critically govern their intracellular fate. He currently sits on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Controlled Release, Membranes and The Young Darwinian.

Vitaliy V. Khutoryanskiy, University of Reading, UK

Prof Khutoryanskiy (VK) is Professor of Formulation Science in the School of Pharmacy, University of Reading (since 2014), having previously been Associate Professor (Reader) in Pharmaceutical Materials (2010-2014) and Lecturer in Pharmaceutics (2005-2010).

Before joining the University of Reading he worked as a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Manchester (2004-2005) and University of Strathclyde (2002-2004).

VK has researched broadly in the area of materials for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications, with a particular emphasis on water-soluble polymers and hydrogels, mucoadhesive materials, stimuli-responsive polymers, nanomaterials and transmucosal drug delivery.

VK was the recipient of the prestigious 2012 McBain Medal (Royal Society of Chemistry and Society of Chemical Industry) for his imaginative use of colloid, polymer and interface science in the development of novel biomedical materials and for his work on mucoadhesion. He has published 139 original research articles, 19 reviews in peer-reviewed journals and edited 3 books.

Alexander Komin is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Johns Hopkins University

Alexander Komin is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Johns Hopkins University Materials Science and Engineering Department in the laboratories of Dr. Peter Searson and Dr. Kalina Hristova. His research interests are in the applications of peptides for drug delivery across biological barriers.
Alex is a recipient of a competitive F-31 Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health and a Student Research Achievement Award from the Biophysical Society.

Pirjo Laakkonen, University of Helsinki, Finland

Prof. Pirjo Laakkonen is a principal investigator at the Translational Cancer Biology research program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland. Her research focuses on tumor targeting and understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor invasion and metastasis.

She has identified several tumor homing peptides, which have been used for targeted drug and nanodevice delivery as well as identification of novel tumor-associated biomarkers. Her laboratory’s recent interests include development of targeted therapies against malignant gliomas and brain metastases of breast cancer.

Pirjo Laakkonen earned her PhD in 1996 on molecular virology at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She spent four years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Burnham Institute (San Diego, CA, USA) working on tumor targeting in the laboratory of Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti before founding her own research group at the university of Helsinki.

She is also the founder and vice chair of the Finnish Brain Tumor Research Association (FIBTRA). In addition to her research activities Pirjo Laakkonen is the director of the Laboratory Animal Center, University of Helsinki.

Twan Lammers, Department of Nanomedicine and Theranostics, Institute for Experimental Molecular Imaging, Center for Biohybrid Medical Systems, RWTH Aachen University Clinic, Aachen, Germany


Twan Lammers obtained a DSc degree in Radiation Oncology from Heidelberg University in 2008 and a PhD degree in Pharmaceutics from Utrecht University in 2009. In the same year, he started the Nanomedicine and Theranostics group at the Institute for Experimental Molecular Imaging at RWTH Aachen University Clinic. In 2014, he was promoted to full professor at the faculty of medicine at RWTH Aachen. He has published over 150 research articles and reviews (>7000 citations, h-index 44), and has received several scholarships and awards, including a starting and proof-of-concept grant from the European Research Council, and the young investigator award of the Controlled Release Society. He is associate editor for Europe for the Journal of Controlled Release, and serves on the editorial board member of multiple other journals. His primary research interests include drug targeting to tumors, image-guided drug delivery and tumor-targeted combination therapies.

Valeria Lulla, University of Cambridge, UK

My short bioinfo:

2003-2007 PhD in University of Tartu, Estonia (Andres Merits lab)

2012-2014 Postdoc, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA (Ilya Frolov lab)

2014-2016 Postdoc, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK (Polly Roy lab).

2016-present Postdoc, University of Cambridge, UK (Andrew Firth lab).

Ulrich Lächelt, Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany

Dr. Ulrich Lächelt

Ulrich Lächelt studied pharmacy at the University of Heidelberg, where he graduated in 2009. He joined the chair of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the LMU Munich and worked on his PhD thesis about multifunctional sequence-defined nucleic acid carriers under the supervision of Prof. Ernst Wagner. In 2014 he received his doctoral degree in Pharmaceutical Biology. Since then he continues the research on drug delivery and nanomedicine as junior research group leader and since 2017 as candidate for habilitation. His research focuses on nanopharmaceuticals base on bioresponsive oligomers for intracellular delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids, peptides and proteins as well as inorganic/organic hybrid nanomaterials.

Andres Merits, Professor of Applied virology, Institute of Technology University of Tartu

Name: Andres Merits
Degree: 1994, Ph.D. in Biology (virology), Moscow, Russia
Position: Professor of Applied virology, Institute of Technology University of Tartu

Current research topics include studies of replication of different RNA genomic viruses, including alphaviruses (Semliki Forest virus, Chikungunya virus, Ross River virus, O’nyong’nyong virus) and flaviviruses (Zika virus). The research also includes construction of virus-based gene expression vectors and systems for antiviral drug screening.

I have published 120 peer-reviewed publications are listed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science database (total citations ~3100, h-index = 35). My current research group, working at these topics, consists from 8 researchers: two senior scientists (with Ph.D. of equivalent degree), three Ph.D. students and two M.Sc. students.

This group is involved in intensive collaboration with other research groups Estonia as well as in world-wide international collaboration.

I have successfully supervised 13 PhD students.

Imre Mäger, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Imre Mäger is a postdoctoral researcher and Exosome Team Leader in Professor Matthew Wood lab in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford. He also holds a personal research grant of the Estonian Research Council as a starting P.I. at University of Tartu, Estonia. His primary research is focused on understanding various aspects of extracellular vesicle (EV) biology such as extracellular RNA species and functions, and comparing EV proteome of various cell sources and linking it to EV properties. He also explores strategies for using extracellular vesicles for targeted delivery of biotherapeutics and other types of bioactive drugs.

Hanne Mörck-Nielsen, Department of Pharmacy, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Hanne Mørck Nielsen is leading the Center for Biopharmaceuticals and Biobarriers in Drug Delivery (BioDelivery) and the research group Drug Delivery and Biophysics of Biopharmaceuticals at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Copenhagen. In 2000, she received her PhD on research conducted at the Royal Danish School of Pharmacy (Denmark) and Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drug Research (The Netherlands) and completed postdoctoral studies at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETHZ, Switzerland) in 2002. Since then, she has worked at the University of Copenhagen. In 2016, she was employed as a full Professor in Biopharmaceuticals – Drug Design and Delivery.

The aim of her research is towards designing and evaluating drug delivery systems to efficiently deliver biopharmaceuticals to otherwise seriously ill patients. Hanne Mørck Nielsen focuses on drug design and delivery of therapeutic peptides/proteins and other challenging hydrophilic drugs like antibiotics and oligonucleotides for them to reach their target in sufficiently high amounts. Focus is on designing drug delivery systems that overcome the biological barriers to efficient drug delivery.

Present projects comprise research in self-assembling complexes, particulate systems as well as the use of membrane interacting peptides (such as antimicrobial peptides and cell-penetrating peptides), tailor-made polymers and lipids for cellular delivery enhancement of biopharmaceuticals investigating the (potential targeting) effect and mechanisms leading to the desired response. For mechanistic assessment of biomembrane interactions, cellular uptake and trafficking, and transepithelial and transmucosal transport, suitable cell culture models and in vivo models are continuously refined and applied.

Ines Neundorf, Institute of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Cologne

Prof. Dr. Ines Neundorf studied chemistry at the Universities of Freiburg and Leipzig. 2003 she obtained her PhD in Organic Chemistry at Leipzig University. Afterwards she joined the group of Prof. A. G. Beck-Sickinger, Institute of Biochemistry, Leipzig University. In 2011 she was appointed as Juniorprofessor for Biochemistry at the Institute for Biochemistry, University of Cologne, and since 2016 she is full professor at the same Institute.

Her main research interests are in the fields of bioactive peptides, such as: antimicrobial peptides, cell-penetrating peptides, organelle targeting sequences, peptide synthesis and modification, peptides in tumor diagnosis and therapy.

Peter E. Nielsen, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Peter E. Nielsen was born in Copenhagen in 1951, and has been affiliated with University of Copenhagen since 1980, where he became full professor in 1995. He is one of the inventors of peptide nucleic acid (PNA) (1991), and has further studied and developed this DNA mimic during the last 25 years in relation to chemistry, origin of life, molecular biology, cellular delivery and drug discovery.

Recently the major focus has turned to discovery of novel PNA based antisense antibiotics against multidrug resistant bacterial infections. Author and co-author of more than 400 scientific publications and reviews; co-inventor on more than 20 patents and patent applications; co-founder of two biotech companies in Denmark.

Member of EMBO and the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences (ATV) and recipient of several scientific prizes including the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Lundbeck Foundation and the Institute Curie Jeanne Loubaresse prize.

Cornelus F. van Nostrum, Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Present research activities of René van Nostrum include the design, synthesis and characterisation of polymers for hydrogels, micelles, microspheres and nanoparticles, and their application as drug delivery devices and as absorbants for toxins.

Dr. van Nostrum obtained his M.Sc. in Chemistry in 1990 and the Ph.D. degree in 1995 in the group of Prof. Dr. R.J.M. Nolte, both at the University of Nijmegen. Starting in August 1995 he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven.

In 1997 he accepted an employment as assistant professor at the department of Polymer Chemistry and Coating Technology of the Eindhoven University of Technology, where he was involved in polymer synthesis for coating applications.

In October 1999 he joined the department of Pharmaceutics of the Utrecht University as assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor in October 2004.

Dr. van Nostrum received the Dutch Innovative research Vidi grant and a personal grant from Utrecht University in the framework of the High Potentials program.

In 2014 he was awarded the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher award, in recognition of ranking among the top 1% of researchers for most cited documents in his field.

Ale Närvanen, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Ale Närvänen, Ph.D. Docent, School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland. Dr. Närvänen has established the first peptide synthesis laboratory at Labsystems Research Laboratories in 1984.

He has developed synthetic peptides as antigens for viral diagnostics (HIV, Chlamydia) and as probes to Kallikrein proteases (PSA, KLK2).

Further CPP-peptides and silicon based nanoparticles have used as carriers for unstable therapeutic RNA-molecules into the intracellular environment.

Today Dr. Närvänen is working with protozoa studying new compounds against Trypanosoma.

Silicon based nanoparticles has been used as carriers for known toxic anti-trypanosomal compounds in order to reduce the systemic toxicity.

Angelita Rebollo, Pierre et Marie Curie, Sorbonne University, France

Angelita Rebollo is Director of Research at Inserm (Paris, France) and Researcher at CSIC (Madrid, Spain). Dr Angelita Rebollo got her Ph D at the University of Leon, Spain in 1987 in Biology/Biochemistry.

She was postdoctoral student at Institut Pasteur, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Massachusset Institute of Technology, Institut Cochin and Max Planck Institute.

She is the owner of 20 patents on cell penetrating and interfering peptides, some of the licensed and in clinical development.
She is co-founder and consultant of the start up PEP Therapy, devoted to the clinical development of therapeutic peptides.

She is member of the editorial board of several scientific journals.

Her main research area is the development of therapeutic peptides against cancer.

Helder Almeida Santos, Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Helsinki Institute of Life Science, University of Helsinki, Finland

Hélder A. Santos

Position: Associate Professor/ Principal Investigator/Head Division

Research area: Nanomedicines and Biomedical Engineering

Affiliation: Faculty of Pharmacy and Helsinki Institute of Life Science, University of Helsinki

Bio: Dr. Santos (D.Sc. Tech., Chem. Eng.) received his doctorate degree (2007) in Chemical Engineering from Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. Currently, an Associate Professor (tenure track) in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, Head of Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, Head of the Preclinical Drug Formulation and Analysis Group, and Director of the Doctoral Program in Drug Research at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki. He is also a Fellow Member of the recently established Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE), leader of the nanomedicines and biomedical engineering group (, and one of the World Portuguese Network Advisers for Science.

Dr. Santos research interests include the development of nanoparticles/nanomedicines for biomedical and healthcare applications. His current work makes the bridge between engineering, pharmaceutical and medical research. His main research focus is in the use of biodegradable and biocompatible nanoporous silicon nanomaterials, polymers, the application of microfluidics technology for nanoparticle production for simultaneous controlled drug delivery, diagnostic and treatment of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, and further translation of these nanotechnologies into the clinic.

Dr. Santos is author of more than 200 publications in prestigious high impact peer-reviewed journals, and author of more than 20 book chapters and more than 200 conference proceedings/abstracts. He has given over 110 invited talks at prestigious conferences, universities and summer schools around the world.

Dr. Santos has received a number of prestigious awards and grants, such as the “Talent Prize in Science” attributed by the Portuguese government in 2010, the European Research Council Starting Grant in 2013, the Young Researcher Award in 2013 and honour distinction for the exceptional scientific productivity in 2014, both attributed by the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Helsinki, the Academy of Finland Award for Social Impact in 2016, and honor nomination for the USERN Prize in Biological Sciences in 2017. Dr. Santos research career and development portfolio totals over 5 M€.

Highlighted papers:

Fontana F.*, Shahbazia M.-A., Liu D., Zhang H., Mäkilä E., Salonen J., Hirvonen J. T., Santos H.A.Multistaged nanovaccines based on porous silicon@acetalated dextran@cancer cell membrane for cancer immunotherapyAdv. Mater. 201729(7), 1603239 (IF = 19.7).

Balasubramanian V.*, Correia A., Zhang H., Fontana F., Mäkilä E., Salonen J., Hirvonen J., Santos H.A.Biomimetic engineering using cancer cell membranes for designing compartmentalized nanoreactors with organelle-like functionsAdv. Mater. 201729(11), 1605375 (IF = 19.7).

Zehua Liu, Yunzhan Li, Wei Li, Chen Xiao, Dongfei Liu, Chao Dong, Ming Zhang, Ermei Mäkilä, Marianna Kemell, Jarno Salonen, Jouni T. Hirvonen, Hongbo Zhang*, Dawang Zhou*, Xianming Deng*, Hélder A. Santos*, “Multifunctional Nanohybrid Based on Porous Silicon Nanoparticles, Gold Nanoparticles and Acetalated Dextran for Liver Regeneration and Acute Liver Failure Theranostics”, Adv. Mater. 2017 (IF = 19.7).

Mónica P.A. Ferreira*, Virpi Talman, Giulia Torrieri, Dongfei Liu, Gonçalo Marques, Karina Moslova, Zehua Liu, João F. Pinto, Jouni Hirvonen*, Heikki Ruskoaho*, Hélder A. Santos*, “Dual-drug delivery using dextran-functionalized nanoparticles targeting cardiac fibroblasts for cellular reprogramming”, Adv. Funct. Mater. 2018. (in press)

Mónica P.A. Ferreira*, Sanjeev Ranjan, Sini Kinnunen, Alexandra Correia, Virpi Talman, Ermei Mäkilä, Brianda Barrios-Lopez, Marianna Kemell, Vimalkumar Balasubramanian, Jarno Salonen, Jouni Hirvonen, Heikki Ruskoaho*, Anu J. Airaksinen*, Hélder A. Santos*, “Drug-loaded Multifunctional Nanoparticles Targeted to the Endocardial Layer of the Injured Heart Modulate Hypertrophic Signaling”, Small 201713(33), 1701276.

Sandrine Sagan, Sorbonne Université, École normale supérieure, PSL Research University, CNRS, Laboratoire des Biomolécules, Paris, France

Sandrine Sagan is research director at the CNRS and since 2014 heads the transdisciplinary (chemistry, physics, biology) Laboratory of Biomolecules in Paris (France). She obtained a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular pharmacology on structureactivity relationships of opioid peptides. In 1993, she joined the CNRS to work between chemistry and biology.

Her research projects are dedicated to the functioning aspects of biological membranes.

Her work first focused on the molecular analysis of membrane receptors.

Since 2004, she is interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of peptides disrupting cell membranes, such as CPPs, virus derivatives or antimicrobial peptides.

Tim Schober, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Tim Schober was born in 1991 in Worms, Germany. He studied Chemical Biology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) with the focus on organic and peptide synthesis. He graduated (M.Sc.) in 2017.

He is currently pursuing his PhD at the KIT in the group of Prof. Anne Ulrich.
His work focuses on photoswitchable bioactive peptidomimetics.

He is part of the DFG-funded graduate school „GRK2039 – Molecular Architectures for Fluorescent Cell Imaging“.

His contribution is the development of photocontrollable cell-penetrating peptides, based on diarylethene amino acids, that can serve for targeting and imaging.

Tambet Teesalu, Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

Dr. Tambet Teesalu works on affinity targeting of tumors with homing peptides and peptidomimetic compounds. Since 2012, he heads the Laboratory of Cancer Biology at the University of Tartu, Estonia ( The laboratory uses phage display screens to identify homing peptides that bind to specific targets in the tumor vasculature. Corresponding synthetic peptides are developed for targeting drugs, biologicals, and nanoparticles into tumors to increase their therapeutic index.

Dr. Teesalu received his PhD in 1999 for studies on the extracellular proteases in cell invasion and tissue remodeling (supervisors: Profs. Francesco Blasi and Antti Vaheri). For his postdoctoral training (2005-2011), Dr. Teesalu joined the laboratory of Prof. Erkki Ruoslahti at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla (USA) to work on identification of tumor homing peptides and characterization of vascular ZIP codes in vascular trees of normal organs. This work led to identification of a new family of homing peptides, tumor penetrating peptides, that upon tumor recruitment extravasate and trigger a cell- and tissue penetration pathway.

Awards and recognitions to Dr. Teesalu include S. Komen for Cure Career development award (2010),- – ERC starting grant (2010), Wellcome Trust senior international fellowship (2010), EMBO installation grant (2010), and Estonian National Prize in Medicine (2017). Dr. Teesalu holds a visiting professorship at the Center of Nanomedicine of University of California Santa Barbara (USA) and visiting associate professorship at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla (USA).- On non-academic side, he has founded 3 biotech companies including DrugCendR Inc. (La Jolla, USA) that develops tumor penetrating peptides for solid tumor targeting.

Ching H. Tung Weill Cornell Medicine, Molecular Imaging Innovations Institute, Cornell Medical College, USA

Dr. Ching H. Tung is the Alexander R. Margulis distinguished professor and director of Molecular Imaging Innovations Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University. He was an assistant and associate professor at Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He received his PhD in Biological Chemistry from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.

Dr. Tung’s particular area of expertise is in novel molecule development for assay, imaging, diagnosis and therapy. He pioneered the paradigm of in vivo enzyme imaging strategy. He designed the first activatable near-infrared fluorescence probe to image cancer associated enzymes in vivo. His development opened a new era of enzyme-based molecular imaging and fluorescence imaging.

Dr. Tung also works extensively on novel transportation vectors for drug delivery. For example, his team reported the first cell penetration peptide assisted nanoparticle delivery, layer-by-layer nanoassembly for siRNA controlled release, and recently facile metal aided nanodrugplexes for combination therapy.

Arto Urtti, Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, University of Helsinki; School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland; Institute of Chemistry, St, Petersburg State University.

Arto Urtti received his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical technology at University of Kuopio in 1986 where he later served as Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology (since 1992) and Professor of Biopharmaceutics (since 1996). Thereafter, he worked at University of Helsinki as director of Centre for Drug Research and Professor of Biopharmaceutics (since 2005). Since 2013 he is also employed at University of Eastern Finland and St. Petersburg State University. He carried out post-doctoral research at Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kansas (1986-7) and served as Visiting Associate Professor (1994-5) and Professor (2000) at Department of Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California San Francisco.

His main research field is ocular drug delivery and pharmacokinetics. Dr. Urtti has published more than 330 publications that have been cited > 11,000 times; his H-index is 57. Dr. Urtti was editor-in-chief of European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences for 10 years and is in the editorial board of several scientific journals.

He has received awards, such as AAPS Fellow, EUFEPS Distinguished Service Award, Millennium Distinction Prize, Albert Wuokko Prize, and Member of Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. His current and recent research funding has come from Academy of Finland, TEKES, European Union, U.S. FDA, Government of Russian Federation, Santen, Roche and several foundations. He is leading an international research group of more than 30 persons. The research is focused on ocular pharmacokinetics and drug delivery technologies.

Christian Widmann, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Christian Widmann (1963) received his MSc in biology in 1986. He obtained his PhD at the Biochemistry Institute of the University of Lausanne in 1991 under the supervision of prof. Giampietro Corradin.

He then worked on the GLP1 receptor as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of prof. Bernard Thorens until 1995. Dr. Widmann obtained a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation in 1996 to move to the laboratory of prof. Gary L. Johnson at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado, where he worked as a research associate on MAPK pathways until 1998. In 1999, he moved back to Europe and started his own research group at the University Hospital in Lausanne.

In 2002, he got an assistant professor position at the Department of Cell Biology and Morphology at the University of Lausanne. Since 2006, Dr. Widmann is an associate professor at the Department of Physiology of the University of Lausanne. 

His main interests are the regulation of cellular stress and how a better understanding of these mechanisms at the molecular level could lead to the development of therapeutic compounds to treat various diseases such as cancer, microbial infections, and diabetes.

William Wimley, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

William C. Wimley, PhD, is the George A. Adrouny Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Tulane University School of Medicine.

His career has been devoted to the study of membrane active peptides, with a recent emphasis on the use of high throughput screening to identify peptides that have utility as antibacterial agents, antiviral agents, drug delivery vehicles and more.

Pieter Vader, Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology & Department of Experimental Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands

Biographical sketch

Pieter Vader graduated in Chemistry (B.Sc., 2005) and Drug Innovation (M.Sc., 2007) from the University of Utrecht. He earned his PhD degree in 2012 at the Department of Biopharmacy, University of Utrecht on the subject of targeted delivery of siRNA to inhibit tumor angiogenesis.

From 2012 to 2014, he was employed as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, UK, in the lab of Prof. Matthew Wood, supported by a NWO Rubicon fellowship. The research topic was development of small RNA-loaded extracellular vesicles for targeted delivery.

In 2014 he moved back to The Netherlands to continue his work at the University Medical Center Utrecht, supported by a NWO VENI fellowship. His main research interests are in the field of therapeutic applications of extracellular vesicles.

Mindaugas S. Venslauskas, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania

Mindaugas Saulius Venslauskas , Natural Sciences Doctor

1956 graduate Leningrad State University ( now St. Perersburg State University)

1961  graduate Doctor Biophysics at Leningrad State University

1994 Lithuanian Science Council awarded as Doctor of Natural Sciences

1956-2000 assistent, associated, full professor at Kaunas Medical  and Vytautas Magnus Universities, Lithuania

2000-2018 Senior Researcher at Biophysical Research Group Vytautas Magnus University , Lithuania

Fields, driving forces, cell poration and drug delivery.

Mindaugas S. Venslauskas, Biophysical Research Group, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas Lithuania.

E mail:

Abstract. Some effective natural modes to uptake foreign biomolecules into the cells are well established. Here we discuss the physical methods for cell poration based on application of quantified strong electrical and ultrasound (US) fields. The workable models of membrane poration mechanism are discussed. Drugs delivery into the cells by   poration have shown some similar regularities for both kinds of fields used. Concerning the biophysical mechanisms of small molecules transfer through the field induced pores the role and impact of the main driving forces, such as electrophoresis, electro-osmosis, concertation gradients, US mechanical shearing forces as well the interaction of the molecules of interest with the pore wall are analyzed and discussed.

Acknowelegment. This work was supported by the grant (DOTSUT – 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0188) from the Research Council of Lithuania.