Keynote: Prof. dr. Paul Weiss

Science, Engineering, and Medicine: Opportunities Viewed from the Nanoscale

Paul S. Weiss graduated from MIT with S.B. and S.M. degrees in chemistry in 1980 and from the University of California at Berkeley with a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1986. He is a nanoscientist and holds a UC Presidential Chair and a distinguished professor of chemistry & biochemistry, bioengineering, and materials science&engineering at UCLA, where he was previously director of the California NanoSystems Institute. He also currently holds visiting appointments at Harvard’s Wyss Institute and several universities in Australia, China, and South Korea. He studies the ultimate limits of miniaturization, developing and applying new tools and methods for atomic-resolution and spectroscopic imaging and patterning of chemical functionality. He and his group apply these advances in other areas including neuroscience, and microbiome studies, and high-throughput gene editing. He led, coauthored, and published the technology roadmaps for the BRAIN Initiative and the U. S. Microbiome Initiative. He has won a number of awards in science, engineering, teaching, publishing, and communications. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Physical Society, the American Vacuum Society, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Materials Research Society, and an honorary fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society. He is the founding and current editor-in-chief of ACS Nano.

Academic Panelists

  • Sarah Mitra Mojarad, Lecturer of Engineering Writing and Medical Education

Sarah Mojarad holds faculty appointments in Viterbi School of Engineering and Keck School of Medicine at USC. Her areas of expertise are in social media, misinformation, science communication, and online professionalism. Prior to joining USC, she was a Lecturer and Communications Program Manager for Social Media at Caltech.

  • Jason Alicea, Professor of Theoretical Physics

Jason Alicea is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech. As a condensed matter theorist, he is interested in revealing exotic phenomena that emerge from the interplay between topology and quantum mechanics

  • Hugo Tapia

Hugo Tapia received his BSc at the University of Texas at El Paso in microbiology. He received his PhD at the University of Texas at Houston Health Sciences Center in microbiology and molecular genetics, in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Morano. He did his postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley in the laboratory of Dr. Doug Koshland, studying desiccation tolerance. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at California State University- Channel Islands.

  • Nathanael Prunet

Nathanael Prunet is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology (MCDB) at UCLA, where he teaches Biology and Microscopy, and the director of the MCDB/BSCRC microscopy core facility. Before opting for a career in microscopy, he trained as a plant developmental biologist, a field he chose for the wealth of imaging possibilities it offers, and used a variety of widefield and confocal microscopy techniques to investigate the formation of flower buds at the tip of the stem in model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and the genes and hormones that control this process. As a microscopist, he constantly works at the intersection of Science and Art – or SciArt – and this artistic aspect has long been an important driver for his work.

  • Siobhan Braybrook

Siobhan Braybrook, Ph.D. began her studies at the University of Guelph, Canada. She undertook her PhD at the University of California at Davis, CA studying the transcriptional networks underlying embryo development in plants. She then had an NSF-funded postdoc in Bern, Switzerland, where she developed tools to examine mechanical forces in living cells using Atomic Force Microscopy. She started her own group studying plant mechanics at the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2014. The lab moved to UCLA in 2017 where they continue to work towards understanding the mechanical basis of plant growth and development- linking physics, material science, molecular biology, hormone signalling, and physiology.

Industry Panelists

  • Brian McMorran, Consultant, Acsel Health

Brian McMorran is a Senior Consultant with Acsel Health, a management consulting firm specialized in the life sciences industry, where he works with US and Global pharma and biotech clients in bringing innovative therapies to market. As a Senior Consultant Brian has worked on product commercialization and market access projects across a variety of therapeutic areas including oncology, anti-inflammatories/autoimmunity, and biosimilars. Brian holds a MS in Biomedical Engineering and a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from UCLA.

  • Mary Wahl, Data Scientist, Microsoft

Mary Wahl received her BS from Caltech and PhD/Postdoc from Harvard. Her graduate work was in experimental biology and her postdoc was in computer science. At Microsoft, she helps enterprise customers apply AI to core business problems on Microsoft's Azure cloud, specializing in computer vision and deep learning.

  • John Janeski, Engineering Manager, Aerospace Corporation

John Janeski received his BS in Physics from Rhodes College and his PhD in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering with concentration in Applied Physics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. At the Aerospace Corporation, he is an engineering manager who is responsible for a group that specializes in control sensor and actuator applications in launch vehicle and satellite control systems. His focus is integrating next generation GPS receivers into a wide variety of military and civilian platforms.

  • Francis Kinderman, Process Development Manager, Amgen

Before joining Amgen, Francis received his B.S in Biochemistry from UCLA in 2000 and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UCSD in 2006. He spent 9 years in the Analytical Sciences department before transitioning to his current role in Drug Product and Formulation. Most of his work is on early stage programs where he leads teams to advance drug candidates from research to Phase 1 clinical trials. Using analytical and biophysical characterization techniques his team evaluates multiple drug candidates for a given target and recommends a lead molecule based on stability, product quality, and manufacturing fit. For some pipeline molecules, he is also responsible for all operations deliverables for the program, including the manufacturing process, formulation, and control strategy to supply clinical trials with stable drug product. Outside of pipeline projects, his research interests include understanding how drug molecules interact with the subcutaneous space after injection and how attributes of the molecule affect drug absorption from the injection site. He is a member of an industry-wide focus group which studies the immunogenicity risk of subcutaneous injections

  • Terri-Leigh Stephen, Former Research Scientist, Eli Lilly

Terri received her PhD in Neuroscience at University College London and subsequently joined Eli Lilly and Company in the UK. At Lilly, her work focused on screening small molecules and therapeutic agents in preclinical trials to find treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

Attending faculty

  • Doug Rees, Roscoe Gilkey Dickinson Professor of Chemistry

Doug Rees is the Dean of Graduate Studies at Caltech and the Roscoe Gilkey Dickinson Professor of Chemistry. The research interests of the Rees group emphasize the general area of structural bioenergetics, using crystallographic and functional approaches to characterize water-soluble and membrane proteins participating in various energy transduction pathways.

  • Richard Watanabe, Vice Chair for Education, Preventative Medicine; Professor of Preventive Medicine and Physiology & Neuroscience

Richard Watanabe is the Vice Chair for Education, Preventative Medicine and Professor of Preventive Medicine and Physiology & Neuroscience at USC. His research expertise is in the pathophysiology and genetics of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

  • John Robert Monterosso, Associate Professor of Psychology

John Monterosso is an Associate Professor of Psychology at USC. He studies mechanisms underlying human self-control from the combined perspectives of behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience (sometimes collectively referred to as “neuroeconomics”).

  • Artur Davoyan, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Artur Davoyan is Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. His group devises and develops new approaches for space propulsion and power using unique nanomaterials. Prior to joining UCLA, he was a postdoc in the Atwater group at Caltech.