James J. Collins Ph.D.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Opening Keynote:

Synthetic Biology: Living Nanobiotechnology

James J. Collins is Termeer Professor of Bioengineering in the Department of Biological Engineering and Institute for Medical Engineering & Science.  He is also affiliated with the Broad Institute and the Wyss Institute.  His research group works in synthetic biology and systems biology, with a particular focus on using network biology approaches to study antibiotic action, bacterial defense mechanisms, and the emergence of resistance.  Professor Collins' patented technologies have been licensed by over 25 biotech, pharma and medical devices companies, and he has helped to launched a number of companies, including Sample6 Technologies, Synlogic and EnBiotix.  He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Rhodes Scholarship, a MacArthur "Genius" Award, an NIH Director's Pioneer Award, a Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award, as well as several teaching awards.  Professor Collins is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a charter fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.


J. Rubén Morones-Ramírez Ph. D.

Professor in Research Center in Biotechnology and Nanotechnology at School of Chemistry at Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon

Host Keynote:

NanoBioEngineering: The Route Towards Smart Therapeutics and Materials

J. Rubén Morones-Ramírez is a Professor at the School of Chemistry at the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon. His research focuses on the designing of complex systems through the understanding of interactions between living and synthetic components. He currently directs the Resarch Center on Biotechnology and Nanotechnology and is the founder of the NanoBiotechnology Research Group were the focus of research is the use of knowledge from the fields of Nanotechnology and Systems and Synthetic Biology to advance in the developmentand design  of intelligent therapeutics, dynamic materials, sustainable and green processes and sustainable energy. Dr. Morones has patented and licensed technologies and his research has been highlighted in many national and international forums. He has been awarded numerous awards and honors including being part of the Mexican National Researchers, awarded the MITTR35, and the Revista Expansión 30 promesas en los 30.


Leonardo Rios Solis Ph.D.

Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology, Institute for Bioengineering, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh UK


Low cost automation tools for diagnostics and metabolic engineering applications

His research group motivation focuses in promoting further understanding on the interphase of Biochemical Engineering and Synthetic Biology as well as to find novel ways to apply this knowledge to tackle the growing global socio-economic inequalities such as access to food and pharmaceuticals, boosting local economies, high quality education as well as the promotion of a greener and more sustainable environment. His group applies synthetic biology tools to engineer microbial cell factories for diagnostic purposes or to produce high-value products such as biofuels, biomaterials and pharmaceuticals. They also have the firm belief that in order to boost the production and maximizing the potential of the designed biosystems, they require to develop specific bio-equipment (e.g. bio-automation, bioreactors, downstream processing) to cater to the new qualities of the engineered cells.


Romina Julieta Glisoni Ph.D.



Active targeting of nanostructures for different biomedical applications

She has served as Head and Teaching Coordinator of Galenic Development belonging  to the Career of Specialization in Industrial Pharmacy (FFyB-UBA) since 2014 and as Vice President of the Argentine Association of Nanomedicines (NANOMED-AR) since 2019. She is co-author of numerous international scientific articles and carries out national and international scientific collaborations in related research areas. Her field of expertise is chemical synthesis and modification of biodegradable and amphiphilic copolymers forming polymeric micelles, as well as the study of other nanocarriers for the encapsulation, stabilization and release of drugs and proteins. In recent years, she has been strongly aimed at chemical modification of the surface of various nanostructures, using active ligands (aptamers, antibodies, sugars and others), for selective addressing in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and in the design and development of nanovaccines. In this sense, she is currently involved in the preparation of glycoconjugates and the study of different routes of administration and applications. Finally, RJ Glisoni carries out technical advice and related R&D activities in the framework of technology transfer for recognized laboratories of the pharmaceutical industry in the country.

Lorena Betancor Dutrenit Ph.D.

Biotechnology Department, Faculty of Engineering, Universidad ORT Uruguay, CBI+I Biotechnological Center for Research and Innovation


Hybrid nanostructures for magnetic hyperthermia-mediated activation of enzymes.

Dr. Betancor has focused her scientific career working in enzymology, enzyme technology and biocatalysis with diverse biotechnological applications. Her areas of expertise are enzyme stabilization, enzyme immobilization, chemical modification of proteins, materials surface functionalization and design of chromatographic supports. As head of the Protein Technology group she is interested in the study and preparation of immobilized biocatalysts for the synthesis of biotechnological valuable molecules. Her projects are centered on the study of new strategies of integration of enzymes to materials for better stability and reusability, application of new biocatalysts and development of new bioprocesses through immobilized non-natural enzymatic cascades.

Victor de Lorenzo Ph.D.

Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Laboratory of Environmental Molecular Microbiology at the National Center for Biotechnology, Madrid


Bioremediation at a global scale: From the Petri dish to planet Earth

Dr. Víctor de Lorenzo is a chemist who focuses his research in the areas of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology. These areas have undergone a dramatic transition from being a somewhat marginal branch of Life Sciences to becoming one of the most vibrant and visible areas of contemporary research. Global problems ask for global solutions and the environmental microbiome - because of its dimension and its amazing activities — may end upbeing our best instrument to both counter the impact of industrial development and enable a new, sustainable partnership with Nature. While the whole planet is afflicted at a global scale by chemical pollution and anthropogenic emissions, the ongoing development of systems and synthetic biology, modern chemistry and some key concepts from ecological theory allow us to tackle this phenomenal challenge and propose large-scale interventions aimed at reversing and even improving this state of affairs. The pillar of this new scenario includes a deep engineering of microorganisms as live chassis for delivering beneficial activities and multi-scale environmental interventions for pollution prevention/remediation (including climatic change). Current advances in the use of environmental bacteria as SynBio chassis of choice for meeting some of these environmental objectives will be addressed.

Nadanai Laohakunakorn Ph.D.

Institute of Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology (IQB3), The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh UK


Microfluidic control of cell-free gene expression

His work focused on electrically-driven fluid flows generated within the confined geometries of nanopores, and he developed techniques to measure and characterise these effects using optical tweezers. After defending his thesis in 2015, he moved to Lausanne where he worked with Prof. Sebastian Maerklat EPFL, on the new and growing field of cell-free synthetic biology. His work there focused on combining microfluidic devices with cell-free gene expression systems for high-throughput and rapid prototyping of genetic parts and circuits. In 2019 he received a Chancellor's Fellowship in Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, where he has established a lab for quantitative engineering of cell-free systems.

Víctor Manuel Castaño Meneses, Ph. D.

Centro de Física Aplicada y Tecnología Avanzada. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)


Nanobiomimetic Materials: From Nature to Industry


Dr. Castaño is a recognized expert in the theory of transmission electron microscopy imaging, in which his phase space method, a successful adaptation of mathematical tools from quantum mechanics to optics, is recognized as one of the 3 most important theories of the subject. In addition, he has been one of the pioneers in the theory of the formation of holograms with electrons, with a new much simpler and more powerful methodology. Dr. Castaño is an expert in materials science, where he has invented a very extensive line of new materials, from dental implants made from starfish and various other biomaterials (one of his articles is on the list of the 10 most influential works in this field in the last 20 years), to new liquid materials that are reversibly arranged by interacting with light, as if they were solids, passing through "smart" membranes, which adapt to the physical-chemical conditions of the environment and many new polymers and composites. Víctor Castaño was one of the pioneers in the efficient use of carbon nanotubes to reinforce materials and his works on nanofunctionalization are among the most cited in the literature. His work in nanotechnology, one of the great topics of today, reflects his innovative spirit since, in addition to publishing articles and book chapters that are already considered classics on the subject of technological applications of nanostructures, his developed technologies have been commercially exploited, such as an anti-graffiti paint and bulletproof vests, which, in addition to having been the subject of special programs on Discovery Channel and National Geographic, have been included in the very select list of the great practical contributions of nanotechnology that the government of France has chosen for a traveling exhibition (“Nanotechnologie”) that for 5 years toured that country. He has also been a pioneer in Translational Medicine in Mexico, with an original approach to materials science, bioengineering and Big Data, which have earned him invitations to very prestigious magazines and institutions. He currently holds the position of Catedrático Universitario at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.

William Shih, Ph.D

Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School

Department of Cancer Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Single-molecule detection and identification via DNA nanotechnology


William Shih is a full professor at the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Cancer Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. William is overseeing an effort to apply Synthetic Biology approaches to the development of self-assembling DNA nanostructures and biomedical applications devices. In addition to carrying genetic information, DNA is increasingly being explored for its use as a building material. This process is called DNA origami. Using long biologically produced DNA strands to construct particles with precisely specified shapes, William can approximate a level of complexity that rivals that of the molecular machinery found in cells. His laboratory is pioneering methods for the hierarchical assembly of these particles into three-dimensional networks with site-specific control over chemical functionalization and mechanical actuation to achieve even greater complexity structures. This work could lead to breakthroughs in manufacturing and medicine. In 2008, William received a New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health, and in 2013, he was named a Blavatnik National Awards Finalist.

Tessy María López Goerne, Ph.D

Departamento de Atención a la Salud, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM)


Catalitic Nanomedicine: Biocompatibility and efficiency of nanobiocatalysts Pt/TiO2 implanted in brain glioma using stereotactic surgery.


Dr. Tessy María López Goerne is one of the most renowned Mexican scientists. She belongs to the National Neurology and Neurosurgery Institute at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM).  Her research is focused on molecular photodynamics, photocatalysts, and biomaterials. Her leading study is about the application of nanomaterials against diabetic foot.  She used SiO2-TiO2 nanoparticles in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.  Another outstanding research is the development of nanocatalysts with the ability to eliminate cancerous tumors. Dr. Tessy Lopez is also an important scientific communicator. She has been awarded by the Weizmann Academy, UNESCO, the OAE, and the Scientific Mexican Academy. She has won the “Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla” distinction. 

Tom Ellis, Ph.D

Centre for Synthetic Biology and Department of Bioengineering.

Imperial College London, UK


Using synthetic biology to grow materials with DNA-programmed properties


Tom Ellis is leading a research team in synthetic genome engineering and synthetic biology in the Department of Bioengineering. He has track record in synthetic biology, being author of over 50 publications in synthetic biology including work in Cell, Nature Methods, NatureBiotechnology, PNAS and Nature Reviews. He is leader of the UK-funded project to build a synthetic yeast chromosome for the international synthetic yeast project (Sc2.0). He co-leads the teaching of Imperial’s synthetic biology undergraduate module and has won multiple awards for teaching and for supervision of iGEM teams. His research focuses on developing the foundational tools for accelerating, automating and scaling design-led synthetic genomics and synthetic biology, focusing on research projects in yeast (S. cerevisiae) as well as applied projects in other industrially-relevant and medically-relevant microbes.

Eriko Takano, Ph.D

Department of Chemistry

at The University of Manchester


Potentials of synthetic biology approaches for fine and chemical production

Dr Eriko Takano is a synthetic biology professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Manchester. She has an internationally leading position in the field of small signalling molecules in Streptomyces coelicolor, the model organism of the major group of commercial antibiotic producers. Areas of expertise of the Takano group include the synthetic biology of antibiotic production: bioinformatics software development (e.g. antiSMASH, MultiGeneBlast); untargeted metabolomics for chassis engineering in Streptomyces; regulatory circuits engineering through signalling molecules; translational control using noncoding RNAs; biosynthetic pathway engineering; systems biology of the metabolic switch from primary to secondary metabolism; regulation of antibiotic production through signalling molecules and noncoding RNAs in Streptomyces coelicolor, the model organism of the most important group of industrial antibiotics producers. She has been awarded the Rosalind Franklin Fellowship from the University of Groningen, Naito Kinen Kaigai Ryigaku Jyoseikin from the Naito Foundation Japan, Lepetit Award from Lepetit and the Italian Society for General Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology.

Lee Cronin, Ph.D

School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow


Programming Biological Systems with Chemical Robots

Dr Lee Cronin is a professor in the School of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow. Research in the Cronin Group is focused on the potential of complex chemical systems derived from non-biological building blocks to have a major impact on our fundamental understanding of the interplay of chemical systems and to revolutionize modern technologies. To this end, the Cronin group works within three major research "themes" of Synthesis and Self Assembly, Molecular Devices and Complex Chemical Systems. The Cronin Group believes in a synergistic approach to research with research themes and projects reinforcing each other to enable fundamental advances to be made. This research feeds into several major applications being investigated in the Cronin group to realize the real-world benefits of the fundamental science being conducted. These applications range from developing materials for solar fuel devices to producing the potential drug and drug delivery candidates. He was selected to the fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was awarded by the European Research Council (ERC).

Jean Marie Francois, Ph.D

Institut Biotechnologique de Toulouse (INSA), UMS·582 Toulouse White Biotechnology (TWB)


Challenge to cost-effectively produce biological products from renewable carbon sources by redesigning microbial metabolic pathways

Jean Marie Francois is a full professor of Industrial Microbiology and BioNanotechnology at the National Institute of Applied Sciences, University of Toulouse, France. The main activity of his research group (PHYGE) deals with a systems approach of metabolic, genetic, and genomic adaptation of fungal cells (yeast and filamentous fungi) to environmental conditions that are close to industrial constraints, with emphasis on carbon and energy metabolism, cell wall biogenesis and assembly, and genomic instability. Another central theme of his group deals with synthetic and refactoring metabolism in microbial systems to produce natural and non-natural compounds from renewable carbon resources as an alternative to petrochemical-derived products.

Minerva Guerra Balcázar, Ph.D

University of Queretaro, Department of Nanotechnology and Engineering


Giving added value to raw glycerol

Dra. Guerra-Balcázar is full-time professor in the Department of Nanotechnology Engineering of Autonomous University of Queretaro.  Her research group works in the development of several nanomaterials for energy storage, and the development of bioelectrodes for sense or energy conversion.  is co-author of 62 international scientific publications (H-index 17), she belongs to the national system of researchers’ level II.  She has collaborated on several national and international projects and belongs to the national micro and nanofluidic laboratory (LABMyN).

Bruce Lewenstein, Ph.D

Department of Science & Technology Studies and Department of Communication at Cornell University


The Politics of Public Engagement

Dr Bruce Lewenstein is a science communication professor at Cornell University. He belongs to the Department of Science & Technology Studies and the Department of Communication. His research involves public communication of science and technology, also known as "public understanding of science." His work primarily on the history of public communication of science, with excursions into other science communication (such as informal science education). In general, he tries to document how public communication of science is fundamental to producing reliable knowledge about the natural world. In 2019, Dr Bruce Lewenstein obtained the recognition "CALS Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Award" given by Cornell University CALS Alumni Association.

Holger Husi, Ph.D

University of the Highlands and Islands | UHI · Department of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Science


Metabolomics: from data to pathways and beyond

Holger Husi is a senior research fellow in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics at the University of the Highlands and Islands and the University of Glasgow. Originally from Switzerland, where he completed his doctoral training at Novartis, Basel, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, in immunology and the mode of action of immunosuppressants, he specialized in large-scale biosystems investigations and analysis, with an emphasis on human disease analytics. After his first postdoctoral training at Columbia University, NY, USA, he briefly worked for a pharmaceutical company in Austria, and then worked for more than 10 years at the University of Edinburgh. This was followed by a move to the University of Glasgow, where he still holds a position, and the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness as principal investigator (PI) in Bioinformatics, Biostatistics and Systems Biology. Over the last three decades, he has extensively published in the area, from method development and data acquisition, databases, and big data handling, through to integrative Systems Biology approaches in order to understand complex biological systems. His investigations covered areas in neuroscience, renal complications, cardiovascular disorders, pulmonary and autoimmune diseases, as well as muscle wasting and cancer. He is the lead of the Pan-omics Database Initiative.


© 2020 by Centro de Investigación en Biotecnología y Nanotecnología de la Facultad

de Ciencias Químicas de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.

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