Confirmed speakers so far:


Bernd Giebel, Institute for Transfusion Medicine, University Hospital Essen, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Bernd Giebel studied biology at the University zu Köln and received his PhD in 1996 at the Institute for Developmental Biology in Köln. Currently he runs a lab at the Institute for Transfusion Medicine at the University Hospital Essen. Since 1999 he works with human hematopoietic stem cells and started in 2009 to explore the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles.

Stuart Hunt, The School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Dr Stuart Hunt completed his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science (BSc) at The University of Sheffield. He then pursued his interest in molecular biology at The University of Manchester, whilst studying for his Master’s degree. He then returned to The University of Sheffield to study for his PhD in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. After a period of post-doctoral research, he was appointed as a lecturer in The School of Clinical Dentistry. Stuart has established a research group that focuses on the role of extracellular vesicles (EV) in head and neck cancer. His current research projects specifically address the differences in molecular cargo of EVs derived from HPV+ and HPV- oropharyngeal tumours, the use of EVs to predict the stage of oral cancer, and the potential use of salivary EVs for the early diagnosis of oral cancer.

Victoria James, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

Victoria obtained a PhD in genetics from the University of Leicester in 2007. Following her PhD studies, she pursued postdoctoral training in the fields of molecular and cell biology. Victoria was awarded the prestigious JG Graves Research Fellowship in 2012, which she held at the University of Sheffield Cancer Research Centre until joining the University of Nottingham as a lecturer in 2014. Victoria now splits her time between research and teaching and is an active member of the University of Nottingham's Cancer Research Priority Area.

Imre Mäger, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Imre Mäger is a researcher 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 at University of Tartu, Estonia. His primary research is focused on eneration 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.

Reet Kurg, Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, Estonia

Dr. Reet Kurg received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Tartu, Estonia, and proceeded her studies at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. Currently she is a Senior Researcher and group leader in the Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, and a Head of the Core Facility of Virology and Cell Imaging. For years, her research has been focused on molecular biology of papillomaviruses, papillomavirus-host interactions, and the effect of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection on cellular environment. Current research is focused on cancer antigens, specifically on melanoma associated antigens and their usage as biomarkers and therapeutic targets. This includes also the formation and characterization of extracellular vesicles and in particular, generation of extracellular vesicles with desired properties carrying different cancer-testis antigens. The second interest is RNA methyltransferases and their role in cell proliferation.

Helena Sork, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Research Center, Sweden

Helena Sork completed her Master’s degree at the University of Tartu in 2008. Having received a scholarship for conducting doctoral studies abroad in 2013, she is currently conducting her research in assistant professor Samir EL Andaloussi’s lab at the Department of Laboratory Medicine in Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. Her research focuses on understanding the composition and role of extracellular RNA in mediating biological effects. Specifically, on investigating vesicular- and non-vesicular RNA sorting mechanisms and understanding how nucleic acids influence extracellular vesicle uptake.

Artjom Stepanjuk, Chair of Cell Biology, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu; Competence Centre on Health Technologies, Estonia

Received B.Sc and M.Sc (cum laude) in the molecular and cell biology from the University of Tartu. The master thesis was awarded in the state students scientific work competition. Now a Ph.D. student under the supervision of the professor Andres Saluments and associate professor Sulev Ingerpuu. Main scientific interests are endometrium receptivity and extracellular vesicles. Currently working in MLTMR15148R "WIDENLIFE" project.

Stoyan Tankov, Department of Pathophysiology, Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, University of Tartu, Estonia

Stoyan Tankov received his PhD at the University of Tartu in 2016 investigating stress response in bacteria as well as miRNAs and other non-coding RNAs and their role in the regulation of gene expression. Since 2017 he has joined Prof. Alireza Fazeli’s group at ERA Chair of translational genomics as a research fellow focusing on intercellular communication through extracellular vesicles (EVs). His current projects are focused on EV-mediated transport of non-coding RNAs, as well as developing an increased understanding of the various and fundamental roles of different types of EVs during embryo development.

María Yáñez-Mó, Department of Cell Biology and Immunology, Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Spain

Dr. Yáñez-Mó research has been focused, since her Ph.D. in the functional characterization of tetraspanin-enriched microdomains in different biological processes: cells migration, tumor and leukocyte extravasation, viral infection, fibrosis, embryonic implantation... In 2009 she was appointed as Director of Technical Facilities and Young Group Leader at the Hospital Santa Cristina, to where she moved in May 2010. In 2014 she applied to the competitive contract Ramón y Cajal, which offered her a link with the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and moved to the Center of Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa in the campus in 2016.

Recently, because of her data relating tetraspanins in exosome biogenesis, she became member of the International Society of Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) and IOC member of its international meetings in 2016 and 2018. She is also founder member of the Spanish Group of Research in Extracellular Vesicles (GEIVEX) and Member of the Management Committee in BM1202 European Network on Microvesicles and Exosomes in Health and Disease COST ACTION. In this context, her group is devoted to the functional characterization of tetraspanins in exosome biogenesis and function, and in the utilization of tetraspanin-based reagents for exosome quantification and detection in biological samples.

Arina Lavrits, The Competence Centre on Health Technologies, Estonia

I am a visiting researcher from the Competence Centre on Health Technologies. I entered the University of Tartu in 2010. My scientific career started a year later after joining the research group of Sulev Ingerpuu. As an undergraduate student, I studied laminins – the constituents of ECM (extracellular matrix), particularly the mechanism of their secretion from the choriocarcinoma cell line. After defending the BSc thesis, I continued my studies as a collaborator of the Competence Centre on Health Technologies investigating the role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the interaction between trophoblast and endometrium. In 2016, I started my PhD studies focusing on the investigation of endometriosis (the role of EVs in the pathology of endometriosis and different therapeutic agents used in the treatment of endometriosis). In addition to pathological aspects of reproductive biology, I am interested in the understanding of the role of EVs in the embryo-maternal interaction. Thus, my work at TRANSGENO GroupSIME is related to the investigation of EVs secreted by IVF (in vitro fertilized) embryos. I am currently developing an optimal technique for isolation and purification of the EVs and characterization of them (electron microscopy, protein and RNA composition).

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