Dr. Imogen R. Coe is the founding Dean of the Faculty of Science at Ryerson University. She is also a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biology and an affiliate scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Keenan Research Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Coe is a cell biologist whose research focuses on the structure, function and regulation of nucleoside transporters, which modulate aspects of purinergic signaling and which are also the route of entry for synthetic drugs used in the treatment of cancer, viral infections and parasitic infections. Dr. Coe is also a national leader on equity, diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and has spoken on the issue on numerous occasions, in diverse venues, such as TEDx, the Gender Summit and the Canadian Science Policy Conference. In fall 2016 she was recognized by WXN as one of Canada’s Top 100 Women, in the Trail Blazer category for her advocacy work promoting equity in STEM.
Nicole Koropatkin received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 2004, training in structural enzymology in the lab of Hazel Holden. After finishing her training, she moved to the lab of Thomas Smith at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis where she began her work investigating the structure and function of proteins involved in glycan capture that are unique to the human gut Bacteroidetes, a dominant phlyum of intestinal bacteria. In 2009 she moved to the University of Michigan Medical School to as a Research Asistant Professor and in 2014 she moved into a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor in the Microbiology and Immunology department. The long-term goal of the research in the Koropatkin lab is to determine how gut bacteria recognize, process and import carbohydrate nutrition from their environment, an ability that is critical for their persistence in the mammalian intestines. The next frontier in human microbiome research is to understand the function of these important microbes on a molecular scale in order to develop methods to intentionally manipulate this community to improve human health.
Dr. Christoph Rademacher earned his BSc in Molecular Biotechnology (2004) and MSc in Molecular Life Science (2006) at the University of Lübeck. In 2009, Dr. Rademacher received his doctorate from the same University, where he performed studies under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Thomas Peters in the Department of Chemistry working on virus/carbohydrate interactions using NMR spectroscopy. During these years, he also worked in Prof. Dr. David R. Bundle’s and Prof. Dr. Todd Lowary’s laboratories at the Alberta Ingenuity Center for Carbohydrate Science in Edmonton (Canada) and in Dr. Daron Freedberg’s group at CBER/FDA in Bethesda (USA). He then underwent postdoctoral training with Prof. Dr. James C. Paulson at The Scripps Research Institute (USA) in the Department of Chemical Physiology, where he entered the field of glycoimmunology. Since December 2011, Dr. Rademacher is appointed at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in the Department of Biomolecular Systems, where he became Emmy-Noether Research Group Leader in June 2012. Since 2017, Dr. Rademacher holds an ERC Starting Grant. His research is focused on the development and application of novel molecular probes to understand the role of carbohydrates in immune cell regulation.
Stephen G Withers is Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia where he has been on faculty since 1982. He obtained his BSc and PhD in chemistry with Michael Sinnott at the University of Bristol, UK and was a postdoctoral fellow with Neil Madsen and Brian Sykes in the Biochemistry department at the University of Alberta prior to his independent position.
His research interests straddle the fields of organic chemistry and biochemistry, with a particular interest in the mechanisms of carbohydrate-active enzymes. These mechanistic insights have led to the development of methodologies for engineering of glycoside hydrolases into synthetic enzymes (glycosynthases), which are now used industrially for large scale ganglioside synthesis. These insights also led to the development of potent inhibitors for several enzymes of therapeutic interest, including the influenza neuraminidase and human alpha amylase. Recently he has become interested in the discovery of novel enzymes through metagenomics approaches.
He was a founding member of the Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence (PENCE) serving as its Scientific Director for 5 years. Likewise he serves as the Associate Scientific Director of the GlycoNet NCE. He was also a founding member of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), as well as the Centre for High-Throughput Biology (CHiBi) at UBC. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London).
Herbert Hildebrandt studied biology in Tübingen, worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Nevada, Reno, and received his PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) from the Free University in Berlin, before he became Research Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. In 2006 he was appointed Professor of Neuroglycobiochemistry at Hannover Medical School. Herbert Hildebrandt is also a member of the Center for Systems Neuroscience (ZSN) Hannover. The focus of his research is on the role of glycoconjugates in brain and tumor development with a particular emphasis on polysialic acid as a posttranslational modification of mainly the neural cell adhesion molecule NCAM. His group also studies expression and function of other, newly identified protein carriers of polysialic acid such as SynCAM 1 in NG2 cells or neuropilin-2 and E-selectin ligand 1 in microglia and macrophages. Another interest is to explore the possible links between altered polysialic acid synthesis and neurodevelopmental predisposition to schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
Natalie Strynadka received her B.Sc (Hons. Biochemistry) and PhD (Biochemistry) degrees at the University of Alberta where she applied X-ray crystallographic analysis to probe enzyme structure/function relationships. She went on to a joint postdoctoral fellowship in structural biology and microbiology at the University of Alberta initiating a career stream in antibiotic research which has continued throughout her career. She is currently Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and CRC Tier 1 Chair in Antibiotic Discovery at the University of British Columbia where her group uses hybrid structural methods to study membrane protein assemblies involved in bacterial viability, pathogenicity and drug resistance.
Dr. Robert K. Yu is Professor of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine and Former Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University (formerly Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University), Augusta, Georgia (2000-present), and the Founding Director of the Institute of Neuroscience (2005-2014). He also holds the Chair of Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Eminent Scholar in Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology. Dr. Yu received a PhD degree in biochemistry under Professor H. E. Carter from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana (1967) and a MedScD degree from Tokyo University, Japan (1980). His past academic positions include postdoctoral (with Professor Robert Ledeen) and faculty appointments at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY (1967-72); Assistant Professor to Full Professor (with tenure), Yale University, New Haven, CT (1973-88); Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (1988-2000).
Dr. Yu’s major research interests are in neurochemistry and developmental neurobiology, particularly as related to glycoconjugates in health and disease. His research has culminated in the publication of more than 360 refereed articles, 60 comprehensive reviews, 6 patents, and 5 books. He has trained well over 150 pre- and postdoctoral students. For his achievements, he has been elected as an Academician of the Academia Sinica, Taiwan, ROC (2004-present). He has also won numerous awards, including the Jacob Javits Neurosciences Investigator Award, NIH (1984-91); Virginia’s Outstanding Scientist of the Year Award (1995); Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award (1991-3); an honorary degree from Yale University (1985); Distinguished Alumnus Award, Tunghai University, Taiwan (2002); the Achievement Award, Chinese Engineers and Scientists Association of Southern California (CEASC) (2003); Distinguished Research Award, MCG (2006); Medical College of Georgia’s Outstanding Faculty Award (2006 and 2009) and Lifetime Achievements Award (2010). He served as President, American Society for Neurochemistry (2001-3); President, Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America (SCBA) (2008-10); US Delegate to IUPUC, National Academies of Sciences (2006-9). He is a founder of the China-U.S. Biochemistry Admissions (CUSBA) Program (1994-present). He has served or is still serving on numerous review panels and editorial boards of many scientific journals. He is also an honorary professor of several universities.