Dr. André Kuipers


Born on 5 October 1958 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, André Kuipers is married with three daughters and a son. He enjoys flying, scuba diving, skiing, hiking, traveling, and history.

In December 2002, André was assigned as a Flight Engineer for a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station. The DELTA mission was sponsored by the Dutch government in an agreement between ESA and the Russian Federal Space Agency and took place from 19–30 April 2004. The flight had three objectives: to exchange the Soyuz spacecraft that serves as Space Station lifeboat, to exchange the Station crew and for André to perform 21 experiments in human physiology, biology, technology and education.

In August 2009, André was assigned to Expedition 30/31, a long-duration mission to the International Space Station called PromISSe. Together with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Don Pettit, André was launched on 21 December 2011 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. During his mission, he took part in around 50 experiments covering a wide range of disciplines. He was the prime crewmember for the rendezvous and docking of ESA’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle. He was also involved in berthing SpaceX’s Dragon ferry. André and his crewmates returned to Earth on 1 July 2012.

Read more about André Kuipers on the website of the European Space Agency.

Dr. Jason Ekert

Jason Ekert_2019

Dr. Jason Ekert has been head of the Complex In Vitro Models (CIVM) group for the last three years in the In Vitro In Vivo Translation department in the Research organization at GlaxoSmithKline. He leads an integrated enterprise strategy for sustained, portfolio driven growth in R&D applications of complex human-relevant and translatable complex in vitro models (eg Spheroids, Organoids, Microphysiological systems and bioprinting).

The CIVM group drives the coordination and prioritization of development and integrated use of complex in vitro technologies for target identification/validation, efficacy, safety and DMPK studies. He has led a cross-functional matrix team for the last three years at GSK that is a multi-disciplinary team (Scientists that span from target ID/validation, screening, lead optimization, safety, DMPK and the research units) which coordinates activities, collaborates externally and identifies ready soon platforms that can positively impact the portfolio. He’s the vice-chair elect for the IQ-MPS affiliate. Dr Ekert received his PhD in Medical Science from Adelaide University in Australia. He performed post-doctoral training at the University of California, Davis and Coriell Institute for Medical Research.

Before coming to GlaxoSmithKline Dr Ekert worked for 11 years at Janssen BioThereapeutics in early biotherapeutic drug discovery in target discovery, drug validation and mechanism of action studies applying 3D cell cultures, induced pluripotent stem cells and primary cells in complex cell-based assays across multiple therapeutic areas.



Malcolm Macleod

Malcolm Macleod is Professor of Neurology and Translational Neurosciences at the University of Edinburgh, member of the UK Commission for Human Medicines and the UK Reproducibility Network. He also leads the European Quality in Preclinical Data IMI project and the SE Scotland Stroke Research Network. He was co-CI of the EuroHYP trial of brain cooling for acute stroke and is UK coordinator for the PRECIOUS trial of preventing complications following stroke.

Since founding the Collaborative Approach to Meta-analysis and Review of Animal Data form Experimental Studies (CAMARADES) in 2004 his research has largely focussed on how best to increase the value of biomedical research. This has included work with funders, journals (including randomised studies of different approaches to improve quality, and the proposed MDAR Minimum Standards Framework) and most recently with institutions (recently appointed Research Improvement lead at the University of Edinburgh).
He led the development and implementation of the SyRF platform ( which supports systematic reviews of in vivo research.

Since 2007 he has been clinical lead for Neurology at NHS Forth Valley. For more information visit: and for more information about his talks visit:

Warlow’s Stroke: Practical Management (ISBN: 978-1-118-49222-2)




Russell Thomas is the director of the Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Center is performing solutions-driven research to rapidly evaluate the potential human health and environmental risks due to exposures to environmental stressors and ensure the integrity of the freshwater environment and its capacity to support human well-being.

Dr. Thomas has a broad, multidisciplinary background and experience. Dr. Thomas’ formal academic training includes a B.A. in chemistry from Tabor College, an M.S. in radiation ecology and health physics from Colorado State University, and a Ph.D. in toxicology also at Colorado State.

Following his doctoral studies, Dr. Thomas performed postdoctoral research in molecular biology and genomics at the McArdle Cancer Research Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. Following his academic training, Dr. Thomas performed bioinformatics and genomics research in the biotechnology sector and gained experience in high-throughput screening and in vitro assay development in the biopharma sector. Prior to coming to the U.S. EPA, Dr. Thomas worked as an investigator and senior manager at a non-profit research institute.

dr. Tharanga Thoradeniya

dr. Tharanga Thoradeniya (2)

Tharanga Thoradeniya is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Dr. Thoradeniya has a multidisciplinary background and has broad research interests and experience in metabolism and functionality of micronutrients, nutrition modulation of chronic disease risk, food systems, animal welfare and alternatives. Dr. Thoradeniya obtained her Bachelor of Veterinary Science (B.V.Sc) degree from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka an her Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

She is a Commonwealth Fellow and has received many awards including the President’s Awards for scientific research. Dr. Thoradeniya is a past president of the Sri Lanka Association for Laboratory Animal Sciences and Sri Lankan Academy of Young Scientists, and currently the Vice-president of the Sri Lanka College of Biochemists.

She has extensive experience in animal welfare and ethics and is playing a leading role in conducting training on animal welfare and ethics locally and in the region. She was awarded the 2020 Global Animal Welfare Award by the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and Ceva Santé Animale (Ceva) for her outstanding service and dedication in promoting animal welfare.

dr. Anna Deplazes Zemp

Anna Deplazes

Anna Deplazes Zemp is a Senior Researcher at the Ethics Research Institute at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Zurich. She has a multidisciplinary background with a first academic training in molecular biology at the University of Zurich and a PhD in biochemistry at the ETH Zurich. Since the beginning of her studies, she has been interested not only in the natural sciences but also in the social and especially moral-ethical aspects of research and application of the life sciences. Therefore, after her doctorate, she did a second study in philosophy and dedicated her further research to applied ethics. Based on her multidisciplinary background her main research interests lie at the interphase between ethics and the natural sciences. She published in peer reviewed journals particularly on the ethics of biotechnology, justice in the context of genetic resources and environmental ethics. Deplazes Zemp is currently leading a small research team in a project called ‘People’s Place in Nature’ at the University of Zurich, in which she combines philosophical and social science methods to study the human-nature relationship. Moreover, she teaches various lectures, seminars and courses on research ethics, environmental ethics and the ethics of biotechnology to students in different disciplines.

Anna Deplazes Zemp has been involved in various inter and transdisciplinary research projects involving natural scientists, social scientists, philosophers and other stakeholders. She is an active member of the Forum for Genetic Research of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, current member of the board of trustees of WWF Switzerland and of the Nuclear Waste Advisory Board for the Swiss Federal Administration.


Joseph Wu_headshot

Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD is Director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and Simon H. Stertzer, MD, Professor of Medicine and Radiology at the Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Wu received his MD from Yale University School of Medicine. He trained in internal medicine and cardiology at UCLA followed by a PhD in the Dept of Molecular Pharmacology.

His lab works on biological mechanisms of patient-specific and disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The main goals are to (i) understand basic cardiovascular disease mechanisms, (ii) accelerate drug discovery and screening, (iii) develop “clinical trial in a dish” concept, and (iv) implement precision cardiovascular medicine for prevention and treatment of patients.

Dr. Wu has received numerous awards, including National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award, NIH Roadmap Transformative Award, American Heart Association (AHA) Innovative Research Award, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers given out by President Obama, AHA Established Investigator Award, Burroughs Wellcome Foundation Innovation in Regulatory Science Award, AHA Merit Award, and AHA Distinguished Scientist Award. Dr. Wu serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Keystone Symposia, FDA Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee, AHA National Board of Directors, Chair of the AHA Basic Cardiovascular Science Council, and Chair of the AHA National Research Committee.

Dr. Wu is an elected member of American Society of Clinical Investigators (ASCI), Association of University Cardiologists (AUC), American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Association of Physicians (AAP), and National Academy of Medicine (NAM).


Dr. Donald Ingber

Don Ingber headshot 002

Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. is the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children's Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He received his B.A., M.A., M.Phil., M.D. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Ingber is a pioneer in the field of biologically inspired engineering, and at the Wyss Institute, he currently leads a multifaceted effort to develop breakthrough bioinspired technologies to advance healthcare and to improve sustainability. His work has led to major advances in mechanobiology, tumor angiogenesis, tissue engineering, systems biology, nanobiotechnology and translational medicine. Through his work, Ingber also has helped to break down boundaries between science, art and design.

Ingber has authored more than 450 publications and over 120 issued or pending patents, founded 5 companies, and been a guest speaker at more than 500 events internationally. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was named one of the Top 20 Translational Researchers world-wide in 2012 (Nature Biotechnology), a Leading Global Thinker of 2015 (Foreign Policy magazine), and has received numerous other honors in a broad range of disciplines, including the Robert A. Pritzker Award and the Shu Chien Award (Biomedical Engineering Society), the Rous Whipple Award (American Society for Investigative Pathology), the Lifetime Achievement Award (Society of In Vitro Biology), the Leading Edge Award (Society of Toxicology), Founders Award (Biophysical Society) and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Innovator Award.

One example of Ingber’s most recently developed technologies are Human Organs-on-Chips. These are microfluidic cell culture devices created with microchip manufacturing methods and lined by living human cells, which are being used to replace animal testing as a more accurate and affordable in vitro platform for drug development and personalized medicine. In 2013, Ingber’s work on Organs-on-Chips was honored by the NC3Rs Annual Award from the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research, London; in 2015, this technology was named Design of the Year by the London Design Museum and was also acquired by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City for its permanent design collection; and in 2016, they were named one of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2016 by the World Economic Forum.




Ger Janssen

Ger Janssen has a PhD in Applied Physics from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. He joined Philips in 2001 and in all his responsibilities in the company computational modelling is a recurring theme, in which he has now over 20 years of experience.

He is currently head of the Digital Twin department in Philips Research and since 2018 also Program Manager Patient Digital Twin. In these roles he is shaping the digital twin activities of Philips from R&D to operational and clinical space. For these activities the guiding principle is that all Philips solutions should address the quadruple aim: better health outcome, better patient and staff satisfaction against lower costs.