Speaker Profiles





Dr Sergey Koren

Sergey received his PhD in computer science in 2012 under the supervision of Mihai Pop at the University of Maryland. He joined the National Bioforensics Analysis Center in 2011 and was appointed as an associate principal investigator in 2014. During this time, he pioneered the use of single-molecule sequencing for the reconstruction of complete genomes. In 2015, he joined the National Human Genome Research Institute as a founding member of the Genome Informatics Section. His research focuses on the efficient analysis of large-scale genomic datasets and new methods for metagenomic analysis and assembly of high-noise single-molecule sequencing data.



Ewan Birney Keynote Speaker

Professor Ewan Birney

Director of EMBL-EBI, Joint Head of Research and Senior Scientist


Ewan Birney is Director of EMBL-EBI with Dr Rolf Apweiler, and runs a small research group. He is also EMBL-EBI's Joint Head of Research, alongside Dr Nick Goldman. 

Ewan completed his PhD at the Wellcome Sanger Institute with Richard Durbin. In 2000, he became Head of Nucleotide data at EMBL-EBI and in 2012 he took on the role of Associate Director at the institute. He became Director of EMBL-EBI in 2015. Ewan led the analysis of the Human Genome gene set, mouse and chicken genomes and the ENCODE project, focusing on non-coding elements of the human genome. Ewan’s main areas of research include functional genomics, DNA algorithms, statistical methods to analyse genomic information (in particular information associated with individual differences in humans and Medaka fish) and use of images for chromatin structure.

Ewan is a non-executive Director of Genomics England, and a consultant and advisor to a number of companies, including Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Dovetail Genomics and GSK. Ewan was elected an EMBO member in 2012, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.

He has received a number of awards including the 2003 Francis Crick Award from the Royal Society, the 2005 Overton Prize from the International Society for Computational Biology and the 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award for contributions in Open Source Bioinformatics





Dr Kathie Grant

Dr Kathie Grant is an internationally recognised expert in the field of foodborne pathogens with 30 years experience in clinical and public health microbiology and a research interest in exploiting whole genome sequencing (WGS) of bacterial pathogens to improve the understanding and control of foodborne bacterial illness.  She is currently Head of Public Health England’s Gastrointestinal Bacteria Reference Unit at Colindale, United Kingdom which is the national reference laboratory for a range of foodborne pathogens including Salmonella,E. coliVTEC, CampylobacterListeria monocytogenes andClostridium botulinum. Since joining the laboratory in 2001 she has championed the use of molecular methods leading to improvements in the detection and investigation of bacterial foodborne disease within the UK. Her laboratory is one of the first laboratories in the world to implement the use of WGS for routine bacterial reference service delivery.



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Kevin Davies, PhD

Author, The $1,000 Genome and Cracking the Genome; 

Founding Editor, Nature Genetics;

Executive Editor, The CRISPR Journal

Kevin Davies is a scientific editor, author and publisher. 25 years after establishing Nature Geneticsas the founding editor, he launched The CRISPR Journal, a new peer-review journal on gene editing (published by Mary Ann Liebert Inc.) He has also served as editor-in-chief of Cell Press and publisher of Chemical & Engineering News

Kevin is the author of several popular science books includingCracking the Genome and The $1,000 Genome. Last year he joined Jim Watson and Andrew Berry as a co-author of DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution. He is also the recipient of a 2017 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and is working on a new book on genome editing.

Kevin graduated with a degree in biochemistry from Oxford University and obtained his PhD in human genetics from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London. After a pair of pathetic postdoctoral fellowships at MIT and Harvard Medical School, he sought refuge from the lab in science publishing, landing a job as genetics editor for Naturemagazine. 




Invited Speakers 


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Professor Mark Akeson

Dr. Akeson is a Professor of Biomolecular Engineering and a member of the Genomics Institute at the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA. Beginning in 1996, he helped pioneer nanopore DNA and RNA strand sequencing. He has been a consultant to Oxford Nanopore Technologies since 2008.



Niall Gormley_3

Niall Gormley, Illumina

Niall is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin (BA, Natural Sciences) and the University of York (DPhil, Chemistry). As a postdoc, first at the University of Leicester and later the University of Bristol, his research interests focused on elucidating the mechanisms of enzymes that interact with DNA, including topoisomerases and unconventional endonucleases. In 2001, Niall left academia and joined Solexa as one of its first few employees. Alongside his colleagues he developed Solexa’s ‘Next-Gen Sequencing’ technology that was acquired in 2007 by Illumina and today underpins the global Genomics revolution. He invented and developed some of the fundamental processes of Solexa/Illumina’s NGS biochemistry, including the ligation-based and surface-based transposome library preparation workflows. Today, Niall is a Principal Scientist at Illumina, based in Cambridge in the UK where he leads a team of scientists focusing on creating and developing novel workflows for preparing samples for sequencing on Illumina’s platforms.




Dr Lia Chappell

I'm a molecular biologist who loves to tackle a tricky problem. I’m currently working on new methods to get RNA-seq and other related types of data from single cells at a large scale at low cost, based in the Voet group at the Sanger Institute. My work on technology development takes place within the context of two single cell consortiums; one is focused on immunology within in the thymus and the other focuses on early mammalian development. Much of my previous work has been focused on getting RNA-seq to work well in highly AT-rich malaria parasites, including Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium knowlesi. I also spent just over a year in the R&D team in the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where I worked on developing molecular biology protocols that use high throughput DNA sequencing platforms. Highlights of this year included a project to implement higher throughput and lower cost RNA-seq, and the implementation of the PCR-free RNA-seq protocol ("DAFT-seq") I developed in my PhD within our DNA pipelines. 




Barry Merriman, Ph.D. 

Roswell Biotechnologies, Inc.

Chief Science Officer & Co-Founder

Dr. Merriman is the Chief Science Officer and Co-founder of Roswell Biotechnologies. Dr. Merriman has over 30 years of broad experience in scientific research and technology development, with deep expertise in DNA sequencing technology and associated applications. Prior to this, Dr. Merriman served as VP of Global Technology Assessment at Human Longevity, Inc., working directly with genome sequencing pioneer Craig Venter to create the technology stack for a comprehensive approach to precision medicine and precision oncology. Prior to that, at Life Technologies and Thermo Fisher, Dr. Merriman was Lead System Architect for Advanced DNA Sequencing Technology and also Chief Science Officer of the Enterprise Genomics Solutions Business.  In those capacities, he architected the future sequencing technology roadmap for the company, including creating the programs resulting in the Ion Torrent sequencing platform and the Genia sequencing platform (acquired by Roche).  He also architected population-scale genome sequencing programs globally, including the national program for the government of Saudi Arabia. For these works, Dr. Merriman received the Life Technologies’ “Game Changer” award, the highest honor for work that transforms the company. Before working in Industry, Dr. Merriman served on the faculty of UCLA for 20 years, leading interdisciplinary research spanning mathematics, physics, engineering, computer science, genetics and genomics.  Dr. Merriman has published extensively, with an H-index of 49 and over 15,000 citations, and has given over 70 invited lectures  internationally. Dr. Merriman has a PhD. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Chicago, as well as a B.S. in Mathematics and B.S. in Physics from The University of Washington.





Clive G Brown

Clive Brown

Chief Technology Officer

Clive is Chief Technology Officer at Oxford Nanopore. On the Executive team, he is responsible for all of the Company’s product-development activities. Clive leads the specification and design of the Company’s nanopore-based sensing platform, including strand DNA/RNA sequencing and protein-sensing applications with a strong focus on scientific excellence and successful adoption by the scientific community.

Clive joined Oxford Nanopore from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (Cambridge, UK) where he played a key role in the adoption and exploitation of 'next generation' DNA sequencing platforms. This involved helping to set up the world’s largest single installation of Illumina (formerly Solexa) Genome Analyzers in a production sequencing environment, initially used to pioneer the 1000 genomes project.

From early 2003 he was Director of Computational Biology and IT at Solexa Ltd, where he was central to the development and commercialisation of the Genome Analyzer (GA). Solexa was sold to Illumina for $650m in early 2007 after the successful placement and adoption of 12 instruments. The Solexa technology, now commercialised by Illumina, is the market-leading DNA sequencing technology driving the renaissance in DNA-based discovery.

He has a strong background in computer science and genetics/molecular biology and manages interdisciplinary teams including mechanical engineering, electronics, physics, surface chemistry, electrophysiology, software engineering and applications (of the technology). Clive applies modern agile management techniques to the entire product-development lifecycle.

Clive has also held various management and consulting positions at GlaxoWellcome, Oxford Glycosciences and other EU- and US-based organisations. He has worked at the interface between computing and science, ranging from genetics to proteomics. He holds degrees in Genetics and Computational Biology from the University of York.





Daniel Mead

Wellcome Sanger Institute

Daniel works for the Directors' office running the 25th Anniversary Sequencing Project. The Sanger Institute is turning 25 in 2018 and as part of this Daniel is coordinating the sequencing of 25 novel genomes.

I joined the Directors' office in May 2017, working closely with Drs Wilson and Rayner, to deliver 25 novel genomes for public release. This will be in partnership with the Natural History Museum (amongst others) and will be focussed on aspects celebrating UK biodiversity.

Before this I worked in the PMO from October 2016 and strived to take a professional, proactive, positive, resilient, resourceful and tenacious approach to ensure success; working to get agreement from project team members at all levels of the Institute, demonstrating transparent progress and the delivery of projects.

Previously I worked on a number of projects; co-ordinating the data collection and distribution, maintaining an overview of the QC and analysis and the editing of related manuscripts. These projects are large collaborations involving up to eight different institutes based in six countries, as well as departments within the WTSI. The main projects were:

  • INTERVAL/UKBB. Investigating blood phenotype/genotype correlations in a 550,000 sample UK cohort.
  • Blueprint WP10. Broad spectrum epigenomics of three human blood cell types.

Previous to this role I worked as an advanced research assistant in the Kwiatkowski group, which was split between being focused on sample processing, management of the lab and delivery of the results to collaborators. Projects I have contributed to included:

  • TRAC. Tracking artemisinin resistance in plasmodium (malaria) parasites
  • MalariaGen genomic epidemiology network
    • Anopheles 100 genomes project
    • Human genetic variation in malaria endemic countries

Before joining the WTSI in 2008 I worked as a forensic DNA analyst at the now defunct government agency the Forensic Science Service, helping to DNA profile thousands of suspected criminals.





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Dr Pedro H. Oliveira

Pedro H. Oliveira earned his Ph.D. in Biotechnology from the Technical University of Lisbon in 2010. He initially continued his postdoctoral work at the Technical University of Lisbon, and later at Pasteur Institute in Paris. Since 2016 he holds a senior scientist position at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA. His current scientific interests center on the bioinformatics and comparative genomics/epigenomics of bacteria, particularly in the interplay between methylation, gene flux, and chromosome organization.




Gemma Langridge profile picture

Dr Gemma Langridge

I am currently a Research Fellow at UEA, involved in a variety of projects looking at genetics and metabolism in Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas. I am particularly interested in using comparative genomics, transposon mutagenesis and metabolic reconstruction methods to unpick the impact of genetic mutations on bacterial niche adaptation.




Professor James McInerney

University of Nottingham

I am the Head of the School of Life Sciences at The University of Nottingham (from Feb 1st, 2018) and principal investigator of this research group. I am also an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

My surname sounds like "Mack-And-Ernie".  I thought I'd mention it, since many people ask.

Before coming to Nottingham, I was Chair in Evolutionary Biology at The University of Manchesterand also the Director for the research domain of "Evolution, Systems and Genomics" at the University of Manchester.

My BSc and PhD were awarded by University College Galway, where I studied from 1987 until 1994. Subsequently I worked as a post-doc at the National Diagnostics Centre in Galway and in the Department of Zoology at The Natural History Museum, London. In 1999 I set up the bioinformatics research group at NUI Maynooth and became the director of the Genetics and Bioinformatics degree course. For the academic year 2012-2013, I took a sabbatical at the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard University, USA.  In 2015 I moved my research to The University of Manchester to take up a chair in evolutionary biology. In 2016 I was appointed as the director of the research domain of "Evolution, Systems and Genomics" in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at the University of Manchester.

I was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2015 and as a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 2016.  In 2015, I was recognised by the Irish government with a conference ambassador award by the Minister for Tourism.  I was elected secretary of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution for the period 2013-2017.  In 2013, I was awarded a DSc by the National University of Ireland for a thesis entitled "Studies on the evolution of genes and genomes".  I have served as an Associate Editor of Molecular Biology and Evolution since 2009 and as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Experimental Zoology since 2011.  I am also a scientific associate of The Natural History Museum, London.




Professor Federica Di Palma

Prof Federica Di Palma (PI) is the Director of Science at the Earlham Institute (EI), (and director of the BRIDGE Colombia network of researchers across the UK and Colombia).

Prof Di Palma leads a number of research programmes aimed at understanding the evolution of complex traits and the regulatory processes underlying evolutionary change. Her research spans a wide variety of vertebrate species including mammals and cichlids. She is also interested in using this genomic information for understanding keys organisms important for food security as well as the conservation of threatened and endangered species.

She has also implemented several research programmes for countries on the DAC list aimed at building partnerships, generating genomic resources and delivering technical training events in genomics and informatics.

Prof Di Palma received her Ph.D. in Immunogenetics from the Institute for Animal Health and the University of Reading, and was subsequently awarded a Fogarty Fellowship from the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIH). She was at the Hubbard Centre for Genome Studies, University of New Hampshire, where she was a research scientist and manager of the genome centre with a focus on environmentally important species. Before moving to Norwich, she was at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard where she served as Assistant Director of Vertebrate Genome Biology, and remains a visiting scientist. Prof Di Palma holds honorary Professorship positions at the School of Biological Science and Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia.




Professor Cathryn Lewis

Cathryn Lewis is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology & Statistics at King’s College London, where she leads the Statistical Genetics Unit.  Her academic training is in mathematics and statistics, and she has been involved in genetic studies since her PhD. She co-chairs the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium Major Depressive Disorder Working group, and leads the NIHR Maudsley BRC Biomarkers and Genomics theme. Her multi-disciplinary research group identifies and characterises genetic variants conferring risk of disease, including depression, schizophrenia, and stroke. A major focus is risk assessment, determining how the polygenic component of mental health disorders can be measured accurately and communicated effectively.  





Professor D. Gareth R. Evans

Professor Evans has established a national and international reputation in clinical and research aspects of cancer genetics, particularly in neurofibromatosis and breast cancer. 

He has published 719 peer reviewed research publications; 266 as first or senior author. He has published over 120 reviews and chapters and has had a book published by Oxford University Press on familial cancer. He has an ISI web of knowledge H-index of 97 and google scholar of 132 having only published his first article in 1990. In the last 7 years he has raised over £45 million in grants for multicentre and local studies – approximately £38 million to Manchester. He is Chief Investigator on two NIHR program grants (2009-2014-£1.59 million) (2017-2020-£1million) on breast cancer risk prediction and also has an NIHR RfPB grant as CI (2011).  He as supervised 13 successful doctoral theses and is currently supervising five. He has led a successful bid for a Nationally funded NF2 service (£7.5 million pa) that started in 2010 and is involved in the national complex NF1 service. He is overall cancer lead (3 themes) and Cancer Prevention Early detection theme lead on the successful all Manchester NIHR Biomedical research centre bid (2017-2022-£28.5million). He is lead clinician on the NICE familial breast cancer guideline group and until recently a trustee of Breast Cancer Now and the Neuro Foundation. He is on the editorial board of JNCI and is a board member of the Science Strategy Committee of Breast Cancer Now.





Dr Greg Elgar

Director of Sequencing, Genomics England

Greg Elgar has been working with genomes for nearly 30 years. He did his PhD in Cambridge with Sydney Brenner, characterising the Pufferfish (Fugu) genome and has pursued an academic career in comparative vertebrate genomics via Cambridge, the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, QMUL, MRC National Institute for Medical Research and The Crick Institute, before taking on the role of Director of Sequencing at Genomics England at the beginning of this year. His main research focus throughout has been on understanding the nature and function of conserved non-coding regulatory elements in vertebrate genomes.





Professor Rachel M. Chalmers


Rachel Chalmers has been Director of the national Cryptosporidium Reference Unit (Public Health Wales Microbiology and Health Protection, Singleton Hospital, Swansea) since January 2000, providing the national reference service including laboratory testing, genotyping and investigation of outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis. Current research includes: improving methods for detecting and genotyping gastrointestinal protozoa in clinical, food, water and environmental samples; assessing public health risks from different sources; and investigating the long-term health effects of infection. She is an advisor to the WHO in food and waterborne diseases caused by protozoan parasites. 

Rachel has co-authored over 100 scientific papers and articles, and led the production of guidance for the investigation of cryptosporidium cases linked to swimming pools. In 2013 she was made Honorary Professor in Swansea Medical School.





Dr Matt Berriman

Matt is a Senior Group Leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.  His group study the parasites that cause malaria and neglected tropical diseases.  Using large-scale comparative and functional genomics approaches, they study genes associated with major biological traits or with potential for exploitation as targets for intervention.  For more than a decade Matt’s team have produced genome sequences for many of the most important parasite species.  In particular, his team have produced and curated numerous reference genomes for species of malaria parasites.  He is particularly interested in the evolution of large repertoires of host-interacting genes that play important roles in the establishment and maintenance of infections.





Professor Matthew Fisher

Prof Matthew Fisher works on emerging pathogenic fungi and heads a research group at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College London. His research uses an evolutionary framework to investigate the biological and environmental factors that are driving emerging fungal diseases across human, wildlife and plant species. The environment plays a key role in the emergence of fungal disease by providing a deep ecological well of diversity from which previously unknown pathogens spring. Conversely, human action impacts on patterns of fungal disease via the perturbation of natural systems, the introduction, and the spread of pathogenic fungi into naive environments, and by rapid natural selection for phenotypes such as resistance to antifungal chemicals. These interactions are leading to an upswing of new fungal infections in new places, and causing new diseases. MatthewFisher’s  research group is focused on developing genomic, epidemiological and experimental models to uncover the factors driving emerging fungal pathogens, and to attempt to develop new methods of diagnosis and control  - work that is exemplified by work in his group on amphibian-infecting chytrids, aspergillosis, penicilliosis and cryptocococcosis worldwide @fisher_mat @chytridcrisis @fisher_lab






Dr Alan Walker

I am a microbiologist by training with specific interests in the bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tracts of mammalian hosts. After receiving a BSc (Hons) in Microbiology from the University of Aberdeen I studied for my PhD at the Rowett Institute and at the University of Dundee, specialising in gut microbiology and the role that intestinal bacteria play in the breakdown of dietary fibre. Following my PhD I spent eight years at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, before moving to my current post as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. My current research uses a combination of anaerobic culturing and DNA sequencing techniques to better characterise gut microbial communities, and shed light on the roles these microbes play both in health and in disease.




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Dr Lesley Hoyles

Institution: Nottingham Trent University

Title: Dr

Position Held: Associate Professor (Reader) in Microbiology

Dr Lesley Hoyles is a gut microbiologist, and a trained computational biologist. She works in the field of translational systems biology, using her unique skill set to investigate host–microbiome interactions and co-metabolism in humans, and animal and in vitro models.






Dr Dario Riccardo Valenzano

Dario Riccardo Valenzano, Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Cologne, Germany

Dario Riccardo Valenzano leads a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany. He studied Biology and Neuroscience in Italy at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, and after a postdoc in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University, in 2013 he established his research group in Cologne. His research is focused on understanding how evolution shapes life history traits (development, sexual maturation, aging) and how aging and longevity affect fitness in wild populations. His group also investigates what is the impact of the commensal gut microbial community on the host’s aging and he is developing strategies to modulate lifespan targeting the gut microbiota. His main model system is the naturally short-lived turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri), which he started to develop as a novel model organism during graduate school. He devotes his time doing computational work and supervising scientific projects in his lab in Cologne, and once a year he conducts fieldwork in the African savannah, where he studies his favorite fish in their natural habitat.





Professor Bertie Gottgens

Bertie Göttgens graduated from Tübingen University in 1992 with a degree in biochemistry.  He received his DPhil in biological sciences from the University of Oxford in 1994 and then proceeded to a post-doc position in the Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge, between 1994-2001.

Between 2002-2007 he was a Leukaemia Research Fund Lecturer in the Department of Haematology, Cambridge. He was then a University Lecturer, and subsequently a Reader in Haematology, between 2007-2011.

Since October 2011, Bertie has been Professor of Molecular Haematology, University of Cambridge. He is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the incoming president of the International Society for Experimental Hematology.



Virginia Howick

Dr Virginia Howick

 Virginia obtained her PhD from Cornell University in 2015 where she studied the evolution and genetic architecture of insect immunity. She is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Wellcome Sanger Institute where she is working on vector-parasite interactions between the Anopheles mosquito and the malaria parasite using single-cell genomics.




Professor Wolf Reik

Wolf Reik obtained his MD from the University of Hamburg. He did his thesis work with Rudolf Jaenisch, and postdoctoral work with Azim Surani in Cambridge. He became a Fellow of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine at Cambridge and subsequently the Head of the Epigenetics Programme at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge and its Associate Director. He is honorary Professor of Epigenetics at the University of Cambridge and Associate Faculty at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where he isa founding member of the recently established Centre for Single Cell Genomics. He is a Member of EMBO, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Society, and Member of the Academia Europaea.

His research interests are in epigenetics, particularly in epigenetic reprogramming during mammalian development and its role in stem cell biology and inheritance. His current work addresses the mechanisms of genome-wide demethylation in the mammalian germline, links between reprogramming and pluripotency, the potential for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, and the role of epigenetic mechanisms in experimental reprogramming. His lab also develops new epigenomics technologies especially in small numbers of cells.




Peter Vegh

Peter Vegh has earned his PhD in Genetics at Trinity College Dublin in 2015. He is currently a Research Associate at the Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University. His research focuses on the study of immune cells, using cytometry and next-generation sequencing.





Professor William Martin

Bill Martin's work is mainly devoted to understanding the role of physiology in evolution. His favorite topics include the two major transitions in microbial evolution: the origin of eukaryotes and the origin of life. He has published over 300 papers, many of them in leading interdisciplinary journals. His work hs been cited 29000 times, his h index is 84. He is a member of several academic societies, including EMBO, this year he is President of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. He has been awarded several scientific prizes, most recently the Research Prize of the Klueh Foundation. He has given a number of distinguished lectures, including the Linus Pauling Lecture in Oregon last year and he has spoken on the origin of life at the Pontifical Academy of Science in Vatican. His work is currently funded by his second ERC advanced grant. He has been a full professor of Molecular Evolution at the University of Düsseldorf since 1999. 






Jordi Paps

Jordi Paps obtained his PhD on Genetics from the University of Barcelona (Spain). He has worked on the molecular phylogeny of the Animal Kingdom, and the origins of the animals from other eukaryotes. In the Department of Zoology (University of Oxford) he started his programme on comparative genomic analyses throughout all the major branches of the Metazoa to better understand their origins and evolution, linking the evolution of genomes and morphologies. Since September 2015 he is lecturer at the School of Biological Sciences (University of Essex).






Dr Silvia Busoms

In 2015 I was awarded a PhD in Plant Biology under a joint international supervision between University of Aberdeen and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

I now work as a post doctoral scientist at the Cell & Developmental Biology Department at the John Innes Centre, Norwich. The aim of my project is take advantage of the natural variation present in wild population of Arabidopsis thaliana and other outcrossing Brassicaceae species to study the physiological mechanisms and the genetic basis of adaptive traits. I am focus on ecological and population genomics of local edaphic adaptation, especially in traits conferring salinity tolerance.







Chris Ponting

Chris P Ponting is Professor of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, and is an Associate Faculty member of the Wellcome Sanger Institute. He is a member of the EMBO, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.




Mirjana Efremova

Mirjana Efremova

Mirjana completed her PhD in the field of computational cancer immunology at the Medical University of Innsbruck. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Sarah Teichmann’s Lab at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where she is applying single cell technologies and computational approaches to study the cellular diversity within different tissues. She is particularly interested in developing computational methods for inferring cell-cell communication networks.




Sponsor Speakers



Dr Kathryn Woodfine

Kathryn studied Molecular Genetics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and was awarded a PhD for her work in using genomic microarrays to study replication timing and other epigenetic features by the University of Cambridge. She then continued her studies into epigenetics and imprinting at Kings College London and Cancer Research UK, Cambridge. Kathryn then used her expertise in NGS and microarrays to become a field application specialist, first for Roche diagnostics, and then for Agilent Technologies. She is now a Product Specialist and very happy to answer any of your questions on Agilent’s genomics portfolio.




Danielle Folkard

Dr Danielle Folkard

Market Development Manager, QIAGEN

Danielle joined QIAGEN as the Market Development Manager for the Universal NGS Library Preparation Portfolio in January this year to support Clinical and Life Science researchers in their DNA and RNAseq applications. QIAGEN is recognised for its best-in-class extraction and sample purification technologies, and with the NGS Library Preparation kits, plus a comprehensive suite of bioinformatics tools, QIAGEN is able to deliver Sample to Insight solutions to customers.





Dr Sarah Hemmasi

Research Associate, Zymo Research

After studies of biology Sarah received her PhD in the field of molecular bacterial Toxicology at the Institute for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology in Freiburg in 2015.

In 2016 she joined Zymo Research Europe as Research Associate and since recently Sarah works at the intersection between science and marketing.







Dr Meena Anissi

NGS Field Application Scientist, Europe. Twist Bioscience



Daniel Liber

Dr Daniel Liber

WaferGen Biosystems, now part of Takara Bio.

Dr Liber has a master degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Milan, Italy, where he started working on transcriptional dis-regulation of Huntington-disease mouse-models.

Dr Liber gained his PhD at the Medical Research Council in London, UK, studying the epigenetic mechanisms regulating stem cell pluripotency and differentiation. During his post-doctoral studies at Imperial College London, he started using next-generation sequencing technologies to analyse the epigenetic landscape of normal ovarian tissues and ovarian cancers to identify markers and regulatory pathways involved in carcinogenesis. 

After leaving academia, Dr Liber further expanded his competences and knowledge of genomic technologies in both technical and commercial positions, working at some of the leading technology suppliers in the field, like Roche Sequencing Solutions, Diagenode, GATC Biotech and Illumina.

Since 2015 Dr Liber has been working on high-throughput single-cell technologies for WaferGen Biosystems, now part of Takara Bio.




Ivan K. Lukić, MD, PhD

Senior Field Application Scientist, Partek

Ivan obtained his MD and PhD from Zagreb University School of Medicine (Croatia) and moved on to postdoctoral training at University of Heidelberg (Germany). He authored or co-authored several dozen manuscripts on multiple roles that the immune system plays in health and disease. Ivan then joined Partek in 2011 and has since advised hundreds of Partek users across the globe on various aspects of experimental design and data analysis, helping them to present their stories to the world.





Andy Higgs

Advanced Analytical Technologies

Andy has had a long career in molecular biology, having spent nearly 20 years as a bench scientist at Amersham International, before embarking on a more commercially-orientated journey with a variety of different companies and technologies. He joined Advanced Analytical Technologies in April of 2017 and is heading up their UK operations and customer support services






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