Professor Vito Ferro

Vito Ferro completed his PhD at the University of Western Australia under the guidance of Bob Stick in 1992. Following postdoctoral studies at the Carlsberg Laboratory (with Klaus Bock and Morten Meldal) and the University of British Columbia (with Steve Withers) he returned to Australia in 1996 to join Progen Pharmaceuticals where he spent 12 years in various positions, including Director of Drug Discovery. Following a brief period at QUT in the CRC for Polymers he moved to the University of Queensland in 2010 where he is a Professor and Medicinal Chemistry Theme Leader in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences. His research interests are in carbohydrate and medicinal chemistry, with a focus on the synthesis of compounds to probe and/or inhibit carbohydrate-protein interactions involved in disease processes. Of particular interest is heparan sulfate (HS) and the development of HS mimetics as potential drugs for cancer, infectious diseases and lysosomal storage disorders.

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Dr Kamil Godula

Dr. Godula earned his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from Columbia University and trained as a NIH K99 postdoctoral fellow with Carolyn Bertozzi in chemical glycobiology at UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His research in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Glycobiology Research and Training Center at UCSD focuses on developing carbohydrate-based nanomaterials for glycomics platforms and chemical methods for tailoring glycan presentation and activity at cellular boundaries. His lab employs these novel tools to study host-pathogen interactions and to influence cellular differentiation in stem cells. Dr. Godula is the recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award. He has been named an NIH Director’s New Innovator, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, and a Cottrell Scholar.

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Associate Professor Daniel Kolarich

Originally from Vienna, Austria, Daniel has been fortunate to have the chance to learn from great mentors and scientists. His scientific journey took him from his hometown Vienna, where he received his PhD, via a post-doctoral fellowship to Sydney at Macquarie University before he got the opportunity to join the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces as a group leader and start his independent career. In 2017 he returned to Australia as an ACR Future fellow and joined the Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University as a research leader to establish the Advanced Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, and now Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) International Centre for Cancer Glycomics. His team is dedicated to developing and using glycomics and glycoproteomics, two technologies that allow translation the glyco-code of cells, to decipher how glycosylation is involved in the regulation and pathogenesis of diseases such as cancer, but also in stem cell signalling as well as the evolution of the glyco-code in animals. This fundamental understanding of the glyco-code regulation opens unprecedented opportunities for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer, but also delivers valuable insights into the transmission pathways of zoonotic pathogens.

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Associate Professor Megan Lord

Megan Lord is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, UNSW Sydney. Her research interests include the design of cell-biomaterial interactions for applications in drug delivery and tissue repair. Megan is the recipient of the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2022), Barry Preston Award from the Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand (2022), Dean’s award for Leadership (2020), a NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award (2014), and an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (2010).

Megan serves on the Standards Australia Committee HE-030 Biological and Clinical Evaluation of Medical Devices, which reviews and ratifies ISO 10993 and TC194, the international standard that evaluates the biocompatibility of medical devices and manages biological risk. She is a Council Member for the International Society for Matrix Biology and has been the President of the Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand (2019-2021). Megan is the founding Academic Director of the Australian Graduate School of Engineering Industry PhD Program within the Faculty of Engineering, UNSW Sydney where she has established a program for higher degree research candidates to develop industry-ready skills and professional networks positioning them for their next role whether in industry or academia.

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Associate Professor Jenny Mortimer

Jenny Mortimer is Associate Professor of Plant Synthetic Biology at the University of Adelaide (UoA), Australia, in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine & The Waite Research Institute. She is Chief Investigator (CI) and UoA node leader on the newly formed ARC Centre of Excellence Plants for Space (P4S). She is also an Affiliate Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA, and a Director of Plant Systems Biology at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, USA. After completing her PhD at Cambridge University, UK, she began exploring how engineering the plant cell wall could deliver sustainable and economically viable biofuels: first as a postdoc in Cambridge, then as a research fellow at RIKEN Japan, before joining Berkeley Lab in 2014, and Adelaide in 2021. Her team’s research focuses on understanding and manipulating plant cell metabolism, with a focus on complex glycosylation. The goal is to develop crops which contribute to a sustainable and renewable bioeconomy.

At Adelaide, her group is using synthetic biology to develop new crops for food and materials production in controlled growth environments – including for Space settlement (P4S), applying new agricultural biotechnologies to develop resilient field crops as a CI in the ARC Training Centre for Future Crops Development, and developing Australian feedstocks for sustainable jet fuel as a CI in ARC Research Hub for Engineering Plants to Replace Fossil Carbon. In the US, her group works to reengineer the plant cell wall for the sustainable production of fuels and biochemicals from biomass, and to enhance plant-microbiome interactions for sustainable biomass crop production. She was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Scientist (2016/17), where she contributed to the WEF Code of Ethics for Researchers (widgets.weforum.org/coe), and she is an editor for the journals Plant Cell Physiology and Plant Cell Reports.

ASG Jenny Mortimer

Associate Professor Jia Niu

Jia Niu is an associate professor of chemistry at Boston College. He obtained a B.S. degree (2005) and a M.S. degree (2008) from Tsinghua University in China. He then moved to the United States to pursue a PhD degree at Harvard University, working with Professor David R. Liu on the enzyme-free translation and directed evolution of synthetic polymers. After working as a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratories of Professor Craig Hawker and Professor Tom Soh at University of California, Santa Barbara, Jia was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at Boston College in 2017. He was promoted to associate professor in 2023. Currently, Jia and his group are focused on developing sustainable plastics using biobased building blocks, understanding functional roles of sulfation patterns in polysaccharide and proteins, and the directed evolution of functional nucleic acids. Jia is a recipient of American Chemical Society CARB Division David Y. Gin New Investigator Award (2024), Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2023), ACS PMSE Division Young Investigator Award (2021), NSF CAREER Award (2020), NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2019), and Beckman Young Investigator Award (2019).

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Associate Professor Morten Thaysen-Andersen

Associate Professor Morten Thaysen-Andersen heads the Analytical Glycoimmunology group at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Additionally, he was recently recruited as Visiting Professor at Nagoya University, Japan to set up a satellite lab in Clinical Glycoproteomics at the Institute for Glyco-core Research (iGCORE). Across the two laboratories, his glycobiology-focused research programme aims to advance our understanding of the human innate immune system and immune-related diseases including microbial infections, inflammation, sepsis and cancer. His team develops and applies innovative glycomics and glycoproteomics technologies using sophisticated mass spectrometry approaches while also drawing on analytical tools in protein and carbohydrate chemistry and methods in immunology, structural biology, microbiology and molecular and cell biology to unravel fundamental glycobiological processes within the innate immune system.

ASG Thaysen Andersen