Keynote speakers

Dr. Dirk Slotboom

Dr. Dirk Slotboom is professor in structural membrane biology and scientific director of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology institute (GBB). From 1989 till 1995, he was trained as a chemist at the Free University Amsterdam and the EMBL in Heidelberg. In 2001, he obtained his PhD degree in Molecular Microbiology from the University of Groningen  on the topic of glutamate transport. From 2001 till 2005, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the characterisation of mitochondrial carriers at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK in the group of Edmund Kunji. In 2005, he started as tenure track assistant professor in Groningen, where he was promoted to full professor in 2014, and scientific director in 2020.

Dr. Bruno Silva-Santos

Dr. Bruno Silva-Santos is professor of Immunology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon (Portugal), and vice-Director and group leader at the associated Instituto de Medicina Molecular – João Lobo Antunes (iMM-JLA). He developed his PhD work on thymic T cell development under the supervision of Mike Owen at The London Research Institute (Cancer Research UK), and his post-doctoral work on gamma-delta T cell differentiation and activation with Adrian Hayday at King’s College London. As an independent group leader, he has focused on dissecting the molecular mechanisms that control the development and functional differentiation of T cell subsets; and their activation and cellular responses to infections and tumours. His translational efforts in cancer immunotherapy led him to co-found the Portuguese biotech company, Lymphact S.A., acquired in 2018 by GammaDelta Therapeutics (London, UK). He has been distinguished with nominations, awards and grants from the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), the European Research Council (ERC), the International Cytokine Society (ICS) and the European Academy of Tumour Immunology (EATI). He has made >100 international presentations of his work (in conferences or institutions) and he has published over 75 papers in top peer-reviewed international journals, including Science, Nature, Nature Immunology, Science Immunology, J Exp Med, PloS Biology, Blood, Leukemia and PNAS. He serves as Vice-Director of iMM-JLA since 2014. Bruno Silva-Santos Lab. ://orcid.org/0000-0003-4141-9302


Career talk

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Dr. Sonali Mohanty Quantius

Dr. Sonali Quantius studied at IIT, Bombay, then moved to Zurich where she pursued her studies. After graduating from the University of Zürich with a PhD in Biochemistry, Sonali changed fields from wet lab research to computational biology during her post-doctoral research in the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH, Zürich. Subsequently she joined the Pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly in Singapore and then in the US headquarters as a group leader in Computational Systems biology. A fantastic opportunity took her to Sweden next, where she joined AstraZeneca R&D in Gothenburg as a Principal Scientist. Following that, Sonali switched fields again into Human Genetics, as she moved to the UK to work in GlaxoSmithKline as a Director in Human Genetics. Sonali left the Pharmaceutical industry this year to follow her passion and interest in increasing patient safety by starting a new digital health company, HaploMed as a Founder & CEO. At the same time, she works as a senior scientist at ETH to increase citizen participation in digital health by leading the pharmacogenomics stream. In her free time, Sonali loves running and spending time with her family & friends.


Dr. Roser Vento-Torno

Dr Roser Vento-Tormo did her PhD in Barcelona, where she studied the influence of cytokines on innate immune cell differentiation. Amongst others, she characterised the molecular events downstream of IL4 that shape cell-type specific epigenetic and transcriptomic changes during dendric cell differentiation. During her postdoc at the Wellcome Sanger Institute as an EMBO and HFSP, she worked on tissue resident immune responses and focused on one of the most intriguing environments for immunologists: the maternal-fetal interface during pregnancy. She generated the first single-cell map of the maternal–fetal interface during early pregnancy and discovered new cell states and their role in controlling inflammation and ensuring a peaceful maternal and fetal co-existence in the womb. Her research is focused on the adaptation of immune cells in tissues and their function in steady state and inflammation. Her team uses genomics, spatial transcriptomics and bioinformatics tools to reconstruct the microenvironment that will shape immune cellular identity and function. She is passionate about the capacity of immune cells to communicate with their neighbours and coordinate complex, tailored responses. https://www.sanger.ac.uk/person/vento-roser/


Dr. Zoltan Fehervari

Senior Editor, Nature Immunology, Nature Research.

Senior Editor, Nature Immunology, Nature Research.Zoltan initially read Zoology at the University of Reading, UK followed by a short stint working as a marine biologist in Norway where he developed an inordinate fondness for anything without a backbone. Following this he was “re-educated” in immunological lore firstly working on corneal allografts with Andrew George at Imperial College London, and then a PhD with Anne Cooke at GSK and Cambridge University looking at immunological tolerance. He did his postdoc with Shimon Sakaguchi at Kyoto University, Japan looking at regulatory T cells. He then moved into editing firstly as the editor of Trends in Immunology before starting with Nature Immunology.