Keynote Speakers
Prof. Dr. Christopher E. Mason
Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Christopher Mason is a Professor of Physiology, Biophysics, and Genomics at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction. The Mason laboratory develops computational and experimental methods to identify the functional genetic elements of the human genome and metagenome. This is achieved through the molecular profiling of extreme phenotypes, ranging from aggressive cancers to astronauts, the design of novel DNA/RNA sequencing techniques and the development of models for systems biology and metagenomics, all of which is aimed at ameliorating disease and laying the foundation to enable long-term human spaceflight. Dr. Mason has won numerous awards, namely the NIH’s Transformative R01 Award or the NASA Group Achievement Award and was named as one of the “Brilliant Ten” Scientists by Popular Science. His broad work is published in over 250 peer-reviewed papers and several legal briefs with great impact. He is an inventor on four patents, co-founded five biotechnology start-up companies, and serves as an advisor to numerous others.
Prof. Dr. Petra Schwille
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry

Prof. Dr. Petra Schwille is a director at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (Department “Cellular and Molecular Biophysics”) in Martinsried. Her research interests focus on synthetic biology, single-molecule methods, cell and membrane biophysics and signal transduction. Dr. Petra Schwille has a distinguished career in molecular biophysics and, nowadays, focuses on bottom-up approaches that aim to reconstitute cellular processes and ultimately minimal self-replicating cells. She has been honoured with numerous awards for her excellent work including the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation DFG (2010) and the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art. Dr. Petra Schwille is an Honorary Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (Physics Faculty), Munich.
Dr. Kristina Beblo Vranesevic
Research Scientist at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine at DLR

Kristina Beblo-Vranesevic is a research scientist in the research group Astrobiology headed by Petra Rettberg in the Radiation Biology department at the Institute of Aerospace medicine at DLR in Cologne. She is interested in Biology, Microbiology and Astrobiology and is a member of the Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAMM), the German astrobiology society (DabG) and the European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA). She is currently involved in the space experiments MEXEM and IceCold from the European Space Agency (ESA) as a co-investigator and worked recently on the MARSBOx project in cooperation with NASA investigating the fungal and bacterial endurance from a balloon-flown analogue mission in the stratosphere.
Prof. Dr. Kirstin Gutekunst
University of Kassel

Dr. Kirstin Gutekunst is a professor of Plant Physiology, Bioenergetics in Photoautotrophs at the University of Kassel. Until recently she was leading a research group at the University of Kiel. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Kiel (Thesis: „Regulation of the bidirectional NiFe hydrogenase in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803“). Additionally, she performed postdoctoral research at the University of Kiel and the Arizona State University, USA. Her research interests focus on bioenergetics in photoautotrophs, studying the hydrogen metabolism in cyanobacteria and the central carbohydrate metabolism of cyanobacteria and plants.
Prof. Dr. James J. Collins
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jim Collins is the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, as well as a Member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences & Technology Faculty. He is also a Core Founding Faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He is one of the founders of the field of synthetic biology, and his research group is currently focused on using synthetic biology to create next-generation diagnostics and therapeutics. Professor Collins' patented technologies have been licensed by over 25 biotech, pharma and medical devices companies, and he has helped to launch a number of companies, including Synlogic and Sherlock Biosciences. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Rhodes Scholarship and a MacArthur "Genius" Award, and he is an elected member of all three national academies - the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.
PD Dr. Daniel Mertens
German Cancer Research Centre

PD Dr.rer.nat. Daniel Mertens heads two research groups, one group at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) and a research group at the Ulm University Hospital. As a scientist, Daniel Mertens is the author of 92 publications that have been cited more than 4000 times by colleagues ( He has received more than €5 million in grants from external third-party funders to finance his research and coordinates international research networks ( and Since 2011, he has been training scientists, physicians, administrators and staff in the framework of "Scientists Need More!" in transferable skills ( So far, >7000 participants took part in international workshops in Europe, USA and Africa.
Dr. Verena Heise
Freelance researcher, trainer and consultant for open and reproducible research

Verena Heise is currently a freelance researcher, trainer and infrastructure developer for Open Science. She is also a molecular biologist, neuroscientist and epidemiologist by training. After finishing the MSc Molecular Biosciences in Heidelberg, she continued her research career at Oxford University, investigating the biological mechanisms underlying human brain ageing and neurodegeneration. At her return to Germany, she focused on meta-research to investigate how Open Science practices improve reliability of research findings in biomedical sciences. Verena is also very passionate about reducing research waste through promoting transparency, better research practices, education and changing incentives. She is involved in several initiatives to instigate much-needed cultural change in research. You can find out more about Verena on
Dr. Anne Osterrieder
Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford

Anne Osterrieder is a Public Engagement Coordinator at MORU (Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit), Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, at the University of Oxford. In her role, she is supporting MORU’s community and stakeholder engagement activities on topics such as antimicrobial resistance, malaria, COVID-19, or data sharing. Anne obtained a PhD in Plant Cell Biology at Oxford Brookes University in 2008. She continued to work at Oxford Brookes in academic ‘hybrid’ roles until 2019, combining her interests in biology, higher education and science communication. Anne has experience in coordinating public engagement activities, with a focus on social media and online engagement, science festivals, public involvement and stakeholder engagement workshops, as well as researcher training and capacity-building. You can follow Anne on Twitter at @AnneOsterrieder.
Dr. Caroline Wood
Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford

Caroline Wood is a Communications Officer for the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford. Caroline’s role is to maximise the impact of large, population-level studies, by strategically communicating new results to a wide range of audiences including journalists, healthcare providers, policy makers, funding bodies and the general public. Before joining the University of Oxford, Caroline worked as a policy officer for the Science and Technology Facilities Council (one of the UK’s major Research Councils) and as a science researcher for the UK Parliament. She holds a PhD from the University of Sheffield and she has been a freelance science writer for over ten years, specialising in plant science, sustainability issues and food science topics.
Prof. Dr. Dietelmo Pievani
University of Padua

Telmo Pievani (1970) is Full Professor at the Department of Biology, University of Padua, where he covers the first Italian chair of Philosophy of Biological Sciences. Past President (2017-2019) of the Italian Society of Evolutionary Biology, he is Fellow of several academic Institutions and scientific societies. He is member of the editorial boards of several journals, such as Evolution: Education and Outreach, Evolutionary Biology or the Italian edition of Scientific American. He is author of over 275 publications and several books, namely “Homo sapiens. The Great History of Human Diversity” (Codice Edizioni, 2011, with L.L. Cavalli Sforza); “Imperfection. A natural history” (Cortina, 2019); “The Earth after us” (Contrasto, 2019; with F. Lanting’s photos) or “Finitude” (Cortina, 2020). Fellow of the Scientific Board of science festivals in Italy, since 2014 he is fellow of the International Scientific Council of MUSE in Trento. With Niles Eldredge, Ian Tattersall and Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, he was also the Curator of International science exhibitions. Personal website:
Dior Vargas
Mental Health Activist

Dior Vargas, MS, MPH (she/her) is a Queer Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist and creator of the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, a response to the invisibility of BIPOC in the media representation of mental illness. She is also the editor of The Color of My Mind, a photo essay book based on the photo project. Dior is the recipient of numerous awards, including the White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations under the Obama Administration. She tours the country delivering keynotes, hosting workshops, and speaking on panels, and her work and insight have been covered in media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, and Newsweek. Dior has a BA in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College, an MS in Publishing from Pace University, and an MPH from New York University. She is a native New Yorker and lives in New York City.
Dr. Nikoline Borgermann
Ava Sustain

Nikoline Borgermann is a biochemist by training and an environmentalist by heart! Nikoline studied biochemistry in Denmark and Germany (Berlin), and she did a Ph.D. at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research (CPR) in Copenhagen where she studied genomic stability. She also founded the local green task force, CPR Goes Green, which is a grassroots movement that promotes sustainability at the center. After a short postdoc, Nikoline left academia to work as an independent, value-driven green lab consultant. She now helps public research institutions and private companies reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint of their laboratories.
Christopher Jackson
University of California, Berkeley

Christopher Jackson is a PhD candidate in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley where his research focuses on developing nanomaterial tools for biomolecule delivery in plants. As a science policy advocate, he has held leadership positions with Engineers & Scientists Acting Locally, the Science Policy Group at Berkeley, and the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative. Additionally, he has served as an editor for the Journal of Science Policy & Governance and the Berkeley Science Review. Chris frequently writes and advocates for public policy related to science, energy, climate, immigration, and equity.
Asst Prof. Dr. Kanya Long
University of California San Diego

Kanya Long is Assistant Professor in the University of California San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. Dr. Long’s epidemiological and laboratory research has focused on mosquito-borne virus transmission dynamics. In addition, she has extensive experience managing international public health field studies, including community- and clinic-based disease surveillance and rapid diagnostic testing. Dr. Long has developed a public health policy focus, with current research on collaborative governance for field trials of gene drive organisms to reduce vector-borne diseases and promote conservation aims. Dr. Long has a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Texas Medical Branch, M.H.S. in International Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and postdoctoral training in vector biology at the University of California Davis.
Dr. Kerstin Hermuth-Kleinschmidt

Kerstin Hermuth-Kleinschmidt holds a PhD in chemistry from the university of Freiburg. She worked for several years in sales and technical customer service for products in the life science industry, before she turned her attention to the topic of sustainability. As an independent consultant, speaker and author of publications on various aspects of sustainability, her focus is on the practical implementation of sustainability in scientific work and research.
Charlotte Hågård
LinkedIn and Career expert

Charlotte Hågård is a LinkedIn and Career expert, specialised on personal and employer branding. Since 1992 she is an internationally recognized thought-leader and popular speaker on personal branding in social media, career planning, the new world of work and leadership. She is also a bestselling author of 9 books in the Career & Personal branding field, with her latest book being "STAND OUT ON LINKEDIN! – Create business and career success". Charlotte Hågård founded the first career consulting company in Sweden in 1992 and has been the Swedish partner of Career Partners International (CPI) for many years. In 2018, she founded the Social Branding Group and, since 2012 she also works as an external lecturer at Uppsala University and Folkuniversitetet. ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Read more on and CONNECT with her on
Prof. Dr. Marcus Munafò
University of Bristol

Marcus Munafò is Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Bristol, and Programme Lead within the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit. Together with Angela Attwood and Olivia Maynard, he leads the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group ( His research interests focus on causal influences on and consequences of health behaviours, using approaches that include epidemiology, human laboratory studies, and field trials. He is also interested in how current incentive structures within science shape the behaviour of scientists, and have an impact on the quality of published work. He recently, together with colleagues from Cardiff, Oxford, Imperial College and Edinburgh, established the UK Reproducibility Network (
Dr. Frank-Hagen Hofmann
Student Services Heidelberg

Dr. Frank-Hagen Hofmann is a clinical psychologist and licensed psychotherapist (CBT). He is currently working at the Student Services Heidelberg at Psychosocial Counseling for Students as Senior psychologist and head of the Counseling Centre. He also works as a psychotherapist in private practice, next to being a teacher at psychotherapy training sites. His research interests lie in mental health of students, integrative counseling and psychotherapy, prokrastination, perfectionism as well as achievement orientation, next to others. Dr. Frank-Hagen Hofmann obtained his diploma in psychology and PhD in “Counseling and Creativity” from Heidelberg university and the university hospital of Heidelberg. He made a PostDoc in Counseling for Junior Scientists and was the deputy head of the Counseling Centre for students at Heidelberg university for several years.
Dr. Adrian Schomburg
Eisbach Bio GmbH

Dr. Adrian Schomburg is the CEO and co-founder of Eisbach Bio, a Munich based start-up company developing novel drugs that target chromatin regulatory mechanisms essential to tumors. Adrian Schomburg is a drug discovery expert with over 10 years of experience in pharma and biotech. He moved projects successfully through drug discovery - from target identification to the delivery of preclinical and development candidates. In his former roles at Pfizer and Proteros, he kick-started collaborative R&D projects in epigenetics with big pharma. He is also the founder of Octamer which focuses on the development and production of high-quality nucleosomes for industrial use. Dr. Schomburg has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, MBA degree awarded by the Technical University of Munich and pre-doctoral training at the NIH, Bethesda.
Dr. Stephanie Rohac

Dr. Stephanie Rohac is an expert in communication, leadership and change. As an organizational and communication psychologist, her passion is to empower people and organisations in industry, politics and science.
Dipl.-Psych. Angela Wagner

Angela Wagner holds a doctorate in psychology and works as a freelancer since 1989. She offers a collection of seminars and training to managers, executives, teams and workgroups dealing with public health, problem-solving – decision making, social competencies and conflict solving as well as time management and work-life balance. Angela Wagner describes her personal work philosophy as follows: “My personal view of the human is characterized by the respect of the individual and the belief in the possibility of development of the personal potential. Personal changes need an atmosphere of confidence and sympathy. I offer and open this space for my clients and within my seminars by heart and with my mind.”
Prof. Dr. Stefan Jansson
Umeå University

Stefan Jansson is professor in Plant Cell and Molecular Biology at Umeå Plant Science Centre and Umeå University, Sweden. His research focus on regulation of photosynthesis light harvesting, and also on tree genetics/genomics/natural variation, for example working on autumnal senescence. He is member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and has been active in societal discussions about plant science, GMOs and genome editing in plants.