Guest Speakers

Hannah Landecker is a historian and sociologist of the life sciences. She holds a joint appointment in the Life and Social Sciences at UCLA, where she is a Professor in the Sociology Department, and the Institute for Society and Genetics, an interdisciplinary unit at UCLA committed to cultivating research and pedagogy at the interface of the life and human sciences. Landecker is the author of Culturing Life: How Cells Became Technologies (Harvard UP, 2007), and has written widely on biotechnology and society in work funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, The American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is co-director of the UCLA Center for Reproductive Science, Health and Education at UCLA, and a member of the Senior Editorial team of BioSocieties.

Oron Catts is an artist, researcher and curator whose pioneering work with the Tissue Culture and Art Project which he established in 1996 is considered a leading biological art project. In 2000, he co-founded SymbioticA, an artistic research centre housed within the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia. Under Catts’ leadership SymbioticA has gone on to win the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica in Hybrid Art (2007) the WA Premier Science Award  (2008) and became a Centre for Excellence in 2008. In 2009 Catts was recognised by Thames & Hudson’s “60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future” book in the category “Beyond Design”, and by Icon Magazine (UK) as one of the top 20 Designers, “making the future and transforming the way we work.”

Lindsay Kelley is Senior Lecturer at the School of Art and Design, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University. The recipient of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, she is the author of Bioart Kitchen: Art, Feminism and Technoscience and has exhibited and performed internationally. Her most recent book is After Eating: Metabolizing the Arts (MIT Press 2023).

Zach Gerhart-Hines obtained his PhD from the lab of Pere Puigserver, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, US where he focused on nutrient and hormonal control of skeletal muscle and brown adipocyte metabolism. Signals or cues from the environment, diet, circadian clock, and other organs exert substantial control over the plasticity and function of adipose tissue. The overarching goal of my group is to uncover how these diverse ‘inputs’ converge on adipocytes to uniquely shape adipose tissue biology and coordinate organismal energy metabolism.  During his postdoctoral training with Mitchell Lazar at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, US, he developed strong expertise in adipose biology and metabolic phenotyping and discovered that the molecular clock controlled thermogenic fat activity. He established his independent group at the University of Copenhagen in 2014. 

Manimozhiyan Arumugam leads the Microbiome Systems Biology research group, investigating how health and diseases are influenced by our gut microbiome; how the gut microbiome interacts with the host and environmental factors; and how we can therapeutically modulate the gut microbiome to improve health. His research is interdisciplinary, combining metagenomics (a technique to study gut microbiome) and other host-microbial multi-omics readouts to study host-microbial cross-talk. He is the principal investigator in several externally funded studies investigating the role of gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis (Lundbeck Foundation), obesity (Novo Nordisk Foundation), liver diseases (EU Horizon 2020), aging (Danish Independent Research Council) and producing antimicrobial peptides (Danish Independent Research Council).

Monika Bakke writes on contemporary art and aesthetics, with a particular focus on posthumanist, gender and cross-cultural perspectives. She works in the Philosophy Department at the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland. The author of two books: Bio-transfigurations: Art and Aesthetics of Posthumanism (2010, in Polish) and Open Body (2000, in Polish), co-author of Pleroma: Art in Search of Fullness (1998), and editor of Australian Aboriginal Aesthetics (2004, in Polish), Going Aerial: Air, Art, Architecture (2006) and The Life of Air: Dwelling, Communicating, Manipulating (2011). Since 2001 she has been an editor of the Polish cultural journal Czas Kultury (Time of Culture).

Luis Graca has an MD from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and a PhD in transplant immunology from Oxford, UK. He developed his post-doctoral research first in Oxford and later in Perth, Australia. He is currently Full Professor of Immunology and Vice-Dean at the University of Lisbon Medical School, directing a research group in Cellular Immunology at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular.  His most significant scientific contributions have been related to the fields of transplantation and autoimmunity. Graca worked on the regulation of antibody production following vaccination and strategies to overcome transplant rejection and the induction of immune tolerance in autoimmunity and allergy. Among these topics, he has been especially interested in the biology of different types of regulatory T cells. Graca has been exploring the concept that in the same way specialized inflammatory responses are necessary for optimal immunity, specialized regulatory mechanisms ought to be also present. While probing this concept, Graca discovered the existence of Foxp3+ iNKT cells and, more recently, T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells specialized in regulating antibody production.