Speaker presentation

Confirmed invited speakers

Greg Winter

Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, UK

2018 Nobel Prize Laureate

Greg Winter is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and has been Master of Trinity since 2012. He was elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 1987, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1990, as well as a Fellow or Honorary Fellow of other professional organizations. He has also been awarded numerous prizes and medals and received a Knighthood for services to Molecular Biology in 2004. His main research focus is genetic and protein engineering. In his early research Greg was interested in the idea that all antibodies have the same basic structure, with only small changes making them specific for one target. He pioneered techniques to make humanised and human therapeutic antibodies, leading to antibody therapies for cancer and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. More recently he has focussed on the development of bicyclic peptides as small antibody mimics. He has established successful spin out companies including: Cambridge Antibody Technology (acquired by AstraZeneca), Domantis (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline) and Bicycle Therapeutics.

James A. Wells

Ph.D. Professor
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF

Jim pioneered the engineering of proteins, antibodies, and small molecules that target catalytic, allosteric, and protein-protein interaction sites; and technologies including protein phage display, alanine-scanning, engineered proteases for improved hydrolysis, bioconjugations, N-terminomics, disulfide “tethering” (a novel site-directed fragment based approach for drug discovery), and more recently an industrialized recombinant antibody production pipeline for the proteome. These lead to important new insights into protease mechanisms, growth factor signaling, hot-spots in protein-protein interfaces, role of caspases in biology, and more recently determining how cell surfaces change in health and disease. His team was integral to several protein products including Somavert for acromegaly, Avastin for cancer, and engineered proteases sold by Pfizer, Genentech and Genencor, respectively. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Science, American Association of Arts and Science, and the National Academy of Inventors.

Sally Ward

The Centre for Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton, UK

Sally Ward completed her Ph.D. research in the Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge University, under the mentorship of Professor David Ellar. She held the Stanley Elmore Senior Research Fellowship at Sidney Sussex College from 1988-1990 whilst carrying out research in Sir Greg Winter’s laboratory at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. In 1990 she joined the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, as an Assistant Professor. From 2002-2014, she was a Professor in the Department of Immunology at the same institution and in 2004 was appointed to the Paul and Betty Meek-FINA Professorship in Molecular Immunology. Since 2014, she has been a Professor at Texas A&M University Health Science Center. She has recently been appointed as the Director of Translational Immunology and Professor of Molecular Immunology at the Centre for Cancer Immunology at the University of Southampton. Professor Ward’s research is directed towards taking a highly interdisciplinary approach to generate effective therapeutics for autoimmunity and cancer. This involves a combination of antibody/protein engineering, fluorescence microscopy and in vivo studies in mouse models of disease. In 2010, she was the founding co-organizer of the Antibody Biology and Engineering Gordon Research Conference.

Ylva Ivarsson

Associate Professor
Uppsala University, Sweden

Ylva Ivarsson obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from Uppsala University in 2006, which was followed up by three international postdocs (Italy, Belgium and Canada) on the diverse topics such as protein folding and misfolding, protein-phospholipid interactions and motif-based protein-protein interactions.  Dr. Ivarsson was awarded a Young Investigator grant from the Swedish Research Council and returned to Sweden to start her independent lab in the Department of Chemistry, Uppsala University in July 2013.  The group combines biochemical and biophysical methods with bioinformatics and cell-based approach to explore interactions between modular domains and short linear binding motifs found in the intrinsically disordered regions of target proteomes. The research of the Ivarsson lab is focused on affinity, specificity, regulation and deregulation of motif-based interactions.

Christoph Rader
PhD, Professor
Department of Immunology and Microbiology
The Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, FL, USA

Christoph Rader studied biochemistry in Germany and Switzerland where he received his PhD from the University of Zurich in 1995. Following postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, CA, he was appointed Assistant Professor at TSRI in 1999. In 2003, he was recruited as Senior Scientist to the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He rejoined TSRI in Jupiter, FL as Associate Professor with Tenure in 2012 and was promoted to Professor in 2019. In 2018, he was appointed as Associate Dean of the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Studies at TSRI, a top ten PhD program in chemistry, biochemistry, and biology. His laboratory has focused on antibody drug and target discovery for cancer therapy including (i) the utilization of phage display for antibody generation, affinity maturation, and humanization, and for antigen discovery, (ii) the design and engineering of novel homogeneous antibody-drug conjugates and chemically programmed antibodies, and (iii) the engineering of novel T-cell engaging bispecific antibodies and chimeric antigen receptor T cells. Several antibodies developed in the Rader laboratory have reached preclinical and clinical investigations. Christoph Rader has authored >125 peer-reviewed journal articles and is named inventor on >25 issued and pending patent families. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of three biotech companies in North America and Europe.

Inger Sandlie

Centre for Immune Regulation
Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet, Norway 

Inger Sandlie is Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo and also Research group leader at Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet. She has a PhD degree from the University of Bergen (1981) in the field of nucleotide and DNA synthesis, and then did postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University (1982-1985) and the Radiumhospital in Oslo (1985-1988). Here she started her studies of antibody structure and function. She was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Oslo in 1988 and in 1995, full Professor. From 2007-2017, she was deputy director of the Centre for Immune Regulation.
Inger Sandlie has extensive experience in studies of protein interactions, has received awards for scientific innovation, and is co-inventor on numerous patents on ”Vaccibodies”, ”Phagemers” and the ”Veltis®” technology. She is co-founder of two biotechnology companies: Vaccibody A/S and Nextera A/S, and has consulted for Syntimmune A/S in Boston and Albumedix A/S in Nottingham. She serves on the board of the technology transfer office of Oslo University Hospital and the University of Oslo (Inven2 A/S), Oslo Cancer Cluster and the Investment Company Radforsk.
The Sandlie group studies the structure and function of antibodies and T-cell receptors, the specific detection molecules of the adaptive immune system. The purpose of the work is to engineer antibodies and other molecules for use in therapy and as research reagents. Collaboration within the Centre for Immune Regulation, a translational research environment, has motivated research with clinical relevance, in particular on celiac disease, using new tools. Furthermore, studies of serum half-life and biodistribution have been a focus of the group.

Sachdev Sidhu

Donnelly Centre, University of Toronto, Canada

Dr. Sachdev Sidhu is an expert in phage display technology and structure-based and combinatorial protein engineering. In 2008, after spending a decade as a principal investigator in the Department of Protein Engineering at Genentech, Inc., Dr. Sidhu joined the University of Toronto to start his academic lab. At Genentech, Dr. Sidhu led the development of phage-displayed synthetic antibody libraries that have since proven to be a rich source of valuable reagents for basic research and potential therapeutics. In addition to antibody engineering, Dr. Sidhu has extensive experience with phage display of other diverse polypeptides, including peptides, peptide-binding domains, hormones and antibody mimics. The Sidhu lab studies the relationships between protein structure and function, using phage display in conjunction with high-throughput screening and sequencing. By studying the basic principles behind phage display technology, library diversities and the scaffolds used for protein display have been greatly improved. By applying these advances to the development of synthetic antibody libraries the group has developed therapeutic antibodies for unmet medical needs.

Stefan Geschwindner

Associate Director, Head of Biophysics
AstraZeneca R&D Gothenburg; Discovery Sciences; Structure, Biophysics and FBLG

Dr. Stefan Geschwindner has during his Ph.D. at the University of Frankfurt worked with label-free technologies, predominantly with NMR to elucidate protein structures. After his Ph.D. he directly joined the Astra Structural Chemistry Laboratory as a Senior Research Scientist in 1998 with focus on protein production and characterization, thereby applying a variety of different biophysical methods. Before moving into his current role as Head of Biophysics in 2018, he had different roles as Team leader in Protein Engineering, Delivery leader for Neuroscience as well as Principal Scientist in Biophysics. During the last decade, Stefan has frequently applied affinity-based methods to facilitate the mechanistic understanding of protein-ligand interactions and to enable fragment-based lead generation approaches. He has an excellent track record for developing, implementing and utilizing new affinity-based techniques to aid early lead finding activities and to understand the molecular mode of action of drugs. In the last 5 years he authored over 30 peer-reviewed papers resulting in an h-index of 17 and > 700 citations.

Ulf Landegren

Uppsala University, Sweden

Ulf Landegren received his MD and PhD in Uppsala, Sweden, before his postdoc with Lee Hood, staying on at Caltech for five years. Since 1996 he is professor of molecular medicine in Uppsala where his research focuses on developing and applying advanced molecular tools for precision medicine at levels of nucleic acids and proteins. Examples of techniques from his lab include padlock probes for measuring and distinguishing specific DNA and RNA sequences, and proximity ligation/extension assays for highly sensitive detection of proteins or for analyzing interacting molecules in solution or in situ. 

He is a member of EMBO and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and he is Assistant head of the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University. He is a senior visiting scientist at Riken, Yokohama and a Fellow of School of Engineering at Tokyo University.

Professor Landegren has authored 200+ peer-reviewed publications, and he is inventor of 40 patents or applications. Eight biotech companies have their origins in his lab, three of which have made successful exits, and technologies from the group have been licensed to 15 international biotech and diagnostic companies. He is a member of several scientific advisory boards, including those of five biotech companies.

Fredrik Frejd

Adjunct Professor Uppsala University, Sweden
CSO Affibody AB, Sweden

Fredrik Frejd is adjunct professor at Uppsala University, with special focus on development of minimized tumor targeting agents. Fredrik is also CSO of Affibody AB, a company developing a novel class of affinity proteins based on a compact three-helical bundle protein domain, and has been involved in Affibody’s therapeutics research over the last sixteen years. He holds a Ph.D. from the Swiss federal institute of technology (ETH) under the mentorship of Professor Dario Neri, and has authored 50 publications on antibody and protein scaffold engineering with a specific focus on Affibody molecules.

John McCafferty


John McCafferty was one of the founders of Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT, now Medimmune, Cambridge) in 1990 and published the first paper/patent describing antibody phage display. This technology has proved to be robust and has gone on to widespread use in commercial and academic groups world-wide. An antibody generated by CAT using this technology has now become the world’s biggest selling drug (Humira) and another 9 phage derived antibodies have been approved.

After 12 years at CAT John returned to academia at the Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge. In 2012 John formed IONTAS, an innovative biotechnology company using phage display to develop novel antibody therapeutics. In this period John has developed a novel technology allowing the construction of very large mammalian display libraries permitting the direct discovery of high affinity antibodies with optimal biophysical properties. He has led the development of a novel molecular fusion format wherein naturally occurring, venom-derived cysteine-rich peptides (knottins) are inserted into peripheral CDR loops of an antibody. The resultant bi-specific fusion molecule (KnotBody) retains the folding and function of both knottin and antibody and combines the benefits of each.