Presidential Lecture

Santi Nonell (Presidential Lecture), IQS-Universitat Ramon Llull, Spain

Santi Nonell is Professor of Physical Chemistry at IQS-Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona. He earned a doctorate in photochemistry for work carried out at the Max-Planck-Institut für Strahlenchemie in Mülheim an der Ruhr, under supervision of Silvia Braslavsky. After a postdoctoral period visiting the Arizona State University (Tom and Ana Moore) and the University of California Los Angeles (Chris Foote), he returned to Barcelona to join the faculty of IQS. He has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications on biological photochemistry, particularly on singlet oxygen, chemical and photochemical aspects of photodynamic therapy, and solar photoprotection. He has supervised 24 PhD students and 50+ MSc students, as well as a large number of international visitors. He maintains a strong international network of collaborations and is a regular speaker at scientific conferences and research centres around the world. He serves as President of the European Society for Photobiology and Deputy Editor in Chief of the journal Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences (former Editor in Chief). He has been honoured with the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max-Planck-Society and the appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

John Spudich (Presidential Lecture), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA

Professor John Spudich holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry and is Director of the Center for Membrane Biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. A pioneer in the field of photosensory receptors, he discovered the first microbial rhodopsin with a sensory function (phototaxis signaling), and demonstrated widespread presence of sensory rhodopsins in microorganisms and diversity of their signaling mechanisms. Photosensory receptors that function as light-gated channels, cation-conducting channelrhodopsins (CCRs) and, more recently, anion-conducting channelrhodopsins (ACRs), have become highly noteworthy because of their effective use as genetically-targeted tools for photocontrol of neuron firing (optogenetics). Optogenetics has transformed research on neural circuitry, and is showing promise for gene therapy for neurological diseases, for example for vision restoration. Dr. Spudich has published over 200 research articles and commentaries and two books on photosensory biology. He is a past president of the American Society for Photobiology and is currently president of the International Union of Photobiology. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology.

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