Sebastian Amigorena obtained his PhD in Paris in 1990. After a 3 years post doc at Yale University, he returned to Paris in 1995 and started an Inserm AVENIR group together with Christian Bonnerot. Today, he is the head of the Immunology Department (INSERM U932, “Cancer Immunity”) at the Curie Institute. Sebastian Amigorena’s main scientific interest overlaps immunology and cell biology. In his graduate and post-doctoral studies, he analyzed the functions of IgG receptors and described the molecular basis of their inhibitory properties.
Sebastian Amigorena is today an expert in antigen presentation and cross presentation in dendritic cells. He analyzed dendritic cells’ endocytic and phagocytic pathways and described several unique specializations of both pathways. Sebastian Amigorena and his team also made significant contributions to the analysis of cytotoxic T cells dynamics in vivo, during the initiation of immune responses in lymph nodes and during the invasion and rejection of solid tumors. More recently, he contributed to understanding the epigenetic programing of T cell memory and studied a new category of epigenetically regulated tumor antigens.
Dr. Yasmine Belkaid is a Distinguished Investigator at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health (Bethesda). She obtained her Master in Biochemistry at the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene in Algiers, Algeria and her Ph.D from Pasteur Institute in France. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of health (Bethesda) on immune regulation during infection, she started her research program at the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati. In 2005, she joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and was appointed senior scientist in 2008. Her laboratory explores fundamental mechanisms that regulate tissue homeostasis and host immune responses and uncovered key roles for the microbiota and dietary factors in the control of immunity and protection to pathogens. Dr Belkaid is the Chief of the Laboratory of Hist Immunity and Microbiome, the director of the trans NIH Center for Human immunology and is the founder and Director of the NIAID Microbiome program. Dr Belkaid is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and recipient of numerous awards including the Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences, the Emil von Behring Prize, the Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award, the Robert Koch Award and the AAI Excellence in Mentoring Award.
Philippe Bousso is an immunologist heading the Department of Immunology and the Dynamics of Immune Responses laboratory at Institut Pasteur. With the help of innovative imaging approaches, his research aims at understanding and manipulating immune responses in the context of disease pathogenesis. His lab helped redefine the process of T cell activation in vivo. His work in the field of infectious diseases introduced the concept of tissue-wide immunity to effectively control intracellular pathogens. His lab also characterized a novel cellular pathway during for graft rejection. Finally, in the context of tumor immunity, his group uncovered the mode of action of anti-CD20 therapy and the mechanism regulating the anatomical segregation of GVL and GVHD. He also characterized the cellular interactions regulating CAR T cell therapy. PB is an EMBO member and awardee of a Starting and an Advanced ERC Grants.
Olivier Delattre, MD, PhD was trained in pediatric oncology and in genetics. His research area mainly investigates the genetic and biology of pediatric cancers. His laboratory has identified the genetic alterations of a variety of childhood cancers including the EWS-FLI1 rearrangement in Ewing sarcoma, the SMARCB1 inactivation in rhabdoid tumors, the ALK activation mutation in neuroblastoma and the BCOR-CCNB1 fusion in Ewing-like sarcoma. He has also contributed identifying major tumor predisposing mutations or genetic susceptibility factors in neurofibromatosis type II, rhabdoid syndrome predisposition, neuroblastoma and Ewing sarcoma. His lab has also strong interest in deciphering the cellular origin of pediatric cancers and particularly Ewing sarcoma, neuroblastoma and rhabdoid tumors and in finding new therapeutic targets in these diseases. Olivier Delattre is a member of EMBO since 2011 and of Academia Europea since 2012. He received numerous awards including the Eurocancer award in 2007, Charles Oberlin award in 2009, the Leopold Griffuel award in 2016.
Olivier Delattre is Director of the Cancer, Heterogeneity, Instability and Plasticity department Inserm U830 and Director of the SIREDO center, a pediatric center that gathers researchers and physicians in the oncopaediatrics, adolescent and young adult fields to bring new medications to patients as quickly as possible.
Trained as cell biologist (Ph.D. UBC Vancouver), my group developed intravital correlative microscopy for tracking metastasis in zebrafish and mouse models of (Karreman et al. JCS, 2016; Karreman et al., TCB, 2016; Follain et al. JCS 2016). My group is also focused on dissecting the biomechanics of the metastasis cascade. We recently identified the contribution of hemodynamic forces to tumor cell arrest and extravasation preceding metastasis formation (Follain et al. Developmental Cell, 2018; Osmani et al. Cell Reports, 2019, Follain-Osmani et al. Sci Rep, 2021). These studies demonstrate that fluid & cell mechanics are key regulators of tumor metastasis (reviewed in Goetz, Science, 2018; Follain et al., Nature Reviews Cancer, 2020; Gensbittel et al. Dev Cell 2021). My group is also interested in elucidating the mechanisms driving the establishment of pre-metastatic niches in vivo. We have recently demonstrated that Ral1 controls biogenesis and secretion of tumor extracellular vesicles (Hyenne et al. JCB 2015) and demonstrated that the zebrafish embryo can be used for tracking, at high spatio-temporal resolution, the fate and function of extracellular vesicles in vivo (Hyenne et al. Dev Cell, 2019; Verweij et al. Dev Cell, 2019; Verweij et al. TCB, 2019; Verweij et al. Nat Meth, 2021). We recently unraveled an important role for RalGTPases and the adhesive potential of Extracellular Vesicles in priming metastatic niches during breast cancer progression (Ghoroghi et al. eLife, 2021). My team recently obtained the “Ligue contre le Cancer” label for 5 years in addition to several prizes (see below).
2020: Grand Prix de Cancérologie de la Fondation Del Duca (Académie des Sciences)
2020: Prix Ruban Rose Avenir 2020 (Dotation 110 k€)
2020: Lauréat, French Scholars Lecture Series, (UBC, Vancouver, Canada)
2012: Young Investigator Prize granted by the French Society for Cell Biology (SBCF)
PG is first class research director at CNRS and head of the “Dendritic cells and adaptive immunity” unit at the Immunology Department of Institut Pasteur. PG research focus on the immunobiology of dendritic cells and their contribution to T cell immunity. PG joined the CNRS as a staff scientist in 2004 and has been working at the Curie Institute (Cancer Immmunology, INSERMu520), Rockefeller University in New York (Research Associate in Nussenzweig lab), King’s College London (Group Leader in Immunology Department) and University of Paris (Group Leader at Bichat Medical School). In 2023, PG joined the Immunology Department of Institut Pasteur to create the “Dendritic cells and adaptive immunity unit” dedicated to i) the identification of mechanisms underlying the induction of adaptive immune responses by dendritic cells and ii) the exploration of new translational approaches in vaccination and immunotherapies.
My lab articulates the continuum of biomedical cancer research, from fundamental questions to clinical applications. Our goal is two-fold: on one hand, we identify and decrypt fundamental properties of the cells that are hijacked by carcinoma to power their metastatic dissemination. We collaborate with physicists, engineers and biologists to perform multidisciplinary cutting-edge research in tumor cell migration. On the other hand, we establish and use tumor avatars to develop cell-based precision medicine strategies in the clinic. As a collaboration with physicians, I lead a clinical trial and a program on patient derived organoids that has recently been awarded a large fund from the French ministry of health (RHU-Organomic). Altogether, we implement cell biology approaches applied to patient specimens to build relevant knowledge and treat cancer.
Phil Jones is Professor of Cancer Development at the University of Cambridge UK and a Faculty member at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. He researches the origins of cancer in normal tissues, focussing on the skin and esophagus, in which cells carrying genome alterations associated with cancer colonize most of the tissue by old age. Phil’s work encompasses mapping mutant clones in humans, discovering how mutant cells spread using advanced cell cultures and tracking mutant cells in normal tissues in mice to learn how they transition to precancer. Phil has shown that mutant clones compete for the limited space available. In normal tissues. Only the fittest mutants survive, these may promote or inhibit transformation. Factors such as exposure to ionising radiation or metabolic disease may increase the fitness of cancer-causing mutants. His goal is to develop strategies to deplete oncogenic mutants from normal tissues and so reduce cancer risk. Phil’s clinical practice is in skin cancer.
Ilaria has a long-standing interest in understanding the cancer cells functional heterogeneity driving their tumourigenic potential. After a PhD at the DKFZ in Heidelberg with Dr Tommasino, she began her animal studies in Prof Joerg Huelsken lab in 2004 at the ISREC, Federal University (EPFL) of Lausanne, Switzerland. During these Postdoc years she began to investigate the importance of tumour microenvironment during metastatic progression. Building on this expertise in mouse tumour models, Ilaria set up her laboratory at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute in 2011 (now part of the Francis Crick Institute) and has since focused the scope of investigation on the interaction that cancer cells have with the surrounding tissue cells during tumorigenesis and metastatic progression.
Ilaria was promoted to Principal Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute in 2018.
Daniel Peeper is the Head of the Department of Molecular Oncology & Immunology and chairs the Research Faculty Council at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI). He holds a professorship in Functional Oncogenomics at the VU University Amsterdam and is a member of Oncode.
He studied Medical Biology at the VU University Amsterdam and received his PhD in the laboratory of Alex van der Eb (Leiden, 1994) for his work on adenovirus oncoproteins and cell cycle proteins. He did his postdoctoral work in the lab of Mark Ewen (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston) and subsequently in the lab of René Bernards (NKI).
Previous highlights include his discoveries using functional genetics of a new metastasis gene (Nature 2004); that Oncogene-Induced cellular Senescence (OIS) serves as a tumor suppressor mechanism limiting cancer progression in humans (Nature 2005; New Engl J Med 2006); that OIS is associated with the activation of an inflammatory transcriptome (Cell 2008; Nat Rev Cancer 2009; Genes Dev 2010); that PTEN reduction acts as an OIS bypass mechanism driving melanoma development (Genes Dev 2012); that PDK1 acts as a critical switch for OIS (Nature 2013); that AXL marks targeted therapy-resistant melanomas (Nature Comm. 2014) and can be clinically targeted (Nature Med. 2018); and how cancer drug addiction may be used clinically (Nature 2017).
More recently, his laboratory has refocused to study immunotherapy resistance, to develop rational cancer treatments combining tumor and immune cell interventions (Mol. Cell 2020). Focusing on the functional interface between tumor and immune cells, his team discovered that lowering the TNF threshold sensitizes tumors to T cell attack and immunotherapy (Cell 2019). As another example, they identified pre-existing NGFR-expressing melanoma cells displaying resistance to several different treatments, including T cells (Nature Comm. 2020). Several potential new tumor and immune cell drug targets have been identified and are currently being studied in preclinical models (Nature Comm. 2022; Cell Rep. Med. 2022, 2023).
The successful identification of new therapeutic IO targets led him to co-found an NKI/Oncode spin-off company in immuno-oncology (Immagene).
Peeper has received several awards, including a KWF Queen Wilhelmina Award and a Society for Melanoma Research (SMR) Outstanding Researcher Award. He is a Member of Oncode, EMBO and Academia Europaea, and has been serving on the Board of the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) from 2012-2022, and on several CR UK review panels including the Discovery research committee. His lab was recently awarded with an ERC Advanced grant (€2,500,000) to study T cell dysfunction and an NWO XL team grant (€3,000,000) to study functional interactions between tumor cells and T cells.
Erik Sahai is the head of the Tumour Cell Biology laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute in London. Erik obtained his PhD with Richard Treisman in London studying RhoGTPases and their effectors. He then carried out post-doctoral work in both London (Chris Marshall) and New York (John Condeelis). Following this training, Erik set up his own group at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute in 2004 and then transferred to the Francis Crick Institute in 2015. His research is focused on the spread of cancer through the body and responses to cancer therapy. In particular, his group is interested in stromal fibroblasts and their interplay with both tumour and immune cells. To study these problems his group uses a wide range of techniques from computational modelling of cell migration, through conventional cell and molecular biology, to intravital imaging of mouse tumours and live analysis of patient derived material.
Erik’s contributions have been recognised by the award of the Hooke Medal, and election to EMBO, the European Academy of Cancer Sciences, and the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is president elect of the Metastasis Research Society and serves on the editorial board of several journals, including Journal of Cell Biology, Developmental Cell, and Trends in Cell Biology.
Research Interests: tumour microenvironment, optical imaging, cell-cell communication, metastasis, therapy failure and cancer evolution
Giorgio Scita obtained his Ph.D. in Food Chemistry and Technology at the University of Parma, Italy, in the Department of Biochemistry. He did his postdoctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley and at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 1995, he returned to Italy, to the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Milan. In 2001, he became Principal Investigator at the IFOM Foundation, the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology, Milan. In 2006, he was appointed associate professor of General Pathology at the School of Medicine of the University of Milan. His primary research interest has been on dissecting basic mechanisms of cell migration and invasion focusing on signaling leading to spatial and temporal regulation of actin dynamics: the powerhouse for cell motility. More recently, he has been investigating the impact of endocytic networks on the biomechanics of collective cell migration, tumor plasticity and dissemination, focusing specifically on the tissue-level solid-to-liquid-like transition underlying human breast ductal adenocarcinomas progression.
Scientific productivity: He has authored more than 145 publications, which include more than 120 original articles and 12 invited reviews in refereed journals. The average impact factor of these publications is slightly above 10. Notably, the average impact factor of the 55 publications of the last 10 years is above 10 and, of these, 23 publications (42%) have appeared in journals with an impact factor >10. (e.g., Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Materials, Nature Communications, Immunity, Developmental Cell).
H factor: Currently, Scita has an overall Hirsch "h" factor of 66 (google Schoolar), 55 (Scopus).
He is ERC awardee (ADVANCED-2011; SYNERGY-2022) and EMBO member since 2014
Mike Stratton is the Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Chief Executive Officer of the Wellcome Genome Campus. His primary research interests have been in the genetics of cancer. His early research focused on inherited susceptibility. Mike mapped and identified the major high-risk breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2 and subsequently a series of moderate-risk breast cancer and other cancer susceptibility genes.
In 2000 Mike initiated the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Sanger Institute which conducts systematic genome-wide searches for somatic mutations in human cancer. Through these studies he discovered somatic mutations of the BRAF gene in malignant melanoma and several other mutated cancer genes in lung, renal, breast and other cancers. He has described the basic patterns of somatic mutation in cancer genomes revealing underlying DNA mutational and repair processes.
Mike is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and was Knighted by the Queen in 2013.
Undergraduate degree/thesis: University of Vienna, Franz Klein – Meiotic repair of double-stranded DNA breaks
PhD: UCL/CRUK Clare Hall Laboratories, London, John Diffley – Processing of double-stranded DNA breaks
Postdoc: Rockefeller University, New York, Hironori Funabiki – (1) Control of mitotic spindle formation and post-mitotic nuclear envelope formation by chromatin. (2) Chromatin as a hallmark of self-DNA. Inhibition of cGAS signalling by chromatin, and self-sensing driven cell fate decisions under genotoxic stress.
Principal Investigator: Institute of Cancer Research, Cancer Biology Division, since winter 2020. Innate immune control of cell fate decisions in response to genotoxic stress.
Google Scholar Profile: https://scholar.google.de/citations?user=MWhUjAkAAAAJ&hl=de&oi=ao
MAJOR APPOINTMENTS (PAST AND CURRENT)
Professor and Head of the Division of Stem Cells and Cancer, DKFZ Heidelberg since 2008
Assistant Professor (PATT) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) 2005 - 2008
Danijela Matic Vignjevic was trained as a molecular biologist at University of Belgrade, Serbia and University of Wisconsin-Madison, US. She did her PhD in cell biology, working on the actin cytoskeleton during cell migration at Northwestern University, Chicago, US. She then did a post-doc at Institut Curie, working on mouse models for colon cancer metastasis as a HFSP fellow and later as INSERM researcher. She started her independent team at Institut Curie in 2013 when she got interested in how epithelial cells interact with their microenvironment in homeostasis and cancer invasion. Her research strategy combines molecular and cell biology techniques with live-cell imaging using different model systems such as 2D and 3D in vitro cell cultures; tissue slices cultured ex vivo; and different transgenic mouse models.
Sara Wickström received her MD in 2001 and PhD in 2004 from the University of Helsinki, Finland. After postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biochemistry she became Group Leader at the MPI for Biology of Ageing in 2010. In 2018 her laboratory moved to the University of Helsinki where she was professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. In 2022 Wickström was appointed as Director of the MPI for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster.
Research in the Wickström lab aims to understand how mammalian epithelial tissues are generated and maintained, and in particular how mechanical forces and cellular interactions integrate single cell behaviors to pattern these structurally extremely robust yet dynamic tissues.
Prof Dr med Frank Winkler is a neurologist and a professor of experimental neuro-oncology and managing senior physician in the Department of Neurology at the University of Heidelberg and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany.
His work has been published in Nature, Cell, Nature Medicine, Cancer Cell, Science, Neuro-Oncology, Blood, among others. Dr Winkler is involved in >25 phase 1-3 clinical trials. In 2022 he received the German Cancer Award.
The research group, located in the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), is interested in cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain tumor progression. By combining newly developed technologies, the ultimate aim is to achieve fundamental progress in our understanding of these challenging diseases, and to explore novel avenues of treatment and prevention in investigator-initiated trial concepts. The emerging field of “Cancer Neuroscience” is increasingly an overarching topic of our research.