Keynote Speakers



Ravi V. Bellamkonda, Ph.D.
Wallace H Coulter Professor and Chair
Wallace H Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory School of Medicine
President, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering


Prof. Bellamkonda is the Wallace H. Coulter Professor and Departmental Chair for the department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University. He is also a GRA Distinguished Scientist. Prof. Bellamkonda's research involves an exploration of the interplay of biomaterials and the nervous system for neural interfaces, nerve repair and brain tumor therapy. Prof. Bellamkonda's area of expertise is in applying nanotechnology and biomaterials-based technologies for neuronal repair and neural interfacing. Prof. Bellamkonda is a trained bioengineer and neuroscientist, with an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. His graduate training at Brown University was in Biomaterials and Medical Science (with Patrick Aebischer), and his post-doctoral training at MIT focused on the molecular mechanisms of axon guidance and neural development (with Jerry Schneider and Sonal Jhaveri). Prof. Bellamkonda has a joint appointment at Georgia Institute of Technology and the School of Medicine at Emory University. Prof. Bellamkonda currently serves as the President for the American Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering (AIMBE) and the elected Board of Director for the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). He is on the editorial board for several journals, and advises several departments and programs nationally as a member of their external advisory board. Prof. Bellamkonda has won numerous awards including a Clemson Award for Applied Research from SFB, EUREKA award from NCI (NIH), CAREER award from NSF, and Best Professor Award from GT BME student body.

William J. Heetderks, Ph.D.
Director, Extramural Science Programs
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
National Institutes of Health

Dr. William J. Heetderks is the Director of Extramural Science Programs at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), NIH. The extramural program supports approximately 800 research and training grants at universities and research centers throughout the United States in fields of bioengineering and biomedical imaging. Dr. Heetderks received the Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering from The University of Michigan. He received the MD degree from the University of Miami and is certified in Internal Medicine. Before joining NIBIB he was at the National institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke where he directed the neural prosthesis program.

Brooks Jackson, M.D., M.B.A.
Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of Medical School
University of Minnesota

Dr. Jackson became Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the Medical School at the University of Minnesota in February 2014. From 2001-2014, he was the Baxley Professor and Director of the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Pathologist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital (2000-2014). Dr. Jackson is the current Chair of the Blood Products Advisory Committee for the Food and Drug Administration and has been the Chair of the NIH funded IMPAACT network, the largest maternal child health clinical trial network for the prevention and treatment of HIV. For the past 25 years he has conducted a number of NIH funded clinical trials in Uganda and China where he has served as principal investigator. In 1999 he received the Global Strategies for HIV Prevention Special Recognition Award and in 2004 he received the HIV Prevention Trials Network Service Award.

Grace Jinliu Wang, Ph.D.
Deputy Assistant Director for Engineering
National Science Foundation

Dr. Grace Wang was named Deputy Assistant Director for Engineering at the National Science Foundation in July 2014. Prior to that, Dr. Wang was the Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) at NSF since February of 2012. Dr. Wang joined NSF in June 2009 as a Program Director for the SBIR/STTR Program. She also served as the Cluster Leader for the Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (NM) Cluster in SBIR/STTR Program. Before joining NSF, Dr. Wang was a Senior Development Scientist at Hitachi, where she led a team to successfully develop and launch a few generations of products into the market. While in Hitachi, Dr. Wang also led task forces both in the US and overseas that identified and executed effective and viable solutions to major technical crises, and helped mitigate impact on revenue generation. Dr. Wang started her career as an Advisory Development Scientist at IBM. Dr. Wang is the recipient of many leadership and technical achievement awards. Dr. Wang holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University.

K. Dane Wittrup, Ph.D.
C.P. Dubbs Professor
Chemical Engineering & Biological Engineering
Assoc. Dir., Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Member, National Academy of Engineering

Professor K. Dane Wittrup is the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Associate Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. From 1989-1999 he was Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and then J. W. Westwater Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Biophysics at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana.

Prof. Wittrup received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering Summa cum Laude in 1984 from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1988 under the thesis direction of Prof. James Bailey. Following a year of postdoctoral research at Amgen (Thousand Oaks, CA), Dr. Wittrup joined the faculty at the University of Illinois.

Wittrup's research program is focused on protein engineering of biopharmaceutical proteins by directed evolution. Areas of interest include: pretargeted radioimmunotherapy; biological response modification of EGFR; and immunotherapy of cancer via engineered cytokines and vaccines.

Prof. Wittrup has received the following awards and honors recognizing his scholarship: the A. McLaren White Award, for First Prize in the National American Institute of Chemical Engineers Student Design Contest (1984); the Presidential Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation (1990-1995); the Allan P. Colburn Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, for excellence in publications for an individual under the age of 35 (1998); the University of New Mexico College of Engineering Distinguished Young Alumnus Award (2000); the Dow Chemical Company Teaching Award(1989); the UIUC School of Chemical Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching (1993); the UIUC College of Engineering Anderson Award for Undergraduate Advising (1991,1994); the J.R. Mares Professorship (1999-2007); the C.P. Dubbs Professorship (2007-); induction as a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (1999); induction as Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011); and Member, National Academy of Engineering (2012).

In 2007, Prof. Wittrup co-founded Adimab, Inc. with Tillman Gerngross of Dartmouth University, and serves as CSO. In 2009, he co-founded Eleven Biotherapeutics, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board.



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