Keynote Speakers

GIACOMO CAVALLI

Giacomo Cavalli is Principal lnvestigator in the Chromatin and cell biology laboratory at Institut de Génétique Humaine, CNRS and University of Montpellier, France.

He has been focusing his research on how the genome is organized in 3 D and what are the functional consequences of this configuration on gene transcription and development of organisms. He has been more specifically investigating groups of proteins that play the role of either repressor or activator of gene transcription namely the polycomb and the trithorax proteins. To this aim, his laboratory has made use of cell and animal models in developmental biology combined with genomics and bioinformatics.

Giacomo Cavalli has been the director of the IGH in 2011-2014 He has been awarded in 2009 an Advanced lnvestigator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC).

Institute of Human Genetics

Montpellier, France

Head of the Chromatin and Cell Biology team - Department of Genome Dynamics

ALFONSO MARTINEZ ARIAS

I am a developmental biologist. Over the last fifteen years my work has focused on using Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) to explore cell fate decisions during mammalian development. Recently, we have developed a novel experimental system which is changing the way to study early mammalian development. Defined numbers of mouse ESCs are aggregated in controlled culture conditions and over time develop structures that mimic the organization of the vertebrate embryo; we call them ‘gastruloids’ because they mirror the process of gastrulation. This system is opening up unforeseen experimental possibilities for studies of mammalian development whose embryos, particularly at the crucial early stages, are difficult to access. Recently we have successfully extended this work to human ESCs and obtained human gastruloids which mimic the postgastrulation body plan thus opening up the possibility to, for the first time, study the process of gastrulation and its consequences in humans.

Research Interests

Since 2003 until 2021, has been Professor of Developmental Mechanics in the Department of Genetics of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge (UK) working on developmental biology with the fruit fly (Drosophila) and more recently Embryonic Stem Cells. His interests cover the interface of cell and developmental biology with Physics and Engineering. He is a member of EMBO, has been awarded two ERC Advanced Investigator grants and in 2012 received the Waddington medal of the BSDB for his contributions to british developmental biology.

University of Cambridge

Cambridge, UK - Barcelona, Spain

Leader of the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, UPF