Main speakers


Main Speaker

Douglas Kojetin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, United States. During PhD and postdoctoral studies (with John Cavanagh at NC State and Mark Rance at the University of Cincinnati), he obtained training in structural biology including NMR spectroscopy studies of protein structure and dynamics, biophysics, and biochemistry. He developed an interest in nuclear receptors while facilitating a collaboration at the University of Cincinnati with a breast cancer researcher (Sohaib Khan) and an emeritus professor (Elwood Jensen) whose work in the 1950s led to the discovery of the estrogen receptor. He subsequently transitioned to a 2nd postdoctoral position (with Prof. Thomas Burris at the Scripps Research Florida campus) and learned chemical biology and molecular pharmacology approaches applied to nuclear receptors. In 2010, he established an independent lab at the Scripps Research Florida campus with the goal of advancing molecular and structural insight into nuclear receptor function using interdisciplinary structural biology and functional approaches. He was promoted and subsequently tenured at Scripps Research in 2022, and then moved to the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in March 2023. Although other labs have focused on structural biology studies of nuclear receptors, nearly all have used X-ray crystallography as the primary method. The interdisciplinary approach used by his lab—specifically the use of protein NMR spectroscopy in combination with other structural, computational, biochemical, and cellular methods—has led to new and important discoveries in the field.


Eveline Bruinstroop (MD, PhD) investigates the neuro-endocrine control of liver metabolism. After obtaining her PhD on neural control of lipid metabolism (AMC, University of Amsterdam) she performed post-doctoral research on thyroid hormone regulation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (Duke-NUS, Singapore). She now combines her research with clinical work in Endocrinology at the department of Endocrinology & Metabolism (Amsterdam UMC). Furthermore, she has an advisory role in the development of novel thyroid hormone analogues. She is the secretary of the Dutch Thyroid Research Foundation.


Alireza Mashaghi is a physician-scientist, biophysicist, and immunologist with a strong interest in interdisciplinary research. He currently serves as a Principal Investigator and Associate Professor at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research at Leiden University, where he leads the Medical Systems Biophysics Group. The group is also a part of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Genome Research at Leiden University. Mashaghi has made significant contributions to various areas of experimental biomedical sciences, including single-molecule analysis of protein folding, single-cell analysis of biomechanics and metabolism, and the development of organ-on-a-chip technology for viral diseases. Furthermore, his team is actively engaged in computational biology and has published extensively on biomolecular topology, network biology, and statistical physics for medical diagnostics. Specifically, the group is interested in studying the structural dynamics of disordered nuclear receptor proteins using innovative computational and experimental approaches. The Mashaghi group has been involved in several national and international partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry, including collaborations with AstraZeneca and ArgenX on drugging disordered proteins. Mashaghi has been affiliated with various academic institutions including Harvard University, ETH Zurich, and Max Planck Institutes. He currently serves on the editorial board of several journals, including Nano Research.


Katharina Gapp is an assistant professor at the Institute for Neuroscience at ETH Zürich, Switzerland and head of the Epigenetics and Neuroendocrinology lab. She spent the last 13 years studying the impact of paternal stress on offspring phenotype and the mechanisms that mediate non-genetic information transfer across generations. Her early work during her PhD in the lab of Isabelle Mansuy at the Brain research institute of ETH Zürich identified sperm small non-coding RNA as a crucial vector of the behavioral and metabolic effects of early life stress across generations in mice and sparked a new field of RNA mediated inheritance of environmentally triggered traits in mammals. During her post doc in the lab of Prof. Eric Miska at Cambridge University and Sanger Institute UK she found that besides small also long and Circ RNA in sperm respond to stress exposures and shape offspring phenotype. Her  team’s current SBFI-ERC funded work focuses on nuclear receptors in the germline and brain, the detrimental long term consequences of chronic stress and the development of novel translational tools to interfere with their function.


Wilbert Zwart runs his independent research lab at the NKI (Amsterdam) since 2011, focusing on hormone receptor biology, epigenetics and gene regulation. Many projects in the lab have a ‘full circle’ design, connecting basic scientific discoveries, translational research and clinical trials. By implementing functional genomics and endocrinological analyses in innovative clinical trials, basic scientific breakthroughs can be best-connected with the patient, allowing for a shift translation of our discoveries to the clinic. In 2018, he was appointed professor ‘Functional Genomics in Oncology’ at the Eindhoven University of Technology, and is member of Oncode Institute. He serves as Chair of the NKI Translational Research Board, theme leader Precision Oncology of the NKI and takes seat in the Board of Directors of Cancer Core Europe.


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