Every living being is susceptible to Darwin’s laws of natural selection, and we, as Humans, are not an exception. Humanity has been fighting to find ways to break these Nature-imposed barriers and embark on an ongoing evolution. Step by step, science is providing us with the tools to expand our capabilities, to restore what was lost, and even to change what we once thought identified us. Let us enroll on this adventure, and question its implications as well.
Andrew Pelling, PhD
Professor at University of Ottawa; Canada Research Chair; Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology; Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.
Andrew Pelling, PhD, is a Professor and a Canada Research Chair at University of Ottawa. Professor Pelling has been extremely well recognized by his peers and is the recipient of numerous awards, including being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada. His lab aims to understand the mechanisms which cells use to sense and integrate physical information, and to identify ways to manipulate, repurpose and control living cells, using innovative approaches and low-cost materials easily found. The highly curiosity-driven Pelling Lab has spun out four companies in the technology, biotechnology and medical fields, translating their discoveries into real world products and solutions. He has already created human body parts from plants and grown living skins on LEGOs – innovations with the potential to replace prohibitively expensive commercial biomaterials. Spiderwort – where Professor Pelling is CSO and the co-founder – is a startup gaining momentum on the field of biomaterials by using plant derived cellulose to create a variety of scaffold architectures with regenerative and reconstructive medicine applications. Professor Pelling’s work has been in the media spotlight for many times already, being recognized in outlets such as Wired, Huffington Post, NPR, BBC, Der Spiegel, and others. He was named a TED Fellow in 2016.
Miguel Nicolelis, MD, PhD
Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, Duke University Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering and Psychology. Founder of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering. Founder and Scientific Director of the Edmund and Lily Safra International Institute for Neuroscience in Natal. Founder of the Walk Again Project. Member of the French Academy of Science and the Brazilian Academy of Science. Author of the books: Beyond Boundaries and The Relativistic Brain. Winner of the DARPA Award for Sustained Excelence by a Performer. Invited speaker at the Nobel Forum at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Miguel Nicolelis is a Duke University Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology and Neurosciences and founder of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering. He is also founder of the Walk Again Project, an international consortium of scientists and engineers, dedicated to the development of an exoskeleton device to assist severely paralised patients in regaining full body mobility. Professor Nicolelis has dedicated his career to investigate how the brain encodes sensory and motor information and was first to demonstrate that animals and humans can use their electrical brain activity to directly control neuroprosthetic devices via Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI). Although he is best known for his pioneering studies in BMI and neuroprosthetics, he and his team have also developed an integrative approach to studying neurological and psychiatric disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. His method, known as chronic, multi-site, multi-electrode recordings, has become extremely influential and has been incorporated in numerous neuroscience laboratories throughout the world. His lab’s work was publicly seen when a brain-controlled exoskeleton from his lab helped Juliano Pinto, a paraplegic man, kick the first ball at the 2014 World Cup. Professor Nicolelis’ research has been higlighted as one of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies by the MIT Review. He has been awarded twice the DARPA Award for Sustained Excellence by a Performer and was named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Technology Leaders in America in 2004.
Nir Barzilai, MD
Director of the Institute of Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Human Aging Research; Director of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Nathan Shock Centers of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging; Co-scientific director of the American Federation for Aging Research; Founder of CohBar Inc.; Awarded by the Beeson Fellow for Aging Research, the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in Aging Award, the Paul F. Glenn Foundation Award, the NIA Nathan Shock Award, and the 2010 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction in Aging Research.
Nir Barzilai is the director of the Institute of Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His pioneer work focuses on the genetics of aging. By thoroughly analyzing families with exceptional longevity, Dr. Barzilai studies protective genes in aging and their protection against age-related diseases in the Longevity Genes Project he helds at Algert Einstein College of Medicine. He is currently leading an international effort to approve drugs targeting aging. Targeting Aging with METformin (TAME) is a study designed to prove that multi-morbidities of aging can be delayed by metformin, serving as an example for future efforts to delay aging and its diseases in humans. His discoveries have been influencing treatments of type 2 diabetes. He is also a founder of CohBar Inc., a biotech that develops mitochondrial derived peptides as therapy for aging and its diseases. He has been recognized by numerous awards like of the Beeson Fellow for Aging Research, the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in Aging Award and published over 230 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, and textbook chapters.
Joaquim Sampaio Cabral, PhD
Alice Varanda, MD
Rodrigo Cunha, PhD
Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering in the Technical University of Lisbon; Head of the BioEngineering Research Group at the Technical University of Lisbon; Co-Coordinator of MIT-Portugal Program – Bioengineering Systems Focus Area; Principal Investigator of the Stem Cell Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory.
Medical Doctor. Specialized in Reconstructive and Aesthetical Surgery. Master Degree in Human Sexuality by University of Massachusetts Medical School. Member of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetics Surgery’s Portuguese Society, Hand Surgery’s Portuguese Society, Burn’s Portuguese Society, Anatomy’s Portuguese Society, European Plastic Surgery Research Council and also of the European Board of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery.
Director of the Department of Neuropharmacology of the Center for Neurosciences of Coimbra; Principal investigator of the research group ‘Purines at CNC’; Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of University of Coimbra; Multidisciplinary Institute of Ageing (MIA) Portugal Coordinator.