Scientific Committee

Kwak (2)CHAIR: Professor Brenda Kwak, University of Geneva Medical School, Switzerland
RESEARCH INTEREST: My lab is interested in the function of connexins and pannexins in cardiovascular physiology and pathology. In particular, we focus on the regulation of these proteins by shear stress and their role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, thrombosis and reperfusion injury.
Marc ChansonCO-CHAIR: Professor Marc Chanson, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Marc Chanson obtained his PhD in 1991 at the University of Geneva. From 1991 to 1993 he was Post Doctoral Fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Department of Neurosciences, in New York (USA). Before his return to Geneva in 1995 he was postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Physiology at the University of Utrecht (NL). He was nominated Lecturer in 2002 and Associate Professor in 2012.
Marc MesnilCO- CHAIR: Professor Marc Mesnil, University of Poitiers, France
I got my PhD in 1989 at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Dr Yamasaki, Lyon, France) where I came back for 10 years, after a post-doc fellowship (1989-1990) at Scripps Research Institute (Dr Gilula, La Jolla, USA). Then, I spent a few months (2000) at Collège de France (Dr Giaume, Paris, France) before getting a professorship position in Physiology at the University of Poitiers. I was always been involved in the study of the role of connexins and gap junctions in carcinogenesis.
Trond AasenDr Trond Aasen, Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), Barcelona, Spain
I obtained my PhD in 2003 at the University of Glasgow studying gap junctions in relation to human papillomavirus and cancer progression. I did postdoctoral stays in London and Barcelona, and since 2011 I have been establishing my own group. My current research is focused in two major areas: 1. Understanding the translational regulation of connexins; 2. Studying connexin and pannexin signalling pathways in relation to disease, in particular malignant cancer progression.
BennettProfessor Steffany Bennett, Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, University of Ottawa, Canada
Dr. Steffany Bennett is a lipid biochemist and systems neurobiologist working to block the pathological changes in brain lipid metabolism that precipitate pediatric and geriatric neurodegenerative disease. As part of this lipidomics approach, her team explores how changes in membrane composition alter function of integral membrane connexin and pannexin channel in neurons, glia, and neural/glia progenitor populations with overarching goal of protecting neurons from excitotoxic insult and enhancing effective neuro- and glial regeneration.
Delmar headshot 2013 in jpegProfessor Mario Delmar, New York University School of Medicine, USA
Our work deals with the molecular mechanisms mediating intercellular communication in the heart. We focus on the interactions that occur at the cardiac intercalated disc between molecules classically defined as belonging to the gap junctions, the mechanical junctions, and the voltage-gated sodium channel complex. In this context, we are particularly interested in the non-canonical functions of Connexin43, specifically in its ability to regulate cell-cell adhesion, and sodium channel function. Our work is directly pertinent to the molecular mechanisms of cardiac sudden death in the young, specifically in cases of arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy and Brugada syndrome.
GibbonsProfessor Jon Gibbons, University of Reading, UK
I gained my PhD in 1995 from the University of Reading where my studies into neuro-hormone mechanisms of action introduced me to cell signalling. As a postdoc in Oxford I became interested in platelets and the regulation of blood clotting, which has remained my focus ever since. I moved back from Reading and established my lab which explores the mechanisms that regulate platelet function in haemostasis and thrombosis. In recent years we have become interested in the role that connexins play in the control of these cells.
Guer snipNathalie C. Guerineau , CNRS, Institute of Functional Genomics, Montpellier, France
Nathalie C. Guerineau obtained her PhD in 1992 at the University of Bordeaux. As a postdoctoral fellow, she moved in 1993 at the Brain Research Institute at the University of Zurich. In 1995, at the Pharmacology-Endocrinology Center of Montpellier, she got a permanent CNRS position as research scientist and focused her work on gap junction-mediated cell-to-cell communication in endocrine/neuroendocrine tissues (anterior pituitary and adrenal medullary gland). After 5 years spent in Angers (2010-2014), she recently moved back to Montpellier, at the Institute of Functional Genomics. For two decades, her work deals with the contribution of gap junction signalling in regulating hormone release, with an emphasis in adrenal catecholamine secretion, in basal condition and in stressed rodents, both ex vivo in tissue slices and in vivo in anaesthetized mouse.
isaksonDr Brant E. Isakson, University of Virginia School of Medicine, USA
Since I was a graduate student, my work has been focussed on cellular communication, attempting to translate cell biology to larger physiological function. My work is focussed in particular on the evolving role of pannexin channels in the vasculature, utilizing new reagents (e.g., phospho-specific Abs) and mice (e.g., inducible, cell-type specific pannexin knockouts). I have been a part of all IGJC since I began in this field, and helped co-organize the IGJC 2013 in Charleston. I am honored to be a part of the IGJC 2017.
JIANGProfessor Jean X. Jiang, University of Texas Health Science Center, USA
The research in Dr. Jean Jiang’s laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism of intercellular and intracellular signaling mediated by gap junctions and hemichannels channels and the functional importance of these channels in the lens, bone and cancer metastasis. The ongoing research projects include: 1. Channel-dependent and –independent roles of connexins in lens differentiation and development, and in maintaining lens transparency; 2. Connexin hemichannels and integrins in mediating mechanotransduction process in osteocytes and bone tissues and in protecting cells against oxidative stress; 3. Connexin channels in suppression of cancer metastasis. Various biochemical, molecular, cellular and genetic approaches as well as new tools and transgenic mouse models are established to address these questions.
koval-mikeDr Mike Koval, Emory University School of Medicine, USA
Michael Koval, Ph.D. has a long standing interest and expertise in studying cell membranes, with a particular emphasis in understanding the molecular basis for formation and remodeling of intercellular junctions. About a decade ago he joined the Departments of Medicine and Cell Biology at Emory University. As a postdoctoral fellow in Tom Steinberg's lab at Washington University, Dr. Koval became interested in the trafficking and assembly of gap junctions, which his lab continues to study. The Koval lab has identified several steps in the quality control pathways which regulate assembly of connexins into intercellular channels. This includes identifying the first chaperone protein with the capacity to regulate connexin oligomerization, a thioredoxin fold protein known as ERp29. Another major research direction in the Koval lab is to understand how tight junctions regulate the pulmonary air/liquid barrier. A long term goal of research in the Koval lab is to identify control points which augment barrier function as a means to improve the outcome of patients with ARDS, Cystic Fibrosis and other forms of lung injury.
NielsonProfessor Morten Schak Nielsen, University of Sothern Denmark
My main research interest is focused on the role of connexins in cardiac electrophysiology, but I also have a general interest in gap junction, hemichannel and pannexin biology. I was served as co-organizer of the International Gap Junction Conference in 2007 and on the program committee in 2009.
Sorgen_picProfessor Paul Sorgen, University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA
I graduated with my Ph.D. (BMB) from the University of Florida. I was a post-doc at the Albert Einstein COM where I learned NMR and began my research on gap junctions. I joined the BMB faculty at the Nebraska Medical Center in 2003 and currently direct the NMR facility.
Maurice van SteenselProfessor Maurice van Steensel, University of Dundee, UK
Maurice van Steensel is professor of Dermatology and a Principal Investigator in the Drug Discovery Unit, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, UK. He combines this position with an appointment as Senior Principal Investigator in the Institute of Medical Biology, Singapore. Prof van Steensel is a world-renowned expert in genetic skin disorders.
ThompsonAssociate Professor Roger Thompson, University of Calgary, Canada
Roger Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary (Canada). His lab studies the physiological and pathological roles of pannexin channels in the brain. Of particular interest are the roles of pannexin-1 in neuronal death during stroke, and contributions of the channel to synaptic plasticity.
Watanabe MAssociate Professor Masakatsu Watanabe, Osaka University, Japan
My research interests are to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of biological pattern formation. Current target of my research is skin pattern of zebrafish. Pigment cells, melanophores and xanthophores have interaction to each other and this interaction makes stripe pattern on fish skin by cell-autonomous manner. Gap junction is one of the most important molecules for the pattern formation.