Dr Shenda Baker

Dr Shenda Baker is the President and CEO of Synedgen, a biotech company creating glycopolymer solutions for injury, infection and inflammation at mucosal and dermal surfaces. Dr Baker’s research interests include chemical modification of biologically derived polyglucosamines and targeted interactions of glycopolymers to control innate immunity, tissue regeneration, inflammation, infection, cell protection and fibrosis. In particular, Synedgen’s work focuses on replacement of barrier function and anti-inflammatory activity due to the loss of mucins and the regular glycocalyx in physical, chemical or radiation-induced damage. Dr Baker has led the development of FDA cleared medical devices for managing complex wounds and burns and for oral health including xerostomia and oral mucositis. She also brought an inhaled pulmonary treatment for infection and inflammation in cystic fibrosis patients through Phase 1 clinical trials and guided the license of that program to Synspira Therapeutics. The current focus of Synedgen research is directed to treating radiation and chemotherapy damage of the gastrointestinal tract to improve patient outcomes in oncology.

Dr. Baker started her professional career as a professor of Physical Chemistry at Harvey Mudd College before moving to industry and has raised over $25m in non-dilutive funding. She enjoys serving on strategic advisory boards, including past and present service to the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the American Chemical Society and the Materials Research Society.

Professor Karl Kadler

The research in Karl Kadler’s laboratory is focused on understanding how cells build tissues that are rich in collagen fibrils.  He is Professor of biochemistry and Director of the Wellcome Centre for Cell-Matrix Research at the University of Manchester, UK.

Collagen fibrils are essential for life.  They account for one-third of body mass and are essential for tissue scaffolding. A puzzling observation was that the collagen in musculoskeletal tissues such as tendon is synthesised during growth (the first 17 years of life in humans) then remains unchanged during adulthood without turnover or renewal. Kadler’s group has shown that there are two pools of collagen: the pool of permanent collagen and a pool of sacrificial collagen that is synthesised and degraded daily to maintain tissue health under the control of the circadian clock via regulation of the secretory pathway (Nat Cell Biol 2020). In this work he provides evidence that pharmacological regulation of the circadian clock may be an approach to treating fibroproliferative disease. The circadian basis of this regulation is likely to affect all aspects of matrix homeostasis.

Professor Patricia Rousselle

Doctor Patricia Rousselle is research director at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France and her lab « Cell / microenvironment cross talk and tissue repair » belongs to the Tissue Biology and Therapeutic Engineering Department at the Institute of Protein Biology and Chemistry in Lyon – which is one of the major centres in France specialising in the extracellular matrix and tissue repair fields of research.

She is president of the French Society for Matrix Biology and member of the board of Directors of the European Tissue Repair Society (ETRS). She is the conference chair of the 19th ETRS annual meeting (http://etrs2020.univ-lyon1.fr/fr). Her research is focused at understanding cell / extracellular matrix interactions in the context of skin biology. Developing both biochemical and cell biology approaches, her group is interested in analysing molecular and cellular processes occurring during wound repair. Her recent work has focused on the interactions of basal keratinocytes with extracellular matrix components during the reepithelialisation phase of wound repair.

Professor Tony Weiss

Professor Tony Weiss is the McCaughey Chair in Biochemistry and leads Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, with co-appointments at the Bosch Institute and Sydney Nano Institute.

Awards include the Eureka Prize for Innovation in Medical Research, Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award, NSW Premier’s Prize for Science & Engineering Leadership in Innovation, Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, Innovator of Influence Award, Applied Research Medal, and the Order of Australia.

He is President-Elect of TERMIS, was elected Chair of TERMIS Asia Pacific and President of MBSANZ. He is on eleven Editorial Boards and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Royal Society of NSW, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, Australian Institute of Company Directors, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, and Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

Associate Professor Sara Wickström

Sara Wickström studied medicine at the University of Helsinki, Finland, receiving her MD in 2001 and PhD in 2004. After postdoctoral training with Reinhard Fässler at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Germany, she was appointed as Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany in 2010. In 2018 her laboratory moved to the newly founded Helsinki Institute for Life Science at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Research in the Wickström lab aims to establish quantitative principles of epidermal stem cell niche self-organization, and how mechanical forces and cellular interactions integrate single cell behaviors to pattern multicellular tissues.

Specifically, the Wickström lab combines mouse genetics and human patient material with state-of-the-art scale-bridging technologies from nanoscale atomic force microscopy and next generation sequencing to whole organism live imaging and in silico modeling. Her research is highly interdisciplinary and involves collaborations with mathematicians, physicists and clinical oncologists. Recent work from the Wickström group has uncovered how tissue-scale forces allow coordination of proliferation and differentiation events to regulate tissue morphogenesis and size.  Furthermore, her laboratory has discovered how extrinsic forces generated by the tissue impact chromatin structure and epigenetic gene silencing, thereby controlling the transcriptional state and lineage commitment of stem cells.


Professor Fiona Wood

Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon specialising in the field of  burn care, trauma and scar reconstruction.

As Director of the WA Burns Service of Western Australia she is a consultant at Perth Children’s Hospital and Fiona Stanley Hospital. As director of burns research she leads an interdisciplinary team with broad collaboration focused on translation to improve clinical outcomes.

She has been the recipient of the 2003 Australian Medical Association’s ‘Contribution to Medicine’ Award and an Order of Australia Medal for work with Bali bombing victims. As a National Living Treasure and Australian Citizen of the Year in 2004. she received the honour of being named Australian of the Year in 2005.

Fiona and Marie Stoner, co-founders of Clinical Cell Culture,  now Avitamedical, won the 2005 Clunies Ross Award for their contributions to Medical Science in Australia

Professor Shuhei Yamada

Dr. Shuhei Yamada graduated from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University in 1989, and obtained the Ph. D. in Biochemistry from Kyoto University in 1995. He started his professional career as a Research Associate at Kobe Pharmaceutical University in 1991, promoted to an Assistant Professor in 2000, moved to Hokkaido University as an Associate Professor in 2006, and became a Professor at Meijo University, in 2012. From 2001 to 2003, he worked as a Visiting Scientist at Uppsala University, Sweden. He has been studying the structure, functions, biosynthesis, and catabolism of glycosaminoglycans. He is an internationally recognized speaker, and researcher and has published extensively in numerous biochemical journals and books.  Currently he is on the editorial board of “Cellular and Molecular Biology Letters”. He has won some research awards such asthe Japanese Society of Carbohydrate Research Award for the Encouragement of Young Scientists, 2005.


Dr Yu Suk Choi

Yu Suk Choi is a Senior Lecturer leading multidisciplinary ‘stem cell mechanobiology lab’ at the School of Human Sciences, the University of Western Australia. His lab focuses on how mechanical microenvironments alters cell behaviors to better understand cell-matrix interaction. He brings to these work unique interdisciplinary skills in adult stem cells, biomaterial fabrication, and mechanobiology developed during his postdoc training at UC San Diego Bioengineering. His publications (35 papers in top journals including Nature Materials and PNAS, >2700 citation) helped to popularize the use of adipose-derived stem cells in regenerative medicine (27 papers) and to pioneer the new field of stem cell mechanobiology (11 papers). Since arriving in Western Australia in 2015, he has established his lab, assisted by the awards including NHMRC PG and CDF. He is currently a Future Leader Fellow of the Heart Foundation (2017-2021).

Dr Andrew Cox

Dr Andrew Cox earned his BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. In 2009, Dr Cox received his PhD from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He then undertook postdoctoral training with Prof. Wolfram Goessling at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr Cox was promoted to Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 2013. In 2016, Dr Cox became a team leader in the Organogenesis and Cancer Progam at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne. His laboratory uses zebrafish as a model system to elucidate pathways involved in liver regeneration and cancer. A central theme of his work is to understand how molecular pathways reprogram metabolism to fuel tissue growth.

Dr Thomas Cox

Thomas currently leads the Matrix and Metastasis Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. His team focuses on how the extracellular matrix (ECM) regulates
resident cell behaviour and specifically how it contributes to cancer progression, metastasis and response to therapy. Recent work has focussed on how discrete subtypes of cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) within tumours underpin ECM remodelling
programs that generate pro-invasive and pro-metastatic environments (Nature Communications 2019); the development of new techniques to image the ECM in health and disease (Nature Medicine 2017); and the systemic role of ECM remodelling in premetastatic niche formation (Nature 2015). The aim of Thomas’ group is to establish targeting of ECM dynamics as a viable therapeutic approach in the treatment of solid tumours.

Associate Professor Jennifer Flegg

I am an Associate Professor in applied mathematics in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne. My research focuses on using mathematics and statistics to answer questions in biology and medicine. In particular, I develop mathematical models in areas such as wound healing, tumour growth and infectious disease epidemiology. I was awarded a PhD in 2009 from Queensland University of Technology on “Mathematical modelling of chronic wound healing”. From 2010 – 2013, I was at the University of Oxford developing mathematical models for the spread of resistance to antimalarial drugs. From 2014 – April 2017 I was a Lecturer in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Monash University. In May 2017 I joined the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne. 

Dr Samantha Stehbens

Dr Stehbens is an ARC Future Fellow & IMB Fellow with the Microtubules & Motility Group at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience. She is a cell biologist with a long-standing interest in understanding the fundamental mechanisms that regulate cell adhesion and the cytoskeleton. She has made key contributions to the fields of quantitative microscopy, cell motility, adhesion and the cytoskeleton with publications spanning multiple fields from ion channels in brain cancer, to growth factor signalling and autophagy. Her research group aims to understand the fundamental principles of how cells integrate secreted and biomechanical signals from their local microenvironment to facilitate movement and survival. They have uncovered an entirely novel role for the microtubule cytoskeleton in protecting cells from cortical and nuclear rupture during cell migration in 3D cell migration and invasion. Using patient-derived tumour cells, coupled to genetic alteration and substrate microfabrication, they use state-of-the-art microscopy to understand the mechanisms of cell migratory behaviour required for cancer cells to traverse the body during metastasis.