Invited Speakers

Theodore C. Goldstein is the Scientific Program Director in the Institute of Computational Health Sciences at University of California in San Francisco. He earned his bachelor degree in Computer and Information Sciences at University of California at Santa Cruz in 1983, then he worked at Xerox’s ParcPlace Systems, Sun Microsystems, and elsewhere before joining Apple as a Vice President. After many commercial successes as a Vice President of Engineering in the computer industry, he decided to return to biology and bioinformatics. In 2013 he obtained his Ph.D. in Biomolecular Engineering lab of HHMI investigator David Haussler, studying tools for extracting actionable medical knowledge from genomic big data. He is part of David Haussler and Josh Stuart's collaboration with NIH's The Cancer Genome Atlas project and the Stand Up 2 Cancer project dream team.
Since 2013, he is the Medbook Director at the UC Santa Cruz, a project which links together patients, biopsy samples, doctors, and researchers into a social network framework. 


Nicola Segata is Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor at the Centre for Integrative Biology (CIBIO), University of Trento. He is a computational biologist with training in machine learning, high-throughput sequencing analysis and microbiome research.
He received his Master Degree in Computer Science of the University of Trento in 2006 and defended his PhD at the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science in 2009. After completing in 2012 a postdoctoral experience in Curtis Huttenhower Lab at Harvard, he started and led the Laboratory of Computational Metagenomics of the University of Trento. The laboratory employs experimental meta-omic tools and novel computational approaches to study the diversity of the microbiome and its role in human dysbiosis and infections. His research interests are in the field of computational biology and experimental meta’omics and include microbial and comparative genomics, computational meta’omics, human microbiome studies, host-microbe interaction, and pathogen-microbiome interaction.
In 2015 he won the LEO Pharma Research Foundation Gold Award 2015 awarded by LEO Pharma in association with the European Society for Dermatology. In 2016 Nicola won an ERC starting grant project on culture-free strain-level population genomics to identify disappearing human-associated microbes in the westernized world. 


Mihaela Zavolan is a professor in Computational Biology at the University of Basel. She studied medicine at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timișoara, Romania. In 1996 she started a PhD in Computer Science at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, USA. Between 1993 and 2003 Mihaela Zavolan carried out research in the USA, at the Santa Fe Institute in Santa Fe in the theoretical Immunology Program, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos at the division of Theoretical Biology and Biophysics, as well as at theRockefeller University in the Laboratory of Computational Biology. In 2003, Mihaela Zavolan was appointed Professor of Computational and Systems Biology at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and she is also a group leader of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB). Since 2015 she is member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). Mihaela Zavolan’s group researches are principally focused on microRNAs (miRNAs), short RNA molecules that regulate the expression of protein coding genes, thereby controlling cell differentiation, metabolism and immune responses. Combining high-throughput experimental approaches with data analysis and computational modeling, the group of Mihaela Zavolan studies miRNAs roles in post transcriptional regulatory circuits that control cellular differentiation. In particular, the group is characterizing regulatory cascades that are triggered by miRNAs in the context of various differentiation processes. Other studies of Mihaela Zavolan’s group involved the characterization of the regulation of alternative poly(A) site usage during pre-mRNA polyadenylation and its impact for the cellular behaviors.


Stefano Gustincich is the Director of the Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Genova, Italy. Since 2015 Gustincich is a full professor in Applied Biology at the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA). He studied Biology at the University of Trieste and he obtained his PhD degree in Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology at SISSA. In 1993, he was awarded a long-term EMBO fellowship to join the Department of Neurobiology of Harvard Medical School, Boston (USA) and in 1998 he was appointed Instructor in Neurobiology by the same institution. Since 1999 he has been collaborating with the FANTOM consortium to study the mammalian transcriptome. In 2003, thanks to the Career Development Award he established a laboratory of neurogenomics at SISSA in Trieste. From 2009 to 2012 he coordinated a large international multi-center consortium, DOPAMINET, focused on the study of the molecular networks acting in dopaminergic neurons of Chordates. In 2011 Gustincich won the 1st prize with the PARKscreen project, Working Capital National Award (Italian national prize for Innovation in biotechnology). Gustincich is a pioneer in the field of functional genomics approaches to neurobiology, integrating the study of the organization of neural networks with gene expression data in health and neurodegenerative diseases. Nowadays, his current major interest is the study of long non-coding RNAs and repetitive elements in the brain and their role in neurodegenerative diseases. He recently discovered the SINEUPs, a new functional class of antisense long noncoding RNAs able to increase translation of their sense gene. Web Page Gustincich