University of Dundee

PiCLS Symposium 2019 - Speaker Biographies

Hao Wu (吴皓), Ph.D

Professor Wu received her pre-medical training at Peking University and studied medicine at Peking Union Medical College. At a lecture by professor of structural biology Michael Rossmann from Purdue University, Indiana, Wu decided she wanted to do a PhD in structural biology with Prof. Rossmann. After performing postdoctoral training at Columbia University in the laboratory of Professor Wayne Hendrickson where she solved the structure of the CD4 molecule, she became an Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in 1997 and was promoted to Professor in 2003.

In 2012, Prof. Wu moved to Harvard Medical School as the Asa and Patricia Springer Professor of Pediatrics and of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, and as the Senior Investigator in the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine of Boston Children’s Hospital. Here, her lab used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to solve the structure of ASC filaments in inflammasome formation and structure of the RAG complex that plays a key role in adaptive immune response by generating antibody diversity, as well as the structure of gasdermin A3 that is a membrane pore expressed in skin, mucosa and immune antigen-presenting cells that triggers inflammatory programmed cell death.

The overall objective of the Wu lab has been to determine how macromolecular interactions mediate the transmission of signals from receptors to effectors to direct innate immune responses using the core approaches of structural biology. She is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences and recently received the Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award from the US Protein Society and the Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award from the International Cytokine and Interferon Society. 

Donita Brady, Ph.D

Donita Brady, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology in the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania since 2015. She obtained her PhD in Pharmacology in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Cox laboratory. Her postdoctoral work was completed in Duke University School of Medicine with Professor Christopher Counter.

Professor Brady’s research centres on the role of copper in the tumorigenic process. This work was started during her postdoctoral studies where she discovered the link between cellular copper uptake and MEK signalling and the role this plays in cancer progression. Her work is now the basis for a novel trial cancer therapeutic. Her current research focuses on uncovering the molecular mechanisms behind the integration of copper into the MAPK pathway and translating this into other transition metals and signalling pathways.

Professor Brady was appointed as the seventh Presidential Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, the highest honour for newly recruited faculty.  Her research is rapidly expanding our understanding of non-traditional roles of metals in cellular processes and represents an exciting new field in cancer biology.

Prof. Dr. Karl Helmut Grubmüller

Education and Scientific Career: Study of Physics Technical University (TU) Munich (1985) Diploma in Physics (1990), research visit at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1990/91), PhD Technical University (TU) Munich (1994), visiting scientist CENG Grenoble, France (1994), Postdoctoral Fellow Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich (1994-1998), EMBO Fellow ETH Zurich, Switzerland (1997), Independent Research Group Leader Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (1998-2003), German Habilitation &Venia Legendi in Physics University of Göttingen (2002), Associate Professor EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland (2003), Director and Scientific Member Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (since 2003), Honorary Professor for Physics University of Göttingen (since 2005), Rolf Sammet Laureate Goethe University of Frankfurt/Main (2013).

Research interests: To obtain a first principles understanding of molecular motions and mechanisms underlying and enabling biomolecular recognition and function through atomistic computer simulations, with a particular focus on proteins and protein complexes. Further, to advance simulation methods through progress in the theory of biomolecular dynamics and through improved scalable parallel algorithms.

Responsibilities and Services Member of several national and international scientific societies, editorial boards, appointment committees for universities and institutes, serves currently as chair of the German Biophysical Society (DGfB) and as member in the European Biophysical Societies’s Association (EBSA) Executive Committee, review service for national and international funding agencies and journals.

Professor Wendy Bickmore FRS FRSE FMedSci

Professor Wendy Bickmore is Director of the MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh. She obtained her BA in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford and her PhD from the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD project focussed on nucleic acid sequences of the Y chromosome and was conducted under Howard Cooke. Her postdoctoral work and early fellowship work concentrated on chromosome organisation within the nucleus.

Professor Bickmore’s current research addresses the fascinating question of how the spatial organisation of the nucleus impacts upon the regulation and function of genes in human health and disease. Her laboratory uses pioneering techniques in live-cell tagging methodologies to advance our understanding of the three dimensional folding of DNA within chromosomes and the nucleus.

Professor Bickmore is the recipient of numerous awards throughout her career, most notably she is an EMBO member, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Royal Society and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Laboratory Sciences.  


Benjamin Parcell MBChB

Benjamin Parcell received his MBChB from the University of Dundee and currently works as a Consultant Medical Microbiologist in the Department of Medical Microbiology at the Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. He also holds a role as an Honorary Senior Clinical Teacher at the University of Dundee School of Medicine. Dr Parcell’s research interests include rapid molecular diagnostics, whole genome sequencing and point-of-care testing. He is currently completing an MD in sequencing healthcare-associated infections (HAI) with the Infection Group, University of St Andrews and the Scottish Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Institute (SHAIPI).  He was recently selected to become an NRS Career Researcher Fellow based in the Division of Population Health and Genomics, School of Medicine, University of Dundee.