ISBE SAB Members

Chair of SAB: Peter Hunter (University of Auckland) 
Peter Hunter completed an engineering degree in 1971 in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (now Engineering Science) at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, a Master of Engineering degree in 1972 (Auckland) on solving the equations of arterial blood flow and a DPhil (PhD) in Physiology at the University of Oxford in 1975 on finite element modeling of ventricular mechanics.

He is helping to lead the international Physiome Project which aims to use computational methods for understanding the integrated physiological function of the body in terms of the structure and function of tissues, cells and proteins.

He is currently a Professor of Engineering Science and Director of the Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland, Director of Computational Physiology at Oxford University and holds honorary or visiting Professorships at a number of Universities. He is on the scientific advisory boards of a number of Research Institutes in Europe, the US and the Asia-Pacific region. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society (London and NZ), the World Council for Biomechanics, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the International Academy of Medical & Biological Engineering.

Vice-Chair of SAB: Adriano Henney, Director Virtual Liver Network, Germany
Adriano Henney, a British biomedical scientist, obtained his PhD in Medicine. He has 23 years’ research experience in cardiovascular disease working in laboratories in London, Cambridge and Oxford, where his interests focused predominantly on atherosclerosis, with studies ranging from pathology, through molecular and cellular biology to molecular genetics.

In 1997, he was recruited by Zeneca Pharmaceuticals from a Senior Fellowship position leading his own molecular genetics group in Oxford, to lead the exploration of new therapeutic approaches in atherosclerosis, specifically focusing on his research interests in vascular biology. Following the merger with Astra, Dr Henney moved within the newly formed company, AstraZeneca, to a position of Global Programme Manager responsible for prototyping strategic improvements to the company’s approaches to pharmaceutical target identification, and the reduction of attrition in early development. This involved directing activities both across research sites and across functional project teams in the US, Sweden and the UK. The work undertaken in this Programme resulted in the creation of an entirely new multidisciplinary department that focused on pathway mapping, modeling and simulation. With personnel based in the UK and US, and global project interactions across all therapy areas, the work of this department supported drug projects across Research and Development. Under his leadership, the department evolved to establish the practice of Systems Biology that, together with strong relationships with key academic centres and biotechs, prototyped the application of mechanistic disease modelling approaches to the discovery and development of innovative medicines.

Since leaving AstraZeneca In 2009, Dr Henney has continued his interest in Systems Biology through his company, Obsidian Biomedical Consulting Ltd., Helping academics to work more closely with industry. In April 2010, Dr Henney was invited to direct a new German National flagship research programme in Systems Biology: The Virtual Liver Network, which is his current major focus.

Pamela Silver, Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
Pamela became one of the founding members of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School in 2004, where she runs the Silver Lab, and the first Director of the Harvard University Graduate Program in Systems Biology. She is also a member of the Harvard Medical School Biological and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and the Harvard Biophysics and Chemical Biology Graduate Program. She received her BS in Chemistry and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California. Her achievements have been recognized with numerous awards including a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and an Innovation Award from BIO, the world’s largest biotechnology organization. Her research has been funded by the Department of Defense, the Keck Foundation, Merck & Co., the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the NSF, and Novartis. She currently holds an NIH MERIT award, which is given to researchers who have demonstrated superior competence and outstanding productivity. She also initiated and co-directs the Harvard undergraduate team for the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM).

Pamela is building cell-based machines, designing novel therapeutics, and reengineering photosynthetic bacteria to produce hydrogen and other fuels. Among her most recent innovations is an artificial extracellular matrix that could become a highly effective and safe tool for regenerating bone, muscle, and other tissues. Constructed from engineered proteins and DNA structures, it can be precisely programmed to generate specific properties, such as atomic-scale stiffness and length. Pamela is also leading a project for the Department of Energy to develop new approaches for advanced microbial biofuels, as part of a national effort to accelerate innovation in clean technologies. Her team is developing a bacterium that uses electricity from renewable sources to convert carbon dioxide into gasoline.

Hiroaki Kitano, President, Systems Biology Institute, Tokyo.
Hiroaki Kitano is the director of the Sony Computer Science Laboratories, where he was one of the visionaries behind Aibo, the robotic dog. He also heads the Japanese-government funded Kitano Symbiotic Systems Project and is president of the Institute for Systems Biology in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Kitano is an expert in the fields of artificial intelligence and bioinformatics,and is a leading figure in the emerging field of gene network modeling. His research focuses on understanding, controlling, and re-constructing biological systems by developing simulators for genetic interactions, metabolism, and signal transduction in cells. Dr. Kitano received his Ph.D. in computer science from Kyoto University.

Niklas Blomberg – ELIXIR Founding Director
Niklas Blomberg, a Swedish national, holds a BSc in Chemistry from Göteborg University and a PhD from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg. Prior to taking up the post of Director of ELIXIR in May 2013,  he was Principal Scientist and Team Leader in Computational Chemistry and Computational Biology at AstraZeneca R&D Mölndal, Sweden, where he enjoyed a successful career since 1999. In addition, he has been an industry advisor in national eScience initiatives and an active participant in cross-industry research programmes.

June Medford – Colorado State University 
The Medford lab uses synthetic biology to re-design plants with useful traits and understand fundamental question about natural processes. They are expanding plant synthetic biology to broader areas such bioenergy and biological input-output systems. As one example, they provide input with computer designed receptors that activate a plant synthetic signal transduction pathway and a transcriptional response and are using the tools of synthetic biology to further the approach.