Julia Fentem, Ph.D., Head of Safety & Environmental Assurance Centre, Unilever
Julia has led Unilever’s team of ~160 experts in safety and environmental sustainability sciences since January 2007.  She has over 30 years of experience in toxicology and alternatives to animal testing, gained working for an animal protection charity, with the European Commission (ECVAM), and in the consumer goods industry (Unilever). Julia received her Ph.D. from the Medical School at Nottingham University in the UK in 1991 and has co-authored over 150 scientific publications.  She is a Fellow of the British Toxicology Society and widely recognized for her leadership in ‘next generation’ approaches for assessing product safety without animal testing.  Julia was the recipient of a CAAT Recognition Award in 2005, and in 2011 she received the prestigious Russell & Burch Award, for her contributions to advancing animal-free safety science.

Nicole C. Kleinstreuer, Ph.D., Acting Director, NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM)
Dr. Nicole Kleinstreuer directs NICEATM, the U.S. federal resource for alternatives to animal testing, within the Division of the National Toxicology Program at the NIEHS. At NICEATM, she leads domestic and international efforts to develop novel testing and analysis strategies that provide more rapid, mechanistic, and human-relevant predictions of potential environmental chemical hazards. Kleinstreuer’s research focuses on mathematical and computational modeling of biological systems and their susceptibility to perturbations that result in adverse health outcomes, and she has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications in these areas. She holds a secondary appointment in the NIEHS Division of Intramural Research Biostatistics and Computational Biology Branch, and adjunct faculty positions in the Yale University School of Public Health and the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC Chapel Hill. 

Thomas Hartung, MD Ph.D.,Doerenkamp-Zbinden Professor and Chair for Evidence-based Toxicology, Director Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing Johns Hopkins University
Thomas Hartung, MD Ph.D., is the Doerenkamp-Zbinden-Chair for Evidence-based Toxicology in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, with a joint appointment at the Whiting School of Engineering. He also holds a joint appointment for Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School. He is an adjunct affiliate professor at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. In addition, he holds a joint appointment as Professor for Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Konstanz, Germany; he also is Director of Centers for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) of both universities. CAAT hosts the secretariat of the Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration, as well as Collaborations on Good Read-Across Practice, Good Cell Culture Practice, Green Toxicology, etc. As PI, he headed the Human Toxome project funded as an NIH Transformative Research Grant. He is Chief Editor of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence. He is the former Head of the European Commission’s Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), Ispra, Italy, and has authored more than 600 scientific publications (h-index 100).

Catharine E. Krebs, Ph.D., Medical Research Specialist, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 
Catharine E. Krebs, Ph.D., is a medical research specialist with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nationwide organization of physicians and laypersons that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research and medical training. At the Physicians Committee, one of Dr. Krebs’ main goals is to push the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the world’s largest funder of biomedical research, toward the most responsible and effective biomedical practices in numerous areas including Alzheimer’s disease, mental health, and translational sciences. She also leads a project to improve biomedical research publishing standards, which aims to encourage more rigorous editorial oversight and peer review to prevent the publication of work that fails to meet basic ethical principles and to combat bias against innovative nonanimal methods.

Zoe C. Johnson PhD. Toxicology Program, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Zoe Johnson recently received his Ph.D. in Toxicology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. His present research interests focus on utilizing new approach methodologies to understand cellular and molecular mechanisms of environmental toxicants that play a role in the etiology of neurodegenerative disorders, as well as explore neuroprotective strategies for neurodegeneration. He serves as an Ambassador to the U.S Department of Education’s White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities where he leverages community-based organization relationships to promote the value of education networking with federal agencies and created a STEM student engagement and academic performance improvement program. Zoe is a recipient of numerous awards and recognition in Academic Scholarship, Scientific Research, Leadership and Civic Engagement. He is a recipient of the White House Presidential Award for Excellence in Innovation and Competitiveness by the White House Initiative on HBCUs, and the System of Maryland’s National Science Foundation Research Scholar Award. Zoe is an adventure enthusiast, and he loves to spend his leisure time in the outdoors, hiking, kayaking, and visiting historical monuments and National Parks.

Melanie D.G. Kaplan, Journalist 
Melanie D.G. Kaplan is an independent journalist and 2021-22 MIT Knight Science Journalism Project Fellow. She has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Washingtonian and National Parks Magazine, and she has written more than 100 travel features for The Washington Post. Alexander “Hammy” Hamilton is a beagle who spent the first four years of his life in a lab; Melanie adopted him in 2013, and the twosome has since road-tripped together to more than 40 states. Their home base is in Washington, D.C. 

Kambez Benam, D.Phil., Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh|
Dr. Benam is the founder of Lung Microengineering Lab. He received his B.Sc. (Hons.) in Pharmacology from the Newcastle University (UK) and his D.Phil. in Immunology from the University of Oxford (UK). He then was trained as a Technology Development Fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Dr. Benam has been the recipient of multiple awards including the Society of Toxicology IRSS, Baxter and Lush Young Investigator Awards, Science2Startup Finalist, as well as Science and Innovation Center Rising Star Award and Recognition of Early Academic Achievement (REAAch) Award from the American Thoracic Society. Dr. Benam's work has received extensive press coverage (BBC, STAT News, Harvard Gazette, Washington Times, IEEE Spectrum, etc.). He has published in leading scientific journals (such as NATURE METHODS, CELL SYSTEMS, NATURE PROTOCOLS, JCI INSIGHT, NANO SELECT, and ISCIENCE by CELL PRESS) and is a co-inventor on multiple patent applications. Dr. Benam has secured over $9.5 million in extramural funding since establishing Lung Microengineering Lab in 2017.

Tyler Goralski, Ph.D., U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center 
Dr. Tyler Goralski is a Research Biologist at the U.S. Army DEVCOM Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. He serves as principle investigator for multiple programs, which rely on various organs-on-chips technologies and in vitro based systems to better characterize and predict the effects of emerging chemical and biological threats on human organs and tissues. He earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology from The Pennsylvania State University where his research focused on the development of antimicrobial molecules to inhibit the Tier 1 biothreat agent Francisella tularensis, as well as the physiology of the antimicrobial target pathway known as ribosome rescue. In his free time, Dr. Goralski teaches Advanced Cell Biology and Molecular Biology as an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University.   

Laura Gribaldo, MD, Ph.D., Scientific Officer, Chemical Safety &  Alternative  Methods, JRC-EC
Dr. Laura Gribaldo holds an MD and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Virology, she has thirty years of experience in the field of testing for safety assessment. She set up and managed a transcriptomics platform for the development of standardized assays in toxicology and she was responsible to support a programme ensuring harmonisation and validation of procedures in genetic testing for diagnostics purposes. For the Public Health Unit, she worked on Rare Diseases, representing JRC at the EUCERD meetings for the establishment of the European platform for rare diseases registry. Today, at the Chemicals Safety and Alternative Methods Unit, she works in the field of knowledge dissemination, education, and training.

Rohan Shirwaiker, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Pleasant Faculty Scholar, Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering, North Carolina State University
Rohan Shirwaiker is an Associate Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering and Associate Director of the Comparative Medicine Institute at NC State University. His research focuses on the engineering and optimization of biofabrication processes and quality monitoring techniques to create and assess tissue substitutes for a variety of medical applications. Shirwaiker is a recipient of awards including the NSF CAREER and SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer and currently serves on various boards and scientific committees of ASME, ASTM, IISE, and SME.

Titilola Kalejaiye, Ph.D., Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University 
Titilola Kalejaiye is a molecular and cell biologist. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and obtained a Master of Science in molecular biology from Vrije Universiteit Brussels and a Master of Research in biomedical sciences from Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium. She obtained a Ph.D. in Infection, Immunity, and Inflammation from the University of Glasgow through her work on infectious human parasites. For her postdoctoral research, she joined the Musah laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. In this multi-talented research group, she contributes her skills as an initiative-taking, independent researcher to increasing scientific knowledge and the mentorship of students. Research projects in Musah lab focus on the application of stem cell biology to engineer functional models of human kidney disease. Dr. Lola is presently working on genome engineering and reprogramming human somatic cells into glomerular podocytes, the major determinant of progressive chronic kidney disease, as a means of elucidating disease mechanisms and developing regenerative medicine strategies. She also studies the susceptibility of glomerular podocytes to SARS-CoV-2. She has advanced knowledge of molecular and cellular biology with hands-on experience in genetic manipulation, cell culture, immunology, and biochemical assays with strong technical and analytical skills. She is passionate about scientific research and nurturing young minds in science.

Anthony J.F. Reardon, MSc Ph.D., Scientific Evaluator, Health Canada 
Anthony has been a Scientific Evaluator at Health Canada in Ottawa since April 2021. His priorities include leading case studies and coordinating scientific approach documents that further the implementation of new approach methodologies (NAMs) in human health risk assessment strategies. Prior to this, as a postdoctoral fellow within Health Canada, his research involved implementing NAMs and next-generation ‘omics’ approaches to assess data-poor chemicals. He received his Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 2019. His research, conducted through the Division of Analytical and Environmental Toxicology, focused on developing analytical methods of quantifying per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in humans and investigating their effects on women and children from exposure during pregnancy. He received an MSc in Medical Sciences from the University of Alberta in 2013, where he specialized in Cryobiology within the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. 

Chad Deisenroth, Ph.D., Cell Biologist, Center for Computational Toxicology & Exposure, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
Dr. Chad Deisenroth is a cell biologist in the Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He received his Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed postdoctoral training in chemical safety sciences at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences. Since establishing a laboratory in 2013, Dr. Deisenroth has led research teams focused on the development and application of novel in vitro test methods to replace animal testing in predictive toxicology. 

Gina M. Hilton, Ph.D., Adviser, PETA Science Consortium International 
Dr. Gina Hilton is a toxicologist and science adviser to the PETA Science Consortium International e.V. After receiving her Ph.D. in toxicology from North Carolina State University in 2017 she joined the Science Consortium, where she advises on the development and implementation of in silico and in vitro testing strategies for regulatory chemical safety assessment. Her work focuses on collaborations with academia, industry, and regulatory agencies to modernize human and ecological testing requirements for pesticide regulations, as well as facilitating international acceptance of non-animal toxicity test methods. 

Gladys Ouédraogo, Ph.D., L’Oréal Research and Innovation 
Dr. Gladys Ouédraogo has over 20 years of experience in developing new approach methodologies and leads research initiatives with external partners mainly on repeated dose systemic toxicity and genotoxicity. Dr. Ouédraogo received a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Padova, a Ph. D in Photobiology from the Natural History Museum of Paris, then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Wellman Center for medicine/Harvard Medical School in Boston. She joined L’Oréal in 2003. 

John Wambaugh, Ph.D., Research Physical Scientist, Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. John Wambaugh is a Research Physical Scientist with the Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure at the U.S. EPA. John's areas of active research include high throughput methods for chemical exposure, toxicokinetics, and toxicology. He co-leads the EPA “exposure forecasting” or “ExpoCast” project. John develops and evaluates predictive models using mathematics, machine learning, Bayesian methods, and other applied statistics techniques. John collaborates on the design of new experiments to refine models and reduce uncertainty. A primary focus of John’s research is in vitro-in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE), including the development of high throughput toxicokinetics (HTTK). He leads the development of the R package “httk”, which is downloaded roughly 1000 times monthly. John received his Ph.D. in physics and M.S. in computer science from Duke University in 2006. He trained as a post-doctoral researcher at EPA’s CompTox center from 2006-2008, where he studied biological models and Bayesian methods. He serves as an associate editor at Environmental Health Perspectives and is adjunct faculty in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Wambaugh has served as an ad hoc member for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Board of Scientific Counselors and was a grant review panelist for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Multiscale Modeling. Dr. Wambaugh has co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific articles. He has been a member of SOT since 2007 and was a co-founder and president of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) Exposure Specialty Section. He currently serves on the SOT Scientific Program Committee.

Chris Corton, Ph.D., Molecular Toxicologist, Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
Chris Corton is a Molecular Toxicologist in the Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure at the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. He has been studying mechanisms of chemical carcinogenesis for over 30 years focusing on nongenotoxic carcinogenesis. His group is working in a number of areas to reduce the need for animal testing including development of new approach methodologies to allow the prediction of cancer from analysis of gene expression after short-term exposures in animals, building and testing tools that allow the interpretation of complex gene expression patterns in chemically-exposed cells to predict potential adverse effects, and using these tools to understand the potential toxicity of individual chemicals and complex mixtures released from oil and gas operations. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Kansas Medical Center followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship at Duke University. From 1989 to 2002, he was a staff scientist at CIIT in Research Triangle Park, NC. In 1994-1995 he was a visiting scientist in the “Orphan Nuclear Receptor” group at Karolinska University, Huddinge, Sweden. He is on the editorial boards of a number of journals including Associate Editor for Toxicological Sciences. Dr. Corton has served as the Chair of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) Continuing Education and Current Concepts in Toxicology Committees. He is past President of the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty Section and the current President of the Carcinogenesis Specialty Section. He was the recipient of the SOT 2010 AstraZeneca Traveling Lectureship award. He has over 180 publications, many related to understanding chemical toxicity using animal-free methods. 

Lena Smirnova, Ph.D., Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Smirnova is a researcher at the Center of Alternatives to Animal Testing, Johns Hopkins University, where she is leading the Education Program and Program on Microphysiological systems and Systems Toxicology. She has joint appointments at Johns Hopkins school of engineering and Georgetown University. Her research focuses on the development of new approach methodologies for developmental neurotoxicity testing and understanding gene environmental interactions in autism. She received her Ph.D. from Charite Free University, Berlin, and PostDoc training at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, where she studied the role of microRNA in neural development, stem cell specification, and developmental neurotoxicity.

Elizabeth Baker, Esq, Regulatory Policy Director, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Elizabeth Baker, Esq., is the regulatory policy director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit working for more effective, efficient, and ethical medical research, product testing, and training. Elizabeth leads the Physicians Committee's work to modernize policies and practices to support the use of human-specific nonanimal approaches in product testing. Elizabeth frequently presents at domestic and international legal and scientific conferences. She has authored numerous science blogs, regulatory petitions, regulatory comments, op-eds, and manuscripts, including publication in Drug Discovery Today, ALTEX, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, ATLA, The Hill, STAT, the Food and Drug Law Institute Policy Forum, the North Carolina Central University School of Law Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Law Review, and the Physicians Committee’s Good Science Digest, regarding regulatory policy and innovative human-based science. Elizabeth is a member of the California Bar Association, the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology, the Society of Toxicology, the European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and the Parenteral Drug Association.

Jessica Ponder, Ph.D., Regulatory Testing Analyst, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Jessica Ponder is a regulatory testing analyst at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, where she enjoys facilitating the development of New Approach Methodologies for toxicological and bioanalytical assays to improve human relevance of testing methods used in regulatory decision-making. Prior to joining the Physicians Committee, Jessica contributed to numerous small molecule discovery and development screening projects, accumulating over ten years of analytical experience in biochemical evaluation of the effects of small molecules on in vitro human cell culture systems. Her experience with quantitative assay development includes traditional monolayer culture as well as 3D human tissue culture models and primary hematopoietic suspension cell culture, as well as ex vivo analyses of tissue and cells.

Hans Raabe, M.S., Chief Operating Officer, Institute for In Vitro Sciences
Mr. Raabe, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), has been involved in vitro toxicology assays for over 35 years. Mr. Raabe participated extensively as Study Director for GLP-compliant in vitro bioassays, and as Chief Operating Officer he is responsible for the overall operations of the contract laboratory services, and oversees the technical transfer, optimization and validation of emerging new approach methodologies. Mr. Raabe has served as an expert on several OECD Test Guideline panels, has been an invited presenter at various regulatory workshops and review panels, and has participated in multiple ECVAM and ICCVAM validation studies. Mr. Raabe also routinely participates in international in vitro methods technical training workshops.

Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., Vice President of Research Policy, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H., is the Vice President of Research Policy with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, where she directs efforts to implement human-relevant alternatives to the use of animals in medical research, education, and the testing of drugs, chemicals, and other regulated products. She has presented and conducted trainings on alternatives to animal tests to industry and government scientists, lobbied for state and federal legislation to replace animal testing, and served on federal committees advising federal and international agencies, including the OECD and the US EPA, on topics related to the implementation of in vitro and in silico methods for regulatory chemical safety assessment. She has given presentations and co-authored papers on a variety of topics related to the use of human-relevant methods for research and testing. She received her Master of Public Health in Toxicology from the University of Michigan.

Dalma Martinović-Weigelt, Ph.D., Professor, University of St. Thomas
Dr. Dalma Martinović-Weigelt is a Professor at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN. Her research focuses on the development of AOPs and the characterization of adverse effects of chemicals of emerging concern. She has co-authored 50+ research manuscripts and is a recipient of several U.S. EPA’s Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards. 

David Allen, Ph.D., Vice President, Inotiv-RTP, Contractor supporting NICEATM
David Allen, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Inotiv-RTP, with over 20 years of experience in regulatory toxicology, test method evaluation, and in vitro biology. In addition to his corporate responsibilities as Vice President, Dr. Allen provides scientific leadership, management, and direction to the Predictive Toxicology and Information Sciences Program at Inotiv-RTP, overseeing a variety of projects associated with the application of in vitro and in silico approaches to identifying potential hazards. He is the Principal Investigator of the support contract for the NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM), providing scientific oversight of all projects and senior leadership for all Inotiv-RTP staff working on the contract. Dr. Allen has been a member of international Validation Management Teams for in vitro alternative test methods, during which he provided input on validation study design, data analyses, and test method recommendations. He also has participated in international expert consultations for new and revised Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Health Effects Test Guidelines for alternative test methods. Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2017 SOT Enhancement of Animal Welfare Award and is also a Past President of both the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology and the Society of Toxicology (SOT) In Vitro and Alternative Methods Specialty Section.  

Alistair Middleton, Ph.D., Science Leader in Computational Toxicology, Unilever Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre
Dr. Alistair Middleton joined Unilever’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre in 2014, after working as a research associate in Germany and the UK, where he worked on mathematical models of complex biological systems (gene regulatory networks, cell migration, etc). Currently, he leads a multidisciplinary team looking at how we can use computational models and data together to make robust safety decisions without the use of animal testing.

Paul L. Carmichael, Ph.D., Senior Toxicologist, Unilever Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre
Prof. Paul Carmichael has worked in the Safety & Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) of Unilever in the UK since 2004, where he is responsible for the development and implementation of novel non-animal-based approaches for assuring human and environmental health; that is to say, how can consumer and environmental safety be assured without using and harming animals? He has over thirty years experience in toxicology and cancer research, largely in the academic arena, and prior to Unilever, he was a Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London in the Faculty of Medicine, where he taught pharmacology and toxicology and conducted research into advances in toxicology.

A graduate of Surrey University with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry/Toxicology and a Ph.D. from King’s College London, he was a postdoctoral scientist at the Institute of Cancer Research (Royal Marsden Hospital) for seven years, exploring mechanisms of chemical genotoxicity and carcinogenicity. He currently has close academic links with Peking University in China (the School of Public Health) and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Brown University in the USA. He has been an Endowed Professor at Wageningen University, Division of Toxicology in the Netherlands, since March 2020.

He has published over one hundred research papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has served or serves on many external committees in the UK, US, EU, and China. His passion is the advancement of new safety assessment approaches using the inspiration of ‘Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century’ – this can be termed ‘next generation risk assessments’ or NGRA.

Ann Lam, Ph.D., Medical Program Research Director, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Ann Lam, Ph.D., is the medical program research director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nationwide organization of physicians and laypersons that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research and advocates for more effective, efficient, and medical research, product testing and training. Dr. Lam and her team work to advance biomedical research and applications that can be more effective, personalized, and safer to patients of all ethnicities and ages. To do so, Dr. Lam promotes human-specific nonanimal methods such as in vitro studies, organ-on-a-chip, biospecimen research, least-invasive imaging and computational methods. By utilize human cells, tissues, processes, and data these methods are more human relevant and ethical than animal studies given species differences and issues of sentience. 

As these technologies continue to mature, Dr. Lam and her team work with scientists and advocacy groups to educate and engage policy makers and the next generation of scientists to broaden the use of these research tools. Dr. Lam is currently developing online resource to help laboratories and companies utilize stem cells to create model systems that are nonhuman animal-free (a.k.a. xeno-free). In addition, she and her colleagues at CIAO are investigating the feasibility to expand the Adverse Outcomes Pathways framework to help model the biological-social determinants of disease such as SARS-CoV2 and the COVID-19 pandemic. In this way, they aim to develop a multiscale understanding of diseases that can be applied to both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Dr. Lam hold a Ph.D. in Anatomy and Cell Biology and given lectures on nonanimal research methods at Fairleigh Dickinson University and University of California San Diego.

Sophie Zaaijer, Ph.D., CEO, CSO and founder of FIND Genomics, Cornell Tech
Dr. Sophie Zaaijer is CEO, CSO, and founder of FIND Genomics. FIND Genomics aims to accelerate biomedicine through high-accuracy cell-based science and is backed by the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. Dr. Zaaijer previously co-founded PlayDNA; an initiative that aimed to bring hands-on genomics and data science education to middle and high school as well as undergraduate education. Dr. Zaaijer did her postdoctoral research at the New York Genome Center and Columbia University after completing her PhD in molecular biology and genetics at Cancer Research UK / UCL in London and her research studies at the NIH and Harvard Medical School. 

Stephen Edwards, Ph.D., Bioinformatics Senior Scientist, RTI International 
Stephen Edwards is a Bioinformatics Senior Scientist within the GenOmics, Bioinformatics, and Translational Research Center at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Dr. Edwards has more than 25 years of experience in pharmacology and toxicology across academia, government, and industry. For the past 20 years, he has focused on using computational approaches to better understand the mechanisms underlying disease and highlight interventions that could improve human health. His current research examines the combined impact of genetic and environmental factors on disease manifestation to better support both precision medicine and public health protection. Dr. Edwards received his bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his doctorate in pharmacology from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  Prior to joining RTI International, Dr. Edwards was a systems biologist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In this role, he used computational approaches to describe the mechanisms by which chemicals cause disease in a wide variety of species. This work served as the basis for interpretation of high-throughput toxicity test results allowing thousands of chemicals per week to be screened for toxicity potential. Before joining EPA, Dr. Edwards worked in the pharmaceutical industry where he led a target discovery team focused on novel diabetes targets. The team used biological networks built from genetics and gene expression data to identify potential diabetes targets, which were subsequently nominated for the Merck high throughput screening program.

Charu Chandrasekera, Ph.D., Executive Director, Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods
Dr. Charu Chandrasekera is the founder and executive director of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM) and its subsidiary, the Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (CaCVAM) located at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She is a biochemist/molecular biologist with a diverse set of expertise in new approach methods, a former animal researcher, a science policy expert, and an animal lover. She promotes the replacement of animals in Canadian biomedical research, education, and regulatory testing through 21st century science, innovation, and ethics.

Nisha S. Sipes, Ph.D., Assistant Center Director for Research Translations and Program/Regulatory Support, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. Nisha Sipes is an Assistant Center Director for Research Translation and Program/Regulatory Support within the US EPA’s Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure. In this position, she aims to facilitate the translation of new approach methods for use in decisions and to provide scientific and technical expertise to EPA Program Offices, EPA Regions, and outside stakeholder groups with an interest in using this research to inform public health and environmental decisions. Dr. Sipes held a postdoctoral fellowship at the US EPA and staff scientist position at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) where she analyzed high-throughput screening assays, developed predictive models of developmental toxicity, and utilized the high-throughput toxicokinetic modeling (HTTK) approaches. She has a BS in Mechanical Engineering, MS in Biomedical Engineering, and a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Thi Phuong Tao, Project Manager, TissUse GmbH
Thi Phuong Tao is a Project Manager at TissUse GmbH in the Department of Assay Development. She obtained a Master of Science in biotechnology from the Beuth University of Applied Science Berlin in 2016. Since then, she has been working as a Scientific Research Assistant at TissUse. The focus of her first project was the integration of TissUse‘s microfollicle (human hair model) into a human full thickness skin equivalent. Since 2017, she has been working as a project manager developing different organ models and assays for co-culture on the HUMIMIC platform in cooperation with project partners from the Consumer products and Pharmaceutical industry. She is TissUse’s representative in a Cosmetics Europe project that evaluates the potential of the HUMIMIC technology to fill gaps in safety assessment for subacute, repeated dose systemic toxicity which resulted from the ban of 28/90 days animal studies. Furthermore, she is teaching use and implementation of the HUMIMIC technology to researchers, cooperation partners and customers worldwide.