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INVITED SPEAKERS

Opening Lecture

OPENING LECTURE

Dario Riccardo Valenzano
Leibniz Institute on Aging - Fritz Lipmann Institute, Jena, Germany

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Since 2021, Dario Riccardo Valenzano is full professor at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena (Germany) and senior research group leader at the Leibniz Institute on Aging - Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI), where he coordinates the research focus “microbiome and aging”. In January 2024, Dario became the new Director of the Leibniz Institute on Aging - Fritz Lipmann Institute in Jena.
Dario obtained his PhD in neuroscience in Italy at the Scuola Normale Superiore and did his postdoc research at Stanford University. In 2013, he became group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne. His research team studies how species in nature evolved short/long lifespans and explores the role of gut microbes in organismal homeostasis and evolution. Their main model system are African killifishes, which they study both in the lab and in their natural habitat in the African savannah.

Link to the website of the research group: https://valenzano-lab.github.io/labsite/index.html

Species adaptive response against climate changes
Development and evolution: an ecological perspective

Lazaro Marin Guirao
IEO-CSIC, Murcia, Spain

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Researcher of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO-CSIC) with concern and interest in determining the ability of seagrasses to cope with and adapt to altered/changing environments. Through multilevel approaches in field and laboratory experiments, he studies the future of these key benthic foundation species in complex environmental scenarios of global change. Such approaches are of great value in exploring the role of phenotypic plasticity and (epi)genetic evolution in seagrass adaptation to ongoing climate change. He is currently exploring assisted evolution techniques, such as plant priming and stress memory induction, for improving the resilience and adaptation of natural and restored populations to current and future perturbations.
More info: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=aF7ocwUAAAAJ&hl=es

Symposium:
Development and evolution: an ecological perspective
***EMBO Keynote Lecture***

Kristin Tessmar-Raible
Max Perutz Laboratories, University of Vienna, Austria
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany Carl-von-Ossietzky University, Germany

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Prof. Tessmar-Raible leads the research group for chronobiology at the University of Vienna, where she spearheads scientific insights into the molecular and cellular mechanisms of circadian, but especially non-circadian rhythms and non-visual effects of light. The scientific value and frontier character of her work is attested by multiple awards, e.g. two ERC grants, an EMBO membership, a Helmholtz Distinguished Professor at the Alfred Wegener Institute and University of Oldenburg, Germany.
Personally, Kristin Tessmar-Raible knows the challenges of dual career couples. With the scientist Florian Raible she shares the work of raising their three children.

Link to the website of the research group: https://www.maxperutzlabs.ac.at/research/research-groups/tessmar

Modern systematics

Daniele Silvestro
Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

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Daniele Silvestro is a computational biologist developing models and software in evolutionary and conservation biology. He specializes in the implementation of Bayesian models of speciation, extinction, migration, and trait evolution. Recently, he has been developing new artificial intelligence approaches based on deep learning and reinforcement learning to analyze biodiversity and genomic data. He is a group leader at the University Fribourg and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (Switzerland) and associate scientist at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden).
Link to the website of the research group: https://www.unifr.ch/bio/en/groups/silvestro

An evolutionary approach to the biology and ecology of behaviour
Phylogeography and conservation genomics

Mirjam Knörnschild
Museum of Natural History, Berlin, Germany

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Mirjam Knörnschild is Professor of Evolutionary Ethology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and head of the Department of Evolutionary Diversity Dynamics at the Museum of Natural History. She is also Research Associate of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Mirjam studies vocal communication, social behavior and cognition in wild bats using an integrative approach that combines classic field observations with acoustic, genomic and neuroethological analyses.
More info: http://mirjam-knoernschild.org/

The wild side of population genomics

Angelica Crottini
Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, University of Porto, Portugal

Angelica Crottini completed a PhD in Animal Biology (2008) at the University of Milano (Italy). She then obtained a postdoctoral grant at the University of Braunschweig (Germany), and later moved to CIBIO (Portugal), where she secured numerous research contracts. Since 2018 she leads the Biogeography and Evolution unit at CIBIO, and since 2019 she is an Assistant Professor at the University do Porto. She is the regional Co-chair of the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group for Madagascar. She is interested describing the biodiversity of Madagascar, understand how this has evolved, and use this knowledge to suggest conservation measures.

More info:

https://cibio.up.pt/en/people/details/angelica-crottini/

https://sigarra.up.pt/fcup/en/func_geral.formview?p_codigo=639858

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Joana Isabel Meier
Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK

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Joana Meier studies why the species richness is so unevenly distributed across the tree of life, particularly how hybridisation and chromosomal rearrangements affect rapid species radiations. After a PhD and postdoc in Bern, working with Ole Seehausen and Laurent Excoffier on cichlid fishes, she held a St John’s College and a Branco Weiss Fellowship in Cambridge. Together with Chris Jiggins, she studied butterfly hybrid zones. Now, as a group leader and Royal Society URF at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Joana heads a research team focusing on rapid speciation in butterflies and peacock spiders and co-leads large collaborative sequencing projects.
Link to the website of the research group: https://www.sanger.ac.uk/group/meier-group/

Cavalli Sforza Lecture

CAVALLI SFORZA LECTURE

Tanja Stadler
Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering,
ETH Zürich, Switzerland

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This year's recipient of the "Luca Luigi Cavalli Sforza" prize is Tanja Stadler.

Tanja Stadler's research addresses core questions in the life sciences through an evolutionary perspective, in particular in macroevolution, epidemiology, developmental biology and immunology. She obtained a PhD at the Technical University of Munich on the topic 'Evolving Trees – Models for Speciation and Extinction in Phylogenetics'. After a postdoctoral period with Prof. Sebastian Bonhoeffer in the Department of Environmental Systems Sciences at ETH Zürich, she was promoted to Junior Group Leader and then Professor. She now leads a group that focuses on developing phylogenetic tools to understand evolutionary, ecological, epidemiological and developmental processes. At the science-to-policy interface, she served as president of the Swiss National COVID-​19 Science Task Force.
Link to the website of the research group: https://bsse.ethz.ch/cevo

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