SciLifeLab International Advisory Board site visit

February 7 February 9

SciLifeLab International Advisory Board site visit

February 7, 2024 @ 08:00 February 9, 2024 @ 17:00 CET

SciLifeLab International Advisory Board will visit SciLifeLab to evaluate the operations and advise on how we can develop even further.

The International Advisory Board (IAB) is an advisory body to the Board of SciLifeLab and consists of expert members operating outside of Sweden. The SciLifeLab Board appoints the IAB Chair and members. The IAB shall mainly contribute to SciLifeLabs’ strategic development regarding research infrastructure and scientific direction and meets every two years to report to the SciLifeLab Board.

SciLifeLab biannually produces reports for the IAB visit. The reports from 2021 and 2019 can be found here. The report for 2024 has been distributed as a printed report and a digital file for the IAB members. The participants at the IAB site visit have been invited to the Nextcloud folder, where the written material (report) and the Program can be found. The report to the IAB will be published on the SciLifeLab website after the site visit.

The IAB evaluation is reported to the SciLifeLab Board.

For questions or more information about the IAB site visit, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Project leader Erika Bergqvist Erkstam, or 070-425 03 87.

Download Program

Short program

Feb 6

Arrival in Uppsala, Sweden

18:45 Internal IAB Preparation Meeting

19:15 IAB Preparation Meeting with SciLifeLab Directors

Feb 7

08:00Transport from the hotel
08:30SciLifeLab Recent Developments and Ongoing Plans
Session 1: Provide excellent and impactful life science infrastructure
10:35Infrastructure: Future Strategies and Organization
12:15Flash talks: Infrastructure Platforms
Session 2: Facilitate the transformation of life science data into knowledge
14:30Data-Driven Life Science program
Session 3: Attract scientific excellence and provide advanced training
16:30SciLifeLab Research Community
17:45Closed session with the Board
19:15Dinner with the SciLifeLab Board, Uppsala University Main Building

Feb 8

08:30Transport from the hotel
Cont. Session 3: Attract scientific excellence and provide advanced training
09:00Training Hub and strategy
09:45IAB SciLifeLab Fellows meeting
11:15IAB DDLS Fellows meeting
Session 4: Strengthen capabilities, research communities and global partnerships
15:00SciLifeLab National Sites
16:30SciLifeLab Campus Solna
17:15Genomic Medicine Sweden
17:45IAB internal discussion

Feb 9

08:00Transport from the hotel
Session 5: Support innovation and bridge-building for the benefit of society
08:30Innovation, Collaboration and Partnerships
09:30National organization and support functions
11:00Future perspectives and opportunities
12:00General discussion time
12:30Working closed lunch, followed by writing and discussion
14:00Initial feedback and questions
14:30Additional writing session
15:00End of IAB site visit
updated: 2023-12-11

IAB members

Ruedi Aebersold is a Swiss/Canadian scientist trained at the Biocenter, University of Basel, Switzerland. After postdoctoral research at Caltech he was on the faculties of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and the University of Washington in Seattle and co-founded, with Lee Hood and Alan Aderem, the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle. In 2004 he joined ETH Zürich to establish the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology. He has co-founded several companies and holds multiple public service appointments. The group’s work was recognized with numerous awards including the Biemann medal of ASMS, the Paracelsus prize of the SCS, the Otto Naegeli Prize, the Thomson medal of IMSF and the HUPO achievement award and the Marcel Benoist Swiss Science Prize, the most prestigious science award in Switzerland. The group’s publications have been cited more than 132.000 times and reached an h-factor of 174 (WoS) and 203.000 times with h-factor 218 in Google Scholar (Oct 2023).

The research focus of the Aebersold group was the proteome. The group pioneered several widely used techniques and generated a range of open access/open source software and statistical tools that have contributed to making proteomic research results more transparent, reproducible and accurate.

Ruedi Aebersold entered emeritus status in 2021 and now serves as a member of the board of trustees of several foundations that support basic and translational life science research. 

Søren Brunak, Ph.D., is professor of Disease Systems Biology and Research Director at the University of Copenhagen. He is a pioneer in the application of machine learning techniques to the analysis of biological sequences. His group combines molecular level systems biology data with analysis of healthcare sector phenotypic data (electronic patient records, registry information and biobank questionnaires) to understand multimorbidities and treatment related disease correlations as temporal disease trajectories. This stratifies patients not only from their genotype, but also from the clinical descriptions in their medical records and is particularly relevant in the context of the precision medicine agenda.

Jo Bury is founder and director-emeritus of VIB, the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology. He was managing director of VIB in the period November 1995-March 2022. VIB is a life science research institute where 1.800 scientists and technicians study the molecular mechanisms of growth and development of different organisms (human beings, plants, micro-organisms) in normal (health) vs abnormal (disease, stress) conditions. The focus is strategic basic research with potential applications (in the long term) in molecular medicine and molecular farming. VIB is a multisite institution, integrated within the campuses of the universities of Ghent, Leuven, Brussels, Antwerp and Hasselt, based on a joint venture agreement of VIB with these 5 partner universities. Through the performance of its scientists, VIB has become a center of excellence in life science research in Europe.

Jo Bury has a Master’s degree in Pharmacy and is PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (University of Gent). He obtained an MBA degree at the Vlerick School for Management in Gent. After performing scientific research in the field of atherosclerosis during several years, he has made a career in science policy. He previously held the post of Operational Director of VLAB (Flanders’ Action Programme on Biotechnology) and science advisor at federal and regional granting bodies (IWONL-IRSIA, IWT).

Outside VIB Jo Bury has been a board member of different research intensive companies (Seghers Genetics and Nutrition NV, Vitamex NV, Oystershell NV), research institutions (Temasek Life Sciences Laboratories (Singapore), ITG), and granting bodies (Hercules, EIC, FWO). He served / serves on SABs of different research centers in life sciences s.a. IIMCB (Warsaw), HCEMM (Budapest), IGC (Lisbon), MDC (Berlin), CRG (Barcelona), SciLife (Stockholm) and DRI (London).

Janet K. Jansson is a Chief Scientist (Emeritus) and a Laboratory Fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Her research uses molecular tools “omics” to study microorganisms in a variety of habitats – ranging from soil to the human gut to outer space. Jansson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the Washington State Academy of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Helsinki, Finland. She has authored more than 250 publications and is one of the most highly cited researchers in the world.

Academician Sirpa Jalkanen, MD, PhD is Professor at the Medical Faculty, University of Turku and Director of a National Flagship, InFLAMES. She has published more than 380 peer-reviewed papers and has more than 10 patents on different discoveries in the fields of inflammation and cancer. She is a member of EMBO and Academia Europaea and has received several prizes/honours such as Datta Medal (from FEBS), major medical prizes: Anders Jahre, and Äyräpää, innovator prizes: 2nd European Women Innovator and the Finnish Pharma Industry Prizes. She has several positions of trust. She is a member/vice chair/chair of the boards in three big Finnish Foundations financing research and a board member of the Association of Finnish Foundations. In addition, she is a co-founder of BioTie Therapies and Faron Pharmaceuticals.

Professor Iain Mattaj was born in St. Andrews, Scotland. He attended Edinburgh University, Scotland and after completing his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry (honors), he obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Leeds, England. Following his Ph.D., Iain carried out postdoctoral research out at the Friedrich Miescher Institute, Switzerland, then at the Biocentre, University of Basel, Switzerland.  In 1985, he joined EMBL as a Group Leader at the Heidelberg laboratory. He became Coordinator of the Gene Expression Unit at EMBL in 1990 before being promoted to the position of Scientific Director in 1999. Iain was appointed Director General of EMBL in May 2005 and remained in post till the end of 2018. He then moved to Italy to launch the Human Technopole Foundation (HT), a government-funded foundation focusing on research on human health and wellbeing. He grew the organization from 14 staff to 390 including 273 researchers in just over four years. This included construction and refurbishment of 20,000 m2 of lab and office space, organized and mainly carried out during the COVID pandemic. HT is now producing high-quality research.

In addition to his leadership success at EMBL and HT, Iain’s own research achievements have been considerable and varied. His early work centered on a group of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) particles that function in the processing of messenger RNA precursors. His analyses of these RNPs spanned a variety of topics including transcription of the RNA components, RNA-protein interactions, function of the RNPs in messenger RNA production and assembly of the RNPs from their component parts in vivo. This work led to numerous studies of transport of RNA and proteins between the cell nucleus and cytoplasm. Iain’s group identified numerous factors and mechanisms involved in this important process. Iain’s more recent work has demonstrated the critical role of the Ran GTPase in regulating mitotic events including spindle assembly, nuclear pore complex formation and nuclear envelope assembly.

His prominent standing in the field was underlined by his election as President of the RNA Society and his award of the prestigious Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 2001.
In addition, he has received numerous other awards and honorary lectureships, including the FEBS Anniversary Prize, Caledonian Research Foundation – Royal Society of Edinburgh Award, Italian Chemical Society Award, Feldberg Foundation Prize. He is Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Bio-Sciences of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, and Honorary Doctor of the Universities of Edinburgh, Dundee, Umea and Leeds.
His scientific contributions have also been recognized by his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Member of Academia Europea, Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, Member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher (Leopoldina), appointed Trustee of the Darwin Trust, appointed Curator of the Lautenschläger Research Prize, appointed Member of the Life Sciences Search Committee for the Körber Prize, and appointed Member of the Search Committee for the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine. He was awarded the German Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz) in 2021.

He is a member of many national and international scientific advisory boards and panels, including periods as chair of EIROforum (European Intergovernmental Research Organisations), the Senior Awards Advisory Board of the Wellcome Trust, Senior Review Board of the HHMI, Chair of the ISTA executive Board, Chair of the Institut Curie ISAB, Chair of the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh Board of Trustees, etc. etc. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and helped make The EMBO Journal a highly successful international scientific journal, acting as Executive Editor from 1990 to 2004.

Svante Pääbo has developed techniques that allow DNA sequences from archaeological and paleontological remains to be determined. His research group has determined high-quality genome sequences from Neanderthals and discovered Denisovans, a previously unknown hominin group in Asian. They have shown that both Neanderthals and Denisovans contributed DNA to present-day humans and that these contributions have physiological and medical consequences today. Pääbo also works on the comparative and functional genomics of modern and archaic humans and apes.

He is a Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and an Adjunct Professor at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan.

Professor Kjetil Taskén has been key in building Norway’s national cancer precision medicine initiative and now coordinates the Cancer Mission PRIME-ROSE project for DRUP-like clinical trials across Europe. He authors >300 publications and is an inventor of >20 patents (h-index =65). He won the King Olav V’s Prize for Cancer Research in 2016, and the University of Oslo Innovation Prize in 2023 and is Vice-President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Current research is in tumor immune evasion mechanisms and functional precision medicine for different solid and blood cancers.

Sarah did her PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK and was a Beit Memorial Fellow at University College London. She started her group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in 2001. In 2013, she moved to the Wellcome Genome Campus where her group was joint between the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and in 2016 was appointed Head of the Cellular Genetics programme at the Sanger. Sarah’s laboratory develops and applies cell atlas technologies to decipher human tissue architecture, with a particular focus on how cellular diversity is generated in the immune system and through development. Sarah is co-founder and co-leader of the international Human Cell Atlas consortium which aims to create reference maps for cells across all human tissues and has grown to include over two thousand members across the world. Sarah is also co-director of the CIFAR Research Programme ‘The Multiscale Human’. Her work has been recognised by numerous awards, including the EMBO Gold Medal, Genetics Society Mary Lyons Award, Biochemical Society GlaxoSmithKline Award, the FEBS|EMBO Women in Science Award among others. She is an EMBO Member, ISCB Fellow, and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Royal Society.

Last updated: 2024-02-06

Content Responsible: Erika Erkstam(