2024 conference speakers

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Distinguished Speakers

Fernanda-Bajanca speaker

Fernanda Bajanca

Chair, Marie Curie Alumni Association

Fernanda Bajanca is the current elected Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association’s Board and Executive Committee. She previously held the MCAA Vice-Chair position (2020-2022) and was the Chair of the MCAA Policy WG (2017-2019). She has also been a member of the MSCA Advisory Group (2017-2020).

Professionally, Fernanda accumulated over two decades of international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral research activity. She holds a PhD in Developmental Biology (2006) and was later awarded an MSCA Individual Fellowship grant for pursuing her career on the frontiers of fundamental and applied research (2010-2012). She now focuses on clinical research targeting rare diseases at a public children’s hospital in France.

Donata Iandalo

Donata Iandalo

Researcher | INSERM

I am a researcher at the Inserm in Saint-Etienne (France). My major research interests lie at the interface between bioelectronics and stem cell fate, with a particular focus on musculoskeletal regeneration. So far, I have been living in various different countries. My first experience abroad was in Sweden, I then moved to Singapore and then back to Europe to start my IF first in France and then in the UK. Here I worked at the University of Cambridge and I got increasingly involved with the MCAA. I have been involved in the activities of the UK Chapter, having organized a workshop on mental health in Cambridge in 2019. The connection between research culture, policy and researchers’ wellbeing, and mental health is my major interest and the reason for getting more and more involved with MCAA.

Lucy Swan

Lucy Swan

European Commission Representative | European Commission

Lucy Swan is the Deputy Head of the Unit in charge of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions at the European Commission. Before that, she was assistant to the Deputy Director General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. Since she joined the European Commission in 2004, she has worked in the Directorate General for Environment, the Secretariat General and the cabinet of Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

Maria Leptin

Maria Leptin

President | European Research Council

Prof. Maria Leptin has been the President of the European Research Council (ERC) since November 2021 and chairs the ERC’s governing body, the ERC Scientific Council. She is a biologist best known for her work on the mechanisms that allow a developing body to take on its correct shape.

ManuelHeitor

Manuel Heitor

Professor | Instituto Superior Técnico, IST

Manuel Heitor is a Portuguese politician who served as Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education in the government of Prime Minister António Costa from  2015 until  2022. Manuel Heitor is a full Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, IST, the engineering school of the University of Lisbon and was the founder and director of the IST´s “Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research”. He earned a PhD at Imperial College, London, in 1985 in combustion research and did post-doctoral training at the University of California San Diego, followed by an academic career at IST in Lisbon, where he pursued an initial research and teaching career in the area of energy and environment.  Recently, he has been appointed to lead a group advising the EU on the interim evaluation of its ongoing research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe, as well as on plans for its successor. 

Speakers

Alexandra-Dubini conference speaker

Alexandra Dubini

Distinguished Researcher, University of Córdoba, UCO

Dr. Alexandra Dubini is a distinguished researcher at the University of Córdoba, UCO, Spain. She completed her PhD at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom and then worked 10 years as a scientific researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, USA. In 2015, she joined the UCO where she is currently PI and coordinator of an ERANETMED project (WABA) that uses consortia of algae bacteria for bioremediation of wastewater and biomass valorization. She also specialized in the production of biofuels and more specifically hydrogen from green algae. Her research combines fundamental research and biotechnological applications. Through her work, she is developing new sustainable energy solutions using microalgae as renewable alternatives. Since 2019, she has also been part of 2 groups of experts from the European Commission related to Energy and climate, as well as the Environment, circular economy and resource efficiency. Finally, Dr Dubini is an advocate for the ecologic transition but also for women in science. It is important to empower women in leadership position in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine) to bridge the gender gap and help diversify roles and initiatives in terms of climate change actions.

Andreia Wendt

Andreia Wendt

Post doctoral Researcher | University of Bern

Andreia Albuquerque-Wendt (AAW) studied (BSc) Applied Chemistry (Biotechnology) and later Biochemistry in the Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (UNL). Obtained her Master´s degree in Biomedical Sciences (Molecular Biology and International Tropical Medicine) in the Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical (IHMT), UNL, specializing in the field of Leishmania parasites. She graduated (PhD) from the Medical School of Hannover in 2018 where she focused on glycan modifications of TSRs in C. elegans and Toxoplasma gondii proteins. As a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow AAW joined the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, where she first started exploring the function of transporter proteins in the biology of Leishmania parasites using CRISPR/Cas9. She then moved to Glasgow, as a postdoctoral Research Associate at the Welcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology at University of Glasgow, continuing the functional dissection of the Leishmania transportome in this parasites' life cycle using BARseq strategies. Currently, AAW is a member of the Vector Borne Diseases group of the Global Health and Tropical Medicine Centre, hosted by IHMT-UNL and an advanced postdoc at the Institute of Cell Biology at the University of Bern.My main interests include Leishmania biology and vector-parasite-host interactions and development of leishmaniasis control measures.

AshishAvasthi

Ashish Avasthi

Chair | Communications Working Group

Ashish is the current Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association’s (MCAA) Communication working group and was also the Vice-Chair of MCAA Spain-Portugal chapter. In addition, he is also an active member of the MCAA Policy working group. He obtained his doctorate in nanomedicine from University of Malaga, Spain. Subsequently, he did a traineeship at the MSCA unit of the European Commission’s DG-EAC.

Ashwan Kumar Tiwari

Ashwani Kumar Tiwari

Assistant Professor | Jawaharlal Nehru University

Dr. Ashwani Kumar Tiwari is working as an Assistant Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. His teaching and research areas are water resources management and GIS, hydro-geochemistry, pollution of water resources by geogenic and anthropogenic activities, groundwater-seawater interaction and aquifer vulnerability. He has been awarded the INC-IAH Young Scientist Award 2022 for his research contribution to groundwater investigation and management. He has been selected as a member of the Indian National Young Academy of Science (INYAS) for 05 Years in January 2024. Dr. Tiwari was a Post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy, for around four years. He has done M.Sc. and M.Phil. in Environmental Science and completed his Ph.D. degree in Environmental Science from Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad, India in 2016. He was awarded Erasmus Mundus and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Scholarships. He has edited two Books and published several research articles in various reputed international and national journals and his works on respective fields are very well appreciated by many workers across the world. He has served as a reviewer for many international journals.

Brian Cahill

Brain Cahill

Grant Manager | TIB Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology

Dr Brian Cahill works in the Learning and Skills Analytics Lab of the Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology in Hannover as Grant Manager of the COST Action CA19117 on Researcher Mental Health. He is a Member of the Governing Board of EuroScience,the Board of Directors of the SciLink Foundation and was Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association from March 2016 to February 2018. In these roles, he engaged with early-career researchers on topics ranging from researcher career development, innovation, research funding, science communication, science policy, researcher pensions, research integrity, responsible research and innovation and many more. He has written a career column for Nature and been invited to speak at many career-related events, including the EuroScience Open Forum, the AAAS Meeting and the Vitae Researcher Career Development Conference.

Clea Montanari

Cléa Montanari

Project Manager | Université Paris Cité/Learning Planet Institute

Currently I am a project manager for the European Citizen Science project. Within this project I focus on developing an academy on citizen science. I have previously studied biology, environmental policy and sustainable diplomacy within my bachelor and master degree. Within this I have worked within the field of citizen science as a research tool that can benefit the cooperation between non-scientist and scientist alike.

Geraldine Hanley

Geraldine Hanley

Project Manager, University College Dublin

Ger Hanley has worked with researchers and research universities for more than 20 years in pre and post award including financial management. Ger has extensive experience in EU research project management including programme management, grant administration, digital communication strategies (i.e., research impact and dissemination strategies and web development), coordination and funding body regulations (including financial) of FP7, INTERREG, H2020, Horizon Europe and national Irish funding.\n\nComing from an IT background with qualifications in business, project management and information systems, Ger has predominantly managed and consulted in the area of engineering (biosystems, food, ICT, mechanical and circular economy/bioeconomy) as well as Horizon Europe Twinning and SSH. She has written, reviewed and managed numerous ITN and doctoral network project since 2014 and is currently project managing the SIMPPER_MedDev ITN.

GianMaria Greco

Gian Maria Greco

Board Member | Marie Curie Alumni Association

Gian Maria Greco is a Board member of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA). Within the MCAA has hold several leadership roles, including IDA WG Chair, vice-chair of the Communication WG, and co-lead of the ResearchAbility Initiative. He is also co-chair of the CoARA Working Group on multilingualism and language bias in research assessment. He is also a tenure-tack senior research fellow at the University of Macerata (Italy). His research centres on theoretical and practical aspects of translation, accessibility, and diversity. He holds a PhD in Translation Studies (University of Roehampton, UK) and a PhD in Philosophy (University of Salento, Italy). He has held several academic positions, including Ulam Research Fellow at the University of Warsaw (Poland), Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), and Junior Research Associate at the University of Oxford (UK).

Giulia-Malaguarnera conference 2023 speaker

Giulia Malaguarnera

Secretary / Researcher

Giulia Malaguarnera is a MCAA General Board Member, expert in Open Science, working for OpenAIRE, a no-profit organisation promoting practices in Open Science. She has been working in a start-up company during her MSCA-individual fellowship in France (Rennes and Paris), and in academia in the UK at the UCL in London, and at the University of Catania. She is also a former President of Eurodoc, the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers.

Hakim Ferria

Hakim Ferria

European Projects Manager | INSAVALOR

Hakim Ferria works as a European Affairs Manager at INSAVALOR, which is the subsidiary for R&D of the engineering school INSA in France. He obtained his doctoral degree in fluid mechanics in 2011 from both ECL, École Centrale de Lyon, France, and KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He worked within the space industries and governmental institutions on fluid-structure interaction in turbines. He is now fully involved in research projects management. He was the project manager of the ITN INFRASTAR. Besides his position at INSAVALOR, he coordinates a network of French European Project Managers of ITN/DN projects coordinated in France. He co-founded the research management working group of which he is now one of the vice-chairs.

Irene Castellano Pellicena

Irene Castellano Pellicena

National Contact Point | University College Dublin

I am a Project Officer in EU programmes and policy at the Health Research Board (HRB), where I hold the National Contact Point (NCP) position for Horizon Europe Health in Ireland and work in open access. I am working in research funding management and policy since 2020. Beyond Horizon Europe, I previously worked on enterprise facing programmes, challenge funding and research policy, including the gender dimension in research and narrative CVs. Before my work in research funding, I was a biomedical researcher for over 8 years, working in different countries and settings including industry and academia. The focus of my research was skin biology, wound healing and skin pigmentation.

Joana Moscoso

Joana Moscoso

Co-founder and Co-Director | Chaperone

Joana believes in science and innovation for the benefit of humankind. This is what led her to become a scientist and a social business innovator. With experience working in the public, private and third sectors, Joana holds a PhD from Imperial College London, is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow Alumni, and co-founded two social enterprises. At Native Scientists, she connects children and scientists to promote quality and fair science education. At Chaperone, she gives scientists access to high-quality and personalised career support. She is an author in multiple international peer-reviewed publications, has volunteered for several associations, and founded Native Scientists while doing her PhD. Her entrepreneurial skills, ability to mobilise people, and capacity to generate positive social impact have been distinguished multiple times, including the titles Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise (2021) and MIT Innovator Under 35 (2017) titles.

Jonas Krebs

Jonas Krebs

Scientific Project Manager | Centre for Genomic Regulation

Jonas Krebs is scientific project manager and coordinator of the projects area in the “Strategy and Funding” office at Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona. Since his PhD in plant molecular biology, which he received in 2010 from the University of Potsdam, Germany, he worked in different institutions and roles in the field of project development, research management, internationalization and professional networking. In 2014 he specialized in European research funding and received the certificate “EU-Liaison officer” of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Since 2015 Jonas has developed and manages EU projects at CRG, with a major focus on Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions. Jonas is co-founder and current chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) Research Management Working Group.

Karen Strooobants

Karen Stroobants

Consultant CultureBase Consulting

Karen is a consultant and research policy adviser, specialising in research culture and research assessment. She worked on the Royal Society’s research culture programme in 2018 and led the development of the Resumé for Researchers, which was adopted in the UK Government’s R&D People and Culture Strategy. Karen was the penholder for drafting the European Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment in 2022. She is Vice-Chair of the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA), and a EuroScience Governing Board Member.

Linda Nyanchoka

Linda Nyanchoka

Post Doctoral Researcher | University of Oslo

She is a recent Marie Curie research fellow, she completed her PhD in Clinical Epidemiology from the Université de Paris (Paris, France) and Applied Health from the University of Liverpool (Liverpool, UK). Her PhD focused on the use of health research to inform policy making, practice and future research by exploring methods to identify research gaps and determine research priorities. She has also worked with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) as a Public Health Advisor on different national and international public health projects. Linda is passionate about public health, global health, promoting mental health, sexual and reproductive health and rights, evidence synthesis, health systems and policy research.

Magdalini Theodoridou

Magdalini Theodoridou

Academic Track Fellow | Newcastle University

Magdalini Theodoridou holds a PhD in Science for Conservation (University of Bologna, funded by the Marie Curie Actions) and a diploma in Civil Engineering (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki). From 2010 to 2018, she worked at the University of Cyprus (research + teaching) with significant scientific contributions to the design and development of novel construction materials bridging traditional and modern technologies and the innovative application of non-destructive techniques. In 2018, she moved to the UK to work as a MSCA Individual Fellow at Cardiff School of Engineering focusing on the biological self-healing of geological construction materials and structures. Her MSCA-IF included secondments at the National Research Council of Italy (Intitue for the Conservation and Valorization of Cultural Heritage) and the University of Florence (Department of Biology). Since March 2020, she is a member of the world's first Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment as a Newcastle University Academic Track Fellow. During her NUAcT fellowship she leads research on developing and exploring novel biotechnological process and applications for sustainable building and smart heritage conservation. She is a member of the Marie Curie Alumni Association and a founding member of the Working Group - Gender Equality and Diversity for Mobile Researchers in Science (GEMS). Since 2018, she has been the chair of the Genders, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion-GEDI WG (former GEMS). Her experience in leading interdisciplinary research, advocating for EDI, as well as having personally experienced the benefits and challenges of mobility are valuable assets to bringing GEDI closer to its goals of promoting a responsible and ethical research environment.

Marta Perez Lloret

Marta Perez Lloret

Postdoc | University of Galway, Ireland

Marta obtained her MCs at Unizar (Spain) and PhD in Chemistry in Unict (Italy) as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow in the ITN Cyclon-Hit. She is currently a MSCA Career-FIT Plus postdoctoral fellow working on nanomaterials for cancer treatment. Additionally, she is an active member of the MCAA in the Genders, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Sustainability Working Groups.

Mostafa Moonir Shawrav

Mostafa Moonir Shawrav

Executive Director | Marie Curie Alumni Association

Mostafa is a research innovation and policy expert with over 15 years of experience in various sectors. He is the Executive Director and Former Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA). He is a former Co-chair of the EU Science Diplomacy Alliance. He has worked in academia, industry and nonprofit organizations in Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium. He is passionate about supporting researchers and innovators in pursuing sustainable research careers, engaging in science diplomacy and developing entrepreneurial skills.

Murat Gunes

Murat Gunes

Researcher | IIMB-CNM

Murat Gunes earned his Ph.D. in Micro and Nanotechnology at METU. He was awarded the Marie S. Curie Fellowship twice. He worked at different institutes in France, Spain, Ukraine, and Turkey and founded twostartups. He volunteers as the Chair of the Bridging Business and Science Working Group at the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), where he was formerly Secretary. He is a founder member of the Turkish Chapter and the Science Diplomacy Task Force of the MCAA. He is also the STSM coordinator for the Researchers Mental Health Observatory Cost Action Project.

Pablo Emiliano Tomatis

Pablo Emiliano Tomatis

Researcher | IBR CONICET Argentina

Dr. Pablo Emiliano Tomatis started his journey in the field of Biotechnology in 2000, completing his Master's degree. He then earned his PhD with highest honors in 2008 from the University of Rosario, Argentina. He continued his work as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology of Rosario, under the Argentinean National Research Council. In 2012, he moved to the University of Zürich, Switzerland, where he worked as a postdoc till the end of 2015, supported by a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship and the Novartis Foundation for Medical-Biological Research. After gaining international experience, he returned home to Argentina to contribute to the Metalloprotein Lab at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology of Rosario. Since last year, he has been leading as the scientific manager at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology of Rosario, Argentina. Dr. Tomatis also imparts knowledge as a Biophysics teacher at the School of Biochemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Rosario. As an active member of the MCAA Argentinian chapter, he’s involved in sharing chapter activities, mentoring those interested in applying to MSCA, organizing applicant workshops, and hosting international webinars. From 2017 to 2020, he served as the chair of the MCAA Argentinian chapter, and since 2020, he has been fulfilling the role of vice-chair. In 2019, he chaired the organizing committee for the 1st Latin America MCAA Meeting. He's also contributed to the organization of MCAA GA & AC in Lisbon 2022 and Cordoba 2023. Furthermore, he's part of the Management WG of MCAA.

Pooja Khurana

Pooja Khurana

Community Manager | Marie Curie Alumni Association

Pooja is a Community Manager, a Project Officer for the European Citizen Science (ECS) project and an Editorial Board Member at the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA). She is a trained Stem Cell Scientist and Developmental Biologist. She has worked across disciplines in scientifically diverse environments in India, Germany, Hungary and England where she attained her PhD. in Biological Sciences (University of Southampton) and received the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship. Following postdoctoral research at the University of Hawaiʻi (USA) in 2022, she has volunteered for social causes including environmental sustainability at the Global Crisis Response (India) as an Outreach Coordinator; menstrual poverty at The Pad Project (U.S.A) as a Public Health Advisor; and a Founding Member of a virtual peer-support group, Therapy Thursday (U.S.A). Pooja aspires to combine scientific vigour and public outreach skills with a quest to attain true inclusivity, social wellbeing and menstrual equity with a focus on public engagement. 
 

Renaud Jolivet

Renaud Jolivet

Professor | Maastricht University

Dr. Renaud Jolivet is Full Professor at the Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology, and Chair of Neural Engineering & Computation at Maastricht University. He is the nominated representative for individual researchers and innovators at the European Commission’s ERA Forum, the Chair of the Science & Technology Committee of EBRAINS, the European research infrastructure for neurosciences, and holds a courtesy appointment at CERN, the particle physics laboratory. He has previously served on the boards of the Initiative for Science in Europe, MCAA and Organization for Computational Neuroscience, and was a 2023 Neurotech Fellow of the Foresight Institute. He has worked in Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK. His work focusses on the brain’s heterocellularity and on neurotechnologies to interface with brain tissue. In 2023, he received both the MCAA Career Award 2022, and the André Mischke Young Academy of Europe Prize for Science and Policy 2023 for his achievements in science and science policy. He is a Fellow of the ISC and of the GCSP.

Ruben Riosa

Ruben Riosa

Communication Manager | Excerpta Medica / Marie Curie Alumni Association

 

Ruben Riosa is currently the Communications Manager of the Marie Curie Alumni Association and is responsible for all the communications channels of the Association as well as the training initiatives. Ruben is also a Medical Communications Manager for Excerpta Medica, with the tasks of providing scientific and strategic support and guidance to several medical communications projects for a variety of clients, mostly in the pharma industry.

Sean Sapcariu

Sean Sapcariu

Programme Manager | Luxembourg National Research Fund

Sean Sapcariu is a programme manager at the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), responsible for strategic programmes and research culture initiatives. He has led the implementation of a narrative CV template across FNR funding programmes, co-produced a video with DORA giving guidance to evaluators on responsible research assessment techniques, and helped organize the 2021 Science Europe High Level Workshop on Research Culture. Internationally, he sits on the DORA Steering Committee, the GRC Working Group on Responsible Research Assessment, and co-chairs the Science Europe Working Group on Research Culture. Before joining the FNR, Sean completed his PhD studies at the University of Luxembourg in Biology and worked as a Liaison Officer in the Strategy and Planning Office of the University of Luxembourg Rectorate.

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