AFM BioMed Conference

 Keynote Lecture

      Toshio Ando, Kanazawa University, Japan


Toshio Ando is Principal Investigator and Professor at the Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI) founded in 2017 in the Kanazawa University. Before this position, he was Professor at the Physics Department of Kanazawa University. He studied Physics and received his PhD from Waseda University, Tokyo.  Before joining the faculty at the Kanazawa University, he worked at UC San Francisco as a postdoctoral fellow and then an Assistant Research Biophysicist from 1980 to 1986, at Prof. Manuel Morales’s lab. He is a biophysicist specializing in the development and use of measurement techniques for understanding the functional mechanism of proteins. In the last 25 years, he has been developing high-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) techniques to directly visualize biological nano-machines during their functional activity at high spatiotemporal resolution. He received a number of awards for his achievement on the development of HS-AFM technology and its application to biomolecular systems.

     Arvind Raman, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA


Arvind Raman is Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty, Robert V. Adams Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Professor of Materials Engineering (by Courtesy). Ph.D. California-Berkeley, '99 M.S.M.E. Purdue, '94 M.S.M.E. Purdue, '94. His research interests are: Nonlinear dynamics, vibrations, fluid-structure interactions, and applications to: Atomic force microscopy, MEMS/NEMS, Human biomechanics, Roll-to-Roll flexible electronics and nanomanufacturing. His group is mainly interested in vibrations and nonlinear dynamics research at emerging frontiers of science and engineering, using the principles of nonlinear dynamics, vibrations, nonlinear mechanics, and fluid-structure interaction to study emerging interdisciplinary problems in science and engineering. Current interest areas range from Atomic Force Microscopy, Micro/nanosystems, Human biomechanics, and flexible electronics manufacturing. The students and postdocs in the group have a strong foundation in dynamics, vibrations, solid and fluid mechanics, and creative, open minds for learning new research areas beyond the traditional mechanical engineering applications. Since 2002, he received many Awards and Recognitions.


     Richard S. Chadwick, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA


 Dr. Chadwick received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1971, where he studied light scattering phenomena in blood. Dr. Chadwick joined the engineering faculty at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology in 1971 where he began his studies on cochlear mechanics. He moved to UCLA as an assistant professor in 1975 where he continued this work with Julian Cole. Dr. Chadwick joined the Bioengineering and Instrumentation Branch at NIH in 1980, where he began research in cardiovascular dynamics, and then moved to the NIDCD as a Senior Investigator in 1996. He became Scientist Emeritus in 2019. He is an elected fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Dr. Chadwick's laboratory is studying the biomechanics of cochlear fine-tuning and cell mechanics.


     Harald Fuchs, University of Münster, Germany


Harald Fuchs is a Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Münster, Germany. He spent from 1984 –1985 a post-doctoral year with IBM Research Laboratory Zurich in the group of G. Binnig & H. Rohrer. From 1985-1993 he was heading the ‚Ultrathin Organic Films’ project with BASF AG, Germany, before he became in 1993 a Full Professor and Director of the Physical Institute of the University of Münster. He is the founder of the Center for nanotechnology (CeNTech) in Münster and its scientific director since 1993. His research focuses on nanoscale science and nanotechnology, ranging from scanning probe microscopy to self-organized nanostructure fabrication, and nano-bio systems documented in more than 500 peer reviewed publications and over 35 patents. He was the speaker of the first large scale collaborative research Sino-German basic research project, SFB/TRR 61, jointly funded by DFG and NSFC. H. Fuchs is a co-founder of two start-up companies and an elected member of the German National Academy of Science ‘Leopoldina’, the German National Academy of Science and Engineering 'acatech', and 'TWAS'.


     Hongbin Li, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada


Hongbin Li is professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. B.Sc (Polymer Engineering, Tianjin University, China) 1989-1993: Visiting PhD student (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany, Advisor: Prof. Hermann E. Gaub) 1996-1997; Ph.D. (Polymer Chemistry and Physics at Jilin University, China, Advisors: Profs. Jiacong Shen, Xi Zhang and Hermann E. Gaub) 1993-1998; Research Fellow (Mayo Medical Center, USA, Advisor: Prof. Julio M. Fernandez) 1999-2002. The research program of his group focuses on the area of single molecule biophysical chemistry. We are interested in the mechanical properties and conformational dynamics of elastic proteins. Elastic proteins are important structural and functional components in living cells. They serve as molecular springs in tissues to establish elastic connections and provide mechanical strength, elasticity, and extensibility. They are not only important for their biological functions in various biological processes, but also important building blocks for bottom-up construction of smart materials and mechanical devices on the nanoscale. The main research tool is single molecule atomic force microscopy. The AFM is a powerful technique allowing us to directly manipulate proteins one molecule at a time. We use the AFM to measure the mechanical properties of proteins, and monitor the folding/unfolding trajectories of single protein in real time. Our long-term goal is to understand the mechanical properties of proteins at the single molecule level and use protein engineering techniques to design proteins with tailored mechanical properties to be used as functional and structural components for smart materials and nanomechanical devices.

  Invited Speakers  


      Nuria Gavara 


Queen Mary University of London

Dr Núria Gavara was trained as a physicist before obtaining a PhD on Cell Biophysics at the Medical School of the University of Barcelona (Spain). She expanded her research skills by taking postdoctoral positions at the National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA) and the Institute of Biophysics at the University of Goettingen (Germany). In 2013 she was appointed Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering within the School of Engineering and Material Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London, being promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018. Her research interests sit at the interface of cellular biophysics, mechanobiology, computer vision and machine learning, with a strong aim at furthering the understanding of the biological processes involved in physiology and disease. The research carried out in her lab focuses on the cell's cytoskeleton, and especially the characterization of its organization and mechanical properties. To do so, her lab uses a broad cellular biophysics toolbox, including Atomic Force Microscopy, Traction Force Microscopy, high-throughput imaging, advanced image quantification pipelines and machine learning methods.


      Richard Superfine    


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Richard Superfine, Taylor-Williams Distinguished Professor, and Chair of Applied Physical Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received his B.S. in engineering physics from Lehigh University and worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories for three years before moving to University of California, Berkeley to obtain his Physics Ph.D. in laser studies of molecular surfaces. Since arriving at UNC Chapel Hill, his research includes the study of nanoscale phenomena in nanodevices, biological forces, and the systems biology of lung defense. He is the principal investigator of the UNC NIH center for Computer Integrated Systems for Manipulation and Microscopy ( which develops tools for biomedical sciences. One microscopy system, the nanoManipulator, has been commercialized and has won an R&D 100 award (2001). He has published over 130 research papers and 24 awarded and pending patents. He has led major research funding of over $39 million in grants including multi-investigator, interdisciplinary projects studying muco-ciliary clearance in the lung and the application of visualization and modeling for treatments of upper airway breathing disorders.  To broaden the impact of his work, he is co-founder and board chair of Redbud Labs, a startup company developing chip based diagnostic technologies. In his administrative roles at UNC, most recently Superfine now chairs the Department of Applied Physical Sciences (APS), the first new science department at UNC in over 40 years. The goal of APS is to broaden the scope of the UNC engineering enterprise, and through a convergent engineering approach bridge discovery science to impact in the world. Now at 8 faculty members, we will be growing to over 20 faculty in the next decade, with research interests spanning solar energy, water purification, neuroscience and tissue engineering all using the approaches of advanced materials, computational modeling, data science, optical engineering and biophysics.


       Gerald Meininger


University of Missouri Health at Columbia

Gerald A. Meininger is Former Director of the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center (2005-2015) and is currently appointed Emeritus Professor in the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology and Emeritus Investigator of the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center (2017-present). Prior to the University of Missouri, Dr. Meininger was a Regents Professor and Associate Head of the Department of Medical Physiology and Director of the Division of Vascular Biology at Texas A&M University System HSC. Dr. Meininger’s research career has focused on mechanisms of microvascular control, the vasculature during hypertension and regulation of vascular smooth muscle function. Recent research efforts are directed at understanding the mechanisms by which cells of the cardiovascular system sense and respond to mechanical forces. These studies have provided strong evidence supporting an active role for adhesions formed by integrins and cadherins in vascular control. Dr. Meininger has also had an interest in application of new technologies for study of the cell biology of the vascular wall. Examples have included use of fluorescent indicators in intact microvessls, three-dimensional imaging of cells in the microvessel wall and application of atomic force microscopy for study of adhesion and mechanosensitive mechanisms in smooth muscle. He has over 140 publications and has received more than 90 invitations to speak at National and International Symposia and more than 100 invitations to present seminars. His research was continuously funded for 30 years.


      Sergi Garcia-Manyes


King’s College London

Sergi Garcia-Manyes is Professor of Biophysics at King’s College London, holding a joint appointment between the Randall Centre for Cell and Molecular Biophysics and the Department of Physics, where he is the Head of the Biological Physics and Soft Matter (BPSM) research group. He is also a group leader at the Francis Crick Institute (London). Sergi obtained his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Barcelona, and conducted his postdoctoral training in the field of single molecule mechanics in the Biology Department of Columbia University in the City of New York. Sergi’s lab is interested in mechanobiology across different length scales, spanning from single molecules to individual cells, with a particular accent on the molecular mechanisms underpinning mechanical folding of single proteins and protein mechanochemistry at the single bond level. Sergi held an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship, and has been recently awarded the Leverhulme Research Leadership Award, a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award and the Royal Society Wolfson fellowship.

        Marina Inés Giannotti


Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) Barcelona

Marina I. Giannotti got a PhD in Materials Science in 2004 from the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (Argentina), in the field of thermosetting polymers and phase separation. She then moved to The Netherlands with a Marie Curie IIF grant, where she did a postdoc at the University of Twente with Prof. Julius Vancso, in nanotechnology with individual macromolecules, specifically on the study of macromolecular elasticity of stimuli-responsive polymers with AFM-single molecule force spectroscopy. Since 2008, she is a Senior Researcher from Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red in the area of Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and University of Barcelona (UB) in Spain, in the Nanoprobes & Nanoswitches group with Prof. Fausto Sanz and Prof. Pau Gorostiza, to work on nanoscale tools to study biological systems. She is also associate professor at the UB. Her main research interests are in the field of structure-nanomechanics relationship and molecular biophysics, with applications to nanomedicine. Specifically, she works on AFM-based nanomechanics on soft matter, focusing on membranes and biomacromolecules, including redox proteins and lipid bilayers of biological and technological relevance.


      Giovanni Longo


Istituto di Struttura della Materia, CNR, Rome, Italy

Dr. Giovanni Longo is a researcher at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Rome, at the Istituto di Struttura della Materia. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Rome La Sapienza in 2006. From 2010 to 2015 he worked as a senior Postdoc at the EPFL in Lausanne in the LPMV laboratories. He is currently head of the BioLab in the ISM-CNR and in the organizing committee of the Tech4Bio consortium, aiming to further the interactions between biophysics research and industries. As an expert in scanning probe microscopies and high-resolution characterization techniques, he has focused on the interdisciplinary studies combining physics and biology for biomedical applications, employing AFM in innovative ways and combining this technique with Raman or IR spectroscopy. Expanding on this background, he is among the main developers of the nanomotion sensor, which he has applied to different experimental fields. At the same time, he and his group are working on several scientific topics, ranging from the study of the presence of nanopollutants in living systems, to the effect of mechanical stimuli on mammalian cells, including Red Blood Cells.

      Filomena Carvalho


Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Filomena Carvalho completed her PhD in Biomedical Sciences in 2012, after her graduation in Chemical Enginnering. She is now one of the principal investigators of the Biomembranes & Nanomedicine Unit, and she is Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon. She (co)authored 36 articles in peer-reviewed international journals, being the first author of 14 and the corresponding author of 10 of them. Additionally, she (co)authored 1 book chapter and 1 book. She was awarded twice the AFMBioMed-Wiley Young investigator award in 2016 and 2017 and won the Programa Gulbenkian de Estímulo à Investigação prize (2010). She has been responsible for setting up all AFM-based force spectroscopy experiments done in the lab, especially working with human cells, in health and disease (mainly cardiovascular diseases). Her studies focus on fibrinogen interactions with blood cells, also doing cell indentation and cell-cell adhesion studies.