Invited Speakers

Eugene Koonin, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr Koonin is a Distinguished Investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the NIH, and is the Academic lead for the Evolutionary Genomics Group. He specialises in the fields of Computational Biology and Evolutionary Genomics. His research lab focuses on genome evolution, especially in microbes and viruses, host-parasite coevolution, and on the functions and evolution of CRISPR-Cas systems.




Luciano Marraffini, the Rockefeller University

Prof. Marraffini’s lab investigates the molecular mechanisms by which CRISPR-Cas systems provide adaptive immunity against phage and plasmid infections. He joined the Rockefeller faculty in 2010, and is a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar, a Searle Scholar, and a recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator and Pioneer Awards. Since 2018, Luciano has been an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and in 2019 was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Outside of the lab, Luciano likes to play and watch soccer, history and cinema.




Dipali Sashital, Iowa State University

Dr. Sashital’s lab studies the mechanisms behind CRISPR-Cas systems, specifically RNA-protein (RNP) complexes. Her lab combines a broad range of biochemical and structural tools to study the molecular mechanisms underlying the activation, structure and function of these complexes during a CRISPR immune response and aims to better our understanding of how Cas proteins, their complexes and target DNA influence each stage of CRISPR immunity.



Marianne de Paepe,  Micalis Institute, INRA

Dr de Paepe is a member of the Phage Team which broadly studies phage genome dynamics using a combination of molecular, ecological and bioinformatic approaches.  She is project lead for projects related to temperate phages and their impact on bacterial ecology. Her research interests include investigating temperate phages and their impact on gut microbial ecology.




Stineke van Houte, University of Exeter

Dr van Houte is a BBSRC Future Leader Fellow. Her research currently focuses on how phages manage to counteract the CRISPR-Cas immune response in bacterial hosts. Her lab uses CRISPR technology to find novel ways of targeting bacteria with antimicrobial resistance (AMR).



Marie Touchon, Institut Pasteur

Dr Touchon’s is a postdoctoral researcher in Eduardo Rocha and Didier Mazel’s lab. Her research broadly aims to develop understanding of the evolutionary history of gene mobility, such as of the mechanisms and processes that drive plasmid domestication, and how MGE may influence and control microbial social interactions such as virulence and antibiotic resistance.




Dudu Burstein, Tel Aviv University

Dr Burstein’s lab explores key interaction mechanisms within natural microbial communities, including CRISPR-Cas, antibiotic resistance and bacterial secretion systems. They use metagenomic techniques, machine-learning and molecular biology methods to predict, test and validate their study systems, and promote applications in biotechnology and medicine.



Franz Baumdicker, University of Freiburg

Dr Baumdicker’s has a broad interest in developing mathematical models and computational methods to describe and understand the evolution and ecology of microbial genes and genomes, and their diversity. They have used mathematical models to analyse fitness costs of different CRISPR systems and ultimately aim to help explain the maintenance and spread of CRISPR-Cas systems in prokaryotic populations.