Plenary Speakers


Physical Science Plenary Speakers

2020 Kavli Awardees

The 2020 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience was awarded to Maximilian Haider, Ondrej Krivanek, Harald Rose, and Knut Urban for sub-ångström resolution and chemical analysis using electron beams.

Maximilian Haider

Maximilian Haider is an Austrian physicist. After obtaining his degree at the University of Kiel he moved to Darmstadt to work for his PhD, which he obtained in 1987. Only two years later he joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, where he had carried out the experimental work for his PhD, becoming group leader of the Physical Instrumentation Program; he remains there to this day.

His research interests were focused on developing ways to improve the resolution of transmission electron microscopes. While at EMBL he developed a prototype lens system based on the theoretical work by Harald Rose, and started a collaboration with him and Knut Urban that resulted in the first aberration-corrected TEM images of atomic structures in a lattice, with the results published in 1998.

In 1996 Haider co-founded CEOS GmbH in Heidelberg, with the aim of producing aberration correctors commercially. He is still a senior adviser for the company, and since 2008 has also been an honorary professor of physics at the Karlsruhe University of Technology.

He has been awarded a number of prizes for his work, including, jointly with Rose and Urban, the Wolf Prize and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences, and he is an honorary fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society.


Ondrej Krivanek

Ondrej Krivanek is a physicist of Czech and British nationality, resident in the United States. Born in Prague, he moved to the UK in the late 1960s where he obtained a degree at the University of Leeds, before moving to Cambridge to work on his PhD in electron microscopy with Archie Howie.

After Cambridge, Krivanek had postdoctoral positions in Kyoto, at Bell Labs and at UC Berkeley. During his time in Berkeley he became interested in electron energy loss spectroscopy and built his own spectrometer. He became an assistant professor and associate director of the NSF HREM Facility at Arizona State University in 1980, and at the same time started collaborating with Gatan Inc., first as a consultant, before moving permanently to the company and becoming its R&D director.

In 1995 he went back to Cambridge with a grant from the Royal Society to work with Mick Brown and Andrew Bleloch on aberration correction of electron lenses. His advances enabled him and Niklas Dellby to start Nion Co. in 1997, a company of which he is still president. With Niklas Dellby and IBM's Phil Batson, he obtained sub-ångström resolution with a scanning transmission electron microscope, with the results published in 2002.

Ondrej Krivanek is one of the major experts in electron microscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy. He has received several awards, including the Duddell Medal and Prize of the British Institute of Physics, and the Cosslett Medal from the International Federation of Microscopy Societies. He is a fellow of the Royal Society, the Institute of Physics, the Microscopy Society of America, and of the American Physical Society, and an honorary fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society.


Harald Rose

Harald Rose is a German physicist. He studied at the University of Darmstadt where he obtained both his diploma and his doctorate, working on theoretical electron optics under the guidance of Otto Scherzer, who had done some seminal work on electron microscopy in the 1930s.

Rose's research career is strongly connected with both Darmstadt, where he worked on his habilitation and was a professor from 1980 to his retirement in 2000, and the United States where he has had a number of appointments. In the early 1970s he spent some time in Chicago in the lab directed by Albert Crewe, the inventor of STEM. Since the late 1970s he has had a number of posts in various US institutions, including the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago.

His research has widely focused on aberration-correction for electron lenses. In 1990 he designed a feasible system of lenses for improving TEM resolution. He then teamed up with Maximilian Haider and Knut Urban to realize his proposal experimentally, which they achieved in 1998.

Rose has been a ZEISS Senior Professor at the University of Ulm since 2009. He has received a number of prestigious awards including, jointly with Haider and Urban, the Wolf Prize for Physics and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences, and he is an honorary fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society.


Knut Urban

Knut Urban is a German physicist. He studied at the University of Stuttgart where he obtained his PhD in physics in 1972, before moving to the Max Planck Institute of Metals Research in Stuttgart.

In 1986 he was appointed a professor in materials properties at Erlangen-Nuremberg University, and just one year later became Chair of Experimental Physics at RWTH Aachen University and the Director of the Institute of Microstructure Research at Forschungszentrum, Jülich. During this period, he collaborated with Harald Rose and Maximilian Haider to obtain the first aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy results, which were published in 1998.

Urban then worked on the application of aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy to materials science. In particular, he focused on the connection between the precise arrangement of atoms within a lattice and the physical properties of a material.

In 2004 he was chosen as one of the directors of the Ernst Ruska Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons and since 2012 has been a JARA senior professor at RWTH Aachen University. Urban has been awarded a number of honors. These include the Von Hippel Award of the US Materials Research Society, and jointly with Rose and Haider, the Wolf Prize in Physics, the HONDA prize in Ecotechnology and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences. He is also an honorary member of several scientific bodies, including the US Materials Research Society, the German Physical Society and the Japanese Institute of Metals and Materials.


Life Science Plenary Speakers

COVID-19 Vaccine Developers

Kizzmekia S. Corbett

Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD is a research fellow and the scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis Team at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Vaccine Research Center. She received a BS in Biological Sciences, with a secondary major in Sociology, in 2008 from the University of Maryland – Baltimore County, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar and a NIH undergraduate scholar. She then enrolled at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from where she obtained her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology in 2014. A viral immunologist by training, Dr. Corbett uses her expertise to propel novel vaccine development for pandemic preparedness. Appointed to the VRC in 2014, her work focuses on developing novel coronavirus vaccines, including mRNA-1273, a leading candidate vaccine against the virus that causes COVID-19. In response to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine concept incorporated in mRNA-1273 was designed by Dr. Corbett’s team from viral sequence and rapidly deployed to industry partner, Moderna, Inc., for FDA-approved Phase 1 clinical trial, which unprecedently began only 66 days from the viral sequence release. Following promising results in animal models and humans, mRNA-1273 is currently in Phase 3 clinical trial. Alongside mRNA-1273, Dr. Corbett’s team boasts a portfolio which also includes universal coronavirus vaccine concepts and novel therapeutic antibodies. Additionally, Dr. Corbett spent several years working on a universal influenza vaccine, which is slated for Phase 1 clinical trial. In all, she has fifteen years of expertise studying dengue virus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and coronaviruses. Along with her research activities, Dr. Corbett is an active member of the NIH Fellows Committee and avid advocator of STEM education and vaccine awareness in the community.


Jason McLellan

Jason McLellan earned a BS in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Afterward, he obtained his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland in the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Leahy. He then carried out postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health's Vaccine Research Center in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Kwong and in collaboration with Dr. Barney Graham. In the Fall of 2013, he joined the faculty at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in the Department of Biochemistry, and in January 2018 he moved his laboratory to the University of Texas at Austin and became a member of the Department of Molecular Biosciences. His lab is interested in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of host–pathogen interactions and leveraging the resulting information for the development of vaccines and immunotherapies. Jason’s laboratory has been working collaboratively with others to understand the structure and function of coronavirus spike proteins. They have leveraged this information to design novel vaccine antigens that are in four out of the five leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Jason’s group rapidly determined the cryo-EM structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and used that information into the design of second-generation spikes that are more stable and express better than initial variants. His work highlights the importance of basic science research prior to pathogen emergence and demonstrates how structure-based design can be used to rapidly produce vaccine antigens.