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.

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Ondrej Krivanek, PhD

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.


Life Science Plenary Speakers

COVID-19 Vaccine Developers

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Barney Graham, M.D., Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Vaccine Research Center
Chief, Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory and Translational Science Core

Dr. Graham serves as Deputy Director of the NIAID Vaccine Research Center and assists the Director in establishing and focusing the scientific direction for the VRC as a premier intramural research organization. As Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory, Dr. Graham also leads the development efforts for COVID-19 vaccines and universal influenza vaccines. In addition, he supports VRC product development through strategic advice on vaccine design as well as pre-clinical and clinical evaluation.

Dr. Graham is an immunologist, virologist, and clinical trials physician whose primary interests are viral pathogenesis, immunity, and vaccine development. His laboratory is focused on respiratory viral pathogens, pandemic preparedness, and emerging viral diseases. He applies structural biology, protein engineering, and other new technologies to create vaccines for unmet needs and emerging threats advancing the principles of precision vaccinology. He has been involved in the clinical evaluation of candidate vaccines for more than 30 years and has an ongoing interest in science education and expanding research opportunities for underrepresented minorities.

After graduating from Rice University in 1975, he obtained his MD from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1979. From 1979 to 1984 he served as intern, resident, and chief resident in internal medicine and from 1984 to 1986 was a clinical fellow in infectious diseases. He earned a PhD in microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1991 and then rose to the rank of professor of medicine with a joint appointment in the department of microbiology and immunology. At Vanderbilt, Dr. Graham directed an R01-funded laboratory focused on RSV pathogenesis and was head of the Vanderbilt AIDS Vaccine Evaluation Unit, one of the original sites for the international clinical trials network funded by NIH designated for evaluating candidate HIV vaccines. In 2000, Dr. Graham was recruited as one of the founding investigators for the VRC.


Jason McLellan, PhD

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.