Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw

The research conducted in Prof. Bal’s group is focused on the quantitative and structural description of complexes and reactions relevant to essential metal ion homeostasis (Cu, Zn), industrial and environmental metal ion toxicology (Ni, Cd, As, Ag) and metal-based processes in protein engineering. The most significant achievements include the discovery and elucidation of the reaction of Ni(II), Cu(II) and Pd(II) reaction with proteins and peptides leading to sequence-specific hydrolysis of peptide bonds. This reaction is a foundation of the proprietary methodology of purification of recombinant proteins and is also a source of new concepts in metal allergy. Other significant results include a new hypothesis on the role of specific isoforms of Aβ peptides related to Alzheimer’s disease as synaptic Cu(II) chaperons and the emerging paradigm for intracellular zinc transport by low molecular weight metabolites. Applied research conducted in his group resulted in the design and synthesis of a new copolymer which constitutes the active ingredient of a series of barrier cosmetics protecting from the symptoms of nickel allergy, which are marketed by a startup company.

Magnetic Resonance Center and Department of Chemistry, University of Florence

Lucia Banci is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Florence. Lucia Banci has a high international reputation for her original contributions and breakthroughs in Structural Biology and in biological NMR. She is recognized as a world-class leader in the characterization of functional processes in a cellular context with atomic resolution. She has addressed and unravelled many aspects of the biology of metal ions in biological systems, from their homeostasis processes to the trafficking and metal incorporation to the final receiving proteins. She developed a molecular systems biology approach which integrates structural, interaction and dynamical information with the thermodynamic properties of the processes, so as to have a unified picture of the processes responsible of metal ion trafficking, with a particular focus on copper and on the biogenesis and maturation of iron-sulfur cluster proteins. On these systems, she is developing and exploiting innovative approaches which combine standard spectroscopic techniques with paramagnetic based methods.

Over the recent years, Lucia Banci exploited the extensive knowledge of structural biology approaches by NMR to develop an absolutely innovative approach to vaccine design, which she first named «Structural Vaccinology» based on the knowledge of the structure of the pathogen antigens and of the interaction pattern with antibodies, to design structure-based vaccines. With this approach, she provided an essential contribution to the development of a vaccine against meningococcus B pathogen, which is characterized by several variants, each exhibiting different epitopes on a very effective antigen. The knowledge of the structural properties allowed the design of a chimaera antigen which has complete protectivity against all the variants.

Finally the most recent line of her research, in cell NMR, is raising a very high interest in various scientific communities, either interested in new methodological advancements in NMR or in the striking new knowledge obtained in biological processes. The innovative in cell NMR approach developed by Lucia Banci and his group allows for the detection of human individual proteins (a single one or more such as partner proteins) with atomic-level resolution in living human cells. This approach realizes the bridge between cellular studies (which maintain the cellular environment but lack atomic information) and structural characterization (which provides a detailed, atomic-level description in vitro).

She has published more than 370 research articles and has solved above 150 protein structures. (h-Index (Google Scholar) = 73)

She is one of the founders and past Director of CERM.

She is a member of EMBO, of AcademiaNet and is the Italian delegate in the Council of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).

She has been awarded the IUPAC Award “Distinguished Women in Chemistry” (2015) and the “Fiorino d’Oro Della Città di Firenze” Gold Medal of the City of Florence.

Department of Physical and Analytical Chemistry, University of Oviedo
Jörg Bettmer received his PhD in 1996 from the University of Münster, Germany, for his investigations on the speciation of mercury and lead (supervisor: Professor Karl Cammann). In 2000, he moved to the University of Mainz, Germany, to work in the group of Professor Klaus G. Heumann and he obtained the “habilitation” (venia legend in Analytical Chemistry) from the same university in 2004. In 2007, he started as a Ramón y Cajal researcher at the University of Oviedo, Spain. He became the assistant professor in 2012 and associate professor in 2016, resp. His research interests cover the development and application of MS-based hyphenated techniques in the fields of elemental speciation and metallomics and the analysis of metal-based nanomaterial using ICP-MS techniques.

The University of Warsaw | UW · Faculty of Chemistry

Since 2013 Director of Biological and Chemical Research Centre.Chair of Committee of Analytical Chemistry of Polish Academy of Sciences; member of Polish Chemical Society; Vice-president of POLLAB; member of Executive Committee of EUROLAB.Field of expertise: atomic and mass spectrometry for non-routine application; characterisation of biologically active compounds and archaeological objects; trace elements and speciation.Awards: Bunsen-Kirchhoff Award (German Chemical Society, 2004), Wiktor Kemula Award (Polish Chemical Society, 2012), IUPAC’2015 Distinguished Women in Chemistry (IUPAC, 2015).

Medicinal and Bioinorganic Chemistry at Cardiff University (UK)

Angela Casini is Chair of Medicinal and Bio-inorganic Chemistry at Cardiff University (UK) since 2015. She completed her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Florence (Italy) in 2004, and, afterwards, moved to EPFL (Switzerland) as senior scientist funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Between 2011-2015 she has been the assistant professor at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands), holding a Rosalind Franklin Fellowship, before taking up her current position at Cardiff University. She was awarded the 2012 European Medal for Biological Inorganic Chemistry and, in 2014, she has been listed by Thomson Reuters as one of the “World’s most influential scientific minds” in the field of Pharmacology. Since 2016 she is also Hans Fischer Senior Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Advanced Study of the Technical University of Munich. Her research focuses on the study of the role of metal ions in biological systems and of the mechanisms of action of metal-based anticancer agents. Furthermore, novel applications for metal-based compounds and supramolecular coordination complexes are explored in various domains of chemical biology, drug delivery and physiology. In these fields, she is the author of more than 200 publications.

Institut de Chimie, Université de Strasbourg, France

Peter Faller is Professor in Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg (F) and Group Leader at the Institute of Chemistry (UMR 7177). He studied at the University of Zürich (CH) earning a PhD in biochemistry on metallothioneins with M. Vasak. He did his postdoctoral studies on photosystem II at the CEA near Paris (F) and in Freiburg (D). He was Professor and group leader for a decade at the Laboratory for Coordination Chemistry (LCC) in Toulouse (F) before moving to Strasbourg in 2015.

Research interest: Structure of metal-peptide/protein complexes; Metal transfer between peptides/proteins and between metal-drugs and proteins; Self-assembly of amyloidogenic peptides into amyloid fibrils and effect of metal ions, chaperons, inhibitors, etc., Fluorescent molecules and techniques to monitor the self-assembly process and/or metal-binding; Chemical reactivity of metal-complexes, in particular towards generation of reactive oxygen species.

Tokushima Bunri University, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Molecular and Cellular Physiology

Toshiyuki received his BS and MS from Hiroshima University in 1990 and 1992, respectively. After working for Mochida Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., he entered Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine and received my PhD in 1998. After postdoctoral training at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, from 1999 to 2003, he joined the Research Center for Allergy and Immunology at RIKEN Yokohama Institute as a senior investigator, until 2014. Then, he moved to Showa University School of Dentistry as an Assistant Professor and joined Tokushima Bunri University as a full Professor from April 2015. His research goal is to understand the physiological and pathophysiological role of zinc signalling in vivo. Zinc signalling is a novel platform in the life sciences, and he would thus like to explore zinc signalling at the molecular level. In particular, he is interested in the mechanisms regarding how each transporter-mediated zinc signals and controls its downstream target molecules specifically, which may eventually affect the health and disease status in mammals. To address these questions, he mainly employs molecular and physiological methodologies using genetically modified mice to study zinc transporters and human genetics.

Faculty of Experimental Sciences, University of Huelva


Musashino University, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tokyo

Professor Masahiro Kawahara graduated from the University of Tokyo (Japan) in 1985, from which he also obtained Ph.D. in 1990. He worked as a researcher at Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience, and investigated the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, and visited National Institute of Health (U.S.A.) in 1995. From 2003 to 2012, he was a full professor of Department of Analytical Chemistry, Kyushu University of Health and Welfare. Since 2012, he has been a full professor of Laboratory of Bio-Analytical Chemistry, Musashino University. His research interests include the link between trace elements and the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, prion diseases, vascular type of senile dementia. In particular, his special attention is metal-induced conformational changes and neurotoxicity of disease-related proteins. He also interests in the drug discovery for such diseases using his developed screening system.

Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Vienna, Austria

Keppler earned his diploma’s degree in chemistry in 1979, PhD in chemistry from the University of Heidelberg in 1981, licence to practice medicine (approbation) in 1984 and second PhD in medicine from German Cancer Research Center in 1986. He was promoted to university lecturer in inorganic chemistry in 1990 at the University of Heidelberg and assigned a chair in inorganic chemistry at University of Vienna with tenure in 1995.[1]

Keppler has co-authored 600 scholarly and professional articles, edited several books and co-authored the textbook Principles of Bioinorganic Chemistry (University Science Books, 1994) with other scientists. He currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Anticancer Research. Keppler serves or has served on the editorial boards of numerous other journals.

Keppler’s research activities are at the interface of inorganic chemistry and biology. A major focus of his activities is to understand, improve and develop anticancer and antiviral drugs. He is a pioneer in investigating metal-based anticancer drugs and developed the first-in-class compounds KP1339/IT-139 and KP46/IT-235, which are currently under clinical studies. He also studies environmental chemistry.

University of Alberta, Canada

Dr. Chris Le is Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Analytical and Environmental Toxicology Division, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Canada. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Science), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), and Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada.
Dr. Le received BSc in Chemistry from Wuhan University (China), MSc in Environmental Chemistry from the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences (Chinese Academy of Sciences), MSc in Analytical Chemistry from Brock University (Canada), and PhD in Environmental/Analytical Chemistry from the University of British Columbia (Canada).

Dr. Le’s research program links chemistry to toxicology, environmental health, and clinical medicine. His team has published more than 250 peer-refereed papers in the fields of arsenic speciation, assays for nucleic acids and proteins, DNA damage and repair, and imaging of molecular interactions in live cells. His metallomic approaches for studying arsenic-binding proteins have shown both analytical and therapeutic applications.

Dr. Le has served or currently serves on editorial boards of more than 10 international journals, such as Analytical Chemistry (published by the American Chemical Society), Environmental Health Perspectives (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), and Metallomics (Royal Society of Chemistry).

University of Alberta, Canada
ORCID: 0000-0002-7690-6701

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, King’s College, London


Senior Lecturer, King’s College London, 2009 to present
Associate Professor, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA 2002-2009
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA 1986-2002
Research Associate, Saarland University, Saarbrucken, Germany 1982-1986
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA 1980-1982
Research interests

Molecular and cellular mechanisms of metal homeostasis
Role of micronutrients in normal physiology and pathophysiology
Sulfur and selenium redox biochemistry
Structure and function of metalloenzymes
Key words: Transition Metals, Zinc, Iron, Selenium, Redox Stress, Redox Signaling, Metallothionein, Alcohol Dehydrogenases, Glutathione, Polyols, Carotenoids and Retinoids, Cellular Injury and Repair, Diabetes

Research Unit Analytical BioGeoChemistry, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany

Bernhard Michalke is head of the group Element- and Element Species.

Research Interests:

Trace element determination for diagnosis and therapy control.
Method developments, especially hyphenated techniques for speciation projects (also from the general analytical services).

Trace element speciation in the frame of neurodegeneration research, specifically Manganese- iron and selenium speciation in the frame of environmental medicine and neurotoxicology.

School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham

David Salt is a Professor of Genome-Enabled Biology in the School of Biosciences. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that plants use to take up and accumulate the essential mineral nutrients that they need for normal growth and development. He is also interested in how plants mistakenly accumulate potentially toxic trace elements such as cadmium and arsenic. These issues are important for agriculture, human health as plants are a major source of dietary mineral and food safety due to the accumulation of potentially toxic trace elements in food.

Professor Salt is also the academic lead for the University’s Future Food Beacon of Excellence which addresses the challenge of feeding a growing population in a changing world.

The Future Food Beacon brings together expertise from across the food chain – from soil to molecule to meal – to deliver sustainable solutions to global food challenges such as ‘hidden hunger’: less diverse diets, naturally low nutrients in our staple crops, and an increasing reliance on over-processed foods mean that more than a quarter of the world population are not getting the goodness they need from what they eat.

Institute of Nutritional Science, University of Potsdam

Tanja Schwerdtle is chair of the Department of Food Chemistry in the Institute of Nutritional Science at the University of Potsdam. The Schwerdtle group has many years of research experience in the field of the toxicity of metal(loid) compounds. Predominantly, team Schwerdtle focuses on the molecular mechanisms of metal(loid) species induced carcinogenicity and neurotoxicity, investigating the impact of toxic metal(loid) species but also TE species (especially Mn2+, Cu2+ as well as inorganic and organic Se species) on DNA damage response and DNA repair pathways. Moreover, the group is very experienced and internationally recognized in the field of metal(loid) analysis in biological samples by the use of state of the art instrumental techniques including ICPMSMS. In this context, the team has successfully established new test systems to assess ADME, indirect genotoxicity, epigenetic as well as stress related effects. The combined use of their instrumental analytical and toxicological testing expertise enables the group to contribute efficiently to TraceAge especially by reliably quantifying the TE profiles and species in all human, mouse and C. elegans samples as well as by studying these effects in the context of genomic instability, epigenetics and aging. In the BMBF-funded competence cluster NutriAct “Nutritional Intervention for Healthy Aging: Food Patterns, Behavior and Products” Tanja Schwerdtle actually coordinates 10 groups in the field of biomarker research, providing the possibility to interpret the outcome of the NutriAct intervention study also in the context of TE and aging.

Yaroslavl State University, Yaroslavl

Anatoly V. Skalny, MD, PhD, DSc, Professor, has completed his PhD at the age of 28 years from All-Union Centre for Narcology, Moscow. He has published more than 600 journal articles, abstracts, book chapters and guidelines in English and Russian. Prof. Skalny is a specialist in trace element research in medicine and biology. His main research interests include the investigation of the role of trace elements in neuropsychiatric and endocrine disorders, reactions of the organism to various stressors, as well as demography and population health. Professor Skalny is a vice-president of Trace Element Institute for UNESCO (Lyon, France), the chairman of Russian Society of Trace Elements in Medicine, a vice-president of the Federation of European Societies on Trace Elements and Minerals (FESTEM). He is the Head of the Department of Medical Elementology of the Medical Institution of RUDN University (Moscow, Russia). Prof. Skalny is a member of editorial board of Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology (Elsevier), Biological Trace Element Research (Springer), the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Trace Elements in Medicine (Moscow), a member of editorial board of the journal Issues of Biological, Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Russia).

Key publications:
Skalny, A. V., Skalnaya, M. G., Nikonorov, A. A., & Tinkov, A. A. (2016). Selenium Antagonism with Mercury and Arsenic: From Chemistry to Population Health and Demography. In: Selenium: Its Molecular Biology and Role in Human Health (Hatfield DL, Schweizer U, Tsuji PA, Gladyshev VN, eds.) (pp. 401-412). Springer International Publishing.
Skalny, A. V., Simashkova, N. V., Klyushnik, T. P., Grabeklis, A. R., Radysh, I. V., Skalnaya, M. G., Tinkov, A. A. (2016). Analysis of Hair Trace Elements in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Communication Disorders. Biol Trace Elem Res, 177(2):215-223.
Skalny AV, Simashkova NV, Klyushnik TP, Grabeklis AR, Radysh IV, Skalnaya MG, Nikonorov AA, Tinkov AA. (2017) Assessment of serum trace elements and electrolytes in children with childhood and atypical autism. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 43:9-14
Skalny, A. V., Klimenko, L. L., Turna, A. A., Budanova, M. N., Baskakov, I. S., Savostina, M. S., … & Tinkov, A. A. (2017). Serum trace elements are associated with hemostasis, lipid spectrum and inflammatory markers in men suffering from acute ischemic stroke. Metab Brain Dis, 32(3):779-788
Skalny, A. V., Simashkova, N. V., Klyushnik, T. P., Grabeklis, A. R., Bjørklund, G., Skalnaya, M. G., Nikonorov A.A., Tinkov, A. A. (2016). Hair toxic and essential trace elements in children with autism spectrum disorder. Metab Brain Dis, 32 (1):195-202
Skalny, A. V., Klimenko, L. L., Turna, A. A., Budanova, M. N., Baskakov, I. S., Savostina, M. S., Mazilina, A.M., Deyev A. I., Skalnaya M. G., Tinkov, A. A. (2017). Serum trace elements are interrelated with hormonal imbalance in men with acute ischemic stroke. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 43:142-147
Aaseth, J., Ajsuvakova, O. P., Skalny, A. V., Skalnaya, M. G., & Tinkov, A. A. (2018). Chelator combination as therapeutic strategy in mercury and lead poisonings. Coord Chem Rev, 358, 1-12.
Tinkov, A. A., Gritsenko, V. A., Skalnaya, M. G., Cherkasov, S. V., Aaseth, J., & Skalny, A. V. (2018). Gut as a target for cadmium toxicity. Environ Poll, 235, 429-434.
Olechnowicz, J., Tinkov, A., Skalny, A., & Suliburska, J. (2017). Zinc status is associated with inflammation, oxidative stress, lipid, and glucose metabolism. J Physiol Sci, 68(1):19-31
Bjørklund G, Aaseth J, Ajsuvakova OP, Nikonorov AA, Skalny AV, Skalnaya MG, Tinkov AA (2017) Molecular Interaction between Mercury and Selenium in Neurotoxicity. Coord Chem Rev, 332, 30-37

Department of Chemistry, University of Hongkong

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:• 07/2007- Present: Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Hong Kong

• 12/1998- 06/2007 Assistant and Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Hong Kong
• 10/1996-12/1998: GlaxoWellcome Research Fellow, Department of Chemistry, the University of Edinburgh, UK
• 10/1993~ 09/1996: Ph.D. Study, Bioinorganic Chemistry, the University of London, UK
• 08/1990~ 09/1993: Research Associate and Lecturer, Coordination Chemistry Institute, Nanjing University, Nanjing, P.R. China

Biological Inorganic Chemistry; Structural Biology of Metalloproteins; Metallomics & metalloproteomics

1. Xia W., Li H.Y., Yang X.M., Wong K.B., Sun HZ* (2012) “Metallo-GTPase HypB from Helicobacter pylori and its interaction with nickel chaperone protein HypA” Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287(9), 6753-6763.
2. Li H.Y., Sun HZ (2012) “Recent advances in bioinorganic chemistry of bismuth” Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 16, 74-83.
3. Tsang CN, Ho KS, Sun HZ*, Chan WT (2011) “Tracking bismuth drug uptake in single Helicobacter pylori cells” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133(19), 7355-7357.
4. Wang XH, Du XB, Li HY, Chan DSB, Sun HZ* (2011) “The effect of the extracellular domain of human copper transporter (hCTR1) on cisplatin activation” Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 50, 2706-2711. (Frontispiece)
5. Sun HZ (editor), “The biological chemistry of arsenic, antimony and bismuth”, John Wiley& Sons, 2011.
6. Cun SJ, Sun HZ* (2010) “A zinc binding site by negative selection induces metallodrug susceptibility of an essential chaperonin” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 107, 4943-4948.
7. Xia W, Li HY, Sze KH, Sun HZ* (2009) “Structure of a nickel chaperone, HypA from Helicobacter pylori reveals two distinct metal binding sites” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131, 10031-10040.

Institute of Analytical Sciences, IPREM, CNRS, Pau

Joanna Szpunar graduated from the Warsaw University of Technology in 1986 and obtained her PhD (1992) and D.Sc. (habilitation) (2000) at the University of Warsaw. Since 1997 she works at the National Research Council of France (CNRS). In 2007 she obtained the title of professor of chemistry (Poland). Her research interests concern bioinorganic speciation analysis and hyphenated techniques for metallomics. She was the chairperson of the Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry in 2013. Joanna Szpunar is the laureate of the 2017 European Award for Plasma Spectrochemistry.

Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University, Beijing

Xinrong ZHANG received Bachelor and Master degree in Department of Chemistry, Shaanxi Normal University, China, and PhD degree in Institute of Nuclear Science, Ghent University, Belgium. He has been a full professor in Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University, China since 1998. His current research interests are focused on optical/mass spectrometric analysis. He holds 10 patents and published over 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He received several awards for his contribution in analytical chemistry: Analytical Chemistry Award (Chinese Chemical Society, 2009); National Science and Technology Progress Award (Chinese Ministry of Science and technology, 2010). Natural Science Award of Chinese University (Chinese Ministry of Education, 2014); He is now the RSC fellow, Associate Editor of Analytical Chemistry (ACS), Editor-in-Chief of Luminescence (Wiley), Advisory Board Member of Analyst and Talanta etc..