Plenary Speakers

Professor Feng Shao

Dr. Feng Shao is an investigator and deputy director at National Institute of Biological Sciences (NIBS), Beijing. He was a chemistry undergraduate of Peking University and obtained his PhD from University of Michigan (2003). Before joining NIBS (2005), he was a Damon Runyon Postdoc Fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Shao’s research lies at the interface between bacterial pathogen and host inflammation. He identified most of the known cytosolic receptors for bacterial molecules, including caspase-11/4/5 for LPS and ALPK1 for ADP-heptose in LPS biosynthesis. He also identified gasdermin-D (GSDMD) whose cleavage by caspase-1/4/5/11 determines pyroptosis, critical for septic shock and other inflammatory diseases. His research establishes the gasdermin family of pore-forming proteins, re-defining pyroptosis as gasdermin-mediated programmed necrosis. Among the family, GSDME is activated by caspase-3, which occurs mostly in noncancer cells and contributes to toxicity of chemotherapy drugs. His most recent work demonstrates that pyroptosis is a critical mechanism underlying lymphocyte cytotoxicity and gasdermin activation can stimulate potent antitumor immunity.

Dr. Shao‘s work has been recognized by numerous awards including the Future Science Prize, HHMI International Early Career Award and the Protein Society Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, an associate member of EMBO, and a fellow of American Academy of Microbiology.

Professor Sharon Lewin 

Sharon Lewin is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital; Professor of Infectious Diseases, The University of Melbourne; consultant infectious diseases physician, Alfred Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital and is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow, Melbourne, Australia. The Doherty Institute is home to over 700 staff all working in infectious diseases and immunology and focuses on research, education and public health.

 She is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist. Her research focuses on understanding why HIV persists on treatment and developing clinical trials aimed at ultimately finding a cure for HIV infection. She has also had a long standing interest in the natural history and management of HIV-hepatitis B co-infection.