Agenda 2024

Sessions
Sessions
Topics
Topics (Speakers / Agenda 2022)
Date
Date

At Curious2024 – Future Insight™ Conference you will engage our speakers and topics by attending a variety of sessions, including keynotes, workshops or short presentations. An additional highlight will be the awarding of the 2024 Future Insight™ Prize.

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09:00
 — 09:30
Wednesday, July 10

Opening Ceremony & Welcome Message

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Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Chairman of the Executive Board and General Partner of E. Merck KG, Darmstadt, Germany
CEO Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate
Minister for Science and Health Rheinland-Pfalz
Mayor of Mainz
09:30
 — 10:00
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Healthcare

The dawn of individualized cancer medicine: How novel (bio)technologies revolutionize the treatment of cancer

The past decade has seen a significant shift from early targeted therapies to an era of personalized precision medicines, enhanced by a new generation of treatment approaches including immunotherapies, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), and T cell therapies. These, whether used alone or in combination, have the potential to redefine treatment efficacy. Moreover, the advent of therapeutic mRNA cancer vaccines signifies a move towards fully individualized treatment. These approaches are tailored to each patient’s individual tumor profile and aim to target a spectrum of unique cancer mutations. Complementing this, AI is accelerating and informing the discovery and development of novel medicines, supporting the path towards individualized cancer medicine.
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Professor of Translational Oncology and Immunology, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON), co-founder and CEO of BioNTech
10:00
 — 10:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Energy

Materials as an enabling technology in getting to net-zero GHG Emissions

Throughout human history, materials such as metals, glass and ceramics, chemicals, plastics, and fertilizers and have enabled multiple industrial and agricultural revolutions that have profoundly transformed the world. However, the unintended consequence of these revolutions is that the greenhouse gas emissions are changing Earth’s climate. Most of our energy sources, industrial and agricultural chemicals and building materials and are fossil-fuel based or demand process heat. The challenges how to provide clean energy, water, air, food in a world of over 8 billion people and likely to grow to 11 billion by 2100 are formidable. I will discuss new material challenges needed to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions and a more sustainable and prosperous future.
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Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology and of Energy Science and Engineering
10:30
 — 11:00
Wednesday, July 10
Networking

Coffee Break, Science in shorts

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11:00
 — 11:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Healthcare

A song of light and power – Using light as an energy replacement for human longevity

To generate electricity, factories burn coal in the presence of oxygen. However, this process produces toxic pollutants. Similarly, our cells produce energy by burning carbon compounds with oxygen in their mitochondria. Energy production is accompanied by the accumulation of toxic cellular waste and ‘wear and tear’ during aging. Here, I will discuss a novel idea termed ‘energy replacement’ to reduce cellular waste by partially substituting the cellular need for upstream metabolic activities and oxygen consumption with an engineered light-activated proton pump (mtON) in animal mitochondria. This disruptive technology will be the basis for gene therapy in human aging and beyond.
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FBN Dummerstorf
11:00
 — 11:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote

Sustainable chemistry: Next generation solutions and technologies

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CIO Evonik Operations GmbH
11:30
 — 12:00
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Healthcare

Talk title is coming soon..

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Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research
11:30
 — 12:00
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Digitalization

Talk title is coming soon..

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Member of the Board BASF
12:00
 — 12:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Digitalization

Synthesizing biological intelligence: Promises, challenges, & opportunities

How to create a generally intelligent system? Recently, we embodied biological neurons in a real-time closed-loop system to simulate the classic arcade game, ‘Pong’ and determine if the simple neural systems could learn. Interestingly the learning rates were faster than machine learning and networks showed rapid reorganization that inform us about how brains process information. Moreover, preliminary work supports that this approach provides information previously inaccessible to help improve drug discovery and preclinical pharmacological testing. The data provides compelling insights into the potential value of these systems for wider applications, along with understandings on how to improve this technology further.
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Cortical Labs Pte Ltd
12:00
 — 12:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Bright Future

Talk title is coming soon..

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President of the Weizmann Institute of Science
12:30
 — 13:00
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Digitalization

The future of science, the Max Planck way

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President Max-Planck-Society
12:30
 — 13:00
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Bright Future

Nature Science in Shorts Award

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Springer Nature
13:00
 — 14:00
Wednesday, July 10
Networking

Lunch Break, Poster Session, Workshops, Start-up Fair, Science in Shorts

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14:00
 — 14:50
Wednesday, July 10
Awards

Winner 2024 Future Insight Prize

Meet & Greet Session

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CEO Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Federal Minister of Education and Research, Germany
15:00
 — 15:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Healthcare

Developing living drugs against cancer: TCR-T cell therapies

(Preliminary Abstract) T cells, a type of white blood cells, have become one of the most potent weapon in our arsenal to fight cancer. At academia, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, scientist are moving to new frontiers to make T cells safer, more precise and more potent to make even large established solid tumor melt. At the forefront of this development are autologous and allogeneic CAR-T and TCR-T cell therapies as well as bispecific antibodies and T cell receptors. The first of these therapies are being marketed and more are following in clinical trials with the goal to deliver a meaningful impact on the lives of cancer patients.
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CEO of Immatics N.V.
15:00
 — 16:30
Wednesday, July 10
AAAS/Science Roundtable
 | Bright Future, Vibrant Digital

AAAS/Science Panel Discussion: Future breakthroughs in Science & Technology

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News Editor, AAAS/Science
York University
Lavoisier H2 Geoconsult
Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung, Baden-Württemberg (ZSW)
15:30
 — 18:00
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Energy

Talk title is coming soon..

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16:00
 — 16:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Healthcare

From nanotechnology to mRNA vaccines: How overcoming skepticism led to new medical treatments and ways to tackle a global health challenge

Advanced drug delivery systems are having an enormous impact on human health. We start by discussing our early research on developing the first controlled release systems for macromolecules and the isolation of angiogenesis inhibitors and how these led to numerous new therapies. This early research then led to new drug delivery technologies including nanoparticles and nanotechnology that are now being studied for use treating cancer, other illnesses and in vaccine delivery (including the Covid-19 vaccine). Finally, by combining mammalian cells, including stem cells, with synthetic polymers, new approaches for engineering tissues are being developed that may someday help in various diseases. These can also serve as a basis for tissues on a chip which can potentially reduce animal and human testing. Examples in the areas of cartilage, skin, blood vessels, GI tract and heart tissue are discussed.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
16:30
 — 17:00
Wednesday, July 10
Networking

Coffee Break, Science in Shorts

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17:00
 — 17:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Healthcare

Talk title is coming soon..

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University of California, Berkeley, UCLA, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Stanford University
17:00
 — 17:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Materials

Molecular confinement effects in self-assembled cages

Since our first report on a self-assembled coordination cage in 1995 (Nature, 1995, 378, 469), we and others have been developing the molecular confinement effects of the self-assembled cages. The cavities of our cages are extraordinarily large and are capable of binding neutral guests. Through molecular recognition, new properties, reactions, and functions have been created (Angew. Chem. Int . Ed. 2009, 48, 3418; Bull. Chem. Soc. Jpn. 2021, 94, 2351). One of the recent topics in the course of our study is protein encapsulation in a self-assembled gigantic cage (Chem 2021, 7, 2672).
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University of Tokyo
17:30
 — 16:00
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Life Reimagined

Molecular aging of intrinsically disordered proteins in neurodegenerative diseases

The talk will focus on molecular mechanisms that underlie the dysfunction of intrinsically disordered RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) in neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS, FTD and Alzheimer’s disease. Of particular interest are the RBPs TDP-43 and FUS, which are genetically linked to ALS and form aberrant cytoplasmic aggregates in the degenerating brain regions. The talk will provide insights into recently discovered mechanisms that cause RBP mislocalization and aggregation, such as defects in nuclear import, phase separation and molecular aging into amyloids. It will also highlight interdisciplinary research conducted in the Collaborative Research Center SFB1551 on “Polymer concepts in cellular function”.
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Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and IMB Mainz
17:30
 — 18:00
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Digitalization

Talk title is coming soon..

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University of Washington and Howard Hughes Medical Institute
18:00
 — 18:30
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote

AI and Reticular Chemistry

Reticular Chemistry is linking molecular building blocks into crystalline extended structure such as metal-organic frameworks and covalent organic frameworks. Our efforts in using AI tools to identify the best water harvesting from air and carbon capture MOFs and COFs will be presented. Time permitting progress in molecular weaving will be covered.
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University of California, Berkeley
18:00
 — 19:00
Wednesday, July 10

Nature Spin-off Prize, Pitches of Finalists

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18:30
 — 19:00
Wednesday, July 10
Keynote
 | Healthcare

Future views of structural cell biology

In his talk, Martin Beck will explain how the capsid containing the viral genome of HIV enters the nucleus during infection. He will use this process as an example to illustrate how we use cellular tomography to visualize the molecular processes happening inside of human cells today, and how in the future, 4D virtual reality will help the next generation of scientists to understand very complex cellular phenomena.
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Max Planck Institute of Biophysics
19:00
 — 21:00
Wednesday, July 10
Networking

Networking Dinner, Poster Session, Workshops, Start-up Fair, Science in Shorts

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09:00
 — 09:30
Thursday, July 11
Keynote
 | Bright Future

Talk title is coming soon..

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Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovations, Republic of Serbia
09:30
 — 10:00
Thursday, July 11
Keynote
 | Bright Future

In search for technological interstellar objects

The search for extraterrestrial life is one of the most exciting frontiers in science. First tentative clues were identified close to Earth in the form of the first two interstellar meteors which were tougher than iron, the unfamiliar interstellar object `Oumuamua and Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).The “Galileo Project” ushers the new frontier of “interstellar archeology” in search of extraterrestrial technological relics.
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Harvard University
10:00
 — 10:30
Thursday, July 11
Keynote
 | Robotics

Making robots smarter, in both body and mind

Robots are getting better and better all the time. Their ability to perceive the world around them is improving almost daily, while their bodies and physical skills have advanced by leaps and bounds. But robots are still pretty stupid and lack cognitive intelligence that would make them easier to use, safer to operate with people, and more productive. In this talk Marc Raibert will show some of the recent progress in the development of robots, then talk about using AI to make them smarter and eventually live up to our dreams.
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Executive Director, The AI Institute, Founder, Boston Dynamics
10:30
 — 11:00
Thursday, July 11
Networking

Coffee Break, Science in shorts

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11:00
 — 11:30
Thursday, July 11
Keynote
 | Life Science

DNA Mechanotechnology: nucleic acids that sense and generate molecular forces enable fundamental research tools and new biomedical diagnostics

Modern machines, which are composed of force-generating motors, force sensors, and load-bearing structures, enabled the industrial revolution and are foundational to human civilization. Extreme miniaturization would enable machines that can manipulate molecules for applications in medicine, biological research, and material development. This was previously only a dream, but new synthetic methods to assemble and modify nucleic acids combined with single molecule force spectroscopy have propelled the emergence of a subfield that we call “DNA mechanotechnology”. In this talk, I will discuss my group’s efforts at using DNA mechanotechnology for new types of viral diagnostics and in biomedical applications.
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Emory University, Atlanta
11:00
 — 11:30
Thursday, July 11
Keynote

DNA of SCHOTT: pioneering – responsibly – together

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11:30
 — 12:00
Thursday, July 11
Keynote
 | Bright Future

Tracing the utility of science: Past, present, future

This talk embarks on a succinct journey exploring the multifaceted usefulness of science. From ancient Greece to the present, I examine how the utility of science has evolved, affecting its creators, users, and the discipline itself. I’ll traverse three pivotal historical stages to uncover how past interpretations shape our current perspective and future potential. This exploration is not merely retrospective but a forward-looking quest, reinvigorating our understanding of science’s role in personal fulfillment and societal advancement. Join me for a reflection on science’s enduring impact and its transformative journey through history.
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Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
11:30
 — 12:00
Thursday, July 11
Keynote
 | Healthcare

A mechanistic perspective of the mind-body connection in medicine

Thoughts and emotions can impact physiology. This connection is evident in the emergence of disease following stress, or recovery in response to placebo treatment. Nevertheless, our understanding of this fundamental aspect of physiology is still very limited. In this talk, I will discuss how the brain represents the state of the immune system and how brain activity can regulate peripheral immunity to promote recovery from infections or cancer. On the other hand, the brain can induce disease and psychosomatic disorders, and gaining an understanding of the underlying mechanisms has the potential to introduce new therapeutic avenues utilizing the brain’s therapeutic potential.
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Technion
12:00
 — 12:30
Thursday, July 11
Keynote
 | Digitalization

Perception, planning, and learning for cognitive robots

Cognitive robots need to perceive their environment to act in a goal-directed way. We developed efficient methods for environment perception, based on local multiresolution representations, deep learning, and object-centered representations. The resulting models form the basis for locomotion and manipulation planning, for which we developed efficient methods. My team integrated perception and planning for autonomous control of multiple cognitive robots and demonstrated their abilities in complex environments, including humanoid soccer, domestic service, space exploration, disaster-response, bin picking, and industrial inspection. I will discuss ideas on how structured models for efficient perception and planning can be learned from limited experience.
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Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
12:00
 — 12:15
Thursday, July 11
Keynote

TRON – Science in Translation

TRON is an independent non-profit translational research organization that develops cutting-edge technologies to target diseases with high medical needs such as infectious or cardiovascular diseases, autoimmunity and cancer. We combine transdisciplinary competencies in genomics, immunology and bioinformatics to develop novel approaches to be used in personalized therapies. At the interface of academia and industry, TRON executes research at the leading edge to support innovative drug design for human health.
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Managing Director of TRON gGmbH
12:15
 — 12:30
Thursday, July 11
Keynote

The curATime cluster – Individualized medicine for cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) represents a major, growing public health burden due to ageing populations, but also climate change. The BMBF-funded future cluster curATime develops innovative therapeutics, and diagnostic and prognostic tools for CVD. curATime combines the latest biotechnological approaches with artificial intelligence-driven research. New targets are identified and evaluated by integrating cutting-edge preclinical models with multi-level biodatabases with long-term follow-up of humans. A web-based platform is designed to facilitate complex biodata analyses and novel AI tools are developed to handle computational challenges. This is the fundament for innovative pharmacological interventions including locoregional RNA-based applications.
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Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
12:30
 — 13:00
Thursday, July 11
Keynote

The pulse of AI: Charting the rhythm of the biomedical transformation

The use of artificial intelligence in biomedicine promises to open up new frontiers and explore unexplored paths. At DFKI, we are exploring the symbiotic relationship between AI and biomedical processes, whether for deciphering complex biological data or improving medical decision making. In my talk, I will give examples of how AI can predict the interaction between proteins and viruses, which are crucial for the development of antiviral strategies, or how machine intelligence can be used for improved and transparent diagnostics, or how microscopic image analysis can be used for early detection of diseases and personalization of treatments.
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12:30
 — 13:00
Thursday, July 11
Ignite Session

N.N. Fireside Chat

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12:30
 — 13:00
Thursday, July 11
Keynote
 | Materials

Molecular photovoltaics and artificial photosynthesis

Photovoltaic cells using molecular dyes, semiconductor quantum dots or perovskite pigments as light harvesters have emerged as credible contenders to conventional devices. They possess unique practical advantages in particular highly effective electricity production from ambient light, ease of manufacturing, flexibility and transparency, bifacial light harvesting, and aesthetic appeal, which have fostered industrial production and commercial applications. They engendered perovskite solar cells (PSCs) which are a leading future PV technologies, their efficiency having reached 26.1 %. My lecture will cover our most recent findings in these revolutionary photovoltaic domains that relate to the production of electricity and fuels from sunlight.
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École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
13:00
 — 14:00
Thursday, July 11
Networking

Lunch Break, Poster Session, Workshops, Start-up Fair

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14:00
 — 14:30
Thursday, July 11

Johann Anton Merck Award

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Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
14:30
 — 15:30
Thursday, July 11
AAAS/Science Roundtable
 | Bright Future

AAAS/Science Panel Discussion: Mentoring early career researchers

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AAAS/Science
University of Hohenheim
Medical University of Graz
The Francis Crick Institute
Cranfield University
14:30
 — 15:30
Thursday, July 11

Panel Discussion: Transformation through Innovation // Entrepreneurship in Life science and Chemistry – the path to leveraging the full potential of great research

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TUM Venture Labs
Deutsche Börse AG
CEO of RNATICS GmbH
15:30
 — 16:00
Thursday, July 11
Keynote
 | Life Reimagined

Natural products as lead structures for therapeutics – Is there anything left to be discovered?

It is not only since the discovery of penicillin that natural substances have been important as lead structures for therapeutics in pharmaceutical and crop protection research. Almost 100 years after the discovery of this antibiotic, the question arises as to whether new structures can still be expected despite the intensive search for biologically active metabolites from nature. In the post-genome age, molecular and bioinformatic methods can be used to investigate the extent to which the potential has already been exhausted. Alternative cultivation methods and the molecular manipulation of organisms are being discussed as an approach to identifying new lead structures from fungi.
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Biotechnology Coordinator for the State Government Rheinland-Pfalz, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
15:30
 — 16:00
Thursday, July 11
Keynote

Feeding 10 billion sustainably