Invited speakers

  • Rafael Auras, Michigan State University (USA):
    Biodegradation of polymers in industrial and home composting environments
  • Filip Du Prez, Ghent University (BEL):
    Thiolactones as biobased building block for precision and digital polymers
  • Balázs Imre, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (SWE):
    Reactive compatibilization in polysaccharide blends and composites
  • Kazunori Kataoka, University of Tokyo (JPN):
    Self-assembled supramolecular nanosystems for targeting therapy of intractable disease
  • Andrea Lazzeri, University of Pisa (ITA):
    Strategies for strenghtening and toughening of biobased blends and composites
  • Shih-Jung Liu, Chang Gung University (TWN):
    Processing of biodegradable polymers for tissue engineering and drug delivery applications
  • Kristiina Oksman, Luleå University of Technology (SWE):
    Nanomaterials from bioresources and their composites
  • Mohini Sain, University of Toronto (CAN):
    Renewable carbon an emerging advanced multifunctional energy material: present and future
  • István Tóth, University of Queensland (AUS):
    Hormone-based (GnRH) immunocastration to control feral animals with nanoparticulate polymer vaccine

Rafael Auras, Michigan State University (USA):

Rafael Auras is Professor with the School of Packaging at Michigan State University (MSU). He leads a research group of graduate and undergraduate students interested in mass transfer in polymers, biodegradable polymers, life cycle assessment, and sustainable packaging systems. He has conducted research projects for Fortune 500 companies and government sponsored research projects. He is a regular speaker at national and international conferences. He has coauthored more than 150 publications. Rafael graduated with a B.Sc. in chemical engineering from the FCEQyN, Misiones, Argentina, an M.Sc. in Materials Science and Technology from the UNSAM, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a Ph.D. in packaging from MSU, East Lansing, MI, U.S.


Filip Du Prez, Ghent University (BEL):

Since 1999, Filip Du Prez is heading the Polymer Chemistry Research group (PCR, 25 researchers) in the Faculty of Sciences of Ghent University in Belgium, which is focusing on three main topics:

1) ‘From polymer functionalization to absolute control’
2) ‘Dynamic and self-healing polymeric materials’
3) ‘Giving renewable polymers function(ality)’.

A couple of actual topics are sequence defined polymers, vitrimers, novel click chemistries in macromolecular science, coatings, functional polymers from renewable resources and self-healing polymers. This research resulted in around 300 A1 publications (h-index 52), more than 10 book chapters, 12 patent applications and more than 25 (inter)national awards for the PCR-coworkers in the last 5 years. He is also coordinator of the UGent Chemtech valorization consortium, including 2 business developers, that takes care of the interface between chemistry research at UGent and the industry. In 2008, he had a Visiting Professor position at the CAMD Research Centre (UNSW, Sydney). Since 2018, he is associate editor for the RSC-journal Polymer Chemistry.


Balázs Imre, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (SWE):

Dr. Imre has an educational background in chemistry and materials science. He first got interested in scientific research, and polymer science in particular, towards the end of his university studies. As a future chemical engineer, he got fascinated with the unique properties and behavior of polymeric materials. He wrote his master’s degree on polymer nanocomposites at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary. During his PhD studies at the same department, he performed research on the structure, properties and modification of biopolymer blends and composites, with a strong emphasis on their compatibilization and reactive processing. Later, he spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oregon and subsequently Oregon State University, Oregon, USA, working on the development of polyurethane elastomers for medical use in a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently, he is a researcher at the Division of Glycoscience at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. During his career, Dr. Imre has supervised numerous BSc and MSc theses and has given lectures on synthetic biopolymers as well as the environmental impact and recycling of plastics. Over the years, he has developed a very practice-oriented view of polymer science, always correlating the macroscopic behavior of materials with molecular structure in order to tailor characteristics according to specific requirements. He applies this vision also to his current work at the Division of Glycoscience, aiming to create sustainable as well as competitive materials for various areas of application through the reactive modification of plant polysaccharides.


Kazunori Kataoka, University of Tokyo (JPN):

Dr. Kazunori Kataoka is Director General of Innovation Center of NanoMedicine (iCONM), Kawasaki Institute of Industrial Promotion, and Professor at Institute for Future Initiatives, The University of Tokyo. He received his Ph.D. (1979) in Polymer Chemistry from The University of Tokyo. He started his academic career at Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Tokyo Women’s Medical College as Assistant Professor (1979). He joined Department of Materials Engineering, Tokyo University of Science in 1989 as Associate Professor and was promoted to full Professor in 1994. He moved to Department of Materials Engineering, The University of Tokyo in 1998 as full Professor. He was appointed joint-position of full Professor at Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine, The University of Tokyo Medical School in 2004. In 2016, he moved to the current position. He has received several scientific awards, including the Clemson Award from the Society for Biomaterials, USA (2005), the Founder’s Award from the Controlled Release Society (2008), Humboldt Research Award (2012), Leo Esaki Prize (2012), and Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund Prize (2017). He has been elected as a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and as a Fellow of the US National Academy of Inventors (NAI) since 2017. In 2018, he was installed Doctor Honoris Causa (Dr.h.c.) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. His current major research interests include supramolecular materials for nanobiotechnology, focusing on drug and gene delivery systems.


Shih-Jung Liu, Chang Gung University (TWN):

Dr. Shih-Jung Liu is currently the Professor at Department of Mechanical Engineering of Chang Gung University, Taiwan. He received the Bachelor degree from Mechanical Engineering of National Taiwan University in 1986, and earned his Master and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1989 and 1992 respectively. Dr. Liu has been involved in pioneering work on the concepts of various polymer processing techniques, dealing with theoretical and experimental processing of various polymeric materials. Dr. Liu is also recognized for his works in the processing of biodegradable materials for drug delivery system and tissue engineering applications. He is the author of more than 250 scientific publications including 180 referred journal papers, editor and co-editor of 6 books and the author of 15 patents. Dr. Liu is also serving as the Associate Editors for Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, Journal of Polymer Engineering, as well as the Guest Editors of Nanomaterials and Pharmaceutics Journals.


Kristiina Oksman, Luleå University of Technology (SWE):

Kristiina Oksman is chair professor at Luleå University of Technology, Division of Materials Science, in Sweden. She is also Finland Distinguished Professor (FiDiPro) in biocomposites at the University of Oulu, Finland since 2015 and Status-Only Professor at University of Toronto, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Canada. She is editor on Biocomposites for Elsevier’s Composites Part A.

Professor Oksman has been working with natural fiber composites for 25 years and the last 15 years especially focusing on biobased nanocomposites with emphasis on processes of the nanomaterials and their property characterization. She has more than 300 scientific publications and conference proceeding contributions in the field of nanostructured biomaterials and biocomposites and has coordinated national and Nordic research projects and organized conferences nationally and internationally. She is supervising undergraduate and graduate students and teaching about wood and biocomposites processing and properties. Her research has been funded by EU programs, and by national projects in Sweden, Finland, and Norway. Oksman’s main expertise is fundamental understanding of nanomaterials and composites, their processing development and the relationship between the manufacturing process, the structure and the properties.


Mohini Sain, University of Toronto (CAN):

Dr. Sain specializes in advanced nanocellulose technology, biocomposites and bio-nanocomposites at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Forestry. He is cross- appointed to the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. He is a fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, U.K. and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Prof. Sain is globally known for his pioneering work on the Biocar Initiative and in 2009 an issue of Toronto Life magazine featured his idea as the second best among 25 World Changing Ideas from the Smartest Torontonians. Dr. Sain holds several awards: A few recent ones are the Plastic Innovation Award and the KALEV PUGI Award for innovation and contribution to industry. He is the author of more than 400 peer-reviewed papers and is designated as a highly-cited researcher. Prof. Sain has hugely contributed to society at large by translating research into commercialization. He has tens of patents and is world-renowned for his expertise in transforming research ideas into commercialization. He is also the co-author of the world’s first book on cellulose nanocomposites and has also co-edited a number of books.


István Tóth, University of Queensland (AUS):

Professor Istvan TOTH is Chair in Biological Chemistry & Professor of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane, Australia; Affiliated Professorial Research Fellow and Group Leader, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, UQ. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University, Budapest, Hungary and was awarded his PhD for research in Alkaloid Chemistry. He worked at the Central Research Institute for Chemistry, Hungarian Academy of Sciences till 1987, then he relocated to London. In 1994, he was awarded a DSc for his work on drug delivery. Prof Toth moved from the School of Pharmacy at the University of London to the University of Queensland in 1998, and leads a productive medicinal chemistry research group (presently 30 members). He is an elected RACI Fellow, Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences and Fellow of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In 2009, he was awarded the Adrian Albert award for sustained and outstanding research in medicinal biochemistry. He has about 400 peer-reviewed publications (>500 citations/year since 2012), 44 patents, and a strong record in research commercialization. His research has attracted over $80 million in competitive grants, research contracts and investment funds in the past 10 years, including an NHMRC Program grant, which is now in its fourth successive 5-year term.