International Conference on Epigenetics and Bioengineering

December 13-15, 2017

Presented by the Society of Biological Engineering (SBE),  EpiBio 2017 is a forum for engineers and scientists who are applying the tools and techniques of bioengineering to the area of epigenetics. Academic, clinical, and industrial researchers from several disciplines are invited to share their recent discoveries and developments, and the overarching goal of the conference is to shape the future of this emerging field.


The body of fundamental knowledge related to epigenetic modifications of proteins and nucleic acids as well as the mechanisms of epigenetic regulation in organisms ranging from microbes to humans is vast and rapidly expanding. Efforts to translate this knowledge into products and processes that benefit society have rapidly followed this explosion in fundamental understanding of molecular biology.

These products and processes include new medical diagnostics,  new ways to treat disease, and enhanced methods of producing therapeutic compounds, proteins, and other lucrative chemical products. EpiBio2017 provides a platform to communicate the state of the art, share technical knowledge, nucleate collaborations and partnerships, and hear a diverse set of perspectives related to needs, opportunities and priorities at the intersection of bioengineering and epigenetics.

Conference Chair:

  • Hadley Sikes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ahmad (Mo) Khalil, Boston University

Organizing Committee:

  • Charles Gersbach, Duke University
  • Albert Keung, NC State University
  • Alissa Minkovsky, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Marc Ostermeier, Johns Hopkins University
  • Winston Timp, Johns Hopkins University
  • Chongli Yuan, Purdue University

Keynotes Speakers:

  • Gerald Crabtree, Stanford University
  • Marianne Rots, University Groningen

Invited Speakers:

  • Pilar Blancafort, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research
  • Albert Jeltsch, University Stuttgart
  • Karmella A. Hayne, Arizona State University
  • Henriette O'Geen, University of California, Davis
  • Jennifer E. Phillips-Cremins, University of Pennsylvania
  • Tim Reddy, Duke University
  • Yonatan Stelzer, Weizmann Institute of Science

Sessions Topics:

  1. Detecting epigenetic modifications (DNA, RNA, histones)

    • ​Single cell Epigenetics/Epigenetics heterogeneity
    • Epigenotyping technologies and diagnostics
  2. Editing the epigenome

    • ​Dynamic control
    • Cell programming
    • Revealing functions of epigenomic modifications
    • Epigenetic control over cell state transitions
  3. Epigenetics in bioprocess engineering

    • ​Expression of recombinant proteins in mammalian cells
    • Metabolic engineering to produce pharmaceuticals
  4. Epigenetics in human health

    • Discovering and characterizing epigenetic differences between diseased and healthy cells
    • Therapeutic strategies targeted against epigenetic modifications
    • Epigenetics and the Environment
  5. 4D Nucleome, Computational Modeling and Chromatin Architecture

    • ​4D nucleome
    • Epigenetics and Chromatin Folding

Featured Speakers

Pilar Blancafort

Dr. Pilar Blancafort is currently an associate professor of Cancer Epigenetics at The University of Western Australia in Crawley, Australia. Her academic background involved undergraduate (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain) and graduate (Universite de Montreal, Canada) degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship with the Barbas laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, USA).  In 2005, she established her own laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as Assistant Professor and later as tenured Associate Professor in...Read more

Gerald Crabtree

Crabtree earned his B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Western Liberty State College and his M.D. from Temple University. While at medical school, he became interested in laboratory research and started to work at Dartmouth College with Allan Munck on the biochemistry of steroid hormones. Studying gene regulation, he discovered hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 and started to focus on nuclear gene regulation.

After a short stint at the NIH, he started his lab at Stanford in 1985. Using T lymphocytes as a model system, he discovered the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT).[2]...Read more

Karmella A. Hayne

Karmella Haynes is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Arizona State University. She earned her Ph.D. studying epigenetics and chromatin in Drosophila at Washington University, St. Louis. Postdoctoral fellowships at Davidson College and Harvard Medical School introduced her to synthetic biology. Today, her research aims to identify how the intrinsic properties of chromatin, the DNA-protein structure that packages eukaryotic genes, can be used to control cell development in tissues. Her HHMI postdoctoral fellowship project on bacterial computers was recognized as “...Read more

Albert Jeltsch

Albert Jeltsch finished his PhD working on the mechanism of restriction endonucleases at University Hannover in 1994. Afterwards he started to study DNA methyltransferases at Justus-Liebig University Giessen and at Jacobs University Bremen. Since 2011, he is professor of Biochemistry at the University Stuttgart. In 1999, he received the Gerhard-Hess award of the DFG for his work on mammalian DNA methyltransferases. In 2001, he received the BioFuture award of the BMBF for a project aiming at DNA methylation editing. The group of Prof. Jeltsch investigate the structure and mechanism of...Read more

Henriette O’Geen

Henriette O’Geen obtained her PhD at the Institute of Chemical Engineering at the Technical University Vienna, Austria. Her PhD project focused on genome engineering in crop plants. During her postdoc at UC Davis, she studied transcriptional networks on a genome-wide scale to understand why genes are turned on and off during development and disease. Henriette O’Geen is a project scientist at the UC Davis Genome Center where she has a decade of experience in the field of epigenetics, having worked for many years as part of the ENCODE and REMC consortia. Her research interests focus on...Read more

Jennifer E. Phillips-Cremins

Jennifer E. Phillips-Cremins, Ph.D., joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and a core member of the Epigenetics Program in the Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Cremins obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the laboratory of Andres Garcia. She then conducted a unique multi-disciplinary postdoc in the laboratories of Victor Corces and Job Dekker with the goal of generating the first high-resolution 3-D genome architecture maps during the differentiation of...Read more

Tim Reddy

Dr. Reddy has long been interested in understanding the regulatory code that determines which genes are used, and which are not. His research has spanned the gamut from computational biology on yeast gene regulation, to developing and applying high-throughput sequencing based techniques to study the regulation of human genes. His current research is on understanding how changes in gene regulation contribute to human traits and increase or decrease risk for common human diseases including diabetes. His research relies on close connections between experimental and computational studies, with...Read more

Marianne Rots

Marianne Rots studied Medical Biology at the University of Amsterdam, obtained her PhD at the VU Medical Center, Amsterdam in 2000 and was subsequently trained as postdoctoral fellow in the Gene Therapy Center of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA. In 2001, she was recruited to the School of Pharmacy in Groningen and in 2007 to the University Medical Center Groningen, to start her own research group. She combined gene therapy and epigenetics and was one of the first to establish Epigenetic Editing, for which she obtained several prestigious grants. In 2010, she was appointed...Read more

Yonatan Stelzer

Yonatan Stelzer received his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel. His PhD work focused on studying the roles of parental imprinting during early human embryogenesis and in disease conditions, using human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. In 2014, Yonatan joined the laboratory of Prof. Rudolf Jaenisch at the Whitehead Institute of MIT USA, as a postdoctoral fellow. In his postdoctoral work, Yonatan pioneered a reporter system that allows monitoring real-time changes of DNA methylation in single cells, both in vitro and in vivo, while facilitating prospective...Read more