Plenary Speakers


Francisco Gabriel Acién Fernández

Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Almeria, Director of Cathedra Cajamar on Bioeconomy and coordinator of H2020 EU Project SABANA focused to the Sustainable production of biofertilizers and aquafeed from wastewater using microalgae. Main research topics includes the reuse of crops residues and biotechnology of microalgae.
Prof. Acién has participated in 12 European projects in addition to 30 National projects and contracts with companies. He is vice-president of European Algae Biomass Association (EABA), member of International Society for Applied Phycology, member of Latino American Society for Algal and Environmental Biotechnology, and editor of Algal Research and RELABIAA journals, in addition to reviewer of international journals. He also collaborates with international projects as DeserBioenergy in Chile and CONACYT in Mexico aimed to develop processes for the production of biofuels from microalgae in especial locations. Major contributions on Biotechnology of microalgae field are related with the improvement of photobioreactors design, scale-up of production systems, and economic analysis of production processes. In the last time research was focused to microalgae biomass valorisation to improve the economic yield of microalgae based processes.


Michael Sauer

Michael SAUER is Assistant Professor at the Department of Biotechnology of BOKU – University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. His research aims at microbial production of base chemicals from renewable resources.
Metabolic engineering and bioprocess engineering are combined to provide microbial processes of industrial relevance. One focus is on the exploration of natural diversity to characterize and optimize natural producers. A second line of research is dedicated to the development of synthetic tools aiding metabolic engineering approaches with a focus on transport processes.
He studied biotechnology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Vienna, and his venia docendi (habilitation) in industrial microbiology from BOKU, Vienna.


Michele Swanson

After studying at Yale and Harvard, Michele Swanson, PhD, joined the University of Michigan Medical School faculty in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and later became Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Studies. Her laboratory investigates how metabolic cues govern virulence and resilience of the water-born pathogen Legionella pneumophila, Recently Swanson worked with an interdisciplinary team to analyze the risk of Legionnaires’ disease during the municipal water crisis in Flint, Michigan. She is also a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee on Management of Legionella in Water Systems, which is advisory to the USA federal government. Dr. Swanson serves the American Society for Microbiology as President, member of the Board of Directors, co-host of the podcast This Week in Microbiology, and co-author of the ASM Press textbook Microbe.


Mohammad J. Taherzadeh

Mohammad J. Taherzadeh is full professor in Bioprocess technology since 2004 at University of Borås in Sweden and director of Research School of Resource Recovery. Prof. Taherzadeh has PhD in Bioscience from Sweden, and MSc and BSc in Chemical Engineering from Iran. He is developing processes to convert wastes and residuals to value added products with focus on pretreatment and fermentation. He has more than 260 publications in scientific peer-reviewed journals, 20 book chapters, 5 patents and 5 books. He is also editor-in-Chief of Bioengineered and Associate Editor of Bioresource Technology. More information about him is available at and


Nikos C. Kyrpides

Nikos Kyrpides is a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is the Head of the Prokaryotic Super Program at the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) where he also leads the Microbiome Data Science Group. Dr. Kyrpides has over 25 years of research experience in microbiome research, computational biology, bioinformatics, and data science and published more than 600 peer reviewed papers in the field. He has led the development of several pioneering data managements systems in microbial genomics and metagenomics, which are widely used in the community and have several thousand users across the world. Research in his group is focusing on Microbiome Research with an emphasis on Microbiome Data Science. Dr. Kyrpides has received several prestigious awards including the USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award from the American Society of Microbiology and the van Niel International Prize for Studies in Bacterial Systematics. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and he is in the list of the world’s most highly cited scientists from 2014-2018.


Keynote speakers


Alexandra Teresa Pires Carvalho

Alexandra Carvalho is a researcher at CNC and the leader of the Rational Protein Engineering group. She has a licentiate degree in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry with Maria Ramos (Porto University) in collaboration with Matthias Bickelhaupt (Vrije University). She did post-doctoral work at Porto University, Girona University with Marcel Swart and Uppsala University with Lynn Kamerlin. From 2015-2016 she worked for Almac Sciences in the development of new biocatalysts. Her group is focused on enzyme design.
Title: Enzyme design for polyester synthesis.


Miguel Cerqueira

Miguel Cerqueira holds a PhD degree in Biological Engineering from University of Minho and at this moment is Staff Researcher at the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory. He has expertise in the development and characterization of bio‐based nanostructures for food applications, such as food packaging, and encapsulation of functional compounds, and on the development and characterization of emulgels and oleogels for functional foods. He authored more than 90 Peer-reviews scientific articles, published more than 20 book chapters, two patents and is editor of three books. He supervised several PhD and MSc students. In 2014 he won the Young Scientist Award (sponsored by IUFoST). In 2018 he join the list of “Highly Cited Researchers” presented by Clarivate Analytics.
Title: “Nanotechnology in the food industry: ‘plenty of room’ to innovate”


Sónia Alexandra L. V. Mendo

Sónia Mendo received her B.Sc. from University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, in 1989 and her Ph.D. from the University of Lisbon in 1998. She joined the Biology Department at Aveiro in 1998 and became Assistant professor with Habilitation in 2013. She is an integrated member of CESAM and the coordinator of the Molecular Biotechnology Laboratory (LBM) at UA. The research program of her group focuses on: (i) search for new peptide antibiotics (lantibiotics), ii) radioecotoxicogenetics and iii) molecular mechanisms of bacterial resistance to xenobiotics.
Title: “Lanthipeptides: a nature´s toolbox with a phlethora of biotechnological applications.”


Mary E. Allen

Mary E. Allen is a Professor in the Biology Department at Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY, USA where she has served as Chair of Biology and taught a variety of introductory biology and microbiology courses for diverse populations that include non-science, nursing, biology, and biochemistry majors. Mary employs high impact practices in her teaching and course design and is currently the Senior Curriculum Editor for the ASM Journal of Biology and Microbiology Education. Trained as a microbial ecologist, Mary engages her students in collaborations with Hartwick College’s Center for Craft Food and Beverage, finding solutions to technical difficulties and developing protocols to help producers in the brewing industry.
Title: Active Learning to Improve Student Learning and Faculty Engagement in the Undergraduate Science Classroom


Martha E. Trujillo

Martha E. Trujillo is Professor of Microbiology at the University of Salamanca, Spain and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. She obtained her PhD in Microbial Systematics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). Following this time, she held a postdoctoral research post at Novartis, A.G. She joined the University of Salamanca in 2002 where she leads the research group Microbial Ecology and Biotechnology. Her main research areas are actinobacterial systematics and microbial ecology with special interest in plant-actinobacteria interactions. Professor Trujillo is Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, Chair of Bergey’s Manual Trust and co-opted member of the International Committee on the Systematics of Prokaryotes.
Title: Culture Collections and Their role in the Preservation of Biological Resources.


Isabel Gordo, IGC – Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência

Pedro Leão, CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, Universidade Porto

Rodrigo Costa, IST Instituto Superior Técnico

Maria Ascenção Reis, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Raquel Sá Leão, ITQB – Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Joana Azeredo, Universidade Minho

Isabel Sá-Correia, Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences