Scientific Advisory Board

Prof. Charles (Chuck) Sanders

Vanderbilt University, USA

Professor of Biochemistry, Aileen M Lange and Annie Mary Lyle Chair of Cardiovascular Research, Vanderbilt School of Medicine Basic Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA .

Lab web site:

Following undergraduate studies at Milligan College in East Tennessee, Chuck Sanders did his Ph.D. training in enzymology in the lab of Ming-Daw Tsai at the Ohio State University.  He then was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University, where he participated in the original development of bicelles under the direction of James H. Prestegard.

 He has remained active in the development of novel model membrane media throughout his career. 

Following a decade studying membrane enzymes at Case Western Reserve University, Chuck moved to Vanderbilt University in 2002, where he has devoted the past 20 years to unraveling the biophysical basis for how folding defects in human membrane proteins such as peripheral myelin 22 (PMP22), the potassium ion channel KCNQ1, and the amyloid precursor protein contribute to human disease.  Mutations in these membrane proteins cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, Long QT Syndrome, and some forms of Alzheimer’s Disease, respectively.  To, date Chuck has had the pleasure of advising over 45 Ph.D. students and postdocs.  He currently balances his research and training activities with his service as Vice Dean of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine – Basic Sciences and as President of The Protein Society.

Prof. Krysztof Palczewski

UC Irvine, USA

Krzysztof Palczewski is a distinguished biochemical pharmacologist and molecular biologist, known particularly for seminal multidisciplinary scientific contributions to the biology and chemistry of vertebrate vision and therapy of retinal diseases.

His laboratory is the best known for solving the structures of different forms of rhodopsin, a prototype for G protein-coupled receptors that comprise the largest and most diverse family of human drug targets, and other important proteins of the visual system.

Moreover, his team developed high-resolution imaging with two-photon excitation that impacted non-invasive in vivo monitoring of real-time visual function.

Palczewski, a US citizen, was born in Poland. He achieved M.S. (chemistry) degrees at the University of Wroclaw, and Ph.D. (biochemistry) at the Technical University of Wroclaw, Poland. He rose through the faculty ranks in Ophthalmology and Pharmacology at University of Washington, Seattle before serving as Chair of Pharmacology at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Currently he is a Donald Bren Professor and Irving H. Leopold Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, Irvine, serving as Director of the Center for Translational Vision Research. He has received numerous prestigious international awards and is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Prof. Gunnar von Heijne

Stockholm University, Sweden

Gunnar von Heijne is Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at Stockholm University since 1994. He studied Chemical Engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and received a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the same institution in 1980.

Among other awards and honors, he has received the Accomplishment by a Senior Scientist Award of the International Society for Computational Biology (2012) and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Novozymes Prize (2018). He has worked mainly on problems related to protein sorting and membrane protein biogenesis and structure. The work includes both bioinformatics methods development (e.g. methods for prediction of signal peptides and other sorting signals as well as prediction of membrane protein topology) and experimental studies in E. coli and eukaryotic systems.

Prof. Michel Bouvier

Université de Montréal, Canada

Michel Bouvier is a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and principal investigator at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal (UdeM) and has been CEO of IRIC since 2014. He obtained his B.Sc. (1979) in biochemistry and his Ph.D (1985) in Neurological Sciences from the Université de Montréal. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Duke University in the laboratory of the Nobel Laureate, Robert J. Lefkowitz (1985-1988). In 1989, he returned to Montréal as a professor of biochemistry and a scholar of the Medical Research Council of Canada at the Faculty of Medicine of UdeM. He was Chairman of the Biochemistry Department between 1997 and 2005 and was awarded the Hans-Selye/Bristol-Myers Squibb chair in Cell and Molecular Biology (1997-2005). He held the Canada Research Chair in Signal Transduction and Molecular Pharmacology (2001-2022). Dr. Bouvier is the author of 363 scientific publications and delivered more than 500 invited conferences.

His papers attracted more than 39,756 citations leading to a Hirsh (h) factor of 111. He has supervised the studies of 79 graduate students and 47 post-doctoral fellows. He is a world-renowned expert in the field of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). His work led to paradigm shifts that had significant impact on drug discovery including the discovery of inverse agonism at GPCRs and pharmacological chaperones to restore folding of disease-causing genetically mutated GPCRs. His work on the functional selectivity of GPCRs contributed to establishing the concept of ligand-biased signalling that is now integrated in many drug discovery programs. He also pioneered the use of bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET)-based methods for the study of protein-protein interactions and signalling activity in living cells. His contributions to the field of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology were recognized by the attribution of many awards and distinctions including: the Merck-Frosst award from the Canadian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cell Biology (1997), the Senior Investigator award from the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences (2012), the Julius Axelrod Award in pharmacology from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (2017), the  Quebec Government Wilder Penfield award for biomedical research (2017) and the 2021 Killam Award in Health Sciences from the Canada Council for the Arts. He is a fellow the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and of the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada as well as a knight of the National Order of Québec.