Keynote Speakers


Henk Granzier

Henk Granzier holds a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington and did postdoctoral research in Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1993 he joined the faculty at Washington State University where he rose through the ranks to become Full Professor in 2002. He was a Helmholtz-Humboldt visiting Professor at Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany in 2006. In 2007 he moved to the University of Arizona (Tucson) where he is a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Physiology and Bioengineering. He also holds the Norville Endowed chair for heart disease research. His laboratory is focused on defining the roles of titin and nebulin in muscle function and disease. The research is multi-disciplinary and ranges from the single molecule, single cell, isolated muscle, and whole animal levels. Highlights include the discovery that titin’s I-band region functions as a molecular spring that can be tuned through post-transcriptional and post-translational mechanism. Furthermore, the work on nebulin has shown that nebulin stiffness the thin filament and is critically important in regulating force of skeletal muscle via its effect on thin filament length and actomyosin interaction. Granzier has a long record of creative and rigorous research.

Rick Lieber

Rick Lieber is a scientist who earned his Ph.D. in Biophysics from U.C. Davis developing a theory of light diffraction that was applied to mechanical studies of single muscle cells. He joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego in 1985 where he spent the first 30 years of his academic career, achieving the rank of Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He received his M.B.A. in 2013 and is currently Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.

Dr. Lieber’s work represents a translational approach, applying basic scientific principles to help patients who have experienced spinal cord injury, stroke, musculoskeletal trauma and cerebral palsy. —an approach that is relevant to those who study biomechanics, rehabilitation and orthopaedic surgery. He has published almost 300 articles in journals ranging from the very basic such as The Biophysical Journal and The Journal of Cell Biology to clinical journals such as The Journal of Hand Surgery and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. Dr. Lieber’s research focuses on design and plasticity of skeletal muscle. Currently, he is developing state-of-the-art approaches to understanding muscle contractures that result from cerebral palsy, stroke and spinal cord injury.

In recognition of the clinical impact of his basic science studies, Dr. Lieber has been honored by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (Kappa Delta Award; twice), the American Bone and Joint Surgeons (Nicolas Andry Award) the American College of Sports Medicine (Fellow), the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (Fulbright Fellowship) and the American Society for Biomechanics (Borelli Award; Hay Award). He was also named a Senior Research Career Scientist from the Department of Veterans Affairs from which he has received continuous support since 1985.



Julio Fernandez

Julio Fernandez is a tenured professor at Columbia University in the Department of Biological Sciences. He trained in Physics (B.S.) and Physiology (Ph.D.) and he is a world leader in the field of single molecule biology, and the founder of the field of protein mechanics. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and at the Medical School of the Mayo Clinic, where he was Chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. He is also an international lecturer teaching weeklong workshops in South Africa, China, Israel and Spain. He has been cited about 13,000 times for his work, with an h factor approaching sixty. He has been awarded prizes by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, and by the Biophysical Society in the US. While at the Mayo Clinic, he was the founder of a start up Drug Delivery Company called Tacora Corporation and patented delivery technologies based on mimicking exocytosis.

More recently he has worked with Columbia Ventures to patent and license technologies related to the development of instrumentation for single molecule enzymatic assays, and enzyme discovery using the rapidly growing database of enzyme sequences from extant organisms. A developing interest is in the use of biological algorithms to analyze social data obtained from Google trends database. A current major effort is in the development of a large-scale computer model to integrate the physics and chemistry of the giant elastic protein titin, to predict the severity of dilated cardiomyopathies from the rapidly growing patient database of titin mutations.

Yasuo Kawakami

Yasuo Kawakami is a professor of biodynamics, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Japan. He received Bachelor of Education, Master of Science, and Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo (1988-1995). After his career as an assistant professor, University of Tokyo, 1991-1999, associate professor, University of Tokyo, 1999-2003, and associate professor, Waseda University, School of Sport Sciences, 2003-2005, he has been a professor of Waseda University. His expertise is in biomechanics and exercise physiology with the main research interest in the area of muscle mechanics, particularly on the in vivo skeletal muscle behavior during various human movements. Effects of exercise training, growth, aging, and fatigue on the human musculoskeletal system are also in the scope of his research. He has published more than 200 articles in international journals (>6500 citations, h-index=44 as of February 2019). He has been a member of the societies and organizations including International Society of Biomechanics, Japanese Society of Biomechanics, Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine, Tokyo Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Science, Japan Society of Training Science for Exercise and Sport, the Japanese Society of Bone and Muscle Ultrasound, Japan Society of Golf Sciences, and Science Council of Japan. He is a director of Human Performance Laboratory, Organization for University Research Initiatives, Waseda University.