MBI’s Scientific Advisory Board

Overseeing the mission of the Mechanobiology Institute to establish itself as a global leader in developing a robust multi-disciplinary approach to the study of mechanobiology, the Governing Board and the Director of MBI are advised by the MBI Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

Appointed by the Chairman of the Governing Board, the SAB makes annual visits to MBI to review research programmes and projects of the Mechanobiology Institute and provide counsel and recommendations to the Board and the Director of MBI.

The first Scientific Advisory Board was appointed in 2010 chaired by Prof Daniel Louvard (Institut Curie) and formed by members Prof Ueli Aebi (University of Basel), Prof Albert Libchaber (Rockefeller University) and Prof James Spudich (Stanford University). Each Board serves a term of 3 years.

David A Weitz

David A Weitz

Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Co-Director of the BASF Advanced Research Initiative, Member, Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology

Weitz received his PhD in physics from Harvard University and then joined Exxon Research and Engineering Company.  He then became a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania and moved to Harvard at the end of the last millennium as professor of physics and applied physics. Learn more about his research at weitzlab.seas.harvard.edu.

Jennifer Elisseeff

Jennifer Elisseeff

Professor, Wilmer Eye Institute and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University; Director, Translational Tissue Engineering Center (TTEC)

Jennifer Elisseeff received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and a PhD in medical engineering from the Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Dr. Elisseeff is the Morton Goldberg Professor and Director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Wilmer Eye Institute with appointments in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Science and Orthopedic Surgery.  She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, a Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum. In 2018, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine. Learn more about her research at jlab.johnshopkins.edu.

Maria Leptin

Director, EMBO; Professor, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL); Member of Academia Europaea; Chair, Grant Evaluation Panel for the European Research Council; Editorial Board for Developmental Cell

Maria Leptin received her PhD in 1983 for work on B cell activation carried out at the Basel Institute for Immunology, Switzerland, under the supervision of Fritz Melchers. She switched to the study of development in Drosophila when she joined the laboratory of Michael Wilcox at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK, for her postdoctoral work on Drosophila integrins. After a research visit at the laboratory of Pat O’Farrell at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), where she began her work on gastrulation, she spent 1989-1994 as a group leader at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen, Germany. In 1994, she became Professor at the Institute of Genetics University of Cologne.

In January 2010, Maria Leptin became the Director of EMBO and established a research group in Heidelberg at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The group studies cell biology and biophysics of cell shape changes and the mechanism of innate immunity. Professor Leptin is an elected member of EMBO and the Academia Europaea. She also serves on the editorial boards of Developmental Cell and Developmental Biology and on the advisory boards of several academic institutions. She has chaired and is a member of one of the evaluation panels for European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Investigator Grants. Learn more about Prof Leptin.

Timothy Mitchison

Hasib Sabbagh Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School; Director of the Harvard Therapeutics Innovation Hub (I-Hub); co-Director of the Systems Biology PhD program

Dr. Timothy Mitchison is the Hasib Sabbagh Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. He received a BA in Biochemistry from Oxford University in 1979, and a PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from UCSF in 1984. After a post doc in London he joined the faculty at UCSF, where he rose to Professor of Pharmacology. He moved to Harvard Medical School in 1997 to establish the Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology, one of the first drug screening platforms in academia. In 2004 he helped Marc Kirchner establish the new department of Systems Biology.

He is currently the Director of the Harvard Therapeutics Innovation Hub (I-Hub) and the co-Director of the Systems Biology PhD program. His professional honors include election to the UK Royal Society (2003), the US National Academy (2014) and serving as President of the American Society of Cell Biology (2010). Dr. Mitchison’s research interests span basic cell biology, chemical biology and pharmacology. He is a co-founder of Ribon Therapeutics Inc. and a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of Dewpoint Inc, the Innovative Protein Institute (IPI) and the Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore.  Learn more about Prof Mitchison.

Fiona Watt

Fiona Watt

Director, Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London; Fellow of the Royal Society; Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Fiona Watt obtained her first degree from Cambridge University and her DPhil, in cell biology, from the University of Oxford. She was a postdoc at MIT, where she first began studying differentiation and tissue organisation in mammalian epidermis. She established her first research group at the Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology and then spent 20 years at the CRUK London Research Institute. She helped to establish the CRUK Cambridge Research Institute and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research and in 2012 she moved to King’s College London to found the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine. Fiona Watt is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She is internationally recognised for her work on stem cells and their interactions with the niche in healthy and diseased skin.

Fiona Watt is director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London. She is internationally recognised for her work on stem cells and their interactions with the niche in healthy and diseased skin. Read more about her research at www.wattlab.org.