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Renae Ryan

Ambassador Term: 2022-2025 (Class III)

Representing: Australia

Biography:
I am a Professor at the University of Sydney, Australia. My group studies the structure and function of membrane proteins with a focus on amino acid and neurotransmitter transporters. Over my career, I have always had a love of biophysics and using biophysical techniques to understand the molecular mechanism of transport proteins, which I think are the coolest proteins! I am currently the Secretary-General of the Asian Biophysics Association (ABA) which brings together the Biophysical Societies of seven countries in Asia (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan) to promote Biophysics and collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region. We co-host a major meeting with one of the member societies every 3 years and ABA is an Adhering Body of the International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics.  

Ambassador Program Goal:
I hope to develop better connections between biophysics in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region with the North American/European biophysical communities and to expand the international reach of BPS. I also want to provide better opportunities for the next generation of biophysicists from our region to connect in with the international community and strengthen my own connections with the BPS community.

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Donald C. Chang

Ambassador Term: 2022-2025 (Class III)

Representing: Hong Kong

Biography:
I was trained in Physics (B.A. from the National Taiwan University 1965; and Ph.D. from Rice University in Houston, 1970). During the 70s and 80s, I conducted research at the Baylor College of Medicine and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole. In 1991, I joined the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) as a founding faculty member. Currently, I am Professor Emeritus at HKUST. My research interest is very broad, including biophysics, biotechnology and quantum physics. I was involved in the pioneering works of MRI development. My team discovered that NMR relaxation times (T1 and T2) of cellular water undergo a progressive change when the tissue transforms from the normal to pre-neoplastic and then to tumor state (PNAS 1972 and Nature 1972). This discovery enabled physicians to use NMR to detect the early stage of cancer development. More recently, my research was devoted to studies of signaling mechanisms in cell cycle and gene transfer technology.

Ambassador Program Goal:
I would like to promote more active collaboration between the physics and life science communities in this region. Also, I am a strong believer that: (a) the spirit of science is built on curiosity, innovation, and freedom of thoughts, and (b) social responsibility should be an important part of science. As a BPS Ambassador, I hope to promote such spirits in the future BPS-associated activities.

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Philip Mang'are

Ambassador Term: 2022-2025 (Class III)

Representing: Kenya

Biography:
I am Philip Amuyunzu Mang’are, a Lecturer of Physics in Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, and an author of high school books. I studied Bachelor of Education (Science), Master of Science (Physics) and PhD (Physics) in Egerton University, Kenya. My research has been on behavioural biophysics, establishing the phonotactic responses of the mated female A. gambiae which are malaria vectors. Out of this research, a mosquito repellent device has been designed and constructed for use as an additional tool in malaria vector control. Besides being a Lecturer of Physics, I have taught Physics and Mathematics for over 15 years in high school and a Trainer of Teachers of Science under the Strengthening Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (SMASSE) programme in Vihiga County.

Ambassador Program Goal:
As a BPS Ambassador, I look forward to establishing five BPS chapters per year in Universities in Kenya, conduct annual Biophysical International Conference, and ensure all chapters participate in BPS activities. I will use this position to promote membership of the Society by moving to all Chapters. I will expand these activities to all East African Countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Egypt, Burundi among others. So far, the Uganda Chapter is under registration. I will embrace teamwork and collegiality among chapter membership through online meetings with them, actual visitation to their institutions and advocating for Biophysics with the government.

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Katarzyna ‘Kasia’ Tych

Ambassador Term: 2022-2025 (Class III)

Representing: Netherlands

Biography:
I am a Rosalind Franklin fellow and tenure track assistant professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, leading a research group in experimental single-molecule biophysics. We work on a broad range of projects primarily seeking to expand the tools available to study the relationships between structure, function, and dynamics of individual biological molecules.

Ambassador Program Goal:
I am passionate about making science more accessible and welcoming to women and under-represented minorities. Throughout my career to date, I have organized and taken part in a number of initiatives with this in mind and becoming a BPS Ambassador is a great opportunity to continue to work towards this goal.

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Canan Atilgan

Ambassador Term: 2021-2024 (Class II)

Representing: Turkey

Biography:
I am a Professor at Sabanci University and an elected member of the Science Academy, Istanbul. We develop efficient computational methods for navigating protein landscapes; we strive to advance the understanding on long-range communication in molecular machines. Locally, I advocate science communication, by serving on the editorial board of the Turkish language popular science website sarkac.org, and by making appearances on various media outlets and school programs to promote science careers. Being a first-generation PhD and the very first woman college graduate in my family, it took time to discover my destiny in academia. I stumbled upon and was immediately fascinated by biophysical problems in the last year of my PhD studies, while doing polymer physics research in a chemical engineering department. Fast forward 25 years, and now I wish to use my visibility to leverage biophysics as a career path for aspiring scientists, and to put biophysical understanding within the reach of science enthusiasts.

Ambassador Program Goal:
I will advocate events designed to channel underrepresented groups interested in biophysics into related career paths; I will promote mentorship activities for the professional development of those who have already taken these paths. I will initiate organization of thematic meetings focused on physics-based approaches and trans-disciplinary advancements in the field. Expanding on my current outreach efforts, I will engage in development of science curricula utilizing biophysics as a unifying theme.

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Gonzalo de Prat Gay

Ambassador Term: 2021-2024 (Class II)

Representing: Argentina

Biography:
I am got a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Buenos Aires and did my PhD at the same university working on photosynthetic enzymes. I trained in basic protein science at Cambridge University, UK that allowed me to tackle my long-term interest which has been understanding viruses from their protein components, interactions, and assembly, and at the same time addressing fundamental problems of protein science such as folding, intrinsic disorder, nucleic acid recognition, antibody-antigen, and more recently biomolecular condensates, in a multidisciplinary manner, going from biophysics to cell culture and infection. I have been working throughout the years in two important pathogen representative of RNA (syncytial respiratory virus) and DNA (papillomavirus) viruses. I am a career researcher at the Argentine national Science Council, lead a lab at Instituto Leloir, and devote most of my time to research.

Ambassador Program Goal:
I always sensed that our local society and biophysicists along the country, including myself, are somehow disconnected from the Biophysical Society as the nucleating component. This hampers collaborations and networking. My intention is to build bridges between Argentine Biophysics and BS, expand BSs horizons and identify opportunities of mutual benefit

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Irep Gozen

Ambassador Term: 2020-2024 (Class II)

Representing: Norway

Biography:
I am a group leader and associate professor at the University of Oslo, and currently head of the Soft Materials Laboratory at the Center for Molecular Medicine in Norway. My research area is bionanoscience, with a special focus on surfactant membranes. I became member of the American Biophysical Society in 2010 during my PhD studies, and have been attending the annual BPS meetings since then, where I received encouragement and critical feedback, and build a network with biophysics experts from all over the world. I want to stronger include the Nordic Region, bring researchers closer together, and visibly promote science in the interest of the biophysics community worldwide.

Ambassador Program Goal:
I will work towards strengthening the connections between the biophysics communities in the U.S. and in the Scandinavian region. I am planning activities with focus on organizing workshops, especially encouraging female scientists in STEM, on evaluating and commenting on research trends, publishing regularly for audiences of various backgrounds, and establishing links to administrative and funding bodies in Norway.

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Siti Ngalim

Ambassador Term: 2021-2024 (Class II)

Representing: Malaysia

Biography:
I am a Senior Lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Bertam Campus in Penang, Malaysia. I do research and teaching in the subject of biointerface (micro- and nanopatterning) and cell adhesion. In late 2018, a few colleagues and I officially started a local biophysical society (Pertubuhan Biofizik Malaysia). The reason being we would like to make Biophysics, especially Mechanobiology, known and interesting for local STEM communities and students. I am also currently a committee member for 2021 BPS Cell Adhesion Networks Thematic Meeting, which will be held - for the first time - in Miri Sarawak (Borneo) in late 2021. In my spare time, I am developing fun side projects using Artificial Intelligence technologies to increase accessibility, knowledge and communication on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) amongst local Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) community and the public. Yes, I can read braille too.

Ambassador Program Goal:
I am thankful to the BPS for the opportunity. My aim as a BPS ambassador is to create more biophysics-related activities and awareness in Malaysia. I will share the news with international BPS community soon.

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Samrat Mukhopadhyay

Ambassador Term: 2020-2023 (Class I)

Representing: India

Biography:
I obtained my doctoral degree from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and then did my postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute, California, USA. My laboratory at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Mohali is involved in studying the key molecular characteristics of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) by utilizing a diverse array of approaches involving biophysics, biochemistry, molecular-, cellular-, and chemical biology, fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, super-resolution imaging, single-molecule, and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy. We aim at delineating the molecular mechanism of amyloid formation and liquid-liquid phase separation of various IDPs. Apart from biophysics, I am also interested in old music, history, and traveling.

Ambassador Program Goal:
As a BPS Ambassador, I will be able to engage with a larger section of younger students and established biophysicists from both India and overseas and to promote biophysics research, education, and outreach.

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Olwyn Byron

Ambassador Term: 2020-2023 (Class I)

Representing: United Kingdom

Biography:
I am a Professor of Biophysics at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, UK. My job consists of a traditional mix of teaching, administration and research. My research focusses on meso-resolution solution state molecular biophysics and the tools I use are analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC), small angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS, SANS) and hydrodynamic bead modelling (HBM). Fun fact about me: if I wasn’t a scientist, I’d be a drummer in a band.

Ambassador Program Goal:
I am honoured to currently serve as Chair of the British Biophysical Society (BBS) and one of my goals as a BPS Ambassador is to strengthen the links between our two societies. I’m looking forward to a great partnership!

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Nuno C. Santos

Ambassador Term: 2020-2023 (Class I)

Representing: Portugal

Biography:
I completed my PhD at the University of Lisbon in 1999, after conducting part of the experimental work at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Currently, I am Professor at the University of Lisbon Medical School, and Head of the Biomembranes and Nanomedicine Unit at the Institute of Molecular Medicine. Our research work spans peptide/protein-membrane interactions, nanobiophysics, infectious and cardiovascular diseases. On my spare time, I like travelling (52 different countries and counting!), playing water polo, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking.

Ambassador Program Goal:
I am the President of the Portuguese Biophysical Society since 2015. I have been a member of BPS since 1997, when I was a PhD student. As a BPS Ambassador, I would like to promote Biophysics and the BPS activities, not only in Portugal, but also on some developing countries with whom I have been cooperating.

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John Baenzinger

Ambassador Term: 2020-2023 (Class I)

Representing: Canada

Biography:
I am a professor of Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa. I teach courses on protein structure and function. I run an active research program studying the structures and mechanisms underlying the allosteric modulation of ligand-gated ion channels. I have been very active in the Biophysical Society of Canada (BSC). The BSC focuses on the promotion of Biophysics in Canada by supporting an annual congress, networking events, and newsletters, as well as by recognizing the scientific achievements of our members. Through the BSC, I have been particularly active in the promotion of the careers of trainees by advocating for both trainee travel and merit awards. I am an active outdoor enthusiast – I love surfing, white water canoeing, biking, skiing and hiking!

Ambassador Program Goal:
My main goal as a BPS Ambassador is to create stronger links between the BSC and the BPS to promote biophysics, with a particular focus on fostering better opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.