The 12th International Conference and Workshop on Biological Barriers is an international scientific event, organized every two years and receiving constantly 200+ registered attendees from all over the world.

In the focus of BioBarriers 2018 are human cell and tissue models for facilitating clinical translation of new drugs and delivery systems, especially in the context of infectious diseases. Moreover, we will discuss innovative concepts and materials, also capable to overcome non-cellular diffusion barriers such as mucus or bacterial biofilms, concluding the conference with sessions on extracellular vesicles and advanced nanomedicines for non-invasive delivery of macromolecular biopharmaceuticals.

Target audiences are early stage researchers as well as experienced scientists and professionals from academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

The program combines …

  • international experts presenting their views and latest results
  • exclusive opportunities for contributed oral presentations in all sessions
  • poster sessions and guided tours
  • industry exhibition – selected companies present their latest technologies

Download BioBarriers 2018 – program and speakers.PDF

Conference Program

Program incl. confirmed invited speakers

Monday, 27 August 2018
Modelling Biological Barriers:
non-animal models for facilitating clinical translation; epi-/ endothelial barriers: lung, skin, GI, BBB; non-cellular barriers: mucus and surfactant; modelling diseased barriers: infection and inflammation; microfluidics and bioprinting

Heike Walles/ TERM, University Hospital Würzburg:
Complex human  co-culture tissue models and their application in drug development
Josué Sznitman/ Israel Institute of Technology:  Advanced airway-on-chip platforms: bridging in vitro and in vivo pulmonary interfaces
Katharina Ribbek/ MIT: Microbial Interactions and Transport in the Mucus Barrier
Pankaj Karande/ Rensselaer: Engineering Vascularized Human Skin using 3D Printing
Olivier Guenat and Nina Hobi/ University of Bern: Organs-on-chip models of the air-blood barrier
Maximiliano Gutierrez/ Francis Crick Institute: Crossing barriers to improve tuberculosis treatment
Maike Windbergs/ University of Frankfurt: The human skin in heathy and diseased state – in vitro models and imaging approaches
Hamid Ghandehari/ University of Utah: Biological Fate and Toxicity of Dendritic and Silica Nanoconstructs

Tuesday, 28 August 2018
Drug Delivery: nanomedicine; gene delivery; functional polymers; intelligent systems; innovative carriers and materials; how to move/ delivery without diffusion and convection; immunotherapy, immonological barriers and vaccine delivery
Tejal Desai/ UCSF: Nanostructured Materials for Therapeutic Delivery and Immunomodulation
Patrick Stayton/ University of Washington: Engineering Intracellular Drug Therapies
André Nel/ UCLA: Use of a Nano-enabled Dual Drug Delivery Platform for Cancer Immunotherapy
Peer Fischer/ MPG:  Directed Transport with Nanopropellers
David Brayden/ University College Dublin:
Progress using nanoparticulates and permeation enhancers to deliver oral peptides
Eva Roblegg/ University of Graz: Drug Delivery Strategies for Treatment of Oral Diseases
Jesus Perez-Gil/ University of Madrid: Surfing the Respiratory Surface for Smart Drug Delivery
Thomas Crouzier: Modulating the barrier properties of mucus

Wednesday, 29 August 2018 (morning session)
Extracellular Vesicles: mammalian EVs: exosomes, microvesicles, cell-cell communication, drug targeting, EV-therapeutics, minimally invasive diagnostics; bacterial EV: outer membrane vesicles, bacterial interaction, host cell modulation, OMV vaccines
David Carter/ Oxford Brooks University: Extracellular vesicles as communicators of cellular stress
David Whitworth/ Abersystwyth University: Antimicrobial OMVs from bacterial predators: physiology, cargo and mechanism
Raymond Schiffelers/ Utrecht University: Extracellular vesicles versus liposomes
Mario Gimona/ Paracelsus Medizinische Privatuniversität: Manufacturing and regulatory aspects for EVs to reach the clinic

Wednesday, 29 August 2018 (afternoon session)
Advanced nanomedicine to overcome biological barriers (in cooperation with European ITN NABBA)
Gert Storm/ Utrecht University: Targeted drug delivery: are our expectations justified?
Maria-José Alonso/ University of Santiago de Compostela: Formulation of macromolecules using nanotechnology
Patrick Couvreur/ CNRS: Nanomedicines for the treatment of severe diseases
Jean-Christophe Leroux/ ETH; Delivery of a liposomal O6-methylguanine-DANN methyltransferase inactivator to glioblastoma via ultrasound-supported blood-brain barrier opening

Slots for contributed presentations are provided in each session. The selection will be based on the review of the 1-page abstract by the Programme Chairs. A poster exhibition with the contributions of the participants will be present during the whole conference. Instructions for abstract submission will be published in due time.

Program Committee

Program Chairs and Organisers of BioBarriers 2018


Claus-Michael Lehr is Professor at Saarland University, and also cofounder and head of the department Drug Delivery at the recently established Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS). Together with his long lasting colleague Ulrich Schäfer, he developed the BioBarriers conference series and acts as program chair since its beginning in 1997. He received numerous awards and memberships and serves as expert reviewer for research institutions, international corporations and journals. Since 2015, Claus-Michael Lehr is listed yearly by the journal The Medicine Maker as one of the hundred most influential experts of drug development.

Nicole Schneider-Daum studied Food Chemistry at the University of Kaiserslautern before doing her PhD at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. She joined the institute of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology at Saarland University in 2004 and started as senior scientist in the department Drug Delivery of the recently established Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) focusing on the establishment of new in vitro models of biological barriers.

Brigitta Loretz studied Microbiology at the University of Innsbruck. In April 2007 she received her PhD at the University of Innsbruck, Dep. of Pharmaceutical Technology for her work on novel strategies for oral gene delivery. As postdoc she joined Prof. Lehr’s group at the Saarland University in June 2007. After the foundation of the Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), she changed to the new institute and is working there as senior scientist. Her research interests are nano carriers for intracellular delivery of biopharmaceutics, with a special focus on biodegradable polymers.

Gregor Fuhrmann is a Junior Research Group Leader at the Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS). He studied Pharmacy in Berlin and received his doctoral degree in 2013 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich. For his thesis, he received the ETH Medal and the Rottendorf Europapreis award for excellent pharmaceutical research. He then joined the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London as a German Academic Exchange Service Postdoc and a Marie-Curie Intra-European Fellow. Since December 2016, he is heading his research group Biogenic Nanotherapeutics (BION) which is dedicated to biomimetic engineering for improved therapy and imaging of infectious diseases.