Plenary Speakers

Amr Metwally

Amr Metwally
Itqan Clinical Simulation and Innovation Center (Qatar)

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Mikel Diez Parra

Mikel Diez Parra
Quantum Global Enablement Lead - IBM Research (Spain)

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Chee Kit LOOI

Chee Kit LOOI
The Education University of Hong Kong (China)

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Martin Saska

Martin Saska
Czech Technical University in Prague (Czech Republic)

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Jeffrey Alan Tomalka

Jeffrey Alan Tomalka
Emory University (USA)

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Adriana Tomic

Adriana Tomic
Boston University (USA)

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Nidal Nasser

Nidal Nasser
Alfaisal University (Saudi Arabia)

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Amr Metwally

Amr Metwally

Itqan Clinical Simulation and Innovation Center (Qatar)

"AI Integration in Healthcare: Myths, Realities, and Breakthroughs"

The integration of (AI) in healthcare has sparked both fascination and skepticism, oscillating between utopian promises and tangible advancements. This presentation aims to demystify the current state of AI in the biotechnology sector and Healthcare in general, separating the myths from the real successes. By examining case studies and the latest scientific research, we will explore how AI is revolutionizing diagnostics, personalized medicine, and patient care. Attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of the practical applications, challenges, and future potential of AI in healthcare, emphasizing evidence-based outcomes and ongoing innovations.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand the practical applications of AI in diagnostics and personalized medicine within the biotechnology sector.
  2. Identify the key challenges and limitations of AI integration in healthcare, including ethical and regulatory considerations.
  3. Evaluate real-world case studies showcasing successful AI implementations in healthcare and their impact on patient care.

Amr Metwally is a seasoned healthcare leader with a rich experience spanning more than two decades, marked by a relentless pursuit of innovation, growth, and transformative strategies. With a robust background in both private and governmental sectors across the GCC region, Amr has spearheaded a myriad of high-impact projects, collectively valued at over 7 billion USD. His visionary initiatives have not only reshaped the healthcare landscape within the region but have also garnered global acclaim, exemplified by prestigious awards such as the SBID award for the most
intelligent project worldwide in 2013, personally acknowledged at the House of Lords in London. He also served as Commander in the COVID-19 National Rapid Response committee in Qatar where he orchestrated the planning, design, and execution of critical upgrades and new facilities dedicated to combating the pandemic across the nation.

Amr currently leading the executive leadership of ITQAN Clinical Simulation and Innovation Center's one of the world biggest simulation & Innovation centers, a groundbreaking venture poised to revolutionize medical education and innovation on a global scale. With a visionary roadmap, he is steering the center towards becoming a preeminent regional and global hub for medical simulation and business innovation, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among healthcare professionals worldwide.

Amr's profound expertise in the healthcare industry transcends borders, positioning him as a revered thought leader and sought-after speaker on both national and international stages. His contributions to healthcare research and discourse have been extensive, with engagements spanning over 20 countries and encompassing a diverse array of topics. Additionally, he has played pivotal roles in shaping healthcare policies and strategies through his chairmanship and support of multiple national boards, committees, and organizations dedicated to advancing all facets of healthcare delivery and management.

Amr holds an Executive MBA from HEC Paris, and he sits on the EMBA candidates Selection Committee at HEC Paris Executive. Additionally, he lends his expertise to various Health-Tech startups through mentorship, contributing to national initiatives like TASMU SMART Accelerator, launched by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

Mikel Diez Parra

Mikel Diez Parra

Quantum Global Enablement Lead - IBM Research (Spain)

"Bringing useful quantum computing to the world, and making the world quantum safe"

Quantum computers have entered the era of utility and are now capable of executing quantum circuits better than classical computers. Moreover, ecosystems with quantum computing infrastructure have been building up, working together for talent, research, industrial development and economic growth.

On the other hand, the ever-increasing capacity of such quantum computers makes most of the world's existing encryption algorithms obsolete.

Mikel is a thinker by nature, that has led him to lead Tech Innovation programs for clients across different industries, always thinking first then solving, and always within the paradigm of “technology as THE disruptor”.

In his current position at IBM, Mikel performs the role of Head of Innovation for Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel markets, acting as a Business & Tech trusted advisor with focus in Artificial Intelligence. In addition, Mikel is an Enterprise Design Thinking Certified Coach and Quantum Ambassador.

Mikel holds a career for more than 27 years of experience in the IT services & vendors market, combining highly proficient in software technologies with business wisdom and interpersonal skills to positively contribute to organization’s bottom-line.

Mikel has published a joint publication of a book around Cognitive Customer eXperience and he is a regular speaker at events, lectures and programs about Artificial Intelligence.

Chee Kit LOOI

Chee Kit LOOI

The Education University of Hong Kong (China)

"Generative AI in Education: A Critical Examination of Personalized Learning with ChatGPT"

The integration of Generative AI, particularly through tools like ChatGPT, into educational settings has been heralded for its potential to revolutionize personalized learning (PL). This presentation delves into the promises and realities of employing chatbot technologies for PL. Through a design study examining graduate student interactions with a tutor bot during discussions on educational reforms, we critically assess the capabilities and limitations of current ChatGPT technologies in facilitating PL. Our investigation not only highlights how these tools are currently being used to support educational objectives but also identifies the gaps and opportunities for future developments. By providing a nuanced understanding of the relationship between Generative AI and personalized learning, this talk aims to enrich the ongoing discourse on leveraging technology to enhance educational outcomes.

Professor Looi Chee Kit is Research Chair Professor in the Education University of Hong Kong. He is Emeritus Professor at National Institute of Education (NIE) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

During his stint in Singapore, Professor Looi Chee-Kit was with the Learning Sciences and Assessment Academic Group in the National Institute of Education (NIE) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He was the Co-Director of the Center for Research and Development into Learning (CRDL) of NIE, NTU.

Professor Looi was the Founding Head of the Learning Sciences Lab (LSL) of NIE (2005-2008; 2015-1018), the first research center devoted to the study of the sciences of learning in the Asia-Pacific region. He also served as the Head of the Centre of Excellence for Learning Innovation (COELI) of NIE (2008 – 2012).

Professor Looi received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh, UK, and MSc from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He was a senior research scientist (1988-1997), an assistant director (1997-2000) in the Information Technology Institute of Singapore, a senior program director in the Institute of Systems Sciences of the National University of Singapore before joining the Learning Sciences & Technologies Academic Group of NIE, NTU in 2004. Prof Looi was working as an associate professor (2004-2010) and full professor (2010-present) in the Learning Sciences & Technologies Academic Group, NIE, NTU.

Professor Looi’s research focuses on learning sciences, computer-supported collaborative learning, mobile learning, AI & Education, and computational thinking. He has published more than 120 international journal papers, more than 50 books or book chapters, and 160 refereed international conference papers. In 2022, In Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus, the number of publications indexed mounts to 362, 134, and 223 respectively, with citation counts of 10201, 2361, and 3282. Professor Looi has given more than 85 keynotes, plenary, and invited talks at international conferences and institutions. He has served as the principal investigator (PI) for Co-PI for more than 20 research projects funded by the Ministry of Education and the National Research Fund of Singapore, the Workforce Development Applied Research Fund, the General Research Fund of Hong Kong, China, or Google. His research has translated into high impacts on educational practices. His work on rapid collaborative learning was cited in the 2010 US National Educational Technology Plan as a key example of technology-enabled innovation of significant practical impact. His mobile learning projects were featured in the US-based Sesame Workshop’s 2009 report on "Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning" which ended with a proposal to the Obama government to adopt a multi-sector action plan to transform mobile learning. His published research work over the years covers the life span of K-12 to higher education to adult learning and lifelong learning.

Professor Looi is a Fellow of the International Society of Learning Sciences, and a Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education. He is an academic committee member of the Education Informatization Strategy Research Base of the Ministry of Education of China, and a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the national doctoral program of UPGRADE Sweden. He was the founding member of the Global Chinese Society of Computers in Education, its advisory board member, and served as its President (2017-2019). He was a member of the Core Expert Group for developing the framework for assessing Collaborative Problem Solving in OECD PISA 2015, an expert with the New York Academy of Sciences, and a special consultant to the Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University.

Professor Looi is currently an associate editor for the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence & Education, the International Journal on Computer Science Education, an editorial member of the International Journal of Computers-Supported Collaborative Learning, the Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning, and the Journal of Smart Learning Environments, a review editor for Frontiers in Psychology and Frontiers in Education, the general editor of series entitled Routledge Advances in the Learning Sciences, an editorial board member of series entitled The Future of Learning by IOS Press, and an honorary advisor of the Journal of Computers in Education. He also served as an associate editor for the Journal of the Learning Sciences, an editorial board member of IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, and the managing editor of the International Journal on Information Technology.

Professor Looi chaired or co-chaired many international conference programs including but not limited to the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (2016), International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (2011, 2013), IEEE International Conference on Wireless, Mobile & Ubiquitous Technologies in Education (2012), IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (2004), International Conference on Computers in Education (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2008, 2009), International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Education (2005, 2011, 2013), and Global Chinese Conference on Computers in Education (2000, 2010, 2013, 2021).

In 2021, Professor Looi was listed in the annual list of the Top 2% of Career Scientists Worldwide, compiled by Stanford University and Elsevier, and identified as the second most influential author of mobile learning worldwide in a review study published in Telematics and Informatics. He was recognized as one of Singapore’s top computer scientists in the sixth edition of the Top 1000 Scientists in the Field of Computer Science and Electronics Worldwide by Guide2Research (2020), ranked among All-Time Top-100 Authors Worldwide in the Field of Educational Technology by Microsoft Academic Authors Analytics (2019), and listed in the Top-40 authors worldwide in journal publications on the area of Instructional Design and Technology between 2007 and 2017 by a study published in the British Journal on Educational Technology (2018). He has received more than 10 Best/Outstanding Paper awards at international conferences.

Over the years, Prof Looi has given keynote addresses at international conferences held in Chile, Spain, Sweden, Israel, United States of America, Finland, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, UAE, and Singapore.

Martin Saska

Martin Saska

Czech Technical University in Prague (Czech Republic)

"Real-world applications of cooperating aerial robots"

Agile and tightly cooperating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in demanding real-world environments with high density of obstacles (such as forest) will be discussed in this talk. Deployment of teams of flying robots without external localization such as GNSS and motion capture systems bring numerous challenges especially if the UAV perception must be done in high speeds and close to the terrain. I will present some insights into the research of fully autonomous aerial teams relying on onboard artificial intelligence. I will discuss the important research question of whether the UAV groups can adapt better to localization failure than a single robot and how cooperative aerial vehicles can achieve high agility in high obstacle density areas. In addition to the fundamental swarming research, I will be talking about real applications of multi-robot systems such as indoor documentation of large historical objects (cathedrals) by formations of cooperating UAVs, a cooperative inspection of underground mines inspired by the DARPA SubT competition, localization and interception of unauthorized drones, aerial firefighting, radiation sources localization, power line inspection, and marine teams of cooperating heterogeneous robots.

Martin Saska received his MSc. degree at Czech Technical University in Prague, 2005, and his Ph.D. degree at University of Wuerzburg, Germany, within the PhD program of Elite Network of Bavaria, 2009. Since 2009, he is a research fellow at Czech Technical University in Prague, where he founded and heads the Multi-robot Systems lab (http://mrs.felk.cvut.cz/) and co-founded Center for Robotics and Autonomous Systems with more than 70 researchers cooperating in robotics (https://robotics.fel.cvut.cz/cras/). He was a visiting scholar at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA in 2008, and at University of Pennsylvania, USA in 2012, 2014 and 2016, where he worked with Vijay Kumar’s group within GRASP lab. He is an author or co-author of >150 publications in peer-reviewed conferences with multiple best paper awards and more >80 publications in impacted journals, including IJRR, AURO, JFR, ASC, EJC, with >6700 citations indexed by Scholar and H-index 45. His team won multiple robotic challenges in MBZIRC 2017, MBZIRC 2020 and DARPA SubT competitions (http://mrs.felk.cvut.cz/projects/mbzirchttp://mrs.felk.cvut.cz/mbzirc2020http://mrs.felk.cvut.cz/projects/darpa).

Jeffrey Alan Tomalka

Jeffrey Alan Tomalka

Emory University (USA)

"Melding Bench with Bioinformatics: Using Integrative Systems Immunology to Understand Vaccine Induced Immunity"

From coordinating the earliest responses to providing life-long protection, the human immune system is the central mediator of the body’s response to infections, vaccinations, cancer, injuries, etc. Comprised of a network of cells and soluble factors, the immune system reaches every tissue in the body to maintain homeostasis and respond to perturbations to normal function. Dozens of cell types producing hundreds of soluble factors which can function in all tissues to coordinate cellular responses to diverse conditions is the optimal setting to leverage Omics to define the function and nature of the system. Using bioinformatic and computational biology merged with wet-lab Immunology, we aim to better understand how protective, or non-protective, immune responses are generated to natural infection and vaccination and how we can target these mechanistically to improve public health. Utilizing complementary Omics across evolutionary scale (NHP and humans), we have identified a conserved vaccine induced CREB1 signature which promotes multi-functional immune responses in SIV/HIV vaccines which is linked to efficacy i.e. reduced HIV acquisition and direct protection from SIV challenge. We show that CREB1 serves as a master transcriptional regulator of vaccine immunity, driving unique and cell-type specific responses in dendritic cells and CD4+ T cells which are critical for driving potent antibody and T cell responses. We then apply these signatures practically by identifying adjuvants or vaccine components which can activate these signatures to rationally design vaccines to combat some of the biggest public health threats. Combining the best of both worlds (wet and dry lab), a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the human immune system is now possible opening up endless possibilities for improving treatments and therapies to human diseases. 

Dr. Tomalka is an expert in Immunology, using his extensive molecular and cellular biology background combined with systems biology and bioinformatic approaches to dissect functions of the human immune system with a focus on clinical interventions. Merging the bench and bioinformatics, his research aims to comprehensively and granularly understand human immunity by identifying the mechanisms which regulate the earliest acute innate immune responses and defining how these are linked to the development of adaptive T and B cell responses. The immune system is a constantly evolving and highly integrated network of cells spanning all tissues in the body. Immune responses are regulated not only by the nature of the infection/vaccination but also a wide range of intrinsic and extrinsic factors including prior infection history, biological sex, geographical location, diet, microbiome, and genetics. This necessitates the use of computational approaches to understand the complexity and heterogeneity of human immune responses. His group uses multi-Omic integrative modeling of human and NHP clinical trials to identify protective immune signatures, as well as the critical intrinsic and extrinsic factors which regulate these responses, which are then validated using ex vivo and in vitro model systems. Focusing on the translation of findings to the clinic, novel therapeutic approaches are conceptualized and strategies developed to target the identified signatures, using pre-clinical animal models to test hypotheses and determine efficacy. With active research projects in infectious disease (HIV, Influenza, Tuberculosis, SARS-CoV-2) and vaccines (HIV, Influenza, SARS-CoV-2), as well as cancer, he applies a Systems Immunology platform to tackle major public health threats of the present and the future; and in doing so helps to illuminate the nature, complexity, and beauty of the human immune system.

Adriana Tomic

Adriana Tomic

Boston University (USA)

"PANDORA Unboxed: AI and the Secrets of Immune Defense"

The rise of infectious diseases creates urgent public health challenges, requiring fast vaccine development and a better understanding of our immune system. Traditional methods of studying immunity are thorough but often too slow to address immediate needs.

Introducing PANDORA, an AI-powered platform designed to quickly predict how our immune systems respond to new viruses and vaccines. PANDORA considers differences in people’s immune histories and existing immunity, using large-scale data analysis to decode complex immune reactions to viruses like influenza and SARS-CoV-2. This self-supervised learning approach helps PANDORA identify early signs that predict strong and lasting immune responses.
Unlike traditional methods that mainly focus on antibodies, PANDORA examines a wider range of immune responses, providing deeper insights into how our immunity works and how long it lasts against viruses. By acknowledging the diversity of the immune system and the influence of prior immunity, PANDORA finds universal signs of immune memory and protection that apply across different populations.

This AI platform speeds up data analysis and interpretation, significantly accelerating research and closing a critical gap in infectious disease research and public health strategy. PANDORA marks a major step forward in using AI for immunology, offering faster ways to understand immunity and discover potential treatment targets, with benefits reaching far beyond emerging diseases and vaccine development.

Dr. Tomic is an Assistant Professor of Virology, Immunology & Microbiology, and Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, leading a Systems Immunology group at National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) and co-founder of SIMON, an open-source knowledge discovery platform. Her research focuses on defining the immunological signature of protective immunity, developing novel approaches in human immunology, and accelerating vaccine development through the development of novel systems immunology approaches. Dr. Tomic received her Ph.D. in Infection Biology from Hannover Medical School, Germany, for which she was awarded a Hannover Medical School Award and completed her postdoctoral training at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Tomic has received multiple prestigious awards, including the Marie Curie Fellowship, and has been leading various projects, such as the NIAID-funded Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response, The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations grant, and the Medical Research Council HIC-Vac network grant. Dr. Tomic is also actively involved in science communication and outreach. She established an open-source community for the development of machine learning applications to biomedical data, leading an interdisciplinary team of data scientists, biostatisticians, machine learning experts, immunologists, and clinicians.

Nidal Nasser

Nidal Nasser

Alfaisal University (Saudi Arabia)

"Blockchain for IoT: Applications and Challenges"

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical devices and other objects embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data. It is expected that 25 billion objects will be connected to the Internet by 2025 through IoT-based solutions, which will generate a huge amount of data, around 4.4 trillion gigabytes, by 2025. The IoT-connected objects will interact with their delayed environments to sense, collect, and forward the measured data. It is very important to ensure IoT solutions are deployed in trusted distributed environments to provide features such as seamless authentication, data privacy, security, robustness against attacks, easy deployment, and self-maintenance. Blockchain is an emerging technology that will help to provide confidence in implementing the aforementioned characteristics for any IoT-based solution. In this talk, I will address the evolution of IoT in different fields, followed by real examples that present data growth. Then, I will present the connection between IoT & Blockchain and the necessary components to develop an efficient framework. Challenges and future directions will be presented and discussed.

Dr. Nidal Nasser, SMIEEE, received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees with Honors in Computer Engineering from Kuwait University, State of Kuwait, in 1996 and 1999, respectively. He completed his Ph.D. in the School of Computing at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in 2004. He is currently a Professor of Software Engineering in the College of Engineering at Alfaisal University, Saudi Arabia. He was the Dean of the College of Engineering-Alfaisal University, 2014-2017. He worked in the School of Computer Science at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada (2004-2011). Dr. Nasser was the founder and Director of the Wireless Networking and Mobile Computing Research Lab @ Guelph. He is currently the founder and Director of the Internet of Things Research Center @ Alfaisal University. He has authored 190 journal publications, refereed conference publications, and book chapters in the area of wireless communication networks and systems (Google Scholar profile). He has also given keynote speeches and tutorials at major international conferences. Dr. Nasser is currently serving as an associate editor of Wiley’s International Journal on Communication Systems. He has been a technical program member and serving in different positions at several international IEEE conferences and workshops. Dr. Nasser is a member of several IEEE Communication Society technical committees. He received Fund for Scholarly and Professional Development Award in 2004 from Queen’s University. He received the Computing Faculty Appreciation Award from the University of Guelph-Humber. He received the Best Research Paper Award at the ACS/IEEE International Conference on Computer Systems and Applications (AICCSA’08), at the International Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing Conference (IWCMC’09 and ’11), at the International Conference on Computing, Management and Telecommunications (ComManTel’13), and at the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC’14). He was the recipient of the Faculty Award for Research Excellence at Alfaisal University in 2014, 2018, 2022. In 2017 he received two awards from IBM: (1) IBM Mobile Application Developer Explorer Award and (2) IBM Big Data Developer Mastery Award. He received the IBM Data Scientist - Instructor Award for Educators in 2018. He also received the IBM Blockchain Developer Mastery Award in 2019 and the following awards in 2020: the IBM Big Data Engineer Mastery Award, the IBM IoT Cloud Developer Mastery Award, and the IBM Artificial Intelligence Analyst Mastery Award.