Delivery Of Nucleic Acid Therapeutics II: Biology, Engineering And Development

An ECI Conference Series

April 4 – 8, 2024
Grand Hotel Minareto
Siracusa, Sicily

Register Now

Final Program with Poster List (Mar 27, 2024)

Know Before You Go – Important Information for Participants

Your poster should be no larger than
1.5 meter high and 1.0 meter wide (Portrait Style)

About This Conference

Nucleic Acid Therapeutics (NATs), including ASOs, siRNAs, PMOs, mRNA, Gene Therapy and Genome Editing, can precisely regulate, and potentially correct, gene expression in disease. As such, they can enable the development of novel therapeutic options for disease targets previously considered un-druggable by conventional small molecule and biologics means. 

The NAT therapeutic revolution is upon us. While major advances and recent regulatory drug approvals have been made with liver, CNS and eye delivery, delivery outside of these tissues remains the bioengineering technological problem to solve. Even for the most advanced RNA conjugate clinical candidates less than 1% of the NAT cargo is escaping from the endosome. Likewise, using lipid nanoparticles, currently less than 5% of the NAT cargo is escaping from the endosome. It is widely recognized that there are significant gaps in our basic understanding of the mechanisms used by delivery vehicles for tropism, uptake and trafficking in vivo, endosomal escape and how-to best harness this knowledge to advance delivery for therapeutic use.

The ECI “Delivery of Nucleic Acid Therapeutics: Biology, Engineering and Development” conference will provide a forum for increasing our mechanistic understanding of the biological processes underpinning non-viral NAT delivery, including molecular and cellular biology, in vivo pharmacology and toxicology, rational optimization strategies, targeting, formulation, bioengineering and process development solutions for scale-up manufacturing, regulatory considerations and preclinical and clinical NAT programs. 

The conference will bring together biologists, chemists, pharmacologists, biophysicists, drug developers, nanotechnologists, process engineers from academia and industry developing delivery strategies for the antisense, RNA interference, mRNA, Gene Therapy and Genome Editing, ex vivo and in vivo.

The conference will take in a resort on the water overlooking historic Siracusa, Sicily.  To facilitate scientific interactions, the entire resort will be dedicated to the meeting.  The meeting is limited to 125 participants.

The major topics to be discussed are: 

• Nucleic acid chemical modifications and conjugates to enable and enhance delivery
• Liposomes and polymeric nanoparticle delivery vehicles 
• Targeting
• Mechanisms of cellular uptake
• Enhancing endosomal escape 
• Biophysical characterization methods 
• NAT delivery vehicle toxicology and ADME 
• Local and systemic NAT delivery case studies

The program will consist of >20 invited presentations and additional oral presentations will be chosen from submitted abstracts. There will also be poster presentations and awards.

Conference Attendees

Conference Organization

Conference Chairs

Steven F. Dowdy, Ph.D., Professor, UCSD School of Medicine, San Diego, CA, USA 

Laura Sepp-Lorenzino, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer, Intellia Therapeutics, Cambridge, MA, USA

Matt Stanton, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Generation Bio, Cambridge, MA, USA 

Keynote Addresses and Confirmed Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Mano Manoharan, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Distinguished Fellow, Innovation Chemistry, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA 

Pieter Cullis, Ph.D., Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Confirmed Speakers 

Virginia Arechavala-Gomeza, Ph.D., Biocruces Bizkaia Health Research University, Bilbao, Spain

Oxana Beskrovnaya, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Dyne Therapeutics, Boston, MA, USA

Paul Burke, Ph.D., Principal, Burke Bioventures LLC, Boston, MA, USA

Pad Chivukula, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Arcturus Therapeutics, San Diego, CA, USA

Masad Damha, Ph.D., McGill University, Toronto, Canada

Tony De Fourgerolles, Ph.D., CEO, Evox Therapeutics, Oxford, UK

Dirk Grimm, Ph.D., Professor, Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany

Gunter Hartmann, M.D., Ph.D., University of Bonn Hospital, Bonn, Germany

Guy Hermans, Ph.D., CEO, Supreme Technologies BV, Utrecht, Netherlands

Anastasia Khvorova, Ph.D., Professor, RNA Therapeutics Inst., Univ. Mass. Medical School, MA, USA

Jay Kulkarni, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, NanoVation Therapeutics, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Art Levin, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Avidity Biosciences, La Jolla, CA, USA

Sukumar Sakamuri, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Aro Biotherapeutics, Wayne, PA, USA

Guarav Sahay, Ph.D., Professor, Oregon State University, Portland, OR, USA

Punit Seth, Ph.D., Vice President, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA, USA

Dan Siegwart, Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA

Pete Smith, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, ReNAgade Therapeutics, Cambridge, MA, USA

Ernst Wagner, Ph.D., Chair, Center for Nanoscience, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany

Jesper Wengel, Ph.D., Professor, Nucleic Acid Center, Univ. Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark 

Anders Wittrup, M.D., Asst. Prof. Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Kristy Wood, Ph.D., Senior Director, Intellia Therapeutics, Cambridge, MA, US

Marino Zerial, Ph.D., Director and Professor, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany

Trainee Travel Award

Graduate student and postdoctoral fellows will be evaluated for a travel award subsidy based on their abstract submission. Please register and submit your abstract by the Feb 29th abstract deadline. Awardees will be notified prior to the start of the meeting and recipients will receive the subsidy as a bank transfer after the meeting.

Call for Abstracts

Abstracts (one page maximum) that include specific results and conclusions to allow a scientific assessment of the proposed oral presentation are invited.  Please prepare your abstract according to this template: docx or doc.

Abstracts must be submitted electronically using the template provided at THIS LINK.

Oral abstract submission deadline:               March 15, 2024      

Poster abstract submission deadline:           March 15, 2024

Abstracts of all presentations will be made available to conference participants prior to the start of the conference.

Note: Only a limited number of oral presentation slots are available and thus all submissions for oral sessions will be considered for both oral and poster presentation.

Venue and Transportation Information

Grand Hotel Minareto, Sicily

The conference will be held at the Grand Hotel Minareto near Siracusa in Sicily, Italy.

The resort’s 93 rooms and 4 suites are cottages scattered around the luxurious Mediterranean grounds, a splendid setting dominated by the sea and the sky which provides a serene setting for conferences. The hotel has ample meeting space for both technical and poster sessions. Rooms are air-conditioned and have televisions, mini-bars, safes and other amenities.

Grand Hotel Minareto Room


Siracusa, Sicily

Transporation Options from the Catania Airport to the Grand Hotel Minareto

Siracusa is in the southeast corner of Sicily, on Sicily’s east coast, about an hour south of Catania.  The closest airport to the Grand Hotel Minareto is Catania-Vincenzo Bellini Airport (CTA, It is 71 km from the hotel (about a one-hour drive). 

You have several choices of transportation: Individual transfer, group transfer, train (and taxi), bus (and taxi), and rental car.

Nadia Davi ( of Liberty Incentives and Congresses, Italy is the contact person for those wanting to book transportation from the Catania Airport to the Gran Hotel Minareto.  Do not contact her for train, bus or rental cars.

Individual and Group Transfers

You can choose an individual transfer or a group transfer.  The group transfer will be organized by the expected time of arrival at Catania Airport within the range of one hour.  For example, if two people are arriving at 11:30 am and 6 people are arriving at 12:00 pm, then the transfer would be 8 people.  The rate of a “group” transfer is €45 per person for arrival hours between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm. For arrivals between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am there is a night supplement of €13.5 per person.

An individual transfer (for one – three persons) in a private vehicle with driver is €90.  The night supplement is €27

Other requests will be quoted individually by Ms. Davi.

By Train 

From Catania Station (Taxis can transport you from the airport to the train station), take a train to Syracuse (Siracusa). There are hourly trains from the train station in Catania to the train station in Siracusa.  The train ride is approximately 85 minutes. Taxis can be hired at the Siracusa station for transfer to the hotel (about a 10-minuted drive). For schedules and fares visit 

Siracusa’s train station is on Via G. Rubino (where Corso Umberto I and Via Ermocrate come together) in the “New City” mainland.  It is just south of the archaeological zone and about a dozen blocks west of the bridges to Ortigia (the “old town” on an island).

By Bus

Interbus ( runs buses to Sircusa regularly during the week from Catania to Siracusa and less frequently on Sundays.  Please visit their website for details. This is the most economical way, although you will need to add a taxi at each end of your journey.

By rental car from Catania Fontanarossa Airport 

(About 55 minutes) Get on E45 from SP701.  Follow E45 and the Catania-Siracusa highway (SS114) and take the “Siracusa Sud” exit from SS114 onto Via per Floridia/SS124 in Siracusa.  

Continue on Floridia/SS124 until the next roundabout where you take the 2nd right onto Via Antonio Ascari.  At the next roundabout (Largo Primo Levi), take the second exit onto Viale Pantanelli (essentially following the main road).  

At the roundabout at the Viale Paolo Orsi, turn to the right, Via Columba, (where there is a median strip of palms, and on the left you will see a McDonalds) and go straight until the crossroads where you make a right onto Via Elorina (on the left you will see a Bingo) which is now SS115.  

Pass the Agip and QB petrol stations on your right and after about 500 meters pass the QB, you will come to a roundabout where you will take the second exit onto Via Lido Sacramento. 

At the next roundabout, take the first exit and stay on Via Lido Sacramento. 

Continue straight onto Via La Maddalena which turns right and becomes Via del Faro Massollivieri.  You will see a sign for the Minareto and Nesos. 

Go straight on the coastal road and the hotel will be on the right.

Google directions from Catania Fontanarossa Aiport to Grand Hotel Minareto 

Conference Excursion

Conference Excursion to the Archeological Park in Syracuse (Siracusa) and walking tour of Ortegia on Sunday, April 7, 2024. The cost is US $70.00.

Siracusa, Italy
Siracusa, Italy
Siracusa, Italy

Siracusa (Syracuse) is notable for its rich Greek and Roman history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace and home of the pre-eminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes.  The Greek theatre in the Archeological Park, one of the most celebrated of all the ruins of Syracuse. With its 138 metre in diameter, it is the largest Greek theatre in Sicily and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ortigia is the historical center of the city of Syracuse and easily walkable.  We will have a guided tour of Ortegia with a visit to the Cathedral plus a bit of time for individual exploration before returning to the hotel for the gala dinner.  There are many quaint shops and restaurants surrounded by sea.

The Greek theatre in the Archeological Park, one of the most celebrated of all the ruins of Syracuse. At 138 meters in diameter, it is the largest Greek theatre in Sicily.

The Roman amphitheatre in Syracuse (140m by 119m). It was used for gladiator fights. The rectangular depression was probably for the machinery used in the spectacles.

Conference Fees and Registration

Conference Fees

All standard rooms and suites/villas are sold out. ECI is now only offering registration without accommodation. You will need to book your own accommodation separately.

The conference fee includes the following: conference registration, three lunches, four dinners, and coffee breaks and snacks.  The optional excursion on Sunday (*additional cost) will visit the Roman ruins follow by a guided tour of the town of Siracusa with a visit to the Cathedral.  More information is available HERE.


The conference fees are:

Register on or before 
March 1, 2024
Register after 
March 1, 2024
Participant Registration without accommodationUS $1,960.00US $2,160.00
Bona fide Graduate Student Registration without accommodation. The student rate applies to individuals who have not yet obtained their doctoral degree.  (Those in this category must upload proof of current status during registration – copy of current Student ID or a letter from your University confirming your student status.)US $1,455.00US $1,655.00

If you plan to bring children to the conference, please contact Kathy Chan for pricing.

Conference Registration

Register Now

You will need a login name and password to register for ECI conferences through our online system. If you have been a recent participant at an ECI conference or have submitted an online application or request for information about an ECI Conference, you may already have an account with us. If you know your login information, please use it.

If you are not sure whether you already have a login and password, please click on automated password retrieval and enter your e-mail address before creating a new account. If we don’t have a valid email address on file for you, a pop-up window will appear stating that no records were found. Click “OK” and then follow the instructions to create a new account. If you have any questions or experience any difficulties, please email Kathy Chan.

Special Notes and Payment Instructions

We suggest that you register as soon as possible to be certain that you will have a hotel room at the conference rate.  

All participants are encouraged to register before March 1, 2024.  There is a discounted price for registering before this date.  Hotel space cannot be guaranteed for registrations received after March 1, 2024.  Your registration is not officially confirmed until we receive payment of the amount due.  ECI reserves the right to cancel your room registration if payment is not received. Your invoice/receipt will automatically be e-mailed upon of receipt of your registration.  Should you need a signed receipt or a certificate of attendance (sent after the conclusion of the conference), please contact Kathy Chan.

Because of contractual guarantees made with the hotel for room and meal functions, no shows, late arrivals, missed meals and early departures cannot receive fee adjustments.  If you have a disability and may require accommodation in order to participate fully in this conference, please indicate this when you register. An ECI representative will contact you to discuss your specific needs. If you have special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian or a food allergy), please make a note on your registration.  The chef needs to know this information in advance if we are to accommodate you. ECI will attempt to accommodate special requests such as Kosher or Halal meals, but such meals may not be available at all conference sites. The participant must pay any additional costs for special meal requests that ECI pays a surcharge for.

Payment must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and Amex), check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars, payable to ENGINEERING CONFERENCES INTERNATIONAL. Checks or money orders in any other currencies are NOT ACCEPTABLE.  Payment must be made on the web site except for those who are sending payment by wire transfer or have a purchase order from their company/institution.

WIRE TRANSFER PAYMENT: If you are planning to make payment by wire transfer, please contact Kathy Chan for the bank information. You must add $30 to cover ECI bank charges. Please reference your full name and the conference title.  Please email a scanned copy to Kathy Chan.  This is very important – otherwise it is extremely difficult to trace your payment and you may not receive a receipt prior to the conference.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation must be received by ECI in writing at least 28 days prior to the start of the conference in order for a full refund (less a processing fee) to be considered. The ECI auditors require that refunds for all conference cancellations be processed after the conference so that the necessary back-up information (e.g., hotel list of those in-house) can be attached to the refund request and ECI can verify that the hotel has not charged a cancellation fee.

Cancellation fees:

  • Cancellations received more than 28 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a processing fee of 4% of the total fee, plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • Cancellations received 15 – 28 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a $250 cancellation fee plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • Cancellations received 8 – 14 days prior to the conference start date are subject to a $500 cancellation fee plus any direct expenses incurred by ECI.
  • No refunds will be issued for cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the conference start date.
  • No refunds will be issued due to inclement weather or travel disruptions/cancellations.

Registrations may be transferred without incurring any penalty or cancellation fee.

Denied or delayed visa

If a participant is forced to cancel due to a denied or delayed entry visa, ECI will issue a full refund if ECI has been notified of a potential visa issue at least four weeks prior to the conference start date.

Change of payment method

If an attendee who has already paid the conference fee with a credit card requests that the fee be refunded to that card so that it can be paid in a different manner (e.g., charged to an alternate credit card, or paid via check or bank transfer), a processing fee of 4% of the total fee amount will apply.


It may be necessary for reasons beyond the control of ECI to alter the content and timing of the program or the identity of the speakers. In the unfortunate circumstance that an event is cancelled, ECI is not liable for any costs incurred by participants in connection with their attendance.

Smoking is prohibited at ECI conferences and conference functions. 

Should you have specific questions regarding your registration, please contact Kathy Chan. The Engineering Conferences International conferences calendar and other information can be found on the ECI web site:

Pre and Post Conference Reservation Form

If you are arriving early or staying after the conference and wish to extend your stay in the conference hotel, please download and complete the Pre/Post Conference Reservation form posted below and send it directly to the conference hotel. ECI does not guarantee or pay for rooms reserved before or after the conference – you must reserve extra nights directly with the hotel and you are responsible for paying the hotel directly for any extra nights.

Pre and Post Conference Reservation Form


General Information about ECI

Engineering Conferences International (ECI) is a not-for-profit, global engineering conferences program, originally established in 1962 that provides opportunities for the exploration of problems and issues of concern to engineers and scientists from many disciplines.

The format of the conference provides morning and late afternoon or evening sessions in which major presentations are made. Poster sessions will be scheduled for evening discussion as well. Available time is included during the afternoons for ad hoc meetings, informal discussions, and/or recreation. This format is designed to enhance rapport among participants and promote dialogue on the development of the meeting. We believe the conferences have been instrumental in generating ideas and disseminating information to a greater extent than is possible through more conventional forums.

All participants are expected both to attend the entire conference and to contribute actively to the discussions. The recording/photographing of lectures and presentations is forbidden. As ECI conferences take place in an informal atmosphere, casual clothing is the usual attire.

Smoking is prohibited at ECI conferences and conference functions.

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