APRIL 21-23, 2020

BOSTON, MA USA

Conference Agenda

 

DAY ONE - Tuesday, April 21, 2020

7:15 am Registration/Continental Breakfast

7:50 am Chair’s Opening Remarks
Mollie Roth, J.D., Executive Director, The Microbiome Coalition

8:00 am Designing Living Diagnostics and Therapeutics for the Microbiome
We can engineer the microbiome to report on the health of the gut microbiome and report on the presence of pathological states such as inflammation. These sensor bacteria can also be engineered to deliver therapeutics on demand. We also use targeted bacteriophage to shape and program the gut microbiome. In doing so, we have developed novel targeted therapeutic strategies.
Pamela Silver, Ph.D., Elliot T. and Onie H. Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School

8:30 am Targeted Delivery and Controlled Release of Bacteriophages and Bacteriocins
This talk will present scalable approaches available for micro- and nano- encapsulation of bacteriophages and bacteriocins. In vitro and in vivo results from studies in mice and poultry will be presented showing the benefits of targeted delivery and controlled release of biotherapeutics to improve bioavailability and overcome environmental stresses including gastric acidity and enzymatic degradation.
Danish Malik, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Chemical Engineering Department, Loughborough University

9:00 am Use of Phage Cocktail in Chronic Disease Indications (non-CME presentation)
In this presentation, Mr. Oron will discuss the following:
♦ A clinical trial for evaluating BX001 for acne prone skin
♦ BX002 targeting a novel proinflammatory target in inflammatory bowel disease
Assaf Oron, Chief Business Officer, BiomX

9:30 am Challenges in Commercially Developing Phage Therapies to Target Drug-Resistant Bacteria
Increasing prevalence and severity of multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections requires novel antibacterial strategies. One possibility is a renewed approach to ‘phage therapy’. This presentation concerns the discovery of phages (bacteria-specific viruses) that associate with virulence factors of target bacterial pathogens. Dr. Turner will present empirical support for this hypothesis, and will showcase results of FDA approved emergency treatment in humans, harnessing various phages that drive evolutionary trade-offs in bacterial pathogens.
Paul Turner, Ph.D., Rachel Carson Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Yale University

10:00 am Refreshment Break/Poster and Exhibit Viewing

10:30 am Challenges in the Use of Phage as Treatment Options as well as Elucidating Their Role in Disease
Bacteriophages, viruses specific to bacteria, regulate trillions of bacteria found in the human gut which constitute the microbiome in a complex dance that involves a molecular signaling that is only just beginning to be revealed. EpitopeRX is working to build a platform for the use of the knowledge of bacteriophage for a range of constructs - from unique vaccines to funding research into phage-bacterial etiology of several chronic diseases.
Jonathan Merrill, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Epitope Rx

11:00 Viral Metagenomics: Identifying the Needles in the Haystack and Unlocking Opportunities for Discovery
Applications of phage therapy and recent publications highlighting the discovery potential inherent in the human virome and have focused new attention on the field of viral metagenomics. From identifying risk factors and discovering potential biomarkers to creating novel and highly targeted therapies, viruses represent a largely untapped resource for discovery, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Novel sample collection strategies, sequencing approaches, and analytical tools will help to drive discovery in this space.
Emily Hollister, VP Information Technologies and Analytics, Diversigen

11:30 Panel Discussion: Hurdles and Challenges in Developing Phage Therapies
Moderator: Mollie Roth, J.D., Executive Director, The Microbiome Coalition
Panelists:
Danish Malik, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Chemical Engineering Department, Loughborough University
Paul Turner, Ph.D., Rachel Carson Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Yale University
Assaf Oron, Chief Business Officer, BiomX
Emily Hollister, VP Information Technologies and Analytics, Diversigen

12:15 pm Luncheon

1:15 pm A Microbiome Platform for the Development of Personalized Nutrition and Therapeutics (non-CME presentation)
Over the past decade DuPont Nutrition and Biosciences has built the expertise and technology to modulate the microbiome through leadership in probiotic and prebiotic development, enzyme engineering, clinical studies, and product commercialization. DuPont’s core competencies in microbiome science will be introduced along with key initiatives positioning DuPont as a strong partner and innovator in the field of microbes for nutrition, health, and wellness.
Charles R. Budinoff, Ph.D., Strain Discovery and Microbiome Science Leader, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences

1:45 pm Gut Microbiome Perturbation is Associated with Vaccine Hypo-Responsiveness (non-CME presentation)
Emerging evidence suggests that antibiotics have direct and indirect effects on mucosal and systemic immunity. However, the microbiome-mediated effects of antibiotic use on vaccine responses are not fully characterized. Using translational pre-clinical models including germ-free and antibiotic treated mice, we show that microbiome perturbation leads to reduced vaccine outcome. Current mechanistic studies are aimed at investigating microbial and immune pathways that are differentially modulated in germ-free & antibiotic treated mice. An increasingly detailed understanding of host and microbiome-derived factors that are critical for optimal outcome of vaccines will significantly influence the future design of vaccines & immunotherapies.
Gokul Swaminathan, Ph.D., Associate Principal Scientist, Merck Exploratory Science Center

2:15 pm Harnessing the Power of Metabolomics for Microbiome Analysis(non-CME presentation)
Metabolon, Inc., the global leader in metabolomics, has developed an unbiased global approach to profiling the entire innate human metabolome and a vast number of xenobiotics. Unlike other ‘omics technologies, metabolomics provides a biochemical signature that takes into account not only genetics, but also the effects of lifestyle, diet and the environment on an individual’s health. Perturbations in the microbiome have been identified as driving factors in several diseases. Microbes interact with their host through biochemical messaging, placing metabolomic profiling at the center for helping elucidate the role of the microbiome in human health. Recent advances in this area will be discussed.
Priya Ramamoorthy, Ph.D., Senior Study Director, Discovery and Translational Sciences, Metabolon

2:45 Panel Discussion: Looking into a Crystal Ball: What Does the Future of Microbiome Therapeutics Hold for Us in the Next 5 years?
We all expect the excitement of microbiome therapeutics to continue for decades to come. In this panel, we will hear from experts paving the way from the investment and big pharma sectors. The panel will explore:
♦ Key lessons learned from the past 5 years in microbiome R&D translating to the clinic
♦ Predictions of what successful microbiome therapeutics will look like in the next 5 years
♦ Research, regulatory, reimbursement and business challenges that need to be overcome and opinions on the way forward
Moderator: Manoj Dadlani, Chief Executive Officer, Cosmos ID
Panelists:
Denise Kelly, Ph.D., Investment Advisor, Seventure Partners
Dirk Gevers, Ph.D., Global Head, Microbiome Solutions, World Without Disease Accelerator, Janssen Human Microbiome Institute
Arpita Maiti, Ph.D., Executive Director & Global Head, Emerging Science & Innovation Lead – Inflammation & Immunology, Pfizer

3:30 pm Refreshment Break/Poster and Exhibit Viewing

4:00 pm Optimized Microbiome Workflow: Towards Microbiome-Based Diagnostics & Therapeutics Solutions (non-CME presentation)
The human gut microbiome has been described as the most complex ecosystem on earth. As microbiome research evolves, more and more health conditions are being linked to an unbalanced microbial composition. As microbiome research gradually moved from association to causation, the complexity increases as we move from genome to transcriptome, proteome, metabolome and beyond. Because the methods and tools to make measurements of the microbiome vary widely, results produced by different laboratories are often not comparable. Standards and validated protocols are crucial for gaining a full picture of the microbiome’s basic features, as well as translating it into therapeutic strategies.
Michal Daniely, Ph.D., Research and Development Director, MilliporeSigma

4:30 pm Ultra-high Resolution Microbiomics and Derived Functional Insights as a Tool to Maximize the Outcome in Clinical Studies (non-CME presentation)
Henrik Bjorn Nielsen, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Clinical Microbiomics

5:00 pm BARDA DRIVe: Partnering with the USG on Health Security Innovations (non-CME presentation)
BARDA provides a comprehensive integrated portfolio approach to the advanced R&D and acquisition of medical countermeasures (vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics) against public health emergencies that involve CBRN threats, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases. Ms. Boston’s most recent work with BARDA’s Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe) aims to revolutionize the current state of health security products and technologies by supporting promising, early-stage innovations with a venture-capital approach and commercial best practices.
Donna Boston, Program Manager, Division of Research, Innovation & Ventures (DRIVe), Biomedical Advanced R&D Authority (BARDA), Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response (ASPR), US Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS)

5:15 End of Day's Proceedings



DAY TWO – Wednesday, April 22, 2020

7:15 am Continental Breakfast

7:50 am Chair’s Opening Remarks
Mollie Roth, J.D., Executive Director, The Microbiome Coalition

8:00 am Funding Startups in Women's Healthcare
In spite of the billions of dollars in funding across the microbiome space, there is a traditional underwhelming response by investors in women's health opportunities. This presentation will discuss the perceived causes for this disparity, the sectors typically affected, and the recent promising increase in interest in the "femtech" space in terms of renewed funding. Given the latest predictions of reaching $50B in investment by 2025 we’ll discuss how our company managed to fund our development and what pitfalls and successes we encountered in the process.
Rachel Teitelbaum, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Hervana

8:30 am The Use of Wild Mouse Models to Further Microbiome Research
Laboratory mice are paramount for understanding basic biological phenomena but also have limitations in preclinical studies. Based on the concept that natural microbiota co-evolved with their respective hosts under evolutionary pressure of common environmental immune stimuli, Dr. Rehermann will describe and discuss new mouse models that combine the natural microbiota of wild mice with the tractable genetics of laboratory mice. Wild mouse microbiota are stable over multiple generations in the laboratory mouse colonies, promote host fitness and disease resistance and increase the translatability of immunological results from preclinical studies to humans.
Barbara Rehermann, MD, Section Chief, Immunology Section, Liver Diseases Branch, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health

9:00 am Microbiome Therapeutics at Takeda: Leveraging External Partnerships to Explore Multiple Modalities and Hypothesis-Driven Approaches (non-CME presentation)
Henry Haiser, Ph.D., Associate Scientific Director, GI Drug Discovery, Microbiome Sciences, Takeda

9:30 am Targeting the Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis by ImmuneBiotics, a New Therapeutic Avenue for Management of Autoimmunity (non-CME presentation)
This presentation will navigate through the translational, clinical, and manufacturing challenges of microbiome-based therapeutics. Dr. Lavasani will cover the following:
♦ Microbiota dysbiosis and intestinal barrier dysfunction in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and multiple sclerosis
♦ Brain-gut-microbiome axis; potential therapeutic targets and probiotic treatments
♦ Designing multi-targeted therapeutic microbial consortium; translational success for GutMagnificTM in management of IBS
♦ ImmuneBioticsTM, new generation of probiotic products designed to boost the immunotherapy treatments
Shahram Lavasani, Ph.D., Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Scientific Officer, Immune Biotech

10:00 am Refreshment Break/Poster and Exhibit Viewing

10:30 am Standards for Microbiome and Metagenomics
In spite of the huge potential impact of microbiome science, current measurement capabilities are insufficient, particularly for translating discoveries and correlations observed in the lab into commercially viable products and services that improve our quality of life. Data are difficult to compare between experimenters, laboratories, or institutions. Emerging capabilities (e.g., next generation sequencing, metabolomics) are new and not fully characterized for microbiome investigations. Reference samples (i.e., for calibration or quality control) that mimic the complexity of naturally occurring communities are not available. Bioinformatic analysis packages and reference databases remain incomplete.
Scott Jackson, Ph.D., Group Leader, Complex Microbial Systems, NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology)

11:00 Panel Session: Challenges and Solutions in the Development and Application of Microbiome Standards
While research on the microbiome has provided valuable insights into how microbial communities shape human health and disease, there are still many outstanding questions left to be answered. Join us for a collaborative discussion on the hurdles that microbiome researchers face during each stage of the workflow, challenges and solutions in the development and application of microbiome standards, and current gaps and future trends in microbiome research.
Moderator: Briana Benton, Technical Manager, American Type Culture Collection (ATCC)
Panelists:
Nick Greenfield, Founder and CEO, One Codex
Sam Minot, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Microbiome Research Initiative, Vaccine & Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Gokul Swaminathan, Ph.D., Associate Prinicipal Scientist, Merck Exploratory Science Center
Scott Jackson, Ph.D., Group Leader, Complex Microbial Systems, NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology)

11:45 ACS Extramural Research: Portfolio, Programs and Funding Opportunities
Lynne Elmore, Ph.D., Director, Translational Cancer Research Program, American Cancer Society

12:00 pm Luncheon

1:00 pm Gut Microbiome and Intestinal Permeability as the Novel Criteria for Toxicological Risk Assessment
Exposure to ingested xenobiotics including drugs, as well as, chemical additives/contaminants on edible items could lead to dysbiosis in the gastrointestinal tract. A comprehensive understanding of the toxicologic effects of such exposure on the intestinal microbiome is crucial when evaluating the safety of these products since they play an important role in maintaining health. In this presentation, Dr. Khare will discuss the challenges and opportunities to establish gut microbiota, intestinal permeability - xenobiotic interactions as novel criteria to include in toxicological risk assessments.
Sangeeta Khare, Ph.D., Research Microbiologist, Division of Microbiology, National Center for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration

1:30 pm Development, Validation, and Unique Applications of Species-specific Microbiome Assay & Database that Together Provide True Pan-Domain Molecular Diagnostics
Garth Ehrlich, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, Professor of Otolayngology - Head & Neck Surgery, Drexel University College of Medicine

2:00 pm Data Driven Design of Microbiome-Based Therapeutics and Diagnostics Using Gene-Level Metagenomics
The human microbiome contains an incredibly diverse collection of microbes which can have a large impact on host health and disease. Surveys of the microbiome have identified broad associations with disease, but have yet to robustly identify individual strains with probiotic potential. Dr. Minot will discuss innovations in gene-level metagenomic analysis which may enable an entirely new approach to the design of microbiome-based therapeutics and diagnostics.
Sam Minot, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Microbiome Research Initiative, Vaccine & Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

2:30 pm A Survivor’s Perspective: The Bigger Picture of the Patient Journey
Too often, manufacturers of therapeutics forget that the patient is more than simply someone taking a pill, but a person on an often long and arduous journey; a journey in which a therapeutics manufacturer can and often should become more than simply a supplier, but a trusted partner. In this presentation, Nancy C. Caralla, Founder of the C Diff Foundation and three-time C. difficile infection survivor, will share first-hand knowledge of one patient's journey that will bring needed perspective to the audience and new insights that should be front of mind for anyone developing new microbiome therapies.
Nancy Caralla, Founding President, Executive Director, C Diff Foundation

3:00 pm Metagenomics as a Vital Tool for the Development of Diagnostics for Emerging Infectious Diseases
Urethritis is a common male genitourinary tract syndrome, up to 50% of cases are of unknown etiology and diagnosed with idiopathic urethritis (IU). Dr. Toh's team used parallel shotgun metagenomic and 16S sequencing approaches to compare the urethral microbiomes of large cohorts of healthy men, men with IU, and of men with urethritis of known etiologies. Their results indicate novel pathogens and atypical presentations of known pathogens contribute to IU, demonstrate the power of metagenomics for defining etiology in urogenital tract syndromes of unknown origin, and demonstrate how metagenomics data-sets can be rapidly harnessed to develop diagnostics for emerging infectious diseases.
Evelyn Toh, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine

3:30 pm Refreshment Break/Poster and Exhibit Viewing

4:00 pm Considerations for Gut-Based Brain Research
Much research in neuroscience has neglected the rest of the body, until recently, when the “gut-brain axis” has come to light. From the perspective of a neuroscientist, this talk will cover considerations in clinical trials and basic science research to incorporate questions about the gut to more holistically assess neurological disease. Lessons learned from our research on Alzheimer's disease will serve as a concrete reference.
Amy Feehan, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Ochsner Health System

4:30 Gut Microbiota Induces Anti-Tumor Immunity Restricting Tumor Growth – The RNF5-UPR-Inulin Journey
This presentation will highlight studies in which we have demonstrated the importance of the ubiquitin ligase RNF5 in the control of gut microbiota composition with a concomitant effect on anti-tumor immunity and tumor growth inhibition. The role of Unfolded Protein Response in RNF5-mediated changes in gut microbiota and ant-tumor immunity will be discussed, and finally, the identification of prebiotics that are capable of inducing anti-tumor immunity and restrict tumor growth.
Ze'ev Ronai, Ph.D., Professor, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

5:00 pm Gut Microbiota Mediates the Vascular Beneficial Effects of Dietary Anthocyanins
Clinical studies support the cardiovascular benefits of berry anthocyanins. This presentation will focus on how dietary blueberry anthocyanins shift the composition and functional potential of the gut microbiome and improve vascular health in preclinical models. This presentation will also discuss the role of the gut microbiome and anthocyanin-derived microbial metabolites in mediating the vascular effects of blueberries.
Anandh Babu Pon Velayutham, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Nutrition & Integrative Physiology, University of Utah

5:30 pm End of Day's Proceedings



DAY THREE – Thursday, April 23, 2020

7:00 Continental Breakfast

7:45 am Microbiome Funding Opportunities with the ISS
Rachel Clemens, Ph.D., Commercial Innovation Manager, Life Science Lead, ISS US National Lab, Center for Advancement in Science in Space

8:00 am Long-Term Benefit of Microbiota Transfer Therapy on Autism Symptoms and Gut Microbiome
Over the last couple of decades, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have become substantially prevalent, but the etiology of these complex neurobiological disorders remain poorly understood. Accumulating evidence revealed that children with ASD have disrupted gut microbiome, which suggests that modifying it is a potential route to improve ASD behavioral symptoms. Thus, we designed and performed an open-label trial of Microbiota Transfer Therapy (MTT) that combined antibiotics and fecal microbiota transplant. Notably, children with ASD experienced significant improvements in GI symptoms and autism-related symptoms, even two years after treatment was completed. Their gut microbiome was transformed toward a healthy one, including significant increases in bacterial diversity and relative abundances of Bifidobacteria and Prevotella. Our observations support MTT as a promising safe and efficient approach to change the gut microbiome and improve GI and behavioral symptoms of ASD.
Dae-Wook Kang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Toledo

8:30 am Reverse Translation in the Microbiome: Leveraging Clinical Data to Identify Microbes Driving Patient Outcomes (non-CME presentation)
Data from whole-community microbial transfers in patients can provide proof-of-concept to retire risk early in the development of novel microbial therapies. Leveraging data from thousands of patients, Finch has developed a Human First Discovery platform to rapidly translate clinical data into new products in diverse therapeutic areas ranging from ulcerative colitis to autism spectrum disorder.
Sonia Timberlake, Ph.D., Vice President of Research, Finch Therapeutics

9:00 am A Translational Approach to Exploiting the Gut-Brain Axis in Autism Spectrum Disorder (non-CME presentation)
This talk will present the approach Axial Biotherapeutics is taking to develop novel treatments for problematic symptoms that occur in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Axial is evaluating AB-2004 in a clinical setting based on a clear mechanism of action hypothesis supported by translationally relevant preclinical data.
A. Stewart Campbell, Ph.D., Vice President, Early Stage Development, Axial Biotherapeutics

9:30 am Bacteriome and Mycobiome Interactions: A Model for Promoting Human Health and Combating Disease
It is now well established that the bacterial and fungal communities residing in and on our body play a significant role in our health and disease status. The next step is how we can modulate these communities to maintain balance leading to better wellness. In this presentation Dr. Ghannoum will use his team’s discoveries in Crohn’s disease (CD) patients as a model of how to achieve this goal.
Mahmoud Ghannoum, Ph.D., EMBA, Professor, Department of Dermatology, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

10:00 am Refreshment Break/Poster and Exhibit Viewing

10:30 am Lupus and Dysbiosis in the Gut Microbiome: Cause or Effect or Both?
Throughout our lives we are immersed in, and colonized by, immense and complex microbial communities. Yet, at times imbalances within microbiota contribute to metabolic and immune regulatory abnormalities that underlie the development of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Recent progress in investigations of the microbiome are beginning to illuminate aspects of the pathogenesis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and may suggest that interconnections with specific disease-associated patterns of dysbiosis within gut communities could be bidirectional and mutually reinforcing.
Gregg Silverman, MD, Professor of Medicine & Pathology, New York University School of Medicine

11:00 am Science to Market: From a Bacterial Strain to a Skincare Product (non-CME presentation)
Interactions between the immune system and the gut microbiome have a pivotal role on the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. A growing body of knowledge shows that microbiome diversity, with enrichment of specific microbial species, is the strongest predictor of checkpoint inhibitor response. However, the link between specific enteric populations and the immune response within the tumor microenvironment is poorly understood. We are performing comprehensive and integrated analysis of the microbiome populations, immune system modulation and changes on inflammatory markers and metabolic profiles and its relationship with tumor growth and ICI efficacy. In addition, we are expanding this approach to understand the relevance of the microbiome/immune system interaction in other relevant therapeutic areas like liver diseases or diabetes.
Cécile Clavaud, Ph.D., Project Leader in Skin Microbiome, L'Oreal Advanced Research, L'Oreal

11:30 am Panel Session to be Announced

12:15 pm Luncheon

1:15 pm A New Era in Microbiome Research: The Prospector Array Based Microbial Cultivation and Screening Platform (non-CME presentation)
Deep insights into microbiome structure and function are the foundation for microbial applications in human health, agriculture, environment, and industry. Antiquated, labor intensive methodologies currently used to cultivate microbes are a significant barrier to access microbes from microbiome samples for research and product development. The Prospector platform with its highly dense array of > 6000 nanoscale cultivation chambers integrated with an instrument that automates the cultivation workflow can enable researchers to isolate 1000s of microbes in parallel for microbiome analysis at an unprecedented scale.
Peter Christey, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder, General Automation Technology Labs (GALT)

1:45 pm Act Locally, Think Globally: Understanding Microbiome-Related Modulation of Systemic Immune Responses (non-CME presentation)
Interactions between the immune system and the gut microbiome have a pivotal role on the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. A growing body of knowledge shows that microbiome diversity, with enrichment of specific microbial species, is the strongest predictor of checkpoint inhibitor response. However, the link between specific enteric populations and the immune response within the tumor microenvironment is poorly understood. We are performing comprehensive and integrated analysis of the microbiome populations, immune system modulation and changes on inflammatory markers and metabolic profiles and its relationship with tumor growth and ICI efficacy. In addition, we are expanding this approach to understand the relevance of the microbiome/immune system interaction in other relevant therapeutic areas like liver diseases or diabetes.
Sara Ferrando Martinez, Ph.D., Research Scientist, AstraZeneca

2:15 pm Immunotherapeutic Approaches to Selective Modification of Microbiome Structure and Function (non-CME presentation)
This presentation will highlight the ways that conventional antibody science has advanced conventional organ/system research and then outline ways in which we can now intervene quite specifically in dysbiosis-driven pathogenesis. Several examples of emerging discrete pathways that are enlightening us will be presented on colorectal cancer pathogenesis and undesirable drug metabolism of levodopa, and use these as examples of direct application of our IgY (avian antibody) technology.
Julius Goepp, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Scaled Microbiomics

2:45 pm Refreshment Break/Poster and Exhibit Viewing

3:15 pm Progress Towards Standardizing Metagenomics: Application of Metagenomic Reference Materials to Develop a Reproducible Microbial Lysis Methodology with Minimum Bias
The rapid growth of metagenomics research has contributed to a lack of reproducibility between different methods and laboratories, which risks limiting our ability to compare between studies and decreases confidence in previous conclusions. To address the diversity of methods available, Dr. Weinstein and his team have sought to compare the performance of many commercially- and academically-sourced lysis protocols. The methods were evaluated using mock microbial community standards with defined composition and known manufacturing tolerances to serve as a ground truth for the measurement. In order to facilitate comparisons, they developed the Measurement Integrity Quotient (MIQ), providing a single, easy to understand numerical score that describes the accuracy of an observed composition relative to a known composition standard. Utilizing this method, they compared the effects of many different variables on lysis efficiency, including differences between thermal, enzymatic, and mechanical (bead) lysis as well as minor changes within a method, including over 40 different bead material/size combinations and cell disruptor type/intensity/run time combinations. Additionally, several replicates of typical sample types were tested with different lysis methods with replicates at different laboratories for over 1500 samples tested. This research will be discussed.
Michael M. Weinstein, Ph.D., Scientist, Zymo Research

3:45 pm Data-Driven Personalized Nutrition to Modulate Gut Microbiome Functions: Towards Prevention of Chronic Diseases (non-CME presentation)
Gut microbiome dysbiosis has been studied in the context of taxonomy, but research in this area has yielded very little actionable information. Viome focuses on the microbial functional dysbiosis, which we have tied to several chronic diseases. Not only is the functional dysbiosis more predictive of chronic diseases, it is very actionable. Microbial functions are mostly determined by the molecules in the foods we consume. Therefore, microbial functions can be modulated by adjusting each person's diet to support healthy microbial functions, and shut down those associated with disease. Viome's systems biology platform and results from several large studies will be presented.
Momo Vuyisch, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Viome

4:15 End of Conference

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Shahram Lavasani, Ph.D.

Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer
Immune Biotech

Shahram Lavasani is an international keynote speaker and entrepreneur in the field of the microbiome. He received his PhD in Immunology from Lund University in Sweden while studying the immunoregulation and immunotherapies in multiple sclerosis (MS). With more than two decades of teaching and research expertise on Gut-Brain axis, he has pioneered research in MS by demonstrating gut inflammation and barrier dysfunction and introduced microbiota-based therapies using probiotic bacterial consortia. He is the founder of ImmuneBiotech developing novel microbiome therapeutics. The company has access to a proprietary lactobacilli library and advanced selection technologies to design nutritional formulations for optimal management of the diseases. ImmuneBiotech´s first product GutMagnificTM has been designed to address the underlying causes of IBS and successfully launched to European market in October 2019.

Scott Jackson, Ph.D.

Group Leader, Complex Microbial Systems
NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology

In this current role, Scott is leading international efforts to improve microbiome and metagenomic measurements by organizing inter-lab studies, developing reference materials and reference methods, and developing in vitro tools that allow us to better understand microbial community resilience and evolution.

Rachel Clemens, Ph.D.

Commerical Innovation Manager, Life Science Lead
ISS US National Lab, Center for Advancement in Science in Space

Rachel Clemens has focused her career on advancing life science research and product development through experiments in space. In her current role as a Commercial Innovation Manager at the ISS US National Lab, she brings life science research to low earth orbit. She leads partnership development specifically with life science companies – from biotech start-ups to large pharmaceutical companies. She is eager to entertain even the craziest of ideas and passionate about finding novel solutions to Earth-bound problems.

Lynne Elmore, Ph.D.

Director, Translational Cancer Research Program
American Cancer Society

Lynne Elmore, PhD, is the director of the Translational Cancer Research program in the Extramural Grants department of the American Cancer Society (ACS). She manages a research portfolio focused on cell biology, infectious disease, the microbiome, molecular genetics, and cancer drug discovery.

Garth Ehrlich, Ph.D.

Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, Professor of Otolayngology - Head & Neck Surgery
Drexel University College of Medicine

Dr Ehrlich is Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM) in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Dr. Ehrlich is also the founder and director of three Research Centers of Excellence in the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease: the Center for Genomic Sciences (CGS); the Center for Advanced Microbial Processing (CAMP); and the Center for Surgical Infections and Biofilms.

He also directs Drexel University’s Core Genomics Facility and the Meta-Omics Shared Resource for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – an NCI-designated Cancer Center.

Momo Vuyisich, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer
Viome

Momo Vuyisich is a co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Viome, a data-driven personalized nutrition company. Momo provides scientific leadership at Viome and his vision is to revolutionize healthcare from "symptoms management" to a true preventative medicine. He leads product development, clinical test implementation, and comprehensive clinical research portfolio.

Momo is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Tech. Before co-founding Viome in 2016, Momo spent 12 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he led the Applied Genomics team, which developed the core technology used by Viome today.

Nancy Caralla

Founding President, Executive Director
C Diff Foundation

Nancy C Caralla is a three-time Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) survivor. She has accumulated over 25 years of experience in the nursing profession blended with over 30 years in international construction management. Over the past several years, Nancy, in partnership with C Diff Foundation members, has focused on raising C. difficile awareness through education and advocating for Clostridium difficile infection prevention, treatments, clinical trials, AMR, and environmental safety worldwide. The C Diff Foundation is a non-profit organization that takes great pride in its volunteers, chairpersons, and committees.

Rachel Teitelbaum, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer
Hervana

Rachel Teitelbaum, PhD is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hervana Bio Ltd. Dr. Teitelbaum earned her Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology at the Sue Golding Graduate Division of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her academic research career spans more than 15 years, with a focus on research in infectious diseases, in particular relating to the host-pathogen interface, elements of the immune response to intracellular pathogens, the development of animal models of infection and the development of vaccines, in particular for providing effective mucosal immunity. With the founding of Hervana Bio Ltd, Dr. Teitelbaum has applied some of these principles to developing a probiotic therapeutic platform in Women’s Health applications, including the development of a non-hormonal, long-acting biologic contraceptive.

Sonia Timberlake, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research
Finch Therapeutics

Dr. Sonia Timberlake is the VP of Research at Finch Therapeutics, a microbiome therapeutics company. Sonia is an expert at designing NGS-based algorithms for applications in microbial genomics, immunogenomics, and evolution. Prior to joining Finch, she built and managed AbVitro's computational algorithms and infrastructure, supporting high throughput single-cell immune phenotyping and repertoire sequencing technology. This technology platform was acquired by Juno Therapeutics, where Sonia led a multidisciplinary team to harness native adaptive immune responses for developing engineered cell therapies in oncology.

Dae-Wook Kang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Toledo

Dr. Kang received his BS and MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Seoul National University and his PhD (also in Civil and Environmental Engineering) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the University of Toledo in 2019, Dr. Kang was a research scientist in the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Arizona State University where he was involved in groundbreaking work to establish the relationships between human gut microbiota and autism spectrum disorders. His broad research interests are employing multi-omics technologies and bioinformatics to advance understanding of the role of microbiota on human health, environment, and engineering systems, and eventually to improve human public health and environment sustainability.

Amy Feehan, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
Ochsner Health System

Dr. Feehan is an early stage investigator who received her BS and PhD in Neuroscience from The Brain Institute at Tulane University in New Orleans. She has conducted research in humans and rodents covering topics ranging from drug development of novel endomorphin analogs for pain, to sleep and circadian rhythms research and most recently the gut-brain axis and infectious disease. Her doctoral work led to two patents for a compound that reverses both acute and chronic pain with no observable risk of addiction. She currently works as a research scientist in the Infectious Disease department at Ochsner in New Orleans designing and executing investigator-initiated clinical trials.

Sangeeta Khare, Ph.D.

Research Microbiologist, Division of Microbiology, National Center for Toxicological Research
US Food & Drug Administration

Dr. Sangeeta Khare is a Research Microbiologist in the Division of Microbiology, at National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Sangeeta Khare leads an active team with a research emphasis on host-pathogen and host-microbiome interaction during perturbations with xenobiotic agents (nanoparticles, antibiotics and other drugs, natural products and additives). The main focus of Dr. Khare’s research group is on establishing innovative parameters of host intestinal toxicity.

Julius Goepp, MD

Chief Executive Officer
Scaled Microbiomics

Dr. Goepp is the inventor of “Systems and Methods for Altering Microbiome to Reduce Disease Risk and Manifestations of Disease,” filed as a PCT patent with USPTO on August 27, 2017 and assigned to Scaled Microbiomics, LLC. He has spearheaded the development of Scaled Microbiomics to date, including developing a research team, equipping a laboratory, designing the experiments that produced supporting data on use of IgY in microbiome applications, and interpreting the results.

Ze'ev Ronai, Ph.D.

Professor
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Ze'ev Ronai obtained his Ph.D. in 1985 from The Hebrew University, Jerusalem Israel and performed his postdoctoral research with I.B. Weinstein at the Cancer Center of Columbia University in New York. He established the Molecular Carcinogenesis Program at the American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York, and in 1997 moved to the Ruttenberg Cancer Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where he was a tenured professor up to 2005. During 2004, Dr. Ronai moved to Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (formerly known as Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute) in La Jolla CA, where he is a Professor. He served as the Director of the Signal Transduction Program (2005-2013), as the Deputy Director for the Cancer Center (2008-2014), and as the Scientific Director for the La Jolla site (2014-2016). He established a cancer center at the Technion in Israel (Technion Integrated Cancer Center), while maintaining his activities at SBP (2016-2018). He is currently Chief Scientific Advisor and Professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), La Jolla CA.

Henrik Bjorn Nielsen, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer
Clinical Microbiomics

Henrik Bjørn Nielsen, PhD, is Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Clinical Microbiomics where he is part of the leadership team together with the CEO and CBO. As CSO he is responsible for directing the science team and the scientific innovation, in addition to overseeing all client projects. Bjørn has an outstanding background as both group-leader at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and has been a frontrunner in the field of microbiome research for more than a decade. He has published more than 20 high-visibility publications within the microbiome field, covering biomedical discoveries and a series of key analysis concepts for microbiome data. Bjørn has extensive expertise in analysing, integrating and managing diverse types of data. With his experience and innovative mindset, Bjørn has played a key role in establishing Clinical Microbiomics as the leading CRO for advanced microbiome analysis.

Cecile Clavaud, Ph.D.

Project Leader in Skin Microbiome, L'Oreal Advanced Research
L'Oreal

Research and Innovation, France Dr. Clavaud's initial expertise is chemistry and biochemistry to design new radiolabelled probes for medical imaging (Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique, Saclay, FRANCE) followed by four years post doc in the Aspergillus Unit (Institut Pasteur, Paris, FRANCE) to characterize the molecular mechanisms involved in the fungal cell wall polysaccharides biosynthesis. Dr. Clavaud joined L’Oréal Research and Innovation in 2011, to work in an open innovation mode, establishing partnership with international academic experts in the skin and scalp microbiome field. At that stage, she explored the ecology of skin microbiota members (bacteria, fungi and viruses) observed in various skin physio-pathologies and body sites in order to identify key determinants involved in the interaction with skin. Since 2017, she has been involved in building a laboratory dedicated to the skin – microbiota interactions in 3D reconstructed skin models, to better understand how commensal microbiota can impact positively the skin barrier function and the skin quality. Today, she is leading transformation projects turning the recent microbiome knowledge into anti-aging applications.

Anandh Babu Pon Velayutham, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition and Inegrative Physiology
University of Utah

Dr. Anandh Babu Pon Velayutham is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at the University of Utah. His research focuses on identifying novel dietary compounds for the prevention of vascular disease in diabetes and metabolic syndrome. His current research examines the vascular effects of blueberries and strawberries with special emphasis on the microbial metabolites of berry anthocyanins and the molecular signaling mechanisms involved. Dr. Velayutham's research aims to understand the causal association between dietary berries, gut microbiome and vascular health.

Sara Ferrando Martinez, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
AstraZeneca

Dr. Sara Ferrando-Martinez is a Research Scientist at AstraZeneca. Sara is an immunologist that focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying the deterioration of the immune system and how to rejuvenate and recover immune responses as a strategy for immunotherapy. Within AZ Sara is trying to uncover the link between microbiome, microbiome-related products and immune modulation and its impact in health and disease.

A. Stewart Campbell, Ph.D.

VP, Early Stage Development
Axial Biotherapeutics

Dr. Campbell brings more than 25 years of drug discovery and development experience to the team. He has built and led R&D teams involved in a variety of environments from early stage research through to advanced clinical development in small start-ups to mid-sized companies. With capable colleagues he has been fortunate to have triaged several drug candidates from discovery to clinical proof-of-concept in multiple therapeutic areas. He received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Queen’s University, which was followed by post-doctoral research at Duke University. He has consulted for several start-up companies in multiple technology and therapeutic areas in the Greater Boston area and is co-inventor on more than 15 issued patents.

Gregg Silverman, MD

Professor of Medicine & Pathology
NYU School of Medicine

Dr. Silverman is Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Associate Director of the Division of Rheumatology, and the Director of the Laboratory of B-cell Immunobiology at the NYU School of Medicine. He is an elected member of AOA, ASCI and the Henry Kunkel Society. After training in Internal Medicine at UCSD, he was a fellow at The Scripps Research Institute in rheumatology and clinical immunology, with a focus on molecular immunology and the structural basis of immune recognition. He has authored over 160 publications and he is on the editorial board of several prestigious journals. Work in his lab is highly translational, with a special interest in B cells and the properties of autoantibodies. and more recently the contributions of the gut microbiome to autoimmune disease.

Mahmoud Ghannoum, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Dermatology
Case Western University and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

Dr Mahmoud Ghannoum received MSc in Medicinal Chemistry and PhD in Microbial Physiology from University of Technology in England, and an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case. Presently he is a tenured Professor and Director of the Integrated Microbiome Core and Center for Medical Mycology, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UH) where he established a multidisciplinary Center of Excellence that combines basic and translational research investigating medically important fungi from the test tube to the bedside. More recently he pioneered the studies on the fungal communities residing in our body and coined the term ‘Mycobiome”.

He is also a fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and past President of the Medical Mycological Society of the Americas (MMSA). In 2016, Dr Ghannoum received the Rohda Benham Award presented for his continuous outstanding and meritorious contributions to medical mycology from the Medical Mycological Society of the Americas and he also received the Freedom to Discover Award from Bristol-Myers Squibb for his work on microbial biofilms. In 2017, he was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Beside his academic career Dr. Ghannoum is an entrepreneur-scientist who launched a number of companies focusing on the treatment of biofilm infections as well as microbial dysbiosis as it relates to gut health.

Pamela Silver, Ph.D.

Elliot T. and Onie H. Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology
Harvard Medical School

Pamela Silver received her BS in Chemistry and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California where she was an NIH Pre-doctoral Fellow. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University in the Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology where she was a Fellow of the American Cancer Society and The Medical Foundation. Subsequently, Pam was an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Molecular Biology at Princeton University and then moved to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute where she was a Professor in the Dept of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. Pam became one of the founding members of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and the first Director of the Harvard University PhD Program in Systems Biology and one of the first members of the Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Her work has been recognized by an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, a Research Scholar of the March of Dimes, an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, Claudia Adams Barr Investigator, an NIH MERIT award, the Philosophical Society Lecture, a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is among the top global influencers in Synthetic Biology and her work was named one of the top 10 breakthroughs by the World Economic Forum. She serves on numerous public and private advisory boards including the board of the Internationally Genetics Engineering Machines (iGEM) Competition, and she is the co-founder of several biotech companies.