Food System Microbiomes 2024 International Conference, May 14-17, 2024, Torino, Italy
Antton Alberdi is an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, where he heads an interdisciplinary research team of 20 individuals focused on exploring animal-microbiota interactions within ecological, evolutionary, and applied frameworks. Their investigations employ a diverse set of advanced techniques, such as multi-omics analysis, laser microdissection, and gut-on-a-chip models. Antton serves as the coordinator for the H2020 RIA project 3D'omics, and he is the founder of the Earth Hologenome Initiative.
Gabriele Berg studied biology, ecology and biotechnology at the universities in Rostock and Greifswald obtained her Ph.D. in 1995 in microbiology from Rostock University (Germany). In 2005 she became a full professor in environmental biotechnology at Graz University of Technology (Austria), and in 2021 an additional professorship in Potsdam (Germany). Her interests are focused on microbiome research and translation of the results into new biotechnological and microbiome management concepts for health issues.
Karel Callens is currently Senior Advisor in the Food Systems and Food Safety Division of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, based in Rome, Italy. Karel joined FAO headquarters in 2001. He leads the joint EU-FAO FIRST Policy Assistance facility and the organization’s work on the role of microbiome science and innovation in support of sustainable agri-food systems transformation. Until recently, he was Deputy Director in charge of the organization’s strategic programme on food security and nutrition. Prior to his assignment in Rome, Karel has held various positions with FAO and other organizations in Ghana, Zambia, Thailand, and Belgium. He holds an M.Sc. in Bioengineering from the State University of Gent in Belgium and an MBA from the Open University Business School in the UK.
Full Professor in Chemistry and Biotechnology of Fermentation at the Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna, Italy. He is member of the Bioeconomy Thematic Unit at the University of Bologna and vice-coordinator of the international PhD program “Fish Med” at the University of Bologna. Her is Coordinator of the EU Collaborative project CIRCLES, “Controlling mIcRobiomes CircuLations for bEtter food Systems” and WP leader/partner of different EU projects, mainly in the “Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture & Environment”. He is leading the Unit of Microbiome Science and Biotechnologies at the Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna. The research activity of Marco Candela is documented by > 170 papers on peer-reviewed journals (June 2023, H index 52, citations > 9800) and > 200 oral communication in national or international congresses.
Trevor Charles is the Director of the Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and co-founder of the companies Metagenom Bio Life Science, Healthy Hydroponics InnoTech, and Earth Microbial. He studied microbiology at the University of British Columbia, obtained his Ph.D. from McMaster University, and postdoc at the University of Washington. He has held faculty positions at both McGill University and the University of Waterloo. Trained as a bacterial geneticist, his current research is oriented towards Circular Bioeconomy, and includes conversion of food waste to novel bioplastics, beneficial endophytic bacteria in controlled environment agriculture, and wastewater pathogen surveillance.
Prof Paul Cotter is the Head of Food Biosciences at Teagasc, is a Principal Investigator with the large Irish Research Centres, APC Microbiome Ireland, VistaMilk and Food for Health Ireland and CTO/co-founder of SeqBiome, a microbiome sequencing and bioinformatics service provider. He is a molecular microbiologist, with a particular focus on the microbiology of foods (especially fermented foods), the food chain and of humans, as well as probiotics and postbiotics. Prof Cotter is the author of >350 peer-reviewed, was included in the Clarivate list of highly cited researchers for 2018-2023 and is the Field Chief Editor of Frontiers in Microbiology.
Franciska de Vries is Professor of Earth Surface Science at the University of Amsterdam. Franciska did her PhD in Wageningen, after which she spent 10 years in England, at Lancaster University and The University of Manchester, to establish her independent career. She returned to The Netherlands in 2019. She leads several large personal grants and consortium projects investigating ecosystem repsonse to climate change, and the role of plant-microbe interactions in that response. She leads the vibrant, diverse and inclusive Plant-Soil Ecology reserach group at the University of Amsterdam. Franciska is a Clarivate Highly Cited Scientist, she serves on several expert advisory committees, is actively involved in scientific publishing as a member of editorial boards and committees, and writes columns and op-eds for a range of general media outlets. She is a champion for diversity, inclusivity, and equity in science, both inside and outside her organisation.
Full professor of Food Microbiology at the Free University of Bolzano. Her research work is addressed to the food microbiology. She is member of the international PhD on “Food, Engineering and Biotechnology” at the same university. She is member of the Evaluation Committee of Free University of Bolzano. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Science Foundation Ireland VistaMilk Centre Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Cork, Ireland focusing on milk microbiome. She is the Director of the International Center of Food fermentations at the same University. The main area of expertise: i) biotechnology of sourdough, cheese and vegetable/fruit lactic acid bacteria; ii) phenomics and transcriptomics of lactic acid bacteria; and iii) synthesis of biogenic compounds by lactic acid bacteria. As retrieved by Scopus database, she is co-author of 215 articles, published in international journals, which deal with the food microbiology, cited by 14,094 documents and an index h equal to 72.
Danilo Ercolini is Full Professor in Microbiology at the Department of Agricultural Sciences, the University of Naples Federico II, Italy. He got a PhD in Food Science and Technology in 2003. He was a Marie Curie Fellowship holder at the University of Nottingham, UK in 2001.
The overall scientific activity has always been in the field of microbial ecology, with particular focus on food and gut microbiome studies. Author of about 200 publications in peer reviewed journals with >17000 citations, his H-index is 75 and he has been nominated “Highly Cited Scientist” in the Clarivate annual ranking of scientists in 2022 and 2023.
He is currently Director of the Department of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Naples Federico II. The Department has about 250 staff members, 4 BSc and 6 MSc programmes offered, more than 200 courses, about 200 research projects running, and 2 experimental agricultural farms of about 40 ha each.
Simone Gatzke is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Plant Sciences at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, managing various national and international projects and industry collaborations. She obtained a PhD in Biology at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany in 2012 with a scholarship from the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), while working on the influence of plant breeding of different barley varieties on their stress responses, investigating emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC). She has extensive experience in plant stress responses to abiotic and biotic stress with focus on plant phenotyping. Currently, she is coordinating the German Plant Phenotyping Network (DPPN, www.dppn.plant-phenotyping-network.de) to provide external users with access to plant phenotyping facilities.
Dr. Herrera-Rincon received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience, from the Complutense University of Madrid (Madrid, Spain) in 2014. In 2015, she started her post-doctoral research at Tufts and Harvard Universities (Boston, MA), and became an Independent Researcher at Tufts in December 2017 after awarding a grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc., which funds 2-3 high risk/high-reward projects each year from promising researchers at early stages of the career across the globe. Celia was awarded a Ramón y Cajal Fellowship in 2020 and she joined the Complutense University of Madrid, where she is leading a team to understand the deepest aspects of the brain-bacteria communication. Currently, her interdisciplinary team (combining neuroscience, microbiology, computation, and mathematical modelling) is focused on the interactions between gut bacteria and neurons, with the ultimate goal to discover nutritional approaches targeting gut microbiota for mental well-being.
With a strong background in microbiology and nutrition, I am interested in the functional potential of food microbes to improve the quality of fermented foods as well as the health of consumers. I particularly focus on non-dairy fermented foods, especially those made from grains or legumes. My work is devoted to the characterization of the bacteria responsible for fermentation. I describe the actors involved in spontaneous or uncontrolled fermentation, but my main interest is in the functions of these microorganisms, which may be of nutritional or health-related interest for consumers. I studied the vitamin synthesis capabilities of bacteria isolated from fermented grain-based foods prepared in different countries. I use their ability to increase the vitamin content of different foods, traditional or innovative.
Prof Huws’s research is focused on understanding microbiomes, especially in the context of understanding the role that livestock gastrointestinal tract microbiomes play in food security, environmental impact & spread of antimicrobial resistance. She is interested in understanding the evolutionary drivers of antimicrobial resistance & exploiting microbiomes for industrial biotechnology purposes, with a focus on novel antimicrobial discovery. She's over 20 years of experience working on livestock gastrointestinal microbiomes with >100 publications & a H index: 31 & over 3,000 citations (Google scholar). She's supervised over 10 PhD students & currently supervises 7 as main supervisor & 5 as second supervisor. She secured >£3M of funding in the past 5 years mainly to understand & reduce methane emissions from ruminants & AMR spread from livestock to the environment, with the aim of developing innovative solutions to these global challenges. She chairs the Rumen Microbial Genomics network.
Tanja Kostic is a Senior Research Engineer at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology with a research focus on food systems microbiomes. She has participated in various national and international projects and has extensive experience in research collaboration with industry. Currently, she is coordinating the Horizon Europe project MICROBE (www.microbeproject.eu) dedicated to the development of optimized methodologies and technologies to preserve and provide access to microbiome samples and associated data to enable more efficient development of microbiome-based solutions and applications.
Cedric received his PhD at the University of Luxembourg in 2015 for developing computational solutions to analyze metagenomic data. During his Postdoc at the Chair for Clinical Bioinformatics at the University of Saarland, he worked on applying these methods for the study of clinical pathogens. Currently, Cedric is a Research Scientist in the Systems Ecology group at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, working on the analysis of microbiomes in the context of probiotics, antimicrobial resistance, and a variety of diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. Besides developing and using computational biology techniques to study microbial systems ecology, he is passionate about supporting early-career scientists in helping them build a successful scientific career.
After PhD & Post Doc at University of Copenhagen, scientist at DANIDA Research Institute 1978-86. At Novo, Novo Nordisk, and Novozymes A/S R&D, 1986-2007, finishing in top research career position (Novozymes, Director of Research in Molecular Biotechnology). Professor (adj), University of Copenhagen, 2000-2010. Back in academia as Head of Institute of Biology, University of Copenhagen, 2006-2008. From 2008, Dean of Research and Professor in Biotechnology, Aalborg University; Campus director, AAU Cph, 2009-2013; Director of Research Aalborg University 2012-2015. Professor and research leader, Technical University of Denmark 2015-2018. Own company 2018, LL-BioEconomy, a Research SME, currently partner to Danish, Nordic, and European research projects. Vice Chair/Member of Scientific Committee for BBI-JU/CBE-JU, advisory to EU Commission. Member of National Bioeconomy Panel, advisory to the Danish Government. Member of advisory board, WWF
Dr. J. Mercado-Blanco is Senior Researcher at CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain), currently affiliated to the Estación Experimental del Zaidín (EEZ-CSIC). Previous scientific activities were performed at Utrecht University (The Netherlands) and Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible (IAS-CSIC). Head of the Crop Protection Department of IAS-CSIC (2020-2022). Current convenor of the Working Group "Integrated Protection of Olive Crops" of the IOBC-WPRS. His research is focused on microbiology, agrobiotechnology, plant-microbiome interactions and integrated control of soil-borne pathogens. The identification and characterization of biological control agents is one of the main research lines. He participated in more than 20 research projects (11 as principal investigator) and (co)authored more than 100 book chapters and scientific/technical articles. (Co)inventor of 9 patents. He gave seminars and invited lectures at different academic institutions worldwide.
Professor Dennis Sandris Nielsen has a background within food science with a MSc (2002) from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (RVAU), Denmark. The PhD (2006, also RVAU) focused on understanding how microbial interactions during cocoa fermentations influence quality and flavor. This work involved a range of research stays in West Africa, which sparked a strong research interest in African indigenous fermented foods. Later the gut microbiome (GM) and its links to health and disease became a new focus area, which has led to several high impact findings, such as showing the possibilities for using virome (bacteriophage) transfer to change a dysbiotic GM thereby preventing/alleviating e.g. metabolic syndrome and necrotizing enterocolitis. However, fermented foods have remained a strong research interest – with a particular interest in plant-based fermented foods. On the best days, the two research areas (plant-based fermented foods and the gut microbiome) are combined!
She is Ph.D. in Pharmacy, Professor of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), and head of the “Microbiome, Nutrition and Health” research unit at IATA-CSIC. The group focuses on human microbiome research and its role in metabolic and mental health through interactions with the diet, the environment, and the host immune and neuroendocrine systems. The team also works on the selection of keystone intestinal bacteria that could bring health benefits and dietary strategies that, through the modulation of the microbiome, can reduce the disease risk. Y Sanz has coordinated large EU projects (MyNewGut, ClimbOut, MiVAO, MicroILCs) and participated in many others (EarlyCause, Microbiome Support, CIRCLES, TRIBIOME) focused on human and food system microbiomes. She has published over 242 scientific papers in high-rated Journals and is co-author of 14 patents. She has been a member of EFSA Panels, counting on 13 years of experience in regulatory aspects related to Nutrition and Food.
Inga Sarand studied Biology and obtained a PhD in Microbiology at the University of Helsinki (Finland). With Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) since 1998, Inga is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology. She has expertise on characterization of microbial diversity, stability and adaptation mechanisms in different food microbiomes using -omics techniques in parallel with standard microbiology methods. Her research is currently focused on shelf-life prolongation approaches including the effect of environmental conditions (e.g., storage temperature, modified atmosphere) and microbiomes of raw materials and processing environment on the microbiological and sensory quality of food products upon storage.
Michael Schloter studied microbiology and genetics at the LMU in Munich. He obtained his PhD from the University of Bayreuth in 1994. After several PostDoc positions in USA, Brazil and Germany, he became Director of the Institute of Comparative Microbiome Analysis at Helmholtz Munich in 2011. In 2023, he was appointed in addition as full professor at the Technical University of Munich holding the Chair for Environmental Microbiology. He investigates how changes in microbiomes in the environment directly and indirectly affect our human microbiome and what functional consequences can be derived from these altered interactions for our health. Based on the improved understanding of the interaction of environmental and human microbiomes, he developed a number of targeted approaches to prevent allergic diseases, which resulted in a number of patents. Based on his publication record of more than 500 articles, he has been mentioned as “Highly Cited Researcher” in the past.
Carolin Schneider obtained a PhD in Biology at the University of Hamburg before setting up her first business in plant micropropagation in 1995. To support weaning of these vitroplants, already that early first attempts with beneficial microbes have been done, which succeeded 2001 in the spin-off company Inoq, totally dedicated to commercialize mycorrhizal fungi as microbial plant biostimulants, including quality control, upscaling and industrialization of production, as well as answering applied scientific questions to master the system crop-microbes-soil. The overarching ambition of Carolin’s team is contributing to sustainable development: food security and sustainable agriculture.
Dr. Angela Sessitsch is Head of the Bioresources Unit at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. She studied biochemistry at the University of Technology in Graz, holds a PhD in Microbiology from the Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and is habilitated at the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. She has pioneered plant-associated microbiomes and is interested in understanding the interactions between plants, microbiomes and the environment as well as to develop applications. Her group explores the diversity and functioning of plant microbiota by applying a range of molecular approaches, interaction modes between plants and model bacteria, colonization behaviour of endophytes as well as various application technologies for biocontrol and crop enhancement applications. Together with her group A. Sessitsch published more than 250 publications, she belongs to the Highly Cited Researchers and is co-inventor of several patents.
Hauke Smidt heads the Microbial Ecology Group at the Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University & Research. His research focuses on the integrated application of innovative cultivation and functional genomics-based methods to study composition and activity of microbial communities, with focus on the intestinal tract in humans, production animals and wildlife, as well as microbial communities in environmental biotechnology. In this context, research in the Smidt group increasingly follows a OneHealth philosophy that links environmental, human and animal health. In 2008, Hauke Smidt has been appointed Visiting Professor at Nanjing Agricultural University, and since 2010, he holds a Personal Chair in “Complex Microbial Ecosystems” at Wageningen University. He is editor in chief of ISME Communications and senior editor of FEMS Microbiology Reviews. Since 2020, Hauke Smidt is Scientific Director of the UNLOCK research infrastructure for microbiome research.
Dr Paul Smith is a Beef Research officer, based in Teagasc Grange in Ireland. Paul’s work is primarily focused on developing strategies to reduce enteric methane emissions from cattle, with a key focus on understanding the role of the rumen microbiome in sustainable livestock production. After completing a Walsh Scholar PhD in 2021, with Teagasc and University College Dublin (UCD), titled “Understanding the interactive role of the rumen microbiome with diet and enteric emissions in cattle”, Paul undertook a Post-Doctoral Research position with Teagasc (EU funded HoloRuminant project), before being appointed a permeant researcher. Paul has recently been appointed as a Review Editor for Frontiers in Microbiology - Microorganisms in Vertebrate Digestive Systems.
Studied Veterinary Medicine. Research fellow at Biozentrum Würzburg and Complutense University in Madrid (1998-2000). Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Public Health (2004); Professor for Molecular Food Microbiology in 2008; Head of the Institute for Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health, unit food microbiology. Research Director of the Austrian Competence Center for Feed and Food Quality, Safety and Innovation since 2017
Head of the Christian-Doppler Laboratory for Molecularbiological Food Analytics (2006 -2013), Coordinator COMET Project Preventive Veterinary Medicine (2010-2013); Scientific Coordinator of EU FP 6 Integrated Project BIOTRACER (2006-2011); Coordinator of EU FP 7 KBBE PROMISE (2012-2014), Coordinator COMET Project Advanced Dairying in Austria (2014-2017). Coordinator of the Horizon Europe funded project “Food SafeR”.
Main interest in Listeria adaptation and virulence, pathogen transmission, microbiome studies, disinfection and applied food hygiene.
Christina Warinner is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University and Group Leader of Microbiome Sciences in the Department of Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. She specializes in the analysis of ancient DNA and proteins, and her research focuses on the study of ancient biomolecules to better understand past human diet, health, and the evolution of the human microbiome. She has conducted groundbreaking studies on the evolution and changing ecology of the human oral microbiome, including publishing the oldest oral microbiome to date from a 100,000-year-old Neanderthal, and she has published extensively on prehistoric migrations, the origins and spread of dairy pastoralism, and the biodiversity of the human gut microbiome. She is the President of the International Society for Biomolecular Archaeology and a member of the Balance of the Microverse Excellence Cluster.