Speakers

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Gregory Poore
MD/PhD Candidate
UC San Diego, Center for Microbiome Innovation

Gregory Poore is an MD/PhD candidate funded by the NIH’s Medical Scientist Training Program grant who is working in Rob Knight’s lab to bring together two fields that do not frequently communicate: oncology and microbiology. His passion for the subject originates from losing his grandmother, who over the course of 4 weeks in 2013, went from a sudden diagnosis of pancreatic cancer to passing despite targeted chemotherapy. This catalyzed his research in cancer genomics at Duke-NUS (Singapore), where his work was co-authored in multiple publications across Nature Genetics, Genome Medicine, and Leukemia. Upon his return to Duke University in the USA, his research interests broadened to include infectious disease genomics, machine learning techniques, and multi-omic integration. When the first major cancer microbiome paper was published in September, 2017, showing chemo-degrading bacteria living in more than half of pancreatic cancer patients, the message hit close to home and his subsequent research focus was decided. His strategies of study to characterize, predict, and treat the cancer microbiome extend from bioinformatics and machine learning to histopathology and technology development.

Daniel Nakatsu
Postdoctoral Fellow
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow working alongside Dr. Wendy Garrett’s team at the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. My research interests focus on understanding and harnessing the role of intestinal microbiota in colorectal cancer (CRC) pathogenesis, detection, prognostication, and treatment. A goal in the field of cancer microbiome research is to uncover mechanisms of interaction among members of the gut microbiota that shape the structural and functional heterogeneities of microbial communities instrumental to colorectal carcinogenesis. I have been committed to identifying elusive CRC-associated oncomicrobes for leveraging the disease model applications of microbiome analysis.

Fyza Shaikh, MD
Postdoctoral Fellow
John Hopkins Hospital

Fyza Shaikh is a fellow in Medical Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. She is currently working in the laboratory of Cynthia Sears where her primary research is focused on the impact of the microbiome on development of colorectal adenocarcinoma and checkpoint inhibitor success. Prior to fellowship, she completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and her MD/PhD at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Alex Stevenson
Chief Scientific Officer
4D Pharma

Alex began his career as a microbiologist, working in research for a number of years before joining an NYSE-quoted drug development company. He subsequently moved into pharmaceutical and healthcare investment and has fulfilled a number of board-level investment and operational management roles.

Sonia Timberlake
Head of Research
Finch Therapeutics

Sonia Timberlake is the head of Research at Finch Therapeutics. Dr Timberlake is an expert in designing NGS-based algorithms for applications in the microbiome and 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. Sonia graduated from Caltech with a B.Sc in Molecular Biology and received her Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from MIT.

Sergei Grivennikov
Assistant Professor
Fox Chase Cancer Center

Sergei Grivennikov, PhD has performed postdoctoral training at UCSD and in 2012 joined Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia as an Assistant Professor. His lab is interested in mechanisms which connect microbiota, immune cells and cytokines to tissue regeneration and tumorigenesis.

Imke Mulder
Director of Research
4D Pharma

Imke Mulder is the Research Director at 4D pharma Research Ltd in Aberdeen, Scotland, where she leads a multidisciplinary research group of 30 scientists. After completing her BSc and MSc in Biology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, she moved to Aberdeen in 2001 to pursue her PhD studies at the Department of Zoology, working on the effects of dietary components on the gut immune system. Imke then carried out 8 years of post-doctoral work as a Research Fellow in the Gut Immunology Group at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health (RINH) in Aberdeen. This work primarily focussed on interactions between the gut microbiota and the host immune system in different model organisms. Specific projects investigated how microbial composition and diversity influences early-life development of the mucosal immune system, and the cell-specific signalling pathways and effector molecules involved in driving health-promoting interactions of the gut microbiota. Imke moved to 4D pharma Research Ltd in 2014 where she leads the development of the MicroRx platform for the discovery of new live biotherapeutics.

Maya Kahan- Hanum
CRC Project Leader
BiomX

Maya Kahan-Hanum serves as project leader for the colorectal cancer project.  Prior to this position, she served for 4 years at PolyPid, clinical stage innovative biopharmaceutical Company, as Manager of the Innovative Research Unit. Maya Kahan-Hanum holds a Ph.D. from Weizmann Institute of Science.

Romain Daillère
Head of Preclinical Research & Co- Founder
EverImmune

Romain Daillère completed his PhD in 2015 in the laboratory of Professor Laurence Zitvogel at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus (GRCC), Villejuif-Grand Paris/France. His research focuses on the complex interplay between gut microbiota and the efficacy of anticancer regimens. He previously graduated as a biotechnology engineer at the Ecole Supérieure de Biotechnology de Strasbourg (Trinational School of Strasbourg), and worked at the Ragon Institute of MIT, MGH and Harvard in Boston. Co-founder of EverImmune. Co-Inventor of EverImmune Technology. He currently acts as head of the preclinical research of EverImmune.

Bruce Roberts
Chief Scientific Officer
Vedanta Biosciences

Dr. Roberts is the Chief Scientific Officer at Vedanta Biosciences. Previously he was Head of Neuro-Immunology and Immune-Mediated Disease Research at Sanofi Genzyme. Dr. Roberts has 30 years’ experience in biotech as well as pharma and directed pre-clinical efforts at Genzyme resulting in the introduction of therapeutic antibodies, gene therapies, cell therapies and small molecules into multiple clinical trials for the treatment of cancer, multiple sclerosis and autoimmunity. Dr. Roberts has authored over fifty peer-reviewed publications and contributed to several issued patents and patent applications.

Christopher Ford
Director, Microbiome Sciences
Seres Therapeutics

Specializes in the design and development of microbiome therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. Works on preclinical and clinical stage programs, driving therapeutic design and microbiome readouts. As program lead of SER-155, oversaw the application and award of a CARB-X contract for $5.6 million to support the development of SER-155 to prevent antibiotic resistant infections. Led the microbiome analyses for SER-109 and SER-262, providing key insights to move SER-109 to phase 3. Prior, a Helen Hay Whitney fellow in the Regev lab at the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard. Developed novel microscopy, microfluidic, and computational approaches to probe host-pathogen interactions at the single cell level. Received his PhD from the Biological Sciences in Public Health Program at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2012, completing his dissertation research in the lab of Sarah Fortune. During his PhD, investigated the evolution of multidrug resistant M. tuberculosis.

Daniel van der Lelie
Chief Scientific Officer
Gusto Global

Dr. Daniel van der Lelie is the Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of Gusto Global, a leading microbiome drug discovery and development company focused on the rational design of live biotherapeutics that modulate the immune system. Dr. van der Lelie has worked in senior management roles in biotechnology, agriculture, environmental sciences and on the interface between biological sciences and nanotechnology throughout his career. Prior to founding Gusto Global, he was the Global Director of Ag BioSolutions R&D at FMC Corporation. Dr. van der Lelie’s position at FMC resulted from the company’s acquisition of the Center for Agriculture and Environmental Biotechnology, a business unit founded by Dr. van der Lelie at Research Triangle Institute. Prior to FMC and RTI, Dr. van der Lelie was the founder of the microbiology group and the co-founder of the group for bioinspired assembly of nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dr. van der Lelie’s research has resulted in more than 150 publications in peer reviewed journals, including PLoS ONE, PLoS Genetics, Nature, Nature Chemistry, Nature Nanotechnology and Nature Biotechnology, and 21 patents / patent applications.

Matthew Henn
Executive VP, Chief Scientific Officer
Seres Therapeutics

Matthew Henn is Executive Vice President and head of Discovery and Microbiome R&D at Seres Therapeutics. He has been involved in the discovery and development of multiple microbiome therapeutics including SER-109, SER-287, and SER-262, and has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications. His research has focused on microbial populations and the functional role of microbes in both environmental and human disease applications, and also the development of genomic and functional tools to study these populations. He currently serves on the scientific advisory boards of the Forsyth Institute and Growcentia, Inc, an agricultural microbiome company. Prior to helping launch Seres in 2012, he was the Director of Viral Genomics and Assistant Director of the Genome Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Dr. Henn earned his Ph.D. in ecosystem sciences from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a NASA Earth Systems Sciences Fellow, and trained as a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Microbiology at Duke University.

Mingyang Song, MD
Assistant Professor
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Dr. Song’s research focuses on clinical and nutritional epidemiology of cancer. Specifically, his work integrates large-scale observational studies with biomarker-based randomized clinical trials to identify novel nutritional and gut microbiota-targeted strategies for cancer prevention and treatment. Currently, Dr. Song is a co-investigator of the MICRObiome Among Nurses (MICRO-N) Study, a large prospective microbiome study of 25,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II.

Jonathan Peled, MD
Medical Oncologist
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

After his medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and heme/onc fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Jonathan joined the Adult Bone Marrow Transplantation Service of MSKCC where he serves as an Assistant Attending.  He studies how the intestinal microbiota interact with the host immune system as it relates to hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, with a particular interest in graft-vs-tumor activity and graft-vs-host disease.

Xue Liang
Senior Scientist, Microbiome/ Molecular Discovery
Merck Exploratory Science Center

Dr. Xue Liang is a Senior Scientist focusing on Microbiome projects at the Merck Exploratory Science Center. She has over 7 years of experience in microbiome research and is co-leading several programs in her current role to evaluate the impact of microbiome in health and disease, and how it influence therapeutic response. She has published multiple publications in this field. She earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences from Chu Kochen Honors College, Zhejiang University, and Ph.D. from the Department of Pharmacology in the laboratory of Dr. Garret A. FitzGerald at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sandrine Miller- Montgomery
Executive Director, Center for Microbiome Innovation - Professor of Practice, Bioengineering
UC San Diego, Center for Microbiome Innovation

Dr. Sandrine Miller-Montgomery is co-leading UC San Diego Centre for Microbiome Innovation, as executive director with Pr. Rob Knight. In this position, she is leading a team focused on fostering and expanding industry and academic collaborations, with the mission of accelerating Microbiome discovery and creating innovative technologies that will support this emerging but exploding field in the consumer world as well as enabling major clinical breakthroughs. She is building the success of the center based on scientific excellence from the leadership team as well as her own business expertise after years in industry. Indeed, previously, she was the leading MO BIO Laboratories, a QIAGEN Company, focusing on nucleic acid purification solutions for challenging samples, such as ones found in Microbiome studies. Sandrine was previously their Director of Sales and Marketing, where she led a team, which consistently grew the business at a rate far superior to the market rate, ultimately resulting into its acquisition by QIAGEN. She has held Global Marketing Manager positions at large companies such as Abbott Laboratories or Illumina (following the acquisition of Helixis. Before Helixis, Sandrine had work for many years at Invitrogen, now part of Thermo Fisher, starting as a bench scientist, then R&D Manager, followed by being one of their first Program Managers and ultimately migrating to the business side as Product Manager for both qPCR reagents and Reverse Transcriptase portfolio. She came into the USA from France in 2000 to join Genset, in their R&D department focusing on the identification of Obesity and Diabetes cure candidates. Sandrine received both her Pharm.D and her Ph.D. in Life Science from the University of Bordeaux (France), with emphasis on molecular biology, biology of aging and thrombosis and hemostasis.

Diwakar Davar, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

Diwakar Davar, MBBS, M.Sc is an assistant professor of medicine and a medical oncologist/hematologist. His research interests are in translational immunology. Specifically, he is interested in designing early-phase clinical trials based on an improved understanding of tumor immunobiology and host-tumor-microenvironment interactions. Additionally, he is interested in the mechanisms underlying non-response to checkpoint inhibition and novel approaches to overcome this non-response. His clinical interests are in the management of advanced melanoma and the development of early phase studies to test novel immunotherapeutic approaches singly and in combination in patients with advanced cancer.

Jennifer McQuade, MD
Assistant Professor
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Jennifer L. McQuade, MD, MS, MA is an Assistant Professor and Physician Scientist in Melanoma Medical Oncology. Dr. McQuade completed her medical training at Baylor College of Medicine, residency at the University of Pennsylvania, and her fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center prior to joining the clinical faculty in 2018. Her research focuses on how lifestyle factors influence melanoma biology and the anti-tumor immune response with the goal of developing novel strategies to improve outcomes in melanoma. She is currently working on translating forthcoming observational studies linking diet to immunotherapy response into preclinical and clinical dietary intervention studies.

Trevor Lawley
Chief Scientific Officer & Co- Founder
Microbiotica

Trevor Lawley is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Microbiotica. He is also Faculty Group Leader of the Host-Microbiota Interactions Team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI), where his research uses advanced metagenomic  sequencing and deep culturing to investigate the microbial communities contained on and within host organisms that are associated with health and a range of diseases and syndromes such as infections, autoimmunity, irritable bowel syndromes and cancer. He has pioneered many aspects of the bacteriotherapy concept where defined mixtures of bacteria are used to cure intestinal diseases linked to pathological imbalances in the intestinal microbiota. Trevor began his research at WTSI in 2007 as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Microbial Pathogenesis group, having received a Royal Society Fellowship to start a new research programme in C. difficile epidemiology and pathogenesis. During this time, he has worked with a global consortium from over 25 institutes to assemble a comprehensive C. difficile culture collection, now housed within the Sanger Institute. Prior to joining WTSI, Trevor held a Canadian Institutes of Health Research post-doctoral fellowship, working in the Laboratory of Professor Stanley Falkow and Dr Denise Monack at Stanford University, USA, where he studied the impact of antibiotic treatment on Salmonella disease and transmission. Trevor gained his first degree from Acadia University, Canada and his PhD from the University of Alberta, Canada, where he pioneered the use of genomics to study the origins and spread of antibiotic resistance in infectious diseases. He received the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Graduate Student of the Year Award for this work. More recently, Trevor was recognised by the Peggy Lillis Foundation with their Innovator Award 2015 for his ground-breaking work on developing bacteriotherapy for C. difficile infections.

Helena Kiefel
Senior Scientist
Second Genome

Dr. Helena Kiefel is currently a Senior Scientist in the Immuno-Oncology group at Second Genome. She leads a cross-functional team focusing on the discovery and pre-clinical development of microbially derived immuno-oncology therapeutics. Dr. Kiefel holds a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of Heidelberg, Germany and did her postdoctoral research in Dr. Eugene Butcher’s laboratory at Stanford University, where she gained extensive expertise in mucosal immunology and stromal cell biology.

Christophe Bonny
Chief Scientific Officer
Enterome Biosciences

Dr Bonny has over 20 years’ experience in the field of molecular biology and signalling pathways, 15 years in the field of hit identification to candidate selection, has authored over 100 scientific publications and is an inventor on several patents. Dr Bonny discovered XG-102/AM-111 and XG-104, the two first clinical stage intracellular peptides currently in Phases 3 and 2 trials for diverse inflammatory conditions, respectively. These intracellular peptidic inhibitors of the JNK protein formed the basis for the creation of the biotechnology company Xigen SA in 2003. In 2005, he received the Pfizer Research Prize for this discovery. Dr Bonny was CSO of Xigen SA and also served as its President, and then was CSO at Bicycle Therapeutics. The cumulated investments in the companies Dr Bonny served as CSO is over $110 M. He also held the position of Head of Research of the Medical Genetics Unit at the University Hospital of Lausanne (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Switzerland) and a prior to this was a Research Fellow at Northwestern University (US). Dr Bonny obtained a PhD from the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland), and completed a business and entrepreneurship program at Babson College (US).