Speakers

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Alessio Fasano
Chief, Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition
Massachusetts General Hospital

Alessio Fasano, MD, is the W. Allan Walker Chair and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) in Boston, Mass. A Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Fasano founded the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment in 1996, where he treats adults and children for gluten-related disorders. His visionary research, which established the rate of celiac disease at one in 133 people, led to the awareness of celiac disease as a growing public health problem in the United States. Dr. Fasano is widely sought after as an expert in celiac disease, autoimmune disorders, intestinal permeability and the role of the gut microbiome in disease and health. He has been featured in media outlets around the world, including National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Mail, Elle, TIME and other online and media outlets. He recently authored Gluten Freedom and is prinicpal investigator for a five-year, prospective study on the development of celiac disease in at-risk infants, the Celiac Disease Genomic, Environmental,Microbiome and Metabolomic Study (www.cdgemm.org).      

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

9:00 am | Exploring How the Infant Microbiome Offers a Window of Opportunity for the Prevention of Chronic Conditions

Aurélien Baudot
International Business Development
ProDigest

Aurélien Baudot is handling the worldwide business development at ProDigest, translating research questions of the food, feed and pharma industries in tangible gastro-intestinal simulation projects. Originating from a biomolecular and artificial intelligence background, he is fascinated by the interplay between in vitro testing and the real-life outcome. ProDigest crosses this bridge with its state-of-the-art simulation technology (SHIME®). Already for 3 years one the fastest-growing life science company in Belgium, ProDigest is constantly broadening the scope of digestion and microbiome research. Infant, obesity, IBD, pathogen models and many more simulations meet the increasing number of strategies aiming at regenerating or improving gastro-intestinal health. Aurélien collaborates strongly with the scientific team within ProDigest to accommodate the most complex demands, aiming to maximise the scientific value of the preclinical projects for his customers.

Day Two

Thursday 28 May, 2020

10:00 am | Baby-SHIME® Technology Platform: A Step by Step Approach for Pre- Clinical Product Testing on the Infant Gut Microbiome

Ben Callahan
Assistant Professor
NC State University

Dr. Benjamin Callahan joined NC State in January 2017 as a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Microbiomes and Complex Microbial Communities. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health and Pathobiology and a member of the Bioinformatics Research Center, Dr. Callahan’s research focuses on “microbiomes” — the complex microbial communities which inhabit and interact with almost every part of the world around us. He develops new statistical and bioinformatic methods to better characterize microbial communities from high-throughput biological data, and uses those methods to study important problems, such as the relationship between the maternal microbiome and preterm birth. Dr. Callahan received a B.S. in Physics and Math from Iowa State University, and began to work on problems in quantitative biology while obtaining a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After graduation, Dr. Callahan worked as a postdoc in the Applied Physics and Statistics departments at Stanford University, where he studied adaptation in large populations through modeling, comparative genomics and experimental evolution.

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

3:45 pm | Quantifying & Correcting Bias in Microbiome Sequencing Measurements

Meghan Azad
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics and Child Health
University of Manitoba

Dr. Meghan Azad is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease. Her award-winning research program (www.azadlab.ca) is focused on the role of infant nutrition and gut microbiota in the development of asthma, allergies and obesity. Dr. Azad co-leads the Manitoba site of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study (www.childstudy.ca), a national pregnancy cohort following 3500 children to understand how early life experiences shape lifelong health. She directs multiple projects related to lactation and infant feeding practices in the CHILD cohort, including integrated studies linking human milk composition and gut microbiota with epigenetic profiles and clinical phenotypes. Dr. Azad also co-leads the Population Health Pillar for the Manitoba Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease Network (DEVOTION), and the Maternal, Fetal and Child Health Working Group for the new Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE). In 2018, Dr. Azad was awarded the University of London 150th Anniversary Prize and the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) Ehrlich-Koldovsky Award recognizing early-career investigators making outstanding contributions to the study of human milk and lactation. Her research is funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Lung Association, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Dr. Azad serves on the ISRHML Executive Council and the Breastfeeding Committee of Canada.  

Day Two

Thursday 28 May, 2020

9:00 am | Mother’s Milk & Baby’s Bacteria: Insights from the CHILD Cohort Study

Nikole Kimes
President, CSO & Co-Founder
Siolta Therapeutics

Dr. Nikole Kimes is President and Chief Scientific Officer of Siolta Therapeutics, a San Francisco-based biotech company developing novel microbiome-focused strategies for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases. As a founder and the lead executive driving Siolta’s early-stage development, Dr. Kimes heads a talented team of scientists, blending microbiology, immunology, and bioinformatics expertise to leverage microbiome data and research for the improvement of patient stratification and development of precision microbial therapeutics. Dr. Kimes has over a decade of experience in microbial ecology and host/microbe interactions, and her research in Dr. Susan Lynch’s lab at UCSF provided the foundation for the company’s translational research program.

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

11:00 am | Exploring the Development of Early Life Microbial Interventions to Disrupt the Atopic March

Chris Damman
Senior Program Officer, Global Health
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Christopher Damman, M.D., is a board certified gastroenterologist at the Digestive Health Center at UW Medical Center and SCCA and a UW assistant professor of Gastroenterology and Medicine. Dr. Damman feels that healing is as much listening compassionately and creating an environment of trust and understanding as it is gathering the facts and treating the illness. Dr. Damman earned his M.D. from Columbia. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. His research interests involve understanding the role of endogenous gastrointestinal organisms (the microbiota) in health and disease.

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

1:00 pm | Food, Microbes & the Gut for Good Growth in Global Health

David Kyle
Chairman & CEO
Evolve Biosystems

Dr. Kyle, a 35-year veteran of biotechnology has co-founded biotech companies in the field of infant nutrition including Martek Biosciences. At Martek, he led R&D and Commercial Development for over 15 years and today Martek’s DHA and ARA are now found in virtually every infant formula around the world. In 2000 he co-founded the US Chapter of the Mother and Child Foundation, an organization headquartered in London dedicated to better health of pregnant women and their children through better nutrition.  In 2013, David joined Evolve BioSystems as CEO and led the Company through several private equity financings and became Chairman of the Board and CSO in 2017.  David combines a distinguished scientific background with commercial acumen, has published over 70 scientific articles, edited two books, is the named inventor on over 200 patents, and was inducted into the US Technology Hall of Fame in 2009, for his contributions to Science and Industry.

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

2:00 pm | The Importance of a B. Infantis Dominant Infant Gut Microbiome in Protection from Opportunistic Infections in Term & Pre-term Infants

Dirk Gevers
Global Head, Microbiome Solutions
Johnson & Johnson

As Global Head, Microbiome Solutions, World Without Disease Accelerator (WWDA), Dirk strengthens Janssen and Johnson & Johnson leadership, scientific understanding and capabilities in this emerging area of science. Prior to this, Dirk held a similar role as Global Head, Janssen Human Microbiome Institute. Before joining Janssen and Johnson & Johnson, he served as Senior Group Leader of Microbial Systems and Communities at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. In this position, Dirk acted as a scientific liaison between different organizational components, including the Broad Institute’s data generation platforms and both clinical and analytical collaborators on a number of microbiome-related projects. Dirk’s research efforts at the Broad Institute included the characterization of the microbial imbalance associated with diseases such as Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and colorectal cancer. He was also involved with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Microbiome Project (HMP), holding a leading role in the Data Analysis Working Group, consisting of over 50 investigators focused on human microbiome research.
Dirk received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Ghent University (UGent), Belgium, and completed postdoctoral training at UGent and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in bioinformatics, comparative and evolutionary genome analysis and microbial ecology.

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

9:30 am | Targeting the Microbiome to Intercept Childhood Diseases

David Sela
Associate Professor
University of Massachusetts Amherst

David Sela is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science. Moreover he holds an adjunct appointment in the Dept. of Microbiology and Dept. of Microbiology and Physiological Systems at the UMass Medical School. Dr. Sela’s research is focused on the mechanisms by which human milk molecules direct the population structure, and thus function, of microbiota that colonize the infant gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Sela joined UMass Amherst after conducting postdoctoral research with David Mills in the Foods for Health Institute at University of California, Davis and David Relman at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Day Two

Thursday 28 May, 2020

10:55 am | Human Milk Bioactives Direct Bifidobacterium Infantis Function Within The Infant Gut Microbiome

Dorrotya Nagy-Szakai
CMO
Biotia, Inc.

Dorottya earned her MD and PhD in clinical medicine from Semmelweis University of Medicine in Hungary. Holding postdoctoral fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Hospital and Columbia University, she has 10+ years of experience in translational medicine, pediatrics, gastroenterology, microbiology and clinical metagenomics. She led cutting-edge clinical trials on fecal microbiome transplantation and developed a multicenter research program to understand the role of the gut-brain axis in the integrative neuroscience field. Currently, Dorottya is the Chief Medical Officer at Biotia, a NYC-based startup focusing on rapid infectious disease diagnostics, surveillance, and prevention of hospital acquired infections powered by artificial intelligence. 

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

4:15 pm | Using Precision Diagnostics to Improve Treatment of Infectious Diseases at a Young Age

Stacy Kahn
Attending Physician, Division of Gastroenterology
Hepatology and Nutrition Boston Children’s Hospital

Dr. Stacy Kahn completed her undergraduate degree in history at Washington University in St. Louis, and her post-baccalaureate premedical training at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She attended New York University School of Medicine and then went on to complete her pediatric residency and pediatric gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Chicago. While at the University of Chicago, she also completed an ethics fellowship at the Maclean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Clinically, Dr. Kahn’s interests have focused on the care of children with IBD, in particular she is interested in the care and management of teens and young adults with Crohn’s and colitis. While on the faculty at the University of Chicago, she founded and was the Director for the Transitional IBD Clinic. Dr. Kahn's other primary clinical focus is recurrent and refractory Clostridium difficile infection. She is a national expert and leader in the field of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and performed the first colonoscopic FMT in a child. Dr. Kahn's research interests include FMT for Clostridium difficile, FMT for inflammatory bowel disease, transition of care and self-management in IBD and research ethics. She is the director of the FMT research program at Boston Children’s Hospital and has led the development of the first national pediatric FMT registry.

Katherine Gregory
Director, Newborn Care Improvement and Analytics
Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Dr. Katherine Gregory, PhD, RN is a nurse scientist and research faculty in the Departments of Newborn Medicine and Nursing at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor or Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.  The focus of Dr. Gregory’s research is on the human microbiome, specifically the intestinal microbiome of the preterm infant.  Dr. Gregory and her colleagues have investigated the role that the intestinal microbiome plays in necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a catastrophic inflammatory bowel disease that is a major contributor to neonatal morbidity and morbidity. In addition, she has explored the influence of clinical factors such as gestational age, mode of birth, antibiotics, and nutrition on acquisition of intestinal microbiome following preterm birth.  Dr. Gregory has also investigated the usefulness of urinary proteins and inflammatory cytokines as early biomarkers of NEC in a population of preterm infants.  In this work, Dr. Gregory and her colleagues identified a measure of gut injury that was found to be a useful predictor of NEC as early as seven days prior to the onset of disease.  Dr. Gregory is Chair of the multidisciplinary Clinical Practice Council within the Department of Newborn Medicine. This council is responsible for developing and implementing clinical practice guidelines, ensuring that care provided to infants in all settings of the hospital is uniformly excellent and evidence based. Dr. Gregory is also an Editor of Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing.

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

3:15 pm | Understanding Gut Health During Early Life

Dr Georg Gerber
Assistant Professor of Pathology
Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Dr. Gerber, MD, PhD, MPH is a computer scientist, microbiologist and physician board certified in Clinical Pathology. He is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology faculty, Chief of the Division of Computational Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Co-Director of the Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center at BWH. His research interests involve building novel computational models and high-throughput experimental systems to understand the role of the microbiota in human diseases and applying these findings to develop new diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions to improve patient care.  Dr. Gerber’s training includes a Fellowship in Infectious Disease Pathology and Molecular Microbiology at BWH, Residency in Clinical Pathology at BWH, MD from Harvard Medical School, Masters’ and PhD in Computer Science (Statistical Machine Learning) from MIT, and Masters’ in Infectious Diseases and BA in Pure Mathematics from UC Berkeley. Prior to returning to graduate school, he founded several companies focused on developing and applying 3D graphics technologies to create feature and IMAX® films.

Day Two

Thursday 28 May, 2020

3:55 pm | Novel Computational Approaches For Analysing & Designing Longitudinal Microbiome Studies

Noel Muller
Assistant Professor
John Hopkins University

I am interested in the prevention of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease from the perspectives of life course, nutritional and microbiome epidemiology. I believe that primordial prevention of lifestyle and environmental risk factors, particularly in high-risk and nutritionally transitioning populations, provides the greatest opportunity to curb the epidemics of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. As such, my research aims to identify early-life, modifiable antecedents of cardiometabolic disease in diverse populations locally and globally. Most recently my research has focused on understanding the determinants of gut microbiota and how they can be leveraged to prevent metabolic diseases. My research effort is partitioned among the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health; the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research; and the Johns Hopkins Food, Body and Mind Institute.

Maureen Leonard
Clinical Director, Center for Celiac Research & Treatment
Massachusetts General Hospital

Maureen Leonard, MD, MMSc, is the Clinical Director of the Center For Celiac Research And Treatment at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (HMS). She sees adult and pediatric patients with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and other gluten-related disorders. Dr. Leonard obtained her medical degree from New York Medical College, completed her residency in general pediatrics at Tufts Medical Center and completed her fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology at MGHf C. Dr. Leonard received a Master’s Degree in Clinical and Translational Investigation from HMS. Dr. Leonard’s research is focused on predicting and preventing celiac disease through the NIH-funded Celiac Disease; Genomic, Environment, Microbiome and Metabolomic Study. Dr. Leonard’s other work include identifying biomarkers that can predict intestinal healing in pediatric patients with celiac disease, building translational models capable of predicting autoimmune disease in high risk individuals, and working with industry collaborators to create and perform clinical trials aimed at treating celiac disease. Dr. Leonard currently holds funding from the NIH (K23DK122127) and has previously been funded by the NIH (F32DK109620), Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard, and the Thrasher Research Foundation.

Day Two

Thursday 28 May, 2020

2:55 pm | The CDGEMM Study: Prospective Longitudinal Gut Metagenomic & Metabolomic Analysis To Predict Celiac Disease Onset

Victoria Martin
Co-Director, GI-Section, Food Allergy Center
Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Martin graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Biology.  She completed her medical school and residency training in Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  She then completed her Harvard Medical School fellowship training at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in the division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. She also completed a Master's degree in Public Health in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Martin's clinical and research interests include the developing infant microbiome and its potential role in gastrointestinal food allergic diseases, including allergic proctocolitis and eosinophilic esophagitis. She leads the Gastrointestinal Microbiome and Allergic Proctocolitis (GMAP) study, a large prospective observational cohort study designed to study the infant intestinal microbiome and its potential role in food allergy development.

Day Two

Thursday 28 May, 2020

3:25 pm | Lessons From GMAP: A Large Prospective Observational Study to Evaluate the Potential of the Intestinal Microbiome in Food Allergy Development

Xue-Jun (June) Kong
Research Investigator
Massachusetts General Hospital

Xue-Jun (June) Kong, M.D. is a Research Investigator at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Mass General Hospital, where she leads her Autism research team with funding from both USA and China. Her research projects include ASD microbiome and genomic studies; studies of biomarkers, autonomic dysfunction and brain imaging, and noninvasive brain stimulation; and drug clinical trials. The aim of these projects is to achieve a better understanding the etiology, early detection, clinical subgrouping, evidence-based and target treatments of ASD. Dr. Kong has proposed and modified an ASD primary care model and an extensive medical evaluation protocol, and East meets West approaches. In addition, she chairs the American Chinese Medical Exchange Society, the International Medicine Transformation (IMT) Initiative, and the To Cure Autism Institute. She is on staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and is a distinguished professor of Dalian Medical University (China). She also serves as Editor-in-Chief of North American Journal of Medicine & Science and North American Journal of Medicine & Health.

Elena Medo
Chairman & CEO
Medolac Laboratories

Elena Medo is the CEO of Medolac Laboratories, A Public Benefit Corporation which she co-founded first with her daughter, Adrianne Weir, and then with her son Aaron Medo and her daughter-in-law Jennifer Medo as the Company began executing its operations plan. Together they have all worked on the common goal of improving outcomes for preterm infants by using technology to increase access to lifesaving human milk. At Medolac, she has collaborated with Adrianne Weir to completely overhaul and redesign the inefficient milk banking business model which has resulted in long term shortages and rationing. The founding of the Mother’s Milk Cooperative has enabled healthy nursing mothers to transact the sale of surplus milk to Medolac for processing. The mission of the Company is to make human milk available to all babies in need, regardless of their economic status. By building scale into the foundation of the Company, Medolac is dramatically reducing the cost of donor milk to hospitals treating fragile, preterm infants. Medolac is passionate about making human milk available to all babies in need.

Day Two

Thursday 28 May, 2020

11:25 am | Understanding the Impact of Vaccination & Staphylococci Concentration on the Presence of Bacillus cereus in Raw Human Milk

Michelle McGuire
Professor
University of Idaho

Michelle (Shelley) McGuire received her bachelor’s in biology from the University of Illinois (1986), a master’s in nutritional sciences from the University of Illinois (1988) and doctorate in human nutrition from Cornell University (1994). Her research focuses primarily on understanding better how maternal diet and nutritional status influence human milk composition and maternal/infant health during breastfeeding. Of particular interest to her research is understanding the importance of dietary lipids to maternal and infant health. Shelley also has a long-standing interest in understanding the physiologic mechanisms driving the return of ovulatory function during the postpartum period. Recently, Shelley and her colleagues Mark McGuire and Janet Williams (both at the University of Idaho) have become intrigued by the presence and variability of bacteria in human milk (known as the human milk microbiome). As an extension, they are also interested in how the milk microbiome impacts short- and long-term infant health both in the U.S. and globally. Shelley’s research has been funded by a variety of groups including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and commodity groups such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Idaho Dairy Commission. McGuire is also passionately committed to bettering human health through the provision of user-friendly, high-quality, evidence-based nutrition information to the press and public.

Day Two

Thursday 28 May, 2020

9:30 am | Determining the Relationship Between the Microbiome of Human Milk & Infant Faeces

Sharon Donovan
Professor
University of Illinois

Sharon Donovan received her B.S. and Ph.D. in Nutrition from the University of California, Davis and completed a post-doctoral fellowship i at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is the Melissa M. Noel Endowed Chair and Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana.  Her laboratory conducts basic and translational research in the area of pediatric nutrition, focusing on optimizing intestinal, cognitive and microbiome development. She has over 200 publications and book chapters and has garnered over $35M in grant funding from NIH, USDA, private industry and foundations. She serves on the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for American Advisory Committee and is President of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 2017.

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

1:30 pm | Nutritional & Microbial Factors Influencing Growth Trajectories in Infancy

Padmaja Subbarao
Director, CHILD Cohort Study
University of Toronto & McMaster University

Padmaja Subbarao MD, MSc, FRCP(C) is a Senior Scientist and Pediatric Respirologist at the Hospital for Sick Children.  She is the Director of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study.  She is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Paediatrics and Physiology at the University of Toronto. She has held a New Investigator Award from CIHR for clinical research and her lab has been continuously funded by CIHR and AllerGen NCE since 2005. Dr. Subbarao is a co-Principal investigator with Drs. Turvey (lead), Finlay and Kobor on a multi-million dollar grant Genome Canada to investigate the role of the microbiome in asthma.  More recently, this year, she along with co-PI, Dr. Meghan Azad lead a grant targeted towards improving our understanding of the role of breastmilk on modifying the effect of early life exposures and microbiome in the development of asthma. Her expertise is in phenotyping and characterizing asthma from infancy; this includes the studying lung function measurements from infancy to improve diagnostics and phenotyping of asthma.  She hopes to understand the developmental origins of chronic obstructive lung disease and factors related to persistence and remission through studying the role of environmental exposures.

Day Two

Thursday 28 May, 2020

2:25 pm | Harnessing the Strength of Cohorts: Longitudinal Phenotypes from the CHILD Cohort Study

Rose Szabady
Associate Director, Immunology
Vedanta Bioscience

Rose L. Szabady, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of Immunology at Vedanta Biosciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Szabady leads Vedanta’s efforts to understand microbial modulation of the immune system in order to create microbiota-based therapies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Food Allergy, Graft-vs-Host Disease, Cancer, and Infectious Disease. Dr. Szabady received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, then went to the United Kingdom to learn mucosal immunology from Prof. Fiona Powrie at Oxford as a Marshall Sherfield Postdoctoral Fellow. She returned to the US for a second postdoc at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she received a Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation career development award and co-founded the Center for Microbiome Research with Prof. Beth McCormick. Dr. Szabady is dedicated to using scientific research to improve the health of patients and is passionate about her work at Vedanta to develop rationally designed bacterial consortia for human therapeutic benefit.

Day One

Wednesday 27 May, 2020

11:30 am | Therapeutic Microbiome Manipulation for Treatment & Prevention of Food Allergy

Herwig Bachmann

Herwig Bachmann obtained his PhD at Wageningen University on the adaptive response of lactic acid bacteria to a dairy environment. He uses molecular tools, -omics technologies and evolutionary engineering for the optimization of pure cultures and complex microbial consortia used in fermentation processes. Currently he is expertise group leader at NIZO, project leader at the Top Institute Food and Nutrition and he holds a part-time position as an assistant professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.