14-16 November 2018

Boston, MA

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Speakers

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Nader Yaghoubi
President & CEO
Symbiotix Biotherapies

Dr. Yaghoubi has over 20 years of experience in the creation, operations and financing of life science companies. He joined Symbiotix in 2010 to establish the first company developing molecular therapeutics based on the microbiome. Prior to Symbiotix, he was the first employee at Selecta Biosciences (Nasdaq:SELB) and BIND Therapeutics (Nasdaq:BIND), where he worked with the founders to launch the companies and establish operations and corporate development. Previously, he was at Zero Stage Capital, a venture capital firm where he was responsible for investing in the life sciences sector, and earlier completed an internship at Advent International. Prior to this, he was a Health Care Entrepreneurship Fellow at Boston University, where he worked with scientists and physicians to develop new businesses in the healthcare and life science sector. Before his fellowship, he trained in the Department of Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Dr. Yaghoubi received an M.D. and Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology from the combined degree program at Boston University School of Medicine. His doctorate work on the development of high-throughput automated electrophysiological systems resulted in five issued US patents, received one of the University’s highest awards for dissertational research, and was the basis of a venture-backed biotechnology company focused on ion channel electrophysiology. He is extensively involved in mentoring young companies, and has served/serves as a mentor, advisor and reviewer with MBC’s MassCONNECT program, Mass Life Sciences Center programs, Springboard Venture Capital Forum and numerous university business plan competitions.

Day Two

Friday 16th November, 2018

13.00 | TREG-Modulating Molecular Therapeutics for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Sian Hemmings
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Stellenbosch University

Professor Hemmings completed her postgraduate degrees, as well as postdoctoral work at Stellenbosch University, in the field of psychiatric genetics. She is currently the Head of the Neuropsychiatric Genetics Laboratory at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University. Here, she directs the genetics and molecular-based research into anxiety- and stress-related disorders, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and also has strong research interest in foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Her group’s current research involves investigating PTSD and FASD from a systems-biology point of view, integrating information from a variety of sources (genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomic and microbiome) to delineate the molecular aetiology of the disorders. As her group is the only dedicated neuropsychiatric genetics laboratory in South Africa, they have a wide-ranging interest in our work from students from South Africa, as well as other countries in Africa. Prof Hemmings currently supervises a number of postgraduate students, and she is passionate about transferring knowledge to these students, facilitating the progress of scientific research in sub-Saharan Africa. She has made various significant contributions to research into the genetics of anxiety disorders, and collaborates with a number of other international researchers on research projects.

Day Two

Friday 16th November, 2018

11.00 | The Microbiome in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma-Exposed Controls: An Exploratory Study

Ulrich Thienel
Chief Medical Officer
Finch Therapeutics Group

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

16.30 | A Clinical Trial in Asd Using Full Spectrum Microbiota - a Novel Microbiome-Based Intervention

17.30 | Panel Discussion: Conducting Clinical Trials in the Gut-Brain Axis: Challenges and Opportunities

Patrice Garnier
CEO
AMABiotics

Dr. Patrice Garnier is Chief Executive Officer for Amabiotics (www.amabiotics.com), a biopharmaceutical company that develops innovative diagnostics and microbiome- derived medicines to fight age-related diseases with a strong research focuses on gut-brain axis. The leading drug candidate, AMA-101, is a potential first-in- class therapy for Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Garnier is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience leading high-tech companies. Prior to joining Amabiotics in 2013, he founded and served for 9 years as CEO in a bioinformatics company that delivers genome to metabolome solutions for data analysis and management.
Dr. Garnier holds an MSc in quantum physics from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He completed his PhD in nanotechnology in Professor Catherine Brechignac’s group at the Laboratoire Aimée Cotton, CNRS.

Day Two

Friday 16th November, 2018

11.30 | From Microbiome Explorations to Effective Innovative Therapies in Parkinson Disease

David Donabedian
CEO
Axial Biotherapeutics

Dr. Donabedian is an accomplished business development and strategy executive with extensive leadership experience. Dr. Donabedian has a track record of building companies, most recently as a Venture Partner at Longwood Fund. Prior to joining Longwood, Dr. Donabedian has held various leadership roles at biopharmaceutical companies including AbbVie and GSK. At AbbVie, Dr. Donabedian served as Vice President & Global Head of Ventures and Early Stage Collaborations where he led a global team that completed significant transactions across multiple therapeutic areas and stages of development. Prior to AbbVie, Dr. Donabedian served as Vice President Global New Deal Strategy and Development at GlaxoSmithKline, and Senior Manager at Accenture’s Strategic Services Consulting Group.

Day Two

Friday 16th November, 2018

12.30 | Targeting the Gut Microbiome to Treat Neurological Conditions: Elucidating a Causal Relationship Between the Gut & Disease

Chris Reyes
Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Bloom Science

Dr. Christopher Reyes is Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder at Bloom Science (www.bloomscience.co), a biotechnology company focused on dramatically improving the lives of patients. Connecting the gut microbiota to diet, metabolism, neural activity and behavior, we are developing effective microbe-based therapeutics to make measurable improvements to outcomes that matter to patients. Dr. Reyes is a biophysicist and entrepreneur with a passion for creating solutions to improve our health, environment and economic sustainability. He has founded two companies focused on developing therapeutics to address serious medical needs as well as a tech company focused on connecting people to socially conscious commerce solutions. Dr. Reyes has a Ph.D. in Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco and B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology, Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

14.00 | Connecting the Gut Microbiota to Diet, Metabolism, Neural Activity and Behaviour to Develop Effective Microbiota- Based Treatments for Epilepsy and Improved Brain Health

Gil Sharon
Postdoctoral Scholar in Biology. Mazmanian Lab
California Institute of Technology

Gil Sharon is a Postdoctoral Scholar in Biology at the Mazmanian laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He received his B.Sc. in Biology from the Tel Aviv University, where he also received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the department of Molecular microbiology and biotechnology, where, together with his advisors Prof. Eugene Rosenberg and Prof. Daniel Segal, he discovered a bacterial role in driving behavioral changes in fruit flies influencing adaptation, speciation and thus evolution of the host. At Prof. Sarkis K. Mazmanian’s research group, Gil studies the impact microbes have on the behavior of their mammalian host, through the gut-brain axis, in clinically-relevant mouse models.

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

15.00 | Microbiomes of Autism Spectrum Disorder Patients Induce Behavioral Deficits in Mice

Felice Jacka
Professor, School of Medicine
Deakin University

Professor Felice Jacka is an NHMRC Career Development Fellow at Deakin University where she is director of the new Food & Mood Centre. She is founder and president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR) and immediate past president of the Australian Alliance for the Prevention of Mental Disorders (APMD). Professor Jacka has pioneered and led a highly innovative program of research that examines how individuals’ diets interact with the risk for mental health problems. Her current work focuses closely on the links between diet, gut health and mental and brain health. This research is being carried out with the ultimate goal of developing new, evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies for mental disorders.

Pre-Conference Workshop Day

Wednesday, November 14

13.00 | Food for Brain Health: Understanding the Potential of Nutritional Psychiatry Through the Gut-Brain Axis

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

17.30 | Panel Discussion: Conducting Clinical Trials in the Gut-Brain Axis: Challenges and Opportunities

Elaine Patterson
Senior Scientist
DuPont Nutrition & Health

Day Two

Friday 16th November, 2018

09.30 | DuPont HOWARU® Probiotics Show Positive Impact on Stress and Anxiety Attributes

Malu Tansey
Professor, Department of Physiology
Emory University School of Medicine

Malu Gamez Tansey is a tenured Associate Professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and a member of the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (CND). She obtained her B.S/M.S in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, and her Ph.D. in Cell Regulation from UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Dallas, TX, where she studied the role of MLCK phosphorylation in regulation of smooth muscle contraction in the laboratory of Dr. James T. Stull in the Department of Physiology. After a short post-doc with Kate Luby-Phelps in the same department, she moved to Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, Missouri to the laboratory of the late John P. Merlie where she elucidated the signaling mechanisms required for ARIA/Heregulin-induced acetylcholine receptor epsilon gene expression at the neuromuscular junction before settling in the laboratory of Eugene M. Johnson Jr. in 1996.

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

10.00 | The Role of rgs10 in the Gut-Brain Inflammatory Axis in Parkinson’s Disease

Phil Strandwitz
Co-Founder & CEO
Holobiome

Dr. Philip Strandwitz is a specialist in the microbiome, with a focus on the gut-brain-axis. Philip received his PhD in Biology under the guidance of Dr. Kim Lewis at Northeastern University, where he focused on cultivating unique bacteria from the human gut microbiota, as well as studying their ability to modulate neurotransmitters. Since assembled a broad range of clinical and academic collaborators to further profile the link between the human microbiome and the gut-brain-axis. Philip has presented at numerous conferences, including those held by the New York Academy of Science, Keystone Symposia, and the BIO International Conference. He is now CEO as Holobiome, a company he co-founded to translate microbiome science into novel therapeutics to treat diseases of the central and enteric nervous systems. Philip led the efforts to establish an early stage partnership with Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. and Janssen Research & Development, LLC in early 2018. Holobiome is currently located at LabCentral in Cambridge, MA.

Day Two

Friday 16th November, 2018

12.00 | Neurotransmitter and Neurotransmission Modulating Bacteria of the Human Gut Microbiota

Derrick Macfabe
MD, Co-Founder and Director
Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group

Dr. MacFabe is the Director of the Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group, and Assistant Professor, Depts. of Psychology (Neuroscience) & Psychiatry (Division of Developmental Disabilities), at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. He is also a Core Member of the iTARGET Autism Initiative, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He is investigating the role of gut-brain interactions on the identification and possible treatments of autism spectrum disorders. Dr. MacFabe’s research examining potential gastrointestinal and infective links in autism has been listed among the “Top 50 Scientific Discoveries in Canada” by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

12.30 | Short Chain Fatty Acids- Microbial Modulators of Metabolism, Mitochondria and Mind- Implications in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Jane Foster
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences
McMaster University

Dr. Foster is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. She holds a research appointment as a Scientific Associate with the University Health Network and as a Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, ON. Dr. Foster is an active researcher in two large translational networks -  the Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders Network (POND) and the Canadian Biomarkers in Depression (CAN-BIND). Dr. Foster’s research focuses on the role of immune-brain and gut-brain interactions on neurodevelopment, behaviour, and brain function. Dr. Foster hopes that her research accomplishments lead to a better understanding of how these relationships contribute to psychiatric disorders such as neurodevelopmental disorders, anxiety and depression.

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

12.00 | Translational Approaches to Help Make Sense of Microbiota-Host Mechanisms

Kuldip Dave
Director, Research Programs
Michael J. Fox Foundation

As Director, Research Programs, Kuldip stays closely linked to the Parkinson's community in order to develop an aggressive and innovative agenda for accelerating research and drug development for Parkinson's disease. This ensures that MJFF priorities reflect and best serve the ultimate needs of patients. Kuldip regularly meets with academic and industry scientists around the world to identify promising proposals to support, providing troubleshooting and ongoing management of projects as they go forward. He supports the Foundation's priority interest in alpha-synuclein, an important protein linked genetically and pathologically to Parkinson's disease. He also oversees the emerging targets portfolio to identify and validate novel targets for PD. Dr. Dave earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Rutgers University and a PhD in Pharmacology & Physiology from the MCP-Hahnemann University. His thesis work focused on serotonergic regulation of motor function and learning and memory. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at a small biotechnology firm Adolor Corporation investigating opioid-receptor regulation of pain and inflammation pathways. Kuldip went on to work for the pharmaceutical company Wyeth managing programs within the Women's Health Department focusing on the hormonal regulation of mood and sexual disorders. He brings this broad CNS drug-discovery experience and knowledge to the Foundation to help bring new treatments to people with Parkinson's. Kuldip is proud to work for the foundation and is passionate about the mission to finding the cure for Parkinson's disease.

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

09.00 | MJFF Activities in Understanding the Parkinson’s Disease Microbiome

Christian Furlan Freguia
Director, Research
Synthetic Biologics

Christian is part of the research team at Synthetic Biologics, Inc., where he leads several preclinical programs, including the development of biologics to modulate the gut microbiome. In his previous positions, he actively worked on both small molecule and biologics, developing projects from early phases to IND. His work had been published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals and also on scientific magazines, he is the inventor on issued patents and patent applications, and he has received several awards for his work. Christian earned a Ph.D. at the University of Ferrara (Italy) and received a fellowship from The Children`s Hospital of Philadelphia and The Scripps Research Institute.

Day Two

Friday 16th November, 2018

09.30 | Treatment of Female Mice with Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase Ameliorates Behavioural Disorders in Offspring

Valerie Taylor
Psychiatrist-in-Chief
Women's College Hospital

Dr. Valerie Taylor’s academic focus is on obesity, metabolic syndrome and mental health in both adults and children. She is interested in the developmental origins and common pathophysiology of obesity, diabetes and depression, the concept of food addiction and the impact of pharmacotherapy on weight and behaviour. By examining the complex relationships between mental health, obesity and chronic disease, Dr. Taylor’s research seeks to understand why people with mental illness are likely to die 15 years younger than the average lifespan. With this information, she is committed to creating more evidence-based tools that help people to manage their weight effectively, and in a way that is safe and healthy for their minds and bodies. In addition to leading and co-authoring numerous peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, Dr. Taylor is the author of The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Weight Management: A Step by Step Program for Real People.

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

17.30 | Panel Discussion: Conducting Clinical Trials in the Gut-Brain Axis: Challenges and Opportunities

16.00 | Safety and Efficacy of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in a Population With Bipolar Disorder

Natalia Palacios
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health
UMass Lowell

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

09.30 | An Epidemiological Study of the Gut Microbiome in Parkinson's Disease

John Lukens
Assistant Professor
University of Virginia School of Medicine

For his undergraduate studies, John Lukens attended the University of Richmond, where he pursued organic chemistry research in the laboratory of John Gupton. Lukens then completed his thesis research in the laboratory of Young Hahn at the University of Virginia. In the Hahn lab, his research was focused on identifying immunoregulatory pathways that suppress immune responses in the liver and contribute to functional exhaustion of intrahepatic T cells. For his postdoctoral training, he worked in the laboratory of Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti at Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. His work defined novel roles for IL-1 signaling pathways in a number of autoinflammatory disorders. In fall 2014, Lukens returned to the University of Virginia to start his lab in the Department of Neuroscience and the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia. His laboratory investigates roles for IL-1 family cytokines and caspase-mediated signaling in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative disease and autism spectrum disorder. The Lukens lab is particularly interested in discovering novel inflammatory pathways that contribute to maternal immune activation-induced autism and interrogating the efficacy of immune-based approaches in the treatment of autism.

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

14.30 | Critical Roles for Microbiota-Mediated Regulation of the Immune System in a Prenatal Immune Activation Model of Autism

Kathleen Shannon
Detling Professor & Chair, Neurology
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Dr. Shannon is a Professor and Chair of Neurology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Shannon's medical interests include movement disorders, with special emphasis on neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease. Dr. Shannon has built her research career on clinical trials of medical and surgical interventions on these disorders, and is also interested in gastrointestinal biomarkers of Parkinson's disease and the potential role of gastrointestinal dysfunction in the pathogenesis of the disease.

Day One

Thursday 15th November, 2018

17.30 | Panel Discussion: Conducting Clinical Trials in the Gut-Brain Axis: Challenges and Opportunities

17.00 | Searching the Intestinal Environment for Clues to the Etiopathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease