2019 Speakers

Speakers

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Christopher Missling
President & CEO
Anavex Life Sciences

Dr. Missling, President and CEO of Anavex, has over 20 years of healthcare industry experience within large pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industry and investment banking. Prior to joining Anavex®, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Curis and ImmunoGen. In addition, at Aventis (now Sanofi),  Dr. Missling worked as head of financial planning on all aspects of financial strategy and M&A. His career experience also includes working as an investment banker in the healthcare practice at Deutsche Bank, serving pharmaceutical, biotech, and diagnostic companies, as well as serving as the head of healthcare investment banking at Brimberg & Co. in New York. Dr. Missling has an MS and PhD from the University of Munich in Chemistry and an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

11:30 am | Sharing Clinical Data that Identifies Gut Microbiota Biomarkers Associated with Improved Clinical Response in Alzheimer’s Disease Patients Treated with ANAVEX®2-73

David Donabedian
Co-Founder, CEO & Director
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. He holds a BA in Chemistry from St. Anselm College, a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina. He currently serves on the Board of Alcyone Life Sciences, a privately held CNS company which he co-founded.
 

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

8:30 am | Microbiome GBA Industry & Academic Leaders Panel Discussion – Providing an Overview of the Status & Direction of the Microbiome GBA Space

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

1:30 pm | Clinical Study Design Considerations for the Testing of Gut Retentive Products, such as AB-2004, in the Neurological Disease Setting

Melanie Maya Kaelberer
Post-Doctoral Fellow Bohorquez Lab
Duke University

Maya received her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Yale University. For her doctoral work she used RNA sequencing technology to define how inflammation affects vagal nodose neurons. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Bohórquez Laboratory, Maya uses Single Cell Sequencing and intravital imaging to discern how sensory function in the gut is integrated by the vagus nerve. Maya’s ambition is to become an independent scientist in the field of sensory neurobiology

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

9:30 am | The Gut-Brain Connection: Functional Connectivity of the Vagus Nerve

Timothy Buie
Attending Gastroenterologist
Boston Children’s Hospital

Timothy M. Buie, M.D. is an award-winning pediatric gastroenterologist at Boston Children's Hospital. He began working at Children's in April 2017 and continues to work closely with the autism community and the autism center at Boston Children's Hospital. He was previously based at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children where he served as Director of Gastrointestinal and Nutrition at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Lurie Center for Autism. Dr. Buie is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He completed his training in Pediatric Gastroenterology at Yale School of Medicine. He has extensive experience in treating children with autism and associated conditions, championing the issues of underlying medical conditions in autism and how they affect behaviors. He has published a variety of papers and book chapters characterizing gastrointestinal problems in children with autism and developmental disorders including clinical presentation and medical findings. He is a founder and developer of the Autism Treatment Network, now managed by Autism Speaks. This is a multi-center program directed at evaluating medical problems in children with autism. He has been featured in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal on PBS NewsHour, the BBC and media worldwide, discussing gastrointestinal symptoms, diet, nutrition and the microbiome findings in individuals with autism. He is currently featured on AutismSpeaks.org in an online medical video series he developed and co-produced with Autism Speaks called: Office Hours with GI Specialist Tim Buie.* Dr. Buie has been honored for his efforts caring for children with autism receiving the Professional of the Year by the Autism Society of America in 2010, the Margaret Bauman Award for Autism Care and the Partners in Excellence Award 2014.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

8:30 am | Microbiome GBA Industry & Academic Leaders Panel Discussion – Providing an Overview of the Status & Direction of the Microbiome GBA Space

Michael Zasloff
Founder, CEO & Chairman
Enterin, Inc

Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics, Georgetown University, Dean of Research and Translational Science at Georgetown University, founder of Magainin and former President Magainin Research Institute Over the past 25 years, Dr. Zasloff’s scientific interests have centered on the innate immune systems of animals. Dr. Zasloff received his M.D.-Ph.D. in the Medical Scientist Training Program at New York University School of Medicine. In the 1980’s, Dr. Zasloff was Chief, Human Genetics Branch, National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, at the National Institutes of Health. In 1988 Dr Zasloff founded Magainin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a publicly traded biotechnology company. In the same year he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as the Charles E. H. Upham Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics, and assumed the position of Director of the Division of Human Genetics of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  In July 1992 Dr. Zasloff left Penn and joined Magainin on a full time basis, and served as Executive Vice President and President of the Magainin Research Institute, a basic research division of the Company. From July 1996 through November 2000 Dr. Zasloff was Vice Chairman of the Board of Magainin Pharmaceuticals.  In 2002, Dr. Zasloff was named Dean of Research and Translational Science at Georgetown, tasked with the integration of the basic science conducted at Georgetown with the clinical environment of the Medical Center. Between 2004 and 2006 Dr. Zasloff also served as Senior Vice President for Biotechnology for Ferris, Baker Watts, and an investment firm in D.C. Since 2004, Dr. Zasloff has been actively engaged in studies of innate immunity as Scientific Director of the MedStar-Georgetown Transplant Institute.  His research interests remain focused on the role of antimicrobial peptides and aminosterols in health and disease, and application to the prevention and treatment of disease. He has published over 150 peer reviewed articles, and holds over 40 issued US patents. He recently founded Enterin, Inc. where he serves as Chairman and CEO. He also serves as the lead independent Director on the Board of Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and is a Director at Sarentis Therapeutics and Novo Therapeutics. He has received numerous awards including an honorary Doctor of Science from Georgetown University in 2011.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

8:30 am | Microbiome GBA Industry & Academic Leaders Panel Discussion – Providing an Overview of the Status & Direction of the Microbiome GBA Space

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

12:00 pm | Clinical Experience of Targeting Alpha Synuclein in Enteric Nerves Produced in Response to Infection Over the Life Course to Treat Parkinson’s Disease

Zain Kassam
Chief Medical Officer
Finch Therapeutics

Dr Zain Kassam is a Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at Finch Therapeutics Group, a microbiome therapeutics spin out of OpenBiome, the world’s first stool bank for fecal transplants. He is also a founding team member and former CMO at OpenBiome. Dr. Kassam is a Gastroenterologist, Clinical Research Affiliate at the MIT Center for Microbiome Informatics & Therapeutics, and was named to the prestigious Top 40 under 40 Healthcare Innovator List by MedTech.

Philip Strandwitz
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.

Peter Nara
Chief Scientific Officer & Founder
Keystone Bio

Dr. Nara currently is currently the Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer and President for Business Development for Keystone Bio Inc and Chairman Emeritus and past  Chief Executive Officer, President, Chairman & co-founder of Biological Mimetics, Inc. and held the Endowed Eugene Lloyd Entrepreneurial Chair and Professor in Vaccinology, founding Center Director for the Center for Advanced Host Defense, Immunobiotics, and Translational Comparative Medicine in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University, is an adjunct professor of Microbiology/Immunology, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa. Dr. Nara holds a M.Sc. in Immuno-pharmacology, a combined Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Ph.D. (retro-virology/oncogenesis) from The Ohio State University, 4 year combined residency in Comparative Pathology and NIH senior post-doctoral Fellowship at both the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and the NIH respectively. He has received numerous awards and recognition and in 2011 was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his work related to Deceptive Imprinting and Immune Refocusing Technology. Dr. Nara and his team while at the NCI were the original discovers of the phenomena of Deceptive Imprinting and invented the first generation of Immune Refocusing Technology.

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

10:00 am | Addressing Oral Systemic Inflammation via Precision Biotherapeutic Pharmabiome Intervention Directed Against Porphyromonas gingivalis

Alessio Fasano
Professor & Director Mucosal Immunology & Biology
Research Center Massachusetts General Hospital

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

12:00 pm | Microbiome and Gut-Brain Axis: The Autism Paradigm to Move from Association to Causation

Stephen Skolnick
Research Technologist
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Stephen Skolnick is a scientist and storyteller exploring the emerging connections between the microbiome and mental health.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

10:00 am | Microbes & Monoamine: Stepping Stones from Dysbiosis to Psychiatric Disease

Rishab Shyam
Executive Director
PureTech Health

Rishab Shyam, Ph.D., is an Executive Director at PureTech Health, where he has been involved in conceptualizing and building the lymphatic and exosome platforms as part of the Company’s internal R&D pipeline. Additionally, he is responsible for generating/identifying novel therapeutic approaches and developing technologies that form the foundational platforms for new therapeutic initiatives around the Brain-Immune-Gut axis. Prior to PureTech, Rishab was as an Entrepreneurial Fellow at Flagship Ventures and also spent a year as a Volunteer Educational Assistant at a School (https://www.shantibhavanchildren.org/netflix/) in a village in India. Rishab has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University – School of Medicine and a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering, with Minors in Economics and Chemistry, from Purdue University.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

12:30 pm | Highlighting Important Highways Enabling Immune Crosstalk

Ali Keshavarzian
Professor & Gastroenterologist
Rush University Medical Center

Ali Keshavarzian, MD, FRCP, FACP, AGAF, MACG the Josephine M. Dyrenforth Chair of Gastroenterology, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pharmacology, Molecular Physiology, Director of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study of the Gut, Chronobiology and Inflammation at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois has been a practicing gastroenterologist with a specialty in managing patients with inflammatory bowel disease for over 30 years. He trained in medicine at the Tehran University Medical School in Iran and residency and GI fellowship in England- at Guy’s Hospital Medical School, Hillingdon Hospital and Hammersmith Hospital. After a year of GI research fellowship at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine in 1985, he held faculty positions at University of Maryland, Loyola University Medical Center and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He became the Chief, Section of Gastroenterology at Hines VA Hospital, Hines, IL in 1992, Director, Division of Digestive Disease and Nutrition at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL in 1995 prior to coming to Rush University Medical Center, Chicago IL in 1999 as the Director of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition. As a clinician scientist Dr. Keshavarzian has been studying the impact of environmental factors (stress, alcohol, sleep and circadian disruption) on intestinal barrier function host/microbe interaction that promote intestinal and systemic (gut-derived) inflammation leading to initiation and/or progression of inflammatory disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergy, metabolic syndrome, alcoholic and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and Parkinson’s disease. He has contributed to over 340 peer-reviewed published articles and book chapters with an h-index of 75. He has been doing basic science, translational and clinical research focused on liver and GI tract for almost three decades and the PI on multiple R01, R-21, RC3 and SBIR grants collaborating with many investigators. He was one of the first investigators to report the key role of oxygen free radicals in tissue injury in inflammatory bowel disease and alcohol-induced disruption of the intestinal barrier in alcoholic liver disease in the 1980s and one of the first investigators to begin to focus on the role of intestinal microbiota in health and disease in alcoholism, IBD, cancer, HIV and Parkinson. He has been studying the effects of circadian rhythm disruption on intestinal disease since 2007 and one of the early investigators to examine the effects of circadian disruption on the effects of alcohol and to report the negative impact of sleep and circadian disruption in IBD.
Dr. Keshavarzian was instrumental in starting the mentoring program at Rush University Medical Center and was honored with several Teaching and Service Awards and with the Excellence in Mentoring Award and continues to mentor at Rush, nationally and internationally. He is involved with numerous local/regional and national committees and gastroenterology associations and current reviewer for Medical Research Council of UK, NIH, Foundations, ACG and AGA research review panels. He has served in multiple ACG committees in the last three decades and was the ACG governor for the state of Illinois for two terms.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

3:00 pm | Exploring the Role of Intestinal Microbiota & Gut-Derived Inflammation in Parkinson’s Disease

Frank Middleton
Associate Professor
SUNY Upstate Medical University

Dr. Middleton is a highly-experienced molecular neurobiologist, neuroanatomist, data analyst, and medical educator with a passion for brain research. He has long-standing interests in the study of normal and abnormal behaviour, and particularly interested in uncovering the genetic, epigenetic, and microbial interactions with environmental factors that influence brain development and both neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disease risk. He has been a faculty member at SUNY Upstate Medical University since 2002, and is the founder and director of the Molecular Analytics Core there as well as the Director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. He holds appointments in 4 different departments - including Neuroscience & Physiology, Biochemistry, Psychiatry and Pediatrics, has been well-funded for his research from the National Institute of Health and other organizations and has authored approximately 150 peer-reviewed publications to date. He also serves as a chief section editor of Frontiers in Genetics and Frontiers in Psychiatry, and is a statistical review for the Journal of Neurochemistry.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

2:00 pm | Investigating Gut-Brain Interactions in Autism & Neurodegenerative Disorders

Nader Yaghoubi
Co-Founder & CEO
Symbiotix Biotherapies Inc

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

Thursday 13th December 2018

9:30 am | TREG-modulating Therapeutics for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Nicole Polinski
Senior Associate Director, Research Programs
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

As Senior Associate Director of Research Programs at MJFF, I provide strategic leadership and management for the Inflammation Portfolio and the Preclinical Tools Program. Within each of these programs I develop and lead collaborations across key stakeholders (biopharmaceutical industry groups, academics, contract research organizations, biotechnology companies) to identify gaps in the field and work with field leaders to address these gaps. In addition, I provide management and stewardship for individual grants/projects and serve as a key opinion leader in the areas of preclinical tool development and models of Parkinson’s disease.

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

2:30 pm | Advancing Parkinson’s Disease Research through Funding and Collaborative Team Building

Valerie Taylor
Department Chair of Psychiatry & Scientist
University of Calgary & Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Dr. Valerie Taylor, MD, PhD, FRCP is a Professor and the Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Calgary and Head of Mental Health for the Calgary Zone. Prior to coming to Calgary she was the chief of Psychiatry at Women’s College Hospital and the Center for Addiction and Mental health in Toronto. Her academic focus has been on the area of medical psychiatry and for the last 5 year on the gut brain axis and the area of the gut microbiome. She has over 120 peer reviewed publications and funding from a variety of national and international funding agencies.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

8:30 am | Microbiome GBA Industry & Academic Leaders Panel Discussion – Providing an Overview of the Status & Direction of the Microbiome GBA Space

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

11:00 am | Discussing Challenges in Clinical Trial Design - Lessons Learned from RCTs of Fecal Transplant in Mood Disorders

Jing Lu
Research Professional
University of Chicago

I am a Research Professional who works in the Department of Pediatrics/Biological Science Division at the University Of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine investigating how the early microbiome of preterm infants can affect brain development and neurological outcomes. I have a broad background in molecular biology, biochemistry and physiology with specific training and expertise in nutrition- and microbial-mediated gastrointestinal function and diseases. As a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, I established neonatal rodent necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) models to study the pathophysiology of the disease. NEC is the most common acute gastrointestinal morbidity leading to neurodevelopment impairment and adverse long term neurological outcomes in preterm infants. Using these models and cell culture systems I uncovered the roles of host-microbe interactions through canonical Toll-like receptors and epithelial apoptosis induced by platelet-activating factor during the development of NEC.  I further identified potential modulators such as polyunsaturated fatty acids that have been shown to improve visual and neurodevelopment in preterm infants as well as reduce the incidence of NEC by regulating innate Toll-like receptors and epithelial apoptosis. I have extended my research from microbiota and gut interactions to the microbiota-gut-brain axis with a specific interest in how preterm gut microbiota affects brain development and behaviors. With the previously established transfaunation model in our lab, I was able to publish two scientific papers building a strong connection between preterm microbiome and brain development. Currently, I am investigating how different microbial communities affect the development and functions of the blood-brain barrier, the direct interface between microbiome-related mediators in the circulation and the central nervous system.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

11:30 am | Exploring the Early Microbiome & Neurodevelopment

Ai-Ling Lin
Associate Professor
University of Kentucky

Dr. Ai-Ling Lin is currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, Department of Neuroscience and Department of Biomedical Engineering of the University of Kentucky. Originally from Taiwan, Dr. Lin completed her PhD and Postdoctoral training as a medical physicist from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, TX. She has developed and applied multi-metric neuroimaging methods (MRI, MRS and PET) to determine brain vascular and metabolic functions, which allow her to identify effects of caloric restriction, ketogenic diet, prebiotic diet, and Rapamycin on cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with various animal models. She has recently extended her research to include gut microbiome and metabolomics analyses for identifying gut-brain interactions in the context of brain aging and AD. It is her goal to identify effective individualized interventions to preserve brain functions in aging and prevent AD via gut-brain axis. Dr. Lin has been awarded $2.88 million from the National Institute on Aging to study Rapamycin’s potential to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and another $3.61 million to study effects of prebiotic diet to reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk via gut-brain axis in an APOE4 mouse model.
Dr. Lin has numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and poster awards to her credit, and directs or co-directs grants from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and Office of Dietary Supplement (ODS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), and the Donors Cure Foundation.

Day One

Thursday 13th December 2018

2:30 pm | Dietary Inulin Alters the Gut Microbiome, Enhances Systemic Metabolism & Reduces Neuroinflammation in an APOE4 Mouse Model

4D Pharma-Speaker TBC

Day Two

Thursday 13th December 2018

9:00 am | Microbiome-Derived Live Biotherapeutics to Target the Gut-Brain Axis