Ben Libberton

Science Communicator, Freelance
Helena Sztajer

Head of the Laboratory PhD, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

Hans-Curt Flemming

Professor Emeritus, University of Duisburg-Essen

Elisabeth M. Bik

Science Editor, uBiome

After receiving my PhD at Utrecht University in The Netherlands, I worked at the Dutch National Institute for Health and the St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein. From 2001-2016 I worked in the laboratory of David Relman at Stanford University, where I have worked on the characterization of human oral, gastric, and intestinal microbiotas, and that of marine mammals. In 2016 I joined uBiome where we allow citizen scientists to sequence their microbiome. I also run Microbiome Digest,, an almost daily compilation of scientific papers in the rapidly growing microbiome field, tweet on Twitter as @MicrobiomDigest, and scan published papers for image manipulation.
Hadar Ben-Yoav

Assistant Professor, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Federico Lauro

Associate Professor, Nanyang Technological University

A/Prof. Lauro has pioneered skills in both experimental and computational sciences – in particular deep-sea microbiology and the latest 'omic' technologies. In total, he has authored 51 peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals, including Science and PNAS. In 2009, he described a mathematical model, which could predict the trophic strategy of marine bacteria from its genome sequence. This approach was widely acclaimed, and was the start of his integrative multidisciplinary venture – combining (meta) genomics, bioinformatics, physics and chemistry for the study of microbes in the global biogeochemical cycles. In 2011, Lauro described the microbial ecosystem of an entire Antarctic lake using a systems biology approach, shifting the conventional ecological paradigm away from microbial populations to whole microbial communities. Lauro’s research and his innovative ideas continue to put him at the forefront of his field. In a 2014 publication (Lauro et al. 2014), Federico addresses the lack of data coverage and sampling across oceanic waters, a prevalent issue that has always left the scientific community with incomplete information to make concrete deductions and predictions on ocean weather, currents, climatic patterns, trajectories of missing objects and the like. Currently, there is little information to allow even for an estimate of the physical, biological and chemical characteristics of the world’s waters. Lauro’s open call for the crowdsourcing of oceanographic data has garnered much attention and will hopefully lay the foundation for yet another pioneering success. Along with his pursuit of marine microbial environments, Lauro is extending his expertise and highly renowned set of skills to that of the air microbiome.
Enrico Marsili

Principal scientist, Nanyang Technological University

Emilie Muller

Research Associate, University of Luxembourg

Ehud Banin

Associate Professor , Bar-Ilan University

Dr. Ehud Banin, a returning scientist from the University of Washington, Seattle, is a Member of the Nano Cleantech Center at the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA), and lecturer at the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences. Banin has shown how bacteria under attack by the immune system create biofilms, surface-associated bacterial communities encased in an extracellular polymeric matrix. By revealing the specific pattern of gene expression that allows harmful bacteria to band together and survive in biofilms, Banin is defining an important target in the ongoing fight against antibiotic resistance, as well as for the search for new treatments for biofilm-related diseases such as cystic fibrosis. His laboratory implements an array of physiological, biochemical, and genetic tools combined with novel technologies that allow controlled and reproducible biofilm growth to characterize bacterial biofilms and compare them to the non-biofilm communities.
Diane McDougald

Associate Professor, Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering

Asst. Prof. McDougald has made significant contributions to the fields of Vibrio biology, bacterial adaptation to stress and mechanisms of molecular control of these responses, cell-to-cell communication, biofilm formation and interactions of bacteria with higher eukaryotes. Her group’s major research interest is on the investigation of mechanisms of survival and persistence of pathogens in the environment, and what impact these mechanisms have on virulence and pathogenicity in the host. They investigate the evolutionary drivers and consequences of bacterial adaptation to stresses, including interactions with higher organisms. Broadly, they study the interactions of prokaryotes and eukaryotes using a number of model systems to investigate the impact of predation by protozoa on microbial communities and how evolution of grazing defences drives the evolution of pathogenicity in the environment. Predation is an important selection pressure that pathogens face in the environment, and as a result, pathogens may evolve phenotypes that not only increase their fitness in the environment, but may also increase their fitness in the human host. This research platform will allow her group to test key aspects of the Coincidental Selection Hypothesis, which states that the virulence of many opportunistic human pathogens may be an accidental by-product of selection for adaptations not related to human disease.
Akos T Kovacs

Professor of Bacterial Physiology and Genetics, Technical University of Denmark, DTU Bioengineering

07/2017 - Professor of Bacterial Physiology and Genetics, DTU Denmark 10/2012-07/2017 Group Leader, FSU Jena, Germany 07/2005-07-2012 Post Doc, University Groningen, The Netherlands (w/ Oscar Kuipers) 09/2003-05/2005 Post Doc, Biological Research Centre, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Szeged, Hungary (w/ Kornel Kovacs) 09/2000-09/2003 PhD fellow, University of Szeged, Hungary (w/ Kornel Kovacs) 09/1995-07/2000 BSc/MSc student, University of Szeged, Hungary
David Nathan Quan

Post-Doctoral Researcher, UMD

Cagla Tukel

Assistant Professor, Temple University

My research focuses on how the bacterial biofilm are recognized by the immune system. We are mainly interested in bacterial amyloids, protein deposits with a fibrillar cross beta-sheet quaternary structure, which exhibit a starch (amylose)-like ability to stain with iodine. In humans, deposition of various amyloid proteins is associated with a number of illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson's disease, prion diseases, and type-2 diabetes. Interestingly, many bacteria produce functional amyloid deposits, which are an important component of their extracellular biofilm matrix. Curli amyloid fibrils, produced by enteric bacteria such as Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium and E. coli, are the best-characterized bacterial amyloid fibrils to date. Amyloids of both host and bacterial origin share a number of characteristics, including an ability to trigger innate immune responses. Recently, we discovered that responses to host amyloids and curli amyloid fibrils are mediated through Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2. Currently, we are working on the immune recognition of curli fibers in the intestinal tract and at systemic sites.
Ashok K Chaturvedi

Assistant Professor of Research , UTSA