Speakers 2015

Dr. Janneke van de Wijgert
PROFESSOR OF INFECTION AND GLOBAL HEALTH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM

Dr. Janneke van de Wijgert is a translational infectious disease researcher at the Institute of Infection and Global Health of the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. She is educated in medical biology, public health epidemiology and medicine, and has gained professional experience in clinical epidemiological research, laboratory research, and product development. Her research focuses on the role of the human microbiome in health and disease, with an emphasis on the role of the cervicovaginal microbiome in reproductive and neonatal health and disease, and prevention of transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, including evaluation of new prevention technologies and novel rapid diagnostics. Apart from the UK and the Netherlands, Dr. van de Wijgert performs her research in various African countries in which she co-founded three clinical research sites: the UZ-UCSF Women's Health Program in Zimbabwe (1995), Rinda Ubuzima in Rwanda (2004) and Centro de Investigação de Doenças Infecciosas in Mozambique (2008).

Dr. Marjolein Kok
GYNAECOLOGIST PERINATOLOGIST AT ACADEMIC MEDICAL CENTRE UNIVERSITY AMSTERDAM

Dr. Marjolein Kok is currently working as a gynaecologist perinatologist at the department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the AMC, furthermore she is involved in multiple research projects on external cephalic version and preterm birth. As a post-doc she is currently supervising six PhD students: F. Vlemmix and A.N. Rosman on a project on implementation of ECV (ZonMw). M. de Hundt on breech presentation and developmetal dysplasia of the hip. J. Velzel on uterine relaxation in case of ECV. L.A. Bergenhenegouwen on preterm breech delivery and M.S. Peelen on risk factors for preterm birth.

Dr. Rocio Martin
SCIENTIFIC PROGRAM LEADER PROBIOTICS AT DANONE NUTRICIA RESEARCH

Dr. Rocio Martin is currently working as Scientific Program Leader Probiotics at Danone Nutricia Research, the Netherlands. She studied Pharmacy at the University of Granada and earned her PhD on the origin and probiotic potential of the breast milk microbiota at the Food Science and Technology Department of the University of Madrid in 2005. At Wageningen University, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship on probiotics and allergy in 2008. She further pursued her career at Danone Research Centre at Wageningen, where she started as Senior Scientist Gut Microbiology, Immunity & Allergy and made Team Leader of this division in 2011. His research expertise is focused on molecular diagnostics, detection and typing of pathogenic microbial species and molecular epidemiology. He has also been highly active in identifying risk factors contributing to pathogenic infections and in identifying and characterizing antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, which are a serious concern for hospitals worldwide.

Dr. Ruben Hummelen
FAMILY MEDICINE RESIDENT AT MCMASTER UNIVERSITY HAMILTON, CANADA

Ruben Hummelen, MD, PhD, is working as a Family Medicine resident at McMaster University Hamilton, Canada. As a physician and epidemiologist he continues to be fascinated and amazed by the implications of the composition of our microbiota on our health and wellbeing. Through awareness, research and presentations he strives to increase our knowledge and awareness of our microbial friends. Dr. Hummelen has defended his PhD on 'Probiotics to target the vaginal and intestinal microbiota in HIV' in 2012 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. As researcher he continuous to be involved in various projects on the female microbiome to attempt to improve the health and well being of women and their children who depend on the maternal microbial heritage.

Dr. Mariya Petrova
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW AT CENTRE OF MICROBIAL AND PLANT GENETICS

Mariya Petrova, PhD, is working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics, KU Leuven as well as at the Laboratory of Applied Microbiology and Mucosal Immunology, Antwerp University. Her PhD research was focused on investigating genetic, molecular and functional characteristics of lactobacilli, which can provide general knowledge on their interesting properties for vaginal (versus intestinal) application, as well as on the molecular interaction between lactobacilli and pathogens. Currently, her research focuses on how vaginal lactobacilli can contribute to women’s health by studying cell wall molecules and their role in colonisation, pathogen exclusion and immune modulation. Furthermore, she investigates how to design bioengineered probiotic strains for heterologous expression of therapeutic molecules to be administered to the vaginal niche.

Dr. Jessica Younes
SCIENCE LIAISON, WINCLOVE PROBIOTICS

Jessica Younes, PhD, works at Winclove Probiotics in Amsterdam as a Science Liaison in the women's health product portfolio. The first edition of this conference was organized in conjunction with her PhD defence in May 2015; her research was focused on demonstrating the importance of biofilms and adhesion between bacteria and between bacteria and epithelial cells for various outcomes related to health or dysbiosis in the vaginal environment. Jessica is passionate about making information about the microbiota(s) accessible to various stakeholders to facilitate solutions for prevention and treatment of infectious and microbial dysbiotic conditions in women's health. Furthermore, she is a member of two scientific advisory boards for conferences focused on microbes.

Dr. Gregor Reid
PROFESSOR OF MICROBIOLOGY & IMMUNOLOGY, AND SURGERY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, CANADA

Dr. Gregor Reid is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Surgery at Western University and has an Endowed Chair in the Canadian Centre for Human Microbiome and Probiotics at the Lawson Health Research Institute. He is an inductee into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He was educated at Glasgow University in Scotland (B.Sc. Hons), Massey University in New Zealand (PhD), Monash University in Australia (MBA), and received an Honorary Doctorate from Orebro University in Sweden. Having been a pioneer of probiotic research and the study of microbes in the urogenital tract of women, his research has expanded to studies of the gut, breast, heart and use of probiotics to detoxify environmental pollutants. He helped set up Western Heads East and other projects in Africa where local 'yogurt mamas' produce probiotic yogurt for communities. Dr. Reid has been Chair of the United Nations - World Health Organization Expert Panel and Working Group on Probiotics; and past-President of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. He has received numerous awards, including the 2010 Hellmuth Prize, the highest research honour conferred by Western University, and the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award at Massey University, in 2011. The Canadian R&D Centre for Probiotics won the 2011 Dean’s Award of Excellence at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Dr. Paul Savelkoul
PROFESSOR MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY AT UNIVERSITY MAASTRICHT

Dr. Paul Savelkoul is head of the Department Medical Microbiology of the Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht. He is appointed as a Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University Maastricht and at the VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam. He studied Medical Biology at the university of Utrecht and earned his PhD on adhesion factors of Bordetella in 1992 at the veterinary faculty, University of Utrecht. His research expertise is focused on molecular diagnostics, detection and typing of pathogenic microbial species and molecular epidemiology. He has also been highly active in identifying risk factors contributing to pathogenic infections and in identifying and characterizing antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, which are a serious concern for hospitals worldwide.

Dr. Raina Fichorova
PROFESSOR, OBSTETRICS, GYNAECOLOGY AND REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

Dr. Raina Fichorova is a researcher in basic and translational biology of the female genital tract and reproductive health. Her research provides insights into mechanisms of microbe-epithelial interactions, biomarkers of inflammation and innate immunity in the female genital tract, which hold the key to solving major problems in reproductive outcomes, resistance to infection and cancer. Her earlier work concentrated on the basic aspects of the vaginal biome, e.g., epithelial cell differentiation and innate immunity phenotypes, sperm immunogenicity, toll-like receptor signaling, and sensitization to Gram-negative bacteria in the reproductive tract. More recent research focuses on the role of protozoan endosymbiont viruses such as Trichomonas in human disease.