A big THANK YOU to all who attended the 1st Women & their Microbes 2015!

This first event in 2015 centered around women's health and the importance of their microbes. Not only did it bring together clinicians, scientists, and other thought leaders in cross-disciplinary fields, but it also put the spotlight on how essential microbes can potentially be for women's health and quality of life.

Specific topics that were covered included changes that occur to the microbiota and the host in urogential infections, the maternal-infant microbial transfer, the microbiota in menopause, the potential case for dysbiosis in preterm birth. The general discussion that followed yielded many pressing topics, both scientific and patient-focused, that need to be explored. These will be pursued by engaging various thought leaders and stakeholders in academia, medicine, and industry.

Symposium Poster

The vaginal microbiome and sexually (non-)transmitted infection

Dr. Janneke van der Wijgert | the lecture was about the current status of the role of the vaginal microbiome in reproductive health and disease, including the link with increased acquisition and transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Human reproduction and microbes from a clinical perspective

Dr. Marjolein Kok | This talk was about knowledge and knowledge gaps concerning the clinical impact of the (vaginal) microbiome in relation to pregnancy outcome, especially the occurrence of preterm birth. Can the vaginal microbiome contribute to unravel the preterm parturition syndrome? Will probiotics beat antibiotics in the prevention of preterm birth?

Microbes in the breast – cancer, mastitis and programing the newborn

Dr. Rocio Martin | This talk gave an overview of the current knowledge on the human milk microbiome and it's role in women's and child's health. Furthermore, it reviewed the potential origin of bacteria in human milk and factors affecting this ecosystem.

Menopause and the vaginal microbial balance

Dr. Ruben Hummelen | Lactobacilli continue to play a major role in bacterial homeostasis in menopause and this talk elaborated on this further. Additionally, it discussed how more bacterial diversity was associated with clinical symptoms of menopause and how the vaginal microbiome is much more stable after menopause.

The genetic basis for lactobacilli’s key role in feminine health

Dr. Mariya Petrova | This talk discussed the genetic mechanisms behind the good adaptation capacity of vaginal lactobacilli. Moreover, understanding the genetic basis for Lactobacillus species will provide valuable information on their beneficial functions and how to maintain healthy vaginal microbiota and thus maintain women’s health.

The basis for probiotics to manage vaginal health

Dr. Jessica Younes | How DO probiotics restore/maintain vaginal health? This talk addressed probiotic action for vaginal infections and it also focused on specific mechanisms by which probiotics are effective as therapeutic and prophylactic tools.

Microbiota manipulation during pregnancy and breast-feeding

Dr. Gregor Reid | This talk discussed the rationale for lactobacilli replenishment for conception, a healthy pregnancy and the potential to influence the fetus and when born using probiotics. The potential to manipulate the child's gut microbiota through human milk was also discussed.

New technology to better diagnose when intervention is necessary

Dr. Paul Savelkoul | During the presentation, a focus was placed on the role of the vaginal microbiome on IVF success rate. In addition, the importance an possibilities of current technologies was discussed as a new paradigm in medical microbiology deciphering health, disease and the effect of intervention in vaginal microbiome.

Co-evolution of host-microbe equilibrium in the female genital tract and the search for biomarkers

Dr. Raina Fichorova | This lecture addressed aspects of the host immunobiome with focus on the interactions between resident, pathogenic and endosymbiont vaginal microbes and the human genital tract epithelium. The challenge of identifying biomarkers of adaptation and disease was also discussed.