Microbiome Day Symposium 2023

            July 12, 2023 * CILSE 101 * 9 AM to 5 PM

Join us for a great day of student and faculty talks, a panel featuring industry leaders in microbial science, and plenty of social time to network and chat with fellow microbial scholars!

Dr. Sue Ishaq

Keynote Speaker

Assistant Professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

University of Maine

The Ishaq lab focuses on understanding the interactions between animal (or human) hosts and their resident microbiota, and investigate solutions for using microorganisms to resolve disordered communities and host health. Dr. Ishaq’s ongoing and proposed research activities investigate the microbiome in several animal hosts with implications for a wide variety of research applications and for health, agriculture, and ecological management sectors inside of Maine and beyond. Currently, the Ishaq lab is focusing on the role of gut microbes in creating beneficial compounds from the diet which can reduce inflammation in hosts, microbial community acquisition, and health in several marine animal species.

Panel Discussion: Translating the Microbiome to Industry

A showcase of perspectives from Vedanta Biosciences, Arcaea, and Cultivarium. Panelists will discuss the challenges, applications, and strategies involved in using microbes to drive diverse company objectives.

Feranmi Aboderin

Associate Scientist at Arcaea on the Skin Microbiome. He obtained his Master of Science degree in Biology with a concentration in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry from Georgia State University. He has undertaken several projects focused on innovating personal care products through microbiome research. In this capacity, he has developed methods for modulating the skin microbiome community in vitro and investigating the composition and functional capacity of the skin microbiome for axillary and scalp applications in vivo.

Dr. Andrea Watson

Bioinformatics Scientist II at Vedanta Biosciences, Andrea uses next-generation sequencing, multi omics, and data science to support the development of defined bacterial consortia to treat infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Andrea is passionate about solving interesting biological puzzles while maintaining reproducibility and FAIR data principles. Having transitioned from the wet lab to computational work, she has a well-rounded perspective that gives her an appreciation for interdisciplinary collaborations. Andrea received a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Chicago and a B.Sc. in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Biochemistry, from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Nili Ostrov

Co-founder and CSO at Cultivarium, a startup that  creates open-source tools for life scientists to expand access to non-model microorganisms, inspire new research avenues, and push the frontiers of biotechnology. Prior to joining Cultivarium, Nili was a Director of Molecular Diagnostics at Pandemic Response Lab (PRL-NYC). As a Postdoctoral Fellow with George Church at Harvard Medical School she worked on building synthetic genomes and domestication of non model microbes. She received her PhD in Chemistry from Columbia University and a Masters in Microbiology and Biotechnology from Tel Aviv University.

Faculty Speakers

Dr. Sarah Davies

The Davies lab studies our changing climate and the ongoing anthropogenic habitat modifications that threaten natural ecosystems worldwide. In response to these threats, a species has four choices: i) remain in the natal habitat but suffer reduced fitness, ii) acclimate to current conditions by modifying their physiologies, iii) adapt to the local environment through natural selection on standing genetic variation, or iv) disperse to new, more favorable environments. Research in the Davies lab studies the potential roles of acclimation, adaptation, and dispersal in an organism’s response to rapid climate change. Research in the Davies lab integrates eco-evolutionary experiments with genomic and environmental data to determine how corals and their symbionts interact with each other and their environments to determine symbiosis outcomes under rapid climate change.

Dr. Joe Larkin

The Larkin lab uses microbial populations as a model to explore how the physical and chemical environment influences microbes, and how these microbes in turn engineer that very environment. In particular, they study how bacterial biofilms change their local conditions by producing extracellular matrices and how cell-to-cell signals drive such behaviors. They probe theoretical models of these phenomena with the goal of building toward an emergent understanding of living matter.