Science with a sea view – miTarget invites speakers for its first international symposium in Kiel
Scientist from all over the world gathered in Kiel for the first International Symposium of the Research Unit The Microbiome as a Therapeutic Target in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (miTarget) coming all the way from France, Scotland, Japan, Canada, USA, the UK and from all over Germany. At the Maritim Hotel, just across the picturesque Kiel Fjord, the symposium was started with some warm welcoming words by the miTarget spokesperson Prof. Andre Franke.
The day started with Prof. Benoit Chassaing (French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) with the title Host-microbiota interaction in health and disease – a sticky role for mucus!!, elucidating the role of microbial invaders influencing intestinal inflammation and how dietary emulsifying agents alter the microbiota and promote inflammatory diseases. The talk was followed by the topic Is our diet our destiny? Dissecting the diet-microbiota axis in health and diseases by Prof. Nicola Gagliani (University Hospital Hamburg – Eppendorf), drawing the connection of diet, microbiota and the immune system. The second session started with the Role of diet and microbiome in disease flare in CD and UC by Prof. Charlie W. Lees (Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine, Edinburgh) providing focus on patients and clinics. Subsequently Prof. Almut Heinken (Université of Lorraine) talked about System biology modelling of the gut microbiome in Crohn’s Diseases with the main emphasis of genome-scale modelling with human microbes and their metabolic diversity in IBD.
After the group photo and the lunch break with a fantastic view from the hotel’s restaurant, the poster session started, where miTarget projects provided insights into their latest discoveries. Soon, the conference room was filled with vivid discussions and scientific exchange.
Staring into the next session, Prof. Toshiro Sato (Sakaguchi Laboratory – Department of Organoid Medicine, Tokyo) held a talk concerning the New understanding of gastrointestinal diseases using organoid technology, presenting organoid technology applications as a research tool. The next presentation was given by Williams Turpin (Zane Cohen Centre for Digestive Diseases, Toronto) with the title Understanding the pre-clinical phase of inflammatory bowel disease and the critical role of the microbiome in Crohn’s disease onset carrying out topics such as the gut barrier function associated with microbial compositions and as a predictor to disease onset. In the end he called to mind that association studies are not causal studies, hence in-vivo and in-vitro studies are needed. Megan Behringer (Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, Nashville) talked about the Ecological approaches to understanding microbial interaction int the urinary tract and small intestine presenting eco-evolutionary feedbacks, how the environment influences microbial evolution and bacteria alters the environments, investigating key species in the urinary and gut microbiome intensively. The last session started with the often-neglected topic of Fungal regulation of intestinal health and inflammation by Iliyan Iliec (Jill Roberst Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, New York), stressing the importance of mucosa associated fungi, which are highly immunoreactive and the role of candida albicans in IBD. The last talk was given by Alex Cagan (Wellcome Sanger Institute, Hinxton) with the catchy title The impossibility of whales. Somatic evolution across the tree of life providing insights into somatic cell evolution, the challenges of sequencing genetic heterogenous cells and how lower mutation rate does not explain lower cancer incidence in lager species.
All talks were followed by a variety of questions and discussions, during coffee break the conversations lasted and as a highlight, Alex Cagan made live sketches from the talks to capture the moment and the speakers could keep them as an unique souvenir. To let the symposium come to a memorable end, a boat tour with pleasant weather and incredible food encouraged to further network and discuss science in the evening.
Kathrin Schäfer, doctoral researcher P8, AG Rupp