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Keynote Speakers

hermesalfonso-benitezpaezAlfonso Benitez – Paez  (Spanish National Research Council)

The biological, molecular, phylogenetic, structural and functional information derived from massive and high-throughput studies is being largely used in order to explain biologic systems in all living cells and to know in-deep major cell processes as replication, transcription, and translation. Nowadays, his scientific interest is currently focused on the study of genome structure in terms of architecture, functionality, and plasticity, as well as studying the evolutive forces acting on it. Alfonso Benitez – Paez currently has one project – MyNewGut Project: Microbiome’s influence on energy balance and brain development/function put into action to tackle diet-related diseases and behavior.

Sandrine_ClausSandrine Paule Claus (University of Reading)

Sandrine Claus us Associate Professor in Integrative Metabolism at University of Reading. She obtained her PhD in Biochemistry at Imperial College London where she began to study host – gut microbiota interplays. Her current research focusses on the links between the gut microbial ecosystem and the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorder. She holds a honorary position at Imperial College London in the Division of Computational and Systems Medicine and is a member of the editorial board of the journal Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease.

dzungDzung Diep (Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

Dzung Diep is trained as a molecular microbiologist, and have a keen interest in bacteriocin research since early 90s. His current research interests covers not only the fundamental aspects of bacteriocins such as biochemistry, genetics, biosynthesis, gene regulation, modes of action but also their applicative potentials in food safety (as preservatives) and in medicine (as antimicrobials). Prof Diep and his research team have also an increasing research activities with bacteriocins in diverse animal models to explore their probiotic properties. Their animal models have been, but not limited to, mice, different types of larvae, and bees.

Jan_Homolak2Jan Homolak (University of Zagreb)

Jan Homolak is med student at University of Zagreb School of Medicine. He is a Leading Member of Student Society for Neuroscience and Co-Founder of Student Society for Exercise Physiology. Jan is also student assistant at Croatian Institute for Brain Research and at Department of Pathophysiology. His work is based on metabolic diseases and other medical conditions and diseases in which the balance of microflora, prebiotics and probiotics had a significant effect.


paul_3Paul Long (King’s College London)

Paul Long is Reader at Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King’s College London. Using experimental and bioinformatics approaches, Paul Long’s research focuses on how biosynthetic pathways have evolved to generate the rich chemical diversity found within living cells. By studying biosynthesis at the molecular level in Streptomyces bacteria and during complex marine invertebrate-microbial symbioses, Paul Long hopes to gain insight into the chemical ecology of these compounds and to assess their potential for drug discovery.

Sabina Lukovac (NIZO food research, Netherlands)

Sabina Lukovac obtained her PhD in Gastroenterology. Her work involves studying physiological and molecular mechanisms of human and animal gastrointestinal tract. Since 2012 she is working as a Scientist and Employeneur for TMC – Group in Utrecht, a Consulting & Engineering company which deploys highly educated professionals in life sciences and technical environments. As project leader and scientist at NIZO Food Research, she is currently working with a team of experts specialized in host-microbe interactions studying the role of microbiota in health and disease.

Malu Luz Calle RosinganaM. Luz Calle (Universitat de Vic – Universitat Central de Catalunya)

M.Luz Calle is Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at the Systems Biology Department, University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia. She is the group leader of the Bionformatics and Medical Statistics Group of the University of Vic. Her main research areas are statistical genetics and survival analysis. Specifically, she works on the development of new methods for the study of genetic interactions, identification of genetic risk profiles and the construction of dynamic prediction and prognostic models of disease evolution. Also, she is interested in statistical methods for integration of diverse omics information.

nivoliez adrien
Adrien Nivoliez (Biose, France)

Adrien Nivoliez is General Manager at biose in charge of activities of R&D. He has worked for the pharmaceutical company for the last 10 years, starting out in industrial/production areas and now heads up Research and Development. He has developed expertise in probiotics / Live Biotherapeutic Products from this time with his company, and more particularly th impact of industrial processes on the therapeutic potential of a probiotic strain. Also, his current research opens up to new opportunities i the field of biotechnology and bioproduction.

Karlo_ToljanKarlo Toljan (University of Zagreb)

Karlo Toljan is med student at University of Zagreb School of Medicine. He is Student Assistant on University of Zagreb at Department of Internal Medicine, Department or Pathophysiology and Department of Immunology and physiology. He is Editor of Gyrus Journal and Leading member of Student Society of Neuroscience. His work is mostly based on psychobiotics – living organisms that on sufficient ingestion produces a health benefit in those patients with psychiatric, or neurological, illnesses.


Ivo Ugrina (University of Zagreb, King’s College London)ugrina

Ivo Ugrina is currently employed at the University of Zagreb as an experienced researcher and King’s College London (Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology) as a visiting lecturer. He is also a part-time lecturer at the University of Split (Department of Mathematics).
His fields of interest include: high dimensional statistics, classification, regression, tensors in
applications, applied probability models in biology and informatics, probability models mulations. He has been working as an independent statistical consultant in fields of IT, Biomedicine, Economics, Traffic & Transport, etc. for 13 years now, applying different statistical and machine learning methods (designing experiments, classification, estimating parameters, etc.).

Koen Venema (Maastricht University, Netherlands)

Koen Venema’s current research focuses on the role of the microbiota in health and disease using the TNO in vitromodels of the GI tract combined with state-of-the-art cell culture assays. Topics range from optimizing survival of probiotics, studying differences in composition and activity of the microbiota of different populations (e.g., lean, obese, diabetic, kidney failure patients), to valorization of waste-streams from fruit and vegetable processing into new functional foods.In January 2014 he founded a consultancy company: Beneficial Microbes Consultancy, of which he is CEO. Since Sept. 2014 he is also Head Nutritional Research at the Maastricht University.

Kristian_Vlahovicek2Kristian Vlahovček (University of Zagreb)

Kristian Vlahoviček spent 10 years as a research fellow at the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Trieste, Italy. He established a computational biology group at the Zagreb University in 2002. He teaches computational biology and bioinformatics at the Faculty of Science, Division of Biology, and is also an adjunct associate professor at the University of Oslo, Norway. His bioinformatics group develops computational tools and uses machine learning techniques to tackle open questions in developmental genomics and metagenomics.

gordana vlahovicek Gordana Maravić Vlahoviček (University of Zagreb)

Gordana Maravić Vlahoviček is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She teaches graduate courses Molecular Biology with Genetic Engineering, Biological Chemistry and Personalized Health Care, postgraduate doctoral study courses Biotechnology in Pharmacy and Bioinformatics and postgraduate specialist study courses – Biological Therapeutics and Biotechnological Drugs of Plant Origin. Her scientific interests include mechanisms of bacterial resistance to ribosomal antibiotics, functional studies of antibiotic resistance rRNA methyltransferases and antibiotic modulation of quorum sensing.