Fraunhofer Life Science Symposium 2017

Keynote speakers

Our keynote speakers are:

Luisa Barzon
University of Padova, Italy

Luisa Barzon
Research Areas:
  1. Surveillance and diagnosis of emerging vector-borne viral infection
  2. Pathogenesis of flavivirus diseases
  3. Pathogenesis of human papillomavirus-related cancer

"I know Ms. Barzon from a very fruitful cooperation in the field of dengue virus diagnostics (doi:10.1371/ journal.pntd.0004218). Therefore I am looking forward to her talk “NGS in infection diagnostics” during the Fraunhofer Life Science Symposium and sincerely hope to get to talk to her afterwards."

Alexandra Rockstroh, Fraunhofer IZI

Ralf Ehricht
Alere Technologies GmbH, Germany

Ralf Ehricht
"At Alere Technologies GmbH, my group and I focus on establishing, developing and advancing various molecular, microbiological and serological multiparameter methods with regard to the epidemiology and diagnosis of infectious diseases and their pathogens, primarily for point-of-care (PoC) application. When carrying out such work, it is essential that an interdisciplinary approach to development is adopted from the very beginning; one that is oriented towards the product and its manufacture besides the demand in the target markets. Cooperations are in place not only within the Alere Group but also within a number of different networks (e.g. InfectoGnostics) and are a crucial driving force in my work."

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Marion Koopmans
Erasmus MC, The Netherlands

Marion Koopmans
"My research focuses on unravelling the modes of transmission of viruses among animals and between animals and humans, and the use of pathogenic genomic information to unravel these pathways and to signal changes in transmission or disease impact. As initiator of the global Noronet network, I have developed a global network of scientists sharing information on disease outbreaks into a jointly owned database to study norovirus diversity related to human health impact. This work has led to the discovery of a wide range of norovirus genotypes that differ in their ability to spread and cause disease. My team also was first to describe that norovirus epidemiology is shaped by rapid evolution through viral mutation and recombination, thus circumventing population immunity, and explaining why noroviruses rank among the top causes in the global burden of infectious disease estimates. Since then, through the H2020 funded COMPARE project we have expanded this work to include a broader range of pathogens, including zoonotic viruses, like avian influenza, Ebola and MERS COV."

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Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit
Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Germany

Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit
"In the Department of Arbovirology at the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, research projects are under way to find out how arboviruses interact with their mosquito vectors and how these interactions impact on virus propagation and transmissibility. Also being researched are the biotic and abiotic factors that influence arbovirus epidemics. The departmental staff supports the WHO collaborating center for arboviruses by offering on-site examinations during an epidemic besides providing confirmatory diagnostics, training and newly developed tests."

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Heike Sichtig
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USA

Heike Sichtig
"The presentation will outline studies to evaluate the use of NGS-based devices and showcase the FDA-ARGOS database resource as an aid in infectious disease diagnostics, and to gain a better understanding of potential NGS clinical implementation strategies. The information contained in the presentation concerning possible approaches for validation represents suggested approaches, open for feedback."

Dr. Heike Sichtig is a principal investigator (PI) and subject matter expert (SME) in FDA’s Office of In-Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health in the Division of Microbiology Devices. She directs, as sole PI, the highly collaborative effort on developing FDA-ARGOS: FDA dAtabase for Regulatory Grade micrObial Sequences. For her exceptional leadership on this project, Dr. Sichtig was awarded the Commissioners’ Special Citation award in 2016. Dr. Sichtig joined the Division of Microbiology Devices in 2012 and is primarily focused on enabling next generation sequencing (NGS) based technologies for clinical diagnostics. Dr. Sichtig leads a multidisciplinary team developing and implementing concepts for validation and evaluation of NGS-based infectious disease diagnostic devices. She obtained a B.S. / M.S. in Computer Science/Statistics from Kean University in 2002 and 2003, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Binghamton University in 2009. Subsequently, Dr. Sichtig completed postdoctoral training at the University of Florida/Genetics Institute in Gainesville FL in pathogen signatures, transcriptional regulation and epigenetics.

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