Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, Professor at Rutgers University

Dr. Dominguez-Bello focuses on the microbiome development from birth, functions for the host, impact by practices that reduce microbial transmission or disrupt the microbiota, and strategies for restoration. She also studies how Westernization changes environmental microbes and human exposures, integrating the fields of anthropology and architecture/urban studies into microbial ecology.

Field: Assembly of the microbiome in babies, effect of perturbations, effect of Westernization

Rob Knight, Professor at University of California San Diego

Rob Knight is the co-founder of the American Gut Project and of the Earth Microbiome Project. His lab’s research involves the development of state-of-the-art laboratory and computational techniques to characterize the microbiomes of humans, animals, and the environment.

Field: Large scale microbiome analysis

Jack Gilbert, Professor at University of California San Diego

Jack Gilbert’s research is focused on the ecology, evolution, and metabolic dynamics of microbial ecosystems from myriad environments including built environments, oceans, rivers, soils, air, plants, animals, and humans. His primary interest is in using omics technologies to capture longitudinal dynamics in microbial ecosystems.

Field: Multi-omics analysis of microbial ecosystems

Richard J. Roberts, Chief Scientific Officer at New England Biolabs

Sir Richard John Roberts is a biochemist and molecular biologist. He was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Phillip Allen Sharp for the discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA and the mechanism of gene-splicing. His current research interests focus on enzyme discovery using bioinformatics, combined with the experimental testing of function.

Field: Enzymology, bacterial genomics, DNA methylation

Martin Blaser, Professor at Rutgers University

Martin J. Blaser holds the Henry Rutgers Chair of the Human Microbiome and Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School  as well as Director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers University. A physician and microbiologist, his research has centered on the relationship of humans and bacteria, both as foes and friends. He has served as the Chair of Medicine at NYU, as President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and now as Chair of PACCARB (Presidential Advisory Council for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria). His award-winning book for general audiences about our changing microbiota, Missing Microbes, has been translated into 20 languages.

Field: Effects of antibiotics on the human microbiome

Manuel Fankhauser, Chief Scientific Officer at Seerave Foundation

Manuel Fankhauser is Chief Scientific Officer at Seerave Foundation, an independent family foundation that aspires to broaden and enhance the Standard of Care for cancer patients, with the underlying conviction that more benign approaches can be developed to treat cancers and other illnesses by modulating the nutrition / microbiome / metabolite / immune system axis. Dr. Fankhauser holds a PhD in bioengineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), where he worked on understanding the role of lymphatics in shaping anti-tumor immune responses. 

Field: Global scientific collaboration in the tumor immunology and microbiome space

Marc LaForce, Clinical Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone School of Medicine

Marc LaForce directed directed the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), a partnership between the WHO and PATH, established in 2001 through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with the mission to eliminate epidemic meningitis as a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa through the development, testing, introduction, and widespread use of conjugate meningococcal vaccines. Before joining PATH, Dr. LaForce held academic and senior administrative positions at the University of Colorado and the University of Rochester Schools of Medicine.

Field: Global health, large scale vaccinations

Dominique Caugant, Professor at Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Dominique A. Caugant is Chief Scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Meningococci, Oslo, Norway. She has been Adjunct Professor at the University of Oslo since 1999, presently at the Section for International Health, Faculty of Medicine. Her main fields of research are population genetics and molecular epidemiology of pathogenic bacteria.

Field: Bacterial genetics and molecular epidemiology

Keiji Fukuda, Director and Clinical Professor at University of Hong Kong, School of Public Health

Professor Fukuda has extensive public health experience at global and national levels. During 2005 – 2016, he was a staff member of the World Health Organization (WHO) and held positions as Scientist, Coordinator and then Director of the Global Influenza Programme (2005-2008), Assistant Director-General for Health Security and Environment ad interim (2008-2009), Special Adviser on Pandemic Influenza to the Director-General (2009-2010), Assistant Director-General for Health Security (2010-2015) and Special Representative for Antimicrobial Resistance for the Director-General (2015-2016). Previous to WHO, he worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as Epidemiology Section Chief, Influenza Branch and Medical Epidemiologist, Viral Exanthems and Herpesvirus Branch.

Field: Public health

James J. Heckman, Professor at University of Chicago

James J. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago. He has devoted his professional life to understanding the origins of major social and economic questions related to inequality, social mobility, discrimination, and the formation of skills and regulation in labor markets, as well as to devising and applying economically interpretable empirical strategies for understanding and addressing these questions.  Heckman is the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, the John Bates Clark Medal, the Jacob Mincer Award, the Dennis Aigner Award, the Ulysses Medal, the Theodore W. Schultz Award, the Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Republic, the Frisch Medal, the Dan David Prize, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association.

Field: Economics

Claire Fraser, Professor at University of Maryland

A pioneer and global leader in genomic medicine, Dr. Fraser is one of the most highly cited investigators in microbiology. In 1995, Dr. Fraser was the first to map the complete genetic code of a free-living organism—Haemophilus influenza—the bacterium that causes lower respiratory tract infections and meningitis in infants and young children. Her discovery forever changed microbiology and launched a new field of study—microbial genomics.

Field: Microbial genomics

Tore Midtvedt, Professor Emeritus at Karolinska Institutet

Tore Midtvedt has been a Lecturer in Medical Microbiology, Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway since 1961-1963. He was a Visiting Scientist in the Department of Germfree Research, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden from 1963-1966, Lecturer in Bacteriological Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway since 1966-1969. He was an Associated Professor in Medical Microbiology, University of Oslo since 1973-1982. He was Professor in Medical Microbiology, University of Oslo, Norway since 1982-1983. He was a Professor and Chairman in the Department of Medical Microbial Ecology, Cell and Molecular Biology in Karolinska Institute, Stockholm since 1983-1999 and has been a Professor Emeritus in Karolinska Institute since 1990.

Field: Medical microbiology