Day 2 :
Harbin Medical University, China
Shu-Lin Liu has his expertise in bacterial systematics and evolution. He was the first in the world to conduct comparative genomic studies on Salmonella bacteria and uncovered a series of genomic evolutionary events, with findings published in PNAS, Journal of Bacteriology, Molecular Biology and Evolution, etc. He teaches microbiology, genomics, evolution and classic Chinese literature. He has an Adjunct Academic position at University of Calgary, Canada and conducted teaching and research. As the Dean of College of Pharmacy, Harbin Medical University, he was active in international collaboration and communication activities and organized a broad range of exchange programs with international institutions including University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, Canada and Purdue University, University of Missouri, Kentucky State University, USA, etc
Bacteria are classified, like higher organisms into species but the current taxonomic species contain bacteria of enormous phylogenetic diversity, causing serious confusions in medical practice and other fields. Therefore, a common yardstick is badly needed for universally defining bacterial species by using a parameter that produces discrete rather than continual data to reveal clear-cut distinctions among the species. Using Salmonella as the primary model to search for such delineating genomic parameters, we found that members of a monophyletic bacterial grouping equivalent to natural species have a high percentage of their common genes sharing identical nucleotide sequences. The percentage windows are mostly broad: >70% for members within a species and <10% for bacteria between species. Similarly, broad percentage windows were also seen in Streptomyces; we propose percentages (<70%) to reflect genetic boundaries and exclude bacteria from a species. The clear-cut nature of such percentages makes them suitable as a common yardstick to define natural bacterial species. The broad percentage windows could be interpreted as the results of non-overlapping gene pools; bacteria of the same gene pool can purge less adapted members once they acquire beneficial traits, but they cannot do that across different gene pools.
Dutch Armed Forces/Royal Dutch Navy, Netherlands
Keynote: Zoonotic diseases threat needs sharing of information and new diagnostic systems in less developed countries
Time : 9:00-10:00
Works internationally for several medical and biotech companies as scientific advisory board member and is also an active reserve-officer of the Royal Dutch Navy in his rank as Commander (OF4). For the Dutch Armed Forces he is CBRNe specialist with focus on (micro)biological and chemical threats and medical- and environmental functional specialist within the 1st CMI (Civil Military Interaction) Battalion of the Dutch Armed Forces. For Expertise France he is now managing an EU CBRN CoE public health project in West Africa. He is visiting professor at the University of Rome Tor Vergata giving lectures for the CBRN Master study. In his civilian position he is at this moment developing with MT-Derm in Berlin (Germany) a novel interdermal vaccination technology as well as a new therapy for cutaneous leishmaniasis for which he has won a Canadian ‘Grand Challenge’ grant. With Hemanua in Dublin (Ireland) he has developed an innovative blood separation unit, which is also suitable to produce convalescent plasma for Ebola Virus Disease therapy. He has finished both his studies in Medicine and in Biochemistry in The Netherlands with a doctorate and has extensive practical experience in cell biology, immuno-hematology, infectious diseases, biodefense and transfusion medicine. His natural business acumen and negotiation competence helps to initiate new successful businesses, often generated from unexpected combinations of technologies.
Sharing public health threat information is a necessity for governments to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases. Zoonotic diseases are the most dangerous for outbreaks running out of control, as the population does not have natural nor artificial (from vaccination) immune response to new emerging diseases. The recent Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa was such an example. New diagnostic methods, which can be performed in developing countries lacking critical infrastructure have to be developed to have an early response on (potential) outbreaks. It must be high tech with high reliability, which can be used in rural areas without proper infrastructure. The mitigation of highly infectious and deadly disease pandemics have to be recognized at the source. Sophisticated diagnostic equipment and good calibration, maintenance and interpretation of the results is essential. To identify pathogens at molecular level new technologies are under development. In developing countries military and civilian actors cooperate fruitfully in fighting potential biological threats. In this civil-military cooperation it is not only the biosafety, which has to be considered, but also the biosecurity, as misuse of extremely dangerous strains of microorganisms cannot be excluded. Several zoonotic infectious diseases, like anthrax, small pox and also the hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola Virus Disease are listed as potential bioweapons. With this extra threat in mind, both biosafety and biosecurity have to be implemented in all mobile or fixed clinical laboratories. An information/computer network with a cloud in which essential information can be traced, helps in early detection of outbreaks of ‘new’, mostly zoonotic, infectious diseases. The same technology helps in the forensic aspects in case of a bioterror attack
University Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia
Keynote: Screening of lignin-degrading microorganisms from Sabah Biodiversity for optimum ligninolytic potential
Time : 10:00-10:45
Clarence M. Ongkudon who graduated with PhD in Bioprocess Engineering from Monash University, Australia in 2011 is the coordinator of the Bioengineering Research Group (BERG) in Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI) of University Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia. Dr. Clarence has contributed significantly to the field of bioprocess and biochemical engineering where he develops and creates valuable biomolecules from complex cellular materials in the form of therapeutic vectors and products for vaccination and gene therapy application. Dr. Clarence’s most significant contribution to this research field has been the creation of patentable intellectual properties and new knowledge in the field of biomolecule recognition/purification. This has resulted in 2 international patents within the last 5 years. Dr. Clarence has developed an integrated design and downstream process technology that allows a single-stage rapid purification of homogeneous and supercoiled plasmid DNA vaccine on analytical, semi-preparative and preparative scales. This body of work has been a major breakthrough in bioprocess engineering, as purification of plasmid DNA for product development can now be performed rapidly at high throughput with reduced number of unit operations required in downstream processing and increased productivity. This has sparked interests from numerous internationally renowned companies including Boehringer Ingelheim, Qiagen, Promega, Gen Script, Pall, Millipore and Sartorius. Dr. Clarence has published extensively for the past 3 years (over 20 journal and conference publications) in the fields of upstream and downstream processing of therapeutic biomolecules, baculovirus and recombinant proteins. Dr. Clarence aims to create a platform for collaborative projects that work at the cutting edge of biotechnology - drawing together knowledge from medicine, engineering and science in order to tackle biotechnology problems in Malaysia and the world at large.
Lignin is a complex aromatic polymer that intertwining between cellulose and hemicellulose fibers in plant. However, lignin as a by-product during biomass processing is often regarded as nuisance since it retards access to carbohydrates. Recently, there has been much interest in utilization of lignin as petroleum substitutes. In nature, there are diverse groups of microbes that are capable of degrading lignin-rich biomass either in synergistic or competitive manners. Therefore, the use of enzyme cocktails produced from microbial consortia may offer a promising approach to degrade lignin efficiently. The main goal of this research is to search for lignin degrading microbial strains from Sabah biodiversity. Degradation assays to identify suitable isolates for the efficient breakdown of lignin was done on 107 fungi isolates. The results showed that 85 fungi isolates decolorized RBBR (0.01%) effectively compared to Phanarochaete crysosporium. The highest decolorization by F45 with 100% loss of RBBR used. Out of these 85 fungi isolates, a total of 37 and 7 fungi isolates showed higher lignin peroxidase and laccase enzymatic activities, respectively compared to Phanarochaete crysosporium. However, further analysis is required to assess their lignin degrading capability by using real lignin substrate (Kraft lignin).