June 27-29 2017

Boston, MA

Register before Friday, April 7th to save up to $300!

Workshop A
Tuesday 27th June

08.00 - 11.00

Artificial Microbiome Products- The Role of Synthetic Biology in the Microbiome

Workshop Leader: Thomas Hitchcock, CEO , Xycrobe Therapeutics Workshop Leader: Caroline Kurtz, Head of Translational Sciences and Product Development , Synlogic

Synthetic biology is an emerging science that sits at the intersection of biology and engineering. This workshop will outline the power of synthetic biology and how it can be applied to microbiome-based therapeutics by developing new pathways or shifting important functionalities of the human microbiome to treat disease.

Join two leading experts in synthetic biology to:

  • Learn how synthetic biology can augment innate activities of the microbiome with enhanced metabolic capabilities to drive therapeutic effects and restore functionality
  • Compare and contrast current microbiome methodologies with synthetic modalities to develop new environments for medical research
  • Listen to success stories in using engineered bacteria to treat conditions that are currently underserved in the healthcare market

Thomas Hitchcock, CEO , Xycrobe Therapeutics

Thomas Hitchcock

Thomas holds a doctorate in molecular genetics from Clemson University where he did his research on DNA damage and repair. He has completed postdoctoral training at both Duke University in the Biomedical Engineering Department and Yale University in the Program in Vascular Biology and Therapeutics where he was involved in ground-breaking research and development of in vitro engineered human cardiovascular and pulmonary tissues. He has also performed research at Weill Cornell Medical College in the Department of Oncology and Hematology where he studied multiple myeloma genetics. His findings have been both presented to the scientific community and published in noteworthy scientific journals, such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.


Thomas has been at the helm of several biotech startups and has worked closely with the medical and marketing teams for industry leaders such as Boehringer Ingelheim and Bayer. He was the Director of Medical Affairs for Ulthera, Inc., and part of the team that brought their platform technology to acquisition in July 2014 by Merz pharmaceuticals. He also currently is the acting VP of Clinical and Medical Affairs for Bellus Medical and travels the country lecturing to medical professionals about skincare and aesthetics in dermatology.

Caroline Kurtz, Head of Translational Sciences and Product Development , Synlogic

Caroline Kurtz

In the role of head of translational sciences and product development, Dr. Kurtz will be responsible for all aspects of nonclinical development for Synlogic’s therapeutic programs. Previously, Dr. Kurtz was vice president and GC-C platform lead at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, where she drove the development of linaclotide (LINZESS®) from pre-IND through NDA approval and life-cycle management. In this role, she managed the linaclotide development collaborations with U.S. partner Forest (now Allergan), European partner Almirall, and Japanese partner Astellas. Through the study of linaclotide’s pharmacology, her team identified a novel mechanism for the relief of visceral pain mediated by the release of cGMP from intestinal epithelial cells. She also served as the portfolio lead for the discovery and development of new GC-C agonists, including identification of two additional clinical candidates. Prior to her role at Ironwood, Dr. Kurtz served as director of infectious diseases at GelTex/Genzyme, where she led discovery of novel polymeric compounds as anti-infectives for intestinal and pulmonary infections. This work led to the discovery and clinical development of a toxin-binding polymer, tolevamer, for the treatment of C. difficile colitis. Dr. Kurtz received her Ph.D. in immunology from Harvard University in the laboratory of Dr. John Weis, and post-doctoral training in viral immunology and central nervous system demylelinating diseases in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Fujinami, University of Utah. She was recently recognized by PharmaVoice magazine as one of 2016’s 100 most inspiring people

Workshop B
Tuesday 27th June

11.30 - 14.30

How to Harness and Utilize Bioinformatics for the Microbiome

Workshop Leader: Nur Hasan, Vice President and Head of R&D, CosmosID Workshop Leader: Manoj Dadlani, CEO, CosmosID


Bioinformatics is key to understanding and analyzing the microbiome. This workshop will give an overview of the power of bioinformatics in discovery, screening, diagnostics, and many additional aspects of microbiome analysis. By attending this work shop:

  • Learn about the role of bioinformatics in pharmaceutical / probiotics discovery and R&D: new product development, evidence of utility, effects of drugs on the microbiome and the microbiome’s effect on drugs
  • Understand the use of bioinformatics for research and diagnostics, including establishing a flexible workflow and how to obtain highly confident and actionable results
  • Use the microbiome to screen for biomarkers, antimicrobial resistance, pathogens of interest, FMT screening, microbiome shift analysis and microbial functional analysis

Nur Hasan, Vice President and Head of R&D, CosmosID

Nur Hasan Headshot

Dr. Nur A Hasan is a molecular biologist with over 15 years of experience in microbial genomics, metagenomics, molecular ecology, infectious disease diagnosis and public health. Dr. Hasan is Vice President and Head of R&D at CosmosID. In addition to leading the Science Team at CosmosID, Hasan is an adjunct associate professor at the University of Maryland Institute of Advanced Computer Studies and the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology in College Park, MD. Dr. Hasan received his Bachelor and Masters in Microbiology and M.B.A in Marketing and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.

Manoj Dadlani, CEO, CosmosID

Manoj Dadlani Headshot

Manoj Dadlani, M. Eng., is the Chief Executive Officer at CosmosID.  He is a Cornell University graduate in biological engineering and served as head of the US branch of Applied Value Management Consulting. He subsequently transitioned to the investment side of the Applied Value Group, which is the lead investor in CosmosID.

Workshop C

15.00 - 18.00

Mind your gut: Harnessing the link between the human gut microbiome and the Central Nervous System to develop new therapeutics for neurological diseases

Workshop Leader: David Donabedian, CEO and Co-Founder, Axial Biotherapeutics Workshop Leader: Sarkis Mazmanian, Co-founder , Axial Biotherapeutics

Emerging data suggest that there is a link between changes in the gut microbiome and neurological diseases and disorders. This workshop will outline recent scientific advances in unraveling the gut-brain connections and potential pathways to harness these findings for novel therapeutic approaches.

Join two leading experts to:

  • Learn what we know about the connection between gut microbiota and the brain and how these findings have created a new paradigm of how we think about neurological diseases
  • What we can learn from the broader microbiome space and translational attempts in other therapeutic indications
  • Discuss the path forward and critical steps towards developing a new class of therapeutics

David Donabedian, CEO and Co-Founder, Axial Biotherapeutics


David H. Donabedian, Ph.D., will serve as Chief Executive Officer of Axial and will also serve on its Board.  Dr. Donabedian is an accomplished business development and strategy executive with extensive leadership experience. Dr. Donabedian has a track record of building companies, most recently as a Venture Partner at Longwood Fund.

Prior to joining Longwood, Dr. Donabedian has held various leadership roles at biopharmaceutical companies including AbbVie and GSK. At AbbVie, Dr. Donabedian served as Vice President & Global Head of Ventures and Early Stage Collaborations where he led a global team that completed significant transactions across multiple therapeutic areas and stages of development. Prior to AbbVie, Dr. Donabedian served as Vice President Global New Deal Strategy and Development at GlaxoSmithKline, and Senior Manager at Accenture’s Strategic Services Consulting Group.

He holds a BA in Chemistry from St. Anselm College, a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina. He currently serves on the Board of Alcyone Life Sciences, a privately held CNS company which he co-founded.

Sarkis Mazmanian, Co-founder , Axial Biotherapeutics

Sarkis Mazmanian

Sarkis K Mazmanian, PhD, is the Louis & Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology in the Division of Biology & Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles, where Dr. Mazmanian also received his PhD training in microbiology and immunology. He was a Helen Hay Whitney Post-doctoral Fellow and subsequently appointed assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in 2006, and later that year moved to Caltech. Dr. Mazmanian has won numerous awards including a Searle Scholar, Young Investigator of the Year at Harvard Medical School, Damon Runyon Innovation Award, was named by Discover Magazine as one of the “Best Brains in Science under 40”, “Life Science Superstar” by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, and recently received the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” award.

His laboratory focuses on the study of beneficial bacterial molecules from the human gut microbiome as novel therapies for immunologic and neurologic disorders, with a specific focus on developing probiotic treatments for autism. He is a founder of 2 biotech companies, and has or currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of over a dozen companies, academic centers and not-for-profit foundations.