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Frontiers in Host-Microbiota Symbiotic Interactions Symposium with Gianni Panagiotou

Professor Gianni Panagiotou is the head of the Systems Biology and Bioinformatics Unit at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology, in Jena, Germany. His research focuses heavily on the interactions between host microbiomes and health, which has led him to organise the first “Frontiers in Host-Microbiota Symbiotic Interactions” symposium, due to be held in Berlin from the 9-11th February 2022.

Gianni’s research group explores the role of the microbiome and mycobiome in globally significant diseases, in the hopes of delivering novel patient-centric therapies. They are particularly interested in the dynamic interactions between the host and the associated bacteria and fungi in infection, critical care, and chronic diseases. Over many years of microbiome study, Gianni and his group have realised the importance of emphasizing the integration of microbiome, mycobiome and meta-omics data with biochemical and clinical data. This allows for in-depth investigation of the biotic and abiotic factors consistently associated with alterations in the host’s metabolism, immunity, and physiology.

When we asked Gianni for his opinion on the key role our microbiome plays in our health, he said: “It is my belief that understanding those multi-kingdom interactions will provide opportunities for the rational control of specific underlying processes and create beneficial societal impact.” He pointed out that of all the organisms on the planet, microbes have been around the longest; they are the most successful; they are the most numerous; they are the most diverse, and ubiquitous. Everywhere we look we can find microbes. They have evolved and adapted to live in the most extreme environments. “We, as any other biological entity on this planet, have evolved in a microbial soup, and not only that, we also co-evolved with microbes. They live in and on us and we rely on them for functions that we as humans do not encode in our genome.”

Gianni’s enthusiasm for his research area has extended into the realm of conference organisation, with the first “Frontiers in Host-Microbiota Symbiotic Interactions” symposium to take place in Berlin from the 9th-11th of February 2022. While this will be first year of the symposium, Gianni is confident it will become a regular biannual event. The symposium’s three-day agenda includes 27 talks by experts from academia and industry with topics covering state-of-art techniques and trends in the microbiome field.
The goal of the symposium is to bring together the specialists driving technological advancements and striving to understand the interactions between the human microbiome and health. The meeting will update current knowledge of how various microbiomes communicate with the host, the factors that influence these interactions and discuss the new developments enabled by metagenomics, metabolomics, single cell sequencing and other technologies. Topics covered will include microbiota and the immune system; microbiota and metabolism; translational implications and challenges; synthetic biology; antimicrobials from the microbiome; and novel techniques for microbial ecology.

Many of the technologies that will be discussed are provided by Novogene and have facilitated much of Gianni’s research: “Novogene has been instrumental in all the success stories that have come from my lab. Our projects rely on high quality sequencing and Novogene has always been able to deliver the highest quality metagenomics data, even with extremely challenging specimens. What is unique with Novogene is that they go out of their way to customise solutions based on a project’s specific needs.”
The symposium will cater to principal investigators, postdocs, researchers, and PhD students, with many ways for each to get involved. Anyone interested in showcasing their work at the conference can submit an abstract here before the 15th of October 2021. A number of researchers will be chosen to present a short talk, while the remainder will be invited to attend the poster presentation session. The poster presentation will offer a strong supplement to the symposium agenda and will allow young scientists to present their work in a more relaxed atmosphere, but still grant them the opportunity to receive comments and/or critiques on their work in a one-to-one discussion.

Registration for attendees is open until the 15th of November 2021 and can be done here.

Novogene would like to wish Professor Panagiotou, and all involved in the organisation of the symposium the best of luck, for what we are sure will be a successful and renowned event for years to come.