Plenarsprecher

Dr. Avraham completed a BSc in computer science at Tel Aviv University in 2001 and earned his MSc magna cum laude in neuro-immunology there in 2006. He completed a PhD in biological regulation with Prof. Yosef Yarden at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 2011 studying growth factor regulation of malignant tumors. He than continued to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, studying infectious diseases with Dr. Deb Hung. He joined the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Immunology and Regenerative Biology in May 2016 and is the incumbent of the Philip Harris and Gerald Ronson Career Development Chair. 

Dr. Avraham’s lab studies what happens in the body when invading pathogens, like the bacteria Salmonella or Mycobacterium tuberculosis, meet the body's immune cells. The lab uses cross-disciplinary, single-cell analysis platforms that enable us to extensively profile and precisely monitor host-pathogen interactions during infections in living tissues and look closely at the cellular interactions between cells of the immune system and the invading pathogens. Looking at this battleground allows the Avraham lab to analyse the very early events of infection. This unique opportunity allows him to develop new strategies predicting the outcome of infection and to suggest novel treatments addressing such attacks, especially in the face of widespread antibiotic resistance. 

Dr. Gretchen Diehl is the Catherine and Frederick R. Adler Chair for Junior Faculty and an Associate Member of the Immunology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Diehl’s research program seeks to define molecular and cellular pathways regulated by the microbiota, dietary, and tissue factors that are required to maintain homeostasis within the intestine. She is further interested in how such pathways are dysregulated in inflammatory disease.

Stephan Harbarth earned in 1993 his medical degree from Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany, and completed his residency in internal medicine and tropical medicine at Munich University Hospitals. After serving as a clinical fellow in the Infectious Diseases Division in the Department of Internal Medicine at Geneva University Hospitals, Dr Harbarth completed his master’s degree in epidemiology at Harvard University in Boston. He is board certified in infectious diseases and was appointed full professor at the University of Geneva in 2018. Dr Harbarth’s work has garnered several awards. His group is currently conducting several clinical and epidemiological studies to evaluate key questions related to the control of the acquisition, transmission and infection by multidrug-resistant microorganisms and related clinical and health-economic burden. He participates in several ongoing large-scale EU-funded studies (REVERSE, ECRAID, COMBACTE) and coordinated the DRIVE-AB project to address this public health threat.

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu is an Assistant Director General at the World Health Organisation (WHO), leading the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence.

Prior to this, Dr Ihekweazu was the first Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and led the agency between July 2016 and October 2021. He also served as Interim Director of the West Africa Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control from January to December 2017.

Dr Ihekweazu trained as an infectious disease epidemiologist and has over 25 years experience working in senior public health and leadership positions in several national public health institutes, including NCDC, the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the UK's Health Protection Agency, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Dr. Michael Klompas is an Infectious Disease physician and the Hospital Epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as well as Professor of Population Medicine in Harvard Medical School. He has published widely on surveillance, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of hospital-acquired pneumonia, ventilator-associated events, Covid-19, and sepsis. Dr. Klompas has served on multiple guideline panels including the ATS-IDSA panel on Management of Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America’s panel on Strategies to Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia, and the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guideline panel. 

Dr. Hiroshi Ohno is Deputy Director and Team Leader of the Laboratory for Intestinal Ecosystem, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences. He is also Professor at the Graduate School of Medical Life Science, Yokohama City University, and at the Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University. Dr. Ohno is an immunologist studying intestinal immunology, especially the function and differentiation of M cells, a unique intestinal epithelial cell subset specialized for uptake of luminal bacteria to initiate intestinal immune responses toward them. He also studies the host-gut microbiota interaction to understand the impact of gut microbiota on the host physiology and pathology. Dr. Ohno has co-authored more than 200 original articles in English, including highly cited papers published in Nature and other high profile journals.

Vanessa Sperandio is the Chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She was the Jane and Bud Smith Distinguished Chair in Medicine, and a Professor in the departments of Microbiology and Biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She got her bachelor’s in biology, and her masters and PhD in Molecular Genetics in the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil. During her Ph.D. she was the recipient of a fellowship from the Brazilian government to perform part of her Ph.D. research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she later also pursued her post-doctoral training. She joined the faculty at the Microbiology Department at UT Southwestern in 2001. She was a Latin American Pew Fellow in Biomedical Sciences (1997), an Ellison Foundation New Scholar (2004), a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases (2006), and a National Academy Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (since 2007). She is the recipient of the ASM 2015 Eli Lilly and Company-Elanco Research award, and a winner of the 2014 GSK Discovery Fast-track challenge. In 2013 she was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM), and in 2022 she was elected Chair-Elect of the AAM. She was the 2015-2016 Division D chair of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM), the chair of the ASM Education Awards selection committee since 2015, a member of the ASM Microbe program committee for 2017-2019, chair of the HMB Track ASM Microbe program committee 2019-2021, and the chair of the ASM Press committee (2016-2022). She was elected as an American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) fellow in 2022. She was also a member of the national advisory committee of the Pew Latin American Fellows Program and the advisory committee for the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases.

She currently serves on the editorial boards of mBio, Infection and Immunity, Journal of Bacteriology, and Gut Pathogens. Her research investigates chemical, stress and nutritional signaling at the interface amongst the mammalian host, beneficial microbiota and invading bacterial pathogens. The main tenant of research in her laboratory is the study of how bacterial cells sense several mammalian hormones leading to rewiring and reprogramming of bacterial transcription towards host and niche adaptation. She has also identified several bacterial receptors to mammalian hormones and reported that invading pathogens hijack these inter-kingdom signaling systems to promote virulence expression. She also translated these basic science concepts into strategies to develop novel approaches to anti-microbial therapy.