1. Talk: The microbiome & its potential for new therapies
Ruben Mars: Postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich, lab of Prof. Uwe Sauer
«All diseases start in the gut» Hippocrates said over 2000 years ago. Was he actually right? What are the technologies that can make us find out? And why are people only looking into this now?
In an attempt to separate promise from the hype, Dr. Ruben Mars will discuss the exciting science of the microbiome, the collection of microorganisms on and within your body. Most of these microorganisms are our friends that help our bodies with essential functions such as protecting against infections, producing vitamins, and educating your immune system. Using bacteria or some of their products as drugs may help us prevent or treat difficult diseases. We will discuss what these new drugs might be and which diseases seem to be within reach of the biotech and pharma millions.
2. Talk: The impact of viruses on fecal microbiota transplantation
Mirjam Zünd: PhD candidate at ETH Zurich, microbiome lab of Prof. Shinichi Sunagawa
The role of the gut bacteria with regard to human health has been intensively discussed in recent years. The main focus was on the interaction of bacteria and host, leaving aside the role of viruses that infect bacteria (bacteriophages) and thus shape the intestinal bacterial community. In this talk, Mirjam will give you a glance into the world of gut bacteriophages and show you what role such small particles can play in respect to fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). FMT aims to restore the intestinal flora of a patient through the infusion of stool from a healthy donor. FMT is successfully used to treat severe cases of C. difficile infections, which lead to chronic diarrhea or colitis.