Prof. Marnix Medema

Bioinformatics Group Wageningen University

Prof. Marnix Medema is a computational biologist studying the intricacies of microbial metabolism.

He studies the complexity of even the most ‘simple’ organisms and by how they have evolved (and are evolving). Driven by the intriguing possibility to study this complexity computationally through genomic and postgenomic data, he dived into the fascinating world of informatics. By constructing computer programs and developing new ways to explore large datasets, he strives to understand microbial metabolites from a quantitative and evolutionary perspective. His research has various applications in microbiome research, bioengineering and drug discovery.


Session 1 - Plenary


Session 2 - Plenary

Dr. Christophe Corre

The University of Warwick

Christophe Corre is an Associate Professor in Synthetic Biology; jointly appointed between the School of Life Sciences and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick, UK.  His research group is particularly interested in understanding and exploiting bacterial transcriptional regulation for the discovery of novel biocatalysts and novel natural products. Christophe received his education in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nice in France. He then carried out work on antibiotic biosynthesis for which he was awarded a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Exeter, UK. He then moved to Warwick in 2004 to work as a postdoctoral research fellow in Prof. Greg Challis group. In 2010, Christophe was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to unlock the production of novel microbial antibiotics and to start his independent research group at Warwick

Prof. Tobias A. M. Gulder

Technical University of Munich

Professor Tobias Gulder is interested in the structure, biosynthesis and synthesis of bacterial natural products. This includes the elucidation of new biosynthetic transformations and their application to the biocatalytic synthesis of natural products as well as the manipulation of biosynthetic pathways to generate new molecular structures. This is achieved by combining organic synthesis, chemical analytics, biochemical, and biomolecular methods.


Session 3- Plenary


Session 4 - Plenary

Prof. Tilmann Weber

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability

The interest of Prof. Weber is the characterization and engineering of secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways of bacteria. In addition, his group is involved in whole genome sequencing projects and is developing sophisticated software tools to analyze secondary metabolite gene cluster data and predict the function of the biosynthetic enzymes.  Integrating informatics and metabolic engineering the main aim is the discovery and analysis of Natural Products.

In 2013, he joined the New Bioactive Compounds section at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability of the Technical University of Denmark as a Co-PI. 

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Session 1 - Invited speaker

Dr. Maria Immacolata Ferrante

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn

Dr. Maria Immacolata Ferrante is researcher at the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn of Naples (Italy) since September 2010.

She is studying the molecular mechanisms underlying diatom biology, through functional genomics, genetics and molecular biology.

In 2011 she obtained a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant for consolidating a species of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia as genetic model organism for diatoms, and the effort is continuing with new funding. Main achievements were the sequencing of the P. multistriata genome and the identification of the mechanism of sex determination. The other principal interest of the laboratory is the definition of signal transduction mechanisms that, in diatoms, mediate the reception of external stimuli, mostly using transcriptomics and reverse genetics approaches. Finally, the team is involved in the generation of genetic resources and molecular tools for genome editing.


Dr. Leonard Van Zyl

University of Western Cape

Dr. Van Zyl was born in Walvisbay (Namibia) in 1978. After completing high school in Windhoek (Namibia) he moved to Stellenbosch (South Africa) to complete his studies. Following completion of M.Sc. in Microbiology in 2003, he took a break from studying to work in a research lab and hone his skills.

After moving to the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in mid-2008 he continued working as a research assistant and received his doctoral degree at the beginning of 2018. Since April 2018 he has been the manager of the single cell genomics and flow cytometry platform at UWC. He worked on a wide variety of topics covering enzymology and enzyme engineering, molecular ecology, metabolic engineering, bacteriophage characterization, microbial genomics and more."