Pre-Conference Workshops
Wednesday, June 26


Metagenomics Masterclass – Your Comprehensive Guide to Microbiome Data Analysis
08:30 – 11:00

As emerging research continues to uncover the important relationship between the humanmicrobiome across a variety of critical disease phenotypes, the ongoing challenge of correctly identifying function and the causative role of microbial dysbiosis in disease remains. To help tackle this complex challenge, sophisticated sequencing tools including shotgun metagonomics are becoming widely adopted. This workshop will focus on the current challenges when undergoing metagenomics studies during microbiome research.

Join this session to:

• Understand the importance of metagenomics studies when conducting microbiome research for therapeutic and biomarker development
• Appreciate the current limitations when characterizing microbial composition and function across multiple sample types
• Effectively use shotgun sequencing and bioinformatics analysis to assemble metagenomes and create accurate community and functional analyses
• Discuss the ongoing challenges of metagnomic analysis and the growing importance of conducting holistic microbiome analysis including metatranscriptomics, metabolomics and meta-analysis

Workshop Leader

Rita Colwell

Rita Colwell
Distinguished University Professor
University of Maryland


Leveraging the Role of the Human Microbiome to Improve Immunotherapy Outcomes
14:30 – 17:00

Cancer immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment, improving overall survival in comparison to standard of care treatments such as chemotherapy. In recent years, ongoing partnerships, promising in-vivo results and emerging clinical studies that link the gut microbiome, immune response regulation and ICI therapies have begun to elucidate the microbiome’s potential impact on predicting immunotherapy response.

Join this session to:

• Review the recent academic and commercial case-studies that link the influence of the gut microbiota on the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors for more targeted and effective cancer treatment
• Gain insights into developing microbiome-based therapeutics as chemotherapy adjuvants for improved response to emerging immunotherapy options, including immune checkpoint inhibitors
• Understand the challenges of interpreting human clinical samples and mouse models of cancer when linking microbiome composition with response to immunotherapy

Workshop Leaders

Dario Gutierrez

Dario Gutierrez
Head of Investigational Biology
Merck ESC


Fyza Shaikh
Postdoctoral Fellow
John Hopkins Hospital


Start-Up Focus Evening: How Can Academic Promise Translate Into Commercial Success?
17:30 – 19:30

Reviewing Microbiome Business Models for Successful Therapeutic Development

What challenges have emerging start-up organizations in this field faced and how have they overcome them? This dedicated focus evening will enable you to understand how organizations are establishing themselves in this rapidly-evolving field. Join this intimate evening of case-study led presentations and open, frank discussions to learn from experts who have experienced the reality of establishing successful microbiome initiatives from early academic insights first-hand.


17:30  Chair’s Opening Remarks

17:45  ClostraBio, a start-up co-founded by UChicago Scientists

18:00  Commercializing microbiome research at the Cleveland Clinic

18:15  Commercializing microbiome research at UChicago

18:30  VC Perspective

18:45  Closing Panel Discussion

19:30  End of Pre-Conference Focus Evening

Confirmed Speakers

Cathryn Nagler

Cathryn Nagler
Bunning Food Allergy Professor
University of Chicago & ClostraBio

Suguna Rachakonda

Suguna Rachakonda
Senior Director, Product Development
Cleveland Clinic

Matt Martin

Matt Martin
Microbiome Lead, Technology Commercialization
University of Chicago