Dr Rachel Dutton, University of California San Diego, US

Dr Rachel Dutton is an Associate Professor at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr Dutton’s research is focused on genetic and genomic approaches to study microbial interactions in food communities. Using cheese as a model system, she aims to identify mechanisms of microbial community formation. Dr Dutton has a key role in the UCSD Center for Microbiome Innovation and is one of the leading Principal Investigators in the Global FoodOmics Project that aims to characterise the molecules and microbes present in and on over 2000 different foods and beverages.

Prof Jack Gilbert, University of California San Diego, US

Prof Jack A. Gilbert earned his PhD from Unilever and Nottingham University, UK in 2002, and received his postdoctoral training at Queens University, Canada. From 2005-2010 he was a senior scientist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK; and from 2010-2018 he was a Professor of Surgery and Director of The Microbiome Center at University of Chicago and a group leader at Argonne National Laboratory. In 2019 he moved to University of California San Diego, where he is a Professor in Pediatrics and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Dr Gilbert uses molecular analysis to test fundamental hypotheses in microbial ecology. He cofounded the Earth Microbiome Project and American Gut Project. He has authored more than 300 peer reviewed publications and book chapters on microbial ecology. He is the founding Editor in Chief of mSystems journal.

Dr Robert Gruninger, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Dr Robert (Rob) Gruninger was born and raised in Lethbridge Alberta, a small city in Southern Alberta in the heart of cattle country, and a 30 min drive from the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Dr Gruninger attended the University of Lethbridge, graduating with a BSc in biochemistry (2004) and a PhD in biochemistry with a specialization in enzymology and structural biology (2009). He has been working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada since 2012 and is currently a research scientist at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Dr Gruninger’s research uses a combination of animal science, “-omics” techniques, and protein biochemistry to: 1) understand host-microbiome interactions, 2) examine the influence of diet and diet additives on rumen microbial ecology, 3) characterize carbohydrate metabolism in pure cultures of rumen microbes, and 4) explore the influence of the rumen microbiome on feed efficiency, animal health and enteric methane emissions.

Prof Curtis Huttenhower, Harvard University, US

Curtis Huttenhower, PhD, is a Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics in the Departments of Biostatistics and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he co-directs the Harvard Chan Microbiome in Public Health Center. He is an Associate Member at the Broad Institute's Microbiome Program. Prof Huttenhower’s lab focuses on computational methods for functional analysis of microbial communities and molecular epidemiology of the human microbiome. This includes systems biology reconstructions integrating metagenomic, metatranscriptomic, and other microbial community 'omics, the microbiome in diseases such as colorectal cancer, and its potential as a diagnostic tool and point of therapeutic intervention.

Prof Linda Kinkel, University of Minnesota, US

Prof Linda Kinkel is a Professor at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the ecology and evolutionary biology of plant and soil microbes and their effects on plant disease and productivity. Linda leads the National Science Foundation-funded International Agricultural Microbiomes Research Coordination Network, which aims to build connections among diverse national and international efforts, and to facilitate communication and advances in microbiome science and applications. Prof Kinkel is also a member of the Scientific Coordinating Committee of the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research, an industry-academic collaborative phytobiome initiative.

Prof Mick Watson, University of Edinburgh, UK

Prof Mick Watson is the Head of Genetics and Genomics, at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. He is a bioinformatician, with over 20 years’ experience in industry and academia. Prof Watson focuses on the use of computational techniques to study systems of relevance to animal health and food security. The outputs from his research have included novel algorithm development and the application of bioinformatics techniques to a range of problems in animal health and food security. Prof Watson has won several grants from a range of funders to create a bioinformatics and lab-based research group which analyses large sequencing datasets in livestock functional genomics and livestock microbiomes.

Prof Bart C. Weimer, University of California, Davis, US

Dr Bart C. Weimer is Professor and Chair in the Department of Population Health & Reproduction UC Davis School. He holds degrees from the University of Arizona (BS) and Utah State University (PhD) with post-doctoral training at the University of Melbourne. Dr Weimer’s group studies links between food, health and the microbiome using bacterial population genomics, systems biology, population genomics and machine learning. His group leads the 100K Pathogen Genome Sequencing Project to create reference genome databases that enable genomic solutions for research, diagnostics, surveillance, and risk assessment in food supply chain management.


Dr Pamela Byrne, Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Dr Pamela Byrne has been the CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland since 2014. Dr Byrne previously held senior positions in the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and has extensive experience of the food regulatory environment, as well as expertise in risk assessment and food safety management at both national and international levels.

Mr John Conroy, Redesdale Group, Ireland (pending)

Dr Pamela Byrne has been the CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland since 2014. Dr Byrne previously held senior positions in the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and has extensive experience of the food regulatory environment, as well as expertise in risk assessment and food safety management at both national and international levels.

Kellye Eversole, Executive Director of the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research & President of Eversole Associates, US

Kellye Eversole is a pioneer in agricultural genomics, biotechnology, and the development of international, pre-competitive, industry-academic research. Since 1994, she has led consortia and projects to obtain reference genome sequences for agriculturally important crop, livestock, and poultry species. She leads the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium that obtained the reference sequence of the bread wheat genome and, since 2016, the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research which is pioneering a holistic, systems approach to understand the complex interactions between the biological and geophysical components of agricultural production systems and support the development of novel, site specific products for enhanced sustainability. She was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her work in plant and microbial genomics and has published widely in top tier journals including multiple articles in Science and Nature.

Dr Áine Macken-Walsh, Teagasc, Ireland

Dr Áine Macken-Walsh is a sociologist at Teagasc’s Rural Economy and Development Programme. Her primary interests are in cultural sociology and behaviour. Dr Macken-Walsh’s research activity is centred on questions such as technology co-design and governance in agricultural extension. Dr Macken-Walsh collaborates with Teagasc extension personnel, industry stakeholders, and international and national academic partners. Her previous EU H2020 projects include SKIN, CERERE and LIASON.

Dr Sandrine Miller-Montgomery, Micronoma, US

Dr Sandrine Miller-Montgomery is CEO of Micronoma, a start-up company focusing on the development and commercialization of cancer diagnostic solutions using Liquid Biopsy targeting the microbial markers. Previously, she was executive director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation, which she co-directed with Prof Rob Knight at University of California San Diego. Dr Miller-Montgomery’s team focused on expanding industry and academic collaborations of microbiome research in various domains such as clinical applications (new drug pathway identification, novel diagnostic biomarkers discovery – such as the IP that led to Micronoma), environmental science (e.g. identification of natural products from ocean sediment), or consumer world (e.g. nutrition and diet role on our microbiome and metabolome). Before her foray in academia, Dr Miller-Montgomery had a long career in Biotech and most recently had led MO BIO Laboratories, now a QIAGEN Company, having started as their director of sales and marketing where her team contributed to the consistent business growth resulting in its acquisition.

Prof Colette Shortt, Food Observatory and University of Ulster, UK

Prof Colette Shortt is a Regulatory Specialist, Registered Public Health Nutritionist and Visiting Professor to the University of Ulster. With 20+ years of experience in Scientific & Regulatory Leadership positions in Consumer Health Companies (Johnson & Johnson, Yakult, SmithKline Beecham), Colette’s interest in the translation of microbiome research began at Yakult and continued while Director, Global Regulatory Affairs Emerging Science & Open Innovation at the J&J Global Franchise Organization. Colette has been active in the development of products, product-related standards and health claim substantiation throughout her career and coordinated one of the first successful disease risk reduction health claim regulatory submissions in Europe while at McNeil Nutritionals Ltd. She is a member of the UK BBSRC Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Strategy Advisory Panel, the Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health (Ulster University) Advisory Board, and the KTN Microbiome Innovation Network Group and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.