Human Gut Microbiome & Nutrition Symposium

April 17, 2017
8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Clark-Fox Forum, Hillman Hall, Danforth Campus

Topic: Development of Microbiota-Directed Foods for Treatment of Childhood Undernutrition: Opportunities and Challenges

This event features presentations about the science & regulations, implementation & intervention, and community engagement around microbiota-directed foods to treat, and most importantly prevent, disorders arising from abnormal postnatal development of the gut microbiota in children with undernutrition in Bangladesh.

Speakers include Washington University faculty, members from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mars, Incorporated and the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh.

This event open to the public; RSVP requested by April 13th.

Students may sign-up to have lunch with a speaker during registration. Light breakfast and lunch provided.

Click here to see the event flyer.


8:30 am Registration begins; Light breakfast; sign-up for lunch with a speaker
9:00 am Chancellor Mark Wrighton, PhD, Washington University – Welcome
9:05 am William Powderly, MD, Washington University – Opening Remarks
9:15 am Keynote Speaker : Jeffrey Gordon, MD, Washington University – Microbiota-Directed Complementary Foods for Treating Children with Undernutrition
9:55 am Tahmeed Ahmed, PhD, MBBS, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh – Acute Childhood Malnutrition: Taking Science Where it is Needed
10:35 am Break
10:50 am TBD
11:30 am Ana María Arbeláez, MD, MSCI, Washington University – Effects of Childhood Malnutrition on Brain Development Beyond the 1000 days
11:50 am Manu Goyal, MD, MSC, Washington University – What a Child’s Brain Needs: A Metabolic Perspective
12:10 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Global Health Case Competition Winning Team Presentation – Kate Simpson, Washington University & Nicholas Vryhof, Washington University
1:10 pm Harold Schmitz, PhD, Mars, Incorporated & Ralph Jerome, MS, Mars, Incoporated – Thoughts on Translating Scientific Advances Related to Food and Health into Sustainable Business Models
1:40 pm Filippo Randazzo, PhD, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Doing the Right Thing, for the Right Reasons, in the Right Way: Why ESC Thinking is Important for Achieving Global Health Impact
2:10 pm Break
2:20 pm Subhasish Das, MBBS, MPH,  International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh – Developing and Scaling Up of Microbiota-Directed Complementary Foods: Issues Involved and Initiatives Required
2:50 pm Lora Iannotti, PhD, Washington University – The Biome Beyond: Contextual Considerations
3:20 pm Panel Discussion: Challenges to ImplementationTahmeed Ahmed, PhD, MBBS, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh; Subhasish Das, MBBS, MPH, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh; Jeffrey Gordon, MD, Washington University; Lora Iannotti, PhD, Washington University; Filippo Randazzo, PhD, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Harold Schmitz, PhD, Mars, Incorporated


Jeffrey Gordon, MD
Director, Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology
Washington University

Jeffrey Gordon is the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his A.B. from Oberlin College and his M.D. from the University of Chicago. He joined the Washington University faculty after completing his clinical training in internal medicine and gastroenterology and doing post-doctoral research at the NIH. He was Head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology before becoming the founding Director of a University-wide, interdisciplinary Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology. His group has developed new experimental and computational approaches to characterize the assembly and dynamic operations of human gut microbial communities; this work has involved studies of novel gnotobiotic animal models, twins concordant or discordant for physiologic phenotypes, and children and adults representing diverse geographic, cultural and socio-economic conditions. A central question he and his students are pursuing is how our gut microbiomes contribute to obesity and childhood undernutrition. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Philosophical Society.

Title – Microbiota-Directed Complementary Foods for Treating Children with Undernutrition

Tahmeed Ahmed, PhD, MBBS
Senior Director, Nutrition and Clinical Services Division
International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh

Dr. Tahmeed Ahmed is Senior Director and Senior Scientist of the Nutrition and Clinical Services Division of icddr,b. He is a clinician with a PhD and for the last 30 years has been working on the treatment of and public health measures for malnutrition, childhood tuberculosis, and diarrheal diseases. He developed a treatment protocol for management of children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and diarrheal diseases, the implementation of which resulted in a 50% reduction in case fatality among children admitted to the hospital with SAM. The team led by Dr. Ahmed has recently developed nutritional treatment from locally available food ingredients for preventing and treating acute malnutrition in children.

Dr. Ahmed was actively involved in the development of national guidelines for management of childhood malnutrition as well as tuberculosis in Bangladesh. He also worked with WHO in revising the global guidelines on management of childhood malnutrition. He was a member of the writing team for the Lancet series on maternal and child undernutrition published in 2008 and also in 2013. He completed the large World Bank supported multi-country project known as Mainstreaming Nutrition Initiative. Dr. Ahmed also led the community-based project on diagnosis and treatment of children with TB under which 153,000 children in two rural sub-districts of Bangladesh were screened for TB. Currently he is the Bangladesh site principal investigator of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported multi-country Malnutrition-Enteric Diseases (Mal-ED) Project. He has also investigated the microbiome in patients with cholera, results of which have also been published in Nature. He is also working intimately on stunting and environmental enteropathy.

Dr. Ahmed was the Chair of the sub-committee formed by the Government of Bangladesh to draft the National Nutrition Policy of Bangladesh. He works closely with WHO, UNICEF and the International Atomic Energy Agency in research and training on nutrition. He is a Professor of Public Health Nutrition at the James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University. He is also an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle.

Title – Acute Childhood Malnutrition: Taking Science Where it is Needed

Ana María Arbeláez, MD, MSCI
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Washington University

Dr. Arbelaez is an Associate Professor (Investigator Track) of Pediatrics and is the Co-Director for the Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Clinical Research Training program at Washington University in St Louis. She is a pediatric endocrinologist with a research focus on both the effects of glycemic extremes and glucose deprivation (hypoglycemia or malnutrition) on glucose counterregulation, brain glucose metabolism and neurodevelopment. She has experience conducting interdisciplinary human studies of glucose counterregulation using neuroimaging methodologies, such as PET and MRI and in the management of multidisciplinary domestic and international research teams. She has been part of multicenter studies such as the TODAY Study and DirecNet Study. Dr. Arbelaez’s work has been funded by both federal and non-federal sources, including: the NIH, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Children’s Discovery Institute, The Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, and the Washington University Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. She is a member of the American Society for Pediatric Research. Her work has contributed to our understanding of the brain-hormone interactions during the cascade of physiological responses that occur across various levels of glycemia and how these are altered in vivo in humans.

Title – Effects of Childhood Malnutrition on Brain Development Beyond the 1000 Days

Subhasish Das, MBBS, MPH
Research Investigator, Nutritional Clinical Services Division
International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh

Dr Subhasish Das is a clinician with a public health degree and is working as Research Investigator at Nutrition & Clinical Services Division of icddr,b, Bangladesh. Dr Das obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree from Dhaka Medical College, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and completed one year rotatory residency program at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.Dr Das joined James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University and successfully achieved his MPH degree in 2015. Since then he is working for icddr,b. At icddr,b he has been working on the management of childhood malnutrition and diarrheal diseases.His area of research interest is nutrition-infection interaction.He is currently working as a co-investigator of Bangladesh Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (BEED) study– the aims of this study are to validate non-invasive biomarkers of Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (EED) and identify potential biological pathways for interventions to control EED and stunting.

The BEED study is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and this is a collaborative effort between Washington University in St. Louis, University of Virginia, USA, Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Bangladesh.

He received WHO-TDR Scholarship to attend the Regional Course on Good Clinical Practice (GCP), held in Indonesia in 2015. During his post-graduation he received USAID’s ‘Next Generation Public Health Experts’ fellowship award and his masters’ thesis won the Richard Cash Award for best poster of the year.

Title – Developing and Scaling Up of Microbiota Directed Complementary Foods: Issues Involved and Initiatives Required

Manu Goyal, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor, Radiology
Washington University

Manu Goyal, MD, MSc is an Assistant Professor of Radiology in the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He is board-certified in Neurology, Radiology, and Neuroradiology, and is currently on staff as a pediatric and adult neuroradiologist. As a member of the Neuroimaging Laboratories, his research primarily focuses on brain metabolism and developing integrative big data approaches to combine neuroimaging data with genomics to better understand brain development and aging. He was recently awarded an RSNA Scholar Award to continue his investigations on the effects of childhood malnutrition on brain development.

Title – What a Child’s Brain Needs: A Metabolic Perspective

Lora Iannotti, PhD
Associate Professor
Washington University

Dr. Lora Iannotti has expertise in the areas of young child nutrition and nutrient deficiencies (zinc, iron, vitamin A, B12, and choline) related to poverty and infectious diseases. Her research focuses on epidemiological and intervention studies in resource-poor populations. At present, Dr. Iannotti is working in Haiti, Ecuador, and East Africa where she collaborates with local partners to test innovative, transdisciplinary solutions using animal source foods during complementary feeding period and small livestock development for preventing childhood malnutrition. Dr. Iannotti is also actively engaged in building the global health curriculum for the Brown School and Washington University more broadly through the Institute for Public Health. She chairs the Global Health Specialization of the MPH program at the Brown School.

Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Public Health, Brown School

Dr. Iannotti received her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a Master of Arts degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. Prior to pursuing her PhD, she worked for over ten years with UN agencies and non-governmental organizations on nutrition and food security programming and policy.

Title – The Biome Beyond: Contextual Considerations

Ralph Jerome, MS
Vice President for Innovation
Mars, Incorporate

Ralph Jerome is the Vice President of Corporate Innovation for Mars Incorporated, a multi-billion dollar branded food manufacturer in McLean, Virginia. With almost three decades at Mars, Ralph has served on several boards and management teams and has been a strategic leader with a direct influence on Transformational Innovation and Science and Technology Development.

Ralph joined the company as a Senior Scientist, has held various roles in both Marketing and R&D, and has had several international assignments. He was the R&D Head for Mars’ business in Japan where his focus was on Petcare technologies; prior to that he ran the R&D Division for Mars’ Food Business in Europe; and most recently led R&D for the Global Chocolate Segment. While leading the R&D team for Chocolate, Ralph’s team enabled a number of major efforts to increase yields of cocoa farmers and the effort to 100% certification of the Mars cocoa supply chain by 2020. In addition, Ralph’s teams developed breakthroughs in product design and route-to-market innovation in emerging markets as well as maintaining and building competitive edge for long-term business growth in developed markets.

In his current role of Vice President, Corporate Innovation Ralph and his team have established a set of Grand Challenges which when achieved will provide Mars Business Segments with a competitive edge by defeating major barriers to sustainable growth.

Ralph has a Master’s degree in Food Science from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Cook College, Rutgers University.

Title – Thoughts on Translating Scientific Advances Related to Food and Health into Sustainable Business Models – Part II

Filippo Randazzo, PhD
Deputy Director, Discovery & Translational Sciences
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Fil Randazzo’s primary areas of focus and expertise are science & technology, partnership and social innovation. Fil has a long track record of identifying, shaping and nurturing winning investments and transforming innovation into impact. He loves to take novel ideas and turn them into reality.

In 2005, Fil co-launched and co-managed the Grand Challenges in Global Health (GCGH) Initiative. His programs have included Eliminate Dengue, Target Malaria, Banana21, and ESC (Ethics, Social and Cultural Support). Fil funded and managed the foundation’s first programs in agriculture and agricultural biotechnology. He developed and leads the Vaccine Discovery Partnership (VxDP) program which has transformed the way in which the Gates Foundation and large pharma collaborate together on furthering R&D goals. Fil serves as the foundation’s relationship manager with the Global Good Fund at Intellectual Ventures, LLC.

Fil earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1991 and a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame in 1985, majoring in microbiology and anthropology. Prior to joining BMGF, Fil spent ten years in R&D at the Chiron Corporation in Emeryville California. He holds ten patents.

Title – Doing the Right Thing, for the Right Reasons, in the Right Way: Why Ethical, Social, and Cultural Support (ESC) Thinking is Important for Achieving Global Health Impact

Harold Schmitz, PhD
Chief Science Officer
Mars, Incorporated

Harold Schmitz is Chief Science Officer for Mars, Incorporated and Senior Scholar in the Graduate School of Management at University of California, Davis. Prior to taking on his role in Mars, he held positions within the company in Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Fundamental Research, Analytical and Applied Sciences and Corporate Staff.  Before joining Mars in 1993, he was a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Needs Research Fellow at North Carolina State University’s Department of Food Science.  Harold received his Master of Science degree in Food Science from the University of Illinois and his Doctoral degree in Food Science, with a minor in organic chemistry, from North Carolina State University.  He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas in 1987, and in 2011 was honored as Outstanding Alumnus of the Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences.

Harold has authored and co-authored many peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, given numerous invited presentations, organized and/or chaired scientific meetings and is a co-inventor on several granted patents, with emphasis on exploring the relationship between vascular biology and dietary constituents, and generally the metabolism and function of dietary phytochemicals in modulating human health. His focus on multi-disciplinary collaborations led to a position on the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Sciences Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable from 2005 – 2013.  He is a member of the National Research Advisory Board at Washington University in St Louis, the Food Innovation Advisory Council at The Ohio State University and the Board of Visitors at North Carolina State University, which advises the Chancellor.  Since 2007, he has been active in the annual meetings of the Foundation Lindau Nobel Prize Winners Meetings at Lake Constance.  Harold’s current areas of interest focus broadly on the relationship of agriculture and food production in the context of social, cultural, ecological, environmental and economic sustainability, and the unique role that multi-sector collaborations can play in solving challenges in this area.

Title – Thoughts on Translating Scientific Advances Related to Food and Health into Sustainable Business Models – Part I

Event Sponsors: The Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology and the Global Health Center at the Institute for Public Health