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Keynote Speaker Dr. Jeremy Nicholson
Faculty of Medicine, Head of Department
Department of Surgery & Cancer
Imperial College London

Professor Jeremy K. Nicholson obtained his BSc from Liverpool University (1977) and his PhD from London University (1980) in Biochemistry working on the application of analytical electron microscopy and the applications of energy dispersive X-Ray microanalysis in molecular toxicology and inorganic biochemistry.

In 1998 he moved to Imperial College London as Professor and Head of Biological Chemistry and subsequently Head of the Department of Biomolecular Medicine (2006) and Head of the Department of Surgery, Cancer and Interventional Medicine in 2009 where he runs a series of research programs in stratified medicine, molecular phenotyping and molecular systems biology.

In 2012 Nicholson became the Director of world’s first National Phenome Centre specialising in large-scale molecular phenotyping and he also directs the Imperial Biomedical Research Centre Stratified medicine program and Clinical Phenome Centre. Nicholson is the author of over 700 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many other articles/patents on the development and application of novel spectroscopic and chemometric approaches to the investigation of metabolic systems failure, metabolome-wide association studies and pharmaocometabonomics.  Nicholson is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, The Royal College of Pathologists, The British Toxicological Society, The Royal Society of Biology and is a consultant to several pharmaceutical/healthcare companies.

Dr. Lorraine Brennan
Dr. Lorraine Brennan, Fellow, PI, University College Dublin

Lorraine Brennan (BA, PhD) is a Conway Fellow and a PI in the University College Dublin (UCD) Institute of Food and Health. Her research interests revolve around metabolism and altered metabolic pathways in health and disease. She leads a metabolomics research group in UCD and is instrumental in the development of metabolomics for nutritional research. Areas currently under development include (1) the use of a metabolomic approach to identify novel biomarkers of dietary intake and (2) the use of metabolomic signatures (“metabotypes”) to identify responder’s to dietary interventions in a move towards personalised nutrition.

Dr. Bennan is a recipient of a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator grant. She is a partner in the FP7 projects NutriTech and Food4me. She is a PI in The National Nutrition Phenotype Database where she was responsible for the metabolomics data. She represents the Irish Nutrigenomics Organisation (JINGO) in the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) ENPADASI.  She is a partner in the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Biomarker Initiative.  Dr. Brennan is also a co-CEO of NuGO, the European Association of universities and research institutes, focused on nutrigenomics.

Dr. Ahme El-Sohamy
Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy, Professor, University of Toronto

Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy is a Professor at the University of Toronto and has held a Canada Research Chair in Nutrigenomics. He earned his PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard. He returned to Toronto in 2000 to establish a research program in nutritional genomics. The goal of his research is to elucidate the genetic basis for variability in nutrient response on health and performance.

Dr. El-Sohemy has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles and has given over 180 invited talks around the world. He is on the editorial board of 10 scientific and medical journals (eg AJCN, J. Nutr. Biochem.) and served as an expert reviewer for more than 30 other journals and 12 granting agencies. He has over 4,100 citations with an H-index of 36.

Dr. El-Sohemy has served on Health Canada’s Scientific Advisory Board and several international expert advisory panels. He has made numerous appearances on TV, radio and in print media, and was voted one of the top 10 people to watch in 2004 by the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper, and in 2007 was nominated for Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 award. In 2013, Dr. El-Sohemy was named one of the top 10 inventors of the year by UofT and the following year he was awarded the Centrum Foundation New Scientist Award for Outstanding Research by the Canadian Nutrition Society. This year he was awarded the Mark Bieber Professional Award by the American College of Nutrition. He is the founder of Nutrigenomix Inc. and Chair’s the company’s International Science Advisory Board.

Dr. Eric Martens
Dr. Eric Martens, Associate Professor, University of Michigan Medical School

Dr. Eric Martens is Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Martens obtained his B.A. (1997) from Washington University in St. Louis and his Ph.D. (2005) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Martens began investigating the mechanisms through which human gut bacteria digest diet- and host derived polysaccharides during his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Jeffrey Gordon at Washington University School of Medicine. He has continued to pursue this work at the University of Michigan Medical School with a focus on members of the Bacteroidetes, one of only a few numerically dominant phyla of human gut bacteria that are particularly adept at degrading polysaccharides present in dietary fiber and mucosal secretions.

Current projects in the Martens laboratory are aimed at identifying the molecular function and coordinated regulation of the Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron starch-utilization system (Sus) and many homologous cell surface-associated “Sus-like” protein complexes in this species and other bacteria. Each of these systems is involved in recognizing, binding and degrading starch or one of the dozens of other complex carbohydrates commonly found in foods or the gastrointestinal mucosa. Additional focus areas involve the role of commensal gut bacteria in inflammatory bowel diseases and the assembly of synthetic microbial communities from fully sequenced and characterized strains to model aspects of microbiota function in health and disease.

Dr. Susan Sumner
Dr. Susan Sumner, Professor, UNC NRI

Susan Sumner, PhD joined the UNC Nutrition Research Institute on December 1, 2016, as a Professor of Nutrition. With Dr. Sumner’s arrival, the NRI became home to the Eastern Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core. This is one of six centers in the United States that work together to establish national standards for metabolomics, and increase national metabolomic capacity in clinical and translational research.

Dr. Sumner is working to make personalized medicine a reality through metabolomics.  Her research activities span several domain areas in Personalized Medicine, Metabolomics and Biomarkers Research, Obesity, and NanoHealth.  Using metabolomics, Dr. Sumner assesses differences in the metabolic profile of individuals that correlate with states of wellness or disease. She is identifying responses to treatment in areas such as obesity, drug-induced liver injury, infectious disease, and reproductive and developmental biology.

Prior to joining the UNC Nutrition Research Institute, Dr. Sumner has worked at the Research Triangle Institute as Director of the NIH Eastern Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core, as well as Senior Research Scientist in the Center for Estimating Human Health Risks from Exposure to Nanoparticles. At RTI, Dr. Sumner led projects designed to identify biomarkers for the early detection of disease, to monitor disease progression or therapeutic intervention, and to gain insights into mechanisms of response

Dr. Sumner received her BS and PhD degrees from North Carolina State University.

Dr. W.H. Wilson Tang
Dr. H.W. Wilson Tang, Professor, Associate Director, Cleveland Clinic

Wilson Tang is Professor of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. He was appointed as Assistant Program Director of the Cleveland Clinic General Clinical Research Center, and Associate Director of the Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Coordinating Center (C5), the academic research organization that has conducted several landmark multicenter clinical trials in cardiovascular medicine.

Dr. Tang’s expertise ranges from cardiomyopathy to heart failure, cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support, cardio-renal syndrome, cancer-related cardiac diseases, diabetic heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Among other interests, Dr. Tang researches the role of the gut microbiome in cardiovascular diseases.

He has co-authored more than 450 scientific publications. After receiving his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Tang completed residency, internship and fellowship training at Stanford University Medical Center, and fellowships at Cleveland Clinic before joining the Cleveland Clinic in 2004.

Dr. Lorraine Brennan
Dr. Saroja Voruganti, Assistant Professor, UNC NRI

Saroja Voruganti, PhD, joined the UNC Nutrition Research Institute in 2013 as assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition, UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Voruganti’s research investigates how genetic and environmental (particularly diet and nutrients) factors impact hyperuricemia, gout, kidney and cardiovascular disease, with the goal of finding new treatment options.

Dr. Voruganti earned her B.Sc. degree with honors in Foods and Nutrition at The University of Delhi, India, and a post-graduate diploma in Dietetics and Hospital Food Service. She received a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin and did post-doctoral work in Genetic Epidemiology at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute.
She has conducted several studies involving minority populations such as Mexican Americans, American Indians, Western Alaska Natives and Hispanic children. Her focus in all these studies is to understand genetic and environmental influences on renal-cardiovascular disease risk.

Dr. Voruganti has published or has in press more than 75 scholarly papers and has authored chapters in two books: Handbook of Anthropometry: Physical Measures of Human Form in Health and Disease and Human Variation: From the Laboratory to the Field.

Dr. Stephen Zeisel
Dr. Steve Zeisel, Institute Director, UNC NRI

A world-renowned scientist, Dr. Steve H. Zeisel researches choline’s role as an essential nutrient, particularly for women during pregnancy. His studies on choline were the first to create an understanding of the nutrient’s critical role in brain development of infants. His research led the field of nutrition to establish the significance of this essential nutrient for brain development and outline the far-reaching implications for pregnant mothers.

Dr. Zeisel attended medical school at Harvard and completed his residency in pediatrics at Yale- New Haven Hospital. He earned his PhD in Nutrition from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979.  After rising to the rank of professor at Boston University’s School of Medicine, Zeisel joined UNC-Chapel Hill’s faculty in 1990, becoming professor and chair of the UNC Department of Nutrition.   In 1999, he was named Associate Dean of Research for the UNC School of Public Health. Later he began directing UNC’s Clinical Nutrition Research Unit (now the UNC Nutrition Obesity Research Center). Subsequently, he was named a Kenan Distinguished University Professor of Nutrition & Pediatrics at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and at the UNC School of Medicine in 2005.  In 2006, Dr. Zeisel became the founding director of the UNC Nutrition Research Institute on the North Carolina Research Campus.

Dr. Zeisel’s research efforts have won him many awards, including the esteemed National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Falk Award, the American Society for Nutrition’s Osborne and Mendel Award, the American College of Nutrition’s Award for Outstanding Achievements in Nutrition, and the Bristol-Meyers Squibb/Mead Johnson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Nutrition.