The NYMC Microbiome Translational Science Institute (MTSI) held its first scientific program on June 15 at the NYMC Executive Education Center at 7 Dana Road. The program brought together clinical experts, researchers and students to explore the role of the Human Microbiome in health and in the pathogenesis of disease. D. Douglas Miller, M.D., C.M., M.B.A., far right, dean of the School of Medicine, welcomed the audience, noting that this was the first time that NYMC has convened an event focused exclusively on microbiome science and its role in maintaining health and causing diseases. The half-day symposium featured experts from a range of academic disciplines, including pathology, microbiology and immunology, biomedical sciences, pharmacology, biochemistry and molecular biology, as well as scientists from NYMC’s industry partners, Philips Healthcare Research and Janssen Research & Development. The goal of the scientific program was to raise awareness of the Human Microbiome, an area of rapidly increasing research focus and of pharmaceutical industry investment.
John T. Fallon III, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and professor of medicine, second from right, opened the day with a presentation on microbiome meta-transcriptome, detailing how genomic sequencing is helping clinicians “change the way we think about pathogenesis of disease.”
Dr. Miller noted that “the MTSI presents a significant opportunity for NYMC to establish a leadership role in the clinical-translational research and therapeutics domains impacting the Human Microbiome.” He also noted the unique opportunity for the School of Medicine to collaborate on dental and oral microbiome research. Two of the day’s speakers presented research on the effects of the microbiome on oral health: Zvi G. Loewy, Ph.D., fourth from right, professor and chairman of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences and immediate past dean at the Touro College of Pharmacy and NYMC adjunct professor of microbiology and immunology; and Salomon Amar, Ph.D., D.D.S., fourth from left, Touro College of Dental Medicine professor of dental medicine, and NYMC professor of pharmacology and microbiology and immunology. Other speakers included, from left: Edmund F. La Gamma, M.D. '76, professor of pediatrics, division of newborn medicine and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology; Shannon Telesco, Ph.D., senior scientist, Janssen Human Microbiome Institute, Janssen Research & Development; Nevenka Dimitrova, Ph.D., chief technology officer, Genomic Informatics, Philips Healthcare Research; and Emma Allen-Vercoe, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular and cellular biology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.