The Marine Microbiome - Discovery & Innovation

Industry Conference


At a Glance Ind Con 28 07 2016


Plenary Session 

The plenary session will include:

  • Welcome address- Mr Norbert Gerbsch - BPI, German Pharmaceutical Industry Association
  • Dr Ian Joint - Marine Biological Association, UK
  • Prof. Lene Lange - DTU Chemical Engineering, Lyngby, Denmark
  • Prof. Karl-Erich Jaeger - Institute of Molecular Enzyme Technology, Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf & Institute of Bio- and Geoscience (IBG 1) Biotechnology Research Centre Juelich, Germany
  • Dr Guy Carter - Carter-Bernan Consulting, New City, USA
  • Prof. Himadri Pakrasi - Washington University, St. Louis, USA
  • Dr Lyour Skuli Erlendsson - Division for Science and Innovation, Rannis, Iceland
  • Dr Silvia Acinas - Institute of Marine Sciences, Barcelona, Spain
  • Dr Jon Kaye - Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation from the Marine Microbiology Initiative, Palo Alto, CA, USA
  • Presentation of MaCuMBA short film - Dr Katrien Vanagt - eCOAST Marine Research, Belgium
  • Presentation of the MaCuMBA book: ‘The Marine Microbiome: An Untapped Source of Biodiversity and Biotechnological Potential’


Panel Discussions

Panel Discussion 1: Future use of marine microbial diversity - challenges and solutions

This panel will discuss the problems and solutions with regard to intellectual property rights and the implementation of the Nagoya protocol in Europe and globally with a focus on its application in relation to the use of marine microbial diversity. The legal restrictions which scientists increasingly face in the course of their work investigating marine microorganisms, their ecology and potential biotechnological use may hinder timely developments and innovation in the field. Collaboration between the academic world and that of industry is crucial to paving new avenues for the development of novel, innovative products and bringing these to market. However, despite the efforts of the EU to achieve more efficient collaborations there is still considerable progress to be made.    

Panel Discussion 2: The ocean - a treasure chest for future applications? 

This panel discusses the potential of microorganisms in the ocean to provide new products and services of benefit to human society. What do we expect to find and where (extreme environments, deep sea, symbiosis, or ‘just in the water’)? How do we move from discovery and bridge the gap to the market? Challenges in this area will be discussed such as difficulties in securing the investment required to determine if a compound is a viable candidate for (clinical) development.


Round Tables

Roud Table 1: Do we need to culture microorganisms in order to use their properties?

Microorganisms with interesting properties, such as production of bioactive compounds, biofuel or other products; or activities such as for bioremediation, are not always easy to culture in a biotechnological setting or only at prohibitive cost. Once the desired property of a microorganism has been identified, it may be possible to synthesize and produce it chemically or to transform it into a host, which is known for biotechnological production, or there may be other ways to circumvent (mass) culturing of microorganisms while still obtaining the product or service. Or perhaps this is not always possible but we still must consider whether it is necessary to (mass) culture microorganisms.        

Round Table 2: What is the potential of marine microbiology to deliver products and services to the industry

What is so special about marine microbiology that it should be distinguished from other disciplines with respect to biotechnological applications? What specific products and services do we expect from marine microbiology, and once identified, how do we deliver them to the industry? Is there a market for products and services deriving from marine microorganisms interesting enough for industry to develop these products? What are the options to generate tighter connections between academics and industry and what would be the role of politics in this?  

Round Table 3: What is the future of synthetic microbiology?

The increasing bioinformatics data has allowed in part the possibility for synthetic microbiology. Using synthetic microbiology it becomes possible to engineer microorganisms for increased biotechnological performance. It will even become possible to engineer whole new microorganisms that can be used as factories for the production of wanted compounds or services. Although synthetic microbiology is still in its infancy, some remarkable results have already been obtained. Will the promises of synthetic microbiology eventually come through?  

Round Table 4: What are the global effects of legislation on marine biodiscovery?

Now that the Nagoya protocol has come into effect and has been translated to European and national legislation, scientists who want to use marine microorganisms or genetic resources need to obey these new rules. However, much is still unresolved or unclear, especially when intending to use samples or microorganisms from developing countries. This might lead to scientists refraining from using such samples or organisms. Would this lead to a collapse of global marine biodiscovery activities? What are the options to be considered? 


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