Archived Content

Molecular Diagnostics for Infectious Disease 

Molecular diagnostic tools are driving innovation and investment in healthcare, and are becoming a core business area for biotech, pharma and device companies. The shift toward developing diagnostic platforms comes from the need to detect and characterize both common and emerging pathogens, along with technical advances in sequencing, microarrays, and microfluidics. The availability of new sequencing platforms and point-of-care assays will stimulate growth in the field by providing greater speed, convenience and sensitivity, leading to improved outcomes and greater cost savings in healthcare and drug development.

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13:00 Conference Registration


Molecular Diagnostics For Infectious Disease 

14:00 Chairperson’s Remarks

Dag Harmsen, M.D., Professor, Head of Research, Peridontology, University Münster

14:05 Next-Generation Sequencing for Infectious Disease Surveillance - from “Base Pair to Bedside”

Dag Harmsen, M.D., Professor, Head of Research, Peridontology, University Münster

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has fundamentally altered genomic research. New developments will bring NGS costs and performance down to an everybody’s technology with extreme potential for ultra fast and accurate molecular bacterial typing as it provides the ultimate whole genome information. However, the current bottleneck in analysis, i.e. bioinformatics, needs to be overcome to make successfully the transition from data to knowledge in routine infectious disease surveillance.

14:35 Adaptation of Next-Generation Sequencing for Exploration of the Malaria Epigenome

Richard Bartfai, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Biology, Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen

Exploration of epigenetic regulatory mechanism unique to Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria, could provide novel targets for drug development. We have developed the Linear Amplification for Deep Sequencing (LADS) method that enables preparation of highly representative sequencing libraries from the extremely AT-rich P. falciparum genome. Using this novel method we analyzed the epigenome (ChIP-seq) and transcriptome (RNA-seq) of the parasite at unprecedented depth, during multiple stages of development.

15:05 The Transcriptional Landscapes of Human Pathogenic Fungi Revealed by Next-Generation Sequencing

Kai Sohn, Ph.D., Molecular Biotechnology, Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology

Human pathogenic fungi are causing superficial infections of the skin but also life-threatening systemic diseases. To define the pathogenicity at the molecular level, information about the genomes and the corresponding transcriptomes is crucial. We applied next-generation sequencing for the qualitative annotation as well as for the quantitative analysis of the transcriptional landscapes in different Candida species that represent the most important fungal pathogens.

15:35 Refreshment Break - Networking with Sponsors

16:15 Sponsored Presentations (Opportunities Available)

16:45 An iPod Touch-Based Hand-Held Gene Analyzer for Pathogen Screening in Limited Resource Settings

Syed Hashsham, Ph.D., Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan State University

Currently available genetic analysis platforms are powerful but they are expensive and too complicated for use by non-experts. We have developed a small and low cost device, called the GeneZ(TM) analyzer, which is a small smart phone-driven (both Apple’s iPod Touch and Google’s Android based phones) genetic analysis platform capable of analyzing 64 assays using an LED-photodiode system. The functionality and versatility of the platform will be discussed.

17:15 Application of Intact Cell MALDI-TOF MS to the Identification of Bacteria: From Colonies to Clinical Samples

Bernard LaScola, M.D., Ph.D., Faculty of Medicine, University of the Mediterranean, Marseille

Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) on intact cells is on the front end of a new revolution in the routine identification of microorganisms in clinical microbiology laboratories. It provides results in a few minutes and by its accuracy has the potential to replace or at least complement all other methods for microorganism identification.


18:00 Keynote Introduction

18:05 Protein Engineering: Benefitting Therapeutic Proteins and Small Molecule Drugs Alike

Andres PlueckthonAndreas Plueckthun , Ph.D., Professor, Biochemical Institute, University of Zurich


18:40 'Systems Patientomics': The Future of Medicine

Hans LehrachHans Lehrach, Ph.D., Director & Head, Vertebrate Genomics, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics

Ten years after the completion of the human genome in a ten year international collaboration at a cost of between 1 and 3 billion Dollar, we are now getting ready to be able to sequence genomes/ transcriptomes as part of routine medical practice in oncology. The flagship project IT Future of Medicine would extend this approach to generate integrated anatomical/molecular models of every patient in the healthcare system, as the basis for a data rich, computation intensive, individualized medicine of the future.

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