Probiota 2018 program pushes boundaries in microbiome research and development

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / ChrisChris
Getty Images / ChrisChris

Related tags Gut microbiota Probiotic Gut flora

The IPA World Congress + Probiota 2018 program will see a mix of cutting edge microbiome research, probiotic and prebiotic science, consumer trends and innovation insights as top global experts come together to discuss the future of the probiotic, prebiotic and microbiome therapies industries in Barcelona.

Organized by the publishers of NutraIngredients, in partnership with the International Probiotics Association (IPA), the IPA World Congress + Probiota 2018​ will combine the latest insights from science, regulation and business to provide delegates with the ultimate event to bridge the gap between the worlds of business and scientific research.

Probiota 2018 - SQUARE

Registrations are open now!

The three day festival of science and business will run between February 7 – 9th​ in Barcelona, Spain, where it will explore the frontier of pre-, probiotic and microbiome science, and how that is applied in the commercial world for food and nutraceutical players everywhere.

On the agenda this year are engaging sessions on modulating the microbiome for sports performance​, consumer understanding​ of pre- and probiotics, the importance of the microbiota in the first 1000 days of life​, plus sessions looking at the latest microbiome start-up trailblazers​ and targeting diseases through the microbiome​.

In addition, don’t miss key updates from the IPA​ and dynamic panel discussions will look at how the recent changes to ISAPPs prebiotic definition​ may be changing the game, how new medical device regulations​ are affecting the probiotic and prebiotic space, and how personalised nutrition​ and wearable devices are starting to alter the shape of research and business.

Check out the full program breakdown below.​ Spots for the Congress are filling up fast, so be sure to register for your place soon!

Probiota2018 - Master

7 February 2018: Day One


14:00 – First Focus Workshop – Timelines of development: The microbiome in the first 1000 days
Chair: Will Chu, NutraIngredients

The first 1000 days are some of the most important in life. Our health, wellness and development at this time can have a huge and lasting impact.
This pre-conference workshop looks at the key issues of microbiome formation and development – from conception through to infancy – tackling issues of infant health, maternal influence and how new insights into the microbiome and probiotics could help pre-term babies and those born by C-section.
Speakers include:

  • Lindsay Hall, Quadram Institute
  • Dr David A MacIntyre, Imperial College
  • Omry Koren, The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University
  • Maria Carmen Collado, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology at the Spanish National Research Council (IATA-CSIC)

16:30 – Light refreshments

17:00 – Innovation & Trailblazers Session
Chair: Nathan Gray, NutraIngredients

Innovations and start-up companies can come in many shapes and forms. In this session we will meet a selection of entrepreneurial start-ups presenting their innovations and mould-breaking approaches to the microbiome, prebiotic and probiotic space.
Together with our innovation panellists, our Trailblazers will discuss the consumer trends and technologies they are tapping into and shine a spotlight on some of the opportunities (and pitfalls) that are out there.
Speakers include:

18:30 – Scientific Frontiers session and welcome reception
Poster viewing, drinks and antipasti

The Scientific Frontiers​ poster session presents the latest state-of-the-art developments related to all aspects of prebiotic, probiotic and microbiome science relevant to health, wellbeing, consumers and industry. Posters have been selected based on abstracts submitted and reviewed by the Scientific Committee​.

8 February 2018: Day Two​ 

08:50 – Welcome from the IPA & Chair
George Paraskevakos, International Probiotics Association
Nathan Gray, NutraIngredients

probiotics consumer supermarket yoghurt dairy shopper kzenon


9:00 – Pre and probiotics and gut microbiota: What do consumers understand and where do they go for information? 
Erin Boyd Kappelhof, Eat Well Global

From gut health and immunity to metabolism and brain health, the emerging science and claims around pre and probiotics are coming at consumer fast and furious. How much of this information do they really understand, and in what types of foods and beverages do they want to find these ingredients? Where are they getting their information from and how good are they at separating fact from fiction? Taking a broad look at the landscape of consumer understanding of the gut microbiota, as well as pre and probiotics, Erin shares evidence about where consumers are today, where they’re headed, and how they can best be reached. This session reveals:

  • Where today’s consumers stand on the spectrum of knowledge and understanding of gut microbiota and pre and probiotics
  • Which product people want to find pre and probiotics in and where they go to buy them
  • The opportunities to use opinion influencers to propel your messages to a wide audience

10:00 – Probiotics – strategic developments within ingredients, health benefits and client engagement
Ewa Hudson, Head of Market Insights, Lumina

Customer satisfaction is becoming the new currency in the digital era of probiotics. Online engagement is the strategy to build brand equity. With a limited number of officially approved health claims in different markets, customer reviews increasingly influence purchase decisions. The disparity between academia, regulators, the industry and empowered product users continues to rise.
Lumina Intelligence is an upcoming service from William Reed that will integrate the voice of empowered product users into strategic analysis whilst zooming in on niche product categories. This presentation will provide an insight into probiotic ingredients and associated health benefits shaping strategic developments of leading brands.

10:30 – Refreshments

Chair: Nathan Gray, Senior Editor, NutraIngredients

11:00 – Sports performance and the microbiome – the potential for dietary supplements

sport runner gym fitness Spectral-Design

Mark Gilbert, FitnessGenes

The will to win is the dominant factor in sport. More than 50% of athletes say they’d take a pill that would turn them into a champion, even if it would cause their death within five years. That means the market is wide open for probiotic supplements that can demonstrably enhance athletic performance. Drawing on his experience working with elite athletes Mark will discuss the essential goals of sports nutrition, and how they can be achieved by manipulating the microbiome through diet and supplementation.

  • How creatine helped Linford Christie crack the top three at the Barcelona Olympics
  • How the microbiome dictates athletic performance – from amino acid turnover to stress immunity
  • Carbs, proteins and fats – the best macronutrients for optimum performance
  • The vast potential of microbiome ergogenic aids – and the search for causation evidence

11:30 – The diet and exercise microbiome paradigm
Wiley Barton, Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ireland

The Intestinal microbiome is under investigation as its role in health becomes increasingly evident. To understand the microbiome we must unravel the means by which it is modulated. It is already clear that diet, medication use, and living environment have an important modifying effect. However, recent research now suggests that exercise also plays an important part. As well as novel insights on dietary contributions, Wiley will present evidence to show how exercise influences the structure and function of the gut microbiome and will demonstrate how the microbiome of athletes contributes to their health and performance. Sharing the results of his research he will demonstrate:
• How the microbiome of elite athletes differs from that of the general population
• The enhanced diversity and enriched SCFA profile of athletes and what that means for their performance
• How exercise might improve gut health for everyone

12:00 – Promoting peak performance: Identifying and isolating novel probiotics from athlete microbiomes
Jonathan Scheiman, Fitbiomics

Over the past two years Harvard University has recruited and sequenced the microbiome of athletes to identify the bacteria associated with peak performance and recovery. The work reveals unique differences between the microbiomes of athletes and non-athletes, as well as bacteria that change before and after athletic events. This has led to the identification of novel probiotic candidates with the potential to promote recovery and energy metabolism. Based on this work Jonathan describes the specific microbial profile of elite athletes and how probiotics can enhance their performance. His presentation will share:

  • Results of pre-clinical studies into a novel probiotic candidate that can break down lactic acid
  • Evidence for athletes’ distinct microbial communities and the dynamic behaviour of those communities during sports performance and recovery
  • How next-generation sequencing can identify novel probiotic species and strains

12:30 – Speed networking, poster viewing and an opportunity to meet our sponsors and exhibitors

Grow your network with a series of four-minute meetings with your fellow attendees.
Introduce yourself to a new contact every time you hear the signal and find out if you’ve got mutual interests that would make a subsequent, more in-depth meeting worthwhile. This is also your chance to explore the Scientific Frontiers posters or find out the latest from our sponsors.

13:00 – Roundtable lunches

Discuss the issues that matter most to you Tables will be hosted by an expert from industry or academia who will lead an informal discussion on an industry hot topic. Join the table that suits you best, subject to availability.

14:00 – Dessert and coffee

14:30 – PANEL DEBATE: Regulation and policy: The shifting sands of Europe

compliance regulation law policy Zerbor

Chair: Tim Cutcliffe, NutraIngredients

Experts will discuss a range of important regulatory issues for prebiotics and probiotics including the regulatory stalemate in Europe and how countries like Switzerland and Italy are slowly changing the game. Also up for discussion will be how recent changes to medical device regulation may impact the industry, whether the new ISAPP definition for prebiotics will mean new regulatory issues, and whether medical and pharmaceutical routes offer opportunity.

Speakers include:

15:15 – Genomic diversity and distribution of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum across the human lifespan
Toshitaka Odamaki, Morinaga Milk Industry Company

Gut microbiota composition changes with age, and these aged-related alterations are thought to influence health throughout life. However, a very few species of microbiota, including Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum, are ubiquitous in the gut microbiota across the human lifespan. To reveal the mechanisms of this unique feature, and what it may mean for human health, Toshitaka and his team recently performed a comparative genome analysis including 113 strains of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum, obtained from healthy Japanese subjects up to the age of 98.  The results provide a promising foundation for future research, which aims to reveal which strains are the best possible candidates for probiotic products aimed at key life stages.

15:45 – Refreshments

16:15 – More information to come soon

16:45 – SESSION 3: Scientific Frontiers
Chair: Will Chu, NutraIngredients

The authors of our highest rated Scientific Frontiers abstracts – selected by our Scientific Committee – present key findings and impacts of their research.

17:15 or 17:30 – Chairman’s closing remarks

19:00 – IPA World Congress + Probiota dinner

9 February 2018: Day Three

8:55 – Chairman’s re-cap of Day 2 and welcome back

9:00 – 10:30 – SESSION 4: FROM BUGS TO DRUGS
Chair: Tim Cutcliffe, Reporter, NutraIngredients

9:00 – Challenges and opportunities in targeting diseases through the microbiome
Dr Francisco Guarner, University Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Spain

The impact of microbial colonisation on human health is the subject of many large scale research projects that aim to decipher the composition, structure and function of microbial communities in a range of human niches, including the gut, mouth, vagina and skin. The availability of high through-put sequencing techniques combined with bioinformatics for comparative analysis of datasets means that the field is progressing rapidly. Loss of species diversity in the gut microbiome is commonly reported in individuals affected by common chronic non-communicable diseases, including metabolic, inflammatory and neoplastic disorders. Bi-directional influences between host and microbiota have been proven, and some dysbiotic changes are likely to play a role in the origin of disease.

  • Loss of species diversity in the gut microbiome is commonly reported in individuals affected by chronic non-communicable diseases.
  • Maintaining gut microbiota diversity is a novel clinical target for health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Functional foods and microbiota transplantation are useful tools for improving host-microbial symbiosis.

9:30 – Probiotics as a novel therapeutic in a clinical sample of depressed patients
Caroline Wallace, Queen’s University, Canada

Current research is opening up our understanding of how probiotics can be used in the treatment of several mental health conditions, including depression. Caroline’s presentation summarises progress so far and provides an overview of new research directions. She’ll also take a deep dive into the findings of an exciting pilot study that evaluates the efficacy, safety and tolerabilty of probiotic supplements on symptoms of depression in treatment-naive depressed patients.

  • An overview of research to date and what it has to tell us
  • Novel data revealing the effectiveness of probiotics in treating depression
  • An introduction to theories about the underlying mechanisms that underpin the impact of probiotics on depressive symptoms
  • A look ahead to upcoming research that will expand our knowledge

10:00 – Breaking new ground – pre and probiotic interventions from a microbiota perspective
Johanna Maukonen, DuPont Nutrition & Health

The importance of gut microbiota has been clearly demonstrated in multiple studies over recent decades.  As a result, we have a good understanding of how probiotics can impact gut heath.  However, studies so far have focused on fecal microbiota, which is easier to access than microbiota from other sites along the human gastrointestinal tract.  In her presentation, Johanna reveals key learnings from ground breaking studies that have assessed the impact of probiotic interventions on nasal and intestinal tissue microbiota.

10:30 – Refreshments

Chair: George Paraskevakos, Executive Director, International Probiotics Association

Flow Cytometry: A new way of measuring bacterial viability in probiotic products?
Martin Wilkinson, Associate Professor in Food Microbiology, University of Limerick, Ireland

Flow cytometry is a proven method in many areas of scientific research. Martin’s presentation offers a comprehensive review of its potential as rapid means of enumerating probiotics in foods and supplements, and of assessing their bacterial viability. Focusing on studies undertaken for the International Probiotics Association, he will show that FCM delivers findings that correlate well with other tried and tested methodologies, and does so faster and with greater reproducibility than other tried and tested methodologies. Revealing the results of the study and its implications he will show that:

  • FCM enumeration using staining combinations performs well for analysis of highly concentrated and fresh culture preparations
  • FCM analysis of starter cultures during storage of foods yields quantitative data on cellular sub-populations and an alternative source of insight into population dynamics.
  • FCM-based assays offer an alternative probiotic enumeration method to plate counting
  • Effective clean-up steps to are vital to achieve optimal results
  • The definitions and relationships between cell viability and cell vitality need to be clarified and integrated into future FCM enumeration methodologies.

The IPA Manufacturing Committee Guidelines
Kevin Mehring, UAS Labs and Vice President of the IPA

Within weeks of its publication Kevin Mehring joins us for a detailed discussion of the IPA’s best practice guidelines for probiotic manufacture.  The guidelines aim to ensure consistent quality and efficacy of probiotic products worldwide and promise vital support for regulatory bodies as they develop the regulatory frameworks that will govern our industry’s future.  Kevin’s presentation will reveal the detailed implications of the guidelines, how they’ve been compiled and why adherence to this voluntary code will be good for your business today and in the future.

  • Be recognised as a ‘quality player’ – how adhering to the guidelines will protect your reputation and business viability
  • A guide for regulators – how regulators will depend on the guidelines to evaluate products and protect consumers
  • The future of the guide – the evolution of an IPA Seal of Approval programme

Probiotic futures: A global analysis of current clinical trials and what they mean for our industry
Ger Rijkers, Professor of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University College Roosevelt, the Netherlands

On behalf of the IPA, Ger and his team have completed a comprehensive review of over 1,000 probiotics related clinical trials currently underway worldwide. This gives the industry its first global snapshot of what’s happening in the world of probiotics; the scientific discoveries we can expect to see over the next five years and the product development opportunities they will give rise to. To complete the review, he has interrogated data from the US National Institute of Health and the World Health Organisation, making this the most both exhaustive and reliable information source available.

He will reveal:

  • What’s happening where – and why Europe has emerged as a global hot spot for probiotic research and innovation
  • What’s coming next –neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers heads the list of treatment areas currently under scrutiny
  • What’s in it for you – implications for your product development pipeline and why you need to engage with the research now

12:00 – Big data meets expert insight: How advance analytics is accelerate research and Bproduct validation for NIZO
Jos Boekhorst, Project Manager Bioinformatics, Microbiomics Group, NIZO

The use of big data, bioinformatics, and other –omics technologies to provide a detailed view of our microbiome is an area of huge interest. Many research projects are now looking to leverage population level data to gain a better understanding of how and why our gut bacteria differ – and whether shifts in our microbiota can influence our health for better or worse. Drawing on current trends, and on NIZO’s own experience in this area, Jos will describe how these technologies can support the work of human experts and accelerate the production of reliable, verifiable results.

  • Tools and methodologies – how analytics technologies are used to interogate data and test hypotheses
  • Working faster and smarter – how big data technologies can enhance the work of experts
  • A case in point – how NIZO has used these technologies in a project that has uncovered valuable information about the interplay between diet, microbiota and the small intestine

Jos completed a PhD in bioinformatics at Nijmegen University, working on the annotation and analysis of the first complete lactobacillus genome sequence. After postdoctoral studies at Utrecht University, where he looked into the evolutionary conservation of protein modification, he moved to NIZO food research and back to the field of bacterial genomics and microbiota analysis. His main focus at NIZO is the analysis, visualization and interpretation of microbiota composition and metagenomics data, aiming for the identification of potential biomarkers and microbiome modulators.

12:30 – PANEL DEBATE: Future Focus: Personalised nutrition and the Microbiome

DNA genotype genes genetics lab science research personalised iStock HYWARDS

Chair: Nathan Gray, Senior Editor, NutraIngredients

Big data, wearable technology, personalised analysis, and the digital shopping revolution are all providing huge opportunities for companies and entrepreneurs looking to innovate in the microbiome area. Our panel of experts will discuss the recent technology explosion to identify what’s capturing and holding consumer interest most powerfully and discuss what the industry’s reaction should be – how businesses should engage with this revolution, and how it will impact the products they sell.

Speakers include:

Prof Cristina Campoy, University of Granada 
Philippe Langella, MICALIS Institute

1:15 – Closing remarks and look to the future
Nathan Gray, NutraIngredients​ and George Paraskevakos, International Probiotics Association

1:30 – Networking lunch

2:30 – Departures

Registrations are now open for the IPA World Congress + Probiota 2018! Make sure to reserve your spot at the congress before it is too late.

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