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Scientific Program
Committee
Plenary Speakers

Jim KAPUT, PhD
(Vydiant, USA)

Plenary Session I - Personalized Nutrition for Better Health: Targeting the Human Gut Microbiome

Tamar TCHKONIA, Ph.D.
(Mayo Clinic, USA)

Plenary Session III - Ageing, Chronic Disease and Senolytics: the Path to Translation

Christoph WANNER, MD
(University of Wurzburg, Germany)

Plenary Session IV - The Role of SGLT2 Inhibitors Beyond Diabetic Kidney Disease

Dariush MOZAFFARIAN, MD, PhD
(Tufts University, USA)

Plenary Session V - Food as Medicine – Implications for Research, Guidelines and Policy

Jens Marc TITZE, MD, PhD
(Duke NUS, Singapore)

Plenary Session VI - Rethinking Salt and Water Metabolism

Li Ping ZHAO, PhD
(Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China)

Plenary Session VII - Gut Microbiota -Master Regulators of Host Metabolism

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Jim KAPUT, PhD
(Vydiant, USA)


Dr. Kaput has been developing strategies and methods to target nutrition for improving personal and public health forhis entire career. He is well known in the fields of nutrition, genetics, metabolism, and analytics. He and his colleagues in the USA, Brazil, Italy, and Switzerland use a more holistic approach to research summarized as systems nutrition that combines physiological data with measures of diet intake, genetics, and physical activity in the context of the built environment. He has also published on the need for international collaborations and the challenges facing nutritional research in providing science-based evidence for nutrient security and sustainability as climate changes and the world population increases to 9 billion in 2050.

His most recent past position was Senior Expert at the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences from 2011 to 2017. Jim and his team developed a micronutrient program that analyzed vitamin and mineral interactions involved in networked protein-protein interactions, conducted a micronutrient intervention study in children and adolescents in Brazil, the only NIHS research program in the southern hemisphere, and developed a novel network activity score finder using omic data from fat cell differentiation in vitro. From 2007 to 2011, Jim was Director of the Division of Personalized Nutrition and Medicine at the U.S. FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (Jefferson, AR). During his 3.5 year tenure, he developed a community based participatory research program with the USDA and the Boys, Girls, Adults Community Development Center in Marvell, Arkansas, one of the first biomedical studies analyzing and integrating diet intake data with measures of plasma vitamin and protein levels with genetic data. His team also developed a stem cell program and analyzed transcriptomic, DNA methylation, protoeomic, and metabolomc data using a systems approach.

He received his PhD from Colorado State University in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and spent 5 years as a postdoctoral fellow and assistant professor at the Rockefeller University in the laboratory of GÜnter Blobel, the 1999 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine. Jim was a staff and Biochemistry faculty member at the University of Illinois College of Medicine for 11 years and Director of the Northwestern University Biotechnology Laboratory for 2 years. He also coordinator of Science and Administrative Activities for the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Center of Excellence in Nutritional Genomics at the University of California Davis, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). He was a member of the Executive Committee of NuGO (Nutrigenomics Organization – www.nugo.org) for 8 years and for 5 years was a co-Editor of Genes&Nutrition, a leading journal in the field of targeted nutrition.

Jim and colleagues established Vydiant Inc (www.vydiant.com), a for-profit company in May 2017. Vydiant is a health care data analytic firm that integrates data from electronic health records (i.e., precision medicine) with publicaly available data from other scales (e.g., NHANES, built environment, data on food access, affordability, and other sources with factors known to influence health). Vydiant is collaborating with an internationally recognized agency with deep expertise in data management, aggregation, and analysis as well as a major medical school in California and Illinois.
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Tamar TCHKONIA, Ph.D.
(Mayo Clinic, USA)


Dr. Tamar Tchkonia, Ph.D. is one of four Principal Investigators for the recently funded Translational Geroscience Network (TGN) and a director of facility for Geroscience Analyses. TGN is a consortcium of eight leading Aging Centers in The United States. The major goal of TGN is to assist with design and conduct of clinical trials to test interventions which target fundamental aging mechanisms to extend healthspan and delay, prevent, or treat age-related diseases.

Dr. Tamar Tchkonia received her Master’s degree from Tbilisi State University and her Ph.D. degree in molecular biology from the Institute of Molecular Biology, Moscow Russia. She was a Docent at Tbilisi State University and invited lecturer at Tbilisi State Medical University. After two years of postdoctoral training at the Boston University Medical Center, Dr. Tchkonia joined the faculty at the Evans Biomedical Research Center at Boston University. Since 2007, Dr. Tchkonia has been a Senior Research Scientist at the Kogod center on Aging and Associate Professor at the department of Medicine at Mayo Clinic. Her research is actively involved in translational continuum, including discovery science, translational research and clinical applications in the field of cellular senescence and aging. In collaboration with Dr. Kirkland and others, she discovered the first senolytic drugs that are effective in eliminating senescent cells both in vitro and in vivo and demonstrated that pharmacological targeting of these cells can alleviate age-related frailty and symptoms of multiple diseases. Some of these drugs have been already tested in clinical trials for variety of indications at different centers in US and world-wide. Dr. Tchkonia is one of the four co-inventors of a mouse model where senescent cells can be removed selectively and a named inventor on multiple patent applications related to therapeutic approaches for targeting senescent cells in aging and disease.
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Christoph WANNER, MD
(University of Wurzburg, Germany)


Prof. Christoph Wanner is Professor of Medicine and head of the Division of Nephrology at the University Hospital of Würzburg, Germany

He has published more than 700 scientific papers and articles on lipid disorders, statin treatment (4D Study; NEJM 2005) and diabetic kidney disease (EMPA-REG OUTCOME study; NEJM 2015/2016). He is currently co-chair of the EMPA-KIDNEY trial.

He is an Associate Editor of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

He has received two prominent Awards; in 2016 for Outstanding Clinical Contributions to Nephrology from the ERA-EDTA and in 2018 the Franz Volhard medaille from the German Society of Nephrology. He also was awarded doctor honoris causa from the Charles University, Prague.
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Dariush MOZAFFARIAN, MD, PhD
(Tufts University, USA)


Dariush Mozaffarian is a cardiologist, Dean and Jean Mayer Professor at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and Professor of Medicine at Tufts Medical School. As one of the top nutrition institutions in the world, the Friedman School’s mission is to produce trusted science, future leaders, and real-world impact. Dr. Mozaffarian has authored nearly 400 scientific publications on dietary priorities for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, and on evidence-based policy approaches to reduce these burdens in the US and globally. He has served in numerous advisory roles including for the US and Canadian governments, American Heart Association, World Health Organization, and United Nations. His work has been featured in a wide array of media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and Time Magazine. In 2016, Thomson Reuters named him as one of the World's Most Influential Scientific Minds.

Dr. Mozaffarian received a BS in biological sciences at Stanford (Phi Beta Kappa), MD at Columbia (Alpha Omega Alpha), residency training in internal medicine at Stanford, and fellowship training in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Washington. He also received an MPH from the University of Washington and a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard. Before being appointed as Dean at Tufts in 2014, Dr. Mozaffarian was at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health for a decade and clinically active in cardiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is married, has three children, and actively trains as a Third Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo.

The Friedman School pursues cutting-edge research, education, and public impact across five Divisions, a cross-divisional Center, and multiple academic programs. Areas of focus range from cell to society, including: molecular nutrition, human metabolism and clinical trials, nutrition data science, behavior change, community and organizational interventions, communication and media, agriculture, food systems, and sustainability, hunger and food security, humanitarian crisis, and food policy and economics. Friedman School graduates are leaders in academia, US and international government, policy, advocacy, industry, public health, community service, and entrepreneurship. The School’s unique breadth, engagement with the world, and entrepreneurial spirit make it a leading institution for nutrition education, research, and public impact.
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Jens Marc TITZE, MD, PhD
(Duke NUS, Singapore)


Jens Titze is a clinician-scientist. He works as an Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Singapore and at A*STAR’s Skin Research Institute of Singapore (primary affiliations), at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, USA, and at his Alma Mater, the University Clinical of Erlangen, Germany. Jens is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. His research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the German Research Council, the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology in Germany, and others.

As a medical student in Berlin, Jens was introduced to the idea that sodium might be stored in the body, which pretty much contradicted what he had been taught at school. He decided to focus his studies on this area. 25 years later, his research has established that both animals and humans store large amounts of sodium in their tissues as they age, that this sodium storage is coupled with disease, and that dietary salt loading activates an adaptive network in the kidney, muscle and liver, which burn calories to excrete salt. These observations challenge some of what is currently held as pillars of physiology. His work suggests that there is still a lot to learn on the effect of sodium chloride on the body, and that it is time to “rethink salt”.

His research teams work collaboratively in the clinical research and molecular physiology research domain. The molecular physiology projects headed by his junior research associates focus on how the kidney, the liver, skeletal muscle, the skin, and the immune system residing in the lymphatics interconnect into a physiological network that regulates salt and water homeostasis. The patient-oriented projects headed by his junior clinician research associates transfer these findings into clinical practice, relying on deep clinical phenotyping with innovative methods such as 23NaMRI imaging studies for non-invasive detection and quantification of otherwise hidden sodium stores in humans.

This interdisciplinary science approach has resulted in new research avenues for current understanding of the underlying cause of diseases of the aging organism, such as arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune disease and host defence, and muscle and bone loss.
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Li Ping ZHAO, PhD
(Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China)


Liping Zhao is currently the Eveleigh-Fenton Chair of Applied Microbiology at Rutgers University and Distinguished Professor of Microbiology at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He is a senior editor of the ISME Journal and associate editor of the journal Microbiome. He is a fellow of American Academy of Microbiology. He is a senior fellow of Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). He serves on Scientific Advisory Board for the Center for Microbiome Research and Education of American Gastroenterology Association (AGA).

His team has pioneered the approach of applying metagenomics-metabolomics integrated tools and dietary intervention for systems understanding and predictive manipulation of gut microbiota to improve human metabolic health. Following the logic of Koch’s postulates, Liping has found that an endotoxin-producing opportunistic pathogen isolated from an obese human gut can induce obesity in germfree mice. Their clinical trials published in Science and EBioMedicine showed that dietary modulation of gut microbiota can significantly alleviate metabolic diseases including a genetic form of obesity in children and type 2 diabetes in adults. The Science magazine featured a story on how he combines traditional Chinese medicine and gut microbiota study to understand and fight obesity (Science 336: 1248, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/336/6086/1248)