Anthony Solomon, MBBS, MRCP, PhD, DTM&H, PGCAP

Symposium Session: Trachoma

Talk title: Trachoma: The Last Decade?

Dr Solomon is an infectious diseases physician and epidemiologist. He is a Chief Scientist in the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization (Geneva, Switzerland) and the Secretary to the WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020.

Barbara Van Der Pol, PhD, MPH

Symposium Session:  Diagnostics

Talk Title: The Current Landscape of Chlamydia Diagnostics

Dr. Van Der Pol is a Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Director of the UAB STD Diagnostics Laboratory. She has been active in the field of the biology, epidemiology and diagnostics of sexually transmitted infections for nearly 40 years. She is currently working on projects designed to improve access to sexual health care for underserved and minority populations. Dr. Van Der Pol currently serves as the President of the International Society for STD Research and will host the STI and HIV World Congress in July 2023.

Jørgen Skov Jensen, MD, PhD, DMedSci

Symposium Session:  Sexually Transmitted Infections

Talk Title: Why Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma genitalium Infections Should Not be Managed the Same 

Dr Jensen is a consultant physician at Statens Serum Institut (Copenhagen, Denmark), where he is heading the Research Unit for Reproductive Microbiology. For more than 25 years, he has been working with mycoplasmas, in particular Mycoplasma genitalium. He published the first PCR method enabling detection of this bacterium, and showed its association with urethritis. His current focus is on characterization of antimicrobial susceptibility, aiming to improve treatment. He has been part of the European STI Guidelines Project Editorial Board since 2006 and is the lead author on the European M. genitalium guideline.

Kevin Hybiske, PhD

Symposium Session:  Molecular Biology & Genomics

Talk title: Coming of Age: Advances in Genetic Manipulation of Chlamydia

Dr Hybiske is an Associate Professor in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. He has adjunct appointments in the Departments of Microbiology and Global Health at the University of Washington. His ongoing research interests concern the pathogenesis of and mechanisms of host manipulation by Chlamydia, and the discovery of genetic determinants important for human Chlamydial infections.

Raphael Valdivia, PhD 

Symposium Session: Cell Biology

Talk title: Chlamydia Reprograms Host Proteins to Transiently Dismantle Epithelial Cell Junctions

Dr. Valdivia received his PhD from Stanford University and postdoctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley. He started his independent career at Duke University in 2003 with a program focused on how beneficial and pathogenic microbes interact with host cells by applying genetic, genomic, structural, and cell and molecular approaches. Dr. Valdivia has earned recognition as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, a recipient of the Merck Irving S. Sigal Award from the ASM, and as a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Valdivia serves as an editor in multiple journals, a standing member of NIH review panels, and was the Vice Dean for Basic Sciences at Duke University from 2014-2019. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology. Dr. Valdivia is the president-elect of the Chlamydia Basic Research Society.

Robert C Brunham, OBC, MD, FRCP(C), FRSC

Symposium Session: Immunology and Host Response

Title talk: Chlamydia trachomatis Immunology and Vaccine Development

Dr. Brunham is an emeritus professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and former Executive Director of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver, Canada. He has had a career long interest in understanding the immunology of Chlamydia trachomatis infection with the goal of developing a vaccine and elucidating the mechanism for disease pathogenesis. In pursuit of these goals he has used epidemiological, immunological and genomic approaches. He currently shares an NIH grant with Dr. William Geisler to study human immune responses to chlamydia outer membrane proteins that could form the basis for a subunit C. trachomatis vaccine.

Guangming Zhong, MD, PhD

Symposium Session: Animal Models

Title talk: Mouse Models for Both Evaluating Chlamydial Pathogenicity/Vaccines and Dissecting Host-Microbe Interactions

Dr. Guangming Zhong received his MD from the Central South University Xiangya School of Medicine, China and PhD from the University of Manitoba, Canada. He did his postdoctoral training at the University of Missouri-Columbia and NIH respectively. He is now a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Zhong has worked on Chlamydia since 1986 when he joined the University of California-Irvine as a visiting scholar. He has been using molecular, cellular and animal systems as well as human samples to investigate chlamydial pathogenesis and develop vaccines as described in >200 peer-reviewed publications. The major findings from Dr. Zhong’s lab include the identification of the virulence factors CPAF and pGP3 and the immunodominant antigens associated with pathogenesis or protection and the proposal of a two-hit pathogenesis model and chlamydia as an oral delivery vehicle. Dr. Zhong’s research has been supported by US federal government and pharmaceutical companies. He has served as a reviewer for funding agencies including NIH and an editorial board member for scientific journals. He has been a scientific co-director for the Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio and a Dielmann-Endowed Chair in Genetic and Environmental Risk.