In Europe, approaches to natural product discovery for drug development have largely focussed on microbial secondary metabolites. The plants, plant products and other natural materials used to treat infection in traditional and historical pharmacopeias represent a further potential database of antimicrobial compounds. Extensive efforts to mine traditional medicines from Asia, South America and the Indian subcontinent for novel compounds are being made by local microbiologists and chemists and have led to drug development (e.g. the antimalarial compound artemisinin from Artemisia spp., developed after study of a historical Chinese medical text).
A concerted effort to characterise, assess and exploit the extensive written and oral record of natural products used in pre-modern European medicine has not been made. This is despite the presence in pre-modern European medical texts of natural products known to be effective in vivo (e.g. Artemisia spp. were used to treat malaria in medieval England) or shown to possess antimicrobial and/or immunomodulatory qualities in vitro (e.g. Allium spp., Plantago spp., Urtica spp.) Given rising antimicrobial resistance and a stalled R&D pipeline for compounds to treat and prevent infection, a thorough scientific evaluation of European ethnopharmacology is overdue.
The main barrier to successful exploitation of the natural compounds database represented by traditional European medicine is the lack a cohesive network for researchers. This focussed meeting will bring together researchers from diverse fields including microbiology, chemistry, botany and the history of medicine, along with industry contacts, to reveal the current “state of the art” of the field and define areas for collaboration, methods development and translational research.
This Focused Meeting will take place on 29 October at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
Freya Harrison (University of Warwick, UK)
Rowena Jenkins (University of Swansea, UK)
Olivia Corcoran (University of East London, UK)
Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK)
Please find more information about our invited speakers, who will present their work and research at Antimicrobial Drugs Discovery Focused Meeting 2019 below:
Cassandra Quave is Curator of the Herbarium and Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Human Health at Emory University, USA where she leads drug discovery research initiatives and teaches undergraduate courses on medicinal plants, food and health. Trained as a medical ethnobotanist, her research focuses on the documentation and biochemical analysis of botanical remedies, with specific interest in natural products that target antimicrobial resistance. She has authored more than 60 publications, 2 edited books and 3 patents and has been the subject of feature profiles in the New York Times Magazine, BBC Focus, Brigitte Magazine and the National Geographic Channel.
Heather has an MBA from Exeter University, UK and before that almost 25 years of experience in direct patient care and business management. Heather believes in the power of storytelling and is passionate about making sure that organisations have a voice to express themselves along with the words they need and opportunities to do so. As Commercial Development Manager at Neem Biotech, Heather spends her time making sure that Neem’s voice is heard in the world of life sciences, taking care of the company’s brand and using the power of storytelling to celebrate success and convey the value of new innovations.
Marcel Jaspars’ main expertise is in the discovery, characterisation, utilisation and biosynthesis of marine natural products. This forms the core of the marine biodiscovery pipeline, and Marcel has frequent contact with people operating at all stages of this pipeline, from the collection and identification of the organisms to their testing in whole animal models. Marcel has been active at national and international levels to develop the science, its applications/industrial uptake and associated policy involved in marine biodiscovery and biotechnology.
Marcel founded the interdisciplinary Marine Biodiscovery Centre at the University of Aberdeen in 2010, a £2.5 M investment to focus on marine resources for novel pharmaceuticals, and to investigate fundamental questions in chemical ecology and biosynthesis. The Centre contains facilities for chemistry, chromatography, spectroscopy, molecular genetics and microbiology.
Vera obtained her PhD in Biochemistry in 1999 from Bangor University, UK researching dissolved organic matter in freshwater. During her post-doc positions, phenolics in plants and soil and monoterpenes in pines were addressed. Since 2007, having returned to North Wales, Vera has a Natural Resources Wales granted licence for the sustainable management of a native bluebell population. The research undertaken since has looked at the ecosystem components: bluebell, bracken and upland soil and identified the importance of phytate for nutrient control. For bracken, 35 pterosins and pterosides have been structurally elucidated, 13 of these have not been reported before. They were screened for their activity against Mycobacterium marinum, but only 1 compound showed mild-to-moderate inhibition. For bluebells, an isolated saponin glycoside showed mild to moderate inhibition for Klebsiella pneumonia.
In addition to her position as Lecturer in Sustainable Chemistry at Bangor University, Vera is also director of Vera Bluebell limited, a company that supplies bluebell seeds and bulbs since 2008.
This is a pilot meeting to scope what is needed in order to build an effective research network. We anticipate that this network which will outlast the meeting, and we expect that outputs will be shared with the wider network you represent. The number of places at the meeting is limited by space and time to 40. Thus, please consider which members of your group will benefit the most from attending this specific initial meeting.
Bringing together researchers from diverse fields including microbiology, chemistry, botany and the history of medicine, along with industry contacts, this focused meeting aims to reveal the current ‘state-of-the-art' of the field and define areas for collaboration, methods development and translational research. As such, it will not comprise traditional research presentations but a mix of 5-minute introductory "flash" talks and structured round-table discussions to facilitate networking, collaboration, knowledge exchange and capacity building. Instead of submitting an abstract, we are asking potential attendees to tell us what they hope to get out of the meeting and out of the lasting network which we hope will result.Submit your proposal
The submission deadline is 5 August 2019.
The poster session and short presentations will be selected from the submissions.
Submissions should be made through the Oxford Abstracts system. Both members and non-members of the Microbiology Society are welcome to submit their research. Once submissions are closed, these will be reviewed by session chairs and scientific committee members and you will be informed of the outcome directly. By making a submission to this conference, you are indicating to the session organisers your commitment to attend the event.
This meeting will take place at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK
There is no parking available at the venue.
As parking is limited in Oxford we suggest using the Park and Ride bus service.
There is a level access route from the pavement outside the museum to the front door.
There are lifts to all floors and level access to all public spaces, including galleries, shop, café, restaurant and to most of the study rooms.
Oxford is known worldwide for its University and history. For over 800 years, it has been a home to royalty and scholars, and established itself as a town in the 9th Century, although people are known to have lived in the area for thousands of years. Nowadays, the city is a bustling cosmopolitan town known for its ancient University and home to a growing hi-tech community. Many businesses are located in and around the town, whether on one of the Science and Business Parks or within one of a number of residential areas.
Oxford offers both ancient and modern characteristics. There are plenty of opportunities for visitors to be cutlurally active. Whether its visiting one of the many historic buildings, colleges or museums, going out for a drink or a meal, exploring the art and entertainment on offer, or shopping till you drop, Oxford has it all.
Accommodation is not included in the registration rates for this meeting. Please see below for some local options.
You can plan your journey via Google Maps.
The M40, M4 and A34 provide easy access by car from London, leaving the M40 at Junction 8.
The M40 links Birmingham to Oxford from the north, leaving at Junction 9.
The closest station to the venue is Oxford Station.
There are frequent trains from various locations such as London Paddington and Birmingham New Street. You can plan your journey through the National Rail website.
Coach services link Oxford with airports at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham International and Luton. For more information visit the Oxford Bus Company website.
There are various bus services running frequently to Oxford.
Some options for your journey are:
Society Conference Grants of up to £300 are available to support eligible members wishing to present at this Focused Meeting. Funding is also available for members requiring support for caring costs associated with conference attendance. Eligible members may apply for an additional £500 to support the costs of childcare.
The closing date for applications is Monday 5 August. Members can apply for a grant before receiving notification about the outcome of their abstract submission. A conditional grant offer can be made without evidence of abstract acceptance if unavailable at the time of application. However, evidence must be provided to claim any grant offered.
Members of the Society who are ineligible for a Society Conference Grant may apply to the 1 September 2019 deadline for our Travel Grants.
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