Bethesda, Md — The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) said it expects a significant increase in international participation for the 2011 International Human Microbiome Congress to take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from March 9-11, 2011.

Partnered with The International Human Microbiome Consortium, The NIH Common Fund, and supported by a number of leading-edge sponsors and high-profile keynote speakers, FNIH is looking forward to record international participation and registration for the 2011 congress. Increased global interest in the human microbiome has created an opportunity to bring together a diverse community of distinguished international leaders and researchers from the medical, microbial and computational fields to discuss the complex relationships of the microbiome with human health and disease.

A number of notable international speakers and sponsors have been secured for the 3-day gathering. Speakers at the event include Dr. S. Dusko Ehrlich from the National Institute of Agronomic Research in France, Dr. George Weinstock from The Genome Center at Washington University and Liping Zhao from Zhejiang University. Sponsors of the congress include BGI, Danone Research, General Mills, Genome British Columbia, MO BIO, OpGen, P&G and PhyloTech.

"We are strongly committed to the advancement of gastrointestinal microbiota research and are pleased to support the International Human Microbiome Congress, where we will participate in dialogue around topics critical to Danone’s innovation strategy," said Dr. Sven Thormahlen, executive vice president, Research and Development at Danone. "The congress offers a unique forum that facilitates interaction with leading scientists, academics and companies driving this field."

The 2011 congress will include general, concurrent and poster sessions, as well as a series of bioinformatics tutorial sessions. Serving as a milestone for the 2011 congress, new unpublished data sets from the NIH Human Microbiome Project (HMP) large scale study of the normal human microbiome will be presented. Also to be presented are important new results from a large scale study performed by the European Commission sponsored MetaHit group that aims to understand the microbiome’s association with obesity and inflammatory bowel diseases. Additional topics at the congress will focus on the human microbiome in human health and disease, animal microbiomes, environmental metagenomics, quantitative metagenomics, ethical, legal and social implications of human microbiome studies, new technologies and computational tools for the study of the human microbiome and other metagenomic research areas.

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Foundation for the National Institutes of Health