2018 Speakers

Martha Carlin is Co-founder and CEO of The Biocollective, a company that offers members the opportunity to participate in scientific discovery by providing microbiome samples for researchers. With consent, every sample is divided and sold to academic and commercial microbiome researchers. Phase I of the business is sample collection, preservation and building a base of research customers. Phase II offerings will include the opportunity for members to store a sample while they are healthy for potential use in the restoration of microbial balance in the future. Members will share in the revenues generated from the sale of their samples and ultimately in shared discoveries from their research customer base.

The BioCollective, links personal health history, metagenomics and microbiome analysis to uncover previously unknown links between chronic disease and diet, stress, and environment.

She is an entrepreneur and innovative systems thinker with a unique ability to connect dots to solve problems in new ways. She has been driven to solve the rise in complex disease through a systems approach, with the microbiome as the tool for connecting the dots, especially in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases.

She is also an investor and advisor for Pure Cultures LLC, a contract manufacturer of probiotic cultures for the human and animal sectors. Pure Cultures products are tailored to meet their client’s needs. They offer single and multiple strain blends. In addition, they are a custom fermentation company offering a varying size of reactors to produce client’s proprietary probiotic strains.


Rita Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Senior Advisor and Chairman Emeritus at Canon US Life Sciences, Inc., and President and CEO of CosmosID, Inc.

Her research interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health. Colwell is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world.

Colwell served as the eleventh director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1998 to 2004. In her capacity as NSF director, she served as co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council.

One of Colwell’s major interests is K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education, and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering.

She has held many advisory positions in the U.S. government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. Colwell is a nationally-respected scientist and educator, and has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 750 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, “Invisible Seas,” and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.

Before joining NSF, Colwell was president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and a professor of microbiology and biotechnology. She was also a member of the National Science Board from 1984 to 1990.

Colwell has previously served as chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology, as well as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, and the International Union of Microbiological Societies. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the Royal Society of Canada, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is immediate past-president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).

Colwell has been awarded 55 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education, including her alma mater, Purdue University. She is the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, bestowed by the Emperor of Japan; the 2006 National Medal of Science, awarded by the President of the United States; and the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize, awarded by the King of Sweden.

Colwell is an honorary member of the microbiological societies of the UK, Australia, France, Israel, Bangladesh, Czechoslovakia, Royal Irish Academy and the U.S. She has held several honorary professorships, including the University of Queensland, Australia. A geological site in Antarctica, called Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the polar regions.

CosmosID is a microbial genomics platform focused on rapid characterization of microorganisms, pathogens and anti-microbial resistance for infectious disease identification, food safety inspections, pharmaceutical discovery, public health surveillance and microbiome analysis. http://www.cosmosid.com/

Filip Scheperjans, MD, PhD is a Neurologist at Helsinki University Central Hospital. Dr. Scheperjans, MD, PhD, studied medicine at the University of Düsseldorf (Germany) and gained international experience as a visiting student in London, New York and Helsinki. He did his doctoral thesis about histological and neurochemical anatomy of the human brain in the laboratory of Prof. Karl Zilles. After graduation in 2006 Dr. Scheperjans continued his research at the Institute of Medicine at the Research Center Jülich and his thesis was awarded best thesis of the medical faculty in 2008. After moving to Finland, he started his training in neurology at Helsinki University Central Hospital. During this period Dr. Scheperjans completed a clinical research fellowship to develop his expertise in conducting clinical studies and trials. His main interests in neurological research are movement disorders and acute neurology including stroke, status epilepticus and neuroimaging. In 2013 Dr. Scheperjans received a degree as specialist in neurology. Currently he is continuing research on the involvement of microbiota in PD. In a ground-breaking study, funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Dr. Scheperjans showed that the intestinal microbiome is altered in PD and is related to motor phenotype.