University of Gothenburg

Invited Speakers

Presentation of the invited speakers at EDAR6

Professor Tong Zhang, Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering in Environmental Microbiome Engineering and Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Civil Engineering, at The University of Hong Kong (HKU).


Tong Zhang BIO:

Dr. Tong ZHANG is a Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering in Environmental Microbiome Engineering and Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Civil Engineering, at The University of Hong Kong (HKU). His researches include environmental microbiome engineering and biotechnology, environmental bioinformatics, anaerobic digestion and bioenergy from wastes/wastewater, biological wastewater treatment (N removal and P recovery), biodegradation of emerging pollutants (antibiotics, PPCP and EDCs), antibiotic and antibiotic resistance genes, etc.  He has been listed as “Highly Cited Researcher” by Clarivate in 2018 (Cross Field), 2019 (Environment and Ecology), both 2020 and 2021 (Environment and Ecology; Microbiology).

Professor Dr. Dr. h.c.  Kornelia Smalla, Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics at the Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, in Braunschweig


Kornelia Smalla BIO:

Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Kornelia Smalla is the head of the microbial ecology group in the Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics at the Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, in Braunschweig. She studied chemistry and did her PhD in biochemistry at the Martin-Luther-University in Halle. The venia legendi for microbiology was obtained at the Technical University Braunschweig where she is an adjunct Professor for Microbiology. From the beginning of the 1990’s Kornelia Smalla contributed to the new field of molecular microbial ecology. The development of cultivation-independent methods to study microbial communities in complex environments and their response to pollutants such as antibiotics is a major theme of her work. Her long-term research interests are unraveling factors that shape the soil and plant microbiomes, the transferable resistome and plasmid-mediated bacterial adaptation to changing environments.

Kornelia Smalla has a h-index of 68 and was selected as highly cited researcher based on Clarivate Analytics in 2021.

In 2015, Kornelia Smalla organized EDAR-3 in Wernigerode, Germany. She is a member of the International scientific board of EDAR. Furthermore she serves in the JPI-AMR scientific advisory board.

Professor, B. Pharm., M. Pharm., PhD Sabiha EssackPharmaceutical Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).


Sabiha Essack BIO:

Sabiha Essack is the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health and Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).  She is also the Vice Chair of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Antimicrobial Resistance (STAG-AMR), Senior Implementation Research Advisor at the International Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Solutions (ICARS) in Denmark, member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Joint Programming Initiative on AMR (JPIAMR) and member of the International Pharmacy Federation (FIP) AMR  Commission.  Professor Essack is chairperson of the Global Respiratory Infection Partnership (GRIP), she serves on the Advisory Board of the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), the Fleming Fund Expert Advisory Group and is a member of the Wellcome Trust Surveillance and Epidemiology of Drug Resistant Infections Consortium (SEDRIC).  Her research focuses on the molecular epidemiology of AMR using next generation sequencing and bioinformatics as well as One Health systems strengthening in the context of AMR.

Professor Yong-Guan Zhu, Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Urban Environment


Yong-Guan Zhu BIO:

Professor Yongguan (Yong-Guan) Zhu, currently the Science Director of the Institute of Urban Environment, and also a professor at the Research Centre for Eco-environmental Sciences, CAS. Professor Zhu takes multi-scale and multi-disciplinary approaches to environmental problems, and has been working on urban health and wellbeing related to pollution, biodiversity and microbial ecology. He obtained his PhD in environmental biology from Imperial College, London in 1998. Professor Zhu is the recipient of many merit awards, among them including TWAS Award for Agricultural Science 2013, National Natural Science Award 2009, International Union of Soil Science Von Liebig Award 2022. Professor Zhu has published over 500 papers in international journals (such as Science, Nature, PNAS, Nature Microbiology, Nature Plants), was selected as a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (2016-2021).

Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan, fellow of the American Academy for Advancement of Science and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Ramanan Laxminarayan BIO:

Laxminarayan is founder and director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in Washington, D.C. and New Delhi, and a senior research scholar at Princeton University. He is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington, senior associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Laxminarayan chairs the board of GARD-P, a global product development partnership created by the World Health Organization, that aims to develop and deliver new treatments for bacterial infections.  He is founder and board chair at HealthCubed, which works to improve access to healthcare and diagnostics worldwide.

Professor Amy Pruden, Virginia Tech.


Dr. Amy Pruden is the Thomas W. Rice Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering  and a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, where she joined the faculty in 2007.    She has served on several National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Committees and a United Nations Environment Programme Committee related to her work. Dr. Pruden is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award, the Presidential Early Career Award in Science & Engineering, the Paul L. Busch Award, the ReciPharm International Environmental Award, and the Alumni Award for Research Excellence. In 2017, she was a co-recipient (with the Flint Water Study team) of the Jean and Leslie Douglas Pearl Award, given to organizations and to individuals who are dedicated to improving the lives of others and to providing a sustainable earth for future generations.  In 2021, she was named a fellow of the International Water Association.

Professor Célia Manaia, Research and Internationalization at the Porto Regional Center
Catholic University of Portugal


Célia Manaia BIO:

Célia Manaia has a background in Biochemistry and Microbiology and teaches in the areas of Microbiology and Genetics. Her research interests focus on bacterial taxonomy, evolution and ecology, with special interest in human-environment interfaces and in the environmental dispersion of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In this context, she has integrated several international consortia and worked with business and public entities, interested in the evaluation and development of public policies (e. FAO, JRC-EU). As part of her activity as microbiologist, she is currently vice-president of the Portuguese Society of Microbiology, she is a member of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes, associate editor of the International Journal of Systematics and Evolutionary Microbiology (Microbiology Society, UK) and Co-Editor- In-Chief of the journal Environmental Science: Advances (The Royal Society of Chemistry, UK).

Professor E M H Wellington, School of Life Science The University of Warwick, UK.


E M H Wellington BIO:

Professor Elizabeth Wellington holds a personal chair and, with her research group, is involved in the study of bacteria in soil, water and survival of pathogenic bacteria in the environment. She is an expert in environmental transmission routes for pathogens and antimicrobial resistant bacteria and their resistance genes. Research has determined hot spots for environmental reservoirs of resistance genes and identified wastewater treatment plants as key drivers in their dissemination. She has a long-term interest in microbial communities in soil and their activities in the rhizosphere using metaomics to study metabolic processes below ground. National and international advisory duties over the last 30 years covering GMOs, AMR, bTB and environmental pathogen transmission.



Distinguished Professor Michael Gillings, Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.


 Michael Gillings BIO:

Michael Gillings is a Distinguished Professor of Molecular Evolution at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He received a PhD in Molecular Biology in 1987, subsequently working for NSW Agriculture in Plant Pathology, Diagnostics and Quarantine. His fundamental research interests lie in understanding how diversity in DNA arises, the maintenance of this diversity, and how it drives ecological and evolutionary processes. This allows a great diversity of research projects, ranging across all living things and ecosystems: from viruses and bacteria to fungi, plants, insects, fish, and mammals; and spanning deserts, Antarctica, coral reefs, and temperate landscapes. Current projects include: the origins and dissemination of antibiotic resistance by lateral gene transfer; the diversity of club and coral fungi; and exploring environmental DNA for microbial dark matter that can be used to develop novel biosynthetic pathways. He has a number of National teaching awards for both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

Professor Teresa Coque, Ramón y Cajal health research institute (IRYCIS)


Teresa Coque BIO:

T. M. Coque, Ph.D., graduated as a pharmacist and clinical biochemist and received her  Ph.D. in medical microbiology from the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). A 5y postdoctoral training at the University of Texas at Houston (USA) gave her a background in molecular epidemiology and genetics of antibiotic resistance. Since 2000, she is a Senior Scientist at the Ramón y Cajal Institute for Health Research (IRYCIS) in Madrid (Spain), leading a research group focused on the dynamics of human opportunistic pathogens, mobile genetic elements, and resistome. Her research interests and expertise include molecular epidemiology, evolutionary biology, and microbial ecology, with an emphasis on the factors for the transmission and the adaptation of opportunistic pathogens to different environments. Advanced genomics and metagenomics to be applied to the diagnosis of antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens and also as predictive markers of infection in the personalized medicine perspective, became a priority in the group in the last years. Dr. Coque has published about 170 papers, special issues, and chapters on the field and participated in 9 EU projects and three JPIAMR networks. She is/has been a member of committees or expert panels of different agencies (JPIAMR, WHO/FAO, UNEP, EFSA, JRC) and regularly serves as a referee of scientific journals and evaluator of national and international R&D grants in the field of microbiology and infectious diseases (; @TMcoque).

Professor Marko Virta, Department of Microbiology, University of Helsinki.


Marko Virta BIO:

Marko Virta is Professor of Microbiology at University of Helsinki, Finland. He is Director of the Multidisciplinary Center of Excellence in Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Director of the Doctoral Programme on Microbiology and Biotechnology at University of Helsinki. His research interests include antibiotic resistance in various human impacted environments such as waste waters, agriculture and aquaculture. He has published over 100 articles and supervised 16 PhDs.

Dr. Virta’s website:

Recent papers by Dr. Virta:

Muurinen J., Muziasari, W., Hultman, J., Pärnänen, K., Narita, V.,  Lyra, C., Fadlillah, L., Rizki, L.P., Nurmi, W., Tiedje, J.M., Dwiprahasto, I., Hadi, P. and Virta, M. (2022) Antibiotic resistomes and microbiomes in the surface water along the Code River in Indonesia reflect drainage basin anthropogenic activities. Environmental Science and Technology, in press.

Pärnänen, K., Narciso-da-Rocha, C., Kneis, D., Berendonk, T.U., Cacace, D., Thuy Do, T.,  Elpers, C., Fatta-Kassinos, D.,  Henriques, I., Jaeger, T., Karkman,  A.,  Martinez, J.L., Michael, S.G., Michael-Kordatou, I., O’Sullivan, K., Rodriguez-Mozaz, S.,  Schwartz, T., Sheng, H., Sørum, H., Stedtfeld, R.D., Tiedje, J.M., Della Giustina, S.V., Walsh, F., Vaz-Moreira, I., Virta, M.*, Manaia, C.M.* (2019) Antibiotic resistance in European wastewater treatment plants mirrors the pattern of clinical antibiotic resistance prevalence. Science Advances 5: eaau9124.

Karkman, A., Thuy Do, T., Walsh F. and Virta, M. (2018) Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Waste Water. Trends in Microbiology 26: 49-57

Pärnänen, K., Karkman, A., Hultman, J., Lyra, C., Bengtsson-Palme, J., Larsson, D.G. J., Rautava, S., Isolauri, E., Salminen, S., Kumar, H., Satokari, R. and Virta, M. (2018) Breast milk and maternal gut microbiota affect the infant gut antibiotic resistome and mobilome. Nature Communications 9: 3891

Muurinen, J., Stedtfeld, R.D., Karkman, A., Pärnänen, K., Tiedje, J.M. and Virta, M. (2017) Influence of Manure Application on the Environmental Resistome Under Finnish Agricultural Practice with Restricted Antibiotic Use. Environmental Science and Technology 51:5989-5999.

Spencer*, SJ., Tamminen*, MV., Preheim, SP., Guo, MT., Briggs, AW., Brito, IL., Weitz, DA.,  Pitkänen, LK., Vigneault, F., Virta, MP. and Alm, EJ. (2016) Massively parallel sequencing of single cells by epicPCR links functional genes with phylogenetic markers. ISME Journal 10:427-436

Professor Heike Schmitt, National Institute for Public Health and
and the Environment


Heike Schmitt BIO:

Heike Schmitt works on the transmission of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) from the environment to humans and is combining fundamental and applied research with capacity building. At the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), she is principal investigator on AMR in the environment, and leads the environmental part of the Dutch National Action Plan on AMR. She has applied wastewater based epidemiology (WBE) for several years, focusing on wastewater analysis to monitor circulation of WHO resistant priority pathogens in the general population. She works on capacity building for international One Health surveillance of antibiotic resistance, and on the relevance of inadequate WASH for exposure to AMR, within the WHO Collaborating Center on Risk Assessment of Pathogens in Food and Water.  She is coordinating several international research consortia and contributes to national and international advisory bodies. In addition, she serves as research advisor at the European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology (WETSUS), and as researcher at Utrecht University, where she focuses on wastewater treatment and its effects of antibiotic resistance.

Professor Ed Topp, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


Ed Topp BIO:

Bio- Ed is a Principal Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and has affiliations with the University of Western Ontario, the Ontario Veterinary College, and the University of Florida. A native of Montréal, Ed obtained his PhD from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Minnesota. Ed’s research concerns the interface between agriculture and human and environmental health. In the last decade he has notably led several national studies concerning the fate and management in agro-ecosystems of pharmaceuticals and pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. He is the project coordinator for the Genomics Research and Development Initiative project on antimicrobial resistance, a key component of the innovation pillar of the Canadian Federal Framework for Action on antimicrobial resistance. He is a Past-President [2011] of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists.

Professor James M. Tiedje, Director, The Center for Microbial Ecology
Michigan State University


James M. Tiedje BIO:

Dr. James Tiedje is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University and was the founding Director of the NSF Center for Microbial Ecology. His research focused on microbial ecology, physiology and diversity, especially of denitrification, biodegradation of environmental pollutants, metagenomics and antibiotic resistance. He served as Editor-in-Chief of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, is Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He served as president of the American Society for Microbiology and the International Society for Microbial Ecology. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Professor Yu Zhang , State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences (RCEES), Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Yu Zhang BIO:

Dr. Yu Zhang is a Professor of State Key Laboratory of Environmental Aquatic Chemistry, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences (RCEES), Chinese Academy of Sciences. Since joining RCEES in 1998, she has gained significant research progresses in water and waste pollution control and reclamation. She currently focuses antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in environment (pollution characteristics, transformation mechanism, and control principle). She received a State Natural Science Award and a State Scientific and Technological Progress Award from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.


Her group unearthed the biological treatment system of antibiotic production wastewater with high antibiotic residues, which is one of the hotspots for the development of antibiotic resistance. Enhanced hydrolysis and hydrothermal pretreatment for the reduction of antibiotic in manufacturing wastewater and wastes were developed to block the dissemination of ARGs, which have been successfully applied in full-scale plants in China. She has joined the panel in WHO Technical Brief on Water, sanitation and hygiene and wastewater management to prevent infections and reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance. In this premise, she becomes an invited expert of the pharmaceutical industry in China, and a member of WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Antimicrobial Resistance.

Gerry Wright (Canada)
Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
Director, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
McMaster University

Frank Aarestrup (Denmark)
National Food Institute
Research Group for Genomic Epidemiology, DTU