Location: Online

Fees: Free of charge

Day 1: Diagnosis of Infectious diseases: what’s coming up the clinical pipeline?
Date: 22/05/2023 – 14:00 – 19:00 (GMT +2)
Day 2: New Treatments for Infectious diseases: solutions to a public health crisis?
Date: 23/05/2023 –  13:00 – 19:00 (GMT +2)

Download Schedule Here

Symposium Outcomes and Purpose

In the current ‘post-antibiotic’ era, where antimicrobial resistance is complicating the treatment of a myriad of infectious diseases, the urgency by which new therapeutic approaches need to be developed has reached a critical level. In fact, the World Health Organisation has predicted that by 2050, 10 million deaths per year will occur as a direct result of antimicrobial resistance, superseding cancer related mortalities.
Our symposium will give attendees the opportunity to network, discuss, and be involved in the research process. Research presentations will be delivered to accommodate all backgrounds, and participants will have the unprecedented opportunity to discuss cutting-edge research with our 16 speakers that span 7 countries and 14 institutions.

More Information

In order to ensure timely treatment of infectious diseases, adequate diagnosis is essential to mitigate negative outcomes, which can occur as a result of delayed or inappropriate treatment regimens. However, current diagnostic methods are lengthy, often requiring tissue isolation/swabbing, coupled with molecular detection and culture times, which can take hours to days, respectively, to achieve an accurate diagnosis. To ensure patients are treated without delay, clinicians frequently prescribe broad spectrum antimicrobials, as a precaution, which can result in the selection of antibiotic resistant strains. Treatment of infections is further complicated by the various syndromes that present with identical symptom constellations, which render treatment selection difficult; further lengthening the process.
This concern is exacerbated by our current Covid-19 pandemic that has reinvented the healthcare and sociological infrastructure that drives the global population. The pandemic has further highlighted the importance of emerging/re-emerging pathogenic microorganisms with pandemic potential, which threaten the safety of the worldwide populace. Innovative therapeutics targeted at eradicating infectious diseases, coupled with effective immunisation strategies, underpin what is necessary to prevent pandemic events like Covid-19. However, with new pathogen emergence, coupled with treatment evasion that occurs in existing pathogens (i.e., via antimicrobial resistance mechanisms); current vaccine or antimicrobial therapeutics are not always a viable strategy. This is obscured by microorganisms that can have variable antigenicity (i.e., different subtypes can look different to the immune system reducing immune protection); making vaccine development especially complex.
The goal of this symposium is to have access to all the latest research targeted at improving the infectious disease diagnostic, prevention, and treatment process. Attendees will be exposed to research into the development of highly sensitive and selective diagnostic tests that are significantly faster than current gold-standard methods. In addition, they will be exposed to the latest in novel prevention and treatment approaches that, if appropriately optimised and developed, could reduce the numbers of negative outcomes that are associated with antimicrobial resistance.

About the Organiser

Dr Leon G Leanse

Senior Research Associate

Dr Leanse was born and raised in Gibraltar, where he received his formative education prior to attending University. In 2017, he received his PhD in Molecular Microbiology from Imperial College London. Following his graduation, he was appointed as a research fellow at Harvard Medical School (HMS), working through the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, USA. In late 2021, in recognition of his accomplishments, he was promoted to the Harvard faculty. Alongside his University of Gibraltar appointment, he is currently appointed (part-time) as a researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he works to provide ongoing scientific consultation for the Dai Laboratory.
View Dr Leanse's Profile Here

Day 1:

Diagnosis of Infectious diseases: what’s coming up the clinical pipeline?


Session Chair: Dr Leon G Leanse
Moderator: Mr James Vinales and Dr Louise Lawson



Time Title Speaker
14:00 Welcome Prof Catherine Bachleda
Official Opening Hon Dr John Cortes MP
Chair’s welcome Dr Leon G Leanse
14:05 Rapid Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases Using Gold Nanoparticles Prof Kim Hamad-Shifferli
14:25 Q&A
14:35 Antimicrobial resistance: is there an end in sight? Dr Leon G Leanse
15:00 Q&A
15:05 Are We Running Out Of Options? Clinical Scenarios in Antimicrobial Resistance Dr Nick Cortes
15:30 Q&A
15:35 Coffee break 
15:50 Differentiation of Microbial Interaction Through Unconventional Utilization of Expansion Microscopy Dr Pu-Ting Dong
16:15 Q&A
16:20 Saliva based diagnosis of Infectious Diseases Using AI and Raman Spectroscopy Prof Frederic Leblond
16:45 Q&A
16:50 Rapid diagnosis and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of bacteria with Raman spectroscopy Prof Weili Hong
17:15 Q&A
17:20 SERS detection of Covid  Prof Thomas Milner
17:45 Q&A
17:50 Coffee Break
18:15 Round table discussion with the speakers Drs Leanse, Cortes, Hamad-Shifferli, Dong, Leblond, Hong
18:50 Conclusions and thanks to the speakers Dr Leon G Leanse
19:00 End of session

Day 2:

New Treatments for Infectious diseases: solutions to a public health crisis?


Session Chair: Dr Leon G Leanse
Moderator: Dr Darren Fa and Dr Leon G Leanse



Time Title Speaker
13:00 Welcome back to the Symposium Dr Leon G Leanse
13:05 Artificial sweeteners inhibit multidrug-resistant pathogen growth and potentiate antibiotic activity Dr Ronan McCarthy
13:30 Q&A
13:35 Vaccine models for diverse Betacoronaviruses Dr George Carnell
14:00 Q&A
14:05 Effective treatment of wound infections using physical interactions with the microbiome – without the use of antimicrobials Dr Sams-Dodd
14:30 Q&A
14:35 Artificial Intelligence – assisted drug delivery for effective treatment of infectious diseases Dr Yanfang Feng
15:00 Q&A
15:05 Antimicrobial Photodynamic Therapy in Dentistry: From the Bench to the Clinic Prof Alessandra Nara de Souza Rastelli
15:30 Q&A
15:35 Coffee break
15:50 Antimicrobial blue light inactivation of pathogenic microbes – state of the art Prof Tianhong Dai
16:15 Q&A
16:20 Exploring the efficacy and safety of UVC in infectious keratitis Dr Sanjay Marasini
16:45 Q&A
16:50 Potentiation of antimicrobial photodynamic inactivation by potassium iodide Prof Michael Hamblin
17:15 Q&A
17:20 Phage Therapeutics: Welcome to the Modern Era! Prof Robert Schooley
17:45 Q&A
17:50 Coffee break
18:00 Interfering with Bacterial gene expression as an antibacterial approach: PNAs and morpholinos PhD Candidate Alena Marie James

(On behalf of Prof. Monique van Hoek)

18:25 Q&A
18:30 Round table discussion with the speakers Drs Carnell, Sams-Dodd, Feng, Dai, Rastelli, Marasini, Schooley, and Leanse
18:55 Conclusions and thanks to the speakers Dr Leon G Leanse
19:00 End of session

Any questions? For further information please contact researchoffice@unigib.edu.gi