Nov 2, 2023 Press Release: KAUST News
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) jointly organized the international conference "Trends in Microbiome and Digital One Health." The event, which was held between October 30–November 1, 2023, at KAUST, brought together 35 speakers from five continents to explore the latest research in the two fields and strategies to synergize them. Her Highness Princess Mashael Saud AlShalan, a founding partner of AEON Strategy, gave the closing statements.
The conference highlighted the significance of microbiome science in daily life, its potential to combat global challenges, and its relevance with space research. Additionally, it addressed the application of digital and computational tools in tracking microbial epidemiology. This effort is aligned with the One Health concept, which seeks to control epidemics and decrease infectious diseases transmitted from animals, food, and the environment to humans.
By expediting biomedical research, enhancing health education, and creating precision medicine, digital technologies are transforming public health. Particularly, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the advantages of incorporating digital technologies into public health, thereby advancing the concept of Digital One Health to prevent and manage disease outbreaks.
In addition to the knowledge transmission typical of academic conferences, this conference paved the way for the formation of a consortium on microbiomes and Digital One Health research that will collaborate with Saudi Arabian and international government agencies. Furthermore, the conference also promoted FAIR data practices (findable, accessible, interpretable, and reproducible) for Digital One Health.
"We showed how microbial communities play an essential role in various areas such as health care, food production, and environmental restoration to benefit individuals, communities, and our planet," said Dr. Sulaiman Alajel, executive director for the Reference Labs at the Saudi-FDA and the conference's co-chair.
"Microbes connect all living organisms and ecosystems on Earth. They generate a healthy ecosphere—the One Health. Our first joint international conference on trends in microbiome and digital One Health brought together influential international and national scientists to help catalyze microbiome sciences in Saudi Arabia," said KAUST Prof. Alexandre Rosado, Professor of Bioscience at KAUST, and the other conference’s co-chair.