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International VAAM Symposium:
Biology of Bacterial Natural Product Producers
20. – 22.09. 2023 in Saarbrücken at Saarland University

Preliminary Program is available!

We are proud to have received many poster and oral submissions from young scientists (PhD students and postdocs) from all fields of research who are interested in the role, fate and origin of natural by-products produced by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and microalgae.

Session topics:

  • microbial physiology and ecology
  • microbial genomics
  • microbial metabolomics
  • natural product discovery
  • natural product-based drug discovery
  • VAAM section business
  • price and award session
    (awards for the best poster, best talk and annual the Hendrik Wolff Preis)


Prof. Dr. Christine Beemelmanns, Dr. Julian Hegemann,
Jun.-Prof. Alexey Gurevich, Dr. Kenan Bozhüyük
Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) together with Saarland University

Program Committee

Program Chairs and Organizers of VAAM Workshop 2023

Prof. Christine Beemelmanns studied Chemistry at the RWTH Aachen, and after graduation went to Japan for a one-year research stay in the group of Prof. Sodeoka at RIKEN. Back in Germany she worked at the FU Berlin with Prof. Reißig and received her PhD in Organic Chemistry. She then worked another six month in Japan at the University of Tokyo under the supervision of Prof K. Suzuki and joined shortly afterwards the group of Prof. Clardy at Harvard Medical School (Boston) in 2011.

End of 2013, she received a call from the Hans-Knöll Institute (HKI) to work there as a Junior Research Group leader in the field of Natural Products Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

In 2020, she was elected as Margaret L. and Harlan L. Goering Visiting Professors in Organic Chemistry at UW Madison (spring term 2020).

In 2022 was appointed Professor for Biochemistry of Microbial Metabolism at the Leipzig University. In October 2022 she accepted a call for the Full Professorship on Medicinal-Pharmaceutical Microbiota Research at Saarland University together with the HIPS.

Her research combines different aspects of natural product chemistry, applied microbiology and organic and natural product chemistry and aims to chemically and to functionally characterize microbial signaling and defense molecules in different model systems. The analysis of ancient and evolved microbial interactions allows her to discover unprecedented chemical core structures with potential pharmaceutical potential.

Dr. Julian Hegemann studied chemistry at the Philipps-Universität in Marburg. In Marburg, he carried out the research for his diploma and PhD theses in the lab of Prof. Mohamed Marahiel and graduated in 2014. After a short postdoc phase to finish ongoing projects, Julian Hegemann joined the group of Prof. Wilfred van der Donk at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016 and stayed there until 2019. Afterwards, he came back to Germany and became a postdoc at the TU Berlin in the lab of Prof. Roderich Süssmuth. In 2021, Julian Hegemann joined the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS).

Julian Hegemanns research focuses on members of the natural product superfamily of ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs). He is interested in studying the underlying biosynthetic principles of these natural products, their roles in nature, their possible application as therapeutics, and their potential as bioengineering scaffolds.

Jun.-Prof. Alexey Gurevich studied software engineering at St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University (BSc 2010, summa cum laude) and St. Petersburg Academic University of the Russian Academy of Sciences (MSc 2012, summa cum laude). In 2011, in the Prof. Pavel Pevzner group at the Academic University, he started focussing on algorithmic bioinformatics. The group later relocated to St. Petersburg State University where Alexey obtained a Ph.D. in bioinformatics in 2018. He worked at St. Petersburg University until 2022 with short research visits to the Pevzner lab at the University of California San Diego (2015 and 2016) and to the Kohlbacher lab at the University of Tübingen (2019, DAAD Fellowship). In July 2022, Alexey joined HIPS as a Junior Professor leading the Human-Microbe Systems Bioinformatics group.

Alexey’s research focuses on creating efficient algorithms and software for handling noisy omics data. He contributed to the state-of-the-art SPAdes and QUAST genome assembly and analysis software and multiple computational methods for natural product discovery. For these works, he received the Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher Russia Award in 2018.

Dr. Kenan BozhüyükDr. Kenan Bozhüyük studied bionformatics at Goethe University Frankfurt a.M. and completed his PhD thesis in the group of Prof. Helge Bode. He established various synthetic biology methods to re-engineer natural products biosynthesized by modular megasynthetases. He then moved to the group of Prof. Barrie Wilkinson in the Department of Molecular Microbiology at the John Innes Centre, Norwich (UK) as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2020, he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg as a project group leader and in 2022 founded the startup company Myria Biosciences AG (Basel, Switzerland & Marburg, Germany), where he also serves as CSO. In June 2023, he will join the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland as Helmholtz Young Investigator Group Leader.