Bilbao, Spain 13th - 15th of September 2022

A HoloFood Innovation Action conference | Organised by the University of the Basque Country, Spain | #AHC2022

Conference Scope

Host-microbe interactions under the microscope

Understanding host-microbiota interactions is increasingly recognised as an essential step to improve the efficacy and efficiency of applied biological processes within medicine, agriculture and nature conservation. As such, the joint study of eukaryotic hosts and their associated microbial communities using molecular tools, namely hologenomics, holds the promise to contribute towards addressing some of the global challenges in the 21st Century. 

The objective of the 1st Applied HoloGenomics conference, organised by the HoloFood Innovation Action, is to highlight key discoveries and novel approaches that aim at understanding the interactions of plant and animal hosts with their associated microbial communities, which could be directly or potentially applied into management and practice.

In brief this conference will aim to cover these three key questions: 

  • What are the current uses of hologenomics?
  • What societal and industrial needs of the 21st century could be addressed through hologenomic approaches?
  • How can hologenomics be used to link basic and applied research questions?

Follow Us for the latest updates or use the #AHC2022!

Key Themes

HoloGenomic Solutions for 21st century challenges
Human Health 
Agriculture, Aquaculture and Food Production
Biodiversity and Conservation
Methodological Breakthroughs

Planned Sessions

Gut microbial communities interact with humans in a complex way. The joint study of human genomic and microbial metagenomic interactions in light of disease can contribute to a better understanding of these this bi-directional relationships and establish causal connections. In this session, we will depart from an evolutionary perspective to navigate through multiple areas in which human genomics and microbial metagenomics intersect to understand development and treatment of disease from a hologenomic perspective.

This session is open to abstract submissions.

Food production processes are largely conditioned by microorganisms associated with the animals and plants that are produced, and modulating such host-associated microbial communities is devised as a strategic approach to improve quality, quantity and sustainability of food production. Microbial communities do not passively lay in or on their hosts’ tissues, but continuously interact with their host. Understanding how environmental and host genetic factors affect composition and dynamics of microbial communities, and how these interact with hosts to shape the final host phenotypes is therefore essential to optimise production processes. In this session, we will deepen into the use of hologenomic approaches to identify the most relevant host-microbiota interactions with impact on food production.

This session is open to abstract submissions.

There is no doubt that conservation of biodiversity of our surrounding environments is crucial to ensure a sustainable future of our world. While understanding of genetic features of animals and plants has been long recognised as essential for biodiversity management, knowledge on the microbial communities associated with them is increasingly recognised as increasingly relevant. In this session, we will explore how animal-microbiota interactions are linked to species decays, and how hologenomic knowledge can be used to improve conservation measures, including identification of threatened populations and achieving optimal ex-situ breeding programmes.

This session is open to abstract submissions.

The joint study of animal/plant genomic and microbial metagenomic features holds a large degree of inherent complexity. As new technologies are developed and implemented, new mathematical challenges are created to properly analyse the ocean of available data. In this session, we will first introduce the most advanced approaches to generate and process molecular data to understand host-microbiota interactions, to then identify the main hurdles and propose strategies to overcome them for advancing the nascent field of hologenomics.

This session is open to abstract submissions.

In this roundtable discussion we will hear from leading industry experts and researchers about where they believe the future for applied hologenomics lay, the needs of industry to utilising these new frameworks and their thoughts on how research academia and applied industry can better prepare for the future.

Scientific and Social Programme

Click here to view the latest version of the agenda

Day 1 Tuesday 13th September 2022
12:00 pm Registration opens 

14:00-14:30 Conference Opening - Welcoming talks

14:30- 16:45 Session 1 Introductions & Keynote Sessions - Introductions and symbiotic dialogue

17:00-20:00 Poster Session with local pintxos reception

Day 2 Wednesday 14th September 2022

07:30-08:15am Morning Run

09:00-11:00 Session 2 - Human Health

11:30-16:15 Session 3 - Agriculture, Aquaculture and Food production 

Conference social event - departure 5pm

Day 3 Thursday 15th September 2022

09:00-11:15 Session 4 - Biodiversity and conservation 

11:15- 12:30 Session 5- Technical and methodological perspectives

13:15-14:15 Session 6 - Roundtable discussion - Holo-Omics and the industry-research partnership 

14:20-15:00 Student poster prize and closing talks

13th of September
Pintxos and reception during afternoon poster session

14th of September
AM - Morning run or walk at 07.30am  - meet outside Hotel Melia

PM 5 pm Guided and panoramic tour of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and Bermeo followed by conference dinner at Eneperi Restaurant

Register Here

Abstract Submission deadline: 26th May 2022 -now closed
Attendance Registration Deadline: 17th July 2022 for in person attendance- now closed
Online (virtual) attendance of talks is possible till the end of August

*remember to register for the conference in addition to submitting an abstract. You can register up until the 17th of July for in person attendance. We will aim to confirm successful abstract submissions prior to this date. All abstracts will be evaluated blinded with authors' names and affiliations removed during evaluations by the scientific committee.  Registrations to attend online will be possible till late August.

Invited Speakers

Itziar Tueros
Head of Food and Health Department at AZTI, Spain

Food and Health Department AZTI, Spain

"Precision nutrition, personalized solutions based on molecular characteristics (metabolomics, microbiota) of individuals."

Torgeir R. Hvidsten

Bioinformatics and Applied Statistics group; Faculty of Biosciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway

"Expertise in multi-omics network analysis of host-microbiome interactions."

Lone Gram

Department of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Technical University of Denmark

"Lone studies and uses bacterial interactions and bacteria-host-interactions, and is especially interested in the role of microbial secondary metabolites in shaping microbiomes and microbe-host-interactions"

Photo credit to Lars Svankjær

Dorthe Sandvang
Head of Poultry Innovation

Animal & Plant Health and Nutrition,
Chr. Hansen A/S, Denmark

Rob Dunn

Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Dept. of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University, USA

"I am interested in community ecology, specifically the history and future of the relationships between humans and the rest of life"

Christina Warinner
Associate Professor & Group Leader

Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University (USA); Group Leader, Department of Archeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Germany)

"We study human microbiome evolution and biodiversity, and we use ancient DNA and paleoproteomics to reveal the deep-time relationships between humans, foods, and microbes "

Seth Bordenstein

Professor of Biology and Entomology, Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Microbiome Sciences, Director of the Penn State Microbiome Center, USA

"Intimate and facultative animal-microbe symbioses as targets and agents of change, including phylosymbiosis, speciation, reproductive parasitism, and human microbiome variation"

Lars Hestbjerg Hansen

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

"Microbial genetics and microbiomes in plant and human health, with a particular taste for genetic parasites such as bacteriophages plasmids and IS elements"

Mathilde Poyet
Assistant Professor (W1)

Institute of Experimental Medicine, University of Kiel, Germany

"Culturing and functional profiling of host-associated bacteria"

Karsten Kristiansen

Department of Biology
University of Copenhagen, DK,
Director, Institute of Metagenomics
BGI-Shenzhen, China
Professor & Director, Institute of Metagenomics, Qingdao-Europe Advanced Institute for Life Sciences
BGI-Qingdao, China

"The interaction between the host genome, the host immune system and the gut microbiota in metabolic functions"

Mathieu Groussin
Assistant Professor (W2)

Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, University of Kiel, Germany

"Evolution and function of host-microbiome systems"

Aoife Leonard
Postdoctoral Researcher and Scientific Manager for the Earth Hologenome Initiative 

Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

"Ecology and evolution of host-microbiome interactions in wild vertebrates"

Philipp Engel

University of Lausanne, Switzerland

"We study social bees and their gut symbionts to understand the evolution and functioning of specialized microbiota-host interactions."

Itzhak Mizrahi

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Department of Life Sciences
School of Sustainability and Climate Change, Israel

"Our main research interest is to understand the ecological and evolutionary forces that shape microbial communities in nature and specifically, in gut environments. Understanding these forces enables us to predict and modulate the composition of the microbiome towards optimized functionality"

Magdalena Gajdzinska
Policy Officer in Food Systems Transformation

Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, Brussels

"My main responsibilities are microbiome, AU-EU High Level Policy Dialogue and international cooperation"

Henna-Maria Kailanto
Senior Scientist

International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) Health, Finland 

"Early life microbiome development and health programming"

Harald Sveier
Research & Innovation Manager

Lerøy Seafood Group ASA, Norway

Giorgia Palladino
Research Fellow

Unit of Microbiome Science and Biotechnology, Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna, Italy 

"Expertise in the role of microbial ecosystems in holobionts populating marine environments as a proxy for environmental changes and as functional resources for mitigation and bioremediation purposes"

Amaia Nogales
Assistant Researcher

Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

"I am interested in plant-microbe interactions and on their relevance for efficient grapevine breeding on abiotic stress tolerance."

Manuel Liebeke
Group Leader

Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany

"We use mod­ern 'omics' meth­ods to under­stand which mo­lecules are involved in host-mi­crobiome interactions and how meta­bol­ites shape bacterial com­munit­ies within the host niche."

Scientific Committee

Tom Gilbert

Center for Evolutionary HoloGenomics, 
University of Copenhagen,

Antton Alberdi

Associate Professor,
Center for Evolutionary HoloGenomics, 
University of Copenhagen,

Morten Limborg

Associate Professor,
Center for Evolutionary HoloGenomics, 
University of Copenhagen,

Melanie Parejo

Postdoctoral Researcher,
Applied Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Spain

Andone Estonba

Applied Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Spain

Lorna Richardson

Microbiome Resources Co-ordinator, 
Finn team: Microbiome Informatics, EMBL-EBI, UK

Dorthe Sandvang

Head of Poultry Innovation - Animal & Plant Health and Nutrition,
Chr. Hansen A/S, Denmark

Jürgen Zentek

Department of Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Animal Nutrition, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Michael D. Martin

Department of Natural History, University Museum, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway

Phillip Pope

Associate Professor, 
Faculty of Biosciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway

Eli Grindflek

Research Director,
Norsvin, Norway

Yolanda Sanz

National Research Council (CSIC), Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC), Spain

Iratxe Zarraonaindia

Research Associate, 
Applied Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain & Ikerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science, Spain

Abstract and registration information

Abstracts are limited to 300 words max.
Abstract submission deadline is the 26th of May 2022. 

The scientific committee is seeking abstracts that are targeted to the main themes described in the conference scope and specifically with a hologenomic angle in focus. Abstracts are subject to rejection if they are deemed out of conference scope.

By submitting an abstract you agree to attend the conference in-person and present your work, regardless of the format assigned (oral or poster). We are aware that circumstances can be unpredictable and if your travel circumstances change due to the COVID-19 pandemic please contact us as soon as possible. 

The organisers reserve the right to decline any submitted abstracts that lack scientific content or merit, or submitted abstracts that merely announce the availability of a resource or service.

Click here to submit your abstract.

All accepted abstracts will be scheduled either as an oral or poster presentation at the discretion of the Scientific Committee. If oral presentation slots exceed the number of oral presentation slots, authors should be prepared to present a poster if their abstract is not selected for an oral presentation.

Our aim is to create an engaging and open community for presenters from all career levels.

After the abstract submission deadline (May 26th 2022) is over the scientific committee will evaluate your submission and be in touch with you by mid June in time for registrations. 

Successful abstracts will be made public exactly as submitted on the conference website as well as on the HoloFood website. The submitting author may make corrections and revisions by the end of June 2022.

Oral presentations will be recorded and made available for online viewing during the conference.

For those accepted for a poster presentation:  Posters should be A1 size 80cmx100 cm vertical (portrait). The maximum size that can be supported (vertical size) is 118.8 cm x 84cm (A0) which can also be accommodated. Poster presenters are encouraged to arrive earlier during the conference registration in order to set up. Each presenter will be allocated a specific number for their poster. 

Please note: there is no poster printing option at the conference venue (Palacio Euskalduna).

For those accepted for an oral presentation: Presentations should last a total of 10 minutes approximately in order to allow time for questions from the audience.

Yes - please also register for attendance to the conference as well as submit an abstract. The deadline for registering to the conference is July 17th 2022. 
Registrations are required whether you intend to be there in person or attend virtually.

After registration you should receive a confirmation email - please check your spam folder or contact us if you have not received the confirmation.

Click here to register your attendance (virtual or in-person).

We understand that things are unpredictable at the moment.
If you unable to attend please contact us as soon as possible!

Refunds of the Social evening event will be available until August 31st with a cancellation charge.
No refunds will be available after the 1st of September.
Cancellation policies can also be found in our dedicated page under 'Cancellation Policies'
Please stay tuned for updates on the conference as we evaluate travel situations closer to the conference. 

Useful information

The program has been designed to cover both a wide range of fundamental and applied themes within hologenomics research, and incorporate panel discussions about the future possibilities and needs of industry and society.

We aim at identifying opportunities and hurdles of the still nascent field of hologenomics, and thus not only welcome researchers and industrial stakeholders actively implementing hologenomic approaches, but also invite relevant players that recognise hologenomics as an opportunity to improve the performance of their current scientific practices.

We are pleased to welcome guest speakers at the forefront of their fields, working within human health, agrisciences and more, whether representing academia or industry. 

We welcome registrations and abstract submissions with a focus on host-microbe interactions.

The Applied Hologenomics Conference is free to attend in person or online however registration is compulsory. 

The conference dinner and social excursion is at a cost of 60€ per person and can be purchased via the registration link.

We offer two options during registration - either in person attendance or remote access.
Please note that at the moment remote access will only be available for the recorded talks of the conference.

For information on abstract guidelines please refer to the abstract information section here.

Palacio Euskalduna, the conference venue, is located in the Abandoibarra area of Bilbao. You can see the location by clicking here.

There are several transport connections to reach the venue: 
Tram stops directly in front of the venue
Bilbao Metro Lines 1 and 2
Commuter Rail Network (Cercanías Bilbao)
Various bus routes also are within close range. 

Information on local connections and fares can be found here:

Bilbao International Airport is located 12 km from the city centre (

Bilbao centre and around the conference is a walker friendly city.

There are many accommodation options within close range of the conference venue. 

A number of hotels have reserved a limited number of rooms at special rates for conference attendees. 
Please use the contact forms listed below for each hotel or quote "Applied Hologenomics 2022" when in contact with them for the special rates to be applied. 

Booking deadline is the 26th of June 2022. After this date booking will be subject to availability. 
Prices listed below include breakfast and VAT 

Melía Bilbao : Single room 165€/night, Double room 181€/night
Lehendakari Leizaola, 29, 48011 Bilbao, Bizkaia
Tel. +34 912 76 46 46
Booking form:

NH Collection Villa de Bilbao : Single room 139€/night, Double room 149€/night
Gran Vía, 87, 48011 Bilbao, Bizkaia
Tel. +34 944 41 60 00
Please book by sending an email to and quoting “Applied Hologenomics 2022” as the reference.

Abba Euskalduna : Single room 155€/night, Double room 165€/night
Ventosa Bidea, 34, 48013 Bilbao, Bizkaia
Tel. +34 946 67 31 69
Please book by sending an email to and quoting “Applied Hologenomics 2022” as the reference.

Mercure Jardines de Albia : Single room 118€/night, Double room 136€/night
Done Bikendi Kalea, 6, 48001 Bilbo, Bizkaia
Tel. +34 944 35 41 40
Please book by sending an email to HA057@ACCOR.COM and quoting “Applied Hologenomics 2022” as the reference.

Areas that are within walking distance with a decent selection of accommodation are:

Casco Viejo Area (note: this area has an active social scene)

Ensanche Area: Short walk with larger hotel chains

Deusto Area: Affordable accommodation and boutique inns 

AHC is committed to providing a safe environment for conference attendees, staff, exhibitors, vendors and others on site and at the conference. We are monitoring the emerging situation related to the pandemic.

At present we strongly encourage all participants to use a face mask while in the conference auditorium and when in the buses for the social gala event. Masks will be made available at the information point if needed.

Please be aware that local regulations may change as the conference approaches. 
There are local regulations from the Spanish government here: 
At the moment there are mandatory mask usage for public transportation and health centres. Please check here for the latest regulations:

Please do not travel or attend the conference if you are sick, have been exposed to anyone with a documented or suspected case of COVID-19 or experience any symptoms of COVID-19.

Bilbao is a beautiful city with many cultural highlights.

Guggenheim museum Bilbao (1km from conference venue) -

Bilbao’s medieval town Casco Viejo (2.5km from conference venue)

Explore La Ribera market (2.7 km from conference venue)

Museo Bellas Artes (Museum of fine arts) (700 metres) -  In Bilbao lunch times are usually between 13:30h and 15:30h. 

Dinner times are usually from 9pm onwards. It is normal to enjoy some pintxos with a drink before this time (aperitivo).

There are seated lunch or dinner menus. Alternatively, it is very typical to have a selection of pintxos (Basque elaborated tapas).

Bilbao has a rich culinary scene and you can take a look at some of these highlights by clicking here.

Download Conference Materials


Venue information: Palacio Euskalduna, Abandoibarra Etorb., 4, 48011 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
Click here for details on how to get to the venue

Funding & Acknowledgement 

The 1st Applied HoloGenomics Conference project is part of the HoloFood IA activities and has received funding from the European Unionʼs Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 817729. 
The conference is organised by HoloFood partner EHU/UPV, Spain.

Find out more about the HoloFood project by clicking here or check out our explainer video below!


Locally organised by the University of the Basque Country - EHU/UPV


Co-organised with the Center for Evolutionary HoloGenomics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Explainer video for the HoloFood Innovation Action

Share this Page!

  • The 1st Applied HoloGenomics Conference project is part of the HoloFood IA activities and has received funding from the European Unionʼs Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 817729  

Start a site - Go now