The ISAPP Students and Fellows Association (ISAPP-SFA) was created in 2009 as an initiative to link trainees working in fields related to probiotics, prebiotics and health effects of commensal microbes. We operate as a student-led branch of our parent group, ISAPP ( ISAPP aims to advance scientific excellence in probiotics and prebiotics.

Our goal as ISAPP-SFA is to create an interactive network of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows across the globe working on probiotics, prebiotics or related fields, and thus promote real-time interactions, intellectual and technical exchanges, and other networking opportunities for our members. We intend to act as a resource for ISAPP and the industry, providing a communication platform to facilitate scientific discussions, internships and employment opportunities among qualified researchers in the field.

The membership application form for ISAPP-SFA is available here. You can contact us at or visit our Facebook page.

ISAPP, our parent organization, now has a Facebook page and a monthly newsletter! Like their page here and subscribe to the newsletter here for even more news from the leading experts in the field of probiotics and prebiotics.

Executive Committee ISAPP-SFA 2019

Anna-Ursula Happel, M.Sc.
President ISAPP-SFA


Title: PhD and Postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town, South Africa

Current research:  I am working on evaluating the effect of vaginal probiotics on BV cure in South African women, as well as characterising vaginal Lactobacillus strains isolated from healthy South African women regarding their potential to improve vaginal health.

ISAPP-SFA provides a great opportunity to interact in real-time with young, early career scientists in the field of pre- and probiotics all over the world, thus giving me an unique opportunity to interact with like-minded researchers, develop networks, and stay up-to-date regarding the latest probiotic research!

LinkedIn: Anna-Ursula Happel

Holly (Xuedan) Wang
Vice-president ISAPP-SFA


Title: PhD student at the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences (University of Reading, UK)

Current research: I study protein and carbohydrate metabolism by colonic bacteria, and I'm currently interested in developing probiotics for metabolic disorders.
Supervisor: Prof. Glenn Gibson

I'm hyped about going to meet top researchers in prebiotics and probiotics area all over the world!

LinkedIn: Xuedan Wang

Daragh Hill
Communications and Outreach


Title: PhD candidate in Catherine Stantons lab in Teagasc Moorepark Food Research centre and University College Cork (Ireland).

Current Research: I am interested in how bacteria can be used to promote health in a range of different ways. I currently work in dairy fermentation and bacteriocins. In particular my study focuses on the products of bacterial growth which could have a beneficial effect on health either directly or through food. Exopolysaccharide, polyol, and bacteriocin production by lactic acid bacteria are my main areas of research.

The ISAPP annual meetings are a great way to hear from experts in the field of probiotics and prebiotics. The poster session is a great way to discuss my own research with scientists at all different stages in their careers.

Conall Strain, Ph.D.

Conall ISAPP.png

Title: Senior Post-doctoral research fellow at Catherine Stanton’s lab in APC Microbiome Ireland & Teagasc Moorepark Food Research centre.

Current research:  My research focuses on how diet alters our gut microbiome and how this impacts on our health. I study the effects of nutrition on the gut microbiome and the immune system through in vitro colon models, pre-clinical mouse models and human intervention studies. Dietary components that I am interested in include: Prebiotics/dietary fibre, Omega-3 PUFA’s, and fish consumption. I use next generation sequencing and gas chromatography techniques and have a keen interest in biostatistics.

I feel that the ISAPP meetings are an excellent opportunity to meet leading experts in the microbiome field, find out the latest research, present our work, establish future collaborations, as well as make new friends in the area.

Dieter Vandenheuvel, Ph.D.
Treasurer ISAPP-SFA


Title: Post-Doctoral Researcher at Sarah Lebeer's Laboratory for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (University of Antwerp, Belgium), and JSPS Post-Doctoral Fellow at Shimosato Takeshi's Laboratory of Molecular Biotechnology (Shinshu University, Japan).

Current research: My research focuses on the functional annotation of unknown genes and gene clusters in lactobacilli through genetic modification. My research interests include genetics, bacteriophage research, functional and molecular characterization, and pharmaceutical processing of biologicals (such as spray drying probiotics). 

The past ISAPP meetings proved to provide a valuable mixture of top-ranked academic researchers and industrials. It is a great place to expand your network, whatever direction you are looking into. As treasurer, my tasks consists in making sure that the attendants of the ISAPP-SFA conference in Banff will get their travel grant paid as soon as possible. I am looking forward to meeting you all, and hope to initiate new collaborations.

Brendan Daisley.
Local Organizer


Title: PhD Candidate in Gregor Reid’s lab of the Microbiology & Immunology Department (Western University, Canada)

Current Research: I am interested in how probiotic bacteria can be used to improve the health of humans, wildlife, and the environment at large. A major focus of my current work is on the design and application of a multi-strain probiotic to improve the health of honey bees. Specifically, my research aims to elucidate mechanisms by which probiotic bacteria can directly and/or indirectly improve immunity, detoxification of pesticides, and the nutritional status of honey bees. Altogether, I hope to contribute to a sustainable future through developing a framework by which probiotic bacteria can be used to support the health of important pollinator insects that are critical to the global food supply.

I have been an ISAPP-SFA member for over three years now. During this time, I have found the annual meetings to provide an excellent platform for students and fellows to connect/collaborate with leading experts in the fields of probiotic/prebiotic sciences and learn about their latest and most interesting research. The yearly meetings also offer a unique opportunity to network with relevant industry members and influencers as well. As the local organizer for the upcoming 2020 ISAPP-SFA meeting in Banff (Canada), I’m excited to share with you some fun facts about “The Great White North” while enjoying the beautiful landscape of the Rocky Mountains.