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 2018

Hemraj B. Dodiya, Ph.D.
President ISAPP-SFA


Title: Post-Doctoral Scholar in Sangram Sisodia lab Neurobiology (University of Chicago, US)

Current research:  I am interested in the microbiota-gut-brain axis and its role in aging and age-associated neurodegenerative disorders. Currently, I am working on the projects that look at the changes in the intestinal microbiome and its impact on the peripheral (mainly enteric) and central nervous system in Alzheimer’s disease. Prebiotics/ targeted probiotics preclinical research studies for Alzheimer’s disease are my short-term goal.

I am really excited about the ISAPP 2018 conference @ Singapore to learn about the breaking news on prebiotics/probiotics. As an upcoming Neuroscientist in the microbiome field, ISAPP provides a great platform for me to learn and merge Prebiotic/probiotic field with the Neurobiology. The symposium and poster session will help me to collaborate with the top scientists and companies focusing on probiotics/prebiotics from all over the world.

LinkedIn: Hemraj Dodiya

Mariya Petrova, Ph.D.
Vice-president ISAPP-SFA


Title: Post-Doctoral Fellow in Sarah Lebeer and Jos Vanderleyden lab at KU Leuven and Antwerp University (Belgium)

Current research: My research focuses on how vaginal and gastrointestinal probiotic Lactobacillus strains can contribute to human health by studying cell wall molecules and their role in host-microbe interaction (colonization and immune modulation) and microbe-microbe interaction (pathogen exclusion). Furthermore, I investigate how to design bioengineered probiotic strains for heterologous expression of various therapeutic molecules such as anti-HIV lectins, fluorescents dyes, and allergens. Finally, I also study the vital role of vaginal Lactobacillus in maintaining women’s health by investigating their role in preventing bacterial and viral infections.

I am looking for a great meeting, in which we are once again able to provide a high-quality program and activities for all SFA-ISAPP Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows. I am passionate about the late research in the field probiotics and prebiotics, as well as meeting new researchers from over the world.

LinkedIn: Mariya Petrova
Twitter: @Mariya_iPetrova

Paul Cherry
Secretary ISAPP-SFA


Title: PhD student at the Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health (NICHE) (Ulster University, UK); Research Assistant at APC Microbiome Ireland (University College Cork, Ireland)

Current research: I am interested in understanding how food components, whether whole foods, extracted bioactives, or enriched products, may modulate the gut microbiome to exert health benefits beyond basic nutrition. This work comprises of in-vitro gut model screening studies, scale-up ingredient production, and human intervention studies to validate efficacy. Current projects also explore the gut-brain-microbiome axis in health and disease; and the environmental factors which influence infant gut microbiome development. Long term, I wish to work in a clinical research team which determines the health-related end points of prebiotic and probiotic interventions.  
Supervisors: Dr. Philip Allsopp and Prof. Catherine Stanton.

I am looking forward to learning from academic and industry experts during the 2018 programme, and the opportunity to network.

LinkedIn: Paul Cherry 
Twitter: @Paul_Cherry

Irina Spacova, Ph.D.
Communication and outreach ISAPP-SFA


Title: Post-Doctoral researcher at Sarah Lebeer’s lab of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (University of Antwerp, Belgium)

Current research: I investigate immune modulation and stimulation by probiotic bacteria in the context of allergic and other inflammatory diseases. My interests include genetic modification of probiotics, experimental in vivo models for probiotics research and microbiota alterations in the context of inflammatory disease.

I am enthusiastic about the first ISAPP meeting in Asia and the novel scientific insights and collaborations that it will offer to its participants from across the globe. The diverse background of scientists, clinical practitioners, industry representatives and regulators will no doubt create a rich and diverse environment for expertise sharing and the generation of new ideas and projects.

LinkedIn: Irina Spacova
Twitter: @Irina_Spacova

Holly (Xuedan) Wang
Treasurer 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 in Singapore!

LinkedIn: Xuedan Wang

Wei Wei Thwe Khine (Wei Thwe)
Local Organizer ISAPP-SFA Singapore 2018


Title:  PhD student at Clinical Research, Faculty of Medicine, Turku University, Finland. Research assistant at Prof Lee Yuan Kun's lab, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National     University of Singapore.

Current research:
1. Role of microbiome in Asian Mother-infant pairs.
2. Role of children microbiome in Asian countries.
3. Role of nutrition/diet association in human/proboscis microbiome.
4. Probiotics intervention in adult healthy subjects.
5. Association of microbiome and human genes.
6. Association of microbiome in elderly health.
Supervisors: Prof. Lee Yuan Kun and Prof. Seppo Salminen.

ISAPP 2018 conference will strengthen my academic knowledge in pre-probiotics fields and will build up more experience for my career.

LinkedIn: Wei Wei Thwe Khine
Twitter: @Wei_Thwe