Changes in biodiversity and health in the context of an urbanizing world
Indonesia is urbanizing at a rapid rate and while its cities are places of innovation, and inspiration, its rural areas provide great source of biodiversity. The Netherlands is a highly urbanized country, struggling to keep a sustainable level of biodiversity.
With increasing urbanization and socioeconomic status, disease profile changes: communicable, infectious diseases become less prevalent giving way to emergence of non-communicable disorders such as allergies, and cardiometabolic diseases. At the same time, urbanization leads to loss of biodiversity. There is evidence that loss of biodiversity is linked to the modulation of the human health through changes in the microbiome that interacts with the human mucosal barriers: the airways, the gut and the skin. Through studying transition from rural to urban living, alternation in biodiversity and human health, it might be possible to find innovative solutions to diseases afflicting the Dutch and the Indonesian populations.
Learning from each other will be central to the organization of this session. While the Netherlands has strong technological platforms, Indonesia is a dynamic country that has a broad gradient of biodiversity in its different geographical localities. This provides a ‘living laboratory’ that will enable addressing the problems sketched and solutions needed. Together, the Netherlands and Indonesia, can form a very strong win-win partnership for dealing with one of the major global problems; urbanization.
To this end, a seminar will be organized for medical doctors, epidemiologists, biomedical scientists, (micro) biologists, nutritionists, social scientists and city planners on biodiversity and health in the context of an urbanizing world.
Dr Claire Hallewas, Delft University- is an expert in global issues and cooperation between Dutch universities providing technological platforms and LMIC institutions.
Dr Dicky Tahapary, University of Indonesia- is a medical specialist in endocrinology who is studying how urbanisation affects metabolic disorders. He is also interested in the relationship between communicable and non-communicable diseases and nutrition.
Dr Hermelijn Smits, Leiden University Medical Center- is a biomedical scientist who studies airway diseases and is interested in the interaction of the micro- and macro-biome with the airway mucosa. She leads several large national and international consortia on asthma and allergies.
Dr Katja Polman, VU University Amsterdam- is an epidemiologist who studies the co-existence of communicable and non-communicable diseases in low-income to middle-income countries. She has been studying nutrition, parasitology and community health in Indonesia.
Dr Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch, Utrecht University- is an epidemiologist who specializes in problems of obesity and cardiometabolic diseases in low-income to middle income-countries as well as migrant populations in the Netherlands.
Prof Maria Yazdanbakhsh, Leiden University Medical Center- is an immunoparasitologist studying the changes in the immune system and related diseases as rural to urban gradient and is also the chair of LUMC Global Platform. She has had several long term collaborations with Universities in Indonesia.
Dr Sitti Wahyuni, University of Hasanuddin- is a medical doctor who is interested in research into microbiome and gut health. She studies parasitic infections in communities and assesses their link to the gut microbial communities as well as to non-communicable diseases.
Prof Taniawati Supali, University of Indonesia- is a specialist control programs for parasitic infections. She conducts large field studies and applies cutting edge diagnostic and immunological methods to study population health in rural areas of Indonesia.
Dr Yodi Mahendradhata, Gadja Mada University- is a medical specialist who has been studying infectious diseases and has been leading programs on Neglected and poverty-related diseases afflicting communities in Indonesia.
Dr. Arjen Speksnijder, Naturalis Biodiversity Center – is a molecular biologist who studies biodiversity using cutting edge technologies. The microbiome diversity in environmental samples is one of his areas of expertise.