Inspiring story Testimonials from the 2nd BSVoM hands-on workshop ‘Personalized phage therapy: from the lab to the patient’


Dr. Tea Glonti, co-organizer of the workshop:

The workshop under the title of “Personalized phage therapy: from lab to the patient” is becoming a tradition with already the 2nd workshop successfully organized at the Queen Astrid Military Hospital on November 30 - December 1, 2023; coordinated by Dr. Jean-Paul Pirnay, Dr. Maya Merabishvili and Dr. Tea Glonti. The fourteen participants from this edition were coming from different institutions/organizations in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. All participants had a different background in knowledge and experience of working with bacteriophages. This was taken into account when developing the workshop structure to meet the trainees’ needs. The feedback from the participants of the previous workshop was implemented as well.

The structure of this two-day workshop employed the different approaches of academic communications (phage biology, phage characterization (including evaluation of phage lytic activity), regulations and quality control requirements on developing of phage therapeutics), sharing knowledge and experiences and on-site training/coaching. The last approach was designed particularly for this workshop. The interactive activities during the theoretical and practical courses created a friendly and easy atmosphere, giving an opportunity to the participants to get engaged as much as possible.

The workshop provided an opportunity to learn almost all methods used for working with bacteriophages (see the workshop agenda) - the chain of procedures from the identification of phage isolation source to the formulation of the rational phage therapeutics, plus, how to identify and select the particular method at a particular stage of work to spend less time, material and energy but in a professional manner. That kind of approach helps to acquire or enhance trainees’ practical skills based on the theory and context behind such practice. At the same time, the demonstrated methods were explained in a way that could be used further in the different conditions with different machines and resources.

What others are saying about the workshop

Mathilde Hulsens (one of the 14 participants and PhD student of the research group of Yves Briers - Ghent University): “It was very useful to learn about the full process behind phage therapy, starting from phage isolation to treatment of the patient. During the workshop theoretical sessions were followed by practical laboratory experiences. These practical sessions showed us all steps and methods that are used to go from phage to therapeutic. We even paid a short visit to the cleanrooms where the final steps of creating the phage therapeutic are performed. The motivation of the LabMCT (QAMH) to adapt the regulations for phage therapy in a way it would more available for patients in need, was inspiring. It was also nice to connect with other phage researchers with different backgrounds to share experiences with each other. Thank you very much for organizing this interesting two day long workshop!”

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