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The Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2017 will take place between Monday 3 April to Thursday 6 April and will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), Edinburgh, UK.

The Society’s Annual Conference attracts over 1,200 attendees for Europe’s largest annual gathering of microbiologists.

This event is now sold out. 

Due to an unprecedented level of demand, we are unable to offer onsite registration this year.

Session topics

Main symposia
  • Anaerobe 2017: molecular, genomic and metagenomic insights into anaerobic infection – Thursday
  • Annual Meeting of Protistology-UK: Intracellular infection and endosymbiosis within protists – Monday
  • Aquatic microbiology: New model organisms and new challenges – Tuesday, Wednesday
  • Cell biology of pathogen entry into host cells – Thursday
  • Critical health challenges in medical mycology – Thursday
  • Epigenetics and non-coding RNA – Wednesday, Thursday
  • Geomicrobiology – Monday, Tuesday
  • Heterogeneity and polymicrobial interactions in biofilms – Wednesday, Thursday
  • Just passing through – virus infections and the GI tract – Monday
  • Microbial cell surfaces – Wednesday, Thursday
  • Microbial circadian and metabolic rhythyms – Monday, Tuesday
  • Microbial genomics: From single cells to large populations – Wednesday, Thursday
  • Microbial mechanisms of plant pathology – Monday, Tuesday
  • Prokaryotic macromolecular machines – Monday
  • Regulation of RNA expression during virus infection – part 1 – Tuesday
  • Regulation of RNA expression during virus infection – part 2 – Thursday
  • Synthetic and systems approaches to microbiology – Monday, Tuesday
Forums
  • Environmental and applied microbiology forum – Thursday
  • Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular mechanisms forum – Wednesday
  • Prokaryotic genetics and genomics forum – Tuesday
  • Prokaryotic infection forum – Tuesday
Virus workshops
  • Antivirals and vaccines – Wednesday
  • Clinical virology – Wednesday
  • Evolution and virus populations – Wednesday
  • Gene expression and replication – Wednesday
  • Innate immunity – Wednesday
  • Morphogenesis, egress and entry – Wednesday
  • Pathogenesis – Wednesday
Professional Development sessions
  • Post-PhD: Finding a career that suits you – Monday
  • Scientific Publishing: How to review scientific manuscripts – Tuesday
  • Scientific Publishing: How to write a manuscript for submission – Tuesday

If you have any questions please email conferences@microbiologysociety.org

Follow us on Twitter @MicrobioSoc.

Updates on the Annual Conference 2017 can be found using the hashtag: #Microbio17

Days to event:
6 days
Programme

Type

Session

Session View

Monday 03 April, Morning

Annual Meeting of Protistology-UK: Intracellular infection and endosymbiosis within protists

This session will cover part of the Annual Meeting of the Protistology-UK Society, and it will focus on the infection and endosymbiotic events of different microbes (viruses, bacteria and protozoa) that take place in microbial eukaryotes. The session will seek to discuss, how various organisms cope with the presence of their “endoysmbionts” or “pathogens” and to provide models to study basic processes on the endosymbiont/pathogen-host cell relationship and potentially the origin of new organelles.

Organisers

Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK), David Bass (Natural History Museum, UK)

Microbial circadian and metabolic rhythyms

The identification of genetic components of the circadian clock in diverse organisms from bacteria and fungi to plants and animals suggests that a circadian oscillator is intrinsic to all kingdoms. There is little conservation among the clock components, however, suggesting that clocks have evolved independently and that circadian rhythmicity is an adaptive feature. Alternatively, the conserved circadian rhythms in cellular metabolism could indicate that a conserved oscillator exists in parallel with or indeed on top of 'canonical' clock mechanisms.

Organisers

Sue Crosthwaite (University of Manchester, UK), Ed Lous (University of Leicester, UK), Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK), Gerben van Ooijen (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Microbial mechanisms of plant pathology

Plant pathogens are often considered less “sexy” than their mammalian counterparts, yet these species represent a major threat to food production worldwide. Moreover, they employ a bewildering array of mechanisms – often borrowed from, or adapted by their mammalian cousins - with which to subvert host defences (or conversely, sometimes even enhance plant growth). In this session, we aim to explore the diverse strategies used by bacteria, fungi and viruses to colonise plant tissues (to the advantage or to the detriment to the host). Topics ranging from the origin(s) and impact of Ash die-back, the roles played by quorum sensing and cyclic-di-GMP in controlling bacterial infection, PAMPs, oomycete effectors and viral infections will be covered by the World’s top experts in these areas. We will also explore why some organisms seem to form mutualistic (rather than pathogenic) relationships with their hosts, and address the cutting-edge technologies that have been developed to investigate these mechanisms and interactions. This is a session for anyone with an interest in the molecular mechanisms that underpin microbial pathogenicity.

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Kevin Kavanagh (NUI Maynooth, Ireland)

Prokaryotic macromolecular machines

While science strives to harness the potential of nano-technology, it has become apparent that natural selection has already provided many solutions. Advances in molecular biology and high-resolution imaging have revealed the incredible complexity and efficiency of macromolecular protein machines. Prokaryotes have developed nano-scale devices to answer a range of problems including motility, secretion and delivery of bioactive macromolecules into the environment and other cells. Topics covered in this session will be of interest from both a pure academic and more applied biotechnology perspective as they will include the ribosome, pili/fimbrae, flagella and protein secretion. Offered papers on all aspects of prokaryotic (both bacteria and archea) macromolecular machines are welcomed.

Organisers

Jonathan Shaw (University of Sheffield, UK), Nick Waterfield (University of Warwick, UK), Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Nicola Holden (The James Hutton Institute, UK)

Geomicrobiology

Geomicrobiology is the study of the role of micro-organisms in influencing geological processes including geochemical cycles. While much of the discipline is less than 40 years old, it is fundamental to the understanding of the origin of life and the role of microbes in the cycling of elements in the environment. Recent advances in the field have come about largely by new approaches (e.g. the “omics” technologies, stable isotope probing, biophysical and microscopy techniques) that allow the detailed study of cultured and uncultured microorganisms and the impact they have on the environment. This session will include topics on the origin of life and evolution, microbial energetics and metabolism, microbial ecology, biomineralisation and mineral precipitation, bioremediation and weathering.

Organisers

Joanne Santini (University College London, UK), Thomas Clarke (University of East Anglia, UK)

Just passing through – virus infections and the GI tract

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract provides an accessible environment for virus infection and replication. GI tract viral infections, including those by rotaviruses, noroviruses and astroviruses cause a globally significant burden of mortality and morbidity. Over 70% of cases of infectious diarrhoea are caused by viruses; for example, noroviruses are the leading cause of diarrhoea globally with an estimated 685 million cases a year and are also the main cause of foodborne illness, and rotaviruses cause over 100 million cases of infantile severe gastroenteritis per annum with up to 0.26 million deaths. New vaccines, better understanding of the biology and replication of these viruses, and the comprehension of crosstalk between viral and bacterial components of the microbiome offers ways to reduce this disease burden. This one day conference will provide an overview of the causes of viral gastroenteritis, the epidemiology of infections and viral pathogenesis, coupled with discussions of the immunology of the GI tract and the development of effective vaccines to control and prevent disease.

Organisers

David Evans (University of St Andrews, UK), Miren Iturriza-Gomara (University of Liverpool, UK)

Synthetic and systems approaches to microbiology

Synthetic and systems biology approaches are revolutionising basic biological research, promising a paradigm shift in the way biology as a science is approached. As the cost of DNA synthesis plummets, and large scale DNA assembly is within our reach, synthetic and systems biology are promising to bring our understanding of microbes to the level needed for large-scale engineering. Systems biology approaches provide tools needed to understand key cellular physiological functions and ultimately create the basis for robust and reliable cell engineering. The tools of synthetic and systems biology go hand-in-hand and this session will bring together leaders working at the intersection of these fields to provide a timely update on the state-of-the-art. Themes covered will include synthetic biology in extreme conditions, microbial interactions, designing biology and microbial factories. Together the session will provide an exciting overview of the field which looks set to make a significant impact on industrial biotechnology as well as more fundamental microbiology research.
Theme 1: The Synthetic and Systems Biology in Extreme Conditions. This session includes talks on aspects of synthetic and systems approaches in extreme environments and microbes.
Theme 2: Synthetic and Systems Approaches to Microbial Interactions. The ways in which microbes interact plays an influential role in their behaviour both in hosts and in industrial fermenters. This session takes a look at how we can interrogate the basis of these interactions and will be of interest to those exploring microbiomes and industrial biotechnology.
Theme 3: Designing Biology. In this session we will explore the importance of design of synthetic systems from the perspectives of both artists and scientists. What can we design and why?
Theme 4: Microbial Cell Factories. This session will include a range of experts who are using synthetic biology approaches to design new-generation cell factories using microalgal host strains. It will be of interest to a range of delegates interested in industrial biotechnology and will complement the talks on other chassis, e.g. Saccharomyces in the other parts of the session.

Organisers

Meriem El Karoui (University of Edinburgh, UK), Teuta Pilizota (University of Edinburgh, UK), Susan Rosser (University of Edinburgh, UK), Colin Robinson (University of Kent, UK)

Post-PhD: Finding a career that suits you

Making a decision about what to do after your PhD can be daunting. When considering the lack of academic positions for newly qualified PhD researchers, it can be helpful to think about the breadth of career options available to you as a highly trained professional scientist - with skills and aptitudes that you may not yet have realised. Dr Sarah Blackford, author of Career Planning for Research Bioscientists, will demonstrate her PhD Career Choice Indicator – showing users how to identify initial career options by looking at their skills and passions. During the afternoon session, participants will also hear from microbiologists who have had interesting career paths and learn top tips for how to build their CV for the career they want – including a chance for their CV to be reviewed by their peers. This session is aimed at early career researchers, however is suitable for those looking to make their next career step.

Organisers

Microbiology Society Professional Development Committee

Monday 03 April, Afternoon

Just passing through – virus infections and the GI tract

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract provides an accessible environment for virus infection and replication. GI tract viral infections, including those by rotaviruses, noroviruses and astroviruses cause a globally significant burden of mortality and morbidity. Over 70% of cases of infectious diarrhoea are caused by viruses; for example, noroviruses are the leading cause of diarrhoea globally with an estimated 685 million cases a year and are also the main cause of foodborne illness, and rotaviruses cause over 100 million cases of infantile severe gastroenteritis per annum with up to 0.26 million deaths. New vaccines, better understanding of the biology and replication of these viruses, and the comprehension of crosstalk between viral and bacterial components of the microbiome offers ways to reduce this disease burden. This one day conference will provide an overview of the causes of viral gastroenteritis, the epidemiology of infections and viral pathogenesis, coupled with discussions of the immunology of the GI tract and the development of effective vaccines to control and prevent disease.

Organisers

David Evans (University of St Andrews, UK), Miren Iturriza-Gomara (University of Liverpool, UK)

Annual Meeting of Protistology-UK: Intracellular infection and endosymbiosis within protists

This session will cover part of the Annual Meeting of the Protistology-UK Society, and it will focus on the infection and endosymbiotic events of different microbes (viruses, bacteria and protozoa) that take place in microbial eukaryotes. The session will seek to discuss, how various organisms cope with the presence of their “endoysmbionts” or “pathogens” and to provide models to study basic processes on the endosymbiont/pathogen-host cell relationship and potentially the origin of new organelles.

Organisers

Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK), David Bass (Natural History Museum, UK)

Geomicrobiology

Geomicrobiology is the study of the role of micro-organisms in influencing geological processes including geochemical cycles. While much of the discipline is less than 40 years old, it is fundamental to the understanding of the origin of life and the role of microbes in the cycling of elements in the environment. Recent advances in the field have come about largely by new approaches (e.g. the “omics” technologies, stable isotope probing, biophysical and microscopy techniques) that allow the detailed study of cultured and uncultured microorganisms and the impact they have on the environment. This session will include topics on the origin of life and evolution, microbial energetics and metabolism, microbial ecology, biomineralisation and mineral precipitation, bioremediation and weathering.

Organisers

Joanne Santini (University College London, UK), Thomas Clarke (University of East Anglia, UK)

Microbial circadian and metabolic rhythyms

The identification of genetic components of the circadian clock in diverse organisms from bacteria and fungi to plants and animals suggests that a circadian oscillator is intrinsic to all kingdoms. There is little conservation among the clock components, however, suggesting that clocks have evolved independently and that circadian rhythmicity is an adaptive feature. Alternatively, the conserved circadian rhythms in cellular metabolism could indicate that a conserved oscillator exists in parallel with or indeed on top of 'canonical' clock mechanisms.

Organisers

Sue Crosthwaite (University of Manchester, UK), Ed Lous (University of Leicester, UK), Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK), Gerben van Ooijen (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Microbial mechanisms of plant pathology

Plant pathogens are often considered less “sexy” than their mammalian counterparts, yet these species represent a major threat to food production worldwide. Moreover, they employ a bewildering array of mechanisms – often borrowed from, or adapted by their mammalian cousins - with which to subvert host defences (or conversely, sometimes even enhance plant growth). In this session, we aim to explore the diverse strategies used by bacteria, fungi and viruses to colonise plant tissues (to the advantage or to the detriment to the host). Topics ranging from the origin(s) and impact of Ash die-back, the roles played by quorum sensing and cyclic-di-GMP in controlling bacterial infection, PAMPs, oomycete effectors and viral infections will be covered by the World’s top experts in these areas. We will also explore why some organisms seem to form mutualistic (rather than pathogenic) relationships with their hosts, and address the cutting-edge technologies that have been developed to investigate these mechanisms and interactions. This is a session for anyone with an interest in the molecular mechanisms that underpin microbial pathogenicity.

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Kevin Kavanagh (NUI Maynooth, Ireland)

Post-PhD: Finding a career that suits you

Making a decision about what to do after your PhD can be daunting. When considering the lack of academic positions for newly qualified PhD researchers, it can be helpful to think about the breadth of career options available to you as a highly trained professional scientist - with skills and aptitudes that you may not yet have realised. Dr Sarah Blackford, author of Career Planning for Research Bioscientists, will demonstrate her PhD Career Choice Indicator – showing users how to identify initial career options by looking at their skills and passions. During the afternoon session, participants will also hear from microbiologists who have had interesting career paths and learn top tips for how to build their CV for the career they want – including a chance for their CV to be reviewed by their peers. This session is aimed at early career researchers, however is suitable for those looking to make their next career step.

Organisers

Microbiology Society Professional Development Committee

Prokaryotic macromolecular machines

While science strives to harness the potential of nano-technology, it has become apparent that natural selection has already provided many solutions. Advances in molecular biology and high-resolution imaging have revealed the incredible complexity and efficiency of macromolecular protein machines. Prokaryotes have developed nano-scale devices to answer a range of problems including motility, secretion and delivery of bioactive macromolecules into the environment and other cells. Topics covered in this session will be of interest from both a pure academic and more applied biotechnology perspective as they will include the ribosome, pili/fimbrae, flagella and protein secretion. Offered papers on all aspects of prokaryotic (both bacteria and archea) macromolecular machines are welcomed.

Organisers

Jonathan Shaw (University of Sheffield, UK), Nick Waterfield (University of Warwick, UK), Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Nicola Holden (The James Hutton Institute, UK)

Synthetic and systems approaches to microbiology

Synthetic and systems biology approaches are revolutionising basic biological research, promising a paradigm shift in the way biology as a science is approached. As the cost of DNA synthesis plummets, and large scale DNA assembly is within our reach, synthetic and systems biology are promising to bring our understanding of microbes to the level needed for large-scale engineering. Systems biology approaches provide tools needed to understand key cellular physiological functions and ultimately create the basis for robust and reliable cell engineering. The tools of synthetic and systems biology go hand-in-hand and this session will bring together leaders working at the intersection of these fields to provide a timely update on the state-of-the-art. Themes covered will include synthetic biology in extreme conditions, microbial interactions, designing biology and microbial factories. Together the session will provide an exciting overview of the field which looks set to make a significant impact on industrial biotechnology as well as more fundamental microbiology research.
Theme 1: The Synthetic and Systems Biology in Extreme Conditions. This session includes talks on aspects of synthetic and systems approaches in extreme environments and microbes.
Theme 2: Synthetic and Systems Approaches to Microbial Interactions. The ways in which microbes interact plays an influential role in their behaviour both in hosts and in industrial fermenters. This session takes a look at how we can interrogate the basis of these interactions and will be of interest to those exploring microbiomes and industrial biotechnology.
Theme 3: Designing Biology. In this session we will explore the importance of design of synthetic systems from the perspectives of both artists and scientists. What can we design and why?
Theme 4: Microbial Cell Factories. This session will include a range of experts who are using synthetic biology approaches to design new-generation cell factories using microalgal host strains. It will be of interest to a range of delegates interested in industrial biotechnology and will complement the talks on other chassis, e.g. Saccharomyces in the other parts of the session.

Organisers

Meriem El Karoui (University of Edinburgh, UK), Teuta Pilizota (University of Edinburgh, UK), Susan Rosser (University of Edinburgh, UK), Colin Robinson (University of Kent, UK)

Tuesday 04 April, Morning

Aquatic microbiology: New model organisms and new challenges

We will review our current understanding on aquatic microbial communities (protists, bacteria, viruses), including their ecological roles in the oceans, their diversity, functions and behaviours but also their heir origins and evolution. The session will be divided into two parts: in the first part, we will discuss the different genetic models that have been developed for marine microeukaryotes/protists, based on the recent initiative from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation on “Increasing the Potential of Marine Microeukaryotes as Experimental Model Systems through the Development of Genetic Tools”. The second session will examine the diversity, ecology and evolution of various groups of organisms within these aquatic ecosystems and review the current status quo and potential future applications, which will allow us to deeply understand the complexity and relations of the aquatic micro-organisms in these ecosystems.

Organisers

Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK), David Montagnes (University of Liverpool, UK)

Microbial mechanisms of plant pathology

Plant pathogens are often considered less “sexy” than their mammalian counterparts, yet these species represent a major threat to food production worldwide. Moreover, they employ a bewildering array of mechanisms – often borrowed from, or adapted by their mammalian cousins - with which to subvert host defences (or conversely, sometimes even enhance plant growth). In this session, we aim to explore the diverse strategies used by bacteria, fungi and viruses to colonise plant tissues (to the advantage or to the detriment to the host). Topics ranging from the origin(s) and impact of Ash die-back, the roles played by quorum sensing and cyclic-di-GMP in controlling bacterial infection, PAMPs, oomycete effectors and viral infections will be covered by the World’s top experts in these areas. We will also explore why some organisms seem to form mutualistic (rather than pathogenic) relationships with their hosts, and address the cutting-edge technologies that have been developed to investigate these mechanisms and interactions. This is a session for anyone with an interest in the molecular mechanisms that underpin microbial pathogenicity.

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Kevin Kavanagh (NUI Maynooth, Ireland)

Prokaryotic infection forum

Offered papers will be presented in areas related to infections caused by prokaryotes of human, veterinary or botanical significance including epidemiology, diagnosis, identification, typing, pathogenesis, treatment, antimicrobial agents and resistance, prevention, virulence factors, host responses and immunity, transmission, and models of infection at the cell, tissue or whole organism level.

Organisers

Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK), Sabine Tötemeyer (University of Nottingham, UK)

Scientific Publishing: How to write a manuscript for submission

Effective communication of scientific findings in both oral and written forms is critical. Poorly communicated research can adversely impact a scientist’s career. In addition, poor English can preclude the proper assessment of the quality of a scientist’s work during the peer-review process. This in part is due to lack of proper instruction in these key areas. The workshop will focus on PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and early career scientists, who are seeking to improve their skills in the preparation of manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. A certificate of completion will be provided to all participants. At the end of the workshop, the participants will:
• Understand the rigorous process of peer-review in scientific publishing
• Understand what Editors are looking for in a manuscript
• Have the opportunity to meet and network with editors who are highly-knowledgeable in their respective fields
• Understand Society publishing submissions process
• Understand the structure of different types of manuscripts
• Have the opportunity to receive feedback on their work and ask questions

Organisers

Norman Fry and Kalai Mathee (both Journal of Medical Microbiology, UK)

Synthetic and systems approaches to microbiology

Synthetic and systems biology approaches are revolutionising basic biological research, promising a paradigm shift in the way biology as a science is approached. As the cost of DNA synthesis plummets, and large scale DNA assembly is within our reach, synthetic and systems biology are promising to bring our understanding of microbes to the level needed for large-scale engineering. Systems biology approaches provide tools needed to understand key cellular physiological functions and ultimately create the basis for robust and reliable cell engineering. The tools of synthetic and systems biology go hand-in-hand and this session will bring together leaders working at the intersection of these fields to provide a timely update on the state-of-the-art. Themes covered will include synthetic biology in extreme conditions, microbial interactions, designing biology and microbial factories. Together the session will provide an exciting overview of the field which looks set to make a significant impact on industrial biotechnology as well as more fundamental microbiology research.
Theme 1: The Synthetic and Systems Biology in Extreme Conditions. This session includes talks on aspects of synthetic and systems approaches in extreme environments and microbes.
Theme 2: Synthetic and Systems Approaches to Microbial Interactions. The ways in which microbes interact plays an influential role in their behaviour both in hosts and in industrial fermenters. This session takes a look at how we can interrogate the basis of these interactions and will be of interest to those exploring microbiomes and industrial biotechnology.
Theme 3: Designing Biology. In this session we will explore the importance of design of synthetic systems from the perspectives of both artists and scientists. What can we design and why?
Theme 4: Microbial Cell Factories. This session will include a range of experts who are using synthetic biology approaches to design new-generation cell factories using microalgal host strains. It will be of interest to a range of delegates interested in industrial biotechnology and will complement the talks on other chassis, e.g. Saccharomyces in the other parts of the session.

Organisers

Meriem El Karoui (University of Edinburgh, UK), Teuta Pilizota (University of Edinburgh, UK), Susan Rosser (University of Edinburgh, UK), Colin Robinson (University of Kent, UK)

Geomicrobiology

Geomicrobiology is the study of the role of micro-organisms in influencing geological processes including geochemical cycles. While much of the discipline is less than 40 years old, it is fundamental to the understanding of the origin of life and the role of microbes in the cycling of elements in the environment. Recent advances in the field have come about largely by new approaches (e.g. the “omics” technologies, stable isotope probing, biophysical and microscopy techniques) that allow the detailed study of cultured and uncultured microorganisms and the impact they have on the environment. This session will include topics on the origin of life and evolution, microbial energetics and metabolism, microbial ecology, biomineralisation and mineral precipitation, bioremediation and weathering.

Organisers

Joanne Santini (University College London, UK), Thomas Clarke (University of East Anglia, UK)

Regulation of RNA expression during virus infection – part 1

Control of expression of virus and host RNA during virus infection is fundamental to the life cycle of all viruses. RNA production is essential for virus replication, gene expression and manipulation of the host environment. Viruses have evolved complex mechanisms of transcription activation, control and termination including epigenetic regulation and recruitment of host factors to promoters and transcriptional enhancers. In addition, the production of non-coding RNAs is essential for some viruses to manipulate the cellular environment and support virus replication. Protein production often requires complex post-transcriptional processing of viral RNAs and nuclear export, facilitated by hijacking host cell systems. This two-day symposium will provide an overview of the regulation of virus transcription of diverse viruses and the many ways in which viruses manipulate cellular gene expression to support productive virus infection.

Organisers

Colin Crump (University of Cambridge, UK), Alain Kohl (University of Glasgow, UK), Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK), Silke Schepelmann (NIBSC, UK)

Tuesday 04 April, Afternoon

Regulation of RNA expression during virus infection – part 1

Control of expression of virus and host RNA during virus infection is fundamental to the life cycle of all viruses. RNA production is essential for virus replication, gene expression and manipulation of the host environment. Viruses have evolved complex mechanisms of transcription activation, control and termination including epigenetic regulation and recruitment of host factors to promoters and transcriptional enhancers. In addition, the production of non-coding RNAs is essential for some viruses to manipulate the cellular environment and support virus replication. Protein production often requires complex post-transcriptional processing of viral RNAs and nuclear export, facilitated by hijacking host cell systems. This two-day symposium will provide an overview of the regulation of virus transcription of diverse viruses and the many ways in which viruses manipulate cellular gene expression to support productive virus infection.

Organisers

Colin Crump (University of Cambridge, UK), Alain Kohl (University of Glasgow, UK), Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK), Silke Schepelmann (NIBSC, UK)

Aquatic microbiology: New model organisms and new challenges

We will review our current understanding on aquatic microbial communities (protists, bacteria, viruses), including their ecological roles in the oceans, their diversity, functions and behaviours but also their heir origins and evolution. The session will be divided into two parts: in the first part, we will discuss the different genetic models that have been developed for marine microeukaryotes/protists, based on the recent initiative from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation on “Increasing the Potential of Marine Microeukaryotes as Experimental Model Systems through the Development of Genetic Tools”. The second session will examine the diversity, ecology and evolution of various groups of organisms within these aquatic ecosystems and review the current status quo and potential future applications, which will allow us to deeply understand the complexity and relations of the aquatic micro-organisms in these ecosystems.

Organisers

Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK), David Montagnes (University of Liverpool, UK)

Geomicrobiology

Geomicrobiology is the study of the role of micro-organisms in influencing geological processes including geochemical cycles. While much of the discipline is less than 40 years old, it is fundamental to the understanding of the origin of life and the role of microbes in the cycling of elements in the environment. Recent advances in the field have come about largely by new approaches (e.g. the “omics” technologies, stable isotope probing, biophysical and microscopy techniques) that allow the detailed study of cultured and uncultured microorganisms and the impact they have on the environment. This session will include topics on the origin of life and evolution, microbial energetics and metabolism, microbial ecology, biomineralisation and mineral precipitation, bioremediation and weathering.

Organisers

Joanne Santini (University College London, UK), Thomas Clarke (University of East Anglia, UK)

Microbial mechanisms of plant pathology

Plant pathogens are often considered less “sexy” than their mammalian counterparts, yet these species represent a major threat to food production worldwide. Moreover, they employ a bewildering array of mechanisms – often borrowed from, or adapted by their mammalian cousins - with which to subvert host defences (or conversely, sometimes even enhance plant growth). In this session, we aim to explore the diverse strategies used by bacteria, fungi and viruses to colonise plant tissues (to the advantage or to the detriment to the host). Topics ranging from the origin(s) and impact of Ash die-back, the roles played by quorum sensing and cyclic-di-GMP in controlling bacterial infection, PAMPs, oomycete effectors and viral infections will be covered by the World’s top experts in these areas. We will also explore why some organisms seem to form mutualistic (rather than pathogenic) relationships with their hosts, and address the cutting-edge technologies that have been developed to investigate these mechanisms and interactions. This is a session for anyone with an interest in the molecular mechanisms that underpin microbial pathogenicity.

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Kevin Kavanagh (NUI Maynooth, Ireland)

Prokaryotic genetics and genomics forum

Offered papers on all aspects of the genes and genomes of prokaryotes and their mobile elements will be considered, including their sequencing, transcription, translation, regulation, chromosome dynamics, gene transfer, population genetics and evolution, taxonomy and systematics, comparative genomics, metagenomics, bioinformatics, and synthetic biology.

Organisers

Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK), Ryan Seipke (University of Leeds, UK), Thorsten Allers (University of Nottingham, UK)

Scientific Publishing: How to review scientific manuscripts

Most reviewers have not received any formal instruction or guidance in the analysis of the various components of a manuscript. This workshop will address how to critique a manuscript and how to write a report. This will be a beneficial workshop for those who are seeking to improve their skills in reviewing manuscripts for scientific journals as part of the peer-review process. In addition, it would help in understanding of requirements for successful publication of manuscripts. The targeted audience will include post-doctoral fellows, and early-career scientists. At the end of the workshop, the participants will:
• Understand the rigorous process of peer-review in scientific publishing,
• Understand what editors are looking for from their reviewers upon invitation to review,
• Have the opportunity to meet and network with well-published editors
• Have the opportunity to review an article
• Have the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback

Organisers

Norman Fry and Kalai Mathee (both Journal of Medical Microbiology, UK)

Synthetic and systems approaches to microbiology

Synthetic and systems biology approaches are revolutionising basic biological research, promising a paradigm shift in the way biology as a science is approached. As the cost of DNA synthesis plummets, and large scale DNA assembly is within our reach, synthetic and systems biology are promising to bring our understanding of microbes to the level needed for large-scale engineering. Systems biology approaches provide tools needed to understand key cellular physiological functions and ultimately create the basis for robust and reliable cell engineering. The tools of synthetic and systems biology go hand-in-hand and this session will bring together leaders working at the intersection of these fields to provide a timely update on the state-of-the-art. Themes covered will include synthetic biology in extreme conditions, microbial interactions, designing biology and microbial factories. Together the session will provide an exciting overview of the field which looks set to make a significant impact on industrial biotechnology as well as more fundamental microbiology research.
Theme 1: The Synthetic and Systems Biology in Extreme Conditions. This session includes talks on aspects of synthetic and systems approaches in extreme environments and microbes.
Theme 2: Synthetic and Systems Approaches to Microbial Interactions. The ways in which microbes interact plays an influential role in their behaviour both in hosts and in industrial fermenters. This session takes a look at how we can interrogate the basis of these interactions and will be of interest to those exploring microbiomes and industrial biotechnology.
Theme 3: Designing Biology. In this session we will explore the importance of design of synthetic systems from the perspectives of both artists and scientists. What can we design and why?
Theme 4: Microbial Cell Factories. This session will include a range of experts who are using synthetic biology approaches to design new-generation cell factories using microalgal host strains. It will be of interest to a range of delegates interested in industrial biotechnology and will complement the talks on other chassis, e.g. Saccharomyces in the other parts of the session.

Organisers

Meriem El Karoui (University of Edinburgh, UK), Teuta Pilizota (University of Edinburgh, UK), Susan Rosser (University of Edinburgh, UK), Colin Robinson (University of Kent, UK)

Wednesday 05 April, Morning

Aquatic microbiology: New model organisms and new challenges

We will review our current understanding on aquatic microbial communities (protists, bacteria, viruses), including their ecological roles in the oceans, their diversity, functions and behaviours but also their heir origins and evolution. The session will be divided into two parts: in the first part, we will discuss the different genetic models that have been developed for marine microeukaryotes/protists, based on the recent initiative from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation on “Increasing the Potential of Marine Microeukaryotes as Experimental Model Systems through the Development of Genetic Tools”. The second session will examine the diversity, ecology and evolution of various groups of organisms within these aquatic ecosystems and review the current status quo and potential future applications, which will allow us to deeply understand the complexity and relations of the aquatic micro-organisms in these ecosystems.

Organisers

Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK), David Montagnes (University of Liverpool, UK)

Heterogeneity and polymicrobial interactions in biofilms

In the natural environment or human body, microbes are seldom found in isolation. Rather, they tend to occur in complex communities, each exquisitely adapted and able to respond to the specific environmental conditions. Heterogeneity – microbial, spatial and metabolic – is a characteristic of all communities. In the first stages of development of a microbial population on a surface, substratum recognition – involving surface structure, composition, and microbial adhesins – is key. Then intermicrobial communication processes such as quorum sensing, metabolic dependencies, genetic exchange, and synergistic or antagonistic events, orchestrate development of the overall population. Such interactions often extend beyond the boundaries of microbial classification, resulting in the formation of polymicrobial communities, with interplay between bacteria, fungi and/or viruses. These communities are dynamic, exhibiting spatio-temporal variation and continual adaptation to micro-environments within the population. Better understanding of such complexity presents huge challenges, yet is essential for us in the future to be able to control a spectrum of microbial community associated events in medicine, dentistry, agriculture and industry. We are only in the initial stages of uncovering the secrets of what these communities contain, how they may affect the environment and disease progression, the implications for antimicrobial development, and how we may exploit them for our benefit. Nonetheless, with advances in imaging and -omics technologies, mathematical modelling and combining forces from multiple disciplines, we are making new discoveries about these populations. This session aims to bring together world leaders in the study of complex communities from the prokaryotic, virology and eukaryotic divisions to summarise recent advances in this rapidly expanding area of research, and to identify future ambitions for the field.

Organisers

Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Mark Webber (University of Birmingham, UK), Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, UK) and Kim Hardie (University of Nottingham, UK)

Microbial genomics: From single cells to large populations

Microbial genomics has matured into a distinct discipline, and now influences most other areas of microbiology. The ability to generate, with relative ease, individual and population microbial genome data sets has facilitated new insights into microbial evolution, phylogeography, epidemiology and outbreaks as well as allowing the development of novel approaches to measure and model how genetic variation impacts on phenotype variation. In this symposium we will bring together world leading speakers to present the very latest research encompassing how microbial genomics is developing beyond initial glimpses of microbial diversity, to the next stages of research in this maturing field. Presentations will cover very fine scale resolution mapping of evolutionary dynamics from large population studies. The symposium will then move on to show how we can go back to biology with such genomic data sets, using tools such as genome wide association studies (GWAS) to elucidate biological differences within and between populations. Finally, we will look at cutting edge approaches that allow us to study the impact of genome variation between individual cells within populations, and the evolutionary events occurring in single cells or single infected cells. Talks will be built around these overarching themes and not around any specific microbe. We will also highlight approaches and technologies that have been used in other systems that may also be relevant/applicable to microbial genomics with biology at the focal point.

Organisers

Nicholas Thomson (Sanger Institute, UK), Alan McNally (Nottingham Trent University, UK), Sam Sheppard (University of Bath, UK)

Virus workshop: Clinical virology

This workshop will involve a range of clinical virology cases or short papers which relate to studies relevant to clinical virology network. Different aspects of clinical virology that will be covered include differential diagnosis of encephalitis, management of hepatitis, diversity of rotavirus sequences, and diagnosis of respiratory infections. Contributions from early career researchers are particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Miren Iturizza-Gomara (University of Liverpoool, UK) and Matthew Donati (Public Health England, UK)

Virus workshop: Evolution and virus populations

Virus evolution can affect important characteristics such as replication host range, tropism, and pathogenesis. On the other hand, there are constraints imposed by nucleotide sequences and proteins they encode. This workshop will address questions related to these topics. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Erica Bickerton (The Pirbright Institute, UK), Adrian Fox (FERA, UK)

Virus workshop: Pathogenesis

Understanding disease development mechanistically at the cellular, genetic and whole organism level is a vital element in the development of novel therapeutic strategies such as vaccines and small molecule inhibitors. To this end, this workshop will serve as a forum for the presentation of new and exciting data pertaining to all aspects of the pathogenesis of virus infection. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

James Stewart (University of Liverpool, UK), Andrew Macdonald (University of Leeds, UK)

Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular mechanisms forum

This forum will consider offered papers on all aspects of prokaryotic metabolism and physiology, including fundamental research on the biochemistry and structure of prokaryotic cells, cell growth and division, cell architecture and differentiation, synthesis and transport of macromolecules, ions and small molecules and the cell cycle; but also on the role of physiology in microbial engineering, signalling and communication, sensing and cellular responses, the molecular mechanisms behind these phenomena and their potential applications.

Organisers

Steve Michell (University of Exeter, UK), Sarah Kuehne (University of Birmingham, UK)

Virus workshop: Antivirals and vaccines

The availability of antiviral small molecules and vaccines has historically lagged behind those targeting bacteria. Accordingly, the public health issues represented by both common and emerging virus infections are considerable, with effective treatments lacking in many cases. Research aimed at translating laboratory findings into either novel or improved anti-viral strategies is therefore a priority. This workshop will highlight ongoing research into burgeoning therapies for important human and animal viral pathogens, encompassing all stages of therapeutic development ranging from the test tube to in vivo studies. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK), Silke Schepelemann (NIBSC, UK)

Virus workshop: Gene expression and replication

This workshop will focus on the regulation of viral and host gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level by virally-encoded factors and address how viruses control the replication of their genomes. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK), Jo Parish (University of Birmingham, UK)

Epigenetics and non-coding RNA

Important functions for noncoding RNAs are currently being revealed in organisms belonging to all domains of life. These include regulation of gene expression via chromatin remodeling, transcriptional interference and altered transcript stability. This session will address the global analysis and evolution of microbial noncoding RNAs, their regulation, mechanism of action, and their place in synthetic biology. The emerging evidence that microbes can take-up RNA from their immediate environment will be addressed, as well as the biology of small ncRNAs that shuttle between eukaryotic microbes and their hosts in cross-kingdom missions of defense and counter defense.

Organisers

Susan Crosthwaite (University of Manchester, UK), Daniela Delneri (University of Manchester, UK), Ian Roberts (Institute of Food Research, UK)

Clinical Virology Network

This session will involve a range of clinical virology cases which relate to studies relevant to clinical virology network. Different aspects of clinical virology that will be covered include: differential diagnosis of encephalitis, management of hepatitis, diversity of rotavirus sequences, and diagnosis of respiratory infections.

Organisers

Miren Iturizza-Gomara (University of Liverpoool, UK) and Matthew Donati (Public Health England, UK)

Wednesday 05 April, Afternoon

Virus workshop: Gene expression and replication

This workshop will focus on the regulation of viral and host gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level by virally-encoded factors and address how viruses control the replication of their genomes. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK), Jo Parish (University of Birmingham, UK)

Aquatic microbiology: New model organisms and new challenges

We will review our current understanding on aquatic microbial communities (protists, bacteria, viruses), including their ecological roles in the oceans, their diversity, functions and behaviours but also their heir origins and evolution. The session will be divided into two parts: in the first part, we will discuss the different genetic models that have been developed for marine microeukaryotes/protists, based on the recent initiative from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation on “Increasing the Potential of Marine Microeukaryotes as Experimental Model Systems through the Development of Genetic Tools”. The second session will examine the diversity, ecology and evolution of various groups of organisms within these aquatic ecosystems and review the current status quo and potential future applications, which will allow us to deeply understand the complexity and relations of the aquatic micro-organisms in these ecosystems.

Organisers

Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK), David Montagnes (University of Liverpool, UK)

Clinical Virology Network

This session will involve a range of clinical virology cases which relate to studies relevant to clinical virology network. Different aspects of clinical virology that will be covered include: differential diagnosis of encephalitis, management of hepatitis, diversity of rotavirus sequences, and diagnosis of respiratory infections.

Organisers

Miren Iturizza-Gomara (University of Liverpoool, UK) and Matthew Donati (Public Health England, UK)

Epigenetics and non-coding RNA

Important functions for noncoding RNAs are currently being revealed in organisms belonging to all domains of life. These include regulation of gene expression via chromatin remodeling, transcriptional interference and altered transcript stability. This session will address the global analysis and evolution of microbial noncoding RNAs, their regulation, mechanism of action, and their place in synthetic biology. The emerging evidence that microbes can take-up RNA from their immediate environment will be addressed, as well as the biology of small ncRNAs that shuttle between eukaryotic microbes and their hosts in cross-kingdom missions of defense and counter defense.

Organisers

Susan Crosthwaite (University of Manchester, UK), Daniela Delneri (University of Manchester, UK), Ian Roberts (Institute of Food Research, UK)

Heterogeneity and polymicrobial interactions in biofilms

In the natural environment or human body, microbes are seldom found in isolation. Rather, they tend to occur in complex communities, each exquisitely adapted and able to respond to the specific environmental conditions. Heterogeneity – microbial, spatial and metabolic – is a characteristic of all communities. In the first stages of development of a microbial population on a surface, substratum recognition – involving surface structure, composition, and microbial adhesins – is key. Then intermicrobial communication processes such as quorum sensing, metabolic dependencies, genetic exchange, and synergistic or antagonistic events, orchestrate development of the overall population. Such interactions often extend beyond the boundaries of microbial classification, resulting in the formation of polymicrobial communities, with interplay between bacteria, fungi and/or viruses. These communities are dynamic, exhibiting spatio-temporal variation and continual adaptation to micro-environments within the population. Better understanding of such complexity presents huge challenges, yet is essential for us in the future to be able to control a spectrum of microbial community associated events in medicine, dentistry, agriculture and industry. We are only in the initial stages of uncovering the secrets of what these communities contain, how they may affect the environment and disease progression, the implications for antimicrobial development, and how we may exploit them for our benefit. Nonetheless, with advances in imaging and -omics technologies, mathematical modelling and combining forces from multiple disciplines, we are making new discoveries about these populations. This session aims to bring together world leaders in the study of complex communities from the prokaryotic, virology and eukaryotic divisions to summarise recent advances in this rapidly expanding area of research, and to identify future ambitions for the field.

Organisers

Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Mark Webber (University of Birmingham, UK), Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, UK) and Kim Hardie (University of Nottingham, UK)

Microbial cell surfaces

The last two decades have seen an explosion in our understanding of microbial cell surfaces; their structure, composition and function. Recent discoveries, coupled with unprecedented advances in our ability to visualise the cell surface and its dynamics are revolutionising the way in which we think about the cell envelope. Indeed, and now more than ever before, the cell surface is revealing itself to be far more than a simple physical interface with the environment. Not only is the cell surface the front line of defense against antibiotics and the host immune response; it is also involved in environmental sensing, the capture of nutrients and light, movement of the cell, interactions between cells, the formation of cellular communities, and intoxication of nearby competitor species. Not surprisingly, cell surface components have also been exploited as receptors by biological agents (including predatory bacteria; the Bdellovibrio sp.) that target bacteria for their own ends. The speakers in this session are world-leaders in their field who will bring the audience up to date with this fascinating, and highly adaptive, sub-cellular component.

Organisers

Stephen Michell (University of Exeter, UK), Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK)

Microbial genomics: From single cells to large populations

Microbial genomics has matured into a distinct discipline, and now influences most other areas of microbiology. The ability to generate, with relative ease, individual and population microbial genome data sets has facilitated new insights into microbial evolution, phylogeography, epidemiology and outbreaks as well as allowing the development of novel approaches to measure and model how genetic variation impacts on phenotype variation. In this symposium we will bring together world leading speakers to present the very latest research encompassing how microbial genomics is developing beyond initial glimpses of microbial diversity, to the next stages of research in this maturing field. Presentations will cover very fine scale resolution mapping of evolutionary dynamics from large population studies. The symposium will then move on to show how we can go back to biology with such genomic data sets, using tools such as genome wide association studies (GWAS) to elucidate biological differences within and between populations. Finally, we will look at cutting edge approaches that allow us to study the impact of genome variation between individual cells within populations, and the evolutionary events occurring in single cells or single infected cells. Talks will be built around these overarching themes and not around any specific microbe. We will also highlight approaches and technologies that have been used in other systems that may also be relevant/applicable to microbial genomics with biology at the focal point.

Organisers

Nicholas Thomson (Sanger Institute, UK), Alan McNally (Nottingham Trent University, UK), Sam Sheppard (University of Bath, UK)

Virus workshop: Antivirals and vaccines

The availability of antiviral small molecules and vaccines has historically lagged behind those targeting bacteria. Accordingly, the public health issues represented by both common and emerging virus infections are considerable, with effective treatments lacking in many cases. Research aimed at translating laboratory findings into either novel or improved anti-viral strategies is therefore a priority. This workshop will highlight ongoing research into burgeoning therapies for important human and animal viral pathogens, encompassing all stages of therapeutic development ranging from the test tube to in vivo studies. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK), Silke Schepelemann (NIBSC, UK)

Virus workshop: Innate immunity

The innate immune system represents the first line of defence of all living organisms against infection, and in recent years our knowledge of the battle between viruses and innate immunity has increased substantially. This workshop will highlight novel host defence mechanisms and uncover a myriad of virus evasion strategies. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial where appropriate – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Kate Bishop (The Francis Crick Institute, UK), Alain Kohl (MRC-Centre for Virology, UK)

Virus workshop: Morphogenesis, egress and entry

The assembly of the virus particle, egress from the cell, receptor binding and uncoating are critical events in the life cycle of all viruses. This workshop will focus on the molecular mechanisms involved in these processes. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

David Evans (University of St Andrews, UK), Colin Crump (University of Cambridge, UK)

Virus workshop: Pathogenesis

Understanding disease development mechanistically at the cellular, genetic and whole organism level is a vital element in the development of novel therapeutic strategies such as vaccines and small molecule inhibitors. To this end, this workshop will serve as a forum for the presentation of new and exciting data pertaining to all aspects of the pathogenesis of virus infection. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

James Stewart (University of Liverpool, UK), Andrew Macdonald (University of Leeds, UK)

Thursday 06 April, Morning

Cell biology of pathogen entry into host cells

Intracellular pathogens have evolved many strategies to enter the cytoplasm of their hosts in order to replicate, assemble new progeny, and evade immune detection. Viruses and bacteria can subvert host cell behaviour in diverse ways, inducing or modifying the full compendium of cellular endocytic pathways and/or reprogramming normal maturation of cellular vesicular carriers and endomembrane systems. This session will bring together microbiologists and cell biologists who study pathogen entry, membrane trafficking, and pathogen-induced cytoskeletal rearrangement. The session will seek to emphasise how pathogens are the ideal tools to probe the function of host cell systems, define novel host-pathogen interactions and uncover possible targets for cell-based therapeutic intervention.

Organisers

Gareth Bloomfield (University of Cambridge, UK), Jason King (University of Sheffield, UK), Jason Mercer (University College London, UK)

Microbial cell surfaces

The last two decades have seen an explosion in our understanding of microbial cell surfaces; their structure, composition and function. Recent discoveries, coupled with unprecedented advances in our ability to visualise the cell surface and its dynamics are revolutionising the way in which we think about the cell envelope. Indeed, and now more than ever before, the cell surface is revealing itself to be far more than a simple physical interface with the environment. Not only is the cell surface the front line of defense against antibiotics and the host immune response; it is also involved in environmental sensing, the capture of nutrients and light, movement of the cell, interactions between cells, the formation of cellular communities, and intoxication of nearby competitor species. Not surprisingly, cell surface components have also been exploited as receptors by biological agents (including predatory bacteria; the Bdellovibrio sp.) that target bacteria for their own ends. The speakers in this session are world-leaders in their field who will bring the audience up to date with this fascinating, and highly adaptive, sub-cellular component.

Organisers

Stephen Michell (University of Exeter, UK), Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK)

Anaerobe 2017: molecular, genomic and metagenomic insights into anaerobic infection

Anaerobes, in the context of infection, are defined as requiring strict anaerobic conditions for isolation from clinical samples. This session will highlight insights obtained from metagenomic/whole-genome sequencing, molecular aspects of virulence and the impact of change in antimicrobial use in both medical and veterinary infection. Microbial community interactions will be considered in relation to: the ovine foot-rot microbiota and the key role of Dichelobacter nodosus; human oral microbiota changes and progression in periodontal disease; gut microbiota/Clostridum difficile interactions; and Propionibacterium acnes skin microbiota and human disease associations. Clostridium perfringens, classically associated with gas gangrene and lethal post-abortion septicaemia after unregulated pregnancy termination in humans, has emerged as a major cause of necrotising enteritis in poultry, linked with a ban on in-feed antibiotics. Similarly, reduction in antibiotic prescription for a ‘sore throat’ has been linked to the rise in Fusobacterium necrophorum infection, potentially lethal in healthy young adults. In contrast, increase in the use of metronidazole, for example in Helicobacter pylori eradication, may contribute to the spread of nim mediated resistance within the gut microbiota, leading to lethal multi-drug resistant Bacteroides fragilis infection in humans. The symposium will provide insight into current and emerging/re-emerging anaerobic infection of both medical and veterinary importance.

Organisers

Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK), Sarah Kuehne (University of Birmingham, UK), Sabine Tötemeyer (University of Nottingham, UK)

Critical health challenges in medical mycology

This session will highlight recent developments in the area of fungal pathogenesis and in particular the threats caused by emerging fungal pathogens. In addition to considering the molecular basis of pathogenicity, speakers will also explore the host-pathogen interaction, highlighting the challenges we face in tackling this increasing threat to global human health. By better understanding the pathobiology of fungal diseases, we will be able to generate new, more effective diagnostics, novel therapeutic approaches and new antifungal drugs. The session is being run jointly with the Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology (MMFI) Consortium based at the University of Aberdeen. Early career researchers will be encouraged to present their recent findings through offered papers.

Organisers

Mick Tuite (University of Kent, UK), Neil Gow (University of Aberdeen, UK)

Environmental and applied microbiology forum

Offered papers focusing on any area in microbial ecology, including (non-human) host–microbe communities and interactions, marine and freshwater microbiology, soil and geomicrobiology, and air-, cryo- and extremophile microbiology will be presented.

Organisers

Ryan Seipke (University of Leeds, UK), Nicola Holden (The James Hutton Institute, UK)

Epigenetics and non-coding RNA

Important functions for noncoding RNAs are currently being revealed in organisms belonging to all domains of life. These include regulation of gene expression via chromatin remodeling, transcriptional interference and altered transcript stability. This session will address the global analysis and evolution of microbial noncoding RNAs, their regulation, mechanism of action, and their place in synthetic biology. The emerging evidence that microbes can take-up RNA from their immediate environment will be addressed, as well as the biology of small ncRNAs that shuttle between eukaryotic microbes and their hosts in cross-kingdom missions of defense and counter defense.

Organisers

Susan Crosthwaite (University of Manchester, UK), Daniela Delneri (University of Manchester, UK), Ian Roberts (Institute of Food Research, UK)

Heterogeneity and polymicrobial interactions in biofilms

In the natural environment or human body, microbes are seldom found in isolation. Rather, they tend to occur in complex communities, each exquisitely adapted and able to respond to the specific environmental conditions. Heterogeneity – microbial, spatial and metabolic – is a characteristic of all communities. In the first stages of development of a microbial population on a surface, substratum recognition – involving surface structure, composition, and microbial adhesins – is key. Then intermicrobial communication processes such as quorum sensing, metabolic dependencies, genetic exchange, and synergistic or antagonistic events, orchestrate development of the overall population. Such interactions often extend beyond the boundaries of microbial classification, resulting in the formation of polymicrobial communities, with interplay between bacteria, fungi and/or viruses. These communities are dynamic, exhibiting spatio-temporal variation and continual adaptation to micro-environments within the population. Better understanding of such complexity presents huge challenges, yet is essential for us in the future to be able to control a spectrum of microbial community associated events in medicine, dentistry, agriculture and industry. We are only in the initial stages of uncovering the secrets of what these communities contain, how they may affect the environment and disease progression, the implications for antimicrobial development, and how we may exploit them for our benefit. Nonetheless, with advances in imaging and -omics technologies, mathematical modelling and combining forces from multiple disciplines, we are making new discoveries about these populations. This session aims to bring together world leaders in the study of complex communities from the prokaryotic, virology and eukaryotic divisions to summarise recent advances in this rapidly expanding area of research, and to identify future ambitions for the field.

Organisers

Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Mark Webber (University of Birmingham, UK), Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, UK) and Kim Hardie (University of Nottingham, UK)

Microbial genomics: From single cells to large populations

Microbial genomics has matured into a distinct discipline, and now influences most other areas of microbiology. The ability to generate, with relative ease, individual and population microbial genome data sets has facilitated new insights into microbial evolution, phylogeography, epidemiology and outbreaks as well as allowing the development of novel approaches to measure and model how genetic variation impacts on phenotype variation. In this symposium we will bring together world leading speakers to present the very latest research encompassing how microbial genomics is developing beyond initial glimpses of microbial diversity, to the next stages of research in this maturing field. Presentations will cover very fine scale resolution mapping of evolutionary dynamics from large population studies. The symposium will then move on to show how we can go back to biology with such genomic data sets, using tools such as genome wide association studies (GWAS) to elucidate biological differences within and between populations. Finally, we will look at cutting edge approaches that allow us to study the impact of genome variation between individual cells within populations, and the evolutionary events occurring in single cells or single infected cells. Talks will be built around these overarching themes and not around any specific microbe. We will also highlight approaches and technologies that have been used in other systems that may also be relevant/applicable to microbial genomics with biology at the focal point.

Organisers

Nicholas Thomson (Sanger Institute, UK), Alan McNally (Nottingham Trent University, UK), Sam Sheppard (University of Bath, UK)

Regulation of RNA expression during virus infection – part 2

Control of expression of virus and host RNA during virus infection is fundamental to the life cycle of all viruses. RNA production is essential for virus replication, gene expression and manipulation of the host environment. Viruses have evolved complex mechanisms of transcription activation, control and termination including epigenetic regulation and recruitment of host factors to promoters and transcriptional enhancers. In addition, the production of non-coding RNAs is essential for some viruses to manipulate the cellular environment and support virus replication. Protein production often requires complex post-transcriptional processing of viral RNAs and nuclear export, facilitated by hijacking host cell systems. This two-day symposium will provide an overview of the regulation of virus transcription of diverse viruses and the many ways in which viruses manipulate cellular gene expression to support productive virus infection.

Organisers

Colin Crump (University of Cambridge, UK), Alain Kohl (University of Glasgow, UK), Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK), Silke Schepelmann (NIBSC, UK)

Thursday 06 April, Afternoon

Anaerobe 2017: molecular, genomic and metagenomic insights into anaerobic infection

Anaerobes, in the context of infection, are defined as requiring strict anaerobic conditions for isolation from clinical samples. This session will highlight insights obtained from metagenomic/whole-genome sequencing, molecular aspects of virulence and the impact of change in antimicrobial use in both medical and veterinary infection. Microbial community interactions will be considered in relation to: the ovine foot-rot microbiota and the key role of Dichelobacter nodosus; human oral microbiota changes and progression in periodontal disease; gut microbiota/Clostridum difficile interactions; and Propionibacterium acnes skin microbiota and human disease associations. Clostridium perfringens, classically associated with gas gangrene and lethal post-abortion septicaemia after unregulated pregnancy termination in humans, has emerged as a major cause of necrotising enteritis in poultry, linked with a ban on in-feed antibiotics. Similarly, reduction in antibiotic prescription for a ‘sore throat’ has been linked to the rise in Fusobacterium necrophorum infection, potentially lethal in healthy young adults. In contrast, increase in the use of metronidazole, for example in Helicobacter pylori eradication, may contribute to the spread of nim mediated resistance within the gut microbiota, leading to lethal multi-drug resistant Bacteroides fragilis infection in humans. The symposium will provide insight into current and emerging/re-emerging anaerobic infection of both medical and veterinary importance.

Organisers

Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK), Sarah Kuehne (University of Birmingham, UK), Sabine Tötemeyer (University of Nottingham, UK)

Cell biology of pathogen entry into host cells

Intracellular pathogens have evolved many strategies to enter the cytoplasm of their hosts in order to replicate, assemble new progeny, and evade immune detection. Viruses and bacteria can subvert host cell behaviour in diverse ways, inducing or modifying the full compendium of cellular endocytic pathways and/or reprogramming normal maturation of cellular vesicular carriers and endomembrane systems. This session will bring together microbiologists and cell biologists who study pathogen entry, membrane trafficking, and pathogen-induced cytoskeletal rearrangement. The session will seek to emphasise how pathogens are the ideal tools to probe the function of host cell systems, define novel host-pathogen interactions and uncover possible targets for cell-based therapeutic intervention.

Organisers

Gareth Bloomfield (University of Cambridge, UK), Jason King (University of Sheffield, UK), Jason Mercer (University College London, UK)

Heterogeneity and polymicrobial interactions in biofilms

In the natural environment or human body, microbes are seldom found in isolation. Rather, they tend to occur in complex communities, each exquisitely adapted and able to respond to the specific environmental conditions. Heterogeneity – microbial, spatial and metabolic – is a characteristic of all communities. In the first stages of development of a microbial population on a surface, substratum recognition – involving surface structure, composition, and microbial adhesins – is key. Then intermicrobial communication processes such as quorum sensing, metabolic dependencies, genetic exchange, and synergistic or antagonistic events, orchestrate development of the overall population. Such interactions often extend beyond the boundaries of microbial classification, resulting in the formation of polymicrobial communities, with interplay between bacteria, fungi and/or viruses. These communities are dynamic, exhibiting spatio-temporal variation and continual adaptation to micro-environments within the population. Better understanding of such complexity presents huge challenges, yet is essential for us in the future to be able to control a spectrum of microbial community associated events in medicine, dentistry, agriculture and industry. We are only in the initial stages of uncovering the secrets of what these communities contain, how they may affect the environment and disease progression, the implications for antimicrobial development, and how we may exploit them for our benefit. Nonetheless, with advances in imaging and -omics technologies, mathematical modelling and combining forces from multiple disciplines, we are making new discoveries about these populations. This session aims to bring together world leaders in the study of complex communities from the prokaryotic, virology and eukaryotic divisions to summarise recent advances in this rapidly expanding area of research, and to identify future ambitions for the field.

Organisers

Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Mark Webber (University of Birmingham, UK), Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, UK) and Kim Hardie (University of Nottingham, UK)

Microbial cell surfaces

The last two decades have seen an explosion in our understanding of microbial cell surfaces; their structure, composition and function. Recent discoveries, coupled with unprecedented advances in our ability to visualise the cell surface and its dynamics are revolutionising the way in which we think about the cell envelope. Indeed, and now more than ever before, the cell surface is revealing itself to be far more than a simple physical interface with the environment. Not only is the cell surface the front line of defense against antibiotics and the host immune response; it is also involved in environmental sensing, the capture of nutrients and light, movement of the cell, interactions between cells, the formation of cellular communities, and intoxication of nearby competitor species. Not surprisingly, cell surface components have also been exploited as receptors by biological agents (including predatory bacteria; the Bdellovibrio sp.) that target bacteria for their own ends. The speakers in this session are world-leaders in their field who will bring the audience up to date with this fascinating, and highly adaptive, sub-cellular component.

Organisers

Stephen Michell (University of Exeter, UK), Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK)