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The Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2018 will take place over four days between Tuesday 10 April and Friday 13 April and will be held at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Birmingham, UK.

The Society’s Annual Conference attracts over 1,400 attendees for the UK’s largest annual gathering of microbiologists and you can see what took place at our 2017 conference on YouTube.

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

To get the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter @MicrobioSoc using the hashtag #Microbio18, and like our Facebook page.

Main symposia
  • Microbial metal homeostasis: impacts on pathogenicity
  • The games microbes play: competition, conflict and cooperation in microbiology
  • Cool tools for microbial imaging
  • Emerging model systems
  • The magic of mushrooms in nature and industry
  • Models for understanding host–pathogen interactions
  • Synthetic Ecology: from understanding ecological interactions to designing functional microbial communities
  • Community interactions and the living host
  • Escherichia coli: The model microbe
  • Microbial diversity and interactions in the environment
  • Bacterial zoonoses: ecology, epidemiology and evolution
  • DNA repair
  • Breaking bad: factors affecting the commensal to pathogen switch
  • The global virome – the scope, causes and consequences of viral diversity
  • The battle for the ribosome – how viruses manipulate host translation
  • Teaching microbiology in Higher Education
  • Clinical Virology Network
Virus Workshops
  • Plant virus in collaboration with AAB
  • Clinical virology
  • DNA virus
  • Positive strand and double strand RNA viruses
  • Negative strand RNA viruses
  • Retroviruses
  • Phylogeny
Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Forums
  • Microbial infection
  • Environmental and applied microbiology
  • Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology
  • Genetics and genomics
Teaching microbiology in Higher Education symposium

The Professional Development Committee are delighted to present a symposium on teaching microbiology in higher education. This half-day interactive symposium will bring delegates together to discuss innovative teaching practices, including the opportunity to share lessons learned. There will also be a chance to discuss the impact of the implementation of the Teaching Excellence Framework on lecturers, and also HEA fellowship and degree accreditation. This will be a great opportunity for those teaching in higher education environments to come together to share best practices and form a network to learn from each other.

This session will take place on 9 April 2018 at the ICC Birmingham. Limited tickets are available, and are priced at £10 as a contribution to refreshments. Further details about this symposium will follow in due course.

Days to event:
174 days
Programme

Type

Session

Session View

Tuesday 10 April, Morning

Breaking bad: factors affecting the commensal to pathogen switch

Recent technological advances have greatly improved our knowledge of the distribution and dynamics of the thousands of microbial species that are found associated with the human body. In many instances, we exist in apparent harmony with this resident microbiota, but when conditions allow, this relationship can break down rapidly, often with negative consequences for human health. There remains much to be learnt regarding the behaviour of these diverse microbial communities, but such understanding is essential for us to hope to modulate the host–microbiota interface for human benefit. This session aims to bring together world leaders across both prokaryotic and eukaryotic divisions to discuss the latest advances in the study of mechanisms by which hitherto beneficial or ‘commensal’ microorganisms present in or on humans can emerge as potential pathogens. Factors that will be considered include: i) interactions with other microbes (e.g. how cross-kingdom dialogue might stabilise or disrupt ‘protective’ microbial populations); ii) how the host immune response modulates microbial behaviour or vice versa; iii) how the pathogenic potential of microbes can vary according to ecological niche or ‘healthy’ vs immunocompromised host; and iv) how microbial adaptation (e.g. transmission dynamics; acquisition or variation in gene content) can affect pathogenicity.

Organisers

Ian Roberts (Quadram Institute Bioscience, UK), Daniela Delneri (University of Manchester, UK), Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Kim Hardie (University of Nottingham, UK)

Emerging model systems

Our understanding of eukaryotic cell biology is based on our ability to manipulate experimental systems. As a result, most of our knowledge is centred on a small number of model systems which do not represent the diversity of eukaryotes across the tree of life, nor do they capture all biological phenomena. Advances in genetic technologies and genome sequencing mean that we are now able to address many more fascinating questions in a broader scale, revealing new cell biology and with potential widespread importance. In this session, speakers will present the state-of-the-art in diverse emerging model systems, and discuss some of the challenges in establishing a new model, in which lineages new models are most required, approaches for sharing methodologies, and strengths and limitations of emerging systems.

Organisers

Catarina Gadelha (University of Nottingham, UK), Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Ed Louis (University of Kent, UK)

Escherichia coli: The model microbe

Escherichia coli is the best studied and well-characterised species in the world. E. coli has acted as a model in all areas of microbiology: from physiology to pathogenesis. Pathogenic E. coli isolates encompass diverse infections from bacteraemia and urinary tract infections to various diarrheal infections, and it has emerged as a major global antimicrobial resistance threat.. Association of E. coli with animal gut microbiota has led to it being a fecal indicator organism, although it is widespread and can be persistent in the environment. Phylogenetic analyses are contributing to a new appreciation of the evolution and diversity of the species. This symposium will bring together researchers from across the full spectrum of microbiology to discuss the advances that E. coli has facilitated as both a model organism and a species worthy of research in its own right, since the last major UK conference focusing on E. coli (the Microbiology Society spring meeting of 2010). This meeting will be a timely opportunity to recap on our existing knowledge as well as identify future directions.

Organisers

Alan McNally (University of Birmingham, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK)

Microbial diversity and interactions in the environment

Our understanding of microbial diversity, both phylogenetic and functional, continues to expand, including the realisation that a key factor in understanding the importance of microbial diversity is the interaction between organisms. Microbial interactions are varied and complex, taking place between microbes (microbe–microbe), with other organisms (e.g. plant–microbe) and with the abiotic environment. As a result, a diverse range of biological and ecological relationships have developed, including syntrophy, parasitism and symbiosis, which underpin processes such as ecosystem functioning and microbiome development. Microbial interactions are essential in global biogeochemical cycling, host response, development of antibiotic resistance and biotechnology. An array of tools are available to study microbial interactions, including omics technologies, isotope-based approaches, single-cell techniques and model microbial systems.

This session will bring together microbiologists from different fields engaged in understanding microbial interaction and their impacts on a variety of processes. This will include microbial interaction in natural ecosystems (e.g. sediments, soils, marine ecosystems and deep biosphere), engineered systems (e.g. wastewater, bioreactors) and host associated (e.g. plants).

Organisers

Joanne Santini (University College London, UK), Geertje van Keulen (Swansea University, UK), Michael Cunliffe (University of Plymouth, UK)

Models for understanding host–pathogen interactions

The immune system is our main defense against microbial pathogens. A variety of model systems have been developed to allow an examination of the immune response and the factors affecting its efficacy. These systems extend from cell culture based assays, to whole organism system utilising invertebrates (e.g. insects) or vertebrates (e.g. zebra fish). Insects such Galleria mellonella and Bombyx mori have also been used to assess the virulence of fungal and bacterial pathogens and the results obtained show a strong correlation to those generated using mammalian models. In addition, insects have been exploited for measuring the toxicity of compounds and for assessing the in vivo efficacy of antimicrobial drugs. Recent investigations have extended the use of insect models to study disease processes such as Listeria-induced neural pathologies that show a strong similarities to disease development processes in mammals. This session will highlight the use of model systems from in vitro infection assay through to in vivo models for adaptive immunity for studying the host–pathogen interactions and demonstrate how results obtained using these system can be translated to understanding mammalian immune responses.

Organisers

Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, UK), Kevin Kavanagh (Maynooth University, Ireland)

The global virome – the scope, causes and consequences of viral diversity

Modern sequencing is revealing the existence of huge numbers of viruses, many of which are related to agents that we recognise and many of which are totally new. This is evident in all parts of the living world and particularly in samples from exotic or unusual environments. As a result, we are gaining a completely new appreciation of the amazing diversity of viruses , the many ways in which they have evolved and the important effects that they are having on the planet. Their overwhelming numbers are also making us consider how taxonomy can continue to provide a key context to virology. This one day symposium adds to the growing links between the Microbiology Society and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). The speakers are international experts in viral metagenomics, bioinformatics, evolution, phylodynamics and taxonomy. together, they will explain tremendously dynamic subject that is at the forefront of theoretical and experimental virology.

Organisers

David Evans (University of St Andrews, UK), Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK), Andrew Davison (University of Glasgow, UK)

Tuesday 10 April, Afternoon

Breaking bad: factors affecting the commensal to pathogen switch

Recent technological advances have greatly improved our knowledge of the distribution and dynamics of the thousands of microbial species that are found associated with the human body. In many instances, we exist in apparent harmony with this resident microbiota, but when conditions allow, this relationship can break down rapidly, often with negative consequences for human health. There remains much to be learnt regarding the behaviour of these diverse microbial communities, but such understanding is essential for us to hope to modulate the host–microbiota interface for human benefit. This session aims to bring together world leaders across both prokaryotic and eukaryotic divisions to discuss the latest advances in the study of mechanisms by which hitherto beneficial or ‘commensal’ microorganisms present in or on humans can emerge as potential pathogens. Factors that will be considered include: i) interactions with other microbes (e.g. how cross-kingdom dialogue might stabilise or disrupt ‘protective’ microbial populations); ii) how the host immune response modulates microbial behaviour or vice versa; iii) how the pathogenic potential of microbes can vary according to ecological niche or ‘healthy’ vs immunocompromised host; and iv) how microbial adaptation (e.g. transmission dynamics; acquisition or variation in gene content) can affect pathogenicity.

Organisers

Ian Roberts (Quadram Institute Bioscience, UK), Daniela Delneri (University of Manchester, UK), Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Kim Hardie (University of Nottingham, UK)

Emerging model systems

Our understanding of eukaryotic cell biology is based on our ability to manipulate experimental systems. As a result, most of our knowledge is centred on a small number of model systems which do not represent the diversity of eukaryotes across the tree of life, nor do they capture all biological phenomena. Advances in genetic technologies and genome sequencing mean that we are now able to address many more fascinating questions in a broader scale, revealing new cell biology and with potential widespread importance. In this session, speakers will present the state-of-the-art in diverse emerging model systems, and discuss some of the challenges in establishing a new model, in which lineages new models are most required, approaches for sharing methodologies, and strengths and limitations of emerging systems.

Organisers

Catarina Gadelha (University of Nottingham, UK), Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Ed Louis (University of Kent, UK)

Escherichia coli: The model microbe

Escherichia coli is the best studied and well-characterised species in the world. E. coli has acted as a model in all areas of microbiology: from physiology to pathogenesis. Pathogenic E. coli isolates encompass diverse infections from bacteraemia and urinary tract infections to various diarrheal infections, and it has emerged as a major global antimicrobial resistance threat.. Association of E. coli with animal gut microbiota has led to it being a fecal indicator organism, although it is widespread and can be persistent in the environment. Phylogenetic analyses are contributing to a new appreciation of the evolution and diversity of the species. This symposium will bring together researchers from across the full spectrum of microbiology to discuss the advances that E. coli has facilitated as both a model organism and a species worthy of research in its own right, since the last major UK conference focusing on E. coli (the Microbiology Society spring meeting of 2010). This meeting will be a timely opportunity to recap on our existing knowledge as well as identify future directions.

Organisers

Alan McNally (University of Birmingham, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK)

Microbial diversity and interactions in the environment

Our understanding of microbial diversity, both phylogenetic and functional, continues to expand, including the realisation that a key factor in understanding the importance of microbial diversity is the interaction between organisms. Microbial interactions are varied and complex, taking place between microbes (microbe–microbe), with other organisms (e.g. plant–microbe) and with the abiotic environment. As a result, a diverse range of biological and ecological relationships have developed, including syntrophy, parasitism and symbiosis, which underpin processes such as ecosystem functioning and microbiome development. Microbial interactions are essential in global biogeochemical cycling, host response, development of antibiotic resistance and biotechnology. An array of tools are available to study microbial interactions, including omics technologies, isotope-based approaches, single-cell techniques and model microbial systems.

This session will bring together microbiologists from different fields engaged in understanding microbial interaction and their impacts on a variety of processes. This will include microbial interaction in natural ecosystems (e.g. sediments, soils, marine ecosystems and deep biosphere), engineered systems (e.g. wastewater, bioreactors) and host associated (e.g. plants).

Organisers

Joanne Santini (University College London, UK), Geertje van Keulen (Swansea University, UK), Michael Cunliffe (University of Plymouth, UK)

Models for understanding host–pathogen interactions

The immune system is our main defense against microbial pathogens. A variety of model systems have been developed to allow an examination of the immune response and the factors affecting its efficacy. These systems extend from cell culture based assays, to whole organism system utilising invertebrates (e.g. insects) or vertebrates (e.g. zebra fish). Insects such Galleria mellonella and Bombyx mori have also been used to assess the virulence of fungal and bacterial pathogens and the results obtained show a strong correlation to those generated using mammalian models. In addition, insects have been exploited for measuring the toxicity of compounds and for assessing the in vivo efficacy of antimicrobial drugs. Recent investigations have extended the use of insect models to study disease processes such as Listeria-induced neural pathologies that show a strong similarities to disease development processes in mammals. This session will highlight the use of model systems from in vitro infection assay through to in vivo models for adaptive immunity for studying the host–pathogen interactions and demonstrate how results obtained using these system can be translated to understanding mammalian immune responses.

Organisers

Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, UK), Kevin Kavanagh (Maynooth University, Ireland)

The global virome – the scope, causes and consequences of viral diversity

Modern sequencing is revealing the existence of huge numbers of viruses, many of which are related to agents that we recognise and many of which are totally new. This is evident in all parts of the living world and particularly in samples from exotic or unusual environments. As a result, we are gaining a completely new appreciation of the amazing diversity of viruses , the many ways in which they have evolved and the important effects that they are having on the planet. Their overwhelming numbers are also making us consider how taxonomy can continue to provide a key context to virology. This one day symposium adds to the growing links between the Microbiology Society and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). The speakers are international experts in viral metagenomics, bioinformatics, evolution, phylodynamics and taxonomy. together, they will explain tremendously dynamic subject that is at the forefront of theoretical and experimental virology.

Organisers

David Evans (University of St Andrews, UK), Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK), Andrew Davison (University of Glasgow, UK)

Wednesday 11 April, Morning

Breaking bad: factors affecting the commensal to pathogen switch

Recent technological advances have greatly improved our knowledge of the distribution and dynamics of the thousands of microbial species that are found associated with the human body. In many instances, we exist in apparent harmony with this resident microbiota, but when conditions allow, this relationship can break down rapidly, often with negative consequences for human health. There remains much to be learnt regarding the behaviour of these diverse microbial communities, but such understanding is essential for us to hope to modulate the host–microbiota interface for human benefit. This session aims to bring together world leaders across both prokaryotic and eukaryotic divisions to discuss the latest advances in the study of mechanisms by which hitherto beneficial or ‘commensal’ microorganisms present in or on humans can emerge as potential pathogens. Factors that will be considered include: i) interactions with other microbes (e.g. how cross-kingdom dialogue might stabilise or disrupt ‘protective’ microbial populations); ii) how the host immune response modulates microbial behaviour or vice versa; iii) how the pathogenic potential of microbes can vary according to ecological niche or ‘healthy’ vs immunocompromised host; and iv) how microbial adaptation (e.g. transmission dynamics; acquisition or variation in gene content) can affect pathogenicity.

Organisers

Ian Roberts (Quadram Institute Bioscience, UK), Daniela Delneri (University of Manchester, UK), Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Kim Hardie (University of Nottingham, UK)

Escherichia coli: The model microbe

Escherichia coli is the best studied and well-characterised species in the world. E. coli has acted as a model in all areas of microbiology: from physiology to pathogenesis. Pathogenic E. coli isolates encompass diverse infections from bacteraemia and urinary tract infections to various diarrheal infections, and it has emerged as a major global antimicrobial resistance threat.. Association of E. coli with animal gut microbiota has led to it being a fecal indicator organism, although it is widespread and can be persistent in the environment. Phylogenetic analyses are contributing to a new appreciation of the evolution and diversity of the species. This symposium will bring together researchers from across the full spectrum of microbiology to discuss the advances that E. coli has facilitated as both a model organism and a species worthy of research in its own right, since the last major UK conference focusing on E. coli (the Microbiology Society spring meeting of 2010). This meeting will be a timely opportunity to recap on our existing knowledge as well as identify future directions.

Organisers

Alan McNally (University of Birmingham, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK)

Microbial metal homeostasis impacts on pathogenicity

The capacity of pathogenic micro-organisms to adapt to changes in environmental metal availability is critical for pathogenicity. Certain inorganic trace elements, including iron, zinc and copper, are essential for life, but can also be toxic. The mammalian immune system has harnessed both the essentiality and toxicity of these micronutrients to combat microbial infections: processes known as “nutritional immunity”. For example, the vast majority of iron and zinc in the human body is tightly bound and compartmentalised, and nutritional restriction increases further during inflammation. Microbial pathogens require micronutrients not only for basic physiology and proliferation, but for counteracting other arms of immunity. For example, both catalases and superoxide dismutases require metal cofactors for function. In contrast, certain immune phagocytes flood their phagosomes with potentially lethal levels of copper. Therefore, in order to survive and proliferate within a mammalian host, microbial pathogens must possess highly efficient metal homeostatic mechanisms. Recently, significant advances have been made in our understanding of how microbial pathogens fine-tune cellular metal homeostasis in order to deal with the challenging environments faced during infection. This session will cover the molecular mechanisms of microbial metal homeostasis and how these processes contribute to pathogenicity and virulence. “Microbial metal homeostasis: impacts on pathogenicity” covers a variety of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogenic species and will therefore be of interest to bacteriologists and mycologists, as well as immunologists interested in the pathogenesis of microbial infections.

Organisers

Duncan Wilson (University of Aberdeen, UK), Kevin Waldron (University of Newcastle, UK)

Synthetic Ecology: From understanding ecological interactions to designing functional microbial communities

Synthetic Ecology involves the design and engineering of microbial consortia, either to gain a better understanding of microbial community function or to build new functioning communities. It is a rapidly emerging research topic that brings the tools of synthetic biology into microbial ecology. There are many examples where important ecological functions or biotechnological processes are carried out by microbial consortia rather than individual species: for example, biogeochemical cycles, human gut function, wastewater treatment, among many others. Engineering microbial communities can involve manipulating existing communities or designing entirely new interactions to carry out a particular function. This is an exciting research topic that spans basic and applied disciplines, includes concepts like mathematical modelling and touches on important biological themes like signalling, symbiosis and nutrient exchange. Using synthetic ecology to develop new microbial consortia, as opposed to single-species cell factories, might be the next big development in microbial biotechnology.

Organisers

John Morrissey (University College Cork, Ireland), Geertje van Keulen (Swansea University, USA), Mat Goddard (University of Lincoln, UK)

The battle for the ribosome – how viruses manipulate host translation

The successful replication of all viruses, regardless of whether they have an RNA or DNA genome, relies on the translation of their proteins by the cellular translation machinery. In response to virus infection, the host aims to stop translation and shut down virus production, resulting in a dynamic battle between host and virus to gain control of the ribosome. Viruses have developed a range of strategies to win this battle, such as bypassing normal initiation processes, hijacking translation factors, shutting off host protein synthesis in favour of their own, and inhibiting the signalling pathways that control translation. This two-day symposium will incorporate an overview of virus manipulation of the translation process, from a range of international experts on plant, insect and mammalian systems, providing a broad and up-to-date account of the field.

Organisers

Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK), Chris McCormick (University of Southampton, UK), Martina Scallan (University College Cork, Ireland), Andrew MacDonald (University of Leeds, UK)

Wednesday 11 April, Afternoon

Bacterial Zoonoses: ecology, epidemiology and evolution

Bacterial transitions between host species, including humans and wild and domesticated animals, is typically accompanied by evolutionary changes that promote survival in the novel niche. Understanding the dynamics of zoonotic infection and the nature of host adaptation is key for describing human and animal disease emergence and epidemiology. Recent technical advances, for example high throughput sequencing, are providing new opportunities for investigating bacteria-host ecology, epidemiology and evolution. These include identification of emergent zoonoses, determining the direction and timescale of host jumps, identifying genomic elements associated with host adaptation - and their encoded functions, and investigating the evolutionary landscape that promotes host transition. This session provides an opportunity for zoonosis researchers to come together and present the latest research in this area. Drawing on the recent studies, we describe the current understanding of host-association patterns in structured bacterial populations, mechanisms of evolution, and the genetic and functional basis of bacterial pathogen host-adaptation. The session will be an opportunity to (i) assess new emerging diseases; (ii) present new insights using modern techniques; (iii) Update epidemiological studies of important zoonotic pathogens and (iv) discuss novel approaches for controlling the emergence of new pathogenic clones.

Organisers

Samuel K. Sheppard (University of Bath, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Jonathan G. Shaw (University of Sheffield, UK), Luigi Marongiu (University of Edinburgh, UK)

DNA repair

Like all other living organisms, microbial DNA suffers continual physical and chemical assault. Indeed, some bacteria (such as the radiation-resistant species Deinococcus radiodurans) even thrive in environments that are hostile to DNA integrity. However, if not repaired, the resulting lesions become fixed during DNA replication, leading to heritable alterations in the genome. We now know that a plethora of elegant mechanisms are used to identify and repair the different types of DNA damage that can accrue, and the last decade has seen step changes in our understanding of these mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level. In this session, we explore these advances in detail, and also take a look at what happens when the repair machinery fails. For example, one consequence of defective DNA repair is an increase in the mutation rate, effectively "pumping the gas-pedal of the evolutionary accelerator" and catalysing the appearance of adaptive traits such as antibiotic resistance. A better understanding of the mechanisms that constrain this evolutionary playground therefore has very direct relevance to basic scientists, clinicians, and evolutionary biologists alike.

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK)

Synthetic Ecology: From understanding ecological interactions to designing functional microbial communities

Synthetic Ecology involves the design and engineering of microbial consortia, either to gain a better understanding of microbial community function or to build new functioning communities. It is a rapidly emerging research topic that brings the tools of synthetic biology into microbial ecology. There are many examples where important ecological functions or biotechnological processes are carried out by microbial consortia rather than individual species: for example, biogeochemical cycles, human gut function, wastewater treatment, among many others. Engineering microbial communities can involve manipulating existing communities or designing entirely new interactions to carry out a particular function. This is an exciting research topic that spans basic and applied disciplines, includes concepts like mathematical modelling and touches on important biological themes like signalling, symbiosis and nutrient exchange. Using synthetic ecology to develop new microbial consortia, as opposed to single-species cell factories, might be the next big development in microbial biotechnology.

Organisers

John Morrissey (University College Cork, Ireland), Geertje van Keulen (Swansea University, USA), Mat Goddard (University of Lincoln, UK)

The battle for the ribosome – how viruses manipulate host translation

The successful replication of all viruses, regardless of whether they have an RNA or DNA genome, relies on the translation of their proteins by the cellular translation machinery. In response to virus infection, the host aims to stop translation and shut down virus production, resulting in a dynamic battle between host and virus to gain control of the ribosome. Viruses have developed a range of strategies to win this battle, such as bypassing normal initiation processes, hijacking translation factors, shutting off host protein synthesis in favour of their own, and inhibiting the signalling pathways that control translation. This two-day symposium will incorporate an overview of virus manipulation of the translation process, from a range of international experts on plant, insect and mammalian systems, providing a broad and up-to-date account of the field.

Organisers

Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK), Chris McCormick (University of Southampton, UK), Martina Scallan (University College Cork, Ireland), Andrew MacDonald (University of Leeds, UK)

Virus workshop: Plant viruses in collaboration with AAB

This workshop invites abstracts on any aspects of the biology of plant viruses. Depending upon submissions, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses, starting with transmission, host range and vectors to focus the audience on the diversity of diseases they cause. The session will then move on to cover virus structure, genome replication, assembly and control. Host-related topics such as host factors subverted for virus replication, the RNAi response (and how it can be boosted) or the cell to cell transmission of viruses are also welcomed as topics for presentation.

Organisers

Maruthi Gowda (University of Greenwich, UK), Gerard Clover (Royal Horticultural Society, UK)

Thursday 12 April, Morning

Bacterial Zoonoses: ecology, epidemiology and evolution

Bacterial transitions between host species, including humans and wild and domesticated animals, is typically accompanied by evolutionary changes that promote survival in the novel niche. Understanding the dynamics of zoonotic infection and the nature of host adaptation is key for describing human and animal disease emergence and epidemiology. Recent technical advances, for example high throughput sequencing, are providing new opportunities for investigating bacteria-host ecology, epidemiology and evolution. These include identification of emergent zoonoses, determining the direction and timescale of host jumps, identifying genomic elements associated with host adaptation - and their encoded functions, and investigating the evolutionary landscape that promotes host transition. This session provides an opportunity for zoonosis researchers to come together and present the latest research in this area. Drawing on the recent studies, we describe the current understanding of host-association patterns in structured bacterial populations, mechanisms of evolution, and the genetic and functional basis of bacterial pathogen host-adaptation. The session will be an opportunity to (i) assess new emerging diseases; (ii) present new insights using modern techniques; (iii) Update epidemiological studies of important zoonotic pathogens and (iv) discuss novel approaches for controlling the emergence of new pathogenic clones.

Organisers

Samuel K. Sheppard (University of Bath, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Jonathan G. Shaw (University of Sheffield, UK), Luigi Marongiu (University of Edinburgh, UK)

DNA repair

Like all other living organisms, microbial DNA suffers continual physical and chemical assault. Indeed, some bacteria (such as the radiation-resistant species Deinococcus radiodurans) even thrive in environments that are hostile to DNA integrity. However, if not repaired, the resulting lesions become fixed during DNA replication, leading to heritable alterations in the genome. We now know that a plethora of elegant mechanisms are used to identify and repair the different types of DNA damage that can accrue, and the last decade has seen step changes in our understanding of these mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level. In this session, we explore these advances in detail, and also take a look at what happens when the repair machinery fails. For example, one consequence of defective DNA repair is an increase in the mutation rate, effectively "pumping the gas-pedal of the evolutionary accelerator" and catalysing the appearance of adaptive traits such as antibiotic resistance. A better understanding of the mechanisms that constrain this evolutionary playground therefore has very direct relevance to basic scientists, clinicians, and evolutionary biologists alike.

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK)

Environmental and applied microbiology forum

This forum focuses on any area in environmental, ecological, applied and industrial microbiology, including (non-human) host-microbe communities and interactions, marine and freshwater microbiology, soil and geomicrobiology, air-, cryo- and extremophile microbiology, climate change, biotechnology, bio-processing and bio-engineering, food microbiology, and other applied and industrial microbial processes, including microbe-mediated biodegradation and bioremediation.

Organisers

Jon Shaw, Jennifer Mitchell, Ryan Seipke, Tasos Tsaousis

Microbial infection forum

Offered papers will be presented in areas related to infections caused by prokaryote and eukaryote pathogens 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

Sabine Tötemeyer, Sarah Maddocks, Steve Michell, Daniela Delneri

The Games Microbes Play: Competition, conflict and cooperation in microbiology

The Games Microbes Play symposium will address a broad set of questions from the angle of Evolutionary Game Theory, conceptualising issues of cooperation and conflict that can arise between individuals of the same species, commensals of different species, as well as hosts and parasites. Topics of relevance to medical microbiologists and also sociobiologists, theoreticians as well as experimentalists, will be encouraged, from bacterial infection to conflict between social amoebae, to cooperation between insects and their microbial symbionts. Invited speakers represent experimentalists and theorists and the session should interest microbiologists across all Divisions of the Society, since small genomes are especially tractable to analysis of the strategies encoded within them. Several groups within the UK work on aspects of social evolution in microbes, and we will encourage them to submit abstracts, and we will also hope to welcome submissions from a wide range of microbiologists working on related issues.

Organisers

Gareth Bloomfield (MRC-LMB Cambridge, UK), Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich, 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.

Organisers

Virus workshop: DNA viruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of DNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of DNA viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Colin Crump (University of Cambridge, UK), Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK)

Virus workshop: Negative strand RNA viruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of the biology of negative strand RNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Silke Schelpemann (NIBSC, UK), Martina Scallan (University College Cork, Ireland)

Virus workshop: Positive strand and double strand RNA viruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of the biology of positive strand and double strand RNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Chris McCormick (University of Southampton, UK), Erica Bickerton (The Pirbright Institute, UK)

Virus workshop: Retroviruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of retrovirus biology. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of a retrovirus and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Kate Bishop (The Francis Crick Institute, UK), Stuart Neil (King's College London, UK)

Thursday 12 April, Afternoon

Bacterial Zoonoses: ecology, epidemiology and evolution

Bacterial transitions between host species, including humans and wild and domesticated animals, is typically accompanied by evolutionary changes that promote survival in the novel niche. Understanding the dynamics of zoonotic infection and the nature of host adaptation is key for describing human and animal disease emergence and epidemiology. Recent technical advances, for example high throughput sequencing, are providing new opportunities for investigating bacteria-host ecology, epidemiology and evolution. These include identification of emergent zoonoses, determining the direction and timescale of host jumps, identifying genomic elements associated with host adaptation - and their encoded functions, and investigating the evolutionary landscape that promotes host transition. This session provides an opportunity for zoonosis researchers to come together and present the latest research in this area. Drawing on the recent studies, we describe the current understanding of host-association patterns in structured bacterial populations, mechanisms of evolution, and the genetic and functional basis of bacterial pathogen host-adaptation. The session will be an opportunity to (i) assess new emerging diseases; (ii) present new insights using modern techniques; (iii) Update epidemiological studies of important zoonotic pathogens and (iv) discuss novel approaches for controlling the emergence of new pathogenic clones.

Organisers

Samuel K. Sheppard (University of Bath, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Jonathan G. Shaw (University of Sheffield, UK), Luigi Marongiu (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Community interactions and the living host

The living host provides complex ecological niches for thriving microbial communities. Metagenomic and metataxonomic analyses of these microbiotas, along with fluorescence microscopy, reveal which microbes are present within these communities and provide an indication of their relative abundance. These data are now informing our understanding of microbial interactions and the living host. This symposium will address aspects of prokaryote, eukaryote and bacteriophage component interactions of the microbiota in relation to health, disease and the immune system. The major sites of microbial colonisation, the skin, the gastrointestinal tract and the female genital tract will be included. Offered papers relating to microbiota interactions in both humans and other animals will be considered for presentation within the symposium.

Organisers

Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK), Sarah Kuehne (University of Nottingham, UK), Sabine Tötemeyer (University of Nottingham, UK), Susan Crosthwaite (University of Manchester, UK), Julian Marchesi (University of Cardiff, UK)

DNA repair

Like all other living organisms, microbial DNA suffers continual physical and chemical assault. Indeed, some bacteria (such as the radiation-resistant species Deinococcus radiodurans) even thrive in environments that are hostile to DNA integrity. However, if not repaired, the resulting lesions become fixed during DNA replication, leading to heritable alterations in the genome. We now know that a plethora of elegant mechanisms are used to identify and repair the different types of DNA damage that can accrue, and the last decade has seen step changes in our understanding of these mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level. In this session, we explore these advances in detail, and also take a look at what happens when the repair machinery fails. For example, one consequence of defective DNA repair is an increase in the mutation rate, effectively "pumping the gas-pedal of the evolutionary accelerator" and catalysing the appearance of adaptive traits such as antibiotic resistance. A better understanding of the mechanisms that constrain this evolutionary playground therefore has very direct relevance to basic scientists, clinicians, and evolutionary biologists alike.

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK)

Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

This forum will consider offered papers on all aspects of microbial (prokaryotic and eukaryotic) metabolism and physiology, including fundamental research on the biochemistry and structure of 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

Nick Waterfield, Gillian Fraser

The Games Microbes Play: Competition, conflict and cooperation in microbiology

The Games Microbes Play symposium will address a broad set of questions from the angle of Evolutionary Game Theory, conceptualising issues of cooperation and conflict that can arise between individuals of the same species, commensals of different species, as well as hosts and parasites. Topics of relevance to medical microbiologists and also sociobiologists, theoreticians as well as experimentalists, will be encouraged, from bacterial infection to conflict between social amoebae, to cooperation between insects and their microbial symbionts. Invited speakers represent experimentalists and theorists and the session should interest microbiologists across all Divisions of the Society, since small genomes are especially tractable to analysis of the strategies encoded within them. Several groups within the UK work on aspects of social evolution in microbes, and we will encourage them to submit abstracts, and we will also hope to welcome submissions from a wide range of microbiologists working on related issues.

Organisers

Gareth Bloomfield (MRC-LMB Cambridge, UK), Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK)

Virus workshop: DNA viruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of DNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of DNA viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Colin Crump (University of Cambridge, UK), Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK)

Virus workshop: Negative strand RNA viruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of the biology of negative strand RNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Silke Schelpemann (NIBSC, UK), Martina Scallan (University College Cork, Ireland)

Virus workshop: Phylogeny

This workshop invites abstracts on any aspect of virus phylogeny or taxonomy. This includes the causes of genetic variation between viruses, the consequences of that variation and the methodology developed to analyse and classify viruses. Within this broad area we welcome abstract submissions on virus evolutionary mechanisms, quasispecies, techniques to quantify genetic diversity or rates of evolution, methods for virus identification and classification from environmental or clinical samples, the analysis of the virome, and changes in host range and cell tropism arising from variation or evolution. Depending upon submissions the workshop will be structured thematically to provide an good overview of this fast-developing area of virology.

Organisers

Steve Griffin (University of Leeds, UK), Andrew Davison (University of Glasgow, UK)

Virus workshop: Positive strand and double strand RNA viruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of the biology of positive strand and double strand RNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Chris McCormick (University of Southampton, UK), Erica Bickerton (The Pirbright Institute, UK)

Friday 13 April, Morning

Community interactions and the living host

The living host provides complex ecological niches for thriving microbial communities. Metagenomic and metataxonomic analyses of these microbiotas, along with fluorescence microscopy, reveal which microbes are present within these communities and provide an indication of their relative abundance. These data are now informing our understanding of microbial interactions and the living host. This symposium will address aspects of prokaryote, eukaryote and bacteriophage component interactions of the microbiota in relation to health, disease and the immune system. The major sites of microbial colonisation, the skin, the gastrointestinal tract and the female genital tract will be included. Offered papers relating to microbiota interactions in both humans and other animals will be considered for presentation within the symposium.

Organisers

Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK), Sarah Kuehne (University of Nottingham, UK), Sabine Tötemeyer (University of Nottingham, UK), Susan Crosthwaite (University of Manchester, UK), Julian Marchesi (University of Cardiff, UK)

Cool tools for microbial imaging

Recent years have seen extraordinary advances in the technologies available to study microbial biology. The development of new techniques to probe individual cells and molecules is a major driver of scientific advance. This session aims to cover and showcase a number of new advanced techniques that have been successfully applied to microbiology, including mass spectrometry imaging, light and electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. These have diverse applications which we anticipate will attract a broad audience across all the divisions.

Organisers

Jason King (University of Sheffield, UK), Ryan Seipke (University of Leeds, UK), Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK), Kim Hardie (University of Nottingham, UK)

Genetics and genomics forum

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

Organisers

Ryan Seipke, Lori Synder, Ed Louis

The battle for the ribosome – how viruses manipulate host translation

The successful replication of all viruses, regardless of whether they have an RNA or DNA genome, relies on the translation of their proteins by the cellular translation machinery. In response to virus infection, the host aims to stop translation and shut down virus production, resulting in a dynamic battle between host and virus to gain control of the ribosome. Viruses have developed a range of strategies to win this battle, such as bypassing normal initiation processes, hijacking translation factors, shutting off host protein synthesis in favour of their own, and inhibiting the signalling pathways that control translation. This two-day symposium will incorporate an overview of virus manipulation of the translation process, from a range of international experts on plant, insect and mammalian systems, providing a broad and up-to-date account of the field.

Organisers

Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK), Chris McCormick (University of Southampton, UK), Martina Scallan (University College Cork, Ireland), Andrew MacDonald (University of Leeds, UK)

The magic of mushrooms in nature and industry

Mushrooms are magical in a way no other microbe is – their amazing macro-structure means they are instantly visible and recognisable, often brightly coloured and decorating autumn forests. Yet fungi (other than yeast and pathogenic strains) do not feature in the conference line up of any major microbiology meeting. It is our intention to redress that balance by dedicating this session to a variety of research interests that focus on fungi that form fruiting bodies (colloquially known as mushrooms). These include some ascomycetes but are primarily represented by basidiomycetes. We want to look at the ecology of these wonderful organisms, at how endangered they are and the steps being taken to protect them, but also at how they can be used in industry and medicine. The session will highlight links between fundamental research and its applications in medicine and other industrial purposes – thereby giving the programme broader appeal. It is anticipated that a good number of offered oral presentations combined with diverse invited speakers will enable a varied programme looking at fundamental research into fungal ecology and how ‘omics are being used to understand fungal behaviour and conservation, how fungi can be used in bioremediation, and how they may be mined for antimicrobial compounds.

Organisers

Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, UK), Suzy Moody (Swansea University, UK)

Friday 13 April, Afternoon

Community interactions and the living host

The living host provides complex ecological niches for thriving microbial communities. Metagenomic and metataxonomic analyses of these microbiotas, along with fluorescence microscopy, reveal which microbes are present within these communities and provide an indication of their relative abundance. These data are now informing our understanding of microbial interactions and the living host. This symposium will address aspects of prokaryote, eukaryote and bacteriophage component interactions of the microbiota in relation to health, disease and the immune system. The major sites of microbial colonisation, the skin, the gastrointestinal tract and the female genital tract will be included. Offered papers relating to microbiota interactions in both humans and other animals will be considered for presentation within the symposium.

Organisers

Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK), Sarah Kuehne (University of Nottingham, UK), Sabine Tötemeyer (University of Nottingham, UK), Susan Crosthwaite (University of Manchester, UK), Julian Marchesi (University of Cardiff, UK)

Cool tools for microbial imaging

Recent years have seen extraordinary advances in the technologies available to study microbial biology. The development of new techniques to probe individual cells and molecules is a major driver of scientific advance. This session aims to cover and showcase a number of new advanced techniques that have been successfully applied to microbiology, including mass spectrometry imaging, light and electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. These have diverse applications which we anticipate will attract a broad audience across all the divisions.

Organisers

Jason King (University of Sheffield, UK), Ryan Seipke (University of Leeds, UK), Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK), Kim Hardie (University of Nottingham, UK)

The battle for the ribosome – how viruses manipulate host translation

The successful replication of all viruses, regardless of whether they have an RNA or DNA genome, relies on the translation of their proteins by the cellular translation machinery. In response to virus infection, the host aims to stop translation and shut down virus production, resulting in a dynamic battle between host and virus to gain control of the ribosome. Viruses have developed a range of strategies to win this battle, such as bypassing normal initiation processes, hijacking translation factors, shutting off host protein synthesis in favour of their own, and inhibiting the signalling pathways that control translation. This two-day symposium will incorporate an overview of virus manipulation of the translation process, from a range of international experts on plant, insect and mammalian systems, providing a broad and up-to-date account of the field.

Organisers

Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK), Chris McCormick (University of Southampton, UK), Martina Scallan (University College Cork, Ireland), Andrew MacDonald (University of Leeds, UK)

The magic of mushrooms in nature and industry

Mushrooms are magical in a way no other microbe is – their amazing macro-structure means they are instantly visible and recognisable, often brightly coloured and decorating autumn forests. Yet fungi (other than yeast and pathogenic strains) do not feature in the conference line up of any major microbiology meeting. It is our intention to redress that balance by dedicating this session to a variety of research interests that focus on fungi that form fruiting bodies (colloquially known as mushrooms). These include some ascomycetes but are primarily represented by basidiomycetes. We want to look at the ecology of these wonderful organisms, at how endangered they are and the steps being taken to protect them, but also at how they can be used in industry and medicine. The session will highlight links between fundamental research and its applications in medicine and other industrial purposes – thereby giving the programme broader appeal. It is anticipated that a good number of offered oral presentations combined with diverse invited speakers will enable a varied programme looking at fundamental research into fungal ecology and how ‘omics are being used to understand fungal behaviour and conservation, how fungi can be used in bioremediation, and how they may be mined for antimicrobial compounds.

Organisers

Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, UK), Suzy Moody (Swansea University, UK)

Lecture View

Tuesday 10 April, Morning

Tuesday 10 April, Afternoon

Wednesday 11 April, Morning