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Overview

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The Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2016 was held from 21–24 March at the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC), Liverpool, UK.

The Society's Annual Conference attracts over 1,200 UK and international delegates, and is one of Europe’s largest annual gatherings of microbiologists. Whether you are a veteran microbiologist or just starting out in your career, attending the Microbiology Society’s Annual Conference is a must for all of those with an interest in microbiology.

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

Follow us on Twitter @MicrobioSoc

Updates on the Annual Conference 2016 can be found using the hashtag: #Microbio16


Image: Liverpool waterfront. ACC Liverpool.

Programme

Type

Session

Session View

Monday 21 March, Morning

Crowdsourcing new antibiotics: Novel approaches

Crowdsourcing new antibiotics: the Microbiology Society has been running a project involving students looking for new antibiotics in the soil in seven schools and six undergraduate courses throughout the UK and Ireland. Students from each institution will present their findings, having won a place at the session through a competitive process. Alongside the students, staff will also be presenting posters looking at the pedagogy of the project, and looking at the implementation and educational benefits of self-guided research.

Organisers

Dariel Burdass, Isabel Spence and Theresa Hudson

Membrane transporters

The movement of small molecules across biological membranes is fundamental to all life. The recent acceleration of knowledge of the structure and function of these proteins has given us unprecedented insight into their mechanism. In parallel, increased understanding of their function and diversity have led to many transporters being added or manipulated in biotechnological processes where uptake or efflux of small molecules from cells is important. This session will offer participants a grand vision of the range of transporters present in microbial systems and their current exploitation in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy (IBBE). The session includes presentations on basic and translational science on a wide range of important uptake systems in bacterial and eukaryotic microbial systems. Topics have been selected based on transport families including members that are already being manipulated in IBBE and others where there is clear untapped potential. The final session will be led by industry to promote knowledge transfer and mix problems and solutions to drive new interactions between scientists at all career stages and industrial stakeholders.

Organisers

Gavin Thomas, Mark Webber, Jeffrey Green and Peter Henderson

Nutrition immunity: Metals at the host-pathogen interface

The ability of pathogenic micro-organisms to assimilate sufficient nutrients from their host is fundamental to 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 collectively known as “nutritional immunity”.

Microbial pathogens require micronutrients not only for cellular development and proliferation, but for counteracting the oxidative killing machinery of the innate immune system: 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 deploy highly effective micronutrient sensing, uptake, homeostatic and detoxification systems.

Recently, we have gained a much deeper understanding of the host mechanisms governing nutritional immunity and the sophisticated countermeasures employed by pathogens to circumvent nutritional restriction. Centering on the elemental struggle for nutrients between pathogens and their hosts, this session will cover molecular aspects of nutritional immunity, and will explore the micronutrient uptake strategies of bacterial, fungal, and parasitic human pathogens.

Organisers

Donna MacCallum and Duncan Wilson

Post-translational modifications of proteins

Post-translational modifications used to be the preserve of ‘higher organisms’. However, a plethora of post-translational modifications (PTMs) – both reversible and irreversible – have now been identified in microbes. In particular, recent advances in proteomic technologies have accelerated the rate at which new PTMs are being discovered and characterised. These efforts have revealed a number of important ‘new kids on the block’ that are revolutionising the way we think about microbial physiology. At the same time, we continue to unearth hitherto unexpected insights into the role(s) played by ‘well-established’ PTMs such as glycosylation. In this two-day symposium, the world’s most influential researchers in microbial PTMs will review their fields and provide us with an update about recent advances in chemical modifications as diverse as phosphorylation, fatty acylation and acetylation, PUP/SUMOylation, ubiquitinylation and glycosylation (to name just a few), as well as more unusual modifications that have only recently been discovered. This will be followed by a focused half-day session dedicated exclusively to the technologies that can be used to identify, quantify and investigate PTMs in microbial systems.

Organisers

Martin Welch, Steve Michell, Janet Quinn and Mick Tuite

Monday 21 March, Afternoon

Nutrition immunity: Metals at the host-pathogen interface

The ability of pathogenic micro-organisms to assimilate sufficient nutrients from their host is fundamental to 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 collectively known as “nutritional immunity”.

Microbial pathogens require micronutrients not only for cellular development and proliferation, but for counteracting the oxidative killing machinery of the innate immune system: 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 deploy highly effective micronutrient sensing, uptake, homeostatic and detoxification systems.

Recently, we have gained a much deeper understanding of the host mechanisms governing nutritional immunity and the sophisticated countermeasures employed by pathogens to circumvent nutritional restriction. Centering on the elemental struggle for nutrients between pathogens and their hosts, this session will cover molecular aspects of nutritional immunity, and will explore the micronutrient uptake strategies of bacterial, fungal, and parasitic human pathogens.

Organisers

Donna MacCallum and Duncan Wilson

Crowdsourcing new antibiotics: Novel approaches

Membrane transporters

The movement of small molecules across biological membranes is fundamental to all life. The recent acceleration of knowledge of the structure and function of these proteins has given us unprecedented insight into their mechanism. In parallel, increased understanding of their function and diversity have led to many transporters being added or manipulated in biotechnological processes where uptake or efflux of small molecules from cells is important. This session will offer participants a grand vision of the range of transporters present in microbial systems and their current exploitation in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy (IBBE). The session includes presentations on basic and translational science on a wide range of important uptake systems in bacterial and eukaryotic microbial systems. Topics have been selected based on transport families including members that are already being manipulated in IBBE and others where there is clear untapped potential. The final session will be led by industry to promote knowledge transfer and mix problems and solutions to drive new interactions between scientists at all career stages and industrial stakeholders.

Organisers

Gavin Thomas, Mark Webber, Jeffrey Green and Peter Henderson

Microbial evasion of host defences

Many pathogens owe their success to elaborate virulence strategies that enable them to evade host immune defences. Taking the military analogy, they take approaches such as (i) ‘Don’t be seen’ by escaping into cells and initiating autophagy, (ii) ‘Don’t be targeted’ by coating their surface to generate a camouflage that cannot be detected and inactivating complement, (iii) ‘Don’t be killed’ by varying surface activators, and (iv) ‘Fight when necessary’ by deploying weapons such as toxins. This symposium will cover all these aspects with specific examples highlighting recent advances and describing the multifactoral evasion of the immune system elicited by certain pathogens.

Organisers

Mark Stevens, Kim Hardie, Petra Oyston, Sabine Totemeyer and Ross Fitzgerald

Post-translational modifications of proteins

Post-translational modifications used to be the preserve of ‘higher organisms’. However, a plethora of post-translational modifications (PTMs) – both reversible and irreversible – have now been identified in microbes. In particular, recent advances in proteomic technologies have accelerated the rate at which new PTMs are being discovered and characterised. These efforts have revealed a number of important ‘new kids on the block’ that are revolutionising the way we think about microbial physiology. At the same time, we continue to unearth hitherto unexpected insights into the role(s) played by ‘well-established’ PTMs such as glycosylation. In this two-day symposium, the world’s most influential researchers in microbial PTMs will review their fields and provide us with an update about recent advances in chemical modifications as diverse as phosphorylation, fatty acylation and acetylation, PUP/SUMOylation, ubiquitinylation and glycosylation (to name just a few), as well as more unusual modifications that have only recently been discovered. This will be followed by a focused half-day session dedicated exclusively to the technologies that can be used to identify, quantify and investigate PTMs in microbial systems.

Organisers

Martin Welch, Steve Michell, Janet Quinn and Mick Tuite

The impact of climate change on disease transmission

Climate change has the potential to influence animal and human disease in several different ways. An increase in extreme weather events will likely disrupt existing food and water supplies, with risk of direct contamination of food supplies, increased susceptibility of crops to disease, overloading of water purification plants / disruption of water supplies leading to increased water spoilage, and risk of transmission of water borne diseases such as Cryptospordium, cholera, Giardia, as well as disruption of healthcare facilities and societal organisation resulting in epidemics. Vector-borne diseases of animals, plants and humans will likely result in changes in global distribution. Examples include: Phythophthora infestans (potato and tomato blight); vector-borne protozoal diseases such as malaria (Anopheles spp. mosquito), and vector-borne viral diseases such as Lyme’s disease (Ixodes spp. tick) and dengue (Aedes spp. esp. aegyptia). This session will focus on the effect of climate change on the epidemiology of infectious of diseases of animals and humans and highlight how new strategies will need to be developed to tackle the spread of condition such as malaria, into previously non-affected areas.

Organisers

Kevin Kavanagh and Justin Pachebat

Tuesday 22 March, Morning

Membrane transporters

The movement of small molecules across biological membranes is fundamental to all life. The recent acceleration of knowledge of the structure and function of these proteins has given us unprecedented insight into their mechanism. In parallel, increased understanding of their function and diversity have led to many transporters being added or manipulated in biotechnological processes where uptake or efflux of small molecules from cells is important. This session will offer participants a grand vision of the range of transporters present in microbial systems and their current exploitation in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy (IBBE). The session includes presentations on basic and translational science on a wide range of important uptake systems in bacterial and eukaryotic microbial systems. Topics have been selected based on transport families including members that are already being manipulated in IBBE and others where there is clear untapped potential. The final session will be led by industry to promote knowledge transfer and mix problems and solutions to drive new interactions between scientists at all career stages and industrial stakeholders.

Organisers

Gavin Thomas, Mark Webber, Jeffrey Green and Peter Henderson

Microbial evasion of host defences

Many pathogens owe their success to elaborate virulence strategies that enable them to evade host immune defences. Taking the military analogy, they take approaches such as (i) ‘Don’t be seen’ by escaping into cells and initiating autophagy, (ii) ‘Don’t be targeted’ by coating their surface to generate a camouflage that cannot be detected and inactivating complement, (iii) ‘Don’t be killed’ by varying surface activators, and (iv) ‘Fight when necessary’ by deploying weapons such as toxins. This symposium will cover all these aspects with specific examples highlighting recent advances and describing the multifactoral evasion of the immune system elicited by certain pathogens.

Organisers

Mark Stevens, Kim Hardie, Petra Oyston, Sabine Totemeyer and Ross Fitzgerald

Mining microbial diversity for pleasure and profit

Microbes are wonderful chemists and their ability to produce pleasurable flavours and fragrances in foods and drinks has been exploited for thousands of years. Technological progress is now allowing us to extend the uses of yeasts and bacteria from things like brewing and cheese-making all the way to making renewable chemicals to reduce the rate of climate change. This session will bring together university and industry scientists to showcase the extraordinary variety of Nature’s microbial treasure trove and demonstrate how advances in genome mining and synthetic biology are unlocking this natural diversity to an ever-increasing extent. The benefits to society of re-discovering traditional foods and flavours as well as building new businesses harnessing the power of microbiology are many and an exciting ‘taste’ of future possibilities will permeate the meeting.

Organisers

Ian Roberts, Ed Louis, John Morrissey and Elinor Thompson

Mycobacteria

The One Health paradigm posits that human, animal and environmental health are intimately linked. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), the assembly of pathogens that cause tuberculosis (TB) in man and a range of wild and domesticated mammals, and the environmentally prevalent non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) represent an ideal group of bacteria in which to explore One Health concepts in infectious disease. We bring together key researchers in the mycobacterial field that encompass the diversity and complexity of infections caused by these bacteria.

Organisers

Steve Michell, Steven Gordon and Sabine Totemeyer

Post-translational modifications of proteins

Post-translational modifications used to be the preserve of ‘higher organisms’. However, a plethora of post-translational modifications (PTMs) – both reversible and irreversible – have now been identified in microbes. In particular, recent advances in proteomic technologies have accelerated the rate at which new PTMs are being discovered and characterised. These efforts have revealed a number of important ‘new kids on the block’ that are revolutionising the way we think about microbial physiology. At the same time, we continue to unearth hitherto unexpected insights into the role(s) played by ‘well-established’ PTMs such as glycosylation. In this two-day symposium, the world’s most influential researchers in microbial PTMs will review their fields and provide us with an update about recent advances in chemical modifications as diverse as phosphorylation, fatty acylation and acetylation, PUP/SUMOylation, ubiquitinylation and glycosylation (to name just a few), as well as more unusual modifications that have only recently been discovered. This will be followed by a focused half-day session dedicated exclusively to the technologies that can be used to identify, quantify and investigate PTMs in microbial systems.

Organisers

Martin Welch, Steve Michell, Janet Quinn and Mick Tuite

The "Red Queen" and the genome: Conflict in shaping microbial evolution

The evolution of life is affected profoundly by interactions between organisms changing over time. Conflict plays a large part in this: from competition for food and mates between members of the same species, to predator versus prey and host versus parasite relationships. These "Red Queen" effects, whereby organisms evolve quickly and competitively in order to remain in the same niche, have been used to explain species' constant extinction rates, and the prevalence of sex. Recent advances in genomics have provided evidence for 'molecular arms races' between species, and a variety of experimental approaches have shed further light on the genetics of conflict in viruses, bacteria, and microbial eukaryotes. This session aims to host a discussion of recent developments relevant to evolutionary microbiology and parasitology.

Organisers

Gareth Bloomfield

The hostile cell: Intrinsic antiviral immunity – part 1

The innate immune system represents the first line of defence against infection. It consists of a number of constitutively expressed and inducible factors that suppress or prevent virus infection. Some of these are well-characterised, others are still poorly understood. This symposium will highlight the roles of these anti-viral factors in the immune responses of both vertebrate and non-vertebrate species, and discuss the mechanisms by which they create an environment hostile to virus replication. Virus countermeasures to these processes will also be described. The symposium will take place concurrently with the restriction factor workshop, allowing a forum for the exchange of ideas between disparate groups of virologists.

Organisers

Andrew MacDonald, James Stewart

Tuesday 22 March, Afternoon

The "Red Queen" and the genome: Conflict in shaping microbial evolution

The evolution of life is affected profoundly by interactions between organisms changing over time. Conflict plays a large part in this: from competition for food and mates between members of the same species, to predator versus prey and host versus parasite relationships. These "Red Queen" effects, whereby organisms evolve quickly and competitively in order to remain in the same niche, have been used to explain species' constant extinction rates, and the prevalence of sex. Recent advances in genomics have provided evidence for 'molecular arms races' between species, and a variety of experimental approaches have shed further light on the genetics of conflict in viruses, bacteria, and microbial eukaryotes. This session aims to host a discussion of recent developments relevant to evolutionary microbiology and parasitology.

Organisers

Gareth Bloomfield

Microbial evasion of host defences

Many pathogens owe their success to elaborate virulence strategies that enable them to evade host immune defences. Taking the military analogy, they take approaches such as (i) ‘Don’t be seen’ by escaping into cells and initiating autophagy, (ii) ‘Don’t be targeted’ by coating their surface to generate a camouflage that cannot be detected and inactivating complement, (iii) ‘Don’t be killed’ by varying surface activators, and (iv) ‘Fight when necessary’ by deploying weapons such as toxins. This symposium will cover all these aspects with specific examples highlighting recent advances and describing the multifactoral evasion of the immune system elicited by certain pathogens.

Organisers

Mark Stevens, Kim Hardie, Petra Oyston, Sabine Totemeyer and Ross Fitzgerald

Mining microbial diversity for pleasure and profit

Microbes are wonderful chemists and their ability to produce pleasurable flavours and fragrances in foods and drinks has been exploited for thousands of years. Technological progress is now allowing us to extend the uses of yeasts and bacteria from things like brewing and cheese-making all the way to making renewable chemicals to reduce the rate of climate change. This session will bring together university and industry scientists to showcase the extraordinary variety of Nature’s microbial treasure trove and demonstrate how advances in genome mining and synthetic biology are unlocking this natural diversity to an ever-increasing extent. The benefits to society of re-discovering traditional foods and flavours as well as building new businesses harnessing the power of microbiology are many and an exciting ‘taste’ of future possibilities will permeate the meeting.

Organisers

Ian Roberts, Ed Louis, John Morrissey and Elinor Thompson

Mycobacteria

The One Health paradigm posits that human, animal and environmental health are intimately linked. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), the assembly of pathogens that cause tuberculosis (TB) in man and a range of wild and domesticated mammals, and the environmentally prevalent non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) represent an ideal group of bacteria in which to explore One Health concepts in infectious disease. We bring together key researchers in the mycobacterial field that encompass the diversity and complexity of infections caused by these bacteria.

Organisers

Steve Michell, Steven Gordon and Sabine Totemeyer

Post-translational modifications of proteins

Post-translational modifications used to be the preserve of ‘higher organisms’. However, a plethora of post-translational modifications (PTMs) – both reversible and irreversible – have now been identified in microbes. In particular, recent advances in proteomic technologies have accelerated the rate at which new PTMs are being discovered and characterised. These efforts have revealed a number of important ‘new kids on the block’ that are revolutionising the way we think about microbial physiology. At the same time, we continue to unearth hitherto unexpected insights into the role(s) played by ‘well-established’ PTMs such as glycosylation. In this two-day symposium, the world’s most influential researchers in microbial PTMs will review their fields and provide us with an update about recent advances in chemical modifications as diverse as phosphorylation, fatty acylation and acetylation, PUP/SUMOylation, ubiquitinylation and glycosylation (to name just a few), as well as more unusual modifications that have only recently been discovered. This will be followed by a focused half-day session dedicated exclusively to the technologies that can be used to identify, quantify and investigate PTMs in microbial systems.

Organisers

Martin Welch, Steve Michell, Janet Quinn and Mick Tuite

The hostile cell: Intrinsic antiviral immunity – part 1

The innate immune system represents the first line of defence against infection. It consists of a number of constitutively expressed and inducible factors that suppress or prevent virus infection. Some of these are well-characterised, others are still poorly understood. This symposium will highlight the roles of these anti-viral factors in the immune responses of both vertebrate and non-vertebrate species, and discuss the mechanisms by which they create an environment hostile to virus replication. Virus countermeasures to these processes will also be described. The symposium will take place concurrently with the restriction factor workshop, allowing a forum for the exchange of ideas between disparate groups of virologists.

Organisers

Andrew MacDonald, James Stewart

Wednesday 23 March, Morning

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 and Sabine Totemeyer

The model microbe – how far can it go?

For many years, researchers have turned to simple and experimentally amenable microbial organisms to understand the basic workings of the cell. In recent years the range of organisms used in research has expanded in parallel with the huge developments in genome sequencing and molecular biology. As the genetic basis of many human diseases is becoming clear, molecular studies in simplified model systems can be used to determine gene function and give insights into disease pathology. This timely and widely relevant session will highlight and promote the systems and experimental approaches being used today.

Organisers

Jason King, Elinor Thompson and Gareth Bloomfield

Clinical Virology Network

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

Miren Iturriza-Gomara and Matthew Donati

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

Geertje Van Keulen, Ryan Seipke and Sarah Kuehne

Mining microbial diversity for pleasure and profit

Microbes are wonderful chemists and their ability to produce pleasurable flavours and fragrances in foods and drinks has been exploited for thousands of years. Technological progress is now allowing us to extend the uses of yeasts and bacteria from things like brewing and cheese-making all the way to making renewable chemicals to reduce the rate of climate change. This session will bring together university and industry scientists to showcase the extraordinary variety of Nature’s microbial treasure trove and demonstrate how advances in genome mining and synthetic biology are unlocking this natural diversity to an ever-increasing extent. The benefits to society of re-discovering traditional foods and flavours as well as building new businesses harnessing the power of microbiology are many and an exciting ‘taste’ of future possibilities will permeate the meeting.

Organisers

Ian Roberts, Ed Louis, John Morrissey and Elinor Thompson

Virus workshop: DNA viruses

This workshop will include abstracts on aspects of DNA virology. The workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses, starting with pathogenesis to focus the audience on the diversity of diseases they cause. The session will then move on to cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies. The host response to infection will be covered, for example the acquired immune responses, together with vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection.

Organisers

Gill Elliott, Jo Parish, James Stewart and Colin Crump

Virus workshop: Positive strand RNA viruses

This workshop will include abstracts on aspects of positive strand RNA virology. The workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses, starting with pathogenesis to focus the audience on the diversity of diseases they cause. The session will then move on to cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies. The host response to infection will be covered, for example the acquired immune responses, together with vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection.

Organisers

David Evans, Adrian Fox and Erica Bickerton

Virus workshop: Restriction factors

This workshop will include abstracts on aspects of restriction factor biology including constitutively expressed and interferon-induced host factors. We wish to fully explore the complexities of restriction factor function and the countermeasures employed by viruses. Depending upon submissions we will cover host restriction to virus entry and uncoating followed by genome replication and, where relevant, integration. The session will then move on to cover virus genome editing and host strategies to prevent virion packaging and release. Evasion strategies of human and animal pathogens will be covered. 

Organisers

Alain Kohl and Andrew MacDonald

Virus workshop: Viral haemorrhagic fevers

This workshop will include abstracts on aspect of viral haemorrhagic fevers and the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of the viruses that cause these diseases, covering their pathogenesis, virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. There will be an opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks, epidemiological studies and diagnostics. The host response to infection will be covered, for example the acquired immune responses, together with vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies being developed to combat infection.

Organisers

Stephen Griffin, Alain Kohl and David Evans

Wednesday 23 March, Afternoon

The model microbe – how far can it go?

For many years, researchers have turned to simple and experimentally amenable microbial organisms to understand the basic workings of the cell. In recent years the range of organisms used in research has expanded in parallel with the huge developments in genome sequencing and molecular biology. As the genetic basis of many human diseases is becoming clear, molecular studies in simplified model systems can be used to determine gene function and give insights into disease pathology. This timely and widely relevant session will highlight and promote the systems and experimental approaches being used today.

Organisers

Jason King, Elinor Thompson and Gareth Bloomfield

Insights from within: Current understanding of microbial interactions with insects

Understanding of critical interactions of insects with microbes has made great progress in recent years, fuelled by methodological advances in (ecological) genomics and analytical techniques. This symposium highlights current advances in insect microbiology at different scales, from molecular insights into insect-microbe dependencies to recognition and application of microbial intervention mechanisms that affect insect behaviour and transmission of pathogens and the dynamics of insect microbiome assembly.

Organisers

Geertje van Keulen, Ryan Seipke, Thorsten Allers and Miranda Whitten

Mining microbial diversity for pleasure and profit

Microbes are wonderful chemists and their ability to produce pleasurable flavours and fragrances in foods and drinks has been exploited for thousands of years. Technological progress is now allowing us to extend the uses of yeasts and bacteria from things like brewing and cheese-making all the way to making renewable chemicals to reduce the rate of climate change. This session will bring together university and industry scientists to showcase the extraordinary variety of Nature’s microbial treasure trove and demonstrate how advances in genome mining and synthetic biology are unlocking this natural diversity to an ever-increasing extent. The benefits to society of re-discovering traditional foods and flavours as well as building new businesses harnessing the power of microbiology are many and an exciting ‘taste’ of future possibilities will permeate the meeting.

Organisers

Ian Roberts, Ed Louis, John Morrissey and Elinor Thompson

Prokaryotic cell biology forum

This forum will consider work on all fundamental aspects of the physiology, biochemistry and structure of prokaryotic cells. This includes metabolism, synthesis and transport of macromolecules, membrane transport of ions and small molecules, the cell cycle, cell architecture, differentiation, sensing and cellular responses, signalling and communication, bioenergetics and the structure, and function and mode of action of microbial factors. Papers on the engineering and applications of microbes will also be welcome.

Organisers

Steve Michell and Mark Webber

Prokaryotic genetics 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 and Thorsten Allers

Virus workshop: DNA viruses

This workshop will include abstracts on aspects of DNA virology. The workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses, starting with pathogenesis to focus the audience on the diversity of diseases they cause. The session will then move on to cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies. The host response to infection will be covered, for example the acquired immune responses, together with vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection.

Organisers

Gill Elliott, Jo Parish, James Stewart and Colin Crump

Virus workshop: Negative strand RNA viruses

This workshop will include abstracts on aspects of negative strand RNA virology. Depending upon submissions the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses, starting with pathogenesis to focus the audience on the diversity of diseases they cause. The session will then move on to cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies. The host response to infection will be covered, for example the acquired immune responses, together with vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection.

Organisers

Wendy Barclay and Silke Schepelmann

Virus workshop: Positive strand viruses, double stranded RNA viruses and plant viruses

This workshop will include abstracts on aspects of the biology of positive strand RNA, double stranded RNA or plant viruses. Depending upon submissions the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses, starting with pathogenesis to focus the audience on the diversity of diseases they cause. The session will then move on to cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Both human, animal and plant pathogens will be covered as will the host responses to infection, for example the acquired immune or RNAi responses, together with vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection.

Organisers

David Evans, Adrian Fox and Erica Bickerton

Virus workshop: Retroviruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of retrovirus biology. Depending upon submissions the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of these viruses, starting with pathogenesis to focus the audience on the diversity of diseases they cause. The session will then move on to cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies. The host response to infection will be covered, for example the acquired immune responses, together with vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection.

Organisers

Cathy Adamson and Kate Bishop

Thursday 24 March, Morning

The hostile cell: Intrinsic antiviral immunity – part 2

The innate immune system represents the first line of defence against infection. It consists of a number of constitutively expressed and inducible factors that suppress or prevent virus infection. Some of these are well-characterised, others are still poorly understood. This symposium will highlight the roles of these anti-viral factors in the immune responses of both vertebrate and non-vertebrate species, and discuss the mechanisms by which they create an environment hostile to virus replication. Virus countermeasures to these processes will also be described. The symposium will take place concurrently with the restriction factor workshop, allowing a forum for the exchange of ideas between disparate groups of virologists.

Organisers

Andrew MacDonald and James Stewart

The global transcriptional landscape: Small changes, big effects

The role of global regulatory systems in controlling the transcriptional landscape in bacteria has been a cornerstone of modern molecular microbiology. Much of this work has focussed on how regulators such as HNS, two component systems and quorum sensing systems allow bacteria to control expression in response to changes in their environment. Recent methodological advances have opened exciting new avenues in our approach to studying factors that affect the global transcriptional landscape in bacteria. In this symposium we will focus on the interplay between acquisition of genetic material and changes in the global transcriptional profile in bacteria, and how seemingly stochastic processes such as chromosomal position or methylation patterns have a profound effect on the global transcriptional profile and bacterial phenotypes.

Organisers

Lori Snyder, Mark Webber and Alan McNally

Insights from within: Current understanding of microbial interactions with insects

Understanding of critical interactions of insects with microbes has made great progress in recent years, fuelled by methodological advances in (ecological) genomics and analytical techniques. This symposium highlights current advances in insect microbiology at different scales, from molecular insights into insect-microbe dependencies to recognition and application of microbial intervention mechanisms that affect insect behaviour and transmission of pathogens and the dynamics of insect microbiome assembly.

Organisers

Geertje van Keulen, Ryan Seipke, Thorsten Allers and Miranda Whitten

Thursday 24 March, Afternoon

Insights from within: Current understanding of microbial interactions with insects

Understanding of critical interactions of insects with microbes has made great progress in recent years, fuelled by methodological advances in (ecological) genomics and analytical techniques. This symposium highlights current advances in insect microbiology at different scales, from molecular insights into insect-microbe dependencies to recognition and application of microbial intervention mechanisms that affect insect behaviour and transmission of pathogens and the dynamics of insect microbiome assembly.

Organisers

Geertje van Keulen, Ryan Seipke, Thorsten Allers and Miranda Whitten

The global transcriptional landscape: Small changes, big effects

The role of global regulatory systems in controlling the transcriptional landscape in bacteria has been a cornerstone of modern molecular microbiology. Much of this work has focussed on how regulators such as HNS, two component systems and quorum sensing systems allow bacteria to control expression in response to changes in their environment. Recent methodological advances have opened exciting new avenues in our approach to studying factors that affect the global transcriptional landscape in bacteria. In this symposium we will focus on the interplay between acquisition of genetic material and changes in the global transcriptional profile in bacteria, and how seemingly stochastic processes such as chromosomal position or methylation patterns have a profound effect on the global transcriptional profile and bacterial phenotypes.

Organisers

Lori Snyder, Mark Webber and Alan McNally

The hostile cell: Intrinsic antiviral immunity – part 2

The innate immune system represents the first line of defence against infection. It consists of a number of constitutively expressed and inducible factors that suppress or prevent virus infection. Some of these are well-characterised, others are still poorly understood. This symposium will highlight the roles of these anti-viral factors in the immune responses of both vertebrate and non-vertebrate species, and discuss the mechanisms by which they create an environment hostile to virus replication. Virus countermeasures to these processes will also be described. The symposium will take place concurrently with the restriction factor workshop, allowing a forum for the exchange of ideas between disparate groups of virologists.

Organisers

Andrew MacDonald and James Stewart

Lecture View

Monday 21 March, Morning

Monday 21 March, Afternoon

Tuesday 22 March, Morning

Tuesday 22 March, Afternoon