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Overview

The Microbiology Society will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2020.

To celebrate this milestone, the organisation's flagship Annual Conference will - for one time only - be extended to five days and will take place between Monday 30 March and Friday 3 April 2020.

This prestigious meeting will be held at Edinburgh International Convention Centre (EICC) in the beautiful city of Edinburgh and will include an additional, high-profile “Fleming Showcase” (Monday).

This will be followed by the standard four days (Tuesday–Friday) of scientific sessions. As ever, these sessions are designed to demonstrate the impact and potential of microbiology to address important global challenges.

Annual Conference 2020 is therefore designed to cover the breadth of microbiology research and its comprehensive scientific programme has over 30 sessions taking place over five days in a range of formats, including:

Symposia

  • Thriving under stress: manipulation of cellular responses by viruses
  • Viruses that get under your skin – virus infections of skin and associated epithelia
  • Starve the livestock pathogen, feed the world
  • Outer layers of microbiology
  • Dyanamic cell
  • Exploring the eukaryotic tree of life
  • Back to the future
  • Marine microbiology
  • Bioproduction and biomaterials
  • Novel eukaryotic drug targets
  • AMR
  • The secret life of mobile genetic elements
  • Phage biology
  • Toxins and antitoxins
  • Bacteroidetes
  • Epigenetics
  • Public health microbiology
  • Bacteroidetes: the microbiota and beyond
  • Microbes and their metabolites: metabolic networks underpinning microbe-host interactions

Virology workshops

  • DNA viruses
  • Positive strand and double-stranded RNA viruses
  • Negative strand viruses
  • Retrorivuses
  • Clinical virology
  • Cell stress and viruses

Eukaryotic and prokaryotic forums

  • Environmental and applied microbiology forum
  • Genetics and genomics forum
  • Infection forum
  • Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

Microbiology Society sessions

  • Teaching in higher education
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fellowship
  • Bioinformatics
  • Unconscious bias
  • A sustainable future: The role of microbiology in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

 

Programme

Type

Session

Session View

Monday 30 March, Morning

Fleming Showcase

In celebration of the Society’s 75th anniversary, Annual Conference will include an additional Fleming Showcase day at the start of Annual Conference week. The Microbiology Society’s Fleming Prize is awarded each year to an early career researcher who has achieved an outstanding research record within 12 years of being awarded their PhD. The Fleming Showcase will be used as an opportunity to formally observe the legacy of past Fleming Prize winners and to examine some of the most exciting science from around the globe. The day is organised by a Committee of Past Fleming Prize Winners, which is Chaired by Sir Paul Nurse and will be compèred by academic, writer and television broadcaster, Professor Alice Roberts. This will run on Monday 30 March 2020 and will be followed by the standard 4-days of scientific sessions.

Organisers

Organisers: Paul Nurse (Francis Crick Institute, UK); Tracy Palmer (University of Newcastle, UK); Andrew Davidson (University of Glasgow, UK); Sarah Coulthurst (University of Dundee, UK); David Grainger (University of Birmingham, UK)

Monday 30 March, Afternoon

Fleming Showcase

In celebration of the Society’s 75th anniversary, Annual Conference will include an additional Fleming Showcase day at the start of Annual Conference week. The Microbiology Society’s Fleming Prize is awarded each year to an early career researcher who has achieved an outstanding research record within 12 years of being awarded their PhD. The Fleming Showcase will be used as an opportunity to formally observe the legacy of past Fleming Prize winners and to examine some of the most exciting science from around the globe. The day is organised by a Committee of Past Fleming Prize Winners, which is Chaired by Sir Paul Nurse and will be compèred by academic, writer and television broadcaster, Professor Alice Roberts. This will run on Monday 30 March 2020 and will be followed by the standard 4-days of scientific sessions.

Organisers

Organisers: Paul Nurse (Francis Crick Institute, UK); Tracy Palmer (University of Newcastle, UK); Andrew Davidson (University of Glasgow, UK); Sarah Coulthurst (University of Dundee, UK); David Grainger (University of Birmingham, UK)

Tuesday 31 March, Morning

AMR

'The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. There is a danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug making them resistant'. Since Alexander Fleming's prophetic warning in 1945, antimicrobial resistance has rapidly developed into a critically important global health threat. How bad is AMR, and what can we do about it? This session will start by looking at the global scale of the AMR problem, then delve into the causes of AMR, and finally address some of the potential solutions. The session aims to bring together scientists with interests in AMR, across the fields of epidemiology, global public health, mechanisms of AMR development and spread, antimicrobial stewardship and discovery of novel therapeutics.

Organisers

Jody Winter (Nottingham Trent University, UK), Meera Unnikrishnan (Warwick University, UK), Jennifer Ritchie (University of Surrey, UK)

Back to the future

This session follows the theme of the 75th anniversary meeting by looking at the past history of microbiology and how drawing from lessons of the past informs our research today. It will explore technologies today that are making use of techniques established decades ago, research that is delving into microbial archaeology to better understand pathogens of today and tomorrow, and investigations that are rediscovering and repurposing pharmaceuticals and treatments from previous eras.

Offered reflections on microbial practice in a specific area, application or technique are encouraged with a view to adoption of ‘historic’ ideas, or to highlight novel developments.

Organisers

Organisers: Edward Louis (University of Leicester, UK); Eilnor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK) and Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK)

Bacteroidetes: the microbiota and beyond

The Bacteroidetes are abundant colonisers of humans where they are one of the two dominant phyla. This session will focus on the many and varied interactions of the anaerobic Bacteroidetes with the human host, both as members of the normal resident microbiota and as opportunistic pathogens. Aspects of the physiology, metabolism and molecular genetics of Bacteroidetes, such as Bacteroides, Prevotella and Porphyromonas will be addressed along with potential cancer, Alzheimer’s and other disease associations. In addition to being of interest to researchers working on specific members of the Bacteroidetes, researchers studying oral, gastrointestinal tract and female genital system microbiomes will gain key insights into these important members of the microbiota. Offered papers relating to all aspects of the Bacteroidetes will be considered for presentation within the symposium.

Organisers

Organisers: Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK); Garry Blakely (Edinburgh University, UK)

Epigenetic phenomena in microorganisms

Over the last decade there have been an increasing number of reports of phenotypic changes in microorganisms that cannot be explained by changes in DNA sequence or genome rearrangements. These so-called epigenetic phenomena represent a number of different underlying mechanisms ranging from DNA modification and chromatin remodelling to inherited conformational changes in cellular proteins. These reversible molecular processes can impact on the expression of large numbers of genes and thus represent a means of rapidly changing the transcriptional programme of a microorganism without genome modification. This session will cover the wide range of epigenetic phenomena in bacteria, fungi and protozoa.

Organisers

Organisers: Mick Tuite (University of Kent, UK); Alessia Buscaino (University of Kent, UK)

Marine microbiology

Microbial life dominates the marine environment. Collectively their biomass greatly exceeds that of all other life forms in the oceans. Marine microbes have thrived in the world’s seas for billions of years and their diversity outweighs all non-microbial marine life combined. Microbes make the oceans work. They form and sustain global biogeochemical cycles, underpin food webs and maintain (or sometimes perturb) ecosystem health. Marine microbes are also a valuable source of biomolecules and enzymes, with great biotechnological potential. The session will bring together microbiologists from a range of fields with a collective interest in Marine Microbiology. The session will broadly cover three overarching themes; ‘marine microbial biogeochemistry’, ‘microbial symbiosis and interaction’, and ‘harnessing the potential of marine microbes’. As well as presentations from established research leaders in the field, the session will also showcase early career researchers.

Organisers

Organisers: Michael Cunliffe (Marine Biological Association, UK); Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK); James McDonald (Bangor University, UK) and Katherine Helliwell (Marine Biological Association, UK)

Teaching microbiology in higher education symposium

This symposium will deliver sessions dedicated to pertinent areas of interest for those involved in teaching in higher education. Delegates will have the opportunity to learn from the experience of those involved in AMR outreach and engagement activities. HEA fellowships will be explored in its wider breadth and an application workshop will allow delegates to receive feedback on how to write an application. The symposium will also create a platform for those involved in using and creating digital platforms for teaching microbiology with live demonstrations. Participants will have the opportunity to explore these platforms and hear from experts about its use. Those involved in teaching, wanting to pursue a teaching focused role or keep up to date with new techniques and standards, including post-doctoral demonstrators, are encouraged to attend.

Organisers

Tadhg Ó'Cróinín (University College Dublin, Ireland); Nicola Crewe (University of Lincoln, UK); James Edwards (Plymouth University, UK); Alison Graham (University of Newcastle, UK); Chris Randall (University of Leeds, UK)

Viruses that get under your skin – virus infections of skin and associated epithelia

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It possesses a complex architecture of differentiated layers of keratinocytes and immune cells, including Langerhans cells, macrophages and dendritic cells that together provide an efficient barrier to pathogens. Nonetheless, the skin remains the natural route of entry and/or site of replication for many viruses, some of which also depend on it for shedding. This symposium will focus on recent breakthroughs in our understanding of virus-host interactions in the skin and the underlying molecular mechanisms behind these. Topics will include virus replication in the skin; virus control of cell differentiation; virus induced cancers at these sites; and immune responses in the skin to insect-delivered viruses. Viral-host interactions at surfaces associated with the skin, such as oral epithelium and the reproductive tract will be included.

Organisers

Organisers: Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK); Christopher McCormick (University of Southampton, UK) and Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland)

Tuesday 31 March, Afternoon

AMR

'The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. There is a danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug making them resistant'. Since Alexander Fleming's prophetic warning in 1945, antimicrobial resistance has rapidly developed into a critically important global health threat. How bad is AMR, and what can we do about it? This session will start by looking at the global scale of the AMR problem, then delve into the causes of AMR, and finally address some of the potential solutions. The session aims to bring together scientists with interests in AMR, across the fields of epidemiology, global public health, mechanisms of AMR development and spread, antimicrobial stewardship and discovery of novel therapeutics.

Organisers

Jody Winter (Nottingham Trent University, UK), Meera Unnikrishnan (Warwick University, UK), Jennifer Ritchie (University of Surrey, UK)

Back to the future

This session follows the theme of the 75th anniversary meeting by looking at the past history of microbiology and how drawing from lessons of the past informs our research today. It will explore technologies today that are making use of techniques established decades ago, research that is delving into microbial archaeology to better understand pathogens of today and tomorrow, and investigations that are rediscovering and repurposing pharmaceuticals and treatments from previous eras.

Offered reflections on microbial practice in a specific area, application or technique are encouraged with a view to adoption of ‘historic’ ideas, or to highlight novel developments.

Organisers

Organisers: Edward Louis (University of Leicester, UK); Eilnor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK) and Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK)

Bacteroidetes: the microbiota and beyond

The Bacteroidetes are abundant colonisers of humans where they are one of the two dominant phyla. This session will focus on the many and varied interactions of the anaerobic Bacteroidetes with the human host, both as members of the normal resident microbiota and as opportunistic pathogens. Aspects of the physiology, metabolism and molecular genetics of Bacteroidetes, such as Bacteroides, Prevotella and Porphyromonas will be addressed along with potential cancer, Alzheimer’s and other disease associations. In addition to being of interest to researchers working on specific members of the Bacteroidetes, researchers studying oral, gastrointestinal tract and female genital system microbiomes will gain key insights into these important members of the microbiota. Offered papers relating to all aspects of the Bacteroidetes will be considered for presentation within the symposium.

Organisers

Organisers: Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK); Garry Blakely (Edinburgh University, UK)

Epigenetic phenomena in microorganisms

Over the last decade there have been an increasing number of reports of phenotypic changes in microorganisms that cannot be explained by changes in DNA sequence or genome rearrangements. These so-called epigenetic phenomena represent a number of different underlying mechanisms ranging from DNA modification and chromatin remodelling to inherited conformational changes in cellular proteins. These reversible molecular processes can impact on the expression of large numbers of genes and thus represent a means of rapidly changing the transcriptional programme of a microorganism without genome modification. This session will cover the wide range of epigenetic phenomena in bacteria, fungi and protozoa.

Organisers

Organisers: Mick Tuite (University of Kent, UK); Alessia Buscaino (University of Kent, UK)

Marine microbiology

Microbial life dominates the marine environment. Collectively their biomass greatly exceeds that of all other life forms in the oceans. Marine microbes have thrived in the world’s seas for billions of years and their diversity outweighs all non-microbial marine life combined. Microbes make the oceans work. They form and sustain global biogeochemical cycles, underpin food webs and maintain (or sometimes perturb) ecosystem health. Marine microbes are also a valuable source of biomolecules and enzymes, with great biotechnological potential. The session will bring together microbiologists from a range of fields with a collective interest in Marine Microbiology. The session will broadly cover three overarching themes; ‘marine microbial biogeochemistry’, ‘microbial symbiosis and interaction’, and ‘harnessing the potential of marine microbes’. As well as presentations from established research leaders in the field, the session will also showcase early career researchers.

Organisers

Organisers: Michael Cunliffe (Marine Biological Association, UK); Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK); James McDonald (Bangor University, UK) and Katherine Helliwell (Marine Biological Association, UK)

Teaching microbiology in higher education symposium

This symposium will deliver sessions dedicated to pertinent areas of interest for those involved in teaching in higher education. Delegates will have the opportunity to learn from the experience of those involved in AMR outreach and engagement activities. HEA fellowships will be explored in its wider breadth and an application workshop will allow delegates to receive feedback on how to write an application. The symposium will also create a platform for those involved in using and creating digital platforms for teaching microbiology with live demonstrations. Participants will have the opportunity to explore these platforms and hear from experts about its use. Those involved in teaching, wanting to pursue a teaching focused role or keep up to date with new techniques and standards, including post-doctoral demonstrators, are encouraged to attend.

Organisers

Tadhg Ó'Cróinín (University College Dublin, Ireland); Nicola Crewe (University of Lincoln, UK); James Edwards (Plymouth University, UK); Alison Graham (University of Newcastle, UK); Chris Randall (University of Leeds, UK)

Viruses that get under your skin – virus infections of skin and associated epithelia

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It possesses a complex architecture of differentiated layers of keratinocytes and immune cells, including Langerhans cells, macrophages and dendritic cells that together provide an efficient barrier to pathogens. Nonetheless, the skin remains the natural route of entry and/or site of replication for many viruses, some of which also depend on it for shedding. This symposium will focus on recent breakthroughs in our understanding of virus-host interactions in the skin and the underlying molecular mechanisms behind these. Topics will include virus replication in the skin; virus control of cell differentiation; virus induced cancers at these sites; and immune responses in the skin to insect-delivered viruses. Viral-host interactions at surfaces associated with the skin, such as oral epithelium and the reproductive tract will be included.

Organisers

Organisers: Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK); Christopher McCormick (University of Southampton, UK) and Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland)

Wednesday 01 April, Morning

Marine microbiology

Microbial life dominates the marine environment. Collectively their biomass greatly exceeds that of all other life forms in the oceans. Marine microbes have thrived in the world’s seas for billions of years and their diversity outweighs all non-microbial marine life combined. Microbes make the oceans work. They form and sustain global biogeochemical cycles, underpin food webs and maintain (or sometimes perturb) ecosystem health. Marine microbes are also a valuable source of biomolecules and enzymes, with great biotechnological potential. The session will bring together microbiologists from a range of fields with a collective interest in Marine Microbiology. The session will broadly cover three overarching themes; ‘marine microbial biogeochemistry’, ‘microbial symbiosis and interaction’, and ‘harnessing the potential of marine microbes’. As well as presentations from established research leaders in the field, the session will also showcase early career researchers.

Organisers

Organisers: Michael Cunliffe (Marine Biological Association, UK); Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK); James McDonald (Bangor University, UK) and Katherine Helliwell (Marine Biological Association, UK)

AMR

'The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. There is a danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug making them resistant'. Since Alexander Fleming's prophetic warning in 1945, antimicrobial resistance has rapidly developed into a critically important global health threat. How bad is AMR, and what can we do about it? This session will start by looking at the global scale of the AMR problem, then delve into the causes of AMR, and finally address some of the potential solutions. The session aims to bring together scientists with interests in AMR, across the fields of epidemiology, global public health, mechanisms of AMR development and spread, antimicrobial stewardship and discovery of novel therapeutics.

Organisers

Jody Winter (Nottingham Trent University, UK), Meera Unnikrishnan (Warwick University, UK), Jennifer Ritchie (University of Surrey, UK)

Essential skills - Entrepreneurship

This session will provide participants with useful information about the key areas of business to consider when becoming a scientific entrepreneur. Participants will be given a checklist of considerations from patents and funding to marketing strategies and creating a team. Microbiology entrepreneurs will provide insight into how they transformed their scientific research into business ideas. Those interested in practicing presenting their business ideas or wanting feedback are invited to submit their proposal. This session will also be useful for those considering a business idea.

Organisers

Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

Identifying novel eukaryotic drug targets and mechanisms of action

The ever-increasing drive to improve societal health has provided enormous advances in the medicinal treatment of diseases and conditions. At the heart of many of these advances is the identification and validation of new drugs – relating to both non-infectious and infection-related diseases. Past approaches in drug discovery were primarily based upon demonstrated efficacy in mammalian models. However, nowadays, the pharmaceutical industry requires a validated mechanism of action for new drugs to improve confidence in these products. Identifying these targets and mechanism in mammalian models is highly problematic due to the restricted nature of experimental approaches using mammalian cells, because of the complex nature and genetic redundancy of mammalian biology, and in the field of eukaryotic pathogen research these models are complicated by the high degree of homology between the host and the infection. To aid this research, Eukaryotic microbial models have been employed to in the field of drug discovery particularly relating to identifying targets and mechanism of action in both infection biology and in many other areas beyond this (i.e. identification of the mechanisms of action for novel anti-cancer or anti-epileptic drugs). This session will focus on the use of eukaryotic microbial models for the identification of drug targets and their respective mechanisms of action, ranging from the identification of novel therapeutics for the treatment both in infection and other disease paradigms. It will seek to cover a variety of eukaryotic systems, including yeast, fungi, social microbes and trypanosomes, looking at medical drug discovery and drug target research, in wide ranging fields of medicine.

Organisers

Robin Williams (Royal Holloway, UK) and Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, 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

Virology workshop: DNA viruses

This 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

Organisers: Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK); Blair Strang (St George's, University of London, UK)

Virology workshop: Negative strand viruses

This 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

Holly Shelton (Pirbright Institute, UK) and Martina Scallan (University College Cork, Ireland)

Virology workshop: Positive strand and double-strand RNA viruses

This 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

Organisers: Steve Griffin, University of Leeds and Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Virology workshop: Retroviruses

This 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

Organisers: Rachael Tarlinton (University of Nottingham, UK) and Tamyo Mbisa (Public Health England, UK)

Wednesday 01 April, Afternoon

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 systematics, comparative genomics, metagenomics, bioinformatics, and synthetic biology.

Organisers

Identifying novel eukaryotic drug targets and mechanisms of action

The ever-increasing drive to improve societal health has provided enormous advances in the medicinal treatment of diseases and conditions. At the heart of many of these advances is the identification and validation of new drugs – relating to both non-infectious and infection-related diseases. Past approaches in drug discovery were primarily based upon demonstrated efficacy in mammalian models. However, nowadays, the pharmaceutical industry requires a validated mechanism of action for new drugs to improve confidence in these products. Identifying these targets and mechanism in mammalian models is highly problematic due to the restricted nature of experimental approaches using mammalian cells, because of the complex nature and genetic redundancy of mammalian biology, and in the field of eukaryotic pathogen research these models are complicated by the high degree of homology between the host and the infection. To aid this research, Eukaryotic microbial models have been employed to in the field of drug discovery particularly relating to identifying targets and mechanism of action in both infection biology and in many other areas beyond this (i.e. identification of the mechanisms of action for novel anti-cancer or anti-epileptic drugs). This session will focus on the use of eukaryotic microbial models for the identification of drug targets and their respective mechanisms of action, ranging from the identification of novel therapeutics for the treatment both in infection and other disease paradigms. It will seek to cover a variety of eukaryotic systems, including yeast, fungi, social microbes and trypanosomes, looking at medical drug discovery and drug target research, in wide ranging fields of medicine.

Organisers

Robin Williams (Royal Holloway, UK) and Rebecca Hall (University of Birmingham, UK)

Virology workshop: Cell stress and viruses

The synthesis of viral proteins and genome is dependent on gaining control of the host cell translation machinery, imposing major stress on the host. In response to this stress, infected cells can induce several defence mechanisms to promote cell survival, pathogen elimination or to restrict the use/availability of energy and nutrients. This session will bring together scientists interested in the multiple cellular stress responses triggered, and subsequently manipulated, by viruses. These responses include metabolic stress, pathogen sensing, autophagy, protein quality control, the DNA damage response, inflammation and stress granules. Many of these pathways are essential for the maintenance of the cellular proteostasis network and are intimately linked to antiviral defences. Therefore, this session will illustrate novel and elegant interactions viruses have evolved to manipulate these stress responses by hijacking, co-opting or inactivating their individual components. Through understanding of these interactions fundamental new insight into key biological processes is revealed. Furthermore, it has the potential to identify new opportunities for the development of novel therapeutic antiviral strategies. Thus, this session will be of broad appeal to virologists interested in a particular pathogen and the general process of pathogenesis, but also cell biologists or microbiologists with interest in specific cellular stress responses.

Organisers

Organisers: Matthew Reeves (University College London, UK), Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK), Claire Shannon-Lowe (Universit of Birmingham, UK)

Virology workshop: Clinical Virology

This workshop will involve a range of clinical virology cases. 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

Tamyo Mbisa (Public Health England, UK) and Stephen Winchester (Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust)

Virology workshop: DNA viruses

This 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

Organisers: Gill Elliott (University of Surrey, UK); Blair Strang (St George's, University of London, UK)

Virology workshop: Negative strand viruses

This 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

Holly Shelton (Pirbright Institute, UK) and Martina Scallan (University College Cork, Ireland)

Virology workshop: Positive strand and double-strand RNA viruses

This 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

Organisers: Steve Griffin, University of Leeds and Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Thursday 02 April, Morning

Essential skills - Fellowship

Funding advisors will provide participants with greater clarity around fellowship strategies and application processes. Attendees will learn how to find the best fellowships for them and will learn from those who have recently been awarded fellowships. Those wishing to gain personal one-to-one feedback and advise from experts are welcome sign up to attend an allocated time slot during the application surgery. Early and mid-career researchers wanting to explore fellowship application processes are encouraged to attend.

Organisers

Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

Microbes and their metabolites: metabolic networks underpinning microbe-host interactions

Microbes are versatile metabolic factories that have the potential to produce a wide range of metabolites, including small bioactive compounds. Many microbes also have specific symbiotic interactions with multicellular organisms, including insects and other animals. There is now an increasing body of work showing that some microbial metabolites have important roles in controlling the development and/or behaviour of these multicellular organisms. In this symposium the role of metabolites produced by complex microbial communities, such as the gut microbiota, in animal health and development will be explored. This symposium will also discuss the role of specific signalling molecules that are produced by microbes and have been shown to have key roles in regulating the life-cycles of their animal hosts. Finally, in addition to making metabolites, the symposium will hear how microbes can transform one type of molecule into another with potentially serious implications on the health of the host.

Organisers

Organisers: David Clarke (University College Cork, Ireland); Gunnar Schroeder (Queen's University, Belfast); Conor Feehily (Teagasc Moorepark, Republic of Ireland)

Outer layers of microbiology

This session comprises current research on the microbial cell surface which is relevant to wider microbiology and indeed biology in general. As broad a range of topics as possible will be included, to encompass microbial outer layers and their roles in communication with neighbours and the environment, signal generation, receptors and sensing, evolutionary aspects, and the function of transporters and enzymes in the membrane or cell wall. We hope these will appeal to all interests, from basic science to biomedicine and biotechnology.

Organisers

Organisers: Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK) and John Morrissey (University College Cork, Republic of Ireland)

Public health microbiology

A broad session covering the spectrum of public health microbiology applications. Invited speakers cover the practise and application of public health microbiology at the global level (Fatima Serhan, WHO) and at the national level (Gayatri Amirthalingam, PHE Colindale, UK). We cover public health microbiology at the front line including an update on the contentious issue of Lyme disease incidence and epidemiology (Anne Cruickshank, Lyme Disease Action UK); and how genomics can be incorporated fully into national level surveillance and epidemiology of infectious disease as demonstrate by Michael Weigand, CDC Atlanta, USA. We will include offered papers from across the breadth of public health microbiology to deliberately create a broad interest session.

Organisers

Organisers: Andrew Preston (University of Bath, UK) and Norman Fry (Public Health England, UK)

Starve the livestock pathogen, feed the world

With the United Nations' resolution to eliminate world hunger by 2030 and the globe's population heading toward nine billion, the agriculture industry will need to increase livestock production from the same, or less, land. Livestock is using most of the agricultural land (80% including grazing land and cropland for feed). Africa and Asia are the continents with the largest share of the world's uncultivated land, but attempts to develop and expand current capacity in order to meet the growing food demand are halted by deadly killers in the form of viruses, bacterial and protozoan parasites. This session focuses on neglected livestock diseases that have a large economic impact on poor livestock keepers in Africa and South Asia. We will showcase the latest develoments in basic and applied biology research in swine fever (V), animal trypanosomiasis (E), Brucellosis (P), pleuropneumonia (P), East Coast fever (E), fowlpox (V), Newcastle disease (V), pestes des petits ruminants (V), pocine cysticercosis (E), coccidiosis (E), Rift Valley fever (V), and sheep and goat pox (V). V=Virology; P=Prokaryotic; E=Eukaryotic.

Organisers

Catarina Gadelha (University of Nottingham, UK); Jenny Ritchie (University of Surrey, UK); Pip Beard (The Pirbright Institute, UK) and Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)

The secret life of mobile genetic elements

Bacteria host a diverse range of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) — including plasmids, transposons, integrative-conjugative elements, and prophages — that make a significant impact on the lives of the bacteria they inhabit, and beyond. As vehicles of horizontal gene transfer, MGEs facilitate rapid adaptation, allowing microbes to colonize new environments, exemplified by the alarming spread of resistance genes between lineages [1]. Changes in MGE copy number can alter gene dosage, enhancing evolution through increased mutational supply [2], while changes to genome architecture or gene expression caused by MGE activity can result in large-scale phenotypic change [3,4]. MGEs interact with one another in multifarious ways both competitive and collaborative, affecting the success of the microbes that host them [5,6]. Meanwhile, the functions encoded by MGEs represent a powerful molecular toolkit which has been repurposed by microbes for various services including gene regulation and intraspecific competition [7,8].

Often the effects of MGE activity are considered in terms of the consequences for bacterial fitness, but as MGEs often control their own replication and/or transmission, they can have distinct fitness interests and evolutionary trajectories. This fact, combined with the increasing appreciation of the ubiquity, impact, and versatility of MGEs, makes it a prime time to take an ‘MGE-eye view’ of microbiology in a dedicated Annual Conference session. As far as I am aware, there have been no sessions explicitly looking at MGEs and their relationship with one another or with their hosts over the past 10 years. As MGEs impact almost all aspects of microbiology, from biotechnology to the environment to the clinic, and at scales ranging from interactions occurring within a cell to those that have ecosystem-wide effects, a specific session placing the focus on MGEs themselves — their ecology, evolution, and molecular interactions — will encourage audience members to identify common patterns across research areas and develop an integrated view of the far-reaching contribution MGEs make to microbiology.

Selected relevant references: [1] Weingarten et al. MBio (2018) doi: 10.1128/mBio.02011-17 [2] San Millan et al. Nat. Eco. Evo. (2016) doi: 10.1038/s41559-016-0010 [3] Neale et al. Mol. Micro. (2018) doi: 10.1111/mmi.14111 [4] Wang et al. Science (2015) doi: 10.1126/science.aaf7501 [5] Fillol-Salom et al. ISME (2018) doi: 10.1038/s41396-018-0156-3 [6] McKitterick et al. Nat. Comm. (2018) doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04786-5 [7] Hockett et al. MBio (2015) doi: 10.1128/mBio.00452-15 [8] Feiner et al. Nat. Rev. Micro. (2015) doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3527. "

Organisers

Organisers: Robert Fagan (University of Sheffield, UK); James Hall (University of Liverpool, UK)

Thriving under stress: manipulation of cellular responses by viruses

The synthesis of viral proteins and genome is dependent on gaining control of the host cell translation machinery, imposing major stress on the host. In response to this stress, infected cells can induce several defence mechanisms to promote cell survival, pathogen elimination or to restrict the use/availability of energy and nutrients. This session will bring together scientists interested in the multiple cellular stress responses triggered, and subsequently manipulated, by viruses. These responses include metabolic stress, pathogen sensing, autophagy, protein quality control, the DNA damage response, inflammation and stress granules. Many of these pathways are essential for the maintenance of the cellular proteostasis network and are intimately linked to antiviral defences. Therefore, this session will illustrate novel and elegant interactions viruses have evolved to manipulate these stress responses by hijacking, co-opting or inactivating their individual components. Through understanding of these interactions fundamental new insight into key biological processes is revealed. Furthermore, it has the potential to identify new opportunities for the development of novel therapeutic antiviral strategies. Thus, this session will be of broad appeal to virologists interested in a particular pathogen and the general process of pathogenesis, but also cell biologists or microbiologists with interest in specific cellular stress responses.

Organisers

Organisers: Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK); Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Matthew Reeves (UCL, UK); Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK)

Thursday 02 April, Afternoon

Essential skills - Fellowship

Funding advisors will provide participants with greater clarity around fellowship strategies and application processes. Attendees will learn how to find the best fellowships for them and will learn from those who have recently been awarded fellowships. Those wishing to gain personal one-to-one feedback and advise from experts are welcome sign up to attend an allocated time slot during the application surgery. Early and mid-career researchers wanting to explore fellowship application processes are encouraged to attend.

Organisers

Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

Exploring the eukaryotic tree of life

This session, under the umbrella of Protistology-UK, will complement the new UK initiative “Darwin Tree of Life Project”, which aims to sequence and annotate the genomes of 66,000 UK species of animals, plants protists and fungi. This initiative is part of the “Earth BioGenome Project”, which targets to sequence all 1.5 million known eukaryotic species on earth. Protists and fungi are the main contributors to this list and we will explore their vast diversity, not only within the UK, but globally. Speakers will discuss which branches of the eukaryotic tree of life have been over/underestimated based on recent metagenomics data and which regions have been undersampled to explore and discover potentially new branches of the eukaryotic tree.

Organisers

Organisers: Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK) and Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)

Microbes and their metabolites: metabolic networks underpinning microbe-host interactions

Microbes are versatile metabolic factories that have the potential to produce a wide range of metabolites, including small bioactive compounds. Many microbes also have specific symbiotic interactions with multicellular organisms, including insects and other animals. There is now an increasing body of work showing that some microbial metabolites have important roles in controlling the development and/or behaviour of these multicellular organisms. In this symposium the role of metabolites produced by complex microbial communities, such as the gut microbiota, in animal health and development will be explored. This symposium will also discuss the role of specific signalling molecules that are produced by microbes and have been shown to have key roles in regulating the life-cycles of their animal hosts. Finally, in addition to making metabolites, the symposium will hear how microbes can transform one type of molecule into another with potentially serious implications on the health of the host.

Organisers

Organisers: David Clarke (University College Cork, Ireland); Gunnar Schroeder (Queen's University, Belfast); Conor Feehily (Teagasc Moorepark, Republic of Ireland)

Outer layers of microbiology

This session comprises current research on the microbial cell surface which is relevant to wider microbiology and indeed biology in general. As broad a range of topics as possible will be included, to encompass microbial outer layers and their roles in communication with neighbours and the environment, signal generation, receptors and sensing, evolutionary aspects, and the function of transporters and enzymes in the membrane or cell wall. We hope these will appeal to all interests, from basic science to biomedicine and biotechnology.

Organisers

Organisers: Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK) and John Morrissey (University College Cork, Republic of Ireland)

Public health microbiology

A broad session covering the spectrum of public health microbiology applications. Invited speakers cover the practise and application of public health microbiology at the global level (Fatima Serhan, WHO) and at the national level (Gayatri Amirthalingam, PHE Colindale, UK). We cover public health microbiology at the front line including an update on the contentious issue of Lyme disease incidence and epidemiology (Anne Cruickshank, Lyme Disease Action UK); and how genomics can be incorporated fully into national level surveillance and epidemiology of infectious disease as demonstrate by Michael Weigand, CDC Atlanta, USA. We will include offered papers from across the breadth of public health microbiology to deliberately create a broad interest session.

Organisers

Organisers: Andrew Preston (University of Bath, UK) and Norman Fry (Public Health England, UK)

Starve the livestock pathogen, feed the world

With the United Nations' resolution to eliminate world hunger by 2030 and the globe's population heading toward nine billion, the agriculture industry will need to increase livestock production from the same, or less, land. Livestock is using most of the agricultural land (80% including grazing land and cropland for feed). Africa and Asia are the continents with the largest share of the world's uncultivated land, but attempts to develop and expand current capacity in order to meet the growing food demand are halted by deadly killers in the form of viruses, bacterial and protozoan parasites. This session focuses on neglected livestock diseases that have a large economic impact on poor livestock keepers in Africa and South Asia. We will showcase the latest develoments in basic and applied biology research in swine fever (V), animal trypanosomiasis (E), Brucellosis (P), pleuropneumonia (P), East Coast fever (E), fowlpox (V), Newcastle disease (V), pestes des petits ruminants (V), pocine cysticercosis (E), coccidiosis (E), Rift Valley fever (V), and sheep and goat pox (V). V=Virology; P=Prokaryotic; E=Eukaryotic.

Organisers

Catarina Gadelha (University of Nottingham, UK); Jenny Ritchie (University of Surrey, UK); Pip Beard (The Pirbright Institute, UK) and Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)

The secret life of mobile genetic elements

Bacteria host a diverse range of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) — including plasmids, transposons, integrative-conjugative elements, and prophages — that make a significant impact on the lives of the bacteria they inhabit, and beyond. As vehicles of horizontal gene transfer, MGEs facilitate rapid adaptation, allowing microbes to colonize new environments, exemplified by the alarming spread of resistance genes between lineages [1]. Changes in MGE copy number can alter gene dosage, enhancing evolution through increased mutational supply [2], while changes to genome architecture or gene expression caused by MGE activity can result in large-scale phenotypic change [3,4]. MGEs interact with one another in multifarious ways both competitive and collaborative, affecting the success of the microbes that host them [5,6]. Meanwhile, the functions encoded by MGEs represent a powerful molecular toolkit which has been repurposed by microbes for various services including gene regulation and intraspecific competition [7,8].

Often the effects of MGE activity are considered in terms of the consequences for bacterial fitness, but as MGEs often control their own replication and/or transmission, they can have distinct fitness interests and evolutionary trajectories. This fact, combined with the increasing appreciation of the ubiquity, impact, and versatility of MGEs, makes it a prime time to take an ‘MGE-eye view’ of microbiology in a dedicated Annual Conference session. As far as I am aware, there have been no sessions explicitly looking at MGEs and their relationship with one another or with their hosts over the past 10 years. As MGEs impact almost all aspects of microbiology, from biotechnology to the environment to the clinic, and at scales ranging from interactions occurring within a cell to those that have ecosystem-wide effects, a specific session placing the focus on MGEs themselves — their ecology, evolution, and molecular interactions — will encourage audience members to identify common patterns across research areas and develop an integrated view of the far-reaching contribution MGEs make to microbiology.

Selected relevant references: [1] Weingarten et al. MBio (2018) doi: 10.1128/mBio.02011-17 [2] San Millan et al. Nat. Eco. Evo. (2016) doi: 10.1038/s41559-016-0010 [3] Neale et al. Mol. Micro. (2018) doi: 10.1111/mmi.14111 [4] Wang et al. Science (2015) doi: 10.1126/science.aaf7501 [5] Fillol-Salom et al. ISME (2018) doi: 10.1038/s41396-018-0156-3 [6] McKitterick et al. Nat. Comm. (2018) doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04786-5 [7] Hockett et al. MBio (2015) doi: 10.1128/mBio.00452-15 [8] Feiner et al. Nat. Rev. Micro. (2015) doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3527. "

Organisers

Organisers: Robert Fagan (University of Sheffield, UK); James Hall (University of Liverpool, UK)

Thriving under stress: manipulation of cellular responses by viruses

The synthesis of viral proteins and genome is dependent on gaining control of the host cell translation machinery, imposing major stress on the host. In response to this stress, infected cells can induce several defence mechanisms to promote cell survival, pathogen elimination or to restrict the use/availability of energy and nutrients. This session will bring together scientists interested in the multiple cellular stress responses triggered, and subsequently manipulated, by viruses. These responses include metabolic stress, pathogen sensing, autophagy, protein quality control, the DNA damage response, inflammation and stress granules. Many of these pathways are essential for the maintenance of the cellular proteostasis network and are intimately linked to antiviral defences. Therefore, this session will illustrate novel and elegant interactions viruses have evolved to manipulate these stress responses by hijacking, co-opting or inactivating their individual components. Through understanding of these interactions fundamental new insight into key biological processes is revealed. Furthermore, it has the potential to identify new opportunities for the development of novel therapeutic antiviral strategies. Thus, this session will be of broad appeal to virologists interested in a particular pathogen and the general process of pathogenesis, but also cell biologists or microbiologists with interest in specific cellular stress responses.

Organisers

Organisers: Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK); Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Matthew Reeves (UCL, UK); Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK)

Friday 03 April, Morning

Exploring the eukaryotic tree of life

This session, under the umbrella of Protistology-UK, will complement the new UK initiative “Darwin Tree of Life Project”, which aims to sequence and annotate the genomes of 66,000 UK species of animals, plants protists and fungi. This initiative is part of the “Earth BioGenome Project”, which targets to sequence all 1.5 million known eukaryotic species on earth. Protists and fungi are the main contributors to this list and we will explore their vast diversity, not only within the UK, but globally. Speakers will discuss which branches of the eukaryotic tree of life have been over/underestimated based on recent metagenomics data and which regions have been undersampled to explore and discover potentially new branches of the eukaryotic tree.

Organisers

Organisers: Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK) and Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)

A sustainable future: The role of microbiology in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

As part of the 75th anniversary activities the Society are working on an ambitious policy project, ‘A Sustainable Future’. The project aims to raise the profile of microbiology in attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and to raise the profile of SDGs within the microbiology community in UK and Ireland. This session focuses on discussions around what the project has discovered in terms of opportunities and challenges and how it intends to address these. It will also include examples of how microbiology interacts with policy and will include insights both from microbiologists and policymakers. The aim of the session is to raise the profile of the SDGs and the Society's policy work with its members. Delegates will be encouraged to think about how their work impacts on global challenges and will provide advice on how to go about influencing policy.

Organisers

Jack Doughty (Microbiology Society, UK)

Environmental and applied microbiology forum

This forum includes offered papers on any area and any organism relevant to 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

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

The dynamic (parasite) cell

Parasitic protozoa, like many eukaryotic cells, organise their molecules, structures and organelles into specialised microenvironments to accomplish particular cellular functions like energy production, cell division, nutrient update and secretion of communication signals. Parasitic microbes, however, have an extra level of constraint; they must perform these vital eukaryotic functions while the organism avoids elimination by defensive responses mounted by the host. The dynamic parasite cell session will provide a showcase for the latest cell biology research done in parasites, illustrate the use of dynamic methods to interrogate cellular function and explore mechanisms of parasite cell motility, endocytosis, metabolism, host interactions and all things cellular.

Organisers

Catarina Gadelha (University of Nottingham, UK)

Thriving under stress: manipulation of cellular responses by viruses

The synthesis of viral proteins and genome is dependent on gaining control of the host cell translation machinery, imposing major stress on the host. In response to this stress, infected cells can induce several defence mechanisms to promote cell survival, pathogen elimination or to restrict the use/availability of energy and nutrients. This session will bring together scientists interested in the multiple cellular stress responses triggered, and subsequently manipulated, by viruses. These responses include metabolic stress, pathogen sensing, autophagy, protein quality control, the DNA damage response, inflammation and stress granules. Many of these pathways are essential for the maintenance of the cellular proteostasis network and are intimately linked to antiviral defences. Therefore, this session will illustrate novel and elegant interactions viruses have evolved to manipulate these stress responses by hijacking, co-opting or inactivating their individual components. Through understanding of these interactions fundamental new insight into key biological processes is revealed. Furthermore, it has the potential to identify new opportunities for the development of novel therapeutic antiviral strategies. Thus, this session will be of broad appeal to virologists interested in a particular pathogen and the general process of pathogenesis, but also cell biologists or microbiologists with interest in specific cellular stress responses.

Organisers

Organisers: Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK); Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Matthew Reeves (UCL, UK); Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK)

Friday 03 April, Afternoon

Essential skills - Bioinformatics

This session, under the umbrella of Protistology-UK, will complement the new UK initiative “Darwin Tree of Life Project”, which aims to sequence and annotate the genomes of 66,000 UK species of animals, plants protists and fungi. This initiative is part of the “Earth BioGenome Project”, which targets to sequence all 1.5 million known eukaryotic species on earth. Protists and fungi are the main contributors to this list and we will explore their vast diversity, not only within the UK, but globally. Speakers will provide hands on bioinformatics training on which software can be used to annotate genes/proteins, but also investigate the relationships and the evolutionary history of microbial eukaryotes.

Organisers

Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK) and Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)

Phage biology

Bacteriophages have come to the forefront in recent years, in particular due to their exciting applications in treatment of resilient bacterial infections. This session will bring together various topics on phage biology ranging from fascinating fundamental biology to phage genetic engineering and novel therapeutic applications.

Organisers

Organisers: Meera Unnikrishnan (University of Warwick, UK) and Robert Fagan (University of Sheffield, UK)

A sustainable future: The role of microbiology in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

As part of the 75th anniversary activities the Society are working on an ambitious policy project, ‘A Sustainable Future’. The project aims to raise the profile of microbiology in attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and to raise the profile of SDGs within the microbiology community in UK and Ireland. This session focuses on discussions around what the project has discovered in terms of opportunities and challenges and how it intends to address these. It will also include examples of how microbiology interacts with policy and will include insights both from microbiologists and policymakers. The aim of the session is to raise the profile of the SDGs and the Society's policy work with its members. Delegates will be encouraged to think about how their work impacts on global challenges and will provide advice on how to go about influencing policy.

Organisers

Jack Doughty (Microbiology Society, UK)

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

The dynamic (parasite) cell

Parasitic protozoa, like many eukaryotic cells, organise their molecules, structures and organelles into specialised microenvironments to accomplish particular cellular functions like energy production, cell division, nutrient update and secretion of communication signals. Parasitic microbes, however, have an extra level of constraint; they must perform these vital eukaryotic functions while the organism avoids elimination by defensive responses mounted by the host. The dynamic parasite cell session will provide a showcase for the latest cell biology research done in parasites, illustrate the use of dynamic methods to interrogate cellular function and explore mechanisms of parasite cell motility, endocytosis, metabolism, host interactions and all things cellular.

Organisers

Catarina Gadelha (University of Nottingham, UK)

Thriving under stress: manipulation of cellular responses by viruses

The synthesis of viral proteins and genome is dependent on gaining control of the host cell translation machinery, imposing major stress on the host. In response to this stress, infected cells can induce several defence mechanisms to promote cell survival, pathogen elimination or to restrict the use/availability of energy and nutrients. This session will bring together scientists interested in the multiple cellular stress responses triggered, and subsequently manipulated, by viruses. These responses include metabolic stress, pathogen sensing, autophagy, protein quality control, the DNA damage response, inflammation and stress granules. Many of these pathways are essential for the maintenance of the cellular proteostasis network and are intimately linked to antiviral defences. Therefore, this session will illustrate novel and elegant interactions viruses have evolved to manipulate these stress responses by hijacking, co-opting or inactivating their individual components. Through understanding of these interactions fundamental new insight into key biological processes is revealed. Furthermore, it has the potential to identify new opportunities for the development of novel therapeutic antiviral strategies. Thus, this session will be of broad appeal to virologists interested in a particular pathogen and the general process of pathogenesis, but also cell biologists or microbiologists with interest in specific cellular stress responses.

Organisers

Organisers: Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK); Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Matthew Reeves (UCL, UK); Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK)

Lecture View

Monday 30 March, Afternoon

Fleming Showcase

 

Fleming Showcase 2020


Alexander Fleming was the first President of the Microbiology Society (1945–1947) and received a Nobel Prize for his discovery of penicillin. In celebration of the Society’s 75th anniversary, Annual Conference will include an additional “Fleming Showcase” day at the start of Annual Conference week. The event will be available to book seperately to the rest of the conference and will run on Monday 30 March 2020, followed by the standard 4-days of scientific sessions.

The Microbiology Society's Fleming Prize is awarded each year to an early career researcher who has achieved an outstanding research record within 12 years of being awarded their PhD. The Fleming Showcase will be used as an opportunity to formally observe the legacy of past Fleming Prize winners and to examine some of the most exciting science from around the globe.

The day takes place on Monday 30 March 2020.

Online registration is now open.

Register for the Fleming Showcase


The day is organised by a Committee of Past Fleming Prize Winners, which is Chaired by Sir Paul Nurse and will be compered by academic, writer and television broadcaster, Professor Alice Roberts.

Registration

Ticket Fleming Showcase (30 March 2020)

Student member
(under- or postgraduate)

Free for those registered for any part of the main Annual Conference
Other delegates £60

Upon registration you should receive an automated confirmation email. Please contact conferences@microbiologysociety.org if after 24 hours this has not been received.

Registration for the main Annual Conference requires a separate booking. More information can be found on the 'Registration' tab.

Fleming – 5 minute thesis

Young Alexander Fleming
A young Alexander Fleming pictured in 1925

Abstracts are now open for the main Annual Conference 2020 sessions. In addition to this, we are also launching a one-off call for abstract submissions from final year PhD students (and those within one year of completion) to take part in a series of five-minute thesis sessions at the Fleming Showcase.

These sessions are an opportunity for the best early career microbiologists to present their work in front of world-leading scientists, including Sir Paul Nurse FRS.

The day will focus on the influence of both established and up-and-coming scientists in addressing global challenges and will offer an opportunity to hear the legacy of past Fleming Prize winners.

To get your science in front of world-leading scientists we invite final year PhD students, and those within one year of completion, to submit: 

  • A graphical abstract. Please send us an exciting image that conveys the story of your work
  • The three key findings of your PhD in single sentence bullet points
Submit your thesis


Submission deadline: 16 September 2019

Notifications of acceptances: w/c 7 October 2019

Fleming Committee:

This special day is organised by its own Committee of Past Fleming Prize Winners who have created the content for the day and will judge the 5 minute thesis submissions. The Committee comprises:

  • Sir Paul Nurse (Francis Crick Institute, UK) – Committee Chair
  • Tracy Palmer (University of Newcastle, UK)
  • Andrew Davidson (University of Glasgow, UK)
  • Sarah Coulthurst (University of Dundee, UK)
  • David Grainger (University of Birmingham, UK)
Registration

Online registration for Annual Conference is now open. Early bird discount ends 3 March 2020.

Ticket 1 day
Early bird
2 days
Early bird
3 days
Early bird

 

4 days
Early bird

(10% discount)

Non-member £229 £458 £697 £824
Full member £125 £250 £375 £450

Concessionary/
Honorary member

£73 £146 £219 £263
Affiliate member £209 £438 £667 £804
Student member £63 £126 £189 £227

The Microbiology Society's Annual Conference is the UK's largest annual gathering of microbiologists. To ensure the meeting remains of value for this broad microbiology community, ticket prices have not increased from last year beyond the rate of inflation and a 10% discount is available for anyone registering for 4 days of the meeting. Moreover, early career microbiologists and students can attend the Fleming Showcase for free.

What's included in your registration fee?

  • Admission to all scientific sessions
  • Admission to lunchtime events
  • Full access to the trade exhibition
  • Full access to scientific poster sessions
  • Hot buffet lunch daily
  • Tea and coffee breaks daily
  • Two drinks during the drinks receptions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings
  • A delegate bag and Conference material
  • A Conference programme guide
  • Access to an online abstracts book
  • Access the new event app.
  • Certificate of Attendance
  • Access to CPD Points

What’s not included in your registration fee?

  • Registration for the Fleming Showcase requires a separate booking. More information can be found on the Fleming Showcase tab.

Registration confirmation

Upon registration you should receive an automated confirmation email. Please contact conferences@microbiologysociety.org if after 24 hours this has not been received.

Visa applications

If you need a letter of invitation for a visa application, we will be happy to supply this after we have received full payment. To find out if you need a visa to visit the UK, please visit the UK visa and immigration website.

It is the policy of the Microbiology Society not to supply an invitation letter to any delegate without payment and we will not reply to any request from an unregistered delegate. When the delegate has paid, the Conference office will email back a confirmation/receipt letter and, upon request, a letter of invitation, which may be used to obtain the necessary visa.

Please note that all conference delegates are responsible for their own travel and visa arrangements; the Microbiology Society will not take any responsibility for travel or visa problems.

Payment information

All registration fees must be paid in full BEFORE arrival at the conference. Any outstanding registration fees must be paid before admittance will be granted to the conference.

Cancellations

Refunds are not provided, however substitutions of attendees can be made at any time by contacting conferences@microbiologysociety.org.

Abstracts & Posters

Abstracts

Abstracts for Annual Conference 2020 are now open. Submissions close on 9 December 2019.

Annual Conference attracts over 1,600 attendees for the UK’s largest annual gathering of microbiologists. It is designed to cover the breadth of microbiology research and its oral abstracts and posters reflect this comprehensive scientific programme.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to showcase your microbiological work and research to this broad scientific community.

Submit your abstract


Notifications of acceptances will be made from 14 January 2020.

By submitting an abstract to this conference, you are indicating to the session organisers your commitment to attend the event.

Submissions are open across the event’s broad range of sessions, which are taking place in a number of formats, including symposia, virology workshops, eukaryotic and prokaryotic forums and professional development sessions:

Symposia

We invite abstracts for short oral presentations across a range of symposia. A symposium can last from a day to a day-and-a-half and is dedicated to a specific area of microbiology. Those not selected for short oral presentations may be invited to present a poster during the meeting.

  • Starve the livestock pathogen, feed the world
  • Outer layers of microbiology
  • Dynamic cell
  • Exploring the eukaryotic tree of life
  • Back to the future
  • Marine microbiology
  • Bioproduction and biomaterials
  • Novel eukaryotic drug targets
  • AMR
  • The secret life of mobile genetic elements
  • Phage biology
  • Toxins and antitoxins
  • Bacteroidetes
  • Epigenetics
  • Public health microbiology
  • Bacteroidetes: the microbiota and beyond
  • Microbes and their metabolites: underpinning (beneficial) microbe-host interactions

Virology Workshops

We invite virology abstracts for short oral presentations during the Conference to be part of the virology workshops.

Please note, authors cannot directly submit an abstract for inclusion in the two main virology symposia (‘Viruses that get under your skin’ and ‘Thriving under stress: manipulation of cellular responses by viruses’).

All virology submissions should be made into the most appropriate workshop in the first instance. During the review stage, suitable abstracts from here will be selected for presentation as offered papers in the main virology symposia. Those not selected will either be invited to present in the relevant virology workshop or to present a poster during the meeting.

  • DNA viruses
  • Positive strand and double-stranded RNA viruses
  • Negative strand viruses
  • Retroviruses
  • Clinical virology
  • Cell stress and viruses

Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Forums

We invite abstracts for short oral presentations with a eukaryotic and prokaryotic focus. Those not selected for short oral presentations may be invited to present a poster during the meeting.

  • Environmental and applied microbiology forum
  • Genetics and genomics forum
  • Infection forum
  • Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

Microbiology Society

We invite professional development abstracts for the Microbiology Society’s own teaching symposium, which is designed to look at microbiology in higher education. Those not selected for short oral presentations may be invited to present a poster during the meeting.

  • Teaching microbiology in higher education symposium

The Society has produced a guide to give delegates some tips on how to write a great abstract. Please note, abstracts must be a maximum of 250 words. 

Posters

For abstracts that are awarded a poster, Annual Conference provides an excellent platform for emerging scientific research.

All posters in Edinburgh will be displayed within the same well-lit, high-traffic area within the convention centre, which offers an excellent opportunity to showcase your work and interact with delegates.

Posters will also be rotated half-way through the event to ensure relevance to the content of the day's live programmed sessions, which will be finalised later in the year.

Oral presentations

For abstracts that are awarded an oral presentation, Annual Conference provides an unrivalled opportunity to share the stage with a global speaker line-up of experts within their field.

Destination & Venue

Destination Edinburgh

A diverse and vibrant city, Edinburgh is steeped in history. As well as being the capital city of Scotland, it is the leading festival city in the world as well as a leading UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Full of cultural and historical sites to visit, Edinburgh has both a medieval Old Town and an elegant Georgian New Town and is situated around the terrain of the volcanic Arthur's Seat, the Pentland Hills and Edinburgh's Waterfront. 

Edinburgh is also globally recognised as a world-leading authority in the sciences and remains home to some of the leading centres of microbiological research in Europe. Current researchers follow in the footsteps of past scientists who have advanced medicine - from the discovery of chloroform anaesthesia and the development of the hypodermic syringe to the development of MRI scanner and insulin. Today, pioneering research is underway into regenerative medicine, in vitro imaging, bio-informatics, and cancer treatment, as well as food security and animal welfare. 

But Edinburgh's most famous scientist is arguably Alexander Fleming - a medical scientists who won the Nobel prize for his discovery of penicillin - and who was the first President of the Microbiology Society. To celebrate the Society's 75th Anniversary in 2020, Annual Conference is taking place in the city close to Fleming's heart and where he served as Rector of Edinburgh University.

EICC 

Annual Conference will take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC).

Edinburgh International Conference Centre 
The Exchange 
Edinburgh 
EH3 8EE 
General enquiries: +44(0)131 300 3000

The award-winning EICC is a centre of excellence for world class events and conferences in the heart of Edinburgh.

EICC's impressive facilities include adaptable auditoria, break-out suites and spacious exhibition and reception areas, which will all be for the exclusive use of the Microbiology Society and its delegates during the week of Annual Conference 2020.

Sustainability

The EICC considers the environmental impacts affecting every procurement decision associated with the running of events.

Preference is given to products and services certified by recognised authorities such as Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EMS ISO 14001, Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS), Green Globe and other applicable sustainability standards.

All food is freshly prepared on the premises from seasonal ingredients sourced within 200 miles of Edinburgh. The catering team adheres to an environmentally-sound approach to the disposal of waste including food, packaging, cooking oils and liquids.

The EICC’s strategic direction is to build on its reputation as a 'green business' and to develop its reputation for best practice in sustainability. They aim to achieve 20% reduction of our overall CO2 per m2 by 2020 relative to 2013 baseline.

EICC won the coveted Sustainable Event Excellence Award in March 2018.

Crèche

The Society is again teaming up with Nipperbout to provide a free crèche at the Annual Conference 2020. The crèche will be available to all children of delegates between the ages of 0 to 12 years.

All registered delegates will be offered the opportunity to make use of these free childcare services, which will be offered on a first-come, first served basis.

Please note the crèche will be closed for lunch and parents are responsible for providing food for their children. Lunch is not provided by the Society or the crèche as part of this offer. It is imperative that you collect your child/children at lunchtime as the staff require a half hour break. Water and healthy snacks will be available during crèche hours.

Accommodation & Travel

Annual Conference is returning to Edinburgh in 2020. This is Annual Conference's most popular destination city and the Society encourages all delegates to secure accommodation and to make travel plans as early as possible as hotel rooms fill-up quickly.

Accommodation 

To support you in securing your accommodation we provide links to our booking and accommodation services via Reservation Highway.

This travel and venue agency have secured negotiated rates at hotels to suit a broad range of budgets.

Book Accommodation


A booking form is also available below for those who prefer not to book online.

If you require any further information for personal or group hotel bookings, please call 01423 525577 (during office hours) or email admin@reservation-highway.co.uk at any time.

This is Edinburgh

Travel

Visitors to Scotland's capital are served with two major railway stations, an airport providing UK and international flights to Edinburgh and an extensive road network. 

Edinburgh Airport
© This is Edinburgh
By air 

Edinburgh International Airport is within 6 miles of the EICC. The Airlink 100 runs between Edinburgh Airport and the city centre every 10 minutes at peak times, with the journey taking 20 minutes. This service starts at 4:30 and runs until 00:22. Tickets cost £3.50 single and £6.00 return. Delegates are advised to disembark at Haymarket Railway Station and to follow signs for EICC on foot (five-minute walk). 
The N22 bus also departs from the Airport and runs every 30 minutes through the night until the Airlink service starts again. For more information about these services, visit the Lothian Buses website

EICC has an established relationship with Virgin Atlantic, who can offer discounted flights between Edinburgh and London on their new service, Virgin Atlantic Little Red. For more information on discounted flights, visit the Virgin Atlantic website

By rail 

Edinburgh has two railway stations: 

  • Waverley Station, which is 1.3 miles from EICC, is the city's main railway station and has direct routes to many cities across the country, including over 25 daily departures from London. 
  • Haymarket Station, which is just 0.4 miles from EICC, is a stop for many commuter and some UK train routes. Please ensure that you check with your rail network provider to find out if your train will stop at Haymarket or Waverley. 

For more information on the rail network within the UK, please visit East Coast, National Rail or Trainline; a one-stop shop for train and coach travel. 

By car 

If you are travelling using a sat nav, please use the postcode EH3 8EE. The main entrance is on Morrison Street.

By bus 

Edinburgh's main bus terminal is located at St Andrews Square. Visit Lothian Buses for more information on local bus services. Bus connections stretch right across the UK. For details of these routes please visit: www.nationalexpress.com or www.citylink.co.uk

Coach 

For information about travel by coach please visit the National Express website

Car parking 
Social programme

The Microbiology Society Annual Conference is a key feature in the calendar of a microbiologist – from undergraduates to those more established in their career. 

The scientific event is designed to offer ample opportunities for formal networking for both these groups at the meeting itself. Just as importantly, the social programme offers informal opportunities for delegates to make new friends and forge future collaborations.

Below you can find out more about the social programme for Edinburgh:

Social 1. Fleming Showcase drinks reception

National Museum of Scotland
© National Museum of Scotland
Monday 30 March 2020
Time: 19:30
Tickets: £INCLUDED IN TICKET PRICE FOR FLEMING SHOWCASE
Location: National Museum of Scotland, Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF

Delegates registered for the Fleming Showcase are warmly invited to join the Society and Fleming Committee for the evening drinks reception.

The reception is taking place in the Grand Gallery at the National Museum of Scotland – walking distance from the EICC and one of Scotland’s most beautiful spaces.

Rising up through the four storeys, the museum has a spectacular array of objects that tell the history of the pioneering Scots who revolutionised modern science, including Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin.


Social 2. Historical underground tour of Edinburgh

The Real Mary King’s Close
© The Real Mary King’s Close
Tuesday 31 March 2020
Time: 8.00pm
Tickets: £25

Location: The Real Mary King’s Close, 2 Warriston’s Close, High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PG

Explore Edinburgh’s hidden history deep underneath the Royal Mile.

VisitScotland’s five star-rated attraction The Real Mary King’s Close will be opened up exclusively for registered Society delegates on the Tuesday evening of Conference.

The space is a warren of concealed underground streets and houses, which date back to the 1600’s, where real people lived, worked and died. Through actors, displays and guides, you’ll discover tales of the plague victims, murderers and their prey – all of whom have become the ghosts that haunt the city.

The evening will include drinks and light bites and will typically take guests between two and two and a half hours to complete.


Social 3. Early career microbiologists networking evening

Early career microbiologists networking at Annual Conference 2019
Wednesday 1 April 2020
Time: 19:30
Tickets: £TBC
Location: Nearby pub (TBC)

The Early Career Microbiologists’ Forum Executive Committee will be hosting an evening social event where attendees can network with other early career microbiologists over food and refreshments.

This evening will be a great opportunity to meet potential collaborators and scientists from the breadth of the microbiology discipline.

Whether it’s your first time in Edinburgh or Annual Conference and you’d like to meet new people and brush up on your networking skills, or you’d just like to come and enjoy an evening of fun and socialising, be sure to join the Wednesday networking event.


Social 4. Quiz night

Ghillie Dhu
© Ghillie Dhu
Thursday 2 April 2020
Time: doors open from 20:00 (quiz starts from 20:30)
Tickets: £22
Location: Ghillie Dhu, 2 Rutland place, Edinburgh EH1 2AD

The ever-popular Annual Conference quiz will be taking place at Ghillie Dhu – a dramatically-vaulted Georgian converted church.

The quiz will start here at 20:30 with prizes up for grabs. Taking place in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle in the West End of the city centre, the evening is designed to give you a flavour of Scotland and its historical capital.

Meet old and new friends and get together in teams of six+ to compete for the prized Society quiz medal.


Explore Edinburgh

National Monument of Scotland
© This is Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the perfect destination if you’re looking to add a weekend on to the end of your Annual Conference. This historical city plays host to the world’s best known comedy festival and has something for everyone – regardless of your taste, style or budget.

The city has great shopping, ranging from some of the most exclusive luxury brands to independent talent and equally diverse food options, from pop-up street food through to Michelin-starred restaurants. From the rich history that you’ll find in every street to the various green spaces dotted around the city, Scotland’s capital is the perfect extended getaway for delegates.

Visit This is Edinburgh to find out more about all of the best things to do, see and enjoy in this historical capital.

Exhibition & Sponsorship

Annual Conference provides the ultimate gathering location for over 1,600 microbiologists and other professionals of related fields from over 30 countries.

The exhibition is located in a high-traffic area where all conference meals, coffee breaks and drinks reception will be held. This will be an excellent opportunity to showcase your products, interact with conference delegates and maximise leads.

We anticipate a big demand for our exhibitor stands so if you would like more information or if you have any questions please email exhibitions@microbiologysociety.org to discuss package options to suit you.

Exhibition and sponsorship

We have Gold, Silver and Bronze packages, or Pick and Mix options that can be tailored to your needs and budget.

Detailed information about available exhibition packages can be found in the Exhibition and Sponsorship pack, which can be downloaded below.

Annual Conference 2020 Exhibition Pack


Registration form

To book your exhibition or sponsorship place, please download the fillable registration form below and return to exhibitions@microbiologysociety.org with your logo and website link: 

Annual Conference 2020 Exhibition or Sponsorship Booking Form


Floorplan

Download the floorplan showing the available exhibition spaces or contact exhibitions@microbiologysociety.org

Annual Conference 2020 Floorplan


Exhibitors

 

 

 

Sponsors