Register here

Overview

Preparation is now well underway for our Annual Conference 2022, which will see the Society return to its in-person annual meeting format following a two-year hiatus due to the global health crisis.

The Society is delighted to be going back to Belfast and its International Convention Centre that will host the organisation’s flagship meeting. The event will be running 4–7 April 2022.

Registration FAQs

Is this event taking place in-person?

Yes - Annual Conference 2022 is taking place as an in-person meeting. The Microbiology Society will continue to monitor changes in regulations and will regularly update its FAQs here.

Do I need to be vaccinated in order to attend conference?

We encourage you to be fully vaccinated (first and second dose), and with the second dose administered at least 14 days before Conference. As with guidance for other UK-based events, we recommend that you please be respectful of other people and do not attend Conference if you feel unwell or you have been in close contact with anyone who has COVID-19.

Are there any group discounts?

Yes – There will be a 10% discount for group bookings, please email [email protected] to facilitate this.

Venue safety FAQs

What precautions has the ICC Belfast put in place?

The ICC Belfast has a number of intervention and mitigation strategies to lower exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These include enhanced cleaning and ventilation and air filtration protocols:

  • The venue has been awarded the ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark, an industry standard demonstrating its commitment to implementing relevant government and public health guidance in relation to COVID-19. 
     
  • Mitie, the venue cleaning partner has introduced enhanced sanitisation to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors. Enhanced Mitie measures includes a minimum twice daily clean of frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, toilets and lifts.  Hand sanitising stations have been added throughout the venue. 
     
  • Signage has been installed throughout providing wayfinding, reminders on social distancing, hand hygiene and general COVID-19 messaging. 
     
  • Visitors are encouraged to download the StopCOVID NI app. ICC Belfast is required to collect and keep a record of all staff, customers and visitors who come into its premises for the purpose of contact tracing. This will be facilitated by scanning a QR code or completing a manual contact form on arrival at the venue.

Does the venue have ventilation systems in place?

Yes, the ICC Belfast has an advanced air filtering system.

  • Fresh air will be supplied to all areas at a minimum rate of 10 l/s/person based on occupancy. The ventilation systems are the primary heating and cooling methods for the building, which consist of several Air Handling Units (AHU) located in each of the three plant areas.  
     
  • The Main Auditorium seating tiers are served by a double deck supply and exhaust air handling unit. This unit operates on 100% fresh air drawn from a fresh air inlet plenum. The air is heated or cooled as required.  
     
  • Co2 sensors will be installed in all workshop spaces. 

Further information about ventilation can be found in ventilation report from the venue.

Will I need to wear a face mask?

Yes, please wear a face covering (unless medically exempt) while inside the Belfast International Convention centre, in line with government guidance on wearing face coverings in indoor public places.

Abstracts and posters FAQs

Where do I submit a proposal?

You may submit proposals online via our Abstract Management System

Submit your abstract

 

When do abstracts close?

Abstracts close on 10 January 2022.

What length should my abstract be?

Please keep abstract submissions to a maximum of 250 words.

Do I have to deliver my offered oral in-person?

Yes, offered orals will all be in-person.

Do I have to deliver my poster presentation in-person?

Yes, poster presentations will all be in-person.

Can I include my poster in the e-poster directory?

Yes. In addition to presenting your poster on-site, all authors will be invited to include a pdf copy of their poster in the e-poster directory on the event platform. This will allow you to organise additional opportunities to informally present your work throughout the week. The deadline for e-posters is 14 March 2022.

When will I be presenting my poster?

All posters will be divided into two blocks and will remain up for two days.

Sessions taking place on the first two days of the meeting will be given posters in Block A. Poster presentation for Block A sessions take place on Monday 4 April 2022.

All sessions taking place on the final two days of the meeting will have their posters in Block B. Poster presentations for Block B sessions take place on Wednesday 6 April 2022.

If your abstract has been awarded a poster, please book your attendance based on the date that the main session is taking place. Please see the online programme for this information.

Technology FAQs

What is the ‘enhanced digital experience'?

Following the popularity of the Society’s virtual events over the past 18 months, we will be retaining some of the best online elements as part of our ‘enhanced digital experience’ for our in-person events including Conference. This will include an e-poster directory, an event app and a virtual event platform for legacy content from Conference.

 

 



Image credit: ICC Belfast

Programme

Session

Session View

Monday 04 April, Morning

Genome dynamics in microbial defence (CRISPR) and invasion (HGT)

Prokaryotes face an onslaught of invasion and horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from diverse mobile genetic elements (MGEs) in the environment, such as viruses, plasmids and transposons. This invasion may result in gaining an adaptive or ecological foothold for the MGE, either as independently replicating elements, or from integration into the host genome. Prokaryotic genome architecture is hence extremely dynamic in some species as a result of horizontal transfer, with the evolution often driven by these invasive elements. This has significant ramifications for human and animal health following transfer of antimicrobial resistance cassettes carried by promiscuous genetic elements, for instance. Although CRISPR arrays were observed in bacteria and archaea over 35 years ago, the relatively recent discovery of their roles in resisting invasion by MGEs and viruses in CRISPR-Cas adaptive immunity adds an important dimension to studies on environmental gene flow. Furthermore, observation of anti-CRISPR systems in bacterial and archaeal viruses further emphasises a microbial evolutionary arms race. Although the importance of CRISPR to modern human cellular manipulation and biotechnology needs no introduction, in this session as well as discussing the biology of invasion by MGEs, we will consider CRISPR defence systems, alongside their significant contribution to the genetic interplay between prokaryotic host and invader, dynamically sculpting bacterial and archaeal genomes.

Organisers

Christopher Cooper (University of Huddersfield, UK); Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK); Jennifer Ritchie (University of Surrey, UK)

Microbial cell surfaces

Microbial cell surfaces are dynamic structures comprising a diverse set of protein, polysaccharide and lipid components. These allow microbes to interact with their surroundings and to adapt to changing environments. Our understanding of the structure and function of microbial cell surfaces has accelerated in recent years due to advances in technologies for studying surface structures. New knowledge about how components are assembled and reach the surface and how surface molecules interact with other microbes and with hosts is growing. This session will explore new advances in our understanding of microbial cell surfaces. The biology of major surface structures including cell walls, bacterial outer membranes, pili, surface-located proteins and polysaccharides, flagella, capsules and S-layers will be covered in this session. New ideas about regulation, export, assembly and structure will be explored and cutting-edge approaches to visualise surface structures and probe their function will be presented.

Organisers

Joan Geoghegan (University of Birmingham, UK); Jennifer Mitchell (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Phylogenomics - Deed poll for bacteria?

Rapid and economical DNA sequencing has resulted in a revolution in phylogenomics. The impact of such rapid changes in nomenclature on practical aspects of microbiology is inconvenient in the least and, in relation to infectious disease diagnosis, potentially dangerous. Since the first discovery of microbes, bacterial classification has been a work in progress. Initially based on multiple metabolic, physiological, biochemical and descriptive characteristics combined with the environmental source, sequence data has now transformed our ability to determine evolutionary relationships. In addition, metagenomic and metataxonomic sequencing has resulted in the discovery of novel microbes, many yet to be cultured. As a result, occasional name changes and additional bacterial discovery have accelerated at an unprecedented pace. The five large volumes of the second edition of Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology (inclusive of Archaea) took from 2001 to 2012 to complete, It remains the key reference source for bacterial description and taxonomy but the current rate of change requires consideration of how to maintain an up-to date globally agreed reference source. In this session we will: discuss the impact of nomenclature change on practical microbiology, including infectious disease; consider the future for pragmatic name change with wider consultation on change; overview the intricate and highly necessary rules of bacterial nomenclature, which sometimes appear unfathomable to the non-specialist and; explore the future of globally agreed referencing systems for bacterial phylogeny. The session will include a speaker panel discussion of questions submitted by delegates in advance of the conference.

Organisers

Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK); Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, 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. 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 (University of Plymouth, UK); Christopher Randall (University of Leeds, UK); Mel Lacey (Sheffield Hallam University, UK)

The remarkable ribosome

Since their discovery in the mid-1950s, ribosomes have captivated the attention of biologists. Although first described as “organelles”, they are, in reality, huge macromolecular complexes with relatively well-defined core components. At the same time, they are also (necessarily) dynamic entities on almost every level – other proteins/RNA species transiently associate and dissociate from the complex, and the complex itself can adopt different sub-cellular localisations (membrane, cytoplasm etc). Moreover, the absence of a nuclear membrane in bacteria means that translation can begin even before transcription has ended, and indeed, the ribosome can form higher-order complexes – polysomes – on the messenger RNA. However, and with the advent of ever-more-powerful cryo-EM technologies, we can now capture the structural transitions that accompany most steps in translation; not surprisingly, these are revealing unexpected insights into how this “macromolecular machine” operates. Also, advances in single molecule analyses are allowing us to examine the kinetics of translation in unprecedented detail (and the ribosome is clearly supremely well-suited to such modes of analysis). Massively parallel sequencing technologies are enabling us to understand better the events that accompany the very earliest stages of mRNA recognition. All of this is important because, with a refined understanding of how translation works at a molecular level, we can begin engineering the system for production of novel proteins, and this too will be discussed in the session. Finally, we also examine how these advances can be applied to understand the human microbiome on a more functional level – an approach that is yielding some surprising results.

Organisers

Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK); Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK)

Therapies and vaccines for eukaryotic pathogens

Eukaryotic pathogens pose a challenge for drug therapies and for vaccines. Given the global health burden of these pathogens, there needs to be a concerted challenge in understanding the complex relationships between host immune response, in parallel with microbe mechanisms of evasion and invasion. In this session, we will review the most recent advances (and challenges) in the fight to treat and vaccinate against eukaryotic pathogens.

Organisers

Carolina Coelho (University of Exeter, UK)

Thriving under stress: Viral manipulation of the cell

Viruses exist in a hostile world. As obligate parasites the synthesis of viral proteins and genome is dependent on usurping host cell replication and 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 pivotal for cellular homeostasis 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. We anticipate that 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

Matt Reeves (University College London, UK); Rachel Edgar (Imperial College London, UK); Charlotte Uetrech (Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, Germany); Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Monday 04 April, Afternoon

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

James MacDonald (Bangor University, UK); Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK); Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Genome dynamics in microbial defence (CRISPR) and invasion (HGT)

Prokaryotes face an onslaught of invasion and horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from diverse mobile genetic elements (MGEs) in the environment, such as viruses, plasmids and transposons. This invasion may result in gaining an adaptive or ecological foothold for the MGE, either as independently replicating elements, or from integration into the host genome. Prokaryotic genome architecture is hence extremely dynamic in some species as a result of horizontal transfer, with the evolution often driven by these invasive elements. This has significant ramifications for human and animal health following transfer of antimicrobial resistance cassettes carried by promiscuous genetic elements, for instance. Although CRISPR arrays were observed in bacteria and archaea over 35 years ago, the relatively recent discovery of their roles in resisting invasion by MGEs and viruses in CRISPR-Cas adaptive immunity adds an important dimension to studies on environmental gene flow. Furthermore, observation of anti-CRISPR systems in bacterial and archaeal viruses further emphasises a microbial evolutionary arms race. Although the importance of CRISPR to modern human cellular manipulation and biotechnology needs no introduction, in this session as well as discussing the biology of invasion by MGEs, we will consider CRISPR defence systems, alongside their significant contribution to the genetic interplay between prokaryotic host and invader, dynamically sculpting bacterial and archaeal genomes.

Organisers

Christopher Cooper (University of Huddersfield, UK); Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK); Jennifer Ritchie (University of Surrey, UK)

Microbial cell surfaces

Microbial cell surfaces are dynamic structures comprising a diverse set of protein, polysaccharide and lipid components. These allow microbes to interact with their surroundings and to adapt to changing environments. Our understanding of the structure and function of microbial cell surfaces has accelerated in recent years due to advances in technologies for studying surface structures. New knowledge about how components are assembled and reach the surface and how surface molecules interact with other microbes and with hosts is growing. This session will explore new advances in our understanding of microbial cell surfaces. The biology of major surface structures including cell walls, bacterial outer membranes, pili, surface-located proteins and polysaccharides, flagella, capsules and S-layers will be covered in this session. New ideas about regulation, export, assembly and structure will be explored and cutting-edge approaches to visualise surface structures and probe their function will be presented.

Organisers

Joan Geoghegan (University of Birmingham, UK); Jennifer Mitchell (University College Dublin, Ireland)

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. 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 (University of Plymouth, UK); Christopher Randall (University of Leeds, UK); Mel Lacey (Sheffield Hallam University, UK)

The remarkable ribosome

Since their discovery in the mid-1950s, ribosomes have captivated the attention of biologists. Although first described as “organelles”, they are, in reality, huge macromolecular complexes with relatively well-defined core components. At the same time, they are also (necessarily) dynamic entities on almost every level – other proteins/RNA species transiently associate and dissociate from the complex, and the complex itself can adopt different sub-cellular localisations (membrane, cytoplasm etc). Moreover, the absence of a nuclear membrane in bacteria means that translation can begin even before transcription has ended, and indeed, the ribosome can form higher-order complexes – polysomes – on the messenger RNA. However, and with the advent of ever-more-powerful cryo-EM technologies, we can now capture the structural transitions that accompany most steps in translation; not surprisingly, these are revealing unexpected insights into how this “macromolecular machine” operates. Also, advances in single molecule analyses are allowing us to examine the kinetics of translation in unprecedented detail (and the ribosome is clearly supremely well-suited to such modes of analysis). Massively parallel sequencing technologies are enabling us to understand better the events that accompany the very earliest stages of mRNA recognition. All of this is important because, with a refined understanding of how translation works at a molecular level, we can begin engineering the system for production of novel proteins, and this too will be discussed in the session. Finally, we also examine how these advances can be applied to understand the human microbiome on a more functional level – an approach that is yielding some surprising results.

Organisers

Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK); Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK)

Therapies and vaccines for eukaryotic pathogens

Eukaryotic pathogens pose a challenge for drug therapies and for vaccines. Given the global health burden of these pathogens, there needs to be a concerted challenge in understanding the complex relationships between host immune response, in parallel with microbe mechanisms of evasion and invasion. In this session, we will review the most recent advances (and challenges) in the fight to treat and vaccinate against eukaryotic pathogens.

Organisers

Carolina Coelho (University of Exeter, UK)

Thriving under stress: Viral manipulation of the cell

Viruses exist in a hostile world. As obligate parasites the synthesis of viral proteins and genome is dependent on usurping host cell replication and 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 pivotal for cellular homeostasis 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. We anticipate that 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

Matt Reeves (University College London, UK); Rachel Edgar (Imperial College London, UK); Charlotte Uetrech (Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, Germany); Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Tuesday 05 April, Morning

Bacterial second messengers

Over the last few decades it has become abundantly clear that bacteria can no longer be seen as the archetypal “single celled” organisms, oblivious to the presence of co-habiting species. Instead, we now know that they readily sense the presence of potential competitors (as well as “friendlies”) and that they are constantly “tasting” the environment through the titration of physico-chemical cues. Indeed, the list of proposed diffusible signals and cues gets longer every month. However, and in spite of their chemical diversity, the physiological impact of these signals are invariably mediated by a common set of intracellular “second messengers”, many of which are nucleotide derivatives. In this session, our speakers discuss progress made in understanding the mechanism(s) and scope of signalling via the key second messenger relay networks in the cell. Talks from leaders in the field will re-visit some well-established second messengers (such as cAMP and (p)ppGpp) as well as looking in detail at much newer or emerging signalling intermediaries such as cyclic di-AMP and NO. The very latest cutting-edge technologies are revealing the remarkable mechanisms by which the response to different inputs are integrated in the cell, and the role(s) played by spatiotemporal segregation of signalling pathways and units. The session should be of interest to a wide range of microbiologists interested in understanding how bacteria sense and respond to their environment.

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK); Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK)

Cell surface and cross-kingdom interactions

Microbes utilise several mechanisms for interacting with and manipulating complex niches, whether they are in mammalian tissues, plants or freshwater environments. Microbes can change cell wall components to evade immune detection, secrete extracellular vesicles with metabolic and environment-altering cargo, and produce metabolites or enzymes to defend against or attack cross-kingdom competitors. This forum will consider how prokaryotic and eukaryotic micro-organisms manipulate extracellular spaces for the purposes of communication, quorum sensing, cross-kingdom competition, nutrient acquisition and evasion of immune surveillance.

Organisers

Delma Childers (University of Aberdeen, UK); Ellen Nisbet (University of Nottingham, UK)

Genetics and genomics forum

This session is sponsored by Microbial Genomics. The Genetics and genomics forum will consider offered papers on all aspects of the genes and genomes of microbes (prokaryotes and eukaryotes) and their mobile elements, 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

Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edgehill University, UK); Winnie Lee (University of Bristol, UK); Lori Snyder (Kingston University, UK)

Manipulating microbiomes across systems

Technological and conceptual advances in microbiome science are transforming our understanding of the principles that underpin microbiome assembly, dynamics and function. Consequently, microbiome engineering is a rapidly growing area of microbiome science that harnesses microbiota to perform desired functions that can address grand challenges in agriculture, environment, medicine and industrial processes. Future progress in microbiome engineering is reliant upon integrated approaches that enable discovery of the scientific principles that underly microbiome composition and function through the design, modification and testing of engineered microbiomes. This session will bring together scientists working on diverse model systems and areas of microbiome engineering, highlighting fundamental and applied research on engineered microbiomes, including systems biology, computational approaches and network modelling for microbiome design, synthetic microbiome assembly, microbiota transplants, directed evolution and genome engineering across environmental, industrial, plant, animal and human systems.

Organisers

James MacDonald (Bangor University, UK); Sinead Corr (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland); Kalai Mathee (Florida International University, USA); Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK)

Microbiology careers fair

Delegates will have the opportunity to explore different career options available to microbiologists within fields such as industry, clinical, and communications. A variety of companies will exhibit their current job and career opportunities and provide insight into career prospects for microbiology students and researchers. In addition, company ‘spotlight sessions’ will showcase select employers and companies and delegates will have the opportunity to hear key information such as how to be a successful candidate in the employment selection process, career development in different roles and the application of specific microbiology related skills. Early career researchers wanting to explore their next career options, and mid-career microbiologists considering a career change are invited to attend.

Organisers

Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

Thriving under stress: Viral manipulation of the cell

Viruses exist in a hostile world. As obligate parasites the synthesis of viral proteins and genome is dependent on usurping host cell replication and 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 pivotal for cellular homeostasis 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. We anticipate that 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

Matt Reeves (University College London, UK); Rachel Edgar (Imperial College London, UK); Charlotte Uetrech (Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, Germany); Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Tuesday 05 April, Afternoon

Assembly, egress and entry

To be infectious, virus particles must be properly assembled, leave their host cell, bind to a new cell, enter it and uncoat. This workshop will examine these critical stages in viral replication, including the molecular mechanisms that underpin them and the virus-host interactions that influence their progress. The workshop is open for submissions covering the breadth of virology – including human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial hosts – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Ed Hutchinson (University of Glasgow, UK); Dalan Bailey (Pirbright Institute, UK)

Bacterial second messengers

Over the last few decades it has become abundantly clear that bacteria can no longer be seen as the archetypal “single celled” organisms, oblivious to the presence of co-habiting species. Instead, we now know that they readily sense the presence of potential competitors (as well as “friendlies”) and that they are constantly “tasting” the environment through the titration of physico-chemical cues. Indeed, the list of proposed diffusible signals and cues gets longer every month. However, and in spite of their chemical diversity, the physiological impact of these signals are invariably mediated by a common set of intracellular “second messengers”, many of which are nucleotide derivatives. In this session, our speakers discuss progress made in understanding the mechanism(s) and scope of signalling via the key second messenger relay networks in the cell. Talks from leaders in the field will re-visit some well-established second messengers (such as cAMP and (p)ppGpp) as well as looking in detail at much newer or emerging signalling intermediaries such as cyclic di-AMP and NO. The very latest cutting-edge technologies are revealing the remarkable mechanisms by which the response to different inputs are integrated in the cell, and the role(s) played by spatiotemporal segregation of signalling pathways and units. The session should be of interest to a wide range of microbiologists interested in understanding how bacteria sense and respond to their environment.

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK); Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK)

Cell surface and cross-kingdom interactions

Microbes utilise several mechanisms for interacting with and manipulating complex niches, whether they are in mammalian tissues, plants or freshwater environments. Microbes can change cell wall components to evade immune detection, secrete extracellular vesicles with metabolic and environment-altering cargo, and produce metabolites or enzymes to defend against or attack cross-kingdom competitors. This forum will consider how prokaryotic and eukaryotic micro-organisms manipulate extracellular spaces for the purposes of communication, quorum sensing, cross-kingdom competition, nutrient acquisition and evasion of immune surveillance.

Organisers

Delma Childers (University of Aberdeen, UK); Ellen Nisbet (University of Nottingham, UK)

Manipulating microbiomes across systems

Technological and conceptual advances in microbiome science are transforming our understanding of the principles that underpin microbiome assembly, dynamics and function. Consequently, microbiome engineering is a rapidly growing area of microbiome science that harnesses microbiota to perform desired functions that can address grand challenges in agriculture, environment, medicine and industrial processes. Future progress in microbiome engineering is reliant upon integrated approaches that enable discovery of the scientific principles that underly microbiome composition and function through the design, modification and testing of engineered microbiomes. This session will bring together scientists working on diverse model systems and areas of microbiome engineering, highlighting fundamental and applied research on engineered microbiomes, including systems biology, computational approaches and network modelling for microbiome design, synthetic microbiome assembly, microbiota transplants, directed evolution and genome engineering across environmental, industrial, plant, animal and human systems.

Organisers

James MacDonald (Bangor University, UK); Sinead Corr (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland); Kalai Mathee (Florida International University, USA); Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK)

Microbiology careers fair

Delegates will have the opportunity to explore different career options available to microbiologists within fields such as industry, clinical, and communications. A variety of companies will exhibit their current job and career opportunities and provide insight into career prospects for microbiology students and researchers. In addition, company ‘spotlight sessions’ will showcase select employers and companies and delegates will have the opportunity to hear key information such as how to be a successful candidate in the employment selection process, career development in different roles and the application of specific microbiology related skills. Early career researchers wanting to explore their next career options, and mid-career microbiologists considering a career change are invited to attend.

Organisers

Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

Publishing fundamentals

• Lifecyle of research and publishing • How to select a journal • Open Access, metrics, the role of Society journals • Role of Editors and reviewers/peer review • Publishing ethics • Promoting your research • Supporting early-career researchers through manuscript review tools • Ways to get involved with publishing (at the Microbiology Society) • Opportunities for early-career researchers within our portfolio.

Organisers

Hebba Beech (Microbiology Society, UK); Hilary Logan (Microbiology Society, UK)

SARS-CoV-2/COVID

SARS-CoV2 is responsible for perhaps the most important infectious disease event in the last century in the shape of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst related to other coronaviruses, its nearest relative has yet to be identified and much of its molecular virology remains unexplored. The UK and other countries have devoted unprecedented research effort into investigating SARS-CoV2, and the landscape continues to evolve in terms of current knowledge. In July 2020 the Society staged a UK wide online forum to bring together this newly formed research community in the UK, and the annual conference in 2021 understandably devoted considerable time to this subject. This workshop aims to continue this theme, covering any and all aspects of the SARS-CoV2 life cycle, ideally involving as broad a range of approaches as possible.

Organisers

Sam Wilson (University of Glasgow, UK); Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK)

Symbiosis

This session is co-organized by the Microbiology Society Eukaryotic Division and Protistology-UK and will cover broad aspects of symbiosis that include at least one microbial partner. In 2019 Protistology-UK held a two-day Microbial Symbiosis meeting in collaboration with and supported by the MS and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This session provides a follow-up on this theme to build upon a variety of aspects of microbial symbiosis covering the evolution, ecology and biology of symbioses that include microbes. This session will address a wide spectrum of organisms in symbiont-host relationships to draw on the common principles as well as diversity of these interactions. This session will also promote multidisciplinary dialogue and methodological approaches to foster collaborative and novel research on these important systems.

Organisers

Ross Waller (University of Cambridge, UK); Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK); Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK)

Wednesday 06 April, Morning

Antiviral immunity

This workshop will bring together cutting-edge research focused on understanding antiviral immunity, from innate immune responses to adaptive immunity and includes all types of viruses (animal, plant, bacterial). The workshop will cover the fundamental mechanisms aimed at limiting infection, the variety of antiviral countermeasure developed by viruses and the evolutionary arms race that ensues.

Organisers

Rachael Tarlinton (University of Nottingham, UK); David Hughes (University of St Andrews, UK)

Antivirals and vaccines

The recent past has seen an explosion of interest in anti-viral therapy and vaccine research focussed on well-known and emerging one health threats. This workshop will highlight the latest research into novel therapies and vaccines for human and animal viruses, encompassing all stages of research from target identification, to initial laboratory studies and through to in vivo research. We look forward to welcoming all delegates to the session.

Organisers

Blair Strang (St George's University London, UK); Edward Wright (University of Sussex, UK)

Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: Bacterial and fungal pathogens

This year Microbiology, the flagship journal of the Microbiology Society, celebrates its 75th anniversary. To celebrate, we have planned four sessions in which we will revisit highlights from the past 75 years in the context of the most recent advances. Invited speakers will discuss the long term impact of classic Microbiology papers and the current “state of the art” in these research areas. The four topics that we will focus on reflect the most highly cited research areas in the journals history. This session will focus on pathogens, from both the prokaryotic and eukaryotic domains of life. Topics to be covered will include mechanisms of pathogenesis, prevention strategies, and interactions between pathogens.

Organisers

David Grainger (University of Birmingham, UK); Gavin Thomas (University of York, UK); Tracy Palmer (Newcastle University, UK)

Gene expression and replication

This workshop will focus on the regulation of viral and host gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level by virally-encoded factors and address how viruses control the replication of their genomes. The workshop will cover all domains of life, from viruses that infect eukaryotes to archaea or bacteria – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK); Elly Gaunt (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

This forum will consider offered papers on all aspects of microbial (prokaryotic and eukaryotic) metabolism, physiology and molecular biology. This will focus on fundamental and translational research in this area. This would include the metabolism and physiology of bacteria including pathogens; biochemistry and structure of cells, cell growth and division; cell architecture and differentiation; synthesis and transport of macromolecules; ions and small molecules; development signalling and communication, sensing and cellular responses cell cycle and also how this work informs microbial engineering, antimicrobial drug development, and other potential applications. All speakers will be selected from the submitted abstracts.

Organisers

Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK); Christopher Cooper (University of Huddersfield, UK); Andrew Preston (University of Bath, UK)

Multiomics date integration, health and society

In this era of transcriptomics, genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, and metagenomics researchers increasingly rely on advanced workflows to reliably process and interpret the wealth of data generated primarily for the microbiota. These comparative omics approaches have revolutionised our ability to answer ‘big picture’ questions by comparing and testing hypotheses across increasingly large datasets. Considerable advances in bioinformatics and computer sciences have enabled complex comparative datasets to be visualised (networks, heat maps, etc.), underpinned by parameters (similarity, ranking, cooccurrence) that are user driven. One of the critical challenges in the analyses of microbiome data is the integration of longitudinal data to understand temporal interactions with fellow microbes in the micro-environment and the host. In addition, the available large datasets are skewed towards single race or gender. Understanding the microenvironment dictated by the host would pave the pathway for the development of personalized medicine and help society-at-large. This session will focus on (i) Multiomics data use to understand health outcomes, (ii) Temporal and longitudinal data integration, (iii) Editing and manipulating microbiomes, and (iii) Omics and society. The overarching goal of this robust session is to bring together the basic science and health communities.

Organisers

Kalai Mathee (Florida International University, USA); Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edgehill University, UK); Winnie Lee (University of Bristol, UK); Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Pathogenesis

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

Organisers

Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK); Goedele Maertens (Imperial College London, UK)

Symbiosis

This session is co-organized by the Microbiology Society Eukaryotic Division and Protistology-UK and will cover broad aspects of symbiosis that include at least one microbial partner. In 2019 Protistology-UK held a two-day Microbial Symbiosis meeting in collaboration with and supported by the MS and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This session provides a follow-up on this theme to build upon a variety of aspects of microbial symbiosis covering the evolution, ecology and biology of symbioses that include microbes. This session will address a wide spectrum of organisms in symbiont-host relationships to draw on the common principles as well as diversity of these interactions. This session will also promote multidisciplinary dialogue and methodological approaches to foster collaborative and novel research on these important systems.

Organisers

Ross Waller (University of Cambridge, UK); Sonja Rueckert (Edinburgh Napier University, UK); Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK)

Wednesday 06 April, Afternoon

A one health perspective on the eukaryome

Mammalian mucosal surfaces are populated by highly complex and dynamic microbial ecosystems, the mucosal microbiota, intimately associated with mucosal homeostasis central to virtually all aspects of health and disease status of the animal and human hosts. The microbial eukaryotic dimension of the microbiota, the eukaryome, is currently the least well understood aspect of the microbiota. Microbial eukaryotes adapted to thrive at mammalian mucosal surfaces have evolved multiple times from phylogenetically distant lineages into various extracellular and intracellular lifestyles. Their symbiotic relationships can range from commensalism to parasitism and a number of host–microbial eukaryotes interactions have evolved into mutualistic associations too. It is increasingly appreciated that this diversity of symbiotic outcomes is the product of a complex network of microbial eukaryote–bacteria–archaea–virus–host interactions. Refinement and broader use of DNA based detection techniques are providing increasing evidence of how common some mucosal microbial eukaryotes are and their host range, with some species being able to swap hosts, including from farm and pet animals to humans. The zoonotic potential for a number of microbial eukaryotes, including some important pathogens, illustrates how these can be either disruptive or beneficial nodes in the complex networks of host–microbe interactions disrupting or maintaining mucosal homoeostasis. This session will explore mucosal microbial eukaryotic diversity and argues that they represent an important resource to help us dissect through comparative studies the role of host–microbe interactions in both animal/human health and disease and that a more integrative, encompassing parasitology, mycology and microbiology at large, and a Global Health perspective, across human and animals, will be essential to maximise animal, human and environmental health in our highly dynamic and changing world.

Organisers

Robert Hirt (Newcastle University, UK); Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK)

Antiviral immunity

This workshop will bring together cutting-edge research focused on understanding antiviral immunity, from innate immune responses to adaptive immunity and includes all types of viruses (animal, plant, bacterial). The workshop will cover the fundamental mechanisms aimed at limiting infection, the variety of antiviral countermeasure developed by viruses and the evolutionary arms race that ensues.

Organisers

Rachael Tarlinton (University of Nottingham, UK); David Hughes (University of St Andrews, UK)

Applied diagnostics; a sensitive issue

This session will be sponsored by the Journal of Medical Microbiology. The importance of microbial diagnostics has been brought to the fore during the pandemic. Building on the success of the two public health microbiology sessions at the Annual Meeting 2021, and to further integrate clinical, health-related and medical microbiology into the Microbiology Society’s activities, this Applied Diagnostics session will cover the practice and application of microbial diagnostics. The landscape of microbial diagnostics has changed dramatically with a move away from culture-based techniques to point of care testing (POCT), the use lateral flow devices (LFDs), molecular detection by PCR and alternatives such as loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), faster antimicrobial resistance testing using microfluidic impedance cytometry and whole genome sequencing (WGS) directly on clinical specimens (metagenomics). We will present a systematic approach to diagnostics by considering important issues in the development of appropriate diagnostics for improving patient care in different resource settings. This includes not only design and validation of different tests, but also the interpretation and communication between scientists developing the tests, healthcare scientists performing the assays, between clinicians, patients, and epidemiologists and the wider public.

Organisers

Winnie Lee (University of Bristol, UK); Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK); Sinéad Corr (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland); Norman Fry (Public Health England, UK)

Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: Biofilms and surface adhesion

This year Microbiology, the flagship journal of the Microbiology Society, celebrates its 75th anniversary. To celebrate, we have planned four sessions in which we will revisit highlights from the past 75 years in the context of the most recent advances. Invited speakers will discuss the long term impact of classic Microbiology papers and the current “state of the art” in these research areas. The four topics that we will focus on reflect the most highly cited research areas in the journals history. This session will focus on the ways in which microbes interact with surfaces. How do they bind? What are the consequences? How do cells interact to regulate the process?

Organisers

David Grainger (University of Birmingham, UK); Gavin Thomas (University of York, UK); Tracy Palmer (Newcastle University, UK)

Clinical virology

This workshop will involve a range of clinical virology topics, cases or short papers which relate to studies relevant to clinical virology practice. Different aspects of clinical virology that will be covered include the latest management of hepatitis as well as prevention and control of respiratory virus infections.

Organisers

Stephen Winchester (NHS, UK); Tamyo Mbisa (Public Health England, UK); Andrew Bosworth (Public Health England, UK)

Gene expression and replication

This workshop will focus on the regulation of viral and host gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level by virally-encoded factors and address how viruses control the replication of their genomes. The workshop will cover all domains of life, from viruses that infect eukaryotes to archaea or bacteria – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK); Elly Gaunt (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Multiomics date integration, health and society

In this era of transcriptomics, genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, and metagenomics researchers increasingly rely on advanced workflows to reliably process and interpret the wealth of data generated primarily for the microbiota. These comparative omics approaches have revolutionised our ability to answer ‘big picture’ questions by comparing and testing hypotheses across increasingly large datasets. Considerable advances in bioinformatics and computer sciences have enabled complex comparative datasets to be visualised (networks, heat maps, etc.), underpinned by parameters (similarity, ranking, cooccurrence) that are user driven. One of the critical challenges in the analyses of microbiome data is the integration of longitudinal data to understand temporal interactions with fellow microbes in the micro-environment and the host. In addition, the available large datasets are skewed towards single race or gender. Understanding the microenvironment dictated by the host would pave the pathway for the development of personalized medicine and help society-at-large. This session will focus on (i) Multiomics data use to understand health outcomes, (ii) Temporal and longitudinal data integration, (iii) Editing and manipulating microbiomes, and (iii) Omics and society. The overarching goal of this robust session is to bring together the basic science and health communities.

Organisers

Kalai Mathee (Florida International University, USA); Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edgehill University, UK); Winnie Lee (University of Bristol, UK); Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Pathogenesis

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

Organisers

Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK); Goedele Maertens (Imperial College London, UK)

Thursday 07 April, Morning

A one health perspective on the eukaryome

Mammalian mucosal surfaces are populated by highly complex and dynamic microbial ecosystems, the mucosal microbiota, intimately associated with mucosal homeostasis central to virtually all aspects of health and disease status of the animal and human hosts. The microbial eukaryotic dimension of the microbiota, the eukaryome, is currently the least well understood aspect of the microbiota. Microbial eukaryotes adapted to thrive at mammalian mucosal surfaces have evolved multiple times from phylogenetically distant lineages into various extracellular and intracellular lifestyles. Their symbiotic relationships can range from commensalism to parasitism and a number of host–microbial eukaryotes interactions have evolved into mutualistic associations too. It is increasingly appreciated that this diversity of symbiotic outcomes is the product of a complex network of microbial eukaryote–bacteria–archaea–virus–host interactions. Refinement and broader use of DNA based detection techniques are providing increasing evidence of how common some mucosal microbial eukaryotes are and their host range, with some species being able to swap hosts, including from farm and pet animals to humans. The zoonotic potential for a number of microbial eukaryotes, including some important pathogens, illustrates how these can be either disruptive or beneficial nodes in the complex networks of host–microbe interactions disrupting or maintaining mucosal homoeostasis. This session will explore mucosal microbial eukaryotic diversity and argues that they represent an important resource to help us dissect through comparative studies the role of host–microbe interactions in both animal/human health and disease and that a more integrative, encompassing parasitology, mycology and microbiology at large, and a Global Health perspective, across human and animals, will be essential to maximise animal, human and environmental health in our highly dynamic and changing world.

Organisers

Robert Hirt (Newcastle University, UK); Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK)

Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: CRISPR and defence mechanisms

This year Microbiology, the flagship journal of the Microbiology Society, celebrates its 75th anniversary. To celebrate, we have planned four sessions in which we will revisit highlights from the past 75 years in the context of the most recent advances. Invited speakers will discuss the long term impact of classic Microbiology papers and the current “state of the art” in these research areas. The four topics that we will focus on reflect the most highly cited research areas in the journals history. This session will focus on CRISPR systems and other mechanisms that bacteria can use to protect themselves from attack.

Organisers

David Grainger (University of Birmingham, UK); Gavin Thomas (University of York, UK); Tracy Palmer (Newcastle University, UK)

Environmental microbiology: Our sustainable future

The human population is predicted to reach 8 billion people in 2023. We therefore have a real and urgent need to find sustainable approaches and enhancements to a wide range of industries including agriculture, climate change, manufacturing, water treatment and clean energy. Of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at least 11 of them can be delivered, at least in part, by applications of microbial systems. Life on Earth has been dominated by microbes for around 3.8 billion years. The diversity of microbial life represents an embarrassment of riches that can and must be exploited to contribute towards more responsible uses of our resources. The goal of this session is to discuss environmental sampling and provide a wide variety of examples where ‘environmental’ microorganisms have provided us with genes, enzymes, metabolites and pathways to deliver sustainable impacts a for understanding complex Earth systems.

Organisers

Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK); Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Infection forum

This session will be sponsored by the Journal of Medical Microbiology, and a JMM prize for best oral and best poster will be awarded. Offered papers (and associated posters) will be presented in areas related to clinical, veterinary and plant infections caused by prokaryote and eukaryote pathogens. This will include detection and diagnosis, identification, typing and epidemiology, pathogenesis, virulence, host response and immunity, treatment and prevention, antimicrobial agents and resistance, transmission and models of infection.

Organisers

Helen Brown (University of Exeter, UK); Jennifer Ritchie (University of Surrey, UK); Sinéad Corr (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland); Norman Fry (Public Health England, UK)

Polymicrobial infections: Mixed messages, interspecies strife, and renegade actors in the host-microbiome interaction

In a paradigm shift from the pathogen centric view of infection, an understanding of the complexity and importance of microbial populations to the existence of the host has grown in recent years. Advances in molecular based technologies have uncovered vast cross-kingdom communities of microbes in natural ecosystems, from the environment to the human host. However, challenges remain to understand how flux in the dynamics of these populations contributes to, or can be controlled to, impact on infection and disease outcomes. Perhaps the most pressing challenge is now to understand the functionality of these mixed populations and the drivers that lead renegade actors to persist to the detriment of the host. This session will bring together leading experts in areas of the micro- and mycobiome, systems biology, imaging, bioinformatics, polymicrobial biofilms and small molecule therapeutics to discuss the current state of the art in polymicrobial interactome research. The session will also showcase early career researchers and their research on the overarching theme of polymicrobial infections.

Organisers

Jerry Reen (University College Cork, Ireland); Florence Abram (National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland); Alessia Buscaino (University of Kent, UK); Gary Moran (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)

Viral determinants of acute versus persistent infection

Viral infections are traditionally considered either acute/resolving or chronic/persistent, often based on the common clinical manifestations of infection. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the lines between these behaviours are not distinct, and that viruses can themselves manipulate the host environment to alter the programme of infection and clinical outcomes. Complex interplay between host immunity, genetic or environmental factors with regulation of the virus life cycle can dramatically alter the natural history of viral infections. This symposium will examine how pathogenic animal and human viruses influence, and are influenced by, the host during the course of infection. The viral parameters that determine acute or chronic infection programmes will be explored. Recent technological advances have challenged the dogma of acute versus chronic virus infections and are highlighting a complex virus-host interplay.

Organisers

Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK); Matt Reeves (University College London, UK)

Thursday 07 April, Afternoon

Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: Quorum sensing

This year Microbiology, the flagship journal of the Microbiology Society, celebrates its 75th anniversary. To celebrate, we have planned four sessions in which we will revisit highlights from the past 75 years in the context of the most recent advances. Invited speakers will discuss the long term impact of classic Microbiology papers and the current “state of the art” in these research areas. The four topics that we will focus on reflect the most highly cited research areas in the journals history. This session will focus on quorum sensing and processes controlled by this mechanism.

Organisers

David Grainger (University of Birmingham, UK); Gavin Thomas (University of York, UK); Tracy Palmer (Newcastle University, UK)

Environmental microbiology: Our sustainable future

The human population is predicted to reach 8 billion people in 2023. We therefore have a real and urgent need to find sustainable approaches and enhancements to a wide range of industries including agriculture, climate change, manufacturing, water treatment and clean energy. Of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at least 11 of them can be delivered, at least in part, by applications of microbial systems. Life on Earth has been dominated by microbes for around 3.8 billion years. The diversity of microbial life represents an embarrassment of riches that can and must be exploited to contribute towards more responsible uses of our resources. The goal of this session is to discuss environmental sampling and provide a wide variety of examples where ‘environmental’ microorganisms have provided us with genes, enzymes, metabolites and pathways to deliver sustainable impacts a for understanding complex Earth systems.

Organisers

Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK); Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Infection forum

This session will be sponsored by the Journal of Medical Microbiology, and a JMM prize for best oral and best poster will be awarded. Offered papers (and associated posters) will be presented in areas related to clinical, veterinary and plant infections caused by prokaryote and eukaryote pathogens. This will include detection and diagnosis, identification, typing and epidemiology, pathogenesis, virulence, host response and immunity, treatment and prevention, antimicrobial agents and resistance, transmission and models of infection.

Organisers

Helen Brown (University of Exeter, UK); Jennifer Ritchie (University of Surrey, UK); Sinéad Corr (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland); Norman Fry (Public Health England, UK)

Polymicrobial infections: Mixed messages, interspecies strife, and renegade actors in the host-microbiome interaction

In a paradigm shift from the pathogen centric view of infection, an understanding of the complexity and importance of microbial populations to the existence of the host has grown in recent years. Advances in molecular based technologies have uncovered vast cross-kingdom communities of microbes in natural ecosystems, from the environment to the human host. However, challenges remain to understand how flux in the dynamics of these populations contributes to, or can be controlled to, impact on infection and disease outcomes. Perhaps the most pressing challenge is now to understand the functionality of these mixed populations and the drivers that lead renegade actors to persist to the detriment of the host. This session will bring together leading experts in areas of the micro- and mycobiome, systems biology, imaging, bioinformatics, polymicrobial biofilms and small molecule therapeutics to discuss the current state of the art in polymicrobial interactome research. The session will also showcase early career researchers and their research on the overarching theme of polymicrobial infections.

Organisers

Jerry Reen (University College Cork, Ireland); Florence Abram (National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland); Alessia Buscaino (University of Kent, UK); Gary Moran (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)

Viral determinants of acute versus persistent infection

Viral infections are traditionally considered either acute/resolving or chronic/persistent, often based on the common clinical manifestations of infection. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the lines between these behaviours are not distinct, and that viruses can themselves manipulate the host environment to alter the programme of infection and clinical outcomes. Complex interplay between host immunity, genetic or environmental factors with regulation of the virus life cycle can dramatically alter the natural history of viral infections. This symposium will examine how pathogenic animal and human viruses influence, and are influenced by, the host during the course of infection. The viral parameters that determine acute or chronic infection programmes will be explored. Recent technological advances have challenged the dogma of acute versus chronic virus infections and are highlighting a complex virus-host interplay.

Organisers

Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK); Matt Reeves (University College London, UK)

Lecture View
Abstracts & Posters

Abstracts

Annual Conference regularly 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.

The key abstract deadlines for Annual Conference 2022 are as follows:

Abstracts for the event are now open: 

Submit your abstract


Abstracts close: 10 January 2022

Notification of acceptance: from Monday 7 February 2022

Abstract categories

Submissions are open across the event’s broad range of sessions. These take place in a number of formats, including symposia, virus workshops, eukaryotic and prokaryotic forums and dedicated 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.

  • A one health perspective on the eukaryome
  • Applied diagnostics; a sensitive issue
  • Bacterial second messengers
  • Cell surface and cross-kingdom interactions
  • Environmental microbiology: Our sustainable future
  • Genome dynamics in microbial defense (CRISPR) and invasion (HGT)
  • Manipulating microbiomes across systems
  • Microbial cell surfaces
  • Multiomics date integration, health and society
  • Phylogenomics - Deed poll for bacteria?
  • Polymicrobial infections: Mixed messages, interspecies strife, and renegade actors in the host-microbiome interaction
  • Symbiosis
  • Therapies and vaccines for eukaryotic pathogens
  • The remarkable ribosome

Virus workshops

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

Please note, authors cannot directly submit an abstract for inclusion in the two main virus symposia (‘Thriving under stress: Viral manipulation of the cell’ and ‘Viral determinants of acute versus persistent infection’).

All virus 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 virus symposia. Those not selected will either be invited to present in the relevant virus workshop or to present a poster during the meeting.

  • Antiviral immunity
  • Antivirals and vaccines
  • Assembly, egress and entry
  • Clinical virology 
  • Gene expression and replication
  • Pathogenesis
  • SARS-CoV-2/COVID

Eukaryotic and prokaryotic fora

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.

We also invite abstracts to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Society’s flagship journal: Microbiology. The session will cover topics that feature most prominently amongst the most highly cited papers in the journal’s history (Bacterial and fungal pathogens, Biofilms and surface adhesion, CRISPR and defence mechanisms and Quorum sensing). Abstracts will be particularly welcome in these four areas but that other topics will be considered too. Further details can be found in the main programme.

  • Teaching microbiology in higher education symposium
  • Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology

Posters

Posters for Annual Conference 2022 will be rotated halfway through this year's event to reflect the content of the meeting's live programme sessions.

If your abstract has been awarded a poster, please book your attendance based on the date that the main session is taking place. Please see the online programme for this information. Further information will be sent to you by email once you have formally registered.

Physical posters

All posters will be divided into two blocks:

Poster blocks

Block A

Monday 4 – Tuesday 5 April 2022

 

Block A poster presentations take place on Monday 4 April 18:30–20:00

  • Thriving under stress: Viral manipulation of the cell
  • Microbial cell surfaces
  • The remarkable ribosome
  • Genome dynamics in microbial defence (CRISPR) and invasion (HGT)
  • Therapies and vaccines for eukaryotic pathogens
  • Phylogenomics - Deed poll for bacteria?
  • Teaching microbiology in higher education symposium
  • Environmental and applied microbiology forum
  • Cell surface and cross-kingdom interactions
  • Manipulating microbiomes across systems
  • Bacterial second messengers
  • Genetics and genomics forum
  • SARS-CoV-2/COVID
  • Assembly, egress and entry

Block B

Wednesday 6 – Thursday 7 April 2022

 

Block B poster presentations take place on Wednesday 6 April 18:30–20:00

  • *Symbiosis
  • Pathogenesis
  • Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: Bacterial and fungal pathogens
  • Gene expression and replication
  • Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum
  • Multiomics date integration, health and society
  • Antiviral immunity
  • Antivirals and vaccines
  • Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: Biofilms and surface adhesion
  • Applied diagnostics; a sensitive issue
  • *A one health perspective on the eukaryome
  • Clinical virology
  • Environmental microbiology: Our sustainable future
  • Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: CRISPR and defence mechanisms
  • Infection forum
  • Viral determinants of acute versus persistent infection
  • Polymicrobial infections: Mixed messages, interspecies strife, and renegade actors in the host-microbiome interaction
  • Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: Quorum sensing

Further information on physical poster sessions

Posters will all remain up for two days.

Sessions taking place on the first two days of the meeting will be given posters in Block A. All sessions taking place on the final two days of the meeting will have their posters in Block B.

*Please note, the ‘Symbiosis’ and ‘A one health perspective on the eukaryome’ sessions will take place in Block B.  

Poster numbers will be provided one month before Conference and a poster registration desk will be onsite for support throughout the event.

Those who are presenting a poster must ensure the work is presented as below. Incorrectly formatted posters will not be displayed.

  • Poster size: A0 size 841mm(w) x 1189mm(h) - your poster must not exceed these measurements. 
  • Poster layout: MUST BE portrait orientation. 
  • Posters will be displayed on poster boards measuring 1m(w) x 2m(h), one to a side. 
  • Posters can ONLY be fixed by Velcro (provided at conference). 
  • Your viewing time and details on setting up and taking down will be advised prior to the Conference.

We have produced a guide on how to give a poster presentation, which can be downloaded below:

How to...give a poster presentation

Electronic posters

In addition to presenting your poster on-site, all authors will be invited to include a pdf copy of their poster in the e-poster directory on the event platform. This will allow you to organise additional opportunities to informally present your work throughout the week. The deadline for e-posters is 14 March 2022.

Poster prizes
Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition 

Each year, the Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition recognises and rewards excellence in science communication by a Microbiology Society member who is a postgraduate student or postdoctoral researcher, having gained their PhD in the last two years.

During the Annual Conference, judges will be viewing posters and listening to offered orals presented by early career members who have entered the competition via abstract submission. Finalists will be notified in early summer if they have been selected and will be invited to give a 10-minute oral presentation (plus five minutes for questions) at the final at the Society’s Annual General Meeting in Autumn 2022.

People’s Choice Poster Prize

All poster presenters will be entered into the People's Choice Poster Prize, which will identify the three most popular posters presented during the Annual Conference. All delegates will be asked to choose their favourite posters that they visited.

Infection Science Award

The Infection Science Award is an exchange scheme that facilitates the most promising trainee and early career presenters from the Federation of Infection Societies (FIS) to present at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference Infection Forum, in an effort to improve the exchange of ideas and the career development of early career researchers and trainee scientists and doctors.

To enter the competition, submit your abstract to the Infection Forum session and provide an additional statement about how the award will benefit your professional development.

Registration

Registration for Annual Conference is now open.

Members get heavily subsidised registration fees for Annual Conference and other Society events. Join now to enjoy these discounts and many other opportunities that are designed for microbiologists at all stages of their career.

The Microbiology Society's Annual Conference is the UK's largest annual gathering of microbiologists and we welcome everyone from across our community to Belfast in 2022. To recognise the impact of the pandemic we are offering a reduced rate for our Conference with a 10% discount across our ticket prices. A further 10% discount is available for anyone registering for all four days of the meeting. Additional grants are available for members requiring support to present at Annual Conference.

Early bird discounted rates close on 28 February 2022.

Ticket

1 day
Early bird

2 days
Early bird

3 days
Early bird

4 days
Early bird

1 day
Full price

2 days
Full price

3 days
Full price

4 days
Full price (10% discount)

Non-member

£229

£458

£687

£824

£239

£478

£718

£861

Full member

£125

£250

£375

£450

£135

£270

£405

£486

Concessionary member

£73

£146

£219

£263

£83

£166

£249

£299

Affiliate member

£209

£438

£667

£804

£219

£458

£697

£840

Student member

£63

£126

£189

£227

£73

£146

£219

£263

What's included in your registration fee?
  • Access to the virtual event platform and e-poster directory (please note, this is an in-person meeting but some scientific content will be retained on an online platform)
  • An event app
  • Admission to all scientific sessions
  • Admission to lunchtime events
  • Full access to the trade exhibition
  • Full access to scientific poster sessions
  • Hot buffet lunch
  • Tea and coffee breaks
  • Two drinks during the drinks receptions each evening
  • A Conference programme guide
  • Access to an online abstracts book
  • Certificate of Attendance
  • Access to CPD Points
Registration confirmation

Upon registration, you should receive an automated confirmation email. Please contact [email protected] if this has not been received within 24 hours.

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 [email protected].

Grants & Professional Development

Grants

Grants will be available to support eligible members wishing to attend the Annual Conference 2022. Further details will be made available shortly.

Please contact [email protected] for any questions.

Destination, Accommodation & Travel

About Belfast

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland and home to the Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2022.

Belfast is a city rich in culture and history, so whether you’re looking to visit its historic landmarks and attractions or experience new culinary delights, there’s a lot waiting to be discovered.

There are many things to see and do in the city’s Cathedral Quarter, which is packed full of interesting architecture and has a host of fabulous pubs, bars and restaurants.

If you’re planning on extending your stay after the Conference, there are plenty of attractions you could visit, such as the Titanic Museum, the Alexandra Graving Dock or Belfast City Hall, one of Belfast’s most iconic buildings. Learn more about this city and its attractions at: visitbelfast.com

Belfast is a popular destination city whose hotels fill up quickly. So, if you’re planning on joining us for Annual Conference here, we highly recommend you secure your accommodation and make your travel plans as early as possible.

Accommodation

More information coming soon.

Travel

Travel to Belfast is easy and fast. The city is well connected by road, rail and sea transport and with 2 local airports, the city is accessible by air from both Great Britain and overseas destinations.

ICC Belfast
2 Lanyon Place
Belfast
BT1 3WH

ICC Belfast (formerly Belfast Waterfront) is conveniently located within a 10-minute walk of the city centre. 

Air: The city of Belfast is served by two airports, Belfast International Airport (BFS) and George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD), which are located 25km and 5km from ICC Belfast respectively.

From Belfast International, the journey to the city centre takes 30–45 minutes. Taxis can be hired outside the terminal building and a number of car hire firms are available with the terminal. There is no direct train service from the airport.

Scheduled flights out of George Best Belfast City Airport ( BHD ) operate to England, Scotland, the Isle or Man and the Republic Of Ireland. The main airlines operating out of the airport are British Airways, Aer Lingus, Flybe, KLM, Brussels Airlines and Citywing. The journey from the airport to the city centre takes 15–20 minutes.

Translink provides bus services from both airports to the city centre.

Train: The nearest train station is Lanyon Place Station, which is in East Bridge Street, around five minutes’ walk from the venue. There is a regular train service from Dublin and the average journey time is approx. two hours.

Road: the venue is located in Lanyon Place, just off Oxford Street in the city centre. If you are travelling on a major road into the city, follow signs for the city centre and Belfast Waterfront via East Bridge Street or Oxford Street.

Social Programme

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 provide ample opportunities for formal networking for both these groups at the meeting itself. Just as importantly however, the social programme offers informal opportunities for delegates to make new friends, forge future collaborations and have fun.

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


ECM networking

Social 1: Early Career Microbiologists' pre-Conference networking

Sunday 3 April 2022
Time:18:00
20:00
Tickets: £20 (including VAT)
Location: Granny Annie’s, 81 Chichester Street, Belfast, BT1 4JE

The Early Career Microbiologists' (ECM) Forum Executive Committee will be hosting an evening of interactive games and networking on the evening before the main event.

Oozing rustic charm and just five minutes’ walk from Belfast ICC; Granny Annie’s is the perfect venue to start your week at Conference.

Participants will have the opportunity to take part in games and get to know other delegates, including senior members of the Society and ECM Forum members. This event will be a great way to meet potential collaborators and scientists from the breadth of the microbiology discipline at different career levels.

Whether it's your first time at 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 Sunday's networking event.

The ticket includes welcome drinks and some finger food.


© Belfast Hidden Tours

Social 2: 'The Belfast Story’ (Cultural Show)

Monday 4 April 2022
Time: doors open from 19:45 (show starts from 20:15)
Tickets: £25 (including VAT)
Location: The Dark Horse, 30 Hill Street, Belfast, BT1 2LB

No visit to Belfast is complete without a world class evening with a Belfast drink, enjoy some local delicacies and Belfast entertainment in the cities most exclusive venue.

Often said to be the Aladdin’s cave of hidden street art, The Dark Horse venue is the cities best kept secret. Sit in the luxurious venue and explore the walls of this iconic venue with a classic Belfast drink.

As well as the cities most talented musicians, this social event will showcase the history of the great city with a cultural show 'The Belfast Story'. The storyteller, world class Irish dancers and musicians will make this an event to remember in the city of life, Belfast. You'll be clapping your feet and stomping your hands in no time!!

The show will start at 20:15 and the ticket includes a local welcome drink and some local delicacies.


© Belfast City Hall

Social 3: Microbiology 75th Anniversary drinks reception

Tuesday 5 April 2022
Time: 20:00
22:00
Tickets: FREE
Location: Belfast City Hall, Donegall Square N, Belfast, BT1 5GS

In 2022 Microbiology, the Microbiology Society’s first journal, celebrates its 75th anniversary and we would like to invite you to join us at the magnificent Belfast City Hall.

Here you will have the opportunity to meet the Editors of Microbiology as well as other delegates and members of the Microbiology Society, and ask any questions that you may have about publishing for the community.

Whether you have been involved with the journal before as an Editor, reviewer, or author, or are yet to get involved, we welcome you to join us for an evening of celebrating Microbiology and the community that has supported it for the past 75 years.

The ticket includes drinks and canapés. Please note, space is limited and the link to ticket booking will be provided in due course.

‘We thank Belfast City Council for their kind generosity for the use of City Hall.’


The Belfast Empire
© The Belfast Empire

Social 4: Quiz night

Wednesday 6 April 2022
Time: doors open from 20:00 (quiz starts from 20:30)
Tickets: £20 (including VAT)
Location: The Belfast Empire, 42 Botanic Avenue, Belfast, BT7 1JQ

The Belfast Empire is the heartbeat of Belfast’s live music scene, offering great live music as well as the popular weekly Comedy Club.

This converted church in the heart of Belfast will host the ever-popular Society annual quiz, with prizes up for grabs. Meet old and new friends and get together in teams of six+ to try to compete to secure the prized Society medal.

The quiz will be held in the private Music Hall starting at 20:30 and the ticket includes a welcome drink and a small food buffet.


 

Exhibition & Sponsorship

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

There are packages to suit varying budgets and promotional requirements, including our new Careers Fair and ‘spotlight spot’. The careers fair offers you the opportunity to present in breakout sessions and is designed so you can engage with postdoctoral researchers looking to learn more about the industry, your company and potential job opportunities.

Please download our exhibition pack to view our packages and create the opportunities you need to connect with new and existing customers. If you have any questions or would like to speak to someone about bespoke packages, please email [email protected]

Annual Conference 2022 Exhibition and Sponsorship Pack

 

Floorplan – stand availability


Exhibitor

 
Labtech
   

Sponsors

Technology

Technology

More information coming soon.