Overview

The Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2022 took place between Monday 4 April–Thursday 7 April 2022 and was held in Belfast, at its International Convention Centre.

Highlights from the Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2022

 

 

COVID-19 mitigations FAQs

What are you doing to make the event as safe as possible?

As part of the preparations for Annual Conference 2022 in Belfast, the Microbiology Society has planned a set of mitigations against COVID-19 at our in-person event. Council members and members of the Virus Division, including Paul Kellam (former Council Member), Gill Elliott (Council member), Stephen Griffin (former Chair of Virus Division), Jo Parish (Chair of Virus Division), Matthew Reeves (Chair Elect of Virus Division) and Elly Gaunt (Virus Division member), have worked with Society staff to develop a framework of mitigations for the Society to apply to all of its events throughout 2022, in order to ensure that these are as COVID-secure as possible.

Implementation of this framework is a shared responsibility; shared between the Society, the venues we use for our events, and all potential attendees. Attendance at any of our events is a personal choice, but it will be incumbent on all of us to deliver these mitigations in order for us to keep our delegates, members, and staff as safe as we can.

The framework covers the following five areas.

  1. Vaccines
  2. Ventilation
  3. Masks
  4. Testing
  5. Spacing, particularly during communal activities such as lunch and poster sessions

The following mitigations will be implemented for all those attending Annual Conference 2022 at the ICC Belfast. In the run up to Annual Conference 2022, these mitigations have been reviewed by the Society’s Council to ensure they remain appropriate.

Mitigation area

 

Vaccines

All attendees are required to be fully vaccinated to attend Annual Conference. For many individuals, this will mean a primary course and booster vaccine, and with the booster administered at least 14 days before Conference. By attending Conference, you confirm that you are fully vaccinated, or have a valid exemption from the Society’s Conferences team and approved by the General Secretary.

Ventilation

Real-time monitoring of CO2 levels will take place throughout the venue, with regular review and necessary rapid action.

Masks

FFP3 masks will be provided to all individuals in delegate bags on arrival at Conference, and everyone will be expected to wear them inside the conference venue, except when eating or drinking, at which time attendees are reminded to socially distance. If you require additional masks, please ask at the registration desks.

We are mindful that some delegates have legitimate reasons for not wearing a mask or are exempt. In recognition of exemptions which may or may not be evident, no-one will be challenged regarding mask wearing within the venue. 

Testing

Attendees will be provided with LFT devices in delegate bags on arrival at Conference and will be expected to test themselves daily at their accommodation before attending the conference venue. It is the responsibility of the attendee to secure a LFT device and test themself before their first arrival at Conference. If you require additional LFT devices, please ask at the registration desks.

If you test positive during Conference, please do not come to the Conference venue. Please follow the Northern Ireland guidelines regarding self-isolation. If you need any help, please contact us at [email protected].

Spacing

All attendees are reminded of social distancing, particularly during communal activities such as lunch and poster sessions.

Registration FAQs

Is there a deadline for registration?

Registration for the conference will close at 17:00 BST on 28 March.

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.

Are there any group discounts?

Yes – A group discount of 10% can be applied for groups of 4 or more if requested before registering the group members. Please email [email protected] to facilitate this. Once registered, group discounts will not be able to be applied.

Am I entitled to a refund?

We are aware of ongoing uncertainty around event attendance as the pandemic continues. In order to give delegates the most confidence and flexibility, we will refund all registration fees in full if you cancel your booking, for whatever reason, at any time in the lead up to the event. If you wish to cancel your booking and request a refund before the event, please email [email protected].

Abstracts and posters FAQs

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.

Speaker FAQs

I have received an accommodation link from E-Hotels Services. Is this legitimate?

No. Please be aware that third-party companies (such a E-Hotel Services) are deceptively acting as venue agents or travel agents to solicit you with fraudulent links. Please only register your accommodation through links to the hotels provided by the Microbiology Society, in the emails that come directly from us. For any issues or queries regarding this, please contact [email protected].

 

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

Type

Session

Session View

Monday 04 April, Morning

Microbial cell surfaces

Studio

This session is sponsored by Microbiology and Microbial Genomics. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Phylogenomics - deed poll for bacteria?

Meeting Room 2

This session is sponsored by International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 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. Submit your question via our submission form.

Organisers

Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK); Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Teaching microbiology in higher education symposium

Meeting Room 3

This session is sponsored by Access Microbiology. 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 build their network of teaching-active colleagues and learn about diversifying teaching and how others have made microbiology more accessible, including good practice in blended learning. We will also explore examples of outreach work, including remote outreach activities as many of us transition into a hybrid of online and in-person practices. Those involved in teaching and outreach, wanting to pursue a teaching focused role or to keep up to date with new practices, are encouraged to attend.

Organisers

Nicola Crewe (University of Lincoln, UK); James Edwards (University of Plymouth, UK); Christopher Randall (University of Leeds, UK); Mel Lacey (Sheffield Hallam University, UK); Alison Graham (Hull York Medical School, UK)

The remarkable ribosome

Hall 2A

This session is sponsored by Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Therapies and vaccines for eukaryotic pathogens

Meeting Room 1

This session is sponsored by Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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

Auditorium

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

Matt Reeves (University College London, UK); Ed Hutchinson (University of Glasgow, UK); Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland)

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

Hall 2B

This session is sponsored by Microbiology and Microbial Genomics. 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)

Monday 04 April, Afternoon

Environmental and applied microbiology forum

Meeting Room 2

This session is sponsored by Microbiology and International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 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 McDonald (Bangor University, UK); Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK); Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK)

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

Hall 2B

This session is sponsored by Microbiology and Microbial Genomics. 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

Studio

This session is sponsored by Microbiology and Microbial Genomics. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Teaching microbiology in higher education symposium

Meeting Room 3

This session is sponsored by Access Microbiology. 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 build their network of teaching-active colleagues and learn about diversifying teaching and how others have made microbiology more accessible, including good practice in blended learning. We will also explore examples of outreach work, including remote outreach activities as many of us transition into a hybrid of online and in-person practices. Those involved in teaching and outreach, wanting to pursue a teaching focused role or to keep up to date with new practices, are encouraged to attend.

Organisers

Nicola Crewe (University of Lincoln, UK); James Edwards (University of Plymouth, UK); Christopher Randall (University of Leeds, UK); Mel Lacey (Sheffield Hallam University, UK); Alison Graham (Hull York Medical School, UK)

The remarkable ribosome

Hall 2A

This session is sponsored by Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Therapies and vaccines for eukaryotic pathogens

Meeting Room 1

This session is sponsored by Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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

Auditorium

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

Matt Reeves (University College London, UK); Ed Hutchinson (University of Glasgow, UK); Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Tuesday 05 April, Morning

Bacterial second messengers

Hall 2B

This session is sponsored by Microbiology. 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

Studio

This session is sponsored by Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Genetics and genomics forum

Meeting Room 1

This session is sponsored by Microbial Genomics and Microbiology. 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

Hall 2A

This session is sponsored by Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Tackling antimicrobial resistance as a community

Meeting Room 2

This session is sponsored by Access Microbiology. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a slow-moving but clear and present danger, which already causes at least 70,000 deaths a year globally. Unchecked, the impact of AMR will continue to grow and has the potential to become the greatest future threat to human health and well-being. How is the microbiology community tackling AMR? This session aims to bring together early-career researchers with interests in AMR, to discuss opportunities for progress, new strategies and innovative ideas to tackle this global threat. There will also be an opportunity to learn more about how the Microbiology Society is supporting our members to address and raise awareness of AMR.

Organisers

Emily Hugo-Webb (Microbiology Society, UK); Eva Scholtus (Microbiology Society, UK)

Thriving under stress: viral manipulation of the cell

Auditorium

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

Matt Reeves (University College London, UK); Ed Hutchinson (University of Glasgow, UK); Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Microbiology careers fair

Meeting Room 3

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

Kirti Mistry (Microbiology Society, UK)

Tuesday 05 April, Afternoon

Bacterial second messengers

Hall 2B

This session is sponsored by Microbiology. 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

Studio

This session is sponsored by Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Manipulating microbiomes across systems

Hall 2A

This session is sponsored by Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

James McDonald (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

Meeting Room 3

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

Kirti Mistry (Microbiology Society, UK)

Publishing fundamentals

Meeting Room 2

From learning about the lifecycle of research, to the role of Editors and reviewers, and publishing ethics, the Publishing Fundamentals session will provide delegates with an insight into publishing scientific research and how they can get more involved at the Microbiology Society. This session will contain talks from members of the Microbiology Society Publishing team as well as activities where delegates can learn more about how to peer review a manuscript and keeping an eye out for ethical issues. This session is aimed at early career researchers but open to anyone interested in learning more about publishing for the community. There will also be an opportunity to meet some of the Society’s Editors during this session.

Organisers

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

Symbiosis

Meeting Room 1

This session is sponsored by Microbiology. 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)

Virus workshop: Assembly, egress and entry

Lagan (Hilton)

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology. 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)

Virus workshop: Pathogenesis

Auditorium

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Wednesday 06 April, Morning

Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: Bacterial and fungal pathogens

Studio

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.

This session will be recorded and made available after the conference.

Organisers

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

Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

Hall 2B

This session is sponsored by Microbiology. 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 data integration, health and society

Meeting Room 2

This session is sponsored by International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology and Microbial Genomics.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 (Edge Hill University, UK); Winnie Lee (University of Bristol, UK); Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Symbiosis

Meeting Room 1

This session is sponsored by Microbiology. 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)

Virus workshop: Antivirals and vaccines

Lagan (Hilton)

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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)

Virus workshop: Gene expression and replication

Hall 2A

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology and Microbial Genomics. 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)

Virus workshop: SARS-CoV-2/COVID

Auditorium

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

Joe Grove (University of Glasgow, UK); Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Ternenge Apaa (University of Nottingham, UK)

Virus workshop: Antiviral immunity

Meeting room 3

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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)

Wednesday 06 April, Afternoon

A one health perspective on the eukaryome

Meeting Room 1

This session is sponsored by Microbial Genomics and Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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)

Applied diagnostics: a sensitive issue

Hall 2B

This session is 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 (UK Health Security Agency, UK)

Celebrating 75 years of Microbiology: Biofilms and surface adhesion

Studio

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?

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Virus workshop: Antiviral immunity

Meeting room 3

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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)

Virus workshop: Clinical virology

Lagan (Hilton)

This session is sponsored by Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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 (UK Health Security Agency, UK); Andrew Bosworth (UK Health Security Agency, UK)

Virus workshop: Gene expression and replication

Hall 2A

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology and Microbial Genomics. 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)

Virus workshop: SARS-CoV-2/COVID

Auditorium

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

Joe Grove (University of Glasgow, UK); Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Ternenge Apaa (University of Nottingham, UK)

Multiomics data integration, health and society

Meeting Room 2

This session is sponsored by International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology and Microbial Genomics.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 (Edge Hill University, UK); Winnie Lee (University of Bristol, UK); Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Thursday 07 April, Morning

A one health perspective on the eukaryome

Meeting Room 1

This session is sponsored by Microbial Genomics and Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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

Studio

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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

CLIMB-BIG-DATA from microbial sequences to consequences: a demonstration

Lagan (Hilton)

This session is sponsored by Microbial Genomics and Microbiology. Bioinformatics is a pinch point for many projects that involve microbial sequence data, where there are often limitations in computing power and ease of access to user-friendly bioinformatics tools. CLIMB-BIG-DATA is an MRC-funded cloud-computing project that provides a scalable and dynamic bioinformatics platform for use by the UK microbiology research and public health communities. In this half-day session, the CLIMB-BIG-DATA team will provide an overview of the project and demonstrate how to set up and manage accounts and virtual machines and then use the project's cloud-computing infrastructure in analyses of microbial genomes and metagenomes. This session is aimed primarily at those who have some familiarity working with the Linux command line and who might benefit from access to the resources that CLIMB-BIG-DATA has to offer, including access to virtual machines, containers and bioinformatics pipelines and software, plus the training facilities we offer for undergraduates, PhD students, post-docs and other academics.

Organisers

Andrew Preston (University of Bath, UK); Mark Pallen (Quadram Institute, UK)

Environmental microbiology: our sustainable future

Auditorium

This session is sponsored by Microbiology and International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Infection forum

Hall 2A

This session is 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 (UK Health Security Agency, UK)

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

Meeting Room 2

This session is sponsored by Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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

Hall 2B

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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

Studio

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 journal's history. This session will focus on quorum sensing and processes controlled by this mechanism.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Environmental microbiology: our sustainable future

Auditorium

This session is sponsored by Microbiology and International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 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.

This session will be recorded and made available on-demand after the conference.

Organisers

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

Infection forum

Hall 2A

This session is 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 (UK Health Security Agency, UK)

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

Meeting Room 2

This session is sponsored by Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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

Hall 2B

This session is sponsored by Journal of General Virology and Journal of Medical Microbiology. 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

Monday 04 April, Morning