The Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2023 will take place Monday 17 April–Thursday 20 April 2023 at Birmingham International Convention Centre.
The Conference takes place over four days and consists of scientific symposia, workshops, fora, professional development sessions, Prize Lectures, Hot Topics and much more.
As part of the preparations for Microbiology Society events due to be held in 2023, the Microbiology Society Council has further discussed the implementation of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 mitigations and has agreed the following:
Attendance at any Microbiology Society event is a personal choice and Council expects delegates to take personal responsibility for their actions in relation to minimising the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The Microbiology Society will continue to ensure adequate ventilation at our venues, with real-time monitoring of CO2 levels where appropriate, and increased spacing particularly during communal activities. We strongly urge all delegates to ensure they are as fully vaccinated as practicable, which we recognise will depend on their age and home country, and to test before travelling to our events. Delegates should not attend if they test positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, should they wish to delegates should feel comfortable to wear a mask in any of our venues. Masks (FFP3) and lateral flow tests will be made available upon request at all Society events should any delegates feel unwell and wish to make use of them, although these will not be routinely supplied in delegate bags.The Microbiology Society Council will continue to monitor the situation and update these mitigations as required.
The Microbiology Society is a charitable membership organisation and our Annual Conference is run for the benefit of our members and the wider microbiology community. This event is supported by revenue generated from our journals. We therefore request that any delegates working for commercial publishers or competing Society publishers do not engage in any promotional or commissioning work for their own journals while at the meeting. If delegates do engage in any promotional activities, they may be asked to leave the event.
Image credit: iStock/Giuseppe Miglino
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. Eligible abstracts can be entered into the Infection Science Award competition, for an opportunity to win free registration for the Federation of Infection Societies annual meeting. Entrants are also invited to submit a publication to Access Microbiology.
Nicky Boyle (University College Cork, Ireland), Guerrino Macori (University College Dublin, Ireland) and Heather Allison (University of Liverpool)
Microbiology is awash with vast swathes of data but piecing together that data in a way that provides clear and comprehensive answers is proving increasingly difficult. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning provides opportunities for the enhancement of our use of data to tease apart the intimate details of microorganisms and their environments and provides the potential for bigger questions to be answered and greater systems to be explored. Areas such as diagnostics, micro-organism identification, protein structure, RNA structure, infection environments and multiorganism community dynamics are a few of the many areas that are open to exploration with these new technologies. The capabilities of AI and machine learning are increasing rapidly and this session will seek to display how they are being used today and how they could be used in the future to build on current knowledge.
Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland), Florence Abram (University of Galway, Ireland), Joe Grove (University of Glasgow, UK), Samuel Sheppard (University of Oxford, UK) and Heather Allison (University of Liverpool, UK)
Molecular interactions between plants and microbes underpin infection processes and crop resistance. Here, we showcase current research in plant pathology and across plant-microbe interactions. Recent drives to generate pathogen genomic and pan-genomic resources are enabling population-level studies of microbial diversity and host adaptation. Meanwhile, widespread screening of effector/R-gene interactions are moving us beyond gene-for-gene models of host resistance, highlighting the importance of immune receptor networks, whilst providing new targets for resistance breeding. Beyond this, new plant-pathogen battlegrounds are being identified, particularly the role trans-kingdom RNA-signalling in infection. Taken together, these advances provide new fundamental understanding of colonisation strategies, opportunities to develop durable crop resistance and improved tools for monitoring and control of disease. This session, chaired by the Eukaryotic division, showcases current research in plant-microbe interactions and is open to pathologists from across kingdoms of life.
Andrew Armitage (University of Greenwich, UK), Dawn Arnold (Harper Adams University, UK)and Helen Cockerton (University of Kent, UK)
Climate change is the most severe threat to humanity, with irreversible consequences that will worsen in the coming decades. Climate change is thought to have exacerbated more than 200 infectious diseases, as well as being responsible for the loss of bio-diversity, putting global food security in jeopardy. This session will concentrate on eukaryotic microbial organisms in order to investigate the impact of climate change on a) microbial function and lifestyle, b) microbial communities and bio-diversity, c) animal infectious diseases, and d) food security.
Alessia Buscaino (University of Kent, UK) and Delma Childers (University of Aberdeen, UK)
All living systems have mechanisms to anticipate and respond to changes occurring around them. While mammalian systems utilise their circadian clock to adapt to daily changes, microorganisms also have in-built mechanisms for rhythmicity in response to their environment in a ‘timely’ manner. This session invites participants who are interested in microbial oscillatory mechanisms in the context of infectious diseases, environmental microbiology, or biogeochemical cycles.
Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK) and Hasan Yesilkaya (University of Leicester, UK)
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.
Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edge Hill University, UK), Alison Mather (Quadram Institute, UK) and Gary Moran (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Our ability to understand the role of microbial chemical interactions as they underpin host-microbiome interactions is fundamental to tackling key global challenges including environmental sustainability and human health. Although microbial chemical exchange is essential across complex biological processes, the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on this are largely unknown. This session will focus on biological questions concerning the role of biotic interactions on produced microbial metabolites, both from an ecological and a human health perspective. The session will focus on a plethora of higher organisms including marine invertebrates, insects, plants, and the human gut. The work presented will consider the role of metabolites, from signalling molecules to antagonistic/synergistic responses and the technologies that enable these complex processes to be studied.
Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK) and Sinéad C. Corr (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Secondary adaptations allow organisms an evolutionary change of direction. This might be to exploit a new habitat or niche, to facilitate a new lifestyle, or to employ a new biological process. The adaptations can be driven by processes such as reductive evolution, gain of function via lateral gene transfer or endosymbiosis, repurposing of existing molecules, and might involve constructive neutral evolution. These secondary adaptations are often key to the emergence of successful microbial parasites and the diversification of protists more generally. This joint session between the Eukaryotic Division of the Microbiology Society, the British Society of Parasitology, and Protistology UK will explore the roles that secondary adaptations have played in contributing to microbial eukaryotic diversity.
Ross Waller (University of Cambridge, UK), Calvin Tiengwe (Imperial College London, UK), Robert Hirt (Newcastle University, UK) and Alison Smith (University of Cambridge, UK)
Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK) and Hasan Yesilkaya (University of Leicester, UK)
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: Tamyo Mbisa (UK Health Security Agency, UK) and Stephen Winchester (Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK)
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a momentous event in global health with wide ranging impacts throughout human society. Research efforts in the UK, and across the world, have delivered knowledge and understanding of SARS-CoV-2, a novel human virus. These efforts directly informed the international response to the global health emergency. However, there remains much to learn about the fundamental biology and clinical features of SARS-CoV-2, and other coronaviruses; doing so will better prepare us for potential future zoonotic spillovers. This workshop covers any and all aspects of SARS-CoV-2 research, including molecular biology, disease, immune responses, treatment, transmission, epidemiology and pandemic preparedness. We hope to capture the breadth and depth of UK SARS-CoV-2 research and we welcome abstracts from diverse disciplines and perspectives.
Richard Stanton (Cardiff University, UK), Goedele Maertens (Imperial College London, UK), Joe Grove (University of Glasgow, UK) and Harriet Groom (University of Cambridge, UK)
Staff and academic Editors from The Microbiology Society and The Royal Society will give an overview of the publishing process. This interactive session will include information about the lifecycle of research and publishing, how authors select a journal, and an overview of open science practices. The session will include a section on publishing ethics and will also introduce you to peer review to prepare you for acting as a reviewer. This session is aimed at early career researchers, but we also welcome more experienced authors and reviewers.
Tamanna Khanom (Microbiology Society, UK), Dalia Nikadon (Microbiology Society, UK) and Helen Eaton (The Royal Society, UK)
Industrial microbiology, biotechnology and green pharma have transformed the landscape of goods and medicinal manufacture. Developments across the life, physical, and engineering sciences have converged to present new opportunities for the eco-friendly synthesis and production of bio-based materials, commodities, chemicals, and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Realising the full potential of these technologies will require further developments in key areas such as scale-up of industrial production and optimisation of the biocatalytic pipeline currently available to industry, including the development of new prokaryotic and eukaryotic production systems, such as microalgae. This cross-divisional session, organised with the European Federation of Biotechnology, will bring together experts from industry and academia with a broad range of expertise to offer insights into the future of sustainable and scalable industrial microbiology. Offered papers and abstracts on scale up of industrial biotransformation, industrial biotechnology, novel production systems and biocatalysis for drug development, fine chemicals or industrial application, will underpin the collective potential from this cross-disciplinary session.
Christopher Cooper (CHARM Therapeutics, UK; Prokaryotic Division), John Morrissey (University College Cork, Ireland; EFB), Jerry Reen (University College Cork, Ireland; Irish Division), Ralf Takors (University of Stuttgart, Germany; EFB), Nicholas Tucker (University of Suffolk, UK; Prokaryotic Division) and Alison Smith (University of Cambridge, UK; Eukaryotic Division).
We invite abstracts on any aspect of DNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical replication cycle of DNA viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.
Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK), Matthew Reeves (University College London, UK), Finn Grey (University of Edinburgh, UK) and Jack Furguson (University of Birmingham, UK)
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.
Andrew Lovering (University of Birmingham, UK), Stephan Uphoff (University of Oxford, UK) and Steve Atkinson (University of Nottingham, UK)
The talks in this workshop will focus on viruses with negative stranded and double stranded RNA genomes. They will cover the replication cycle of these viruses, including virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Abstracts are welcomed on the subject of viruses infecting the breadth of the eukaryotic life, from humans through animals, invertebrates and plants. This workshop also includes the opportunity for clinicians to present studies of ongoing outbreaks.
Elly Gaunt (University of Edinburgh, UK), David Hughes (University of St Andrews, UK) and Edward Wright (University of Sussex, UK)
The workshop will encompass all aspects of positive sense RNA viruses. It will include work focussing on any aspect of the viral lifecycle (such as viral entry, uncoating, translation, replication, assembly and egress). The workshop will also incorporate work studying pathogenesis (illustrating the range of diseases caused by viruses with positive sense genomes) or how viruses interact with their hosts/host cells (especially interactions with immune defences). The workshop will aim to cover human, animal and plant viruses and also include data of clinical relevance as well as novel vaccination and antiviral strategies. Although there is a separate SARS-CoV-2 session, work focused on coronaviruses may also be included in this workshop.
Helena Maier (The Pirbright Institute, UK), Dalan Bailey (The Pirbright Institute, UK), Sam Wilson (University of Glasgow, UK) and Clive McKimmie (University of Leeds, UK)
We welcome abstracts on any aspect of learning or teaching microbiology in higher education as well as any aspect of engaging a wider audience with microbiology. This can include, but is not limited to, public engagement and outreach, practical teaching, accessibility/diversity and novel pedagogy. We are happy to receive abstracts from colleagues in any setting e.g. clinicians, technicians, those in industry, etc.
Organisers: Melissa Lacey (Sheffield Hallam University), Alison Graham (Newcastle University, UK), James Edwards (University of Plymouth, UK) and Michael Dillon (University of Plymouth, UK)
Tuberculosis remains the leading cause of bacterial death globally in part because of the complex characteristics of the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis including the multi-faceted pathogenic strategy which makes development of effective treatments and vaccines very challenging but also due to perennial underfunding in this area. Innovations in diagnostics and treatment regimens have been successful in reducing death rates and incidence of this disease but tuberculosis control measures have sadly been amongst the collateral damage of the COVID-19 pandemic reversing this trend. Despite these impediments, tuberculosis researchers continue to deliver exciting research with broad applications beyond mycobacteria and therefore this session will be of interest to a wide range of microbiologists. The scope will be broad with scientists showcasing cutting-edge tools and highlighting paradigm shifts in our understanding of one of the most successful pathogens on the planet.
Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK) and Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK)
The Members Panel invite you to join us for an interactive session exploring the experiences of historically marginalised groups within the field of microbiology, across industry, government and academic institutions. Our keynote speaker will be followed by an open panel discussion in which we encourage our panellists to share their personal experiences of successes and failures in implementing initiatives aimed at building a more inclusive research culture. The aim of the session is to give insight into challenges faced by historically marginalised scientists, as well as practical insights into tangible actions that can support everyone to be their best microbiologist. There will be opportunities to engage with the Members Panel during and after the session to share your own personal experiences and ideas for how we can better support members of the Microbiology Society.
The Members Panel
This session will consider how researchers can meaningfully contribute to and influence science policy both nationally and internationally. The aim of the session is to provide an overview of the many ways in which researchers can contribute to policy-making, and to bring researchers and decision-makers together to discuss how best to work collaboratively to tackle antimicrobial resistance. This is a joint session between the Microbiology Society and the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
Katie O'Connor (Microbiology Society, UK), Charlotte Holtum (Microbiology Society, UK), Eva Scholtus (Microbiology Society, UK), Iruka Okeke (University of Ibadan, Nigeria) and Michael Corley (British Society for Antimicrobal Chemotherapy, UK).
Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK) and Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK)
Antimicrobial resistance is the major global health care priority. Their widespread use in human and veterinarian health, as well as industrial and agricultural, has improved life conditions all over the world. However we are now at the stage where microbes evolved to have multi and even pan resistance to antimicrobials. The goal of this joint session between the Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Division is to highlight the most recent advances on emergence of AMR in the environment, animals, and humans - from molecular mechanisms to epidemiological tools. We hope that bringing these fields together we can foster discussion, knowledge exchange and create a community that can effect change in the current landscape.
Carolina Coelho (University of Exeter, UK), Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edge Hill University, UK), Gavin Paterson (Edinburgh University, UK) and Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK)
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.
Julie Morrisey (University of Leicester, UK), Jennifer Mahony (University College Cork, Ireland) and Georgios Efthimiou (University of Hull, UK)
Delegates will have the opportunity to explore different career options available to microbiologists. Speakers will discuss their career journeys, including the challenges and job opportunities, and provide insights into career prospects for students and researchers in different parts of the microbiology workforce. At the end of each talk, there will be time for a Q&A, allowing delegates to ask key questions such as how to put yourself in the strongest position during the recruitment process, career development in different roles and the application of specific microbiology-related skills to different roles. Early career researchers wanting to explore their next career options, and mid-career microbiologists considering a career change are invited to attend.
Sarah Maddocks, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK
Science thrives in diversity; bringing together different perspectives and approaches can provide completely new insights to a problem. Viruses are molecular parasites with population level consequences. They replicate by exploiting complex environments across a wide range of length scales, making it hard to construct a complete model of viral replication using any single experimental method. Fortunately, our ability to combine data from multiple methods into integrative models of viral replication is growing rapidly. In this session we will take a view of virology through different lenses, for example computational biology, structural biology, advanced microscopy and mathematics. We will highlight how integration across these, and other, disciplines can drive discovery and reveal new biology. We invite abstracts that take interdisciplinary approaches to any and all virology research, from the molecular level through to global epidemiology and all scales in between.
Joe Grove (University of Glasgow, UK), Edward Hutchinson (University of Glasgow, UK) and Charlotte Uetrecht (Leibniz Institute of Virology, Germany)
Carolina Coelho (University of Exeter, UK); Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edge Hill University, UK); Gavin Paterson (Edinburgh University, UK); Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK)
Sarah Maddocks, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK