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Overview

Given the complex and changing nature of the pandemic, the Council of the Microbiology Society, supported by our Scientific Conferences Committee, recently made the decision to transition our planned Annual Conference in Birmingham in 2021 to an online event.

We’re delighted to announce Annual Conference Online 2021 has now been agreed and is currently in production.

The event has been designed as a digital version of the Society’s flagship annual meeting whose symposia and activities are designed to achieve the same scientific and networking objectives.

Annual Conference Online 2021 takes place over five days and consists of symposia, workshops, forums, offered oral presentations and Prize Lectures from eminent microbiologists. It is being produced to offer ample opportunities for formal and informal online networking for both early career and established microbiologists.

Now, more than ever, it is essential that we meet our mission to advance the understanding and impact of microbiology by connecting and empowering communities worldwide. We will work to ensure the best possible digital environment for communicating microbiological research and allowing opportunities for formal and informal networking for both early career and established microbiologists.

Next year’s event is currently in production with the Scientific Committee and sessions are being scheduled across the week. Final confirmed sessions will include:

Symposia
  • Bacterial metabolites as modulators of host physiology
  • Bioproduction and Biomaterials
  • Marine Microbiology
  • Exploring the eukaryotic tree of life
  • AMR
  • The secret life of mobile genetic elements 
  • Phage biology
  • Public health microbiology
Virus Workshops
  • SARS-CoV2 and the COVID-19 pandemic: molecular virology and immunology
  • SARS-CoV2 and the COVID-19 pandemic: clinical and translational
  • Visualising viruses
  • RNA viruses
  • DNA viruses
Eukaryotic and prokaryotic Fora
  • Environmental & Applied Microbiology Forum
  • Genetics & Genomics Forum
  • Infection Forum
  • Microbial Physiology, Metabolism and Molecular Biology Forum
Microbiology Society Professional Development
  • Careers in microbiology
  • Essential skills: Entrepreneurship
  • Essential Skills: How to secure a fellowship
  • Teaching symposium

Programme

Session

Session View

Monday 26 April, Morning

AMR

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

Organisers

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

Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

This forum will consider offered papers on all aspects of microbial (prokaryotic and eukaryotic) metabolism and physiology, including fundamental research on the biochemistry and structure of cells, cell growth and division, cell architecture and differentiation, synthesis and transport of macromolecules, ions and small molecules and the cell cycle; but also on the role of physiology in microbial engineering, signalling and communication, sensing and cellular responses, the molecular mechanisms behind these phenomena and their potential applications.

Organisers

Monday 26 April, Afternoon

AMR

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

Organisers

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

Environmental and applied microbiology forum

This forum includes offered papers on any area and any organism relevant to environmental, ecological, applied and industrial microbiology, including (non-human) host–microbe communities and interactions, marine and freshwater microbiology, soil and geomicrobiology, air-, cryo- and extremophile microbiology, climate change, biotechnology, bio-processing and bio-engineering, food microbiology, and other applied and industrial microbial processes, including microbe-mediated biodegradation and bioremediation.

Organisers

Tuesday 27 April, Morning

Essential Skills: How to secure a fellowship

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

Organisers

Daniela Barilla (University of York, UK)

Marine microbiology

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

Organisers

Tuesday 27 April, Afternoon

Essential Skills: How to secure a fellowship

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

Organisers

Daniela Barilla (University of York, UK)

Marine microbiology

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

Organisers

Wednesday 28 April, Morning

Bacterial metabolites as modulators of host physiology

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

Organisers

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

Careers in microbiology

The Society will host a careers session which will offer an opportunity to hear about careers in microbiology from a variety of microbiologists working in different organisations in addition to academia. Those working in areas such as industry, clinical settings, and academia will present skills needed, career prospects and opportunities and specific information related to the role.

Organisers

Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

Wednesday 28 April, Afternoon

Bacterial metabolites as modulators of host physiology

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

Organisers

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

Careers in microbiology

The Society will host a careers session which will offer an opportunity to hear about careers in microbiology from a variety of microbiologists working in different organisations in addition to academia. Those working in areas such as industry, clinical settings, and academia will present skills needed, career prospects and opportunities and specific information related to the role.

Organisers

Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

Exploring the eukaryotic tree of life

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

Organisers

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

Thursday 29 April, Morning

Essential skills: Entrepreneurship

This session will provide participants with useful information about the key areas of business to consider when becoming a scientific entrepreneur. Participants will be given a checklist of considerations from patents and funding to marketing strategies and creating a team. Microbiology entrepreneurs will provide insight into how they transformed their scientific research into business ideas.

Organisers

Diane Wilkinson; Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

Public health microbiology

A broad session covering the spectrum of public health microbiology applications. We will include offered papers from across the breadth of public health microbiology to deliberately create a broad interest session.

Organisers

Thursday 29 April, Afternoon

Bioproduction and biomaterials

This session will highlight advances made in microbial bio-engineering, synthetic microbiology and systems biotechnology that ultimately aims to disrupt the fossil-fuel based economy through the establishment of sustainable manufacturing of metabolites, materials, and medicines for a range of applications and sectors. Contributions are invited on topics such as bio-based and/or self-organizing building blocks and nanoparticles, bioproduction, biofabrication, smart and hybrid biomaterials, biosensors and bioremediation while submissions on novel tools for design and bio-engineering will also be most welcome.

Organisers

Genetics and genomics forum

Offered papers on all aspects of the genes and genomes of microbes (prokaryotes and eukaryotes) and their mobile elements will be considered, including their sequencing, transcription, translation, regulation, chromosome dynamics, gene transfer, population genetics and evolution, taxonomy and systematics, comparative genomics, metagenomics, bioinformatics, and synthetic biology.

Organisers

Public health microbiology

A broad session covering the spectrum of public health microbiology applications. We will include offered papers from across the breadth of public health microbiology to deliberately create a broad interest session.

Organisers

Friday 30 April, Morning

Teaching symposium

This symposium will deliver sessions dedicated to pertinent areas of interest for those involved in teaching in higher education. Those involved in teaching, wanting to pursue a teaching focused role or keep up to date with new techniques and standards, including post-doctoral demonstrators, are encouraged to attend.

Organisers

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

The secret life of mobile genetic elements

Bacteria host a diverse range of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) — including plasmids, transposons, integrative-conjugative elements, and prophages — that make a significant impact on the lives of the bacteria they inhabit, and beyond. As vehicles of horizontal gene transfer, MGEs facilitate rapid adaptation, allowing microbes to colonize new environments, exemplified by the alarming spread of resistance genes between lineages. Changes in MGE copy number can alter gene dosage, enhancing evolution through increased mutational supply, while changes to genome architecture or gene expression caused by MGE activity can result in large-scale phenotypic change. MGEs interact with one another in multifarious ways both competitive and collaborative, affecting the success of the microbes that host them. Meanwhile, the functions encoded by MGEs represent a powerful molecular toolkit which has been repurposed by microbes for various services including gene regulation and antagonising neighbours. In this session we will consider the far-reaching contribution that these ubiquitous, diverse, and versatile elements make to microbial life.

Organisers

Friday 30 April, Afternoon

Infection forum

Offered papers will be presented in areas related to infections caused by prokaryote and eukaryote pathogens of human, veterinary or botanical significance including epidemiology, diagnosis, identification, typing, pathogenesis, treatment, antimicrobial agents and resistance, prevention, virulence factors, host responses and immunity, transmission, and models of infection at the cell, tissue or whole organism level.

Organisers

Phage biology

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

Organisers

Teaching symposium

This symposium will deliver sessions dedicated to pertinent areas of interest for those involved in teaching in higher education. Those involved in teaching, wanting to pursue a teaching focused role or keep up to date with new techniques and standards, including post-doctoral demonstrators, are encouraged to attend.

Organisers

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

Lecture View
Abstracts

Abstracts

Annual Conference regularly attracts over 1,600 attendees for the UK’s largest annual gathering of microbiologists. The event is designed to cover the breadth of microbiology and its online oral abstracts and electronic posters are both key to delivering a comprehensive scientific programme.

The Society has produced a guide to give delegates some tips on how to write a great abstract.

Abstracts for the event are now open

Submissions deadline: 15 February 2021

Notification of acceptance: w/c 8 March 2021

Please note, abstract deadlines have been pushed back to enable authors the longest possible leadtime to submit their work.

The following sessions are open for abstracts:

Symposia

  • Bacterial metabolites as modulators of host physiology
  • Bioproduction and Biomaterials
  • Marine Microbiology
  • Exploring the eukaryotic tree of life
  • AMR
  • The secret life of mobile genetic elements
  • Phage biology
  • Public health microbiology

Virus Workshops

  • SARS-CoV2 and the COVID-19 pandemic: molecular virology and immunology
  • SARS-CoV2 and the COVID-19 pandemic: clinical and translational
  • Visualising viruses
  • RNA viruses
  • DNA viruses

Eukaryotic and prokaryotic Fora

  • Environmental & Applied Microbiology Forum
  • Genetics & Genomics Forum
  • Infection Forum
  • Microbial Physiology, Metabolism and Molecular Biology Forum

 

Technology

Technology

Annual Conference Online will be accessible remotely and will use virtual event technology to provide a comprehensively curated scientific programme.

Further details about the virtual event technology will be updated shortly.

Event app

Annual Conference Online 2021 will include an event app.

This will be available as a free download for all registered delegates. It has primarily been designed to help you make personal connections with other attendees (subject to your permissions).

The software also offers live event notifications, personalised schedules across the whole of Annual Conference week and options to search all abstracts.

Registration

Registration

Bookings open on Monday 7 December 2020.