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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.

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.

The Scientific Committee has now finalised the sessions across the week. Confirmed sessions include:

Symposia
  • Bacterial metabolites as modulators of host physiology
  • Microbial Biotechnology
  • Marine Microbiology – from the ocean to the lab and beyond
  • 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
Microbiology Society Policy
  • The impact of Brexit on microbiology research and innovation

Programme

Type

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

Gillian Fraser (University of Cambridge, UK); Delma Childers (University of Aberdeen, UK; Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK)

Virus workshop: SARS-CoV2 and the COVID-19 pandemic: molecular virology and immunology

Since emerging from the city of Wuhan, Hubei province in China towards the end of 2019, SARS-CoV2 has caused more than 67 million confirmed cases, over 1.5 million recorded deaths, profound morbidity and severe socio-economic damage, disproportionately affecting those least well off in society. Huge research effort and investment has underpinned advances in the understanding of SARS-CoV2, with tens of thousands of studies published or pre-printed in less than a year. This workshop will focus upon the molecular virology concerned with the virus life cycle, its interactions with the host cell, the innate and adaptive immune responses elicited, and how the virus strives to evade them. We will also cover abstracts relating to lab-based antiviral or other therapeutic work, as well as the development of culture systems emulating the in vivo scenario.

Organisers

Steve Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Elly Gaunt (University of Edinburgh, UK); Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland); Sam Wilson (University of Glasgow, UK)

Careers in microbiology

Sarah Blackford will present an interactive workshop focused on career planning and guidance. The session will also 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)

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)

Careers in microbiology

Sarah Blackford will present an interactive workshop focused on career planning and guidance. The session will also 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)

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

Christine Edwards (Robert Gordon University, UK); Michael Cunliffe (Marine Biological Association & University of Plymouth, UK); Kate Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK); James MacDonald (Bangor University, UK)

Virus workshop: SARS-CoV2 and the COVID-19 pandemic: molecular virology and immunology

Since emerging from the city of Wuhan, Hubei province in China towards the end of 2019, SARS-CoV2 has caused more than 67 million confirmed cases, over 1.5 million recorded deaths, profound morbidity and severe socio-economic damage, disproportionately affecting those least well off in society. Huge research effort and investment has underpinned advances in the understanding of SARS-CoV2, with tens of thousands of studies published or pre-printed in less than a year. This workshop will focus upon the molecular virology concerned with the virus life cycle, its interactions with the host cell, the innate and adaptive immune responses elicited, and how the virus strives to evade them. We will also cover abstracts relating to lab-based antiviral or other therapeutic work, as well as the development of culture systems emulating the in vivo scenario.

Organisers

Steve Griffin (University of Leeds, UK); Elly Gaunt (University of Edinburgh, UK); Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland); Sam Wilson (University of Glasgow, UK)

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); Microbiology Society (UK).

Marine Microbiology – from the ocean to the lab and beyond

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

Michael Cunliffe (Marine Biological Association & University of Plymouth, UK), Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK), James McDonald (Bangor University, UK), Katherine Helliwell (Marine Biological Association & University of Exeter, UK)

Virus workshop: SARS-CoV2 and the COVID-19 pandemic: clinical and translational

This session will cover identification and advances in drugs and vaccines targeting SARS-CoV-2, as well as the clinical care of individuals with COVID-19 and epidemiological studies of the virus. There has been remarkable progress made in a matter of months with the discovery of effective interventions to minimise the public health impact of the virus. Depending on the submitted abstracts, we aim to cover all aspects of applied drug and vaccine research, ranging from preclinical models and first-in-man studies through to the outcome of larger clinical trials. For abstracts relating to the clinical care and epidemiology of COVID-19, we plan to cover how treatment of infected individuals has evolved since the start of 2020 and how a combination of classical and molecular epidemiological approaches have provided a good understanding of transmission dynamics and helped inform public health intervention strategies.

Organisers

Edward Wright (University of Sussex, UK); Tamyo Mbisa (PHE, UK); Stephen Winchester (Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK); Andrew Bosworth (PHE, UK)

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); Microbiology Society (UK).

Genetics and genomics forum

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

Andrew Preston (University of Bath, UK); Sarah Maddocks (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK)

Marine Microbiology – from the ocean to the lab and beyond

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

Michael Cunliffe (Marine Biological Association & University of Plymouth, UK), Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK), James McDonald (Bangor University, UK), Katherine Helliwell (Marine Biological Association & University of Exeter, UK)

Virus workshop: SARS-CoV2 and the COVID-19 pandemic: clinical and translational

This session will cover identification and advances in drugs and vaccines targeting SARS-CoV-2, as well as the clinical care of individuals with COVID-19 and epidemiological studies of the virus. There has been remarkable progress made in a matter of months with the discovery of effective interventions to minimise the public health impact of the virus. Depending on the submitted abstracts, we aim to cover all aspects of applied drug and vaccine research, ranging from preclinical models and first-in-man studies through to the outcome of larger clinical trials. For abstracts relating to the clinical care and epidemiology of COVID-19, we plan to cover how treatment of infected individuals has evolved since the start of 2020 and how a combination of classical and molecular epidemiological approaches have provided a good understanding of transmission dynamics and helped inform public health intervention strategies.

Organisers

Edward Wright (University of Sussex, UK); Tamyo Mbisa (PHE, UK); Stephen Winchester (Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK); Andrew Bosworth (PHE, UK)

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)

Microbial biotechnology

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

Geertje van Keulen (Swansea University, UK); Professor Alison Smith (University of Cambridge); and Dr Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK).

Virus workshop: RNA viruses

RNA viruses represent some of the most prevalent and serious threats to human public health. Even now, despite many years of searching, HCV and HIV continue to frustrate vaccine development, yet are held in check by antiviral regimens. By contrast, diseases like yellow fever persist despite a ready-made, efficacious vaccine and we lack interventions for many of the existing and emerging RNA viruses across the planet. Moreover, RNA viruses exert exquisite influence over the host cell, hijacking multiple pathways and eluding both innate and adaptive immunity. We invite abstracts focused upon any aspects of RNA virus biology (+ve, -ve strand, dsRNA viruses, retro/Lentiviruses, including animal/plant viruses), ranging from molecular studies to human trials. Studies on pathogenesis and transmission will also form an integral of the part of the session, along with antivirals, vaccine development and epidemiology.

Organisers

Rachael Tarlinton (University of Nottingham, UK), Ed Hutchinson (University of Glasgow, UK), Dalan Bailey (The Pirbright Institute, UK), Steve Griffin (University of Leeds, 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)

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)

Microbial biotechnology

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

Geertje van Keulen (Swansea University, UK); Professor Alison Smith (University of Cambridge); and Dr Nick Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK).

Virus workshop: RNA viruses

RNA viruses represent some of the most prevalent and serious threats to human public health. Even now, despite many years of searching, HCV and HIV continue to frustrate vaccine development, yet are held in check by antiviral regimens. By contrast, diseases like yellow fever persist despite a ready-made, efficacious vaccine and we lack interventions for many of the existing and emerging RNA viruses across the planet. Moreover, RNA viruses exert exquisite influence over the host cell, hijacking multiple pathways and eluding both innate and adaptive immunity. We invite abstracts focused upon any aspects of RNA virus biology (+ve, -ve strand, dsRNA viruses, retro/Lentiviruses, including animal/plant viruses), ranging from molecular studies to human trials. Studies on pathogenesis and transmission will also form an integral of the part of the session, along with antivirals, vaccine development and epidemiology.

Organisers

Rachael Tarlinton (University of Nottingham, UK), Ed Hutchinson (University of Glasgow, UK), Dalan Bailey (The Pirbright Institute, UK), Steve Griffin (University of Leeds, 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 (Legume Technology, UK); Tadhg Ó'Cróinín (University College Dublin, Ireland)

Public health microbiology

A broad session covering the spectrum of public health microbiology applications. Invited speakers cover the practise and application of public health microbiology at the national level (Gayatri Amirthalingam, PHE Colindale, UK) and internationally (Iruka Okeke Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Direk Limmathurotsakul, Thailand). We cover public health microbiology at the front line including an update on the contentious issue of Lyme disease incidence and epidemiology (Anne Cruikshank, RCGP Clinical Champion for Lyme Disease and Sandra Pearson, Lyme Disease Action UK); and how genomics can be incorporated fully into national level surveillance and epidemiology of infectious disease as demonstrate by Michael Weigand, CDC Atlanta, USA. We will include offered papers from across the breadth of public health microbiology to deliberately create a broad interest session.

Organisers

Andrew Preston (University of Bath, UK); Norman Fry (Public Health England - National Infection Service, UK)

Virus workshop: DNA viruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of DNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of DNA viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Jo Parish (University of Birmingham, UK), Matt Reeves (University College London, UK), Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK, Blair Strang (St George's, University of London, UK)

Thursday 29 April, Afternoon

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

Meera Unnikrishnan (University of Warwick, UK); Robert Fagan (University of Sheffield, UK)

Public health microbiology

A broad session covering the spectrum of public health microbiology applications. Invited speakers cover the practise and application of public health microbiology at the national level (Gayatri Amirthalingam, PHE Colindale, UK) and internationally (Iruka Okeke Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Direk Limmathurotsakul, Thailand). We cover public health microbiology at the front line including an update on the contentious issue of Lyme disease incidence and epidemiology (Anne Cruikshank, RCGP Clinical Champion for Lyme Disease and Sandra Pearson, Lyme Disease Action UK); and how genomics can be incorporated fully into national level surveillance and epidemiology of infectious disease as demonstrate by Michael Weigand, CDC Atlanta, USA. We will include offered papers from across the breadth of public health microbiology to deliberately create a broad interest session.

Organisers

Andrew Preston (University of Bath, UK); Norman Fry (Public Health England - National Infection Service, UK)

Virus workshop: DNA viruses

We invite abstracts on any aspect of DNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life-cycle of DNA viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Jo Parish (University of Birmingham, UK), Matt Reeves (University College London, UK), Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK, Blair Strang (St George's, University of London, UK)

Friday 30 April, Morning

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

Andrew Edwards (Imperial College, UK); Duncan Wilson (University of Exeter, UK); Helen Brown (University of Cardiff, UK)

Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education Symposium

This symposium will deliver sessions dedicated to pertinent areas of interest for those involved in teaching in higher education. Delegates will have the opportunity to learn from the experience of those involved in AMR outreach and engagement activities; HEA fellowships will be explored in its wider breadth; and those involved in using and creating digital platforms for teaching microbiology will present their practices.

Organisers

Tadhg Ó'Cróinín (University College Dublin, Ireland); Nicola Crewe (University of Lincoln, UK); James Edwards (University of Plymouth, UK); Alison Graham (Hull York Medical School, UK); Christopher Randall (University of Leeds, 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

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

Virus workshop: Visualising viruses

In recent years, enormous technological advances have allowed researchers to unpick the structural and dynamic details of viruses and their interactions with unprecedented detail. These include huge strides in cryo-EM and cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) capabilities that deliver structural information at the atomic level. Super-resolution microscopy and single molecule techniques have provided an unparalleled view of macromolecular dynamics, including virus-host interactions and virus replication, transcription and translation. In addition, techniques such as correlative light-electron microscopy (CLEM) has bridged light microscopy and high-resolution EM in order to simultaneously correlate functional information with ultrastructural detail. Together, these exciting developments have shed light on viral processes such as fusion and entry, assembly, maturation, gene expression and replication. They have also played a central role in the development of antiviral therapeutics, including vaccines, by providing unparalleled information about neutralising antibody interactions with viral glycoproteins. Because ‘structure determines function’, our ability to visualise these processes has revolutionised our understanding of virology and associated diseases. This symposium will bring together the fascinating research that has allowed us to visualise viruses and fundamental virus biology.

Organisers

Goedele Maertens (Imperial College London, UK); Charlotte Uetrecht (Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, Germany); David Hughes (University of St Andrews, UK); Rachel Edgar (Imperial College London, UK)

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

Andrew Edwards (Imperial College, UK); Duncan Wilson (University of Exeter, UK); Helen Brown (University of Cardiff, UK)

Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education Symposium

This symposium will deliver sessions dedicated to pertinent areas of interest for those involved in teaching in higher education. Delegates will have the opportunity to learn from the experience of those involved in AMR outreach and engagement activities; HEA fellowships will be explored in its wider breadth; and those involved in using and creating digital platforms for teaching microbiology will present their practices.

Organisers

Tadhg Ó'Cróinín (University College Dublin, Ireland); Nicola Crewe (University of Lincoln, UK); James Edwards (University of Plymouth, UK); Alison Graham (Hull York Medical School, UK); Christopher Randall (University of Leeds, 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

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

Virus workshop: Visualising viruses

In recent years, enormous technological advances have allowed researchers to unpick the structural and dynamic details of viruses and their interactions with unprecedented detail. These include huge strides in cryo-EM and cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) capabilities that deliver structural information at the atomic level. Super-resolution microscopy and single molecule techniques have provided an unparalleled view of macromolecular dynamics, including virus-host interactions and virus replication, transcription and translation. In addition, techniques such as correlative light-electron microscopy (CLEM) has bridged light microscopy and high-resolution EM in order to simultaneously correlate functional information with ultrastructural detail. Together, these exciting developments have shed light on viral processes such as fusion and entry, assembly, maturation, gene expression and replication. They have also played a central role in the development of antiviral therapeutics, including vaccines, by providing unparalleled information about neutralising antibody interactions with viral glycoproteins. Because ‘structure determines function’, our ability to visualise these processes has revolutionised our understanding of virology and associated diseases. This symposium will bring together the fascinating research that has allowed us to visualise viruses and fundamental virus biology.

Organisers

Goedele Maertens (Imperial College London, UK); Charlotte Uetrecht (Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, Germany); David Hughes (University of St Andrews, UK); Rachel Edgar (Imperial College London, UK)

Lecture View

Monday 26 April, Morning

Monday 26 April, Afternoon

Tuesday 27 April, Morning

Tuesday 27 April, Afternoon

Wednesday 28 April, Morning

Wednesday 28 April, Afternoon

Thursday 29 April, Morning

Thursday 29 April, Afternoon

Friday 30 April, Morning

Friday 30 April, Afternoon

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.

Abstract submission has now closed.

Notification of acceptance: w/c 8 March 2021

Anyone who is awarded an offered presentation can attend free-of-charge on the day in which they are speaking; all accepted abstracts will also be included in an edition of Access Microbiology.

Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition 

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

During Annual Conference Online, judges will view posters and offered orals presented by early career members who have entered the competition via abstract submission. Finalists will be notified in early summer if they have been selected and will be invited to give a 10-minute oral presentation (plus five minutes for questions) at the final at the Society’s Annual General Meeting in Autumn 2021.

People’s Choice Poster Prize

All poster presenters will be entered into the People's Choice Poster Prize, which will identify the three most popular posters presented during the Annual Conference. All delegates will be asked to choose their favourite posters that they visited by voting on the digital event platform in the 'Posters' tab. Detailed instructions will be provided closer to the event together with the joining instructions.

Infection Science Award

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

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

Grants & Professional Development

Grants

Society Conference Grants are available to support eligible members wishing to present at the Annual Conference. Support is also available for members requiring support for caring costs associated with conference attendance. Full information is available on the Society Conference Grant page.

Applications to support registration for the Annual Conference Online 2021 are now open and will close on 18 March 2021. Find out more and apply online.

Members not eligible for a Society Conference Grant can apply to the Travel Grant scheme (deadline: 1 March 2021). This supports attendance at events taking place in the period 1 April–30 June, and also includes the full duration of the Annual Conference Online 2021.

Early Career Microbiologists’ (ECM) Forum Co-chairing Scheme

The ECM Forum Co-chairing Scheme provides ECM Forum members with the opportunity to be involved in the chairing of scientific sessions at the Annual Conference. The Co-Chairs will receive a fantastic professional development opportunity to learn about being a session chair from more experienced colleagues. Please note that there is no monetary value associated with co-chairing and the co-Chair will not take the place of a session Chair.

ECM Forum members are eligible to apply. Applications should be made when submitting an abstract via Oxford Abstract. All applications will be reviewed by the Society's Divisions and successful Co-Chairs will be introduced to the relevant session Chair in March.

Co-Chairs will receive a letter of thanks from the ECM Forum Executive Committee confirming that they participated in the Co-chairing Scheme, and will be recognised in the conference programme.

For questions about the ECM Forum Co-chairing Scheme, please contact [email protected] and to join the ECM Forum please visit this page.

Professional Development sessions

Careers in microbiology

Monday 26 April 10:00–17:00

Sarah Blackford, an internationally recognised career consultant with over 25 years’ experience working with students, researchers and academics in the field of Higher Education career development, will present an interactive workshop focused on career planning and guidance.  

The session will also offer an opportunity to hear about careers in microbiology from a variety of microbiologists working in different fields. Those working in areas such as industry, clinical settings, and academia will present skills needed, career prospects and opportunities, as well as their own career journeys. Early- and mid-career researchers thinking about their next career move are encouraged to attend.

Essential Skills: How to secure a Fellowship

Tuesday 27 April, 10:00–17:00

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. Early and mid-career researchers wanting to explore fellowship application processes are encouraged to attend.

Essential Skills: Entrepreneurship

Thursday 29 April, 10:00–13:00

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. Scientific entrepreneurs will provide insight into how they transformed their scientific research into business ideas. This session will be useful for those considering a business idea.

Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education

Friday 30 April, 10:0017:00

This symposium will deliver sessions dedicated to pertinent areas of interest for those involved in teaching in higher education.

Delegates will have the opportunity to learn from the experience of those involved in AMR outreach and engagement activities; HEA fellowships will be explored in its wider breadth; and those involved in using and creating digital platforms for teaching microbiology will present their practices. 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.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

The Annual Conference has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (90 CPD credits), the Royal College of Pathology (30 CPD credits) and the Institute of Biomedical Science (category: Professional Activity).

Certificates of attendance and further information can be requested by email at [email protected].

Technology

Technology

Annual Conference Online 2021 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

Registration is now open.

Registration fees

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

Please see the programme for details of individual session dates and times.

Ticket


1 day

2 days 3 days 4 days



5 days (10% full attendance discount)

Non-member £30 £60 £90 £120 £135
Affiliate member £15 £30 £45 £60 £67
Full member £10 £20 £30 £40 £45
Concessionary member £5 £10 £15 £20 £22
Student member £5 £10 £15 £20 £22

The Microbiology Society's Annual Conference is the UK's largest annual gathering of microbiologists and prices are heavily subsidised. To ensure the meeting remains of value for this broad microbiology community, small charges apply to reflect some of the incurred costs associated to delivering online meetings

Registration confirmation

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

Payment information

All registration fees must be paid in full before the start of the event. Any outstanding registration fees must be paid before any joining instructions containing information on how to access the event are sent out.

Cancellations

Please inform the conferences team if you can no longer attend the event after registering by contacting [email protected]. Refunds are not provided; however, substitutions of attendees can be made at any time.

Social Programme

Annual Conference Online 2021 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.

While the foundation to a successful Annual Conference may seem to be about providing value-rich scientific content, it is also crucial to create online social activities for attendees to interact with one another informally and outside of the scientific sessions.

As part of the event, the Society will be hosting a number of social activities. These social activities will provide networking and connection opportunities for key Society communities or groups and the Society will also host a series of informal, round-table discussion rooms surrounding various topics throughout the week.

More details of the social programme will be updated soon.

 

Exhibition & Sponsorship

Industry exhibition plays an important part in our Annual Conference 2021 Online. Please download our exhibition pack to view our exciting new digital exhibition and sponsorship options, suiting varying budgets and help create the opportunities you need to connect with new and existing customers. If you have any questions about the packages or the digital options available please email [email protected]

Annual Conference Online 2021 Exhibition and Sponsorship Pack

 

Annual Conference Online 2021 Technical Specification and Guidelines

 

Exhibitor and Sponsors

Royal Society