Unlocking the Microbiome

15 Nov - London, UK

The Microbiology Society launched its policy report 'Unlocking the Microbiome', informed by our Microbiome Policy Project, at The Royal Society in London.

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Microbiome research is a rapidly developing area of science, utilising advances in technologies such as metagenomics, to investigate and exploit the communities of micro-organisms associated with humans, plants, animals, and environments such as soils and oceans. Scientists are exploring diverse opportunities from this research, including for human and animal health and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, industrial biotechnology and tackling antimicrobial resistance. However, scientific, translational and social challenges and considerations need to be addressed to build and apply our knowledge of microbiomes.

This event launched the Microbiology Society’s report ‘Unlocking the Microbiome’, which explores opportunities and challenges for microbiome research identified over the course of our Microbiome Policy Project. It also provided an opportunity for multidisciplinary networking and knowledge exchange between researchers, funders, learned societies, policy advisers and other stakeholders interested in microbiome research.

All attendees took part in an engaging discussion about the opportunities and challenges of microbiome research, relating to issues including: potential clinical, agricultural and environmental innovations; public communication of research; promoting interdisciplinary research; regulation and ethics; big data issues, and more.



The report and a summary of the event can be accessed here.

Lunch and networking
Chair's welcome address

Peter Cotgreave, Chief Executive, Microbiology Society

Keynote Address: Unlocking the Microbiome for Research and Innovation

Professor Julian Marchesi, Professor of Human Microbiome Research and Professor of Clinical Microbiome Research, Cardiff University and Imperial College London

Panel discussion: Opportunities and Challenges for Microbiome Research

Chaired by Peter Cotgreave, Chief Executive, Microbiology Society

Professor Julian Marchesi, Professor of Human Microbiome Research and Professor of Clinical Microbiome Research, Cardiff University and Imperial College London

Professor Jim Prosser, Chair in Environmental Microbiology, University of Aberdeen

Dr Fiona Brennan, Research Officer - Soil and Environmental Microbiology, Teagasc

Dr Rob Finn, Team Leader, Sequence Families, European Bioinformatics Institute – EMBL-EBI

Dr Lena Ciric, Senior Lecturer, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, UCL

Advancing Microbiome Science: A BBSRC Perspective

Peter Burlinson, Strategy and Policy Manager, BBSRC

Questions and answers
Refreshment break
UK Plant Microbiome Initiative

Professor Penny Hirsch, Research Scientist, Rothamsted Research

Dr Matthew Ryan, Research Leader, Biological Resources, CABI

The Microbiome – Social Science Perspectives

Dr Beth Greenhough, Associate Professor of Human Geography, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

Dr Carmen McLeod, Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

Microbiomes and their Significance in Animal Production: Diet, Health and Antibiotics

Professor Martin Woodward, Professor of Human Gut Microbiome Studies, University of Reading

The Human Microbiome – Opportunities for Translation

Dr Lindsay Hall, Research Leader, The Quadram Institute

Questions and answers
Closing comments

Professor Neil Gow, President, Microbiology Society

Networking reception
How to attend

How to attend

This event was free to attend, but with limited spaces.



This event took place at The Royal Society.

Royal Society map

The Royal Society
6–9 Carlton House Terrace
St James's