Queer in Microbiology: A Conversation

18 Nov - Virtual, online



The Microbiology Society is hosting an online event to celebrate the diversity of its community on LGBTQ+ STEM Day.

We will be hosting an online discussion that will include the participation of openly LGBTQ+ scientists representing different career stages, both in academia and the biotech industry. We will talk about the challenges that LGBTQ+ researchers face in their careers, and how they overcome these obstacles through community-building and learning from leaders in the field.

We have a fantastic line-up including Professor Bryan Bryson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), Dr Anna Fagre (Bat Health Foundation, USA), Dr Kevin Maringer (The Pirbright Institute, UK), Dr Jason Mellad (Start Codon, UK), Charlotte Roughton (Newcastle University, UK) and Professor Michael Sauer (Institute of Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology, Austria).

The event is open to everyone and will take place virtually on 18 November 2022 at 15:00 GMT.

Please join us in this celebration of our scientists on LGBTQ+ STEM Day!


  • I’ah Donovan Banfield (University of Liverpool, UK)
  • Daniel Gonçalves-Carneiro (Rockefeller University, USA)
  • Rebee Penrice-Randal (University of Liverpool, UK)
  • Bruno Francesco Rodrigues de Oliveira (Fluminense Federal University, Brazil)

Find out more about the event’s organisers.

Image credit: I’ah Donovan Banfield



*Please note the programme is subject to change.

15:00–15:10 Introduction to Microbiology Society Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives for LGBTQ+ Community Dr Kevin Maringer (The Pirbright Institute, UK, Microbiology Society Members Panel Co-Chair)

Panel discussion covering following topics:

  • Educational/personal background
  • Career progression
  • Being out at work
  • Training opportunities
  • Finding community
  • Role models

Professor Bryan Bryson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)

Dr Anna Fagre (Bat Health Foundation, USA)

Dr Jason Mellad (Start Codon, UK)

Professor Michael Sauer (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria) 

16:10–16:30 Audience Q&A  




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I'ah Donovan-Banfield

I'ah Donovan-Banfield [she/her] (University of Liverpool, UK)
I'ah is a second year PhD student at the University of Liverpool, UK. Her work focuses on viral genomic changes in response to antiviral therapeutics. She enjoys running, hiking, baking and watercolour painting in her spare time.





Daniel Gonçalves-Carneiro [he/him/his] (Rockefeller University, USA)
Daniel is a postdoctoral research associate at the Rockefeller University, USA. His research interests include the evolution of coding biases of viral genomes and how viral RNA is detected by the immune system. In his free time, Daniel enjoys printmaking, running and cycling.





Rebee Penrice-Randal [she/they] (University of Liverpool, UK)
Rebee is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Liverpool, UK and research scientist at TopMD Precision Medicine Ltd. Rebee uses RNA sequencing and bioinformatics to understand viral disease, from viral evolution and microbiomes to the host response. In their spare time, Rebee enjoys photography, running and live music.





Bruno Francesco Rodrigues de Oliveira [he/him] (Fluminense Federal University, Brazil)
Bruno is an Adjunct Professor of Bacteriology at the Fluminense Federal University, Brazil. As a marine microbiologist, his research work is focused on the ecology and biotechnology of sponge and macroalgae microbiomes. In his spare time, Bruno enjoys hiking and discovering new places to hang out with friends.

Speakers & Panellists

Speakers & Panellists

Bryan Bryson

Bryan Bryson [he/him] (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
Bryan is Associate Professor of Biological Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a core member of the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, and Harvard. Bryan completed his undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering before obtaining a PhD in biological engineering, both at MIT. After graduate school, Bryan went to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health where he became interested in new approaches to examine host pathogen interactions in tuberculosis infection. Bryan started his lab in 2018 which focuses on bridging quantitative approaches to understand how the immune system eliminates deadly pathogens.

Anna Fagre

Anna C. Fagre [she/they] (Bat Health Foundation, USA)
Anna is the co-founder of Bat Health Foundation and affiliate faculty at the Colorado State University Arthropod-Borne and Infectious Diseases Laboratory, USA. As a veterinarian specialising in microbiology, her work focuses on characterising the transmission dynamics of zoonotic and vector-borne pathogens with a special focus on how abiotic factors and physiologic stress exacerbate infection in wildlife. In her spare time, she enjoys playing synthesizers and spending time with her menagerie of four- and six-legged companions.


Kevin Maringer

Kevin Maringer [he/him] (The Pirbright Institute, UK)
Kevin is a group leader at The Pirbright Institute, UK. His group works on the molecular virus-host and virus-vector interactions that drive the emergence of flavivirus pathogens and diseases. Kevin enjoys hiking, travelling and printmaking in his spare time.




Jason Mellad

Jason Mellad [he/him] (Start Codon, UK)
Jason is a scientist entrepreneur, passionate about translating innovative technologies into better patient outcomes. As CEO and co-founder of Start Codon, he aims to identify the most disruptive healthcare founders and innovations worldwide, seed fund them and leverage the exceptional resources of the Cambridge cluster to de-risk and drive the success of their start-ups. Previously, Jason was CEO of Cambridge Epigenetix and Business Development Manager for Horizon Discovery’s diagnostics division. He also served as an associate at Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge, UK. Jason lives in Cambridge with his husband and their two young sons.

Michael Sauer

Michael Sauer [he/him] (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria) 
Michael is Associate Professor at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. His research focuses on microbial chemical production. Microbial biodiversity shall be harnessed for industrial needs in order to mitigate our societies' dependence on fossil resources.

He likes to spend his spare time in nature, trekking to cold mountain lakes to take a bath and finding flowers on the way.