The Scientific Seminar Series is designed to reach a priority microbiology community to support it in disseminating knowledge across its professional networks. The events are designed as a regularly repeated series of short (typically 1–2 hours) online meetings.

This monthly seminar series from Microbial Genomics will bring together the community of microbiologists using genomic approaches to discover more about viruses, bacteria, archaea and microbial eukaryotes. Centred around the journal’s key section areas, this series will highlight the latest research in Microbial Communities, Pathogens & Epidemiology, Genomic Methodologies, Functional Genomics, Microbe–Niche Interactions, and Evolution and Responses to Interventions, and provide a forum for networking and exchange of knowledge.

Organising Committee
  • Professor Kat Holt (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK)
  • Professor Sam Sheppard (The Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath, UK)

Sign up to attend this series of seminars via the 'Registration' tab. Instructions on how to join the Zoom session will be sent ahead of each seminar.

Please note all times listed on the programme are in BST (UK time).

Seminar Committees
Organising Committee
  • Professor Kat Holt (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK)
  • Professor Sam Sheppard (The Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath, UK)
October Seminar Committee
  • Dr Eva Heinz (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK)
  • Dr Sebastian Bruchmann (University of Cambridge, UK)
November Seminar Committee
  • Professor Swaine Chen (National University of Singapore and the Genome Institute of Singapore)
  • Dr Bruno Francesco Rodrigues de Oliveira (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
December Seminar Committee
  • Dr Josie Bryant (University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Dr Marta Zapotoczna (University of Warsaw, Poland)
  • Dr Guerrino Macori (University College Dublin, Ireland)
January Seminar Committee
  •  Associate Professor Chris Greening (Monash University, Australia)
  •  Associate Professor John Moreau (University of Glasgow, UK)
  • Dr Qin Qi (Macquarie University, Australia)
  • Jesús Miguéns Blanco (Imperial College London, UK)
February Seminar Committee
  •  Associate Professor Jesse Shapiro (McGill University, Canada)
  • Meaghan Castledine (University of Exeter, UK)
March Seminar Committee
  • Dr John Lees (Imperial College London, UK)
  • Dr Kate Hargreaves (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

Sign up to attend this series of seminars below. You will receive an email with information about each upcoming presentation, including joining instructions, a Zoom link, and any other relevant information, two days before each seminar. A second reminder email will be sent one hour before each seminar. Unfortunately, if you have signed up less than one hour before the seminar you will not be able to attend until the next seminar in the series.

* By completing and submitting this form, you understand, and hereby consent that the personal data provided by you in this form will be collected, processed and used by the Microbiology Society to send you any communication relating to the event. You understand and hereby consent that the personal data provided by you in this form will be collected, processed and used by the Microbiology Society for the following additional purposes, but only if you tick the relevant box above. The Microbiology Society is the data controller for the purpose of Data Protection Legislation. The Microbiology Society is a charity registered in England and Wales (Charity Number 264017), a charity registered in Scotland (Charity Number SC039250) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England (Company Number 1039582).

All seminars will be run via Zoom, a link for which will be sent to you via email prior to the meeting. Please ensure you have updated to the latest version of the Zoom desktop or mobile application (version 5.3 or higher is recommended).

Functional Genomics –  20 October 2021 seminar speakers

Leah Smith 

Dr Leah Smith earned her undergraduate degree in Biology at Rhode Island College (USA). There she completed an honours thesis project, supervised by Dr Breea Govenar, utilizing next-generation sequencing to investigate the microbial diets of gastropods associated with deep-sea hydrothermal vents. She was a recipient of the Robert Young Scholarship Award for Research Excellence in the biological sciences. Leah then earned an MS in Biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (USA) in the lab of Associate Professor Mark Silby investigating interactions between soil bacteria. Her research focused on Type VI secretion systems and post-transcriptional regulation via the chaperone protein Hfq. During her studies, she was awarded the Chancellor’s Centennial Scholarship for academic excellence. Leah went on to earn a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Otago (New Zealand) in 2020. Her research was undertaken in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, under the supervision of Professor Peter Fineran. Leah’s work focused on the regulation of bacterial defence systems – specifically CRISPR-Cas adaptive immunity. As part of her doctoral work, she developed a new method – termed SorTn-seq – to facilitate high-throughput studies of bacterial gene regulation. Her PhD thesis – A genome-wide approach identifying regulators of CRISPR-Cas immunity in Serratia – was placed on the Otago Division of Health Sciences list of Exceptional Doctoral theses. Leah currently works as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Fineran lab at the University of Otago. Her work on CRISPR-Cas continues, with a shift in focus from gene regulation to mechanisms of type III CRISPR-Cas immunity and the dynamics of host-phage interactions. 

James M Musser 

James M. Musser, M.D., PhD holds the Fondren Distinguished Presidential Endowed Chair and is Chair of the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine for the Houston Methodist Hospital System.  He also directs the Center for Infectious Diseases and the Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Human Infectious Diseases Research at the Houston Methodist Research Institute.  He is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College. 

Dr Musser earned his M.D. and PhD degrees from the University of Rochester School of Medicine.  He trained at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and joined the Department of Pathology of Houston Methodist Hospital in 1991.  In 1999, he accepted a position with Dr Anthony Fauci at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, where he was Founding Chief of the Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis.  In 2005, he and his laboratory moved to Houston Methodist Hospital and Research Institute.  He works primarily on group A Streptococcus (the “flesh-eating” pathogen), with a special emphasis on human-pathogen molecular interactions using genome-wide investigative strategies.  His group also uses genome-scale analyses to decipher the molecular events underpinning pandemics and pathogen-host interactions.  He has had a decades-long interest in developing a group A Streptococcus vaccine.  Clinically, his efforts focus on diagnostic microbiology, patient safety, error reduction, and antimicrobial agent resistance.  

Dr Musser is an elected member of many professional societies, including the American Academy of Microbiology, Association of University Pathologists (Pluto Society), American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, and the American Clinical and Climatological Association.  He has been fortunate to receive many national honours and awards, including the ICAAC Young Investigator Award (1992), and the Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Award (1999) and Chugai Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Scholarship (2007), both sponsored by the American Society for Investigative Pathology.  He received the prestigious Rous-Whipple Award in 2017, sponsored by the American Society for Investigative Pathology.  He is past president of the American Society for Investigative Pathology, served on the Board of Directors, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), and was President of FASEB (2018-2019).   

He has published more than 450 papers and book chapters in the field of bacterial pathogenesis, bacterial population genetics, and infectious diseases, and has an h-index of 106.