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Overview

The Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2019 takes place between Monday 8 April – Thursday 11 April and will be held at the ICC Belfast (formerly Belfast Waterfront), UK.

The Society’s Annual Conference attracts over 1,400 attendees for the UK’s largest annual gathering of microbiologists and you can see what took place at our 2018 conference on YouTube.

Annual Conference is designed to cover the breadth of microbiology research and its comprehensive scientific programme has over 30 sessions taking place over four day in a range of formats, including:

Symposia

  • Focus on 3Rs - the growing role of organoids and microbial models to understand human and animal diseases 
  • Biobased circular economy & bioremediation 
  • Extremophiles: living life at the edge 
  • From prokaryotes to eukaryotes: the origin and diversity of eukaryotes
  • Global food security: the challenges for microbiology 
  • Intra- and interspecies metabolic networks: You are what you eat 
  • Microbial dark matter 
  • Missing microbes and the hygiene hypothesis: new challenges and perspectives 
  • The biological and chemical tales of the antibiotic makers
  • Non-human pathogens 
  • Offence and defence 
  • The microbial pangenome 
  • Vaccines against bacterial pathogens
  • Irish Fungal Society clinical case studies 
  • Fighting fire with fire: deploying microbes in the battle against disease 
  • How viruses jump the species barrier 
  • Virus infections of the central nervous system
  • Clinical Virology Network
  • Marine protists as emerging models for functional genomics and cell biology

Virology workshops

  • Morphogenesis, egress and entry workshop
  • Innate immunity workshop
  • Clinical virology workshop
  • Antivirals and vaccines workshop
  • Gene expression and replication workshop
  • Pathogenesis workshop

Eukaryotic and prokaryotic forums

  • Environmental and applied microbiology forum 
  • Genetics and genomics forum 
  • Infection forum 
  • Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

Microbiology Society

  • Teaching microbiology in higher education symposium
  • Essential skills: Managing a research laboratory
  • Staying resilient in your career
  • Research and publishing ethics: What you need to know and why it matters
  • Essential skills: CV workshop
  • Essential skills: Peer review

If you have any questions please email us at conferences@microbiologysociety.org.
 
To get the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter @MicrobioSoc using the hashtag #Microbio19, and like our Facebook page.

Image: surangaw/Thinkstock.

Programme

Session

Session View

Sunday 07 April, Morning

Pre-Conference session: Teaching microbiology in higher education

Whilst teaching microbiology in higher education, you may come across challenges such as keeping up to date with the current teaching environment or ensuring students are engaged. During this interactive symposium, delegates will have the opportunity to be part of a network, learn best practices and gain insight and information on issues affecting the teaching landscape. The symposium will give delegates the opportunity to discuss teaching microbiology in higher education and troubleshoot individual challenges. The symposium will discuss elements of the framework of teaching, including degree structures and benchmarking. Topics to be explored include transitioning from schools into higher education and obstacles within postgraduate teaching. Delegates will also benefit from practical examples of teaching and preparing for teaching students as well as managing student expectations when it comes to independent learning. The day will conclude with the opportunity for delegates to share how the Society can better support teaching-active members. This symposium is aimed at anyone involved or interested in teaching in higher education and therefore is not restricted by career stage.

Organisers

James Edwards (University of Plymouth), Tadhg Ó'Cróinín (University College Dublin), Nicola Crewe (University of Lincoln), Alison Graham (University of Newcastle), Emma Hayhurst (University of South Wales)

Sunday 07 April, Afternoon

Pre-Conference session: Teaching microbiology in higher education

Whilst teaching microbiology in higher education, you may come across challenges such as keeping up to date with the current teaching environment or ensuring students are engaged. During this interactive symposium, delegates will have the opportunity to be part of a network, learn best practices and gain insight and information on issues affecting the teaching landscape. The symposium will give delegates the opportunity to discuss teaching microbiology in higher education and troubleshoot individual challenges. The symposium will discuss elements of the framework of teaching, including degree structures and benchmarking. Topics to be explored include transitioning from schools into higher education and obstacles within postgraduate teaching. Delegates will also benefit from practical examples of teaching and preparing for teaching students as well as managing student expectations when it comes to independent learning. The day will conclude with the opportunity for delegates to share how the Society can better support teaching-active members. This symposium is aimed at anyone involved or interested in teaching in higher education and therefore is not restricted by career stage.

Organisers

James Edwards (University of Plymouth), Tadhg Ó'Cróinín (University College Dublin), Nicola Crewe (University of Lincoln), Alison Graham (University of Newcastle), Emma Hayhurst (University of South Wales)

Pre-Conference networking workshop

This pre-Conference workshop is a chance for those wishing to meet new people or to brush up on networking skills ahead of the event. Get to know other delegates while taking part in interactive games, and also have the chance to practice networking with senior members of the Society. Book your place through the registration page.

Organisers

Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

Monday 08 April, Morning

Essential skills: Managing a research laboratory

If you’ve recently been promoted to a laboratory leadership role, or are due to do so in the near future, this session is aimed at helping you to understand what is required of a laboratory leader. The day will comprise a series of interactive workshops taking delegates through key skills involved with running a successful research group. These include – Managing Projects, Managing Assets, Health and Safety, and Managing People. By the end of the day, delegates will have a clear understanding of the basics of essential skills, and have the chance to discuss challenges in laboratory management with course leaders and other attendees at a similar career stage.

Organisers

Maria Fernandes (Microbiology Society, UK)

Global food security: the challenges for microbiology

The prediction of a perfect storm for food-security by Prof John Beddington is now well recited. The United Kingdom has recently reported a 19% fall in agricultural revenue, which was the third largest fall across the EU; additionally, since 2000 agricultural productivity in the UK has plateaued. Elucidating sustainable methods of agriculture that reliably produce high quality and high yielding crops and safe meat using environmentally considerate management is of significant economic, political, societal and environmental interest. The diverse microbial communities associated with crops and livestock significantly influence food safety, yield and quality, as is most obviously demonstrated by pests and disease. Novel and rapid pathogen detection methods are critical to the reduction of indiscriminate antimicrobial use in agriculture which fosters the spread of resistance. There is mounting evidence that microbial species also contribute positively to the safety, health and development of crops and animals, with considerable commercial interest in product formulation. While it seems clear that livestock and crop microbiota play a role in health, the extent and variance of this role across crops and animals, and how these microbiota components interact, is not clear. Elucidating the influence of animal and crop microbiota on the health and safety of agricultural systems is a novel and breaking area analogous to the burgeoning area seeking to understand how the human microbiome affects health. This session aims to highlight work to understand, control and harness agricultural microbiota for increased food security and sustainability, and spans livestock health, food safety, and crop health. Offered papers relating to all microbiological aspects of food security, including animal and plant pathogen spread, detection, prevention (including vaccination), microbiome manipulation and antimicrobial resistance will be considered for presentation within the symposium.

Organisers

Matthew Goddard (University of Lincoln, UK), Stefania Spano (University of Aberdeen, UK); Martin Welch (University of Cambridge), Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK)

How viruses jump the species barrier

Influenza viruses, Nipah virus and the MERS coronavirus are examples of current emerging viral threats to human health, all of which have natural reservoirs in wild animal species. In addition, many economically important livestock populations such as horses, swine and poultry are similarly at risk from spill-over virus infections from wild animal populations such as aquatic birds or bats. The consequences of species jumps can be severe, with often devastating pathology resulting from a lack of existing herd immunity. Essential virus-host interactions restrict the host range for the majority of viruses, with absolute dependency upon cellular proteins for aspects of their replicative cycles. Thus, viruses must adapt and gain the ability to extend this host range if they are to either sporadically or persistently infect novel host species. It is therefore critical to understand the mechanisms of adaptation and the rate of viral evolution to enable this adaptation to a new host environment from a “One Health” perspective, enabling us to predict and prepare for new global viral outbreaks. This symposium will bring together the opinions and hard data from front runners in the field studying virus host switching events, examining the interplay between hosts, viral evolution rates, and molecular changes important for efficient virus replication within new host species.

Organisers

Holly Shelton (Pirbright Institute, UK), Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK), Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK)

Intra- and interspecies metabolic networks: You are what you eat

The advent of cheap DNA sequencing techniques has enabled the comprehensive analysis of the microbial species present in a wide range of ecological contexts (the microbiomes). However, we understand little of the metabolic interactions between the different microbes in these communities. Both metabolomics and metabolic modeling can help us to understand these interactions. This session will demonstrate how these different concepts and technologies may be combined to address such questions as: Why do microbes export metabolites? What are the advantages of cooperation between microbial species and how did cooperativity evolve? What is the metabolic basis of interactions between microbes and the multicellular organisms that they grow in, on, or around?

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Steve Oliver (University of Cambridge, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK)

Microbial dark matter

Microbial Dark Matter has become a popular term to describe the vast uncultured majority of microorganisms in the environment that are currently only known through metabarcoding and metagenome studies. These environmental ‘DNA blueprints’ offer considerable potential to advance our understanding of microbial evolution, diversity and ecosystem functioning, and have stimulated a new wave of microbiology. Major priorities include developing novel approaches to cultivate the previously unknown or ‘uncultured’, and establish new model systems to determine their biology. The rapidly growing recognition of the extent and importance of the uncultured majority demonstrates the substantial progress that has been made, and the enormous potential for future microbiological research. With this session we will aim to bring together microbiologists interested in exploring the vast uncultured majority of microorganisms in the biosphere. We will also aim to attract microbiologists who use culture-based approaches in the hope of stimulating a lively culture-dependent vs. culture-independent discussion.

Organisers

Michael Cunliffe (University of Plymouth, UK), Alison Smith (University of Cambridge, UK)

Missing microbes and the Hygiene Hypothesis: New challenges and perspectives

The ‘hygiene hypothesis’ proposes that the cause of the recent rapid rise of allergic and autoimmune diseases could be due to a lower exposure to infectious agents including parasites in early childhood. Recent investigations have demonstrated that specific microorganisms, especially parasites, bacteria and viruses, are overlooked or absent in the gut microbiome of humans in developed countries, but the same microbes are found in abundance in similar studies in rural or underdeveloped areas. Which are these organisms and what are their roles in health and disease? How has industrialization molded the gut microbiome and what are the consequences of such changes? Can therapeutic strategies be developed using microorganisms that have been traditionally considered as infectious agents? Should we abandon or revitalize the Hygiene Hypothesis? This session will attempt to tackle some of these questions and explore future aspects in the field.

Organisers

Anastasios Tsaousis (Unversity of Kent, UK), Eleni Gentekaki (Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand)

Offence and defence

While a large number of microbes peacefully inhabit our body, some have evolved to attack the host and become pathogens. Pathogens are responsible of around 25% of global deaths and the treatment of infectious disease represents a significant economic burden in our society. In addition, the raise of antimicrobial resistance among pathogens is often making treatment very difficult. A deeper understanding of specific mechanisms of pathogenesis is needed to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens and their hosts are engaged in a continuous crosstalk, which involves thousands of molecules and signalling pathways. The session will cover various strategies of pathogen offence and host defence. Presentations will focus on different virulence mechanisms (e.g., bacterial effectors, bacterial toxins, fungal virulence factors) and pathogen modulation of host functions, as well as host mechanisms of defence and immunity. Abstracts relating to all aspects of microbial pathogenesis, pathogen attack and host response will be considered for presentation as posters, flash posters or short talks within the symposium.

Organisers

Stefania Spano (University of Aberdeen, UK), Sabine Totemeyer (University of Nottingham, UK), Robert Fagan (University of Sheffield, UK), Catarina Gadelha (University of Nottingham, UK)

Vaccines against bacterial pathogens

Ever since the pioneering work of Jenner in the 1790s to protect against smallpox, vaccination has served as a valuable weapon in the disease control armoury, offering the potential to not only prevent but even eradicate bacterial disease. Moreover, in a time of growing antibacterial and multi-drug resistance, and with no immediate reprise on the horizon via the antibiotic pipeline, alternative solutions such as vaccination could make a critical contribution to resolving the AMR crisis. Such possibilities are driven by the huge advances that have been made in vaccine technologies and antigen discovery, combined with a better understanding of bacterial pathogenesis and of the host immune response. This session aims to bring together experts in the field to discuss the current status of vaccine development for important bacterial pathogens, new research directions, and the challenges and ambitions for the future. The session will consider topical issues across the breadth of the vaccine development process including: 1) recent advances in antigen discovery for bacterial pathogens; 2) vaccine immunology and current challenges in generating effective mucosal immunity; 3) translating potential candidates to a successful vaccine; and 4) the challenges that lie ahead in public perception of vaccines and potential impacts of this issue on vaccine uptake.

Organisers

Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Jody Winter (Nottingham Trent University, UK)

Monday 08 April, Afternoon

Essential skills: Managing a research laboratory

If you’ve recently been promoted to a laboratory leadership role, or are due to do so in the near future, this session is aimed at helping you to understand what is required of a laboratory leader. The day will comprise a series of interactive workshops taking delegates through key skills involved with running a successful research group. These include – Managing Projects, Managing Assets, Health and Safety, and Managing People. By the end of the day, delegates will have a clear understanding of the basics of essential skills, and have the chance to discuss challenges in laboratory management with course leaders and other attendees at a similar career stage.

Organisers

Maria Fernandes (Microbiology Society, UK)

Global food security: the challenges for microbiology

The prediction of a perfect storm for food-security by Prof John Beddington is now well recited. The United Kingdom has recently reported a 19% fall in agricultural revenue, which was the third largest fall across the EU; additionally, since 2000 agricultural productivity in the UK has plateaued. Elucidating sustainable methods of agriculture that reliably produce high quality and high yielding crops and safe meat using environmentally considerate management is of significant economic, political, societal and environmental interest. The diverse microbial communities associated with crops and livestock significantly influence food safety, yield and quality, as is most obviously demonstrated by pests and disease. Novel and rapid pathogen detection methods are critical to the reduction of indiscriminate antimicrobial use in agriculture which fosters the spread of resistance. There is mounting evidence that microbial species also contribute positively to the safety, health and development of crops and animals, with considerable commercial interest in product formulation. While it seems clear that livestock and crop microbiota play a role in health, the extent and variance of this role across crops and animals, and how these microbiota components interact, is not clear. Elucidating the influence of animal and crop microbiota on the health and safety of agricultural systems is a novel and breaking area analogous to the burgeoning area seeking to understand how the human microbiome affects health. This session aims to highlight work to understand, control and harness agricultural microbiota for increased food security and sustainability, and spans livestock health, food safety, and crop health. Offered papers relating to all microbiological aspects of food security, including animal and plant pathogen spread, detection, prevention (including vaccination), microbiome manipulation and antimicrobial resistance will be considered for presentation within the symposium.

Organisers

Matthew Goddard (University of Lincoln, UK), Stefania Spano (University of Aberdeen, UK); Martin Welch (University of Cambridge), Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK)

How viruses jump the species barrier

Influenza viruses, Nipah virus and the MERS coronavirus are examples of current emerging viral threats to human health, all of which have natural reservoirs in wild animal species. In addition, many economically important livestock populations such as horses, swine and poultry are similarly at risk from spill-over virus infections from wild animal populations such as aquatic birds or bats. The consequences of species jumps can be severe, with often devastating pathology resulting from a lack of existing herd immunity. Essential virus-host interactions restrict the host range for the majority of viruses, with absolute dependency upon cellular proteins for aspects of their replicative cycles. Thus, viruses must adapt and gain the ability to extend this host range if they are to either sporadically or persistently infect novel host species. It is therefore critical to understand the mechanisms of adaptation and the rate of viral evolution to enable this adaptation to a new host environment from a “One Health” perspective, enabling us to predict and prepare for new global viral outbreaks. This symposium will bring together the opinions and hard data from front runners in the field studying virus host switching events, examining the interplay between hosts, viral evolution rates, and molecular changes important for efficient virus replication within new host species.

Organisers

Holly Shelton (Pirbright Institute, UK), Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK), Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK)

Intra- and interspecies metabolic networks: You are what you eat

The advent of cheap DNA sequencing techniques has enabled the comprehensive analysis of the microbial species present in a wide range of ecological contexts (the microbiomes). However, we understand little of the metabolic interactions between the different microbes in these communities. Both metabolomics and metabolic modeling can help us to understand these interactions. This session will demonstrate how these different concepts and technologies may be combined to address such questions as: Why do microbes export metabolites? What are the advantages of cooperation between microbial species and how did cooperativity evolve? What is the metabolic basis of interactions between microbes and the multicellular organisms that they grow in, on, or around?

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Steve Oliver (University of Cambridge, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK)

Microbial dark matter

Microbial Dark Matter has become a popular term to describe the vast uncultured majority of microorganisms in the environment that are currently only known through metabarcoding and metagenome studies. These environmental ‘DNA blueprints’ offer considerable potential to advance our understanding of microbial evolution, diversity and ecosystem functioning, and have stimulated a new wave of microbiology. Major priorities include developing novel approaches to cultivate the previously unknown or ‘uncultured’, and establish new model systems to determine their biology. The rapidly growing recognition of the extent and importance of the uncultured majority demonstrates the substantial progress that has been made, and the enormous potential for future microbiological research. With this session we will aim to bring together microbiologists interested in exploring the vast uncultured majority of microorganisms in the biosphere. We will also aim to attract microbiologists who use culture-based approaches in the hope of stimulating a lively culture-dependent vs. culture-independent discussion.

Organisers

Michael Cunliffe (University of Plymouth, UK), Alison Smith (University of Cambridge, UK)

Missing microbes and the Hygiene Hypothesis: New challenges and perspectives

The ‘hygiene hypothesis’ proposes that the cause of the recent rapid rise of allergic and autoimmune diseases could be due to a lower exposure to infectious agents including parasites in early childhood. Recent investigations have demonstrated that specific microorganisms, especially parasites, bacteria and viruses, are overlooked or absent in the gut microbiome of humans in developed countries, but the same microbes are found in abundance in similar studies in rural or underdeveloped areas. Which are these organisms and what are their roles in health and disease? How has industrialization molded the gut microbiome and what are the consequences of such changes? Can therapeutic strategies be developed using microorganisms that have been traditionally considered as infectious agents? Should we abandon or revitalize the Hygiene Hypothesis? This session will attempt to tackle some of these questions and explore future aspects in the field.

Organisers

Anastasios Tsaousis (Unversity of Kent, UK), Eleni Gentekaki (Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand)

Offence and defence

While a large number of microbes peacefully inhabit our body, some have evolved to attack the host and become pathogens. Pathogens are responsible of around 25% of global deaths and the treatment of infectious disease represents a significant economic burden in our society. In addition, the raise of antimicrobial resistance among pathogens is often making treatment very difficult. A deeper understanding of specific mechanisms of pathogenesis is needed to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens and their hosts are engaged in a continuous crosstalk, which involves thousands of molecules and signalling pathways. The session will cover various strategies of pathogen offence and host defence. Presentations will focus on different virulence mechanisms (e.g., bacterial effectors, bacterial toxins, fungal virulence factors) and pathogen modulation of host functions, as well as host mechanisms of defence and immunity. Abstracts relating to all aspects of microbial pathogenesis, pathogen attack and host response will be considered for presentation as posters, flash posters or short talks within the symposium.

Organisers

Stefania Spano (University of Aberdeen, UK), Sabine Totemeyer (University of Nottingham, UK), Robert Fagan (University of Sheffield, UK), Catarina Gadelha (University of Nottingham, UK)

Vaccines against bacterial pathogens

Ever since the pioneering work of Jenner in the 1790s to protect against smallpox, vaccination has served as a valuable weapon in the disease control armoury, offering the potential to not only prevent but even eradicate bacterial disease. Moreover, in a time of growing antibacterial and multi-drug resistance, and with no immediate reprise on the horizon via the antibiotic pipeline, alternative solutions such as vaccination could make a critical contribution to resolving the AMR crisis. Such possibilities are driven by the huge advances that have been made in vaccine technologies and antigen discovery, combined with a better understanding of bacterial pathogenesis and of the host immune response. This session aims to bring together experts in the field to discuss the current status of vaccine development for important bacterial pathogens, new research directions, and the challenges and ambitions for the future. The session will consider topical issues across the breadth of the vaccine development process including: 1) recent advances in antigen discovery for bacterial pathogens; 2) vaccine immunology and current challenges in generating effective mucosal immunity; 3) translating potential candidates to a successful vaccine; and 4) the challenges that lie ahead in public perception of vaccines and potential impacts of this issue on vaccine uptake.

Organisers

Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Jody Winter (Nottingham Trent University, UK)

Tuesday 09 April, Morning

Essential Skills: Staying resilient in your career

A career in academia can be demanding, with many obstacles arising including grant proposals and job applications; dealing with research projects that often take meandering paths; and working in what is generally a competitive field full of fixed term contracts. Delegates will be presented with a toolkit for staying resilient in academia, before learning from the experience of those who have successfully negotiated challenges in their academic careers. This session is aimed at early career researchers and is also relevant to those who are considering changed fields, as moving fields also requires the ability to adapt to change.

Organisers

Rachel Asiedu (Microbiology Society, UK)

From prokaryotes to eukaryotes: the origin and diversity of eukaryotes

The Annual Meeting of Protistology-UK: a symposium on the origins of eukaryotes. The sessions cover phylogenomics & evolutionary biology, cell biology/architecture and chromosome biology, as well as the origins of mitochondria and plastids. Rapid progress is being made in identifying candidate archaeal taxa related to the original ‘host’ component, and in parallel our understanding of the diversity of protists is helping to reshape our view of what the last eukaryotic ancestor resembled, and where the root in the eukaryotic tree lies.

Organisers

Gareth Bloomfield (University of Cambridge, UK), Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich), Alison Smith (University of Cambridge, UK)

Global food security: the challenges for microbiology

The prediction of a perfect storm for food-security by Prof John Beddington is now well recited. The United Kingdom has recently reported a 19% fall in agricultural revenue, which was the third largest fall across the EU; additionally, since 2000 agricultural productivity in the UK has plateaued. Elucidating sustainable methods of agriculture that reliably produce high quality and high yielding crops and safe meat using environmentally considerate management is of significant economic, political, societal and environmental interest. The diverse microbial communities associated with crops and livestock significantly influence food safety, yield and quality, as is most obviously demonstrated by pests and disease. Novel and rapid pathogen detection methods are critical to the reduction of indiscriminate antimicrobial use in agriculture which fosters the spread of resistance. There is mounting evidence that microbial species also contribute positively to the safety, health and development of crops and animals, with considerable commercial interest in product formulation. While it seems clear that livestock and crop microbiota play a role in health, the extent and variance of this role across crops and animals, and how these microbiota components interact, is not clear. Elucidating the influence of animal and crop microbiota on the health and safety of agricultural systems is a novel and breaking area analogous to the burgeoning area seeking to understand how the human microbiome affects health. This session aims to highlight work to understand, control and harness agricultural microbiota for increased food security and sustainability, and spans livestock health, food safety, and crop health. Offered papers relating to all microbiological aspects of food security, including animal and plant pathogen spread, detection, prevention (including vaccination), microbiome manipulation and antimicrobial resistance will be considered for presentation within the symposium.

Organisers

Matthew Goddard (University of Lincoln, UK), Stefania Spano (University of Aberdeen, UK); Martin Welch (University of Cambridge), Sheila Patrick (Queen's University Belfast, UK)

How viruses jump the species barrier

Influenza viruses, Nipah virus and the MERS coronavirus are examples of current emerging viral threats to human health, all of which have natural reservoirs in wild animal species. In addition, many economically important livestock populations such as horses, swine and poultry are similarly at risk from spill-over virus infections from wild animal populations such as aquatic birds or bats. The consequences of species jumps can be severe, with often devastating pathology resulting from a lack of existing herd immunity. Essential virus-host interactions restrict the host range for the majority of viruses, with absolute dependency upon cellular proteins for aspects of their replicative cycles. Thus, viruses must adapt and gain the ability to extend this host range if they are to either sporadically or persistently infect novel host species. It is therefore critical to understand the mechanisms of adaptation and the rate of viral evolution to enable this adaptation to a new host environment from a “One Health” perspective, enabling us to predict and prepare for new global viral outbreaks. This symposium will bring together the opinions and hard data from front runners in the field studying virus host switching events, examining the interplay between hosts, viral evolution rates, and molecular changes important for efficient virus replication within new host species.

Organisers

Holly Shelton (Pirbright Institute, UK), Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK), Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK)

Intra- and interspecies metabolic networks: You are what you eat

The advent of cheap DNA sequencing techniques has enabled the comprehensive analysis of the microbial species present in a wide range of ecological contexts (the microbiomes). However, we understand little of the metabolic interactions between the different microbes in these communities. Both metabolomics and metabolic modeling can help us to understand these interactions. This session will demonstrate how these different concepts and technologies may be combined to address such questions as: Why do microbes export metabolites? What are the advantages of cooperation between microbial species and how did cooperativity evolve? What is the metabolic basis of interactions between microbes and the multicellular organisms that they grow in, on, or around?

Organisers

Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK), Steve Oliver (University of Cambridge, UK), Nicola Holden (James Hutton Institute, UK), Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich, UK)

Non-human pathogens

Much of our current focus is towards investigating how bacterial pathogens cause disease in humans. However, bacterial pathogenesis goes far beyond the infections of humans, as bacteria are able to infect a wide range of host species from economically important animals such as fish, crustaceans and domesticated animals through to amoebae and insects and everything in between. In order to be able to achieve this, bacteria have evolved a wide range of virulence mechanisms that promote their colonisation, survival and pathogenesis in these diverse environments. Recent technological advances are allowing a greater understanding of these host-pathogen interactions through genomics, epidemiology and molecular pathogenesis. This session provides the opportunity for researchers in this sometimes-overlooked diverse area to come together and present their latest research findings. The session will provide a platform to present in the areas of (i) molecular microbiology, (ii) molecular pathogenesis of host-pathogen interactions (iii) molecular epidemiology (iv) genomics (v) zoonosis

Organisers

Nick Waterfield (University of Warwick, UK), Jonathan Shaw (University of Sheffield, UK)

Vaccines against bacterial pathogens

Ever since the pioneering work of Jenner in the 1790s to protect against smallpox, vaccination has served as a valuable weapon in the disease control armoury, offering the potential to not only prevent but even eradicate bacterial disease. Moreover, in a time of growing antibacterial and multi-drug resistance, and with no immediate reprise on the horizon via the antibiotic pipeline, alternative solutions such as vaccination could make a critical contribution to resolving the AMR crisis. Such possibilities are driven by the huge advances that have been made in vaccine technologies and antigen discovery, combined with a better understanding of bacterial pathogenesis and of the host immune response. This session aims to bring together experts in the field to discuss the current status of vaccine development for important bacterial pathogens, new research directions, and the challenges and ambitions for the future. The session will consider topical issues across the breadth of the vaccine development process including: 1) recent advances in antigen discovery for bacterial pathogens; 2) vaccine immunology and current challenges in generating effective mucosal immunity; 3) translating potential candidates to a successful vaccine; and 4) the challenges that lie ahead in public perception of vaccines and potential impacts of this issue on vaccine uptake.

Organisers

Angela Nobbs (University of Bristol, UK), Jody Winter (Nottingham Trent University, UK)

Tuesday 09 April, Afternoon

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

Nicola Holden (The James Hutton Institute, UK) and Michael Cunliffe (University of Plymouth, UK)

From prokaryotes to eukaryotes: the origin and diversity of eukaryotes

The Annual Meeting of Protistology-UK: a symposium on the origins of eukaryotes. The sessions cover phylogenomics & evolutionary biology, cell biology/architecture and chromosome biology, as well as the origins of mitochondria and plastids. Rapid progress is being made in identifying candidate archaeal taxa related to the original ‘host’ component, and in parallel our understanding of the diversity of protists is helping to reshape our view of what the last eukaryotic ancestor resembled, and where the root in the eukaryotic tree lies.

Organisers

Gareth Bloomfield (University of Cambridge, UK), Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK), Elinor Thompson (University of Greenwich), Alison Smith (University of Cambridge, UK)

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

Sarah Kuehne (University of Birmingham) and Ed Louis (University of Leicester, 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

Session organisers: Gillian Fraser (University of Cambridge, UK) and Duncan Wilson (University of Aberdeen, UK)

Non-human pathogens

Much of our current focus is towards investigating how bacterial pathogens cause disease in humans. However, bacterial pathogenesis goes far beyond the infections of humans, as bacteria are able to infect a wide range of host species from economically important animals such as fish, crustaceans and domesticated animals through to amoebae and insects and everything in between. In order to be able to achieve this, bacteria have evolved a wide range of virulence mechanisms that promote their colonisation, survival and pathogenesis in these diverse environments. Recent technological advances are allowing a greater understanding of these host-pathogen interactions through genomics, epidemiology and molecular pathogenesis. This session provides the opportunity for researchers in this sometimes-overlooked diverse area to come together and present their latest research findings. The session will provide a platform to present in the areas of (i) molecular microbiology, (ii) molecular pathogenesis of host-pathogen interactions (iii) molecular epidemiology (iv) genomics (v) zoonosis

Organisers

Nick Waterfield (University of Warwick, UK), Jonathan Shaw (University of Sheffield, UK)

Virology workshop: Clinical virology

This workshop will involve a range of clinical virology cases or short papers which relate to studies relevant to clinical virology network. Different aspects of clinical virology will be covered, including differential diagnosis of encephalitis, management of hepatitis, diversity of rotavirus sequences, and diagnosis of respiratory infections. Contributions from early career researchers are particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Stephen Winchester (Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK) and Tamyo Mbisa (Public Health England, UK)

Virology workshop: Innate immunity

The innate immune system represents the first line of defence against infection for all living organisms. In recent years, our knowledge of the battle between viruses and innate immunity has increased substantially. This workshop will highlight novel cellular defence mechanisms and uncover the myriad evasion strategies viruses use to overcome these barriers to replication. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial where appropriate – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Martina Scallan (University College Cork) and Kate Bishop (The Francis Crick Institute)

Virology workshop: Morphogenesis, egress and entry

The assembly of the virus particle, egress from the cell, receptor binding and uncoating are critical events in the life cycle of all viruses. This workshop will focus on the molecular mechanisms involved in these processes, and the interplay between virus and host. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Gill Elliott (University of Surrey) and Colin Crump (University of Cambridge)

Wednesday 10 April, Morning

Biobased circular economy and bioremediation

As populations increase, sustainability in life as we know it presents a challenge: energy, water, food are compromised with concomitant threat of pollution and damage to ecosystem function. Microbes offer a wide range of solutions and we are approaching an exciting time where the tools and the knowledge are in place to make best use them (microbial resource management), not only to provide solutions such as bioplastics from waste feedstocks, but also facilitate remediation to deliver the safe sustainable, biobased circular economy.

Organisers

John Milledge (University of Greenwich, UK), Christine Edwards (Robert Gordon University, UK), Edward Louis (University of Leicester, UK)

Focus on 3Rs – the growing role of organoids and microbial models to understand human and animal diseases

Mammalian models often provide the standard systems for disease research since they reproduce cell systems equivalent to humans. Although these approaches provide a suitable translation to human systems, they are hard to manipulate, provide significant costs, and may raise ethical considerations regarding the use of animals for research. To address some of these issues, alternative models such as microbial systems or organoid cultures are increasingly being considered to reduce or replace the use of animals in research – an approach called ‘3Rs’ (Replacement, Reduction or Refinement).

Microbial systems provide a tractable model enabling a range of experimental procedures and approaches that are often not possible in mammalian systems. These include the ability to: (1) rapidly ablate single and multiple genes or to introduce specific mutations in a single isogenic cell line to characterise change in cell function; (2) to carry out pharmacogenetic screens to determine mechanism of action of drugs or bioactive natural products; and (3) to produce multiple grams of isogenic cells for analysis of cell signalling, development, acute cell response, metabolomics or organelle function. These and other methodologies provide unique research approaches to enhance the process of discovery.

Organoid cell culture also provides a model for research where self-organising stem cells are embedding in a 3-dimensional matrix and allowed to form organotypic structures. These mimic the architecture, physiology and pathophysiology of the original tissue and enable precise and functionally relevant research questions to be asked. Organoids have been used in the field of virology to ask new questions about host-virus interactions. Organoid models have also been employed for pre-clinical evaluation of vaccines and therapeutics, thereby contributing to “replacement”.

This session will (a) demonstrated the breadth of research that microbial models are currently being used for in 3Rs research relating to the study of diseases, and (b) the use of organoid models in viral research. The session will include eukaryotic models such as the social amoeba Dictyostelium and yeast, and organoid models such as the brain, gut and lung. Talks will focus on the innovative use of these models to enhance our understanding of the basic cell and molecular biology of a range of diseases, from the analysis of the fundamental cellular role of key proteins involved in complex neurodegenerative diseases, to the analysis of human proteins using microbial models, to the use of these models in compound screening for drug discovery. The session will therefore provide an excellent introduction to the use of microbial and organoid animal replacement/reduction models in medical and veterinary research to improve our understanding of disease.

Organisers

Robin SB Williams (Royal Holloway, UK), Pip Beard (Pirbright Institute, UK)

Non-human pathogens

Much of our current focus is towards investigating how bacterial pathogens cause disease in humans. However, bacterial pathogenesis goes far beyond the infections of humans, as bacteria are able to infect a wide range of host species from economically important animals such as fish, crustaceans and domesticated animals through to amoebae and insects and everything in between. In order to be able to achieve this, bacteria have evolved a wide range of virulence mechanisms that promote their colonisation, survival and pathogenesis in these diverse environments. Recent technological advances are allowing a greater understanding of these host-pathogen interactions through genomics, epidemiology and molecular pathogenesis. This session provides the opportunity for researchers in this sometimes-overlooked diverse area to come together and present their latest research findings. The session will provide a platform to present in the areas of (i) molecular microbiology, (ii) molecular pathogenesis of host-pathogen interactions (iii) molecular epidemiology (iv) genomics (v) zoonosis

Organisers

Nick Waterfield (University of Warwick, UK), Jonathan Shaw (University of Sheffield, UK)

The microbial pangenome

The discovery of the microbial pangenome has been one of the most fundamentally important discoveries in the field of microbial genomics and evolution. The concept that any given microbial species has a core genome that can account for 50% or less of its core genetic content has diven research focussing on the role the accessory genome plays in microbial evolution, and on the nature of the pangenome across a myriad of microbial species and genera. This symposium will provide a first ever synposis of the field of microbial pangenome research, and will be of interest to anyone conducting research with microbial genomes and research in microbial evolutionary genomics. The symposium will focus on the impact the accessory genome can have in generating defined phenotypic clusters within a species. It will also delve into the controversy over whether selection acts upon the pangenome or its generation and maintenance is a result of neutral evolution. The symposium will also investigate the fascinating and contentious issue of pangenomes and horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotes. And finally the symposium will look at newly developed tools for the advanced study of the microbial pangenome.

Organisers

Alan McNally (Birmingham, UK), Rob Jackson (University of Reading, UK), Samuel Sheppard (University of Bath, UK); Richard Harrison (NIAB EMR, UK)

Virology workshop: Antivirals and vaccines

The availability of antiviral small molecules and vaccines has historically lagged behind those targeting bacteria. Accordingly, the public health issues represented by both common and emerging virus infections are considerable, with effective treatments lacking in many cases. Research aimed at translating laboratory findings into either novel or improved anti-viral strategies is therefore a priority. This workshop will highlight ongoing research into burgeoning therapies for important human and animal viral pathogens, encompassing all stages of therapeutic development ranging from the test tube to in vivo studies.

Organisers

Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK) and Silke Schepelmann (National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, UK)

Virology workshop: Gene expression and replication

The existence of every organism rests on accurate control of gene expression, with each step of the mRNA life cycle being an opportunity for regulation. Therefore the control of expression of both virus and host RNA during virus infection is fundamental to the life cycle of all viruses. Indeed, virus replication, gene expression and manipulation of the host environment all rest upon RNA production. Furthermore to persist or propagate viruses have evolved complex mechanisms of gene expression regulation to balance their need for production of viral products with the synthesis of antiviral cellular proteins. This encompasses transcription activation, control and termination including epigenetic regulation and recruitment of host factors to promoters and transcriptional enhancers. In addition, the production of non-coding RNAs is essential for some viruses to manipulate the cellular environment and support virus replication. Protein production often requires complex post-transcriptional processing of viral RNAs and nuclear export, facilitated by hijacking host cell systems. In addition, the contribution of epitranscriptomic regulation has recently been highlighted as a novel aspect of viral regulation. This symposium will provide an overview of the regulation of virus gene expression of diverse viruses and the many ways in which viruses manipulate cellular gene expression to support productive virus infection.

Organisers

Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK), Chris McCormick (University of Southampton, UK)

Virology workshop: Pathogenesis

Understanding disease development mechanistically at the cellular, genetic and whole organism level is a vital element in the development of novel therapeutic strategies such as vaccines and small molecule inhibitors. To this end, this workshop will serve as a forum for the presentation of new and exciting data, pertaining to all aspects of the pathogenesis of virus infection. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Pip Beard (Pirbright Institute, UK) and Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK)

Wednesday 10 April, Afternoon

Biobased circular economy and bioremediation

As populations increase, sustainability in life as we know it presents a challenge: energy, water, food are compromised with concomitant threat of pollution and damage to ecosystem function. Microbes offer a wide range of solutions and we are approaching an exciting time where the tools and the knowledge are in place to make best use them (microbial resource management), not only to provide solutions such as bioplastics from waste feedstocks, but also facilitate remediation to deliver the safe sustainable, biobased circular economy.

Organisers

John Milledge (University of Greenwich, UK), Christine Edwards (Robert Gordon University, UK), Edward Louis (University of Leicester, UK)

Clinical Virology Network (CVN)

This session will involve a range of clinical virology cases which relate to studies relevant to the Clinical Virology Network (CVN).

Organisers

Organisers: Stephen Winchester (Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK)

Focus on 3Rs – the growing role of organoids and microbial models to understand human and animal diseases

Mammalian models often provide the standard systems for disease research since they reproduce cell systems equivalent to humans. Although these approaches provide a suitable translation to human systems, they are hard to manipulate, provide significant costs, and may raise ethical considerations regarding the use of animals for research. To address some of these issues, alternative models such as microbial systems or organoid cultures are increasingly being considered to reduce or replace the use of animals in research – an approach called ‘3Rs’ (Replacement, Reduction or Refinement).

Microbial systems provide a tractable model enabling a range of experimental procedures and approaches that are often not possible in mammalian systems. These include the ability to: (1) rapidly ablate single and multiple genes or to introduce specific mutations in a single isogenic cell line to characterise change in cell function; (2) to carry out pharmacogenetic screens to determine mechanism of action of drugs or bioactive natural products; and (3) to produce multiple grams of isogenic cells for analysis of cell signalling, development, acute cell response, metabolomics or organelle function. These and other methodologies provide unique research approaches to enhance the process of discovery.

Organoid cell culture also provides a model for research where self-organising stem cells are embedding in a 3-dimensional matrix and allowed to form organotypic structures. These mimic the architecture, physiology and pathophysiology of the original tissue and enable precise and functionally relevant research questions to be asked. Organoids have been used in the field of virology to ask new questions about host-virus interactions. Organoid models have also been employed for pre-clinical evaluation of vaccines and therapeutics, thereby contributing to “replacement”.

This session will (a) demonstrated the breadth of research that microbial models are currently being used for in 3Rs research relating to the study of diseases, and (b) the use of organoid models in viral research. The session will include eukaryotic models such as the social amoeba Dictyostelium and yeast, and organoid models such as the brain, gut and lung. Talks will focus on the innovative use of these models to enhance our understanding of the basic cell and molecular biology of a range of diseases, from the analysis of the fundamental cellular role of key proteins involved in complex neurodegenerative diseases, to the analysis of human proteins using microbial models, to the use of these models in compound screening for drug discovery. The session will therefore provide an excellent introduction to the use of microbial and organoid animal replacement/reduction models in medical and veterinary research to improve our understanding of disease.

Organisers

Robin SB Williams (Royal Holloway, UK), Pip Beard (Pirbright Institute, UK)

The biological and chemical tales of the antibiotic makers

Microbial small metabolites comprise a staggering proportion of medicinal therapeutics and other high-value compounds. We are in the midst of a renaissance in natural products biology, which is driven in part by the need to discover new antibiotics to combat antimicrobial resistance. Recent advances in DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and analytical chemistry have aided/guided the discovery and bioengineering of novel molecules and enhanced our understanding on their role in the producers’ complex developmental life cycles. The technical advances have also provided the means by which to answer exciting questions about how production of natural products evolved, how they are regulated and what their role is in microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions. This symposium aims to bring together the community of researchers investigating various aspects of microbial natural products including: discovery and biosynthesis, chemical ecology and interactions, genomics, evolution, regulation, physiology, development and cell biology.

Organisers

Geertje van Keulen (University of Swansea, UK), Ryan Seipke (University of Leeds, UK), Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK), Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edge Hill University, UK)

The microbial pangenome

The discovery of the microbial pangenome has been one of the most fundamentally important discoveries in the field of microbial genomics and evolution. The concept that any given microbial species has a core genome that can account for 50% or less of its core genetic content has diven research focussing on the role the accessory genome plays in microbial evolution, and on the nature of the pangenome across a myriad of microbial species and genera. This symposium will provide a first ever synposis of the field of microbial pangenome research, and will be of interest to anyone conducting research with microbial genomes and research in microbial evolutionary genomics. The symposium will focus on the impact the accessory genome can have in generating defined phenotypic clusters within a species. It will also delve into the controversy over whether selection acts upon the pangenome or its generation and maintenance is a result of neutral evolution. The symposium will also investigate the fascinating and contentious issue of pangenomes and horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotes. And finally the symposium will look at newly developed tools for the advanced study of the microbial pangenome.

Organisers

Alan McNally (Birmingham, UK), Rob Jackson (University of Reading, UK), Samuel Sheppard (University of Bath, UK); Richard Harrison (NIAB EMR, UK)

Virology workshop: Antivirals and vaccines

The availability of antiviral small molecules and vaccines has historically lagged behind those targeting bacteria. Accordingly, the public health issues represented by both common and emerging virus infections are considerable, with effective treatments lacking in many cases. Research aimed at translating laboratory findings into either novel or improved anti-viral strategies is therefore a priority. This workshop will highlight ongoing research into burgeoning therapies for important human and animal viral pathogens, encompassing all stages of therapeutic development ranging from the test tube to in vivo studies.

Organisers

Stephen Griffin (University of Leeds, UK) and Silke Schepelmann (National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, UK)

Virology workshop: Gene expression and replication

The existence of every organism rests on accurate control of gene expression, with each step of the mRNA life cycle being an opportunity for regulation. Therefore the control of expression of both virus and host RNA during virus infection is fundamental to the life cycle of all viruses. Indeed, virus replication, gene expression and manipulation of the host environment all rest upon RNA production. Furthermore to persist or propagate viruses have evolved complex mechanisms of gene expression regulation to balance their need for production of viral products with the synthesis of antiviral cellular proteins. This encompasses transcription activation, control and termination including epigenetic regulation and recruitment of host factors to promoters and transcriptional enhancers. In addition, the production of non-coding RNAs is essential for some viruses to manipulate the cellular environment and support virus replication. Protein production often requires complex post-transcriptional processing of viral RNAs and nuclear export, facilitated by hijacking host cell systems. In addition, the contribution of epitranscriptomic regulation has recently been highlighted as a novel aspect of viral regulation. This symposium will provide an overview of the regulation of virus gene expression of diverse viruses and the many ways in which viruses manipulate cellular gene expression to support productive virus infection.

Organisers

Nicolas Locker (University of Surrey, UK), Chris McCormick (University of Southampton, UK)

Virology workshop: Pathogenesis

Understanding disease development mechanistically at the cellular, genetic and whole organism level is a vital element in the development of novel therapeutic strategies such as vaccines and small molecule inhibitors. To this end, this workshop will serve as a forum for the presentation of new and exciting data, pertaining to all aspects of the pathogenesis of virus infection. The workshop will cover the breadth of virology – human, non-human animal, plant and bacterial – with contributions from early career researchers particularly welcomed.

Organisers

Pip Beard (Pirbright Institute, UK) and Claire Shannon-Lowe (University of Birmingham, UK)

Thursday 11 April, Morning

Extremophiles: living life at the edge

Extremophilic microorganisms thrive in environments, which were once deemed inhospitable for life. The study of extremophiles has provided ground breaking information that has allowed us to challenge the paradigms of modern biology and has allowed us to redefine the limits of life. Our understanding of the physiological adaptation mechanisms that microorganisms employ to life in such extreme environmental conditions has provided a unique prospective on the fundamental features of life. Extremophiles are thought to represent the first form of life on early Earth and are therefore, critical for evolutionary studies related to the origins of life, and are important for studying life elsewhere in the Solar System. Furthermore, the application of enzymes from extremophiles has opened up a new era for biotechnology. The major advances within the field are due to a combination techniques, including field work, omics technologies and also single cell techniques. This session will bring together a diverse audience of microbiologist that are interested in understanding the effect of environmental parameters on the diversity and physiology of microorganisms.

Organisers

Karen Olsson-Francis (the Open University, UK), Joanne Santini (Univeristy College London, UK), André Antunes (Edge Hill University, UK)

Fighting fire with fire- deploying microbes in the battle against disease

The relationship between hosts and microbes, good or bad is undisputed. From their important role in maintaining a healthy gut barrier and in digestion/absorption of nutrients, to their capacity to cause infection and disease, we have uncovered the many intricate associations between microbes and their host. The problems microbes can cause keep us in an ongoing battle to control their numbers, but can we use these microbes and our relationships with them to our own advantage? This session will explore the use of microbes as tools that we can utilise in the fight against disease, either directly as alternatives to antibiotics and as novel drug delivery systems, to modulation of the host environment and priming of the host immune system, to controlling the of transmission and spread of disease.

Organisers

Justine Rudkin (University College, Cork, Ireland), Jose Bengoechea (Queen's University Belfast, UK), David Clarke (University College, Cork, Ireland)

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

Sarah Maddocks (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK); Meera Unnikrishna (Warwick Medical School, UK); R Hall and D Danieri

Irish Fungal Society clinical case studies

The Irish Fungal Society has been in existence since 2011 when it was established to promote the study of fungi in Ireland. The society incorporates a broad spectrum of interests including medical mycology, fungal biotechnology and the use of fungi as model organisms to study biological processes. Our 2018 Annual scientific meeting is being held as part of the Microbiology Society’s Annual Conference in Belfast and this session will bring together fungal infection case studies, offered papers and Keynote presentations on translational fungal biology. All Microbiology Society Delegates are welcome!

Organisers

Gary Moran (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), Alida Talento (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), John Morrissey (University College Cork, Ireland)

Marine protists as emerging models for functional genomics and cell biology

Marine unicellular eukaryotes (protists) offer a wealth of taxonomic and physiological diversity for investigating cellular biology and features in the eukaryotic lineage. However, a lack of genetic tools in marine protist strains hinders our ability to manipulate these organisms and reveal underlying controls on gene expression and function that ultimately define the microbes’ roles in ecosystem processes. Speakers in this session will describe exciting new progress and challenges faced in developing nascent marine protist model systems spanning eukaryotic phylogeny.

Organisers

Adam Jones (Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, USA); Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK)

Research and publishing ethics: beyond plagiarism. What you need to know and why it matters

In this session, delegates will be introduced to the topic of research and publishing ethics, and what to do when you suspect research malpractice. Delegates will hear case studies of previous ethics cases from Editors of Microbiology Society journals and be given practical tools for monitoring and improving their research and publishing ethics. This session is aimed at those who wish to take a proactive step in dealing with research ethics and therefore is not restricted by career stage.

Organisers

Organisers: Maria Fernandes (Microbiology Society, UK)

The biological and chemical tales of the antibiotic makers

Microbial small metabolites comprise a staggering proportion of medicinal therapeutics and other high-value compounds. We are in the midst of a renaissance in natural products biology, which is driven in part by the need to discover new antibiotics to combat antimicrobial resistance. Recent advances in DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and analytical chemistry have aided/guided the discovery and bioengineering of novel molecules and enhanced our understanding on their role in the producers’ complex developmental life cycles. The technical advances have also provided the means by which to answer exciting questions about how production of natural products evolved, how they are regulated and what their role is in microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions. This symposium aims to bring together the community of researchers investigating various aspects of microbial natural products including: discovery and biosynthesis, chemical ecology and interactions, genomics, evolution, regulation, physiology, development and cell biology.

Organisers

Geertje van Keulen (University of Swansea, UK), Ryan Seipke (University of Leeds, UK), Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK), Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edge Hill University, UK)

Viral infections of the central nervous system

Virus infections of the central nervous system (CNS) can cause devastating diseases in humans and animals leading to encephalitis, aseptic meningitis and/or myelitis. Despite an extensive protective barrier, a diverse range of viruses can gain access to the CNS via a number of routes including infection of the peripheral nervous system, haematopoietic cells that migrate into CNS tissue, and endothelial cells of the blood brain barrier. Antiviral immune responses can both protect the CNS and limit spread of infection, but frequently contribute to severe pathology of viral CNS diseases. Viruses causing CNS disease include alphaviruses, astroviruses, enteroviruses, flaviviruses, herpesviruses, HIV, lyssaviruses, and paramyxoviruses. This one-day symposium will provide an overview of a range of neurotropic viruses and the diseases they cause, including their clinical impacts, molecular epidemiology, replication and penetration of the CNS.

Organisers

Colin Crump (University of Cambridge, UK), Kate Bishop (Francis Crick Institute, UK), Stephen Winchester (Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, UK)

Thursday 11 April, Afternoon

Essential skills: CV workshop

Delegates will have the opportunity to find out the key elements to include in a standard and academic CV and will be given practical tips for making their CVs stand out. The workshop will end with an interactive workshop where delegates will peer-review each other’s CVs in groups – so make sure to bring a draft with you. This session is suitable for anyone who is in need of feedback on their CV and therefore is not restricted by career stage.

Organisers

Maria Fernandes (Microbiology Society, UK)

Essential skills: Peer review

Peer review is an essential part of the dissemination of research, but how much do you know about the intricacies of the process? As well as showing delegates how to peer-review a paper, this interactive session will also show attendees what happens behind the scenes – what the Society’s Editorial staff do, and how peer reviewers are selected. As a key part of an academic scientist’s career, this session is aimed at early career researchers but is also suitable for all those who are interested in learning how the Society manages peer review. There will also be an opportunity to meet some of the Society’s Editors during this session.

Organisers

Maria Fernandes (Microbiology Society, UK)

Extremophiles: living life at the edge

Extremophilic microorganisms thrive in environments, which were once deemed inhospitable for life. The study of extremophiles has provided ground breaking information that has allowed us to challenge the paradigms of modern biology and has allowed us to redefine the limits of life. Our understanding of the physiological adaptation mechanisms that microorganisms employ to life in such extreme environmental conditions has provided a unique prospective on the fundamental features of life. Extremophiles are thought to represent the first form of life on early Earth and are therefore, critical for evolutionary studies related to the origins of life, and are important for studying life elsewhere in the Solar System. Furthermore, the application of enzymes from extremophiles has opened up a new era for biotechnology. The major advances within the field are due to a combination techniques, including field work, omics technologies and also single cell techniques. This session will bring together a diverse audience of microbiologist that are interested in understanding the effect of environmental parameters on the diversity and physiology of microorganisms.

Organisers

Karen Olsson-Francis (the Open University, UK), Joanne Santini (Univeristy College London, UK), André Antunes (Edge Hill University, UK)

Fighting fire with fire- deploying microbes in the battle against disease

The relationship between hosts and microbes, good or bad is undisputed. From their important role in maintaining a healthy gut barrier and in digestion/absorption of nutrients, to their capacity to cause infection and disease, we have uncovered the many intricate associations between microbes and their host. The problems microbes can cause keep us in an ongoing battle to control their numbers, but can we use these microbes and our relationships with them to our own advantage? This session will explore the use of microbes as tools that we can utilise in the fight against disease, either directly as alternatives to antibiotics and as novel drug delivery systems, to modulation of the host environment and priming of the host immune system, to controlling the of transmission and spread of disease.

Organisers

Justine Rudkin (University College, Cork, Ireland), Jose Bengoechea (Queen's University Belfast, UK), David Clarke (University College, Cork, Ireland)

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

Sarah Maddocks (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK); Meera Unnikrishna (Warwick Medical School, UK); R Hall and D Danieri

The biological and chemical tales of the antibiotic makers

Microbial small metabolites comprise a staggering proportion of medicinal therapeutics and other high-value compounds. We are in the midst of a renaissance in natural products biology, which is driven in part by the need to discover new antibiotics to combat antimicrobial resistance. Recent advances in DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and analytical chemistry have aided/guided the discovery and bioengineering of novel molecules and enhanced our understanding on their role in the producers’ complex developmental life cycles. The technical advances have also provided the means by which to answer exciting questions about how production of natural products evolved, how they are regulated and what their role is in microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions. This symposium aims to bring together the community of researchers investigating various aspects of microbial natural products including: discovery and biosynthesis, chemical ecology and interactions, genomics, evolution, regulation, physiology, development and cell biology.

Organisers

Geertje van Keulen (University of Swansea, UK), Ryan Seipke (University of Leeds, UK), Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK), Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edge Hill University, UK)

Viral infections of the central nervous system

Virus infections of the central nervous system (CNS) can cause devastating diseases in humans and animals leading to encephalitis, aseptic meningitis and/or myelitis. Despite an extensive protective barrier, a diverse range of viruses can gain access to the CNS via a number of routes including infection of the peripheral nervous system, haematopoietic cells that migrate into CNS tissue, and endothelial cells of the blood brain barrier. Antiviral immune responses can both protect the CNS and limit spread of infection, but frequently contribute to severe pathology of viral CNS diseases. Viruses causing CNS disease include alphaviruses, astroviruses, enteroviruses, flaviviruses, herpesviruses, HIV, lyssaviruses, and paramyxoviruses. This one-day symposium will provide an overview of a range of neurotropic viruses and the diseases they cause, including their clinical impacts, molecular epidemiology, replication and penetration of the CNS.

Organisers

Colin Crump (University of Cambridge, UK), Kate Bishop (Francis Crick Institute, UK), Stephen Winchester (Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, UK)

Lecture View

Monday 08 April, Morning

Monday 08 April, Afternoon

Tuesday 09 April, Morning

Tuesday 09 April, Afternoon

Wednesday 10 April, Morning

Wednesday 10 April, Afternoon

Thursday 11 April, Morning