Microorganisms play a fundamental role in agriculture and food production, representing a key and indispensable resource that underpins the agri-food sector. Microbiota in these systems perform an array of pivotal functions essential to system health, sustainability and productivity. This conference will focus on the diverse roles played by microorganisms in agricultural systems, and on exploring what microbiome research can offer to agriculture. A particular emphasis will be placed on soil, plant and animal microbiomes, their interaction, and on cross-linking expertise across disciplines. An enhanced understanding of these microbiomes will provide opportunities towards managing agricultural systems in a manner that harnesses the natural power of microbes to provide solutions to global challenges of food security, resource limitation and climate change, and towards more efficient and sustainable food-production systems. This meeting will be of interest to academics, industry and government institutions.
The conference will incorporate a methods workshop that will enable integration of skills and sharing of best practice across technical aspects of microbiome research including sequencing and analysis/interpretation of data associated with complex microbial communities in agricultural systems. Leading experts in microbiome analysis will introduce novel technologies and give their perspectives on best practice in a series of invited talks and panel discussion. The methods workshop will be held at Teagasc (The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Moorepark in Fermoy, Co Cork. The conference will also include an optional tour of the genomic sequencing and microscopy facilities in Moorepark Research Centre.
This Focused Meeting will take place between 1-2 October 2018 at the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, Ireland. The methods workshop and optional site tour will be held on the afternoon of 2 October at Teagasc, Moorepark Research Centre, Fermoy, Co. Cork.
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We are delighted to announce that the following speakers have been confirmed to speak at this Focused Meeting.
Dr Sharon Huws is a reader in Animal Science at the School of Biological Sciences and the Institute of Global Food Security, Queens University, Belfast. Her research is focused on understanding microbiomes, especially in the context of understanding the role that the rumen microbiome plays in ruminant food security. She is also interested in understanding the evolutionary drivers of antimicrobial resistance and exploiting microbiomes for industrial purposes. Sharon is also a senior editor for the journal ‘Microbiome’ and editor-in-chief for the new journal ‘Animal Microbiome. She also chairs the Rumen Microbial Genomics network, which underpins the activities of the Global Research Alliance. Dr Sharon Huws received her PhD from the University of Manchester, and subsequently went on to work as a post-doctoral scientist in the Universities of Bath and Aberystwyth. In 2010 she was promoted to Senior Principal investigator and later in 2012 was appointed as a lecturer, followed by progression to senior lecturer in 2015 at Aberystwyth University. She took up her new role in Queens University Belfast in 2017.
Davide Bulgarelli got his PhD in Plant Biology and Crop Production at the University of Milan (Italy). A postdoc position in the lab of Paul Schulze-Lefert at the MPI in Cologne (Germany) brought Davide in contact with the plant microbiota and it was “love at first sight…” In 2013 Davide moved to Scotland (UK), where he established his own lab and he is currently Principal Investigator at the Division of Plant Sciences, University of Dundee. Davide’s research focuses on understanding the genetic relationships between a plant genome and its associated microbiota and how these relationships can be exploited to sustainably enhance crop production.
Angela Sessitsch studied biochemistry at the University of Technology in Graz, holds a PhD in Microbiology from the Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and is habilitated at the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. She has pioneered plant-associated microbiomes, particularly in the endosphere, and she is interested in understanding the interactions between plants, microbiomes and the environment, as well as to develop applications. Her group explores the diversity and functioning of plant microbiota by applying a range of molecular approaches, interaction modes between plants and model bacteria, colonisation behaviour of endophytes, as well as various application technologies for biocontrol and crop enhancement applications. Together with her group, Angela has published more than 150 peer-reviewed publications.
Jana Seifert studied Geoecology at the Technical University of Freiberg, Germany. During her studies she got fascinated about microbiology and decided to move on this subject. She did her PhD in biology about the xenobiotic degradation by Gram-positive bacteria. As a postdoc she first focused on geomicrobiology and analysing microbial communities with molecular-genetic techniques. As a group leader at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research – UFZ in Leipzig, Germany she started to focus on the functionality of microbial communities setting up metaproteomics and protein-SIP. Since 2013, she is a junior professor at the University of Hohenheim, Germany, where she works on microbiome–animal interactions and the use of feeding resources by the gut microbiome.
After beginning his career as a chemist, with brief stints in the oil industry and NHS and a diversion into Mathematics, Leighton has worked his way up the scale through computational biology from small molecules, via snake venom toxins, to genomes. He was introduced to systems biology in his first two postdocs at Aberystwyth University, modelling yeast metabolism, and has been a computational biologist firstly at the Scottish Crop Research Institute, then the James Hutton Institute, since 2003. For the last 15 years Leighton has focused on biology at the interface of plants and their microbial pathogens, specialising in bacterial and oomycete pathogens of potato. Recently, he has been working on diagnostics and classification of microbial pathogens, and human pathogens in the environment.
Spencer Diamond is a microbiologist by training, but a bioinformatician by trade. He entered the scientific field during his time at the University of California Berkeley in 2005, where he worked in the lab of Prof. Louise Glass on the molecular mechanisms of cell fusion in the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. Subsequently in 2008 he began a second project within the newly created Energy Bioscience Institute at UCB to investigate N. crassa as a model for plant cell wall degradation and lignocellulosic ethanol production. After graduating in 2009 with a bachelors degree in Microbiology, Spencer undertook his PhD at the University of California San Diego, where he studied the control bacterial circadian rhythms exert over the control of cyanobacterial metabolism in the lab of Prof. Susan Golden. After graduating in 2016, he accepted a postdoctoral position back at UCB in the lab of Prof. Jill Banfield where he is working on large metagenomic datasets collected from soil to assemble underrepresented soil genomes and map their metabolic functions.
Orla is a Senior Computational Biologist in Teagasc Food Research Centre and a funded investigator with APC Microbiome Ireland and VistaMilk. Orla graduated from UCC with a BSc in Biochemistry and subsequently a PhD in Bioinformatics. As of August 2018 Orla has a H-Index of 43, having published over 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts, resulting in nearly 9100 citations. Her research focuses on elucidating the microbiome from various environments, including human gut and lung, rumen, food and soil.
Richard’s research is broadly concerned with understanding the role of interactions between plant and soil communities in regulating the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems, and their response to global change. A particular goal of his research is to develop a mechanistic and conceptual understanding of how: (1) plant species and their traits influence soil biodiversity and ecosystem processes, such as carbon and nutrient cycling; (2) soil biodiversity influences nutrient cycling and plant community dynamics across different temporal and spatial scales; and (3) these interactions are affected by, and can potentially mitigate, climate change. A major focus of his current research is applying these concepts to the development of sustainable management options for agriculture, biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services, especially carbon sequestration and efficient nutrient cycling. Richard is currently President of the British Ecological Society and Senior Editor of Journal of Ecology.
Chris Creevey is a Professor of Computational Biology in the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast. His group is interested understanding the complex interactions of natural microbial communities, using metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and metaproteomic data analyses. Novel computational approaches developed in his group utilise evolutionary and ecological concepts to understand the function and stability of natural host-associated microbial communities with a particular emphasis on the rumen microbiome. Chris received his Ph.D. in 2002 from the National University of Ireland (NUI) for his work in the area of phylogenetics and comparative genomics. Following this he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in NUI Maynooth Ireland and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. Before taking his current position, he held an SFI Stokes Lectureship in Teagasc, Ireland and a Readership in Aberystwyth University, Wales in Rumen Systems Biology.
Laurent Philippot is Director of Research at the French Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and is leading a research group at the department of Agroecology in Dijon. He did a sabbatical at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU) in Uppsala in 2000 and 2009, respectively. His research focuses on bridging microbial community ecology, microbial processes and ecosystem functioning using microbial guilds involved in nitrogen cycling and greenhouse gas. He is serving as Senior Editor for The ISME Journal and as editorial board member for FEMS Microbiology Ecology and Applied and Environmental Microbiology. He has over 130 peer-reviewed articles, including Nature Climate Change, Nature Reviews Microbiology, The ISME Journal, Trends in Plant Science, Global Change Biology, etc. with ISI citations of >7000. He participated in several European research projects (Metaexplore, NORA, EcoFINDERS) and his currently involved in the ERA-NET Biodiversa project 'Digging Deeper'.
Christopher Quince (MRC Research Fellow and Associate Professor at the University of Warwick) is an internationally renowned expert in the bioinformatics and statistics of microbial community analysis using next generation sequence data. He develops novel algorithms that apply machine learning to the high throughput data generated by ‘omics technologies. He has published seminal highly-cited papers on processing 16S rRNA amplicons, in order to achieve accurate diversity estimates through the removal of sequencing errors and chimeras. Quince has also developed statistical methods for the probabilistic modelling of community structure. More recently he has focused on shotgun metagenomics, developing the CONCOCT and DESMAN algorithms to address the complex challenge of extracting species and strain genomes respectively from short read data.
The Microbiology Society journal, Microbial Genomics, will be awarding a prize to the poster that presents particularly compelling or novel research in the field of genomics, including host–microbiota interactions and the microbiome. The winner will receive a cash prize and a certificate.
|Registration categories||Full price rate|
|Full and Full Concessionary Member (including dinner)||£200||£210|
|Full and Full Concessionary Member (excluding dinner)||£160||£170|
|Postgraduate and Undergraduate Student Member (including dinner)||£150||£160|
|Postgraduate and Undergraduate Student Member (excluding dinner)||£110||£120|
|Affiliate Member (including dinner)||£230||£240|
|Affiliate Member (excluding dinner)||£190||£200|
|Non-member (including dinner)||£260||£270|
|Non-member (excluding dinner)||£220||£230|