Session View

Monday 17 April, Morning

Climate change impact on eukaryotic microbial organisms

Climate change is the most severe threat to humanity, with irreversible consequences that will worsen in the coming decades. Climate change is thought to have exacerbated more than 200 infectious diseases, as well as being responsible for the loss of bio-diversity, putting global food security in jeopardy. This session will concentrate on eukaryotic microbial organisms in order to investigate the impact of climate change on a) microbial function and lifestyle, b) microbial communities and bio-diversity, c) animal infectious diseases, and d) food security.

Agreed speakers to date: Sarah Gurr, Carol Verheecke-Vaessen and Cyril Caminade

Organisers

Alessia Buscaino (University of Kent, UK); Delma Childers (University of Aberdeen, UK)

Infection forum

Offered papers (and associated posters) will be presented in areas related to clinical, veterinary and plant infections caused by prokaryote and eukaryote pathogens. This will include detection and diagnosis, identification, typing and epidemiology, pathogenesis, virulence, host response and immunity, treatment and prevention, antimicrobial agents and resistance, transmission and models of infection. Eligible abstracts can be entered into the Infection Science Award competition, for an opportunity to win free registration for the Federation of Infection Societies annual meeting. Entrants are also invited to submit a publication to Access Microbiology.

Organisers

Nicky Boyle (University College Cork, Ireland); Guerrino Macori (University College Dublin, Ireland), Heather Allison (University of Liverpool)

Microbiology meets machine learning

Microbiology is awash with vast swathes of data but piecing together that data in a way that provides clear and comprehensive answers is proving increasingly difficult. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning provides opportunities for the enhancement of our use of data to tease apart the intimate details of microorganisms and their environments and provides the potential for bigger questions to be answered and greater systems to be explored. Areas such as diagnostics, micro-organism identification, protein structure, RNA structure, infection environments and multiorganism community dynamics are a few of the many areas that are open to exploration with these new technologies. The capabilities of AI and machine learning are increasing rapidly and this session will seek to display how they are being used today and how they could be used in the future to build on current knowledge.

Agreed speakers to date: Leo Lathi, Nardus Mollentz, Tania Dottorini, Liam Brierley, Nicole Wheeler, Dimitri Boeckaerts and Lauren Cowley.

Organisers

Gerald Barry (University College Dublin, Ireland); Florence Abram (University of Galway, Ireland); Joe Grove (University of Glasgow, UK); Samuel Sheppard (University of Oxford, UK), Heather Allison, University of Liverpool, UK)

Microns apart: viral organisation of a crowded cell

Viruses must establish efficient means of replicating whist avoiding the suppressive effects of the host antiviral response. To achieve this, they have developed elaborate strategies whereby essential viral processes are compartmentalised within the infected cell. New insights are also showing these compartments are themselves highly organised and can include sequestered host proteins that are either required for virus biology or proteins that would otherwise interfere with infection. Rewiring of cellular metabolism to promote compartmentalisation is an active area of research and includes processes such as virus-induced lipid droplet formation, membrane reorganisation and liquid-liquid phase separation, to name a few. This symposium will bring together cutting-edge research that is advancing our understanding of the intricate mechanisms of compartmentalisation and how these lead to successful virus infection.


Agreed speakers to date: Maria João Amorim, Alexander Borodavka, Marvin Tanenbaum, Wah Chiu, Toshana Foster, David Bhella, Kevin Welsher and Helena Maier.

Organisers

Rachel Edgar (Imperial College London, UK); Dalan Bailey (The Pirbright Institute, UK); David Hughes (University of St Andrews, UK); Carlos Maluquer de Motes (University of Surrey, UK)

Plant-microbe interactions

Molecular interactions between plants and microbes underpin infection processes and crop resistance. Here, we showcase current research in plant pathology and across plant-microbe interactions. Recent drives to generate pathogen genomic and pan-genomic resources are enabling population-level studies of microbial diversity and host adaptation. Meanwhile, widespread screening of effector/R-gene interactions are moving us beyond gene-for-gene models of host resistance, highlighting the importance of immune receptor networks, whilst providing new targets for resistance breeding. Beyond this, new plant-pathogen battlegrounds are being identified, particularly the role trans-kingdom RNA-signalling in infection. Taken together, these advances provide new fundamental understanding of colonisation strategies, opportunities to develop durable crop resistance and improved tools for monitoring and control of disease. This session, chaired by the Eukaryotic division, showcases current research in plant-microbe interactions and is open to pathologists from across kingdoms of life.


Agreed speakers to date: Sophien Kamoun, Eva Stuckenbrock, Wenbo Ma, Gary Foster, Nik Grunwald, Hailing Jin, Diane Saunders, Daniel Croll.

Organisers

Andrew Armitage (University of Greenwich, UK); Dawn Arnold (Harper Adams University, UK); Helen Cockerton (University of Kent, UK)

Tuesday 18 April, Morning

Chronomicrobiology: Timing is everything!

All living systems have mechanisms to anticipate and respond to changes occurring around them. While mammalian systems utilise their circadian clock to adapt to daily changes, microorganisms also have in-built mechanisms for rhythmicity in response to their environment in a ‘timely’ manner. This session invites participants who are interested in microbial oscillatory mechanisms in the context of infectious diseases, environmental microbiology, or biogeochemical cycles.


Agreed speakers to date: Francesca Sartor, Bruno Martins, Luisa Hiller, Jay Dunlap, Aidan O'Donnell, Jane McKeating.

Organisers

Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK); Hasan Yesilkaya(University of Leicester, UK)

Genetics and genomics forum

Genetics and genomics forum will consider offered papers on all aspects of the genes and genomes of microbes (prokaryotes and eukaryotes) and their mobile elements, 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

Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edge Hill University, UK), Alison Mather (Quadram Institute, UK), Gary Moran and (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Microbes and their metabolites underpinning host-microbe interactions

Our ability to understand the role of microbial chemical interactions as they underpin host-microbiome interactions is fundamental to tackling key global challenges including environmental sustainability and human health. Although microbial chemical exchange is essential across complex biological processes, the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on this are largely unknown. This session will focus on biological questions concerning the role of biotic interactions on produced microbial metabolites, both from an ecological and a human health perspective. The session will focus on a plethora of higher organisms including marine invertebrates, insects, plants, and the human gut. The work presented will consider the role of metabolites, from signalling molecules to antagonistic/synergistic responses and the technologies that enable these complex processes to be studied.


Agreed speakers to date: Marcey Balunas, Mônica Tallarico Pupo, Matt Hutchings, Manuel Liebeke, Jens Walter, Sharon Huws.

Organisers

Katherine Duncan (University of Strathclyde, UK); Sinéad C. Corr (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)

Microns apart: viral organisation of a crowded cell

Viruses must establish efficient means of replicating whist avoiding the suppressive effects of the host antiviral response. To achieve this, they have developed elaborate strategies whereby essential viral processes are compartmentalised within the infected cell. New insights are also showing these compartments are themselves highly organised and can include sequestered host proteins that are either required for virus biology or proteins that would otherwise interfere with infection. Rewiring of cellular metabolism to promote compartmentalisation is an active area of research and includes processes such as virus-induced lipid droplet formation, membrane reorganisation and liquid-liquid phase separation, to name a few. This symposium will bring together cutting-edge research that is advancing our understanding of the intricate mechanisms of compartmentalisation and how these lead to successful virus infection.


Agreed speakers to date: Jens Tilsner, Peter O'Hare, Montserrat Barcena and Gabrielle Vieyres.

Organisers

Rachel Edgar (Imperial College London, UK); Dalan Bailey (The Pirbright Institute, UK); David Hughes (University of St Andrews, UK); Carlos Maluquer de Motes (University of Surrey, UK)

Retrovirus workshop

We invite abstracts on any aspect of retrovirus biology. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical life cycle of a retrovirus and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly, and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians and/or veterinarians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Harriet Groom (University of Cambridge, UK); Goedele Maertens (Imperial College London, UK)

SARS-CoV-2/COVID workshop

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a momentous event in global health with wide ranging impacts throughout human society. Research efforts in the UK, and across the world, have delivered knowledge and understanding of SARS-CoV-2, a novel human virus. These efforts directly informed the international response to the global health emergency. However, there remains much to learn about the fundamental biology and clinical features of SARS-CoV-2, and other coronaviruses; doing so will better prepare us for potential future zoonotic spillovers. This workshop covers any and all aspects of SARS-CoV-2 research, including molecular biology, disease, immune responses, treatment, transmission, epidemiology and pandemic preparedness. We hope to capture the breadth and depth of UK SARS-CoV-2 research and we welcome abstracts from diverse disciplines and perspectives.

Organisers

Joe Grove (University of Glasgow, UK); Richard Stanton (Cardiff University, UK)

Secondary adaptations the fuel of diversification in parasites and protists

Secondary adaptations allow organisms an evolutionary change of direction. This might be to exploit a new habitat or niche, to facilitate a new lifestyle, or to employ a new biological process. The adaptations can be driven by processes such as reductive evolution, gain of function via lateral gene transfer or endosymbiosis, repurposing of existing molecules, and might involve constructive neutral evolution. These secondary adaptations are often key to the emergence of successful microbial parasites and the diversification of protists more generally. This joint session between the Eukaryotic Division of the Microbiology Society, the British Society of Parasitology, and Protistology UK will explore the roles that secondary adaptations have played in contributing to microbial eukaryotic diversity.


Agreed speakers to date: Josie Ferreira, Courtney Stairs, Laura A Katz, Sergey Melnikov, Varsha Mathur.

Organisers

Ross Waller (University of Cambridge, UK), Calvin Tiengwe (Imperial College London, UK), Robert Hirt (Newcastle University, UK), Alison Smith (University of Cambridge, UK)

Wednesday 19 April, Morning

A greener future: sustainable and scalable solutions in industrial microbiology and green pharma. Organised with the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB)

Industrial microbiology, biotechnology and green pharma have transformed the landscape of goods and medicinal manufacture. Developments across the life, physical, and engineering sciences have converged to present new opportunities for the eco-friendly synthesis and production of bio-based materials, commodities, chemicals, and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Realising the full potential of these technologies will require further developments in key areas such as scale-up of industrial production and optimisation of the biocatalytic pipeline currently available to industry, including the development of new prokaryotic and eukaryotic production systems, such as microalgae. This cross-divisional session, organised with the European Federation of Biotechnology, will bring together experts from industry and academia with a broad range of expertise to offer insights into the future of sustainable and scalable industrial microbiology. Offered papers and abstracts on scale up of industrial biotransformation, industrial biotechnology, novel production systems and biocatalysis for drug development, fine chemicals or industrial application, will underpin the collective potential from this cross-disciplinary session.


Agreed speakers to date: Christine Santos, Nicholas Turner, Dawn Maskell, Payam Mehrshahi, Marcella Fernandes de Souza and Harald Ruijssenaars and Alan Dobson.

Organisers

Christopher Cooper (CHARM Therapeutics, UK; Prokaryotic Division); Jerry Reen University College Cork, Ireland; Irish Division), Karen Polizzi (Imperial College London, UK; EFB), Ralf Takors (University of Stuttgart, Germany; EFB), Nicholas Tucker (University of Strathclyde, UK; Prokaryotic Division) and Alison Smith (University of Cambridge, UK; Eukaryotic Division).

DNA viruses workshop

We invite abstracts on any aspect of DNA viruses. Depending on the abstracts received, the workshop will be structured around a typical replication cycle of DNA viruses and will cover virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Both human and animal pathogens will be covered, including the opportunity for clinicians to present studies on ongoing outbreaks or epidemiological studies.

Organisers

Joanna Parish (University of Birmingham, UK); Matthew Reeves (University College London, UK); Finn Grey (University of Edinburgh, UK); Jack Furguson (University of Birmingham, UK)

Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

This forum will consider offered papers on all aspects of microbial (prokaryotic and eukaryotic) metabolism, physiology and molecular biology. This will focus on fundamental and translational research in this area. This would include the metabolism and physiology of bacteria including pathogens; biochemistry and structure of cells, cell growth and division; cell architecture and differentiation; synthesis and transport of macromolecules; ions and small molecules; development signalling and communication, sensing and cellular responses cell cycle and also how this work informs microbial engineering, antimicrobial drug development, and other potential applications. All speakers will be selected from the submitted abstracts.

Organisers

Andrew Lovering (University of Birmingham, UK), Stephan Uphoff (University of Oxford, UK), Steve Atkinson (University of Nottingham, UK)

Negative strand and double strand RNA virus workshop

The talks in this workshop will focus on viruses with negative stranded and double stranded RNA genomes. They will cover the replication cycle of these viruses, including virus entry and uncoating, genome replication, particle structure, assembly and egress. Pathogenesis will be covered to demonstrate the diversity of diseases that these viruses cause, together with the host response to infection, and vaccine or antiviral-based treatments or therapies that can be used to combat infection. Abstracts are welcomed on the subject of viruses infecting the breadth of the eukaryotic life, from humans through animals, invertebrates and plants. This workshop also includes the opportunity for clinicians to present studies of ongoing outbreaks.

Organisers

Elly Gaunt (University of Edinburgh, UK); David Hughes (University of St Andrews, UK), Edward Wright (University of Sussex, UK)

Positive sense RNA viruses workshop

The workshop will encompass all aspects of positive sense RNA viruses. It will include work focussing on any aspect of the viral lifecycle (such as viral entry, uncoating, translation, replication, assembly and egress). The workshop will also incorporate work studying pathogenesis (illustrating the range of diseases caused by viruses with positive sense genomes) or how viruses interact with their hosts/host cells (especially interactions with immune defences). The workshop will aim to cover human, animal and plant viruses and also include data of clinical relevance as well as novel vaccination and antiviral strategies. Although there is a separate SARS-CoV-2 session, work focused on coronaviruses may also be included in this workshop.

Organisers

Dalan Bailey (The Pirbright Institute, UK); Sam Wilson (University of Glasgow, UK)

Teaching symposium

We welcome abstracts on any aspect of learning or teaching microbiology in higher education as well as any aspect of engaging a wider audience with microbiology. This can include, but is not limited to, public engagement and outreach, practical teaching, accessibility/diversity and novel pedagogy. We are happy to receive abstracts from colleagues in any setting e.g. clinicians, technicians, those in industry, etc.

Agreed speakers to date: Briony Thomas, Morgan Herod, Nicholas Harmer, Gemma Wattret, Diane Ashiru-Oredope and Tina Joshi

Organisers

Melissa Lacey (Sheffield Hallam University), Alison Graham (Hull York Medical School, UK), James Edwards (University of Plymouth, UK) and Michael Dillon (University of Plymouth, UK)

Tuberculosis: The forgotten pandemic

Tuberculosis remains the leading cause of bacterial death globally in part because of the complex characteristics of the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis including the multi-faceted pathogenic strategy which makes development of effective treatments and vaccines very challenging but also due to perennial underfunding in this area. Innovations in diagnostics and treatment regimens has been successful in reducing death rates and incidence of this disease but tuberculosis control measures have sadly been amongst the collateral damage of the COVID-19 pandemic reversing this trend. Despite these impediments tuberculosis researchers continue to deliver exciting research with broad applications beyond mycobacteria and therefore this session will be of interest to a wide range of microbiologists. The scope will be broad with scientists showcasing cutting-edge tools and highlighting paradigm shifts in our understanding one of the most successful pathogens on the planet.


Agreed speakers to date: Maximiliano Gutierrez, Amit Singh, Rachel Butler, Sebastian Gagneux, K. Heran Darwin, Rego Hesper and Chelsea Brown.

Organisers

Dany Beste (University of Surrey, UK); Martin Welch (University of Cambridge, UK)

Thursday 20 April, Morning

Antimicrobial resistance: from molecules to clinic, where are we now?

Antimicrobial resistance is the major global health care priority. Their widespread use in human and veterinarian health, as well as industrial and agricultural, has improved life conditions all over the world. However we are now at the stage where microbes evolved to have multi and even pan resistance to antimicrobials. The goal of this joint session between the Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Division is to highlight the most recent advances on emergence of AMR in the environment, animals, and humans - from molecular mechanisms to epidemiological tools. We hope that bringing these fields together we can foster discussion, knowledge exchange and create a community that can effect change in the current landscape.


Agreed speakers to date: Alan McNally, Sabrina Green, Aders Rhod Larsen, Doris-Ann Williams

Organisers

Carolina Coelho (University of Exeter, UK); Lorena Fernández-Martínez (Edge Hill University, UK); Gavin Paterson (Edinburgh University, UK); Anastasios Tsaousis (University of Kent, UK)

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

Julie Morrisey (University of Leicester, UK); Jennifer Mahony (University College Cork, Ireland), Georgios Efthimiou (University of Hull, UK)

Integrative virology: a celebration of multidisciplinarity

Science thrives in diversity; bringing together different perspectives and approaches can provide completely new insights to a problem. Viruses are molecular parasites with population level consequences. They replicate by exploiting complex environments across a wide range of length scales, making it hard to construct a complete model of viral replication using any single experimental method. Fortunately, our ability to combine data from multiple methods into integrative models of viral replication is growing rapidly. In this session we will take a view of virology through different lenses, for example computational biology, structural biology, advanced microscopy and mathematics. We will highlight how integration across these, and other, disciplines can drive discovery and reveal new biology. We invite abstracts that take interdisciplinary approaches to any and all virology research, from the molecular level through to global epidemiology and all scales in between.


Agreed speakers to date: Reidun Twarock, Jan Kosinski, Ricardo Henriques, Rommie Amaro, Janet Iwasa

Organisers

Joe Grove (University of Glasgow, UK); Edward Hutchinson (University of Glasgow, UK); Charlotte Uetrecht (Leibniz Institute of Virology, Germany)

Lecture View

Tuesday 18 April