Session View

Monday 08 April, Afternoon

Celebration of Virology

Pentland Auditorium, Level 3

The aim of this symposium is to celebrate the breadth and excellence of virology research based within UK and Ireland. At the peak of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, virologists throughout the UK and Ireland made substantial contributions that directly impacted on our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and, ultimately, how better to treat and prevent the biggest challenge to human health of our generation. This was an unprecedented effort in unprecedented times and there are many examples of virologists repurposing their diverse skill sets and deep knowledge base to better understand the present threat. However, this ability to pivot was underpinned by the wide-ranging expertise in the study of viruses, from structural and molecular biology to virus-host interactions, vaccine development and beyond, embedded within the UK and Irish research base, thus enabling such significant contributions during the pandemic. To celebrate the diversity of virology research in the Microbiology Society community, this symposium will deliver a programme combining invited and offered presentations from across our community covering a range of viruses that threaten diverse aspects of life.

Organisers

Joanna Parish, Finn Grey, Jack Ferguson, Sam Wilson

Environmental & Applied Microbiology Forum

Tinto and Moorfoot, Level 0

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

Martin Welch, Alison Smith, Simon Rout, Jennifer Mahoney, Andrew Armitage, Jordan Price

Microbes as sentinels and solutions in a changing world

Microbiota-Immune System and Vaccine Interplay (British Society for Parasitology and Protistology UK)

Lowther, Level -1

This session seeks to integrate the most recent developments in mucosal and systemic vaccinology, including how the human mucosal microbiota can influence vaccine efficacy for both mucosal and systemic pathogens. Notably, important challenges for vaccine development for a number of pathogens still require sustained and important investment in basic research and clinical trials, in particular for common microbial parasites infecting mucosal surfaces (e.g. Giardia) or systemic sites (e.g. Plasmodium). In addition, a number important bacterial (e.g. Mycobacteria) and viral (e.g. RSV) pathogens still require the development of effective mucosal vaccines. Although tremendously successful new injectable (systemic) vaccines have been developed (including RNA and adenovirus vector based vaccines – COVID-19) there are still important needs to develop licensed mucosal vaccines, which currently mostly consist of live attenuated and inactivated whole-cell preparations. The development of effective mucosal vaccines would be particularly important for viral pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 and RSV as they have potential to prevent both the transmission of such infections and protect against the development of disease symptoms. Dual mucosal and systemic immunisation might also be required for some pathogens to effectively deal with their public health threats, for populations at large, or for more susceptible individuals to a specific pathogen. By integrating recent works on different pathogens, such as Giardia, and technologies (RNA and adenovirus vectors), this session aims to stimulate new ideas to develop effective vaccines for a broader range of pathogens infecting mucosal or systemic sites.

Organisers

Robert Hirt, Rodrigo Bacigalupe, Calvin Tiengwe

Single Cell Omics

Sidlaw, Level 3

Single cell omics have revolutionised our understanding about the sub-population dynamics that define microbial networks and phenotypes of interest. In particular, single cell sequencing has allowed for a better understanding of environmental microbial diversity and for the identification of functionally distinct gene expression groups within a given population. Applying these technologies to microbiological questions has the potential to inform topics as diverse as climate or agriculture-based policies or even evidence-based healthcare decisions about antimicrobial resistance. This workshop will focus on key examples of how single cell omics are being applied to better understand eukaryotic microbiology. It also aims to feature a panel discussion with selected speakers to critically consider how single cell technologies are being implemented, their impact and value for money, and what new technologies, such as spatial omics, may mean for this research frontier.

Organisers

Alison Smith, Delma Childers

Therapeutics: the use of bacteriophage, viruses, and viral components

Kilsyth, Level 0

Organisers

Heather Allison, Chris Richardson, Anastasios Tsaousis, Gerald Barry, Jo Fothergill

Careers Session: Transitions: career paths outside of academia

Lammermuir, Level -2

During the career session, delegates will benefit from the varying perspectives and career journeys of invited speakers who have transitioned from academia to industry, government agencies, membership societies and more—they will have the opportunity to further interact with them during the subsequent Speed Networking round. Delegates will have the opportunity to explore different avenues available to microbiologists to create meaningful and fulfilling careers. Speakers from industry, clinical and academic settings will discuss their career journeys, including the challenges and job opportunities, and provide insights into career prospects for students and researchers in different parts of the microbiology workforce. At the end of each talk, there will be a brief Q&A session, allowing delegates to ask key questions pertaining to their career stages and fields. Early career researchers wanting to explore their next career options, and mid-career microbiologists considering a career change are invited to attend.

Organisers

Angharad Green, Ashley Otter, Smilla Huzell, Oliver Severn, Joyce Bennett, Rebekah Penrice-Randal and Alain Richard

Tuesday 09 April, Morning

Celebration of Virology

Pentland Auditorium, Level 3

The aim of this symposium is to celebrate the breadth and excellence of virology research based within UK and Ireland. At the peak of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, virologists throughout the UK and Ireland made substantial contributions that directly impacted on our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and, ultimately, how better to treat and prevent the biggest challenge to human health of our generation. This was an unprecedented effort in unprecedented times and there are many examples of virologists repurposing their diverse skill sets and deep knowledge base to better understand the present threat. However, this ability to pivot was underpinned by the wide-ranging expertise in the study of viruses, from structural and molecular biology to virus-host interactions, vaccine development and beyond, embedded within the UK and Irish research base, thus enabling such significant contributions during the pandemic. To celebrate the diversity of virology research in the Microbiology Society community, this symposium will deliver a programme combining invited and offered presentations from across our community covering a range of viruses that threaten diverse aspects of life.

Organisers

Joanna Parish, Finn Grey, Jack Ferguson, Sam Wilson

Environmental & Applied Microbiology Forum

Tinto and Moorfoot, Level 0

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

Navigating the Future of Antimicrobial Resistance: Innovative Strategies in Diagnostics and Surveillance

Lammermuir, Level -2

This session offers a deep dive into antimicrobial resistance (AMR), addressing key aspects in two main areas: diagnostics and surveillance. Diagnostics focuses on studying β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella spp. and developing a rapid, AI-assisted diagnostic platform for infectious diseases. Innovative rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing techniques, which promise quicker and more accurate assessments, are also highlighted. In surveillance, the session explores the role of bacterial transposable elements in the spread of AMR genes, bats as potential vectors for antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, and the impact of environmental microbes as reservoirs for novel resistance genes. Additionally, it examines the influence of land use on waterborne resistant bacteria and introduces a novel CRISPR-based strategy targeting β-lactamases in superbugs. This comprehensive overview emphasizes the importance of diagnostics and surveillance in managing the global challenge of AMR.

Organisers

Kalai Mathee, Bruno Silvester Lopes, Kendra Rumbaugh

Small Talk: Mechanisms of sensing and signalling at the host-microbe and microbe-microbe interface

Fintry, Level 3

In their natural environments, microbes engage in complex dialogue with one another and with their hosts. These processes can underpin social and anti-social interactions and the switching between mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. Examples of vibrant areas of research in this theme include the microbiota-gut-brain and gut-lung axes, and virus super-infection exclusion studies. This cross-divisional session will bring together virologists, prokaryotic, and eukaryotic microbiologists to discuss the molecular mechanisms of these signalling events and how they shape host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions. This will be an exciting and truly inter-disciplinary session, encompassing themes such as polymicrobial infection, ecological competition and co-operation, quorum sensing, signal transduction, gene regulation, the bi-directional axes of host response to microbes, and modulation of host immunity.

Organisers

Nicky O'Boyle, Rebecca Corrigan, Ed Hutchinson, Fiona Henriquez

Therapeutics: the use of bacteriophage, viruses, and viral components

Kilsyth, Level 0

Organisers

Heather Allison, Chris Richardson, Raphael Galleh, Anastasios Tsaousis, Gerald Barry

Understanding phenotypes in the omics era

Sidlaw, Level 3

Microbiology is at a historical turning point. Widespread genome sequencing has revealed genetic complexity among microbes that could hardly have been imagined by pioneers such as Stephensen, Pasteur, Escherich and Koch. This data cascade brings enormous potential to improve our understanding of microbial cell biology and the genetic basis of phenotype variation. However, this revolution in data science cannot replace established microbiology practices, presenting the challenge of how to integrate these new techniques. Genomic data are typically applied either to population-wide comparisons of bacteria in the wild, or to studying gene function through modification and inactivation in the laboratory. The former better reflects natural variation but the latter is needed for robust functional characterization. Next generation microbiology is bridging this gap, and integrating large sequencing datasets with molecular microbiology. In this session we present recent work that combines comparative and functional genomics with molecular microbiology and physiology to provide an improved understanding of phenotypes in the omics era.

Organisers

Samuel Sheppard, Carolin Kobras, Rebecca Hall, Guerrino Macori, Hasan Yesilkaya, Matt Dorman, Kalai Mathee

Tuesday 09 April, Afternoon

Cultivating diversity: practical ways to make microbiology more inclusive

Lammermuir, Level -2

In 2024 the Microbiology Society launches a new prize showcasing and celebrating achievements in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) across the field of microbiology. To coincide with the launch of this exciting new prize, the Members Panel-sponsored EDI session at the Annual Conference 2024 will feature invited speakers sharing their personal reflections on activities that contribute to making the field of microbiology more welcoming and inclusive to all. The session will include an open forum for questions, answers, and debate from audience members.

Organisers

Arindam Mitra, Blanca Perez Sepulveda, Bruno Silvester Lopes, Kevin Maringer

Exploring the skin microbiome in health and disease

Tinto, Level 0

Being our biggest organ and a primary protective barrier from pathogens, the microbiome of this highly varied environment is now being described in unprecedented detail, revealing complex multispecies communities that play important roles in skin health, the development of the immune system and in wound healing. The symposium would bring together knowledge of what these microbes are, how they colonise this often nutrient poor and challenging niche, and how they work together to supress the growth of pathogens, while in themselves also being potential accidental pathogens if the skin barrier is broken.

Organisers

Georgios Efthimiou, Albert Bolhuis, Gavin Thomas and Andrew Edwards

Infection Forum

Pentland Auditorium, Level 3

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, with the awardees invited to the Federation of Infection Societies annual meeting.

Organisers

Conor Feehily, Dany Beste, Julie Morrissey, Robert Hirt, Tasos Tsaousis, Giuseppe Buda de Cesare

Small Talk: Mechanisms of sensing and signalling at the host-microbe and microbe-microbe interface

Fintry, Level 3

In their natural environments, microbes engage in complex dialogue with one another and with their hosts. These processes can underpin social and anti-social interactions and the switching between mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. Examples of vibrant areas of research in this theme include the microbiota-gut-brain and gut-lung axes, and virus super-infection exclusion studies. This cross-divisional session will bring together virologists, prokaryotic, and eukaryotic microbiologists to discuss the molecular mechanisms of these signalling events and how they shape host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions. This will be an exciting and truly inter-disciplinary session, encompassing themes such as polymicrobial infection, ecological competition and co-operation, quorum sensing, signal transduction, gene regulation, the bi-directional axes of host response to microbes, and modulation of host immunity.

Organisers

Nicky O'Boyle, Rebecca Corrigan, Ed Hutchinson, Fiona Henriquez

Understanding phenotypes in the omics era

Sidlaw, Level 3

Microbiology is at a historical turning point. Widespread genome sequencing has revealed genetic complexity among microbes that could hardly have been imagined by pioneers such as Stephensen, Pasteur, Escherich and Koch. This data cascade brings enormous potential to improve our understanding of microbial cell biology and the genetic basis of phenotype variation. However, this revolution in data science cannot replace established microbiology practices, presenting the challenge of how to integrate these new techniques. Genomic data are typically applied either to population-wide comparisons of bacteria in the wild, or to studying gene function through modification and inactivation in the laboratory. The former better reflects natural variation but the latter is needed for robust functional characterization. Next generation microbiology is bridging this gap, and integrating large sequencing datasets with molecular microbiology. In this session we present recent work that combines comparative and functional genomics with molecular microbiology and physiology to provide an improved understanding of phenotypes in the omics era.

Organisers

Samuel Sheppard, Carolin Kobras, Rebecca Hall, Guerrino Macori, Hasan Yesilkaya, Matt Dorman, Kalai Mathee

Virus Workshop: Molecular basis of the host:pathogen interaction

Lowther, Level -1

As obligate parasites viruses must inhibit, subvert or re-purpose cell biology to complete their infection cycle. In this workshop the focus will be on molecular studies (both systems biology and reductionist approaches) that have illuminated important aspects of this interaction. This workshop has clear parallels with the Viruses as molecular machines and thus we anticipate abstracts submitted to this workshop will likely concentrate on the impact on host mechanisms including the subversion of cell autonomous and innate immune responses, re-purpose host cell signalling or changes to host gene expression and function.

Organisers

Carlos Maluquer de Motes, Helena Maier, David Hughes

Virus Workshop: Translating knowledge - understanding and preventing disease

Kilsyth, Level 0

Human and veterinary viruses are a major cause of disease with substantial clinical, social and economic implications. Key to controlling the impact of viral infection is better surveillance and diagnostics, improved clinical management and, ultimately, the development of effective anti-virals and vaccines. Thus we anticipate abstracts submitted to this workshop will cover studies that reflect the breadth of these interventions to demonstrate how a combination of basic and clinical understanding of viral infection and pathogenesis is critical for the development of diagnostics, anti-viral strategies and control measures.

Organisers

Ed Wright, Tamyo Mbisa, Matthew Reeves

Virus Workshop: Viral interactions with the host organism and implications for pathogenesis

Moorfoot, Level 0

Pathogenesis and disease is an important outcome of the interaction of viruses and the host. The aim of this workshop is to capture studies (including systems level approaches) of human and veterinary pathogens that contribute to our understanding of pathogenesis on an organism scale. We anticipate this will include the importance of adaptive immunity for the control of infection, the impact of immune phenotypes in disease outcome, and the role of host and viral functions to support dissemination within host as well as for onward transmission.

Organisers

Clive McKimmie, Dalan Bailey, Rachel Edgar

Virus Workshop: Viruses: Molecular Machines to understand cellular processes

Menteith, Level -1

Viruses have repeatedly proven to be fantastic molecular tools to understand the molecular and biochemical nature of biological processes. Abstracts submitted to this workshop will likely cover a range of topics that range from the role of viral proteins for entry, the mechanisms of viral gene expression and replication, to functions important for viral assembly and egress. We anticipate the submission of abstracts detailing structural, biophysical and reductionist studies that elucidate these mechanisms and processes covering both eukaroytic and prokaryotic infection.

Organisers

Joe Grove, Alex Borodavka, Hannah Burgess

Wednesday 10 April, Morning

Exploring the skin microbiome in health and disease

Tinto, Level 0

Being our biggest organ and a primary protective barrier from pathogens, the microbiome of this highly varied environment is now being described in unprecedented detail, revealing complex multispecies communities that play important roles in skin health, the development of the immune system and in wound healing. The symposium would bring together knowledge of what these microbes are, how they colonise this often nutrient poor and challenging niche, and how they work together to supress the growth of pathogens, while in themselves also being potential accidental pathogens if the skin barrier is broken.

Organisers

Georgios Efthimiou, Albert Bolhois, Gavin Thomas, Andrew Edwards

Infection Forum

Pentland Auditorium, Level 3

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, with the awardees invited to the Federation of Infection Societies annual meeting.

Organisers

Conor Feehily, Dany Beste, Julie Morrissey, Robert Hirt, Tasos Tsaousis, Giuseppe Buda de Cesare

Prokaryotic Stress Responses – their diversity and regulation

Fintry, Level 3

Microorganisms encounter a wide range of stresses and environmental changes in diverse scenarios including infection, ecological and biotechnological scenarios. By definition, stress is a driver of diversity, evolution and phenotypic heterogeneity. This session aims to celebrate the responses induced by various stresses on diverse microbial taxa and the enabling technologies allowing their investigation including transcriptomics, metabolomics, biophysics and imaging. The organisers are particularly keen to hear about antibiotic, envelope, host-derived, metabolic, starvation, environmental, redox, temperature, solvent and DNA damage stress responses. Of particular interest is the ability of microbes to sense chemical stress, either via sensors at the cell surface or by cytoplasmic transcriptional regulators. Any examples of systems identified in stress response response research that have been exploited for new treatments or increased productivity are welcomed. This symposium will form a journal special collection in Microbiology.

Organisers

Nick Tucker, Lorena Fernández-Martínez, Stephan Uphoff, Dany Beste

Virus Workshop: Molecular basis of the host:pathogen interaction

Lowther, Level -1

As obligate parasites viruses must inhibit, subvert or re-purpose cell biology to complete their infection cycle. In this workshop the focus will be on molecular studies (both systems biology and reductionist approaches) that have illuminated important aspects of this interaction. This workshop has clear parallels with the Viruses as molecular machines and thus we anticipate abstracts submitted to this workshop will likely concentrate on the impact on host mechanisms including the subversion of cell autonomous and innate immune responses, re-purpose host cell signalling or changes to host gene expression and function. n.

Organisers

Carlos Maluquer de Motes, Helena Maier, David Hughes

Virus Workshop: Translating knowledge - understanding and preventing disease

Kilsyth, Level 0

Human and veterinary viruses are a major cause of disease with substantial clinical, social and economic implications. Key to controlling the impact of viral infection is better surveillance and diagnostics, improved clinical management and, ultimately, the development of effective anti-virals and vaccines. Thus we anticipate abstracts submitted to this workshop will cover studies that reflect the breadth of these interventions to demonstrate how a combination of basic and clinical understanding of viral infection and pathogenesis is critical for the development of diagnostics, anti-viral strategies and control measures.

Organisers

Ed Wright, Tamyo Mbisa, Matthew Reeves

Virus Workshop: Viral interactions with the host organism and implications for pathogenesis

Moorfoot, Level 0

Pathogenesis and disease is an important outcome of the interaction of viruses and the host. The aim of this workshop is to capture studies (including systems level approaches) of human and veterinary pathogens that contribute to our understanding of pathogenesis on an organism scale. We anticipate this will include the importance of adaptive immunity for the control of infection, the impact of immune phenotypes in disease outcome, and the role of host and viral functions to support dissemination within host as well as for onward transmission.

Organisers

Clive McKimmie, Dalan Bailey, Rachel Edgar

Virus Workshop: Viruses: Molecular Machines to understand cellular processes

Menteith, Level -1

Viruses have repeatedly proven to be fantastic molecular tools to understand the molecular and biochemical nature of biological processes. Abstracts submitted to this workshop will likely cover a range of topics that range from the role of viral proteins for entry, the mechanisms of viral gene expression and replication, to functions important for viral assembly and egress. We anticipate the submission of abstracts detailing structural, biophysical and reductionist studies that elucidate these mechanisms and processes covering both eukaroytic and prokaryotic infection.

Organisers

Joe Grove, Alex Borodavka, Hannah Burgess

Finding the needle in the haystack: microbial surveillance in complex samples

Sidlaw, Level 3

Driven by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the accelerating crisis of climate change, an increased awareness has been associated with identifying shifts of microbial populations in environmental, food and medical samples. Microbial surveillance includes novel technologies that are both easy to use and able to simultaneously detect diverse microorganisms (virus, bacteria, fungi or parasites) and it is therefore crucial for our ability to anticipate any change that could ultimately affect public health. This session will bring together experts from public health, industry and academia, giving an overview on the state-of-the-art techniques used and the effects that such microbial changes have on both the environment as well as on the health care landscape.

Organisers

Giuseppe Buda De Cesare, Andrew Armitage, Eva Heinz, Matt Dorman

Wednesday 10 April, Afternoon

Biofilm Prevention and Control

Kilsyth, Level 0

Biofilms represent structured adherent communities of microorganisms that can range in complexity from single species to complex polymicrobial consortia. They have profound impacts on various aspects of our lives, from health and medicine to industry and environmental processes. A biofilm is a structured consortium of microbial cells surrounded by a self-produced polymeric matrix, often adhering to surfaces. This matrix provides protection and enhances the resilience of these microbial communities. In the medical field, biofilms play a significant role in chronic infections. Bacterial biofilms are often responsible for persistent and difficult-to-treat infections in wounds, urinary tract, respiratory system, and implant-related sites. Their enhanced resistance to antibiotics and the immune system poses a significant challenge for effective treatment, necessitating new strategies to combat these resilient microbial communities. Moreover, biofilms have far-reaching implications in industrial settings. They can clog pipes, contaminate food production facilities, and corrode industrial equipment. The financial burden of managing biofilm-related issues is substantial, making it imperative to develop effective preventive measures and treatments to minimize their impact on industries. In natural environments, biofilms are crucial for nutrient cycling, bioremediation, and microbial ecology. They contribute to the breakdown of organic matter, aiding in the recycling of nutrients essential for the ecosystem. However, biofilms can also have detrimental effects, such as in marine environments, where they can corrode ships' hulls and marine structures. Understanding the formation, structure, and behaviour of biofilms is essential to develop strategies for their control and management. Ongoing research focuses on disrupting biofilm formation, targeting the biofilm matrix, and exploring novel antimicrobial agents. Additionally, advancements in imaging technologies and molecular biology have provided deeper insights into the intricacies of biofilm development and function. Within this session we will explore how biofilm communities are formed, detected, tackled and exploited. We will also discuss how continued research and innovative approaches are crucial to effectively manage and mitigate the impact of biofilms in diverse domains, ensuring a healthier and more sustainable future.

Organisers

Campbell Gourlay, Jerry Reen

Education and Outreach Symposium

Lammermuir, Level -2

We welcome abstracts on any aspect of learning or teaching microbiology as well as any aspect of engaging a wider audience with microbiology. This year, we particularly welcome abstracts on sustainability, artificial intelligence, the use of game-enhanced learning or antimicrobial resistance, but will consider abstracts on any topic. We are happy to receive abstracts from colleagues in any setting e.g. clinicians, technicians, those in industry, etc.

Organisers

Mel Lacey, Alison Graham, Michael Dillon, Leanne Taylor-Smith, Nicola Crewe, James Edwards, Thiru Vanniasinkam, Daniel Morse, Sean Goodman, Bridget Kelly, Grace Roberts, Kirsty Jones, Monika Gostic, Georgios Efthimiou, Victoria Easton, Cheryl Walter

Finding the needle in the haystack: microbial surveillance in complex samples

Tinto, Level 0

Driven by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the accelerating crisis of climate change, an increased awareness has been associated with identifying shifts of microbial populations in environmental, food and medical samples. Microbial surveillance includes novel technologies that are both easy to use and able to simultaneously detect diverse microorganisms (virus, bacteria, fungi or parasites) and it is therefore crucial for our ability to anticipate any change that could ultimately affect public health. This session will bring together experts from public health, industry and academia, giving an overview on the state-of-the-art techniques used and the effects that such microbial changes have on both the environment as well as on the health care landscape.

Organisers

Giuseppe Buda De Cesare, Andrew Armitage, Eva Heinz, Matt Dorman

Genetics & Genomics Forum

Pentland Auditorium, Level 3

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

Gavin Paterson, Bruno Francesco Rodrigues de Oliveira, Hasan Yesilkaya, Kalai Mathee, Albert Bolhuis, Delma Childers, Fiona Henriquez

Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

Moorfoot, Level 0

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, archaea and eukaryotic microbes, 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

Chris Cooper, Stephan Heeb, Andrew Lovering, Ross Waller, Campbell Gourlay, Calvin Tiengwe, Steve Atkinson

Prokaryotic Stress Responses – their diversity and regulation

Fintry, Level 3

Microorganisms encounter a wide range of stresses and environmental changes in diverse scenarios including infection, ecological and biotechnological scenarios. By definition, stress is a driver of diversity, evolution and phenotypic heterogeneity. This session aims to celebrate the responses induced by various stresses on diverse microbial taxa and the enabling technologies allowing their investigation including transcriptomics, metabolomics, biophysics and imaging. The organisers are particularly keen to hear about antibiotic, envelope, host-derived, metabolic, starvation, environmental, redox, temperature, solvent and DNA damage stress responses. Of particular interest is the ability of microbes to sense chemical stress, either via sensors at the cell surface or by cytoplasmic transcriptional regulators. Any examples of systems identified in stress response response research that have been exploited for new treatments or increased productivity are welcomed. This symposium will form a journal special collection in Microbiology.

Organisers

Nick Tucker, Lorena Fernández-Martínez, Stephan Uphoff, Dany Beste

The consequences of congenital virus infections

Sidlaw, Level 3

In this session we will explore the potential health consequences of viral infection during pregnancy for both mother and baby. When a virus infects a cell, cellular sensors can alert the infected cell and its neighbours to the presence of an invader. When properly regulated, these responses lead to viral clearance and continued host health. However, if these responses are dysregulated (possibly due to interference by the virus), the host may experience sickness caused by this aberrant response. A developing embryo is heavily guarded against the risk of infection by the physical barrier of the placenta, as well as patrolling maternal immune cells. Nevertheless, the mother is highly susceptible to infection, which means that she may have immune responses to viruses that are communicated to the foetus. Furthermore, under some circumstances, viruses may cross the placental barrier and infect the developing foetus. The genes that co-ordinate antiviral responses are extensively regulated during embryonic development. The consequences of their dysregulation to the foetus include various developmental defects, such as abnormal organ development, foetal readsorption, preterm labour and autism. We will learn about the consequences of maternal infection for a taxonomically diverse range of viruses that are known to have significant health implications if contracted congenitally, including herpesviruses, Zika virus and SARS-CoV-2.

Organisers

Eleanor Gaunt, Richard Stanton, Harriet Groom

Thursday 11 April, Morning

Biofilm Prevention and Control

Kilsyth, Level 0

Biofilms represent structured adherent communities of microorganisms that can range in complexity from single species to complex polymicrobial consortia. They have profound impacts on various aspects of our lives, from health and medicine to industry and environmental processes. A biofilm is a structured consortium of microbial cells surrounded by a self-produced polymeric matrix, often adhering to surfaces. This matrix provides protection and enhances the resilience of these microbial communities. In the medical field, biofilms play a significant role in chronic infections. Bacterial biofilms are often responsible for persistent and difficult-to-treat infections in wounds, urinary tract, respiratory system, and implant-related sites. Their enhanced resistance to antibiotics and the immune system poses a significant challenge for effective treatment, necessitating new strategies to combat these resilient microbial communities. Moreover, biofilms have far-reaching implications in industrial settings. They can clog pipes, contaminate food production facilities, and corrode industrial equipment. The financial burden of managing biofilm-related issues is substantial, making it imperative to develop effective preventive measures and treatments to minimize their impact on industries. In natural environments, biofilms are crucial for nutrient cycling, bioremediation, and microbial ecology. They contribute to the breakdown of organic matter, aiding in the recycling of nutrients essential for the ecosystem. However, biofilms can also have detrimental effects, such as in marine environments, where they can corrode ships' hulls and marine structures. Understanding the formation, structure, and behaviour of biofilms is essential to develop strategies for their control and management. Ongoing research focuses on disrupting biofilm formation, targeting the biofilm matrix, and exploring novel antimicrobial agents. Additionally, advancements in imaging technologies and molecular biology have provided deeper insights into the intricacies of biofilm development and function. Within this session we will explore how biofilm communities are formed, detected, tackled and exploited. We will also discuss how continued research and innovative approaches are crucial to effectively manage and mitigate the impact of biofilms in diverse domains, ensuring a healthier and more sustainable future.

Organisers

Campbell Gourlay, Jerry Reen

Education and Outreach Symposium

Lammermuir, Level -2

We welcome abstracts on any aspect of learning or teaching microbiology as well as any aspect of engaging a wider audience with microbiology. This year, we particularly welcome abstracts on sustainability, artificial intelligence, the use of game-enhanced learning or antimicrobial resistance, but will consider abstracts on any topic. We are happy to receive abstracts from colleagues in any setting e.g. clinicians, technicians, those in industry, etc.

Organisers

Mel Lacey, Alison Graham, Michael Dillon, Leanne Taylor-Smith, Nicola Crewe, James Edwards, Thiru Vanniasinkam, Daniel Morse, Sean Goodman, Bridget Kelly, Grace Roberts, Kirsty Jones, Monika Gostic, Georgios Efthimiou, Victoria Easton, Cheryl Walter

Genetics & Genomics Forum

Pentland Auditorium, Level 3

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

Gavin Paterson, Bruno Francesco Rodrigues de Oliveira, Hasan Yesilkaya, Kalai Mathee, Albert Bolhuis, Delma Childers, Fiona Henriquez

Microbes in our waterways: surveillance, significance and solutions

Tinto, Level 0

170 years on from the Broad Street pump and a key moment in the development of Public Health, understanding the microbiology of our waterways is more important than ever. This session brings together invited and offered talks on: the surveillance of viruses, microorganisms and associated toxins in water; the significance of these ecosystems in global challenges such as antimicrobial resistance; and new approaches to protect public and environmental health.

Organisers

Heather Allison, Martin Welch, Dany Beste

Microbial physiology, metabolism and molecular biology forum

Moorfoot, Level 0

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, archaea and eukaryotic microbes, 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

Chris Cooper, Stephan Heeb, Andrew Lovering, Ross Waller, Campbell Gourlay, Calvin Tiengwe, Steve Atkinson

Prokaryotic Stress Responses – their diversity and regulation

Fintry, Level 3

Microorganisms encounter a wide range of stresses and environmental changes in diverse scenarios including infection, ecological and biotechnological scenarios. By definition, stress is a driver of diversity, evolution and phenotypic heterogeneity. This session aims to celebrate the responses induced by various stresses on diverse microbial taxa and the enabling technologies allowing their investigation including transcriptomics, metabolomics, biophysics and imaging. The organisers are particularly keen to hear about antibiotic, envelope, host-derived, metabolic, starvation, environmental, redox, temperature, solvent and DNA damage stress responses. Of particular interest is the ability of microbes to sense chemical stress, either via sensors at the cell surface or by cytoplasmic transcriptional regulators. Any examples of systems identified in stress response response research that have been exploited for new treatments or increased productivity are welcomed. This symposium will form a journal special collection in Microbiology.

Organisers

Nick Tucker, Lorena Fernández-Martínez, Stephan Uphoff, Dany Beste

The consequences of congenital virus infections

Sidlaw, level 3

In this session we will explore the potential health consequences of viral infection during pregnancy for both mother and baby. When a virus infects a cell, cellular sensors can alert the infected cell and its neighbours to the presence of an invader. When properly regulated, these responses lead to viral clearance and continued host health. However, if these responses are dysregulated (possibly due to interference by the virus), the host may experience sickness caused by this aberrant response. A developing embryo is heavily guarded against the risk of infection by the physical barrier of the placenta, as well as patrolling maternal immune cells. Nevertheless, the mother is highly susceptible to infection, which means that she may have immune responses to viruses that are communicated to the foetus. Furthermore, under some circumstances, viruses may cross the placental barrier and infect the developing foetus. The genes that co-ordinate antiviral responses are extensively regulated during embryonic development. The consequences of their dysregulation to the foetus include various developmental defects, such as abnormal organ development, foetal readsorption, preterm labour and autism. We will learn about the consequences of maternal infection for a taxonomically diverse range of viruses that are known to have significant health implications if contracted congenitally, including herpesviruses, Zika virus and SARS-CoV-2.

Organisers

Eleanor Gaunt, Richard Stanton, Harriet Groom

Lecture View

Monday 08 April, Afternoon

Tuesday 09 April, Morning

Tuesday 09 April, Afternoon

Wednesday 10 April, Morning