Plenary Speakers:

FiererNoahProf. Noah Fierer  |  Microbial Communities  |  University of Colorado USA
Noah Fierer is an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a fellow in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He conducts research on the microorganisms living in a range of environments, including those microbial communities living inside our homes, in soil, and in the atmosphere. His work largely focuses on exploring the diversity and functional attributes of microbial communities (using high-throughput DNA sequencing-based approaches), identifying the fundamental controls on microbial processes, and examining the mechanisms by which microorganisms influence human health and the health of ecosystems. For more information, see: http://fiererlab.org/


Murrell_ColinProf. Colin Murrell  |  Environmental Microbiology  |  Current International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME) president, University of East Anglia, UK
Colin Murrell is Professor in Environmental Microbiology at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK and Director of the Earth and Life Systems Alliance (www.elsa.ac.uk) on the Norwich Research Park. His research encompasses physiology, biochemistry, molecular genetics, biotechnology and molecular ecology of bacteria that grow on methane and other C1 compounds, and the bacterial metabolism of the climate active gas isoprene for which he was recently awarded an ERC Advanced grant. His research over the past 35 years has resulted in ~300 publications and six edited books. Colin is President of the International Society for Microbial Ecology, a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation and Member of the European Academy of Microbiology. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Environmental Microbiology and The ISME Journal, and has Chaired Gordon Research Conferences on C1 Metabolism and Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Colin is current president of ISME – the prestigious International Society for Microbial Ecology. For more information, see: www.jcmurrell.co.uk

WiedmannMartinProf. Martin Weidmann 
|  Food Microbiology/Safety  |  Cornell University, USA
Martin received a veterinary degree and a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich in 1992 and 1994, and a Ph.D. in Food Science from Cornell in 1997. He currently is the Gellert Family Professor of Food Safety at Cornell. His research interests focus on farm-to-table microbial food quality and food safety and the application of molecular tools to study the biology and transmission of foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms. His team has published > 300 peer reviewed publications, which have been cited >10,000 times. He was a member of the Listeria Outbreak Working Group, which was honored by a USDA Secretary’s Award for Superior Service in 2000.  He also received the Young Scholars award from the American Dairy Science Association in 2002, the Samuel Cate Prescott Award from Institute of Food Technologists’ in 2003, the International Life Science Institute North America Future Leaders Award in 2004, and the American Meat Institute Foundation Scientific Achievement Award in 2011. He is a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM), and a member of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology. For more information, see: https://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/people/martin-wiedmann



Prof. Joan Bennett  |  Fungal Genetics  |  Rutgers University USA
Joan W. Bennett is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA. She is trained as a fungal geneticist and during much of her career studied the genetics, biosynthesis and molecular biology of aflatoxin production, helping to establish the paradigm that fungal secondary metabolite genes are clustered.  In recent years her focus has been on the physiological effects of fungal volatile organic compounds (VOCs) using genetic models.  Professor Bennett is a past president of both the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology and the American Society for Microbiology, and is a past vice president of the British Mycological Society and the International Union of Microbiological Sciences.  Further, she has served as co-editor-in-chief of Advances in Applied Microbiology and editor-in-chief of Mycologia. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (USA) in 2005.



PatonJamesProf James Paton  |  Infectious Disease/Immunology  |  University of Adelaide, Australia
James Paton obtained his PhD from the Department of Biochemistry, University of Adelaide, Australia in 1979, and spent 20 years at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide, where he was Head of the Molecular Microbiology Unit. He took up the Chair of Microbiology at the University of Adelaide in 2000. In 2007, he was awarded one of the inaugural NHMRC Australia Fellowships, and was elected as a Fellow to the Australian Academy of Science in 2013. He is currently a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Director of the University of Adelaide’s Research Centre for Infectious Diseases. For 35 years his research has been focused on the fundamental molecular events involved in the interactions between pathogenic bacteria and their hosts, with particular reference to Streptococcus pneumoniae. Early studies focused on identification and characterization of pneumococcal virulence proteins and investigation of their potential as non-serotype-dependent vaccine antigens. More recently, he has been investigating the influence of the host microenvironment on pneumococcal gene expression, and the impact of genetic diversity on virulence profile. Other research interests include Shiga toxigenic E. coli infections and the properties and applications of bacterial AB5 toxins. To date, he has published over 355 scientific papers and book chapters, which collectively have attracted over 23,500 citations.


Invited Speakers:

WalkerMarkProf. Mark Walker  |  Infectious Disease  |  University of Queensland, Australia
Professor Mark Walker undertook post-doctoral work at the German National Centre for Biotechnology from 1988-1991. Returning to Australia, he took up an academic position at the University of Wollongong, where he worked on various veterinary microbiology projects. Professor Walker moved to Brisbane in 2010 and is the Director of the Australian Infectious Disease Research Centre at the University of Queensland. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. His research focuses on the mechanism by which GAS causes disease, with the aim of developing vaccines and therapeutics

Professor Walker is sponsored by         MauriceWilkinsLogo



Associate Prof. Frank Takken   |  University of Amsterdam and Scienza Biotechnologies
Frank Takken is Associate professor Molecular Plant Pathology at the University of Amsterdam (NL) and Scientific Advisor for the Biotech company Scienza Biotechnologies. He received his PhD in 1999 from the Free University of Amsterdam for his pioneering work on the isolation of Cladosporium fulvum resistance genes from tomato. Subsequently, he conducted research at the lab of Pierre de Wit (Wageningen University), a project in close collaboration with biotech company Keygene to identify immunity regulated genes and effector proteins.
He is interested in the arms race between plants and pathogens having a strong emphasis on molecular mechanism that control disease resistance. The important fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum is used as main model. His long-standing interest is NLR-type immune receptors; he was the first to demonstrate that they act as molecular switches. He was recently awarded a prestigious VICI grant (1.5 M€) to investigate how NLR proteins inflict DNA damage as part of the host response. Successful infection requires compatibility between plant and pathogen and his most recent research focuses on identification of host proteins targeted by pathogens and investigating how Fusarium as endophyte compromises invasion of pathogenic Fusarium strains. He (co)authored 60 papers and 5 patents in diverse fields of plant pathology by combining varies techniques including genetics, molecular biology, proteomics, cell biology, biochemistry and biophysics.