Harvard University, USA,
Keynote Talk Title: “Stochasticity in Spore Formation”
Richard Losick is the Maria Moors Cabot Professor of Biology, a Harvard College Professor, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Harvard University. He received his A.B. in Chemistry at Princeton University and his Ph.D. from MIT. He was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. He is a past Chairman of the Departments of Cellular and Developmental Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Member of the American Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He is a recipient of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Selman A. Waksman Award of the National Academy of Sciences, the Canada International Gairdner Award, and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for Biology or Biochemistry of Columbia University.
Tufts University, USA,
Keynote Talk Title: “Waking The Dead: Clostridium difficile Spore Germination”
Aimee Shen performed her Ph.D. work with Darren Higgins at Harvard Medical School (Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) and her postdoctoral work with Matthew Bogyo at the Stanford School of Medicine (Department of Pathology) in the USA. She first began working on bacterial spores when she started her lab at the University of Vermont in 2011. Work in the Shen Lab (now located at Tufts University) has focused on investigating mechanisms by which the nosocomial pathogen Clostridium difficile forms infectious spores and germinates these spores to initiate infection. Using genetic, biochemical, cytological, and structural methods, her lab has identified and characterized novel regulators of both these developmental processes and contributed to a growing body of work that highlights the diversity of mechanisms by which Firmicutes build and germinate spores.
Quadram Institute, UK,
Talk Title: “Clostridium botulinum Spore Germination”
Professor Mike Peck leads a diverse research programme on basic and strategic aspects of the physiology and molecular biology of Clostridium botulinum at the Quadram Institute (formerly Institute of Food Research) in Norwich in the UK. He also holds Professorships in Applied Bacteriology at the University of Nottingham and in Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia. One focus of his research programme is characterising and impacting on C. botulinum transmission pathways in the food chain, notably increasing understanding of spore germination in C. botulinum Groups I and II. C. botulinum Groups I and II are distinct species, and findings from his laboratory indicate that spore germination in C. botulinum Group I resembles that in B. subtilis, whilst that in C. botulinum Group II is more similar to that in C. perfringens.
National Cancer Institute, NIH, USA,
Talk Title: “Quality Control Pathways That Govern Progression Through Sporulation”
Dr. Ramamurthi graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, also from UCLA, where he studied how toxins secreted by the Type III protein secretion machinery in Gram-negative bacterial pathogens are recognized as substrates for secretion. As a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, he studied how proteins achieve their proper localization during cell division and spore formation in Bacillus subtilis. A principal finding of these studies was that membrane curvature, defined by the cell’s architecture, can recruit certain shape-sensing proteins to particular subcellular locations. In 2009, he became an Investigator in the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where his lab employs a combination of genetic, biochemical, cytological, and biophysical approaches to study bacterial cell division and morphogenesis, with an emphasis on understanding how proteins localize and assemble into large structures. He currently serves on the General Meeting Planning Committee of the American Society for Microbiology, is on the editorial board of The Journal of Biological Chemistry, and is Co-Director of the NIH-Johns Hopkins University Graduate Partnership Program.
Columbia University, USA,
Talk Title: “Metabolic Dormancy in Spores”
Jonathan Dworkin received his PhD with Peter Model at the Rockefeller University and went on to Rich Losick’s laboratory at Harvard University where he was introduced to the wonderful world of spores. After establishing his lab at Columbia University in 2004, he has been studying a number of aspects of Bacillus subtilis physiology including peptidoglycan synthesis and responses to antibiotics. He has also continued his work on sporulation, including studies on how spores become metabolically dormant as well as investigations into novel spore germinants such as muropeptudes and studies on spore germination in the absence of specific germinants.
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, USA,
Talk Title: “Metabolic shutdown during Bacillus subtilis sporulation”
Amy Camp carried out her Ph.D. work in the laboratory of Pamela Silver at Harvard Medical School (Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology), where she studied endoplasmic reticulum protein ubiquitination and quality control in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Then, as a postdoctoral fellow with Richard Losick at Harvard University (Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology), she turned her attention to spore formation by the bacterium Bacillus subtilis. A key finding of this postdoctoral work was that late development of the spore depends the assembly of a novel channel apparatus that connects it to its adjacent mother cell. Her research group at Mount Holyoke College, along with several collaborators including Dr. Rivka Isaacson at Kings College London, employs a combination of structural, biochemical, genetic, genomic, and cytological approaches to characterize this channel and its impact on forespore physiology and gene expression. Her group also investigates other aspects of B. subtilis spore formation, including the circuitry that executes the transition from early-to-late developmental gene expression.
University of Warwick, UK,
Talk Title: “Adaptive Phenotypic Plasticity During B. subtilis Sporulation”
Munehiro Asally completed his PhD with Yoshihiro Yoneda at Osaka University in Japan. He then joined the laboratory of Gurol Suel at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2009-2012) and subsequently University of California San Diego (2012-2014), where he began to study B. subtilis with a particular focus on biofilm formation. In 2014 he was appointed to his current position as Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick and a faculty member of the Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre (WISB). Combining molecular biology, fluorescence time-lapse microscopy, quantitative image analysis, and computational modelling, his group focuses on the electrophysiological dynamics during sporulation and germination in B. subtilis.
Pasteur Institute, Paris,
“The Alternative Sigma Factor σB is Involved in the Management of Stress and in the Control of Sporulation in Clostridium difficile”
Isabelle Martin-Verstraete carried out her Ph.D at the Pasteur Institute in Paris where she studied the regulatory role of the phosphotransferase system and the carbon catabolite repression in the physiology of Bacillus subtilis. She further developed projects on the sulfur metabolism and its regulation. In 2009, she began working on the nosocomial enteropathogen Clostridium difficile mainly on the regulatory network controlling toxin synthesis, sporulation, and stress response in C. difficile. In collaboration with the team of Adriano Henriques (ITQB, Lisbon), she combined global approaches and single cell strategies to define the regulons of the sporulation-specific sigma factors in C. difficile showing that the existence of a reduced communication between the forespore and the mother cell and of a weaker connection between gene expression and morphogenesis compared to B. subtilis. She also worked on the mechanism of control of skin excision during sporulation and on the links between the general stress response and sporulation.
Sanger Institute, UK,
Talk Title: “Sporulation in the Human Intestinal Microbiota”
Trevor Lawley is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Microbiotica. He is also Faculty Group Leader of the Host-Microbiota Interactions Team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI), where his research uses advanced metagenomic sequencing and deep culturing to investigate the microbial communities contained on and within host organisms that are associated with health and a range of diseases and syndromes such as infections, autoimmunity, irritable bowel syndromes and cancer. He has pioneered many aspects of the bacteriotherapy concept where defined mixtures of bacteria are used to cure intestinal diseases linked to pathological imbalances in the intestinal microbiota.
Trevor began his research at WTSI in 2007 as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Microbial Pathogenesis group, having received a Royal Society Fellowship to start a new research programme in C. difficile epidemiology and pathogenesis. During this time, he has worked with a global consortium from over 25 institutes to assemble a comprehensive C. difficile culture collection, now housed within the Sanger Institute.
Prior to joining WTSI, Trevor held a Canadian Institutes of Health Research post-doctoral fellowship, working in the Laboratory of Professor Stanley Falkow and Dr Denise Monack at Stanford University, USA, where he studied the impact of antibiotic treatment on Salmonella disease and transmission.
Trevor gained his first degree from Acadia University, Canada and his PhD from the University of Alberta, Canada, where he pioneered the use of genomics to study the origins and spread of antibiotic resistance in infectious diseases. He received the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Graduate Student of the Year Award for this work. More recently, Trevor was recognised by the Peggy Lillis Foundation with their Innovator Award 2015 for his ground-breaking work on developing bacteriotherapy for C. difficile infections. .