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ASM Microbe 2017, New Orleans


Lucy Owen presenting her resaerch at ASM Microbe 2017

On 1st June, several members of the IDRG descended on New Orleans to attend the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Microbe Conference. The largest meeting of microbiologists in the world, ASM Microbe is a prestigious event that presents cutting-edge research in the major areas of microbiology.

The more accessible plenary talks were broad, interdisciplinary topics, so were great to both catch up on latest developments in the field and to branch outside of my area of expertise, while the symposia were more in-depth topics. Personal highlights of the talks were updates on early new antimicrobial agents and insights to stress responses of enterococci exposed to cell membrane-targeting antibiotics, which will feed nicely into my thesis. Exploring outside my area of interest, I learnt about the predatory bacteria Bdellovibrio, single molecule microscopy for identifying how molecules work together in the bacterial cell, and strategies to culture previously unculturable bacteria.

The star of the show had to be Dr Kate Rubins, a microbiologist-turned-astronaut. In her keynote address, she provided a fascinating insight into working in the International Space Station where she faced the challenges of conducting scientific experiments in microgravity.

As well as attending the talks, the IDRG presented posters. It was quite daunting to be amongst hundreds of other posters in the session in the vast exhibition hall, although there was interest in my poster and it was a really enjoyable experience to network with microbiologists across the globe. As a group, we managed to gain contacts for possible commercial interest and future employability, as well as interest from the press so it was overall very successful for the IDRG.

Exploring New Orleans outside the conference when there was a break in the torrential rain showers was a lot of fun. We toured the Pharmacy Museum, once home to the first licenced pharmacist in the US, where was had a fascinating look at the crude concoctions, medicinal herbs and instruments of the past. We also visited the beautiful historic French Quarter for world-famous beignets at Café Du Monde, traditional Creole cuisine and fantastic live music. A personal highlight was an evening paddle steamboat cruise along the Mississippi river.

It was such an invaluable and unique experience to participate in the ASM Microbe conference in the lively city of New Orleans. I thoroughly recommend it to any microbiologist, as there is something for everyone.

Lucy Owen

Posted on Tuesday 13th June 2017

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