This year I was very fortunate to receive the Millis-Colwell Award from the Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM) which supported my attendance to the American Society for Microbiology’s Microbe conference and a two-week research visit to Professor Deborah Hung’s laboratory at Harvard University. I was very excited about this trip to the US, encountered many excellent researchers and was inspired by their impressive research programs. So here I would like to share my experience with our community of microbiology researchers.
For our two plenaries, Noah Fierer shared what the microbial ecology of our homes can tell about us, and Sarah Gurr detailed the fungal plant pathogens that threaten native species and agriculture around the world.
In the evening Tilman Ruff AO delivered the Rubbo Oration and stunned us with the state of the world’s nuclear arsenal, yet gratified us as we heard the efforts of ICAN to establish a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons - earning the organisation the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. Afterwards, delegates dined, drank and danced at the stellar Rubbo celebration.
Day two started early for those attending the Nancy Millis Mentoring breakfast, and was filled with many great talks including our plenaries by Alan Landay and Karen Carroll, the recipients of the ASM Nancy Millis Student Awards from each branch, and the recipients of the ASM Frank Fenner and ASM Jim Pittard Awards.
Attendees started to arrive on Sunday afternoon to the Adelaide Convention Centre, a central location with a beautiful view of the River Torrens. After picking up their conference booklet, registration tag and greeting friends they moved into the theatre to an acknowledgement of country and welcome to delegate by ASM President Dena Lyras.
ASM endorses the recent consensus statement signed by 30 scientists that documents the role and global importance of microbes in climate change biology, and calls for their immediate inclusion into research, technology development, and policy and management decisions.