The Society for Applied Microbiology summer conference 2015 – Highlights!

Hi everyone!

So this week i had the pleasure of attending the Society for Applied Microbiology Summer Conference, held this year in Dublin.

For those of you who don’t know, i have been involved with the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) for over 3 years now. My association with SfAM started back in the summer of 2012, when i received funding from them to carry out a summer research project at Sheffield Hallam University. As part of that funding, i received a free year’s membership with the society.

As usual the conference was live-tweeted by myself and many others, using the hashtag #sfamsc15. I have made a Storify compilation of all the tweets from the conference, which can be viewed here: https://storify.com/Stewart_Barker/the-sfam-summer-conference-2015-dublin

The 4 day event began with a workshop “opportunities for impact” tackling issues around understanding the impact of your research. I had to miss this (had to finish some work unfortunately!), but I heard it was good.

As always, the opening talk of the SfAM summer conference begins with the Journal of Applied Microbiology (JAM) lecture, this year given by Don Cowan, from the University of Pretoria. The talk was recorded, and can be watched here: http://www.yada-yada.co.uk/Blackwell/SfAM2015/JAM_2015.html

Attending the summer conference is always interesting for me. I am invited because i am a member of the SfAM early career scientist (ECS) committee. We organise and run ECS sessions and assist with the general running of the conference. But because of this, it isn’t always the case that i have a direct interest in the topic. However i think this is excellent, because i think a lot of academics miss out on the bigger picture by becoming so focused on their field and attending conferences and talks only applicable to their specific field. I actually realised a link between my work (bacterial cell wall proteins) and the topic of this years conference – Fermented Foods and Beverages.

There were a lot of excellent talks – my favourite was about the microbes involved with Italian cheese production. You can find the highlights of all of the talks at the Storify link above.

Some of my personal highlights included:

  • The student sessions. I heard a really talented young scientist called Stewart Barker won ‘best talk’ at the student talk session…! The other guys were absolutely excellent, the quality was very high this year.
  • The poster sessions. Got talking to a student with a fascinating 3 axis graph looking at the cumulative effects of essential oils killing bacteria. Everyone was really friendly and made their science very accessible.
  • Networking. Made some new friends, who i have stayed in contact with!

So that’s it until next year! The 2016 SfAM Summer Conference will be in Edinburgh, on Microbial interactions in the environment.

Next on the SfAM calendar is the ECS conference on the 13th of October.

Thanks for reading!

Microbe Stew

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