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Conference Details

Microbial Population Biology
Gordon Research Conference

Conference Information



Initial Year





Meeting Cycle

24 Months

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Conference Description

The concept of a Microbial Population Biology GRC emerged at the 1983 meeting of the Genetics Society in St. Louis. Frustrated by a sense that most evolutionary biologists had little time for microorganisms, Dan Dykhuizen and Barry Hall called an informal session of those interested in the topic: they did so by nailing notices on trees. About 40 people turned up - including Dan Hartl, Monica Riley, and Bruce Levin. The 2 hour meeting was so successful that funding was sought to start a Gordon Conference on the topic. Bruce Levin applied to create the meeting, and the first meeting was held in 1985 with Bruce as Chair and Dan Hartl and Barry Hall as vice chairs.

Over the ensuing two decades the meeting has gone from strength to strength to the point that it is now regularly over-subscribed. It has always been a hot bed of debate and ideas, and it has attracted some of the most influential and broad thinking researchers in biology: many of who come back on a regular basis. The meeting is inordinately collegial and supportive, and has a history of nurturing younger researchers. In fact it is usual for as many as half the invited speakers to be young and emerging researchers.

Looking back over the last 21 years, there is no doubting the significance of the meeting. Some broadly significant issues have been thrashed out (and continue to be thrashed out); including the genetic structure of bacterial populations, the randomness of mutation, the evolution of infectious disease (and antibiotic resistance), the genetics of adaptive evolution, the role of microbes in ecosystem function, the ecology of phage, the evolution of cooperation and no end of genome-informed, genome-enabled and genome-disabled microbiology. This meeting is unique: unique in its interdisciplinary nature, unique in the broad significance of the questions tackled, unique in the passion behind the late night discussions, and unique in the enthusiasm displayed by all that attend. A more stimulating meeting is hard to envisage!

What is a GRC? Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) are 5-day meetings that bring scientists together from around the world to present and discuss unpublished research with other leaders in their field.

Related Conference

This Gordon Research Conference (GRC) series is related to the "Microbial Population Biology" Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) series. Although a related GRS will typically be scheduled in conjunction with its parent GRC each time it meets, that may not always be the case. Refer to the individual meetings in the Meeting History section below for more details. For more information about the associated Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) series, click here.

What is a GRS? Gordon Research Seminars (GRS) are 2-day meetings that bring graduate students and post-docs together to discuss their cutting edge research among peers and mentors. Each GRS immediately precedes an associated Gordon Research Conference (GRC), and topics addressed at the GRS relate closely to the GRC.

Meeting History

YearMeeting NameDatesConference SiteChair(s)
2015 Microbial Population Biology
Disentangling Causes and Consequences
Jul 19-24 Proctor Academy Michael Travisano
2013 Microbial Population Biology Jul 21-26 Proctor Academy Paul Turner
2011 Microbial Population Biology Jul 17-22 Proctor Academy James J. Bull
2009 Microbial Population Biology Jul 19-24 Proctor Academy Tony Dean
2007 Microbial Population Biology Jul 22-27 Proctor Academy Paul B. Rainey
2005 Microbial Population Biology Jul 17-22 Proctor Academy Margaret A. Riley
2003 Microbial Population Biology Jul 20-25 Proctor Academy Siv G. E. Andersson
2001 Microbial Population Biology Jul 29 - Aug 3 Williams College Lin Chao
1999 Microbial Population Biology Jul 18-23 Plymouth State College Howard Ochman
1997 Microbial Population Biology Jul 27 - Aug 1 Plymouth State College Julian P. Adams
1995 Microbial Population Biology Jul 16-21 Plymouth State College Daniel E. Dykhuizen
1993 Population Biology & Evolution of Microorganisms Jul 25-30 Plymouth State College John Roth
1991 Population Biology & Evolution of Microorganisms Jul 22-26 Plymouth State College Allan Campbell
1989 Population Biology & Evolution of Microorganisms Jul 24-28 Plymouth State College Monica Riley
1987 Population Biology & Evolution of Microorganisms Aug 17-21 Plymouth State College Barry G. Hall
1985 Population Biology & Evolution of Microbes and Their Accessory Elements Aug 26-30 Kimball Union Academy Bruce R. Levin
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