The Applied and Environmental Microbiology GRC is a premier, international scientific conference focused on advancing the frontiers of science through the presentation of cutting-edge and unpublished research, prioritizing time for discussion after each talk and fostering informal interactions among scientists of all career stages. The conference program includes a diverse range of speakers and discussion leaders from institutions and organizations worldwide, concentrating on the latest developments in the field. The conference is five days long and held in a remote location to increase the sense of camaraderie and create scientific communities, with lasting collaborations and friendships. In addition to premier talks, the conference has designated time for poster sessions from individuals of all career stages, and afternoon free time and communal meals allow for informal networking opportunities with leaders in the field.
As one of the longest running of all GRCs, Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM) continues to provide a unique forum for discussing new approaches, technologies, and insights that advance our understanding and appreciation of the oldest and most abundant life forms on Earth. The 2023 AEM GRC will address one of the most urgent questions in microbiology: How can we leverage what we have learned from revolutionary technological advances to provide a conceptual framework, a set of core principles, for understanding and predicting the role of microbes in ecosystem functioning, from human holobionts to aquatic ecosystems? Microbes are present everywhere on Earth; mediating processes that enable life to thrive in nearly all ecosystems. Increasing evidence links microbes to human, animal, and plant health, with potential benefits for food security, disease treatment, and ecosystem management. We are in a Golden Age of applied and environmental microbiology as innovations in molecular techniques catalyzed the census of microbial diversity across many ecosystems. However, the field is dominated by descriptive or correlative studies and the mechanisms underlying the microbial community function often remains elusive. By deriving a system of fundamental principles that govern the behavior of microbial communities, their role in ecosystem function can be uncovered and their benefits to society realized.
Like previous AEM GRCs, we will provide an open forum for the presentation and discussion of the latest research findings on the ecology and application of microorganisms in a broad spectrum of natural, industrial, and clinical environments. Together, we will address scales ranging from the single cell to complex (eco)systems, and a diverse range of research areas including ecophysiology, microbial evolution, phylogenomics, host-commensal interactions, infection dynamics, viral ecology, sociomicrobiology, and microbial modeling. Session topics are broad to attract scientists with diverse experience, age, approaches, and philosophies. We will explore the mechanisms and environmental controls driving microbial communities with the goal of developing a predictive understanding of ecosystem function and the effects of disturbance on those systems. The AEM GRC is continuing its collaboration with a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS), which highlights the mechanisms by which microbial networks impact our environment and health.
The 2023 AEM GRS will address the decoding of basic principles governing the ecological dynamics of microbial communities in various systems. The GRS will highlight the boundaries of microbial ecology, with both classical and novel techniques, to characterize fundamental ecological principles of microbial populations as well as to discover opportunities to develop potential biotechnologies. Discussions will be encouraged that move the field of microbial ecology towards maintaining healthy and balanced host and environmental ecosystems.