February 15, 2019

Registration to open today for inaugural Microbiome Symposium

Purdue is poised to become a leader in microbiome sciences with the establishment of a new research network, Purdue Applied Microbiome Sciences, or PAMS, and hopes to gain momentum in this area of research by hosting the inaugural Microbiome Symposium on May 13-14.  Online registration for the symposium will open today (Feb. 15).

Purdue’s initiative to expand its scope of microbiome research is supported by the recent hiring of several faculty members across multiple departments. Laramy Enders, assistant professor of entomology; Timothy Johnson, assistant professor of animal sciences; Stephen Lindemann, assistant professor of food science; and Mohit Verma, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering, all recently have joined the Purdue research community, and their diverse research backgrounds are helping to establish Purdue at the forefront of engineering and application of microbiome research for improving human health, agriculture and environmental sustainability.

“Our upcoming Microbiome Symposium, ‘Predicting and Controlling Microbiomes for Health, Industry, and the Environment,’ is a big, inaugural step forward for microbiome sciences at Purdue,” says Lindemann, who also serves as one of the conference organizers. “We’ve been very pleased to see interdisciplinary, microbiome-focused collaborations begin to nucleate organically through our monthly faculty socials, and we are hopeful our upcoming symposium will help further coalesce those with microbiome interest on campus. We want to see Purdue become a world leader in applying microbiome science, fundamentally changing the way we deal with problems in health, agriculture, industry and the environment.” 

The two-day symposium will take place at Beck Agriculture Center, 4540 U.S. 52 West, and will feature several world-renowned speakers who are are at the forefront of microbiome research. The keynote speakers and their research areas are as follows:

Plants: Jan E. Leach, associate dean for research at Colorado State University and an initiator of the Phytobiomes Initiative. 

Insects: Seth Bordenstein, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and founding director of the Vanderbilt Microbiome Initiative, Vanderbilt University. 

Soils: Mary K. Firestone, professor in the Department of Environmental Studies, Policy, and Management at University of California, Berkeley and member of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Biotechnology: Michael Fischbach, associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University and National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award recipient. 

Production animalsBryan White, director of the Mayo Clinic and University of Illinois’ Alliance for Technology-Based Healthcare. 

Humans: Liping Zhao, the Eveleigh-Fenton Chair of Applied Microbiology at Rutgers University. 

PAMS received a $25K conference grant from the Purdue Committee on Reputational Stewardship to host the symposium, and it has received additional support from the Department of Food Science, the Department of Animal Sciences, the Department of Agronomy, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, the Department of Chemical Engineering, and the Department of Entomology.

The symposium aligns with Purdue’s Giant Leaps celebration, acknowledging the University’s global advancements made in health as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. Health, Longevity and Quality of Life and Toward a Sustainable Economy and Planet: Innovate Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow are two of the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues. 

The symposium is open to the public. More information, including registration and a full agenda of the event, is available online

Writer: Jaclyn Lawmaster, jlawmast@purdue.edu
Source: Laramy Enders, assistant professor of entomology, lenders@purdue.edu

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