Agriculture News

December 20, 2019

Annual Microbiome Symposium to explore relationship between data science and the microbiome

bogan-microbiomes The Purdue Applied Microbiome Sciences (PAMS) will host the second annual Microbiome Symposium on May 11-13. Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Building on its highly successful inaugural 2019 conference, Purdue University will host the second annual Microbiome Symposium on May 11-13. The symposium will investigate the application of data science in the study of microbiomes and how experimental data and computational data can be leveraged to learn more about microbiome systems.

“Given Purdue’s strength in computer and data science, I am excited for the emphasis on bioinformatics and data science at this year’s symposium,” said Timothy Johnson, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and a conference organizer. “I hope that the meeting can identify current computational needs in complex biological systems that can be answered by the collaboration between microbiologists and computer scientists.”

Dr. James Hamblin will kick off the three-day event on the evening of May 11 with a keynote speech that is open to the public. Hamblin is a staff writer at The Atlantic and host of the video series “If Our Bodies Could Talk,” including a three-part miniseries in which he explored the relationship between human health and the microbiome in personal hygiene, food and pharmaceuticals. For example, one video in this popular miniseries, titled “You Probably Don’t Need to Shower,” takes a unique look at personal hygiene products and habits, and their impact on the health of your “personal” microbiome. 

May 12 and 13 will feature numerous speakers addressing topics at the forefront of microbiome research and data science, a student poster session, networking and professional development opportunities.

Conference speakers include:

  • Greg Caporaso, associate professor at Northern Arizona University and co-director of its Pathogen and Microbiome Institute.
  • Kelly Wrighton, assistant professor at Colorado State University.
  • Andy Benson, professor at the University of Nebraska’s Food for Health Center.
  • Amy Willis, assistant professor at the University of Washington and co-principal investigator of the Statistical Diversity Lab.

 Stephen Lindemann, assistant professor in Purdue’s Department of Food Science, says that he hopes to capitalize on the excitement from last year’s inaugural symposium by continuing the conversation about the microbiome with academia and industry attendees.

“We’re very excited for this symposium, as it promises to bring together cutting-edge systems biology research in new ways to measure microbiome function with novel computational approaches to draw responsible conclusions from big biological data.” Lindemann added. “We hope to attract a diverse group of scientists from Purdue and beyond to join the conversation.”

Sponsorship opportunities are available at Registration opens in February. Follow @PurdueMicrobes and #PAMS2020 on Twitter for upcoming information on the symposium. 

Writer: Abby Leeds, 765-494-7817, 

Sources: Stephen Lindemann, 765-494-9207,

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head,  

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