MiCom 2020 will comprise five thematic core themes that capture the key aspects of microbial interactions. We invite all PhD students conducting research on related fields to share their findings.

Chemical Ecology

Keynote speakers: Prof. Dr. Matthias Erb, Prof. Dr. Taicia Pacheco Fill

Organisms exist in complex and competitive environments, in order to optimize their adaptation to these environments they can cooperate, compete, evade, kill, or be killed. To orchestrate these complex interactions, chemical signaling evolved to transmit information, and is the earliest form of communication. Chemical ecology is an interdisciplinary field of research centered on identifying these chemical signals and studying their significance in ecological interactions. This session calls on researchers to present their work on all facets of these chemical signals and the ecological interactions which they facilitate.


Keynote speakers: Dr. Klaus Bernhard Schlaeppi, Dr. Anna Rosa Sprocati

Microbes in their natural settings evolve various survival strategies that dominate their interactions with the surrounding organisms and environment.  On an individualistic level, they employ adaptive tactics that help them maximize their growth in changing environmental conditions. However they also display cooperative or antagonistic traits with neighboring species that influence at a community level. This session calls for the researchers to exhibit their work on strategies used by microbes to colonize the environment, bet hedge, and manifest various genotypes and phenotypes in the population. Such strategies are important to consider since they lead to increased fitness and also assist in forming interactive communities like micro colonies and biofilms. It also provides an opportunity to discuss work on microbial applications to the environment in the form of bioremediation and biogeochemical cycles.

Natural Products

Keynote speaker: Prof. Dr. Martin Grininger, Prof. PhD Sean F. Brady

Microbial systems are in the forefront of the strategies for the discovery of novel molecules. The natural products of these organisms have an enormous structural diversity that results in a Janus-faced range of activities: at times important in the pharmaceutical compendium, yet also being hazardous to life. In a higher level, this session will involve the microbial secondary metabolome and its effect on microbial interactions. Specifically, it aims to promote the discussion of the many aspects of microbial natural products, such as the cloning and characterization of the natural product biosynthetic machinery, the prediction of yet-to-be isolated novel compounds, as well as the generation of new molecules by combinatorial biosynthesis.


Keynote speakers: Dr. Alan Walker, Dr. Norio Takeshita, Dr. Luigina Romani

Many microbes exploit their hosts to obtain essential nutrients for their own propagation. The ability of pathogens to detect host receptors is a pivotal issue which decides its host range. Some microbes do not cause clinically evident disease in hosts, but some of them develop chronic and acute diseases that lead to mortality. The emphasis of this pathogenesis session is to comprehend the concepts of microbial pathogenicity and virulence that cause infectious diseases. Moreover to understand the molecular signals and complex virulence systems that microbes opt to parasitize and cause damage to host immunity. Lastly get an overview of the host response to pathogen invasion and epidemiology. This session encompasses a range of human, animal and plant diseases caused by viral, fungal and bacterial pathogens, as well as the immunology framework.

Systems Biology

Keynote speakers: Asst. Prof. Dr. Karoline Faust, Prof. Dr. Nathalie Reuter

Systems biology has gained an increasing interest in the academic and private sectors. The study of an organism encompassing the examination of its cellular structure and dynamics as a whole provides an improved overview of its functionalities. This study, however, requires an interdisciplinary approach which weaves together biology, physics and mathematics. A perspective from these other branches of science can help to better predict and understand biological phenomena. This approach has been widely applied to questions in medicine and the environment. Understanding the communication between different organisms using a systems biology approach can shed light on regulatory mechanisms and how interactions influence different outcomes.