Keynote Speakers

Confirmed Keynote Speakers include:


Opening Ceremony
Sunday 19 August

Søren Molin
Technical University of Denmark, Denmark


Plenary Presentations

Sunday 19 August

Minik Rosing

National History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Minik Rosing is a professor of geology at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, and has held an Allan C. Cox Visiting professorship at Stanford University. He has based most of his research on fieldwork in Greenland. He has studied the formation of Earth's continents and the interaction between early Archean life and Earth environments and climate. He has suggested that photosynthetic metabolic strategies evolved very early on Earth, and that the ability to harvest Solar energy allowed Life to take control over earth surface environments more than 3800 million years ago. The interactions between biologic metabolisms and Earth's geochemical cycles ultimately resulted in the rise of Earth's continents.

Monday 20 August

Martin Ackermann

Department of Environmental Sciences, ETH Zürich, and Department of Environmental Microbiology, Eawag, Switzerland


Martin Ackermann has a joint appointment at ETH Zurich and Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. He did his PhD on bacterial aging at the University of Basel, and then worked for two years as a postdoc at UC San Diego. He joined ETH Zurich in 2004, and became professor for Molecular Microbial Ecology in 2008. The focus of his research group is on basic questions on bacterial ecology and evolution: on the biological significance of phenotypic heterogeneity in clonal populations, on interactions within and between species, and on how bacteria cope with ever-changing environments.The goal is to work on basic principles with model systems in the laboratory, and then to test these principles in more natural situations. The group often works at the level of single cells, and asks how this perspective provides insights that could not be obtained by populations experiments. One of the current specific interests is on how stochastic gene expression can promote the emergence of different phenotypes in clonal populations, and in how these different phenotypes interact with each other.


Tuesday 21 August

Michael Wagner

Department of Microbial Ecology, University of Vienna, Austria


Michael Wagner is head of the Department of Microbial Ecology and of the Core Facility for Advanced Isotope Research at the University of Vienna. He received his Ph.D. from the Technische Universität Munich, Germany, in 1992 and subsequently worked as a Post-Doc at the Northwestern University, USA, before he returned to Munich as a group leader. In 2003, he became full professor of Microbial Ecology at the University of Vienna. Michael’s major research focus is the functional characterization of bacteria and archaea in their natural environment. To this end, Michael and colleagues have been instrumental in the development of innovative single-cell methods such as fluorescence in situ hybridisation – microautoradiography (FISH-MAR) and Raman-FISH. His work spans a variety of microbial guilds including symbiotic chlamydiae, sulfate-reducing microbes as well as nitrifying bacteria and archaea and has led to the discovery and characterization of major new players among those groups.
Michael has published more than 170 papers and is listed in the ISI citation ranking from June 2011 among the 10 most highly cited microbiology researchers in the world. Michael is vice-president of the ISME, a chief editor of the journal Environmental Microbiology, elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, and a founding member of the European Academy of Microbiology.


Tuesday 21 August

Bird's Eye View Presenter

Patrick Forterre

Pasteur Institute, France

Patrick Forterre is Professor at the University of Paris-South and senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He supervises two research groups, one in Orsay (Paris-South) and the other at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. From 2003 to 2009, he was director of the microbiology department at the Institut Pasteur. Patrick Forterre has been first working on DNA replication in Bacteria. From 1984 until now, he become interested to Archaea, the third domain of life, and works on various aspects of their molecular biology. His research surprisingly led in 1997 to the discovery of the enzyme responsible to trigger meiotic recombination (genetic exchanges) in human. Patrick Forterre has always been interested in evolution and wrote many theoretical papers discussing the early steps of life evolution, the topology of the tree of life or else the nature and origin of hyperthermophilic microbes. These last years, he became more and more interested in the origin and nature of viruses and their role in life evolution. He recently suggested that interaction between cells and viruses is the major force driving Darwinian evolution. As an example, he proposed that DNA originated in the framework of competition between ancient RNA cells and RNA viruses. His research group at the Institut Pasteur currently focus on unusual features exhibited by viruses infecting hyperthermophilic archaea, whereas his research group in Orsay is studying production of membrane vesicles by living cells, a universal mechanism that could be related to the origin of viruses.


Tuesday 21 August 

Víctor de Lorenzo

Molecular Environmental Microbiology Laboratory, The  
Spanish National Research Council, Spain


Víctor de Lorenzo (Madrid, 1957) is a Chemist by training and he holds a position of Research Professor in the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), where he currently heads the Laboratory of Environmental Molecular Microbiology at the National Center for Biotechnology. He specializes in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of soil bacteria (particularly Pseudomonas putida) as both models and active agents for the decontamination of sites damaged by industrial waste. At present, his work explores the interface between the Synthetic Biology and Environmental Biotechnology.


Thursday 23 August

Nicole Dubilier

Symbiosis Group, Max Planck Institute of Marine  
Microbiology, Bremen, Germany

Nicole Dubilier is the Head of the Symbiosis Group at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. She gained her PhD in Marine Zoology from the University of Hamburg and then did a two year postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University in the USA. She has been at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology since 1997 where she was the Coordinator of the International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology from 2002 – 2006, and became the Head of the Symbiosis Group in 2007. Her research group studies the diversity, ecology, and evolution of microbial symbionts, as well as the interactions of the symbionts with each other, their hosts, and the environment. The main focus is on symbioses from chemosynthetic environments such as hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, whale and wood falls, upwelling regions, and coastal sediments. Her group uses a wide array of methods to study chemosynthetic symbioses that range from deep-sea in situ tools to molecular, 'omic' and imaging analyses. 


Thursday 23 August

Bird's Eye View Presenter  

Janet Jansson

Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA


  Professor Janet K. Jansson is a senior staff scientist in the Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA. She also has positions at the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBEI). She is a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the ISMEJ and is a member of several other editorial boards. Janet received her Ph.D. in Microbial Ecology from Michigan State University, followed by  20 years in Sweden, starting with her postdoctoral research at Stockholm University. She became Professor of Microbiology at Södertörn University College in 2000  and then Professor (Chair) of Environmental Microbiology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in 2003. She was also Vice Dean of the Faculty for Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences at SLU. Her expertise is in the area of molecular microbial ecology and “omics” approaches with a focus on soil, marine sediment and the human gut environments

Friday 24 August

Liping Zhao

Shanghai Center for Systems Biomedicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China


Prof Liping Zhao got his PhD in 1989 from Nanjing Agricultural University and worked in Cornell University as visiting scholar from 1993-1995. He is currently a professor for microbiology and associate dean for School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He is also the leader for the functional Metagenomics platform in Shanghai Center for Systems Biomedicine. He is a Board member of the International Society for Microbial Ecology.
His team is one of the first in China to apply molecular and genomic tools for systems understanding and predictive manipulation of the complex microbial communities in human and animal guts. They have published more than 30 papers in PNAS,ISME Journal,AEM,FEMS Microbiology Ecology etc. Their current focus is the interactions between nutrition and gut microbiota for onset and progression of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, and how traditional Chinese medicine and medicinal foods may modulate this relationship for achieving preventive healthcare.


Closing Ceremony
Friday 24 August

Kenneth H. Nealson

Wrigley Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Southern California, USA

Ken Nealson is the Wrigley Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.  He is a professor in both the department of Earth Sciences, and Biological Sciences, and is involved with the University Research Initiative in Geobiology.  His early work at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography involved elucidating some of the factors involved with Quorum Sensing (defining the system, purifying, identifying and synthesizing the first homoserine lactone, and cloning the luxR and luxI genes, involved with the control of quorum sensing).   Later work, done at the University of Wisconsin, Caltech/JPL, and now at USC has been in the area of metal geobiology, with a focus on both the oxidation and reduction of iron and manganese oxides: work that brought him into the area of extracellular electron transport, which will be subject of the ISME lecture.  Dr. Nealson is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and has won several awards for both teaching and research during his career of nearly 40 years.