Thursday, March 31, 2016

Michigan Meeting 2016 - Unseen Partners: Manipulating Microbial Communities that Support Life on Earth

May 16-18, Michigan Meeting on Microbial Communities                         

Join environmental and health scientists this spring at the University of Michigan for a deep dive into the world of microbes, the most abundant and diverse forms of life on Earth — and often-invisible contributors to human and ecological health. The event in May is titled “Unseen Partners: Manipulating Microbial Communities that Support Life on Earth,” and will bring together local, national, and international experts in dialogue with the public. The event will be May 16-18, 2016, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and organized by the U-M Center for Microbial Systems. “Unseen Partners” is one of two Michigan Meetings announced for 2016, a series of interdisciplinary meetings taking up problems of interest and importance to the academic community and the public. The Michigan Meetings are supported by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.


Registration is closed

Click Here to read Michigan Daily coverage of this meeting

MiSciWriters coverage: Click Here



Microbes are the most abundant and diverse forms of life on Earth. They maintain the planet’s atmosphere, drive essential processes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and have formed intimate relationships with all plants and animals. Recent technological advances have provided new windows into the world of microbes and the complex communities in which they live. As a result, we have begun to appreciate the contributions of microbes to human and environmental health. A primary goal of this meeting is to bring together the diverse scientific disciplines needed to understand and manage microbial communities effectively to improve human and environmental health. Presentations from local, national, and international speakers will help identify the underlying principles of microbial systems applicable to both environmental and health sciences. The proposed meeting includes a pair of workshops to lead participants through the key conceptual and technical challenges of synthesizing and interpreting the large data sets that typically accompany today’s studies of complex microbial systems. This meeting has been designed to incorporate discussions and workshops that connect attendees with experts to explore the corollary ethical, legal, and social issues associated with managing microbial systems in multiple settings. This meeting encourages participation from the public, and includes two evening seminars. One will focus on the human microbiome, and one will explore regional impacts of microbial communities in a changing global environment. In the spirit of engaging a broader audience for this Michigan Meeting, the University of Michigan graduate student group MiSciWriters will facilitate real-time, online discussion of the meeting. MiSciWriters will live-blog ( and live-tweet (@MiSciWriters) the meeting. Join in the conversation using #MiMicrobe Schedule: Speakers & Conveners Monday, May 16th:

  • Mark Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., President - University of Michigan
  • Thomas Schmidt, Ph.D., University of Michigan – Convener - Welcome, Introductions, & Plans
  • Derek Lovley, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts - The Electromicrobiome: Ecology, Evolution, and Application
  • Katherine McMahon, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Diving deep into freshwater lake community genomes to infer traits and track populations
  • Patrick Schloss, Ph.D., University of Michigan - What Deliverables Can We Expect From the Human Microbiome?
  • Lisa Lloyd, Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington - In What Ways are Holobionts Units of Selection?
  • Jan Sapp, Ph.D., York University - Resolving Ecology's Central Enigma
  • Kevin Theis, Ph.D., Wayne State University - Convener - Ramifications for Managing Microbiomes – a panel discussion
  • Ulrich Mueller, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin - Artificial Selection on Beneficial Microbiomes to Improve Plant and Animal Health
  • Nick Wigginton, Ph.D., Sr. editor Science magazine - Convener - Invisible Influence: Microbiomes in the World
  • Ed Yong, Science writer and blogger
  • Jack Gilbert, B.Sc., Ph.D., Argonne National Laboratories

Tuesday, May 17th:

  • Mick Follows, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Can We Understand the Functional Biogeography of Marine Plankton in Terms of Competition?
  • Norman Pace, Ph.D., University of Colorado Matthew Chapman, Ph.D., University of Michigan - Convener
  • W. Ford Doolittle, Ph.D., Dalhousie University
  • Lutgarde Raskin, Ph.D., University of Michigan - Convener
  • Nancy Love, Ph.D., University of Michigan - Microbiome at the Tap:  From Ann Arbor to Addis Ababa
  • Gregory Dick, Ph.D., University of Michigan - Unintended Manipulation of Microbial Communities in Lake Erie
  • Emilia Askari, M.S., University of Michigan - Convener
  • Pilar Ossorio, J.D., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin Law School
  • Vincent Young, M.D., Ph.D., University of Michigan

Wednesday, May 18th - "Unconference"

  • Melissa Duhaime, Ph.D., University of Michigan - Convener
  • Nina Lin, Ph.D., University of Michigan - Convener
  • Patrick Schloss, Ph.D., University of Michigan - Convener

Click Here for the editable google doc for the Unconference!