Magnificent microbes: 2012 ASM Annual Scientific Meeting

Friday, 30 March, 2012

The 2012 Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting will showcase the importance of microbiology to our world through presentations delivered by national and international leaders in their disciplines.

What: 2012 ASM Annual Scientific Meeting

When: 1-4 July 2012

Where: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre


Professor Ian Frazer needs no introduction. His work in immunology, culminating in the development of the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer, earned him the titles of the 2006 Queenslander of the Year and Australian of the Year. His current research interests include immunoregulation and immunotherapeutic vaccines, for which he holds research funding from several Australian and US funding bodies. It is this research which Professor Frazer will be speaking about at the 2012 ASM Annual Scientific Meeting.

This large and prestigious microbiological conference, to be held over four days, will bring together researchers, clinicians, professionals and supporters from all microbiological disciplines. It will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is within easy walking distance of the Brisbane River and the CBD. The scheduling of the conference has been designed to provide delegates with a richer, more concentrated experience, which also provides the time and opportunity for networking.

Professor Frazer will present the prestigious Rubbo Oration, to be held on the third day of the conference, while a range of plenary lectures by world leaders in medical and veterinary microbiology, applied and environmental microbiology, virology and molecular microbiology will also be delivered over the course of the event. Symposia, other oral and poster presentations, and workshops round out the program.

Plenary speakers

Jill Banfield

Jill Banfield is a geomicrobiologist whose work focuses on the relationship between microorganisms and their chemical environments, most notably minerals. Her work has helped us understand how microorganisms alter their chemical and physical environments, such as during bioremediation. In 2010 she was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science and The Loreal UNESCO Award for exceptional women in science.

Henry Bishop

Henry Bishop is a founding member of DPDx, a web-based resource for diagnostic assistance for parasitic diseases. The DPDx team conducts workshops in the morphologic identification of parasites and molecular methods for detecting parasites both at CDC and internationally.

Sébastien Gagneux

Sébastien Gagneux is Unit Head and Assistant Professor at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and University of Basel, Switzerland. Dr Gagneux studies the cause and consequence of genetic diversity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis from a micro and macro evolutionary perspective.

Jean-Marc Ghigo

Jean-Marc Ghigo is Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Department of Microbiology at the Institut Pasteur, Paris. In his laboratory, genetic and molecular biology approaches are used to study biofilm formation and biofilm original biological properties.

Jean-Paul Latge

Jean-Paul Latge has led a group of scientists over the past decade with research and clinical interests on Aspergillus fumigatus infections in immunocompetent and immunosuppressed patients. Three major research areas have been a focus of his work: diagnosis of aspergillosis in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, identification of host and fungal factors that play a role in the establishment of the fungus in vivo, and study of cell wall biosynthesis with the aim of discovering new antifungal drugs.

Harvey Rubin

Harvey Rubin is the Director of Penn’s Institute for Strategic Threat Analyis and Response (ISTAR) and Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania. The Rubin laboratory is involved in several areas, including pathogenesis of dormancy in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, enzymology and cell biology of serine proteases and serine protease inhibitors, and biomolecular computation. The lab also works on modelling complex biological behaviours using hybrid systems approaches that combine continuous and stochastic modalities.

Ralph A Tripp

Ralph Tripp is a Professor and Georgia Research Alliance Chair in Vaccine and Therapeutic Studies in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia. He is also the Director of the Influenza Pathogenesis and Immunology Research Center, Associate Director of the Regional Center of Excellence for Influenza Virus Research and Surveillance, an Adjunct Professor in the Virus Research Group at the University of Canberra and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Infection & Host Defense at the University of Liverpool. He is a co-founder and the Chief Scientific Officer of Argent Diagnostics and CSO of Trellis Biosciences.

Herbert W Virgin

‘Skip’ Virgin became the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and Chair of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in 2006. His research defines mechanisms of viral disease and immunity. His work has been cited more than 9000 times and 27 of his research articles have been cited 100 times.

Scientific program and symposia

The Local Organising Committee is arranging an exciting, concise program for ASM 2012 that will cover contemporary issues and developments in microbiology. The program will consist of new focus areas including but not limited to: the changing nature of key infectious agents including Mycobacteria; the emergence and evolution of multiple-antibiotic resistance; aspects of microbial geochemistry in extreme environments; cell-signalling and responses in viral infections; molecular pathogenesis of bacterial disease; clinical microbiology and case studies in infectious diseases, environmental genomics; and marine microbiology.

Symposia will include but are not limited to:

  • Division 1: Tropical Medical Microbiology: Sultry Bugs and Hot Microbiologists; One Health Microbiology: One World, One Medicine; Veterinary Microbiology: Microbiology Down on the Farm; Diagnostic Microbiology & Epidemiology: Back to the Future; Antimicrobial Agents & Vaccines: Bug Wars: The Sequel.
  • Division 2: Virus Assembly, Structure and Trafficking; Immune Response and Viral Pathogenesis; Vaccines and Antivirals; Virus Replication & Modulation of Host Defences; Emerging Viruses and Environment.
  • Division 3: Microbes and Water; Food Microbiology; Applied Microbiology & Ecology; Teaching Microbiology; Environmental Microbiology and Informatics.
  • Division 4: Host-Pathogen Interactions; Molecular Microbiology; Bacterial Genomics; Metabolism, Physiology and Genetics.


Three workshops have currently been organised for the first day of the conference, all of which are free to attend, with more to be announced. You can find out more about each workshop at

  • The PCR workshop will comprise a series of seminars and discussion looking at problems encountered with the use of PCR in microbial diagnostics. Topics will include issues associated with sequence variation, quantitation, quality control, multiplexing and competitive inhibition.
  • The CDS workshop, as in previous years, will be an interactive session pitched mainly at laboratories that use the CDS method of antibiotic susceptibility testing, though those that use other methods of testing are also welcome. This year’s workshop will focus on explaining additions and modifications to the 6th Edition of the CDS Manual, along with other discussions and presentations.
  • The Microbial Informatics workshop will focus on technical issues surrounding the analysis of microbial next-generation sequence data. It will involve a mix of presentations and discussion, themed around the areas of data quality issues, and tools and techniques. The target audience includes people involved in hands-on analysis of next-generation sequence data.
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