Science and the Industrial Strategy

Parliamentary Links Day is the largest science event in Parliament. Now in its 30th year, the event aims to bring together the scientific community and MPs to discuss the most pressing issues in science policy. With a jam-packed schedule and a venue to match, the theme of this year’s Links Day was “Science and the Industrial Strategy”, and I was very excited to be invited along by the Microbiology Society. 

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John Bercow stressed the importance of scientists and engineers in Parliament

The Industrial Strategy, published in November 2017 by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, sets out the UK Government’s plan to boost productivity in four leading areas: artificial intelligence and big data; clean growth; the future of mobility; and meeting the needs of an aging society.

Links Day regular (this was his tenth!) and Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, kicked things off with a warm welcome and the first of several calls for more scientists and engineers to enter the House of Commons. He also proposed the creation of an annual lecture at Speaker’s House to facilitate further dialogue between scientists and parliamentarians.

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Keeping up with virus taxonomy

As sequencing technologies continue to become more efficient, more and more viruses are being discovered. However, classification of these new viruses still relies upon information about physical properties. New viruses cannot be defined on sequence alone. 

The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) is responsible for developing and maintaining a universal virus taxonomy. Known viruses are categorised into a classification scheme taking into consideration their evolution.

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Science and the Assembly 2018

This year, on 22 May, the 14th Annual Science and the Assembly took place in Cardiff. Organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, it brought together representatives from key scientific industries in Wales to speak about the important links between science and industry, and how they support Welsh infrastructure. A large number of learned societies and professional bodies attended alongside Members of the National Assembly for Wales with the aim of fostering closer engagement between the sector and policymakers.

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Microbiology Editor’s Choice: July 2018

Each month, a manuscript published in our flagship journal Microbiology is chosen by a member of the Editorial Board. This month, the paper is Promiscuity of methionine salvage pathway enzymes in Methanocaldococcus jannaschii, which was selected by Professor Christiane Dahl.

 

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Christiane Dahl: S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) is an ubiquituous and essential cofactor involved in methyl group transfers, transsulfururylation and aminopropylation. In the course of polyamine biosynthesis, SAM is transformed into 5′-methylthioadenosine from which sulfur is recycled via the methionine salvage pathway. While this pathway is well described for aerobes and facultatively anaerobic microorganisms, considerable knowledge gaps exist for obligately anaerobic prokaryotes. Miller et al. started to close these gaps by unravelling important steps of methionine salvage in methanogenic archaea. The work is well presented and provides a sound basis for future studies on methionine salvage in anaerobes.

 

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New to Science: July 2018

Each month, the Microbiology Society publishes the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM), which details newly discovered species of bacteria, fungi and protists. Here are a few of the new species that have been discovered and the places they’ve been found.

A new species of Actinobacteria has been found on brown microalgae from Antarctica. Researchers found the bacteria whilst investigating the biodiversity of Antarctic microalgae. The bacteria can only grow in salty conditions and this new species was named Amycolatopsis antarctica.

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Emerging Zoonoses and AMR – a view from Twitter

The Emerging Zoonoses and AMR Focused Meeting took place on 2 July at the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Guildford. We’ve turned to Twitter to look at some of the highlights of the event.

In the days leading up to the event, those attending looked forward to presenting, hearing about and discussing new research.

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British Yeast Group: Embracing Variation – a view from Twitter

The British Yeast Group: Embracing Variation 2018 Focused Meeting took place in Leicester between 27–29 June. This year’s meeting included eight sessions, 18 offered papers, 17 posters and a full social programme offering everything from a beer tasting to a live band. 

We’ve turned to Twitter to look at some of the highlights of the meeting.

During the three-day meeting, an expansive programme with a variety of talks offered something for everyone.

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