New microbes found in humans, pollen and The Amazon Rainforest

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 some of the new species that have been discovered and the places they’ve been found.

The Amazon Rainforest is a hotspot of natural life, containing an estimated 10% of the planet’s biodiversity and spans over nine countries in South America. Here, three research groups investigating yeasts found two new species. The first, Wickerhamiella dianesei was discovered on an adult bee in Costa Rica and the second, named Wickerhamiella kurtzmanii was found on flowers in Costa Rica, Brazil and French Guiana.

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A summer of prizes: Lucile Guion

This year, the Journal of General Virology (JGV) has sponsored four poster prizes at conferences and meetings around the world. Over this week, we will be getting to know a little more about the winners and their research.

At this year’s Molecular Biology of DNA Tumour Viruses Conference, hosted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Lucile Guion was awarded the JGV Prize for the best student presentation. Lucile is a PhD candidate at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

170505 GRD Lucile GuionWhat was your winning talk called?

Temporal recruitment of PML nuclear body-residing proteins to incoming HGV genomes following nuclear delivery.

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A summer of prizes: Dr Sebastian Lequime

This year, the Journal of General Virology (JGV) has sponsored four poster prizes at conferences and meetings around the world. Over this week, we will be getting to know a little more about the winners and their research.

First up is Dr Sebastian Lequime. Sebastian is a postdoctoral fellow at the Rega Institute in Belguim. This August, he won the JGV Prize for Best Poster at The Second Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology in Montpellier. SLEQUIME

What was your winning talk called?

Within-host evolutionary dynamics of dengue virus in its mosquito vector Aedes aegypti

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Has TB had its time?

In 19th century Europe, the Industrial Revolution brought on a new age of technological advancement. Cities saw an explosion in population growth. But with this came something more sinister – a mysterious disease which killed as many as one in four people.

Factories opened and jobs in towns and cities grew in abundance. Urban populations boomed whilst living conditions deteriorated. There was little-to-no sanitation, and more and more people crammed into smaller living spaces; a perfect breeding ground for disease.

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London slums in the 19th century

Those infected would become thin and pale, suffer from fevers and night sweats and eventually cough up blood. Named after the weight loss it caused, ‘consumption’ spread throughout cities.

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The state of the world’s fungi symposium

On 12 September, scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew published a comprehensive report on the state of the world’s fungi highlighting the often overlooked importance of this kingdom. To coincide with this, a two-day international symposium was organised. My knowledge of fungi was minimal (other than an appreciation for Portobello mushrooms) and so I was excited to attend and learn more!

The symposium kicked off with a welcome by Professor Kathy Willis, Director of Science at Kew who drew attention to some of the key findings in the report and themes that were to recur over the two days. These included the immense diversity of fungi and the relative lack of knowledge compared to animals and plants, the need for fungal conservation, the “Jekyll and Hyde” roles of fungi, and the difficulty in classifying different species.

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Improving the uptake of research into UK policy

In August, the Society supported four members of the Early Career Microbiologists’ Forum to attend a two-day course titled ‘Science Policy: Improving the Uptake of Research into UK Policy.’ The course was organised by Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences. Here, participant Maria Howland reflects on what she learnt about engaging in science policy.

‘Scientists are important’ Sarion Bowers, Policy Lead at the Wellcome Sanger Institute tells us as we sit in the conference centre in the beautiful grounds of the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridgeshire. As a PhD student who spends most of my time pipetting impossibly small volumes of colourless liquids into one another in the lab, this is a statement which isn’t always immediately apparent. But ‘Science Policy: Improving the Uptake of Research into UK Policy’ was designed to explain why it’s important for scientists to become involved in shaping UK policy and how we can do this.

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9th International Symposium on Testate Amoebae – a view from Twitter

The 9th International Symposium on Testate Amoebae Focused Meeting took place at Riddel Hall, Belfast, UK, between 10–14 September. We’ve turned to Twitter to look at some of the highlights of the meeting. 

Andrew Macumber from the organising committee wished the delegates welcome on Twitter.

The team at Riddel Hall shared some photos of the venue.

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