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FEBRUARY 2012

A F F I L I AT E S L E T T E R The official newsletter for FEMS Affiliates

Also in this issue: Publications corner: • FEMS Yeast Research Thematic Issue • Journal highlight from FEMS Microbiology Ecology • Featured article from FEMS Microbiology Letters Grants page: • Call for Applications: FEMS Meeting Grants • Checklist for FEMS Meeting Grants Applications • Call for Applications: FEMS Meeting Attendance Grants • Checklist for FEMS Meeting Attendance Grants Applications Society Feature: • Society for Anaerobic Microbiology Obituary: • P. Helena Mäkelä, 1930-2011

The Coinfections meeting, set on June 7-8 2012 and hosted by the European Academy of Microbiology and the Leopoldina German Academy of Sciences, is now open for registration. The registration fee costs €100 and includes the following: • admission to scientific sessions and poster area • programme and book of abstracts • coffee breaks • lunch and dinner on Thursday (June 7, 2012) • lunch on Friday (June 8, 2012) This seminar will highlight recent advances in our understanding of polymicrobial infections, synergies between microbes and relevant aspects of symbiosis. Scientists at the international forefront will give

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presentations and contribute to the discussions. There will also be posters presented by meeting participants. The presentations will cover the entire field from molecules to medicine. To register please complete the registration form and send it by email to eam@fems-microbiology.org. The deadline for registration is May 21, 2012. The European Academy of Microbiology is an initiative of FEMS. The Coinfections meeting is its 2nd meeting to date. To view the scope of the meeting, list of speakers, accommodation possibilities, further registration information and other event information, please visit www.coinfections2012.com.


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JO U R N A L H IG H L IG H T Bacteria associated with coral tumors Scleractinian corals with growth anomalies, often referred to as ‘tumors’, have been reported globally. A recent survey of Hong Kong waters showed that > 60% of Platygyra carnosus colonies developed tumors. Here we report for the first time, the bacterial community associated with tumors in P. carnosus over different seasons and locations in Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park and Port Shelter. Culture-based methods for strain isolation and molecular techniques of 16S rRNA analysis for strain identification were used, as well as the culture-independent technique terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism. We tested the hypothesis that the community composition would be considerably different between healthy and tumor corals and aimed to investigate whether potential differences because of tumors would override the seasonal and spatial influences. Our analysis detected only minor differences between the communities associated with the healthy and tumor corals, indicating that tumors are not associated with major changes in the bacterial community structure. In contrast, community structure was strongly influenced by the location and season, with greater Alphaproteobacteria diversity in the winter than in the summer. This study demonstrated that the coral-associated bacterial community composition was more related to environmental variables (i.e. season and location) than to disease (i.e. tumor). DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01225.x / Volume 79, Issue 2, pages 380–391, February 2012

F E AT U R E D A R T IC L E Biogeography of lichen-associated bacteria The correlation between the taxonomic composition of Alphaproteobacteria, Burkholderia and nitrogen fixers associated with the lichen Lobaria pulmonaria and the geographical distribution of the host was studied across four sites in Europe. Results proved that the diversity of Alphaproteobacteria is affected by geography, while those of Burkholderia and nitrogen fixers were mostly driven by local habitat. This difference indicates a higher stability of the association between Alphaproteobacteria and the lichen host. Cardinale et al. FEMS Microbiol Lett (2012), Accepted Article; doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2012.02508.x

P U B L I C AT I O N S PA G E

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Metabolic Engineering, Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology The completion, in 1996, of the genome sequence of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae laboratory strain S288C represents a watershed in yeast research. Today, the rapidly growing range of products produced with engineered S. cerevisiae strains already range from biofuels and bulk chemicals to food ingredients and life-saving pharmaceuticals, while many other yeast-based products are subject of intensive academic and industrial research. Ten minireviews in this special issue of FEMS Yeast Research provide an overview of the rapid developments in Metabolic Engineering, Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology of S. cerevisiae./fb

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FEMS MEETING GRANTS The first grant deadline of every FEMS year is always for the FEMS Meeting Grants which is March 1 (of the year preceding that in which the meeting takes place). So as early as now, we are calling on all those who are currently planning Scientific conferences, laboratory workshops, and training courses in the European area in the year 2013. Events such as these will be considered for a FEMS Meeting Grant. The maximum amount of a Meeting Grant is EUR 15 000. The Meeting Grant may only be used to support the attendance of: • Young Scientists (minimum of 60% and a maximum of 80% of total grant value) and • Invited Speakers (minimum of 20% and a maximum of 40% of total grant value) On special request by the organisers and upon approval by the Grants Secretary, a total grant amount can be used to support young scientists only. The regulations and application forms are available electronically. Please read them carefully and check the list at the right before contacting the FEMS Central Office. A list of events that were granted a FEMS Meeting Grant is also maintained online.

G R AN T S CO R N ER

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CHECKLIST FOR YOUR FEMS MEETING GRANT APPLICATION FEMS Meeting Grants regulations apply to each application for the FEMS Meeting Grants, the requirements consist of but not limited to the following: • You are a meeting organizer • The meeting that you are planning is microbiology-related • This microbiology-related meeting is either a Scientific conference, laboratory workshop and/or training course • This meeting will be held in Europe • The grant that you will receive will be used to support Young Scientist/s and Invited Speaker/s • You have read the regulations for your application and you fulfill ALL requirements • General and budgetary information • Full programme with list of speakers • Endorsement by the FEMS Delegate of your FEMS Member Society • You have read the application form • You have completely filled-up the application form • Send the complete application to grants@fems-microbiology.org before the deadline of March 1, 2012

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FEMS MEETING ATTENDANCE GRANTS FEMS starts each spring with the deadline for the FEMS Meeting Attendance Grants. These are grants awarded to young European scientists wishing to attend microbiology meetings that are not supported by a FEMS Meetings Grant. Meeting Attendance Grants may support attendance at meetings worldwide but preference will be given for meetings within the European area. The maximum amount of a Meeting Attendance Grant is €600 while the minimum is €250. We are calling on Young scientists wishing to apply for a Meetings Attendance Grant to first familiarize themselves with the regulations governing FEMS Meeting Attendance Grants. Complete applications should be received at FEMS Central Office by: • April 1, for attendance at meetings opening between May 1-September 30. • September 1, for attendance at meetings opening between October 1-April 30. The regulations and application forms are available electronically. Please read them carefully and check the list at the right before contacting the FEMS Central Office.

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CHECKLIST FOR YOUR FEMS MEETING ATTENDANCE GRANT APPLICATIONS FEMS Meeting Attendance Grants regulations apply to each application for the FEMS Meeting Attendance Grants, the requirements consist of but not limited to the following: • You are a member of a FEMS Member Society • You are not more than 36 years of age at the closing date of the meeting • You are an active microbiologist; • An abstract for which you are the presenting author • The meeting that you are attending is not awarded a FEMS Meeting Grant • You have read the regulations for your application and you fulfill ALL requirements • You have read the application form • You have completely filled-up the application form • The following should be submitted along with your application form: 1. a curriculum vitae including a list of publications 2. one letter of recommendation 3. the abstract including a letter confirming its acceptance by the meeting organisers 4. a photograph • Send the complete application to grants@fems-microbiology.org before the deadline of April 1, 2012 G R AN T S CO R N ER


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HISTORY

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The Society for Anaerobic Microbiology was founded in 1975 as the Anaerobic Discussion Group and became the SAM in 1989. It became a full member of FEMS in 2009 and currently includes 240 microbiologists in its portfolio.

ORGANISATION

Membership to the Society is open to anyone interested in anaerobic microbiology. Members include workers from a wide range of scientific backgrounds from all parts of the world. SAM also has links with the Anaerobe Society of the Americas.

Vice Chair & Honorary Treasurer: Dr Mark Wilks

ACTIVITIES The Society organises meetings which bring together Clinical Microbiologists and Scientists with an interest in anaerobic bacteriology. Annual meetings have been hosted at the Health Protection Agency Colindale, London.

The Society is run by an elected Council: Chair: Professor Sheila Patrick

Honorary Secretary: Dr Kenneth Bruce Council members: Professor Haroun Shah, Dr Garry Blakely, Mrs Julie Elston, Professor Neil Fairweather, Dr Val Hall, Dr Mike Hudson, Professor Elisabeth Nagy

In addition, it organises joint meetings with other Societies, most recently with the Society for General Microbiology. Currently, Professors Sheila Patrick and Elisabeth Nagy of SAM Council are involved in organising a Workshop titled ‘The paradox of Propionibacterium acnes: benign commensal and virulent pathogen’ to be held at the 22nd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases on 31 March - 3 April 2012 in London.

Current and past SAM Council members at the FEMS-sponsored meeting ‘The Human Microbiome and Anaerobic Infection’ at the Health Protection Agency, Colindale, London UK, February 2011

- Text and Photos by Prof. Sheila Patrick

SAM council members, international speakers and delegates from the USA, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa at ‘Anaerobe 2011: Anaerobes of the human gastrointestinal microbiota and disease’, a joint meeting of SAM and the Society for General Microbiology held in York, England in September 2011.

S O C I E T Y F E AT U R E

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The Finnish Academician, Professor Emerita P. Helena Mäkelä has died at the age of 81. Helena Mäkelä contributed fundamentally to the development of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS), first as the meetings secretary and then in 1992-1995 as the President. Several FEMS activities, such as workshops, travel grants, promotion and impact of microbiology and microbiologists in Europe, were initiated while Helena Mäkelä was a member of the Executive Committee of FEMS. She advanced research, education, and application of microbiology in several organizations both internationally and in Finland, and served as the president of the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS) and the International Endotoxin Society. She was the Director of the Department of Bacteriology and the Infectious Diseases Unit at the National Public Health Institute of Finland from 1965 to 1996. Helena Mäkelä was a leading researcher in bacterial pathogenesis, infectious diseases, and vaccinology. Her basic training was in medicine, and the post-doctoral period in Joshua Lederberg´s laboratory in Stanford opened up the pioneering studies on lipopolysaccharide genetics and structure, which she later on successfully expanded to studies on the biology of lipopolysaccharides in Salmonella.

analyses of immune responses to polysaccharide and conjugate vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae type b and pneumococci. The studies have been important for present use of these vaccines. Helena Mäkelä devoted much of her efforts to help children in developing countries and to advance vaccination programmes in Bangladesh and the Philippines. She received the Prince Mahidol Prize from Thailand in 2002, and in Finland she was awarded the honorary title of Academician in 2003 as the first Finnish woman Science Academician.

Helena Mäkelä was a microbiologist of international renown and had a broad vision for microbiology. She supported and encouraged young microbiologists by advancing their career. Improving the position of women scientists was important to her. As a person, she was easy to approach and always had time to discuss microbiology or other matters. Features of her life’s work were social conscience, The development and application of vaccines remained a major research topic throughout Helena commitment to advance international education in microbiology, and support for develMäkelä´s career. Her vaccine studies began by assessing the efficacy of a polysaccharide vaccine oping countries.

For these studies, she received the Robert Koch Prize in 1970. Helena Mäkelä was a driving force in epidemiological and molecular characterization of uropathogenic and meningitic Escherichia coli isolates and thereby contributed to the establishment of the clonal groups-concept in E. coli.

against a meningococcal epidemic in Finland in the 1970s. The success led to a series of extensive

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- Timo Korhonen, Helsinki

O B I T UARY


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DEADLINES 1 March 2012 FEMS Meeting Grants (for meetings to be held in 2013)

15 June 2012 1 December 2012 FEMS Research Fellowships FEMS Visiting Scientist Grants 1 June 2012 15 December 2012 FEMS National & Regional Congresses Grants

FEMS-Sponsored Meetings, March - April 2012 2012 Mar 30 - 11th European Conference on Fungal Genetics, Germany 2012 Apr 10 - Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology in the Frame of the Knowledge-Based Economy, Italy 2012 Apr 15 - 3rd Workshop on Microbial Sulfur Metabolism, The Netherlands

The FEMS Affiliates Letter is a production of FEMS Central Office

Microbiology Tidbits

Source: Carnegie Institution

1 October 2012 FEMS Advanced Fellowships

2012 Apr 22 - 8th Int’l Conference: Contaminants in Freezing Ground, CFG8 Austria

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Amoeba May Offer Key Clue to Photosynthetic Evolution The major difference between plant and animal cells is the photosynthetic process, which converts light energy into chemical energy. When light isn’t available, energy is generated by breaking down carbohydrates and sugars, just as it is in animal and some bacterial cells. Two cellular organelles are responsible for these two processes: the chloroplasts for photosynthesis and the mitochondria for sugar breakdown. New research from Carnegie’s Eva Nowack and Arthur Grossman has opened a window into the early stages of chloroplast evolution.

1 April 2012 1 September 2012 FEMS Meeting Attendance Grants

2012 Apr 16 - 5th European Spores Conference, United Kingdom

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Traces of Listeria Found in Vancouver Ready-ToEat Fish Products A University of British Columbia study has found traces of the bacteria Listeria in ready-to-eat fish products sold in Metro Vancouver. UBC food microbiologist Kevin Allen tested a total of 40 readyto-eat fish samples prior to their best before date. Purchased from seven large chain stores and 10 small retailers in Metro Vancouver, these products included lox, smoked tuna, candied salmon and fish jerky. Source: The University of British Columbia

‘Universal’ Vaccines Could Finally Allow for WideScale Flu Prevention An emerging class of long-lasting flu vaccines could do more than just save people the trouble of an annual flu shot. Princeton University-based researchers have found that the “universal” vaccine could for the first time allow for the effective, wide-scale prevention of flu by limiting the influenza virus’ ability to spread and mutate. Source: Princeton University

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FAL Feb2012  

FEMS Affiliates Letter, Feb2012