Submitted to: Research in Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2012
Publication Date: 12/2/2012
Citation: Ceyssens, P., Aertsen, A., Donovan, D.M., Lavigne, R., Sullivan, M., Debarbieux, L., Vaneechoutte, M. 2012. Meeting report of the european milecular Biology organization (EMBO) Symposium "Viruses of Meicrobes II" Brussels, July 2012. Research in Microbiology. 164:799-806. Interpretive Summary: NA
Technical Abstract: Close to 400 scientists from 49 countries gathered last July in Brussels, Belgium, for a five-day conference on diversity, evolution, ecology and environmental impact of microbial viruses, as well as on new developments in fundamental, (bio)technological, industrial and medical aspects of virus research (Viruses of Microbes II: http://events.embo.org/12-virus-microbe/). This conference, held at the Royal Military Academy campus, was the first in a series supported by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), yet builds on the “Viruses of Microbes” meeting initiated at the Institut Pasteur, held in June 2010. The core aims of the 2010 meeting were maintained: offering a robust programme with experts from the field and attempting to make the conference accessible to PhD students worldwide, by awarding travel, accomodation and registration grants. Further local grants from FWO Vlaanderen (Belgium), the FNRS (France), as well as the Moore Foundation (UK) and sponsoring from several commercial companies enabled this support. A total of 60 oral contributions (spread over 15 sessions and including two specific workshops) and 243 posters (all displayed for the whole duration of the conference) focused on five main themes: 1) Virus-host interaction, 2) Bacteriophage-based antibacterials, 3) (Meta)genomics, viral diversity and evolution, 4) Structure-function relationship in virions and 5) Viruses in biotechnology. The sessions alternated between these five topics, and aimed to bring together the bacterial virus and lower eukaryotic virus researchers. This aim was also the core for the establishment of the “International Society for Viruses of Microorganisms” (ISVM, http://www.isvm.org, chair Markus Weinbauer (CNRS, France)), which held its first general assembly meeting. Another non-profit organization was also linked to the conference: P.H.A.G.E. (Phage for Human Application Group Europe, http://www.p-h-a-g-e.org/, chair Martin Zizi, (Free Univ. Brussels, Belgium)) advocates the potential use of phage therapy for human applications and a special workshop was dedicated to this theme. After the general welcome to the conference by organizational chair Rob Lavigne (Univ. Leuven, Belgium), the potential of phage therapy was further emphasized by the introductory video message by His Excellency Mr. Pieter De Crem, Belgian Minister of Defence (http://player.vimeo.com/video/43203048).