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Unseen Partners: Microbial Communities that Support Human and Environmental Health

May 16 to 19, 2016

Microbes are the most abundant and diverse forms of life on Earth. They maintain the planet’s atmosphere, drive essential processes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and have formed intimate relationships with all plants and animals. Recent technological advances have provided new windows into the world of microbes and the complex communities in which they live. As a result, we have begun to appreciate the contributions of microbes to human and environmental health.

A primary goal of this meeting is to bring together the diverse scientific disciplines needed to understand and manage microbial communities effectively to improve human and environmental health. Presentations from local, national, and international speakers will help identify the underlying principles of microbial systems applicable to both environmental and health sciences. The meeting includes a pair of workshops to lead participants through the key conceptual and technical challenges of synthesizing and interpreting the large data sets that typically accompany today’s studies of complex microbial systems. This meeting has been designed to incorporate discussions and workshops that connect attendees with experts to explore the corollary ethical, legal, and social issues associated with managing microbial systems in multiple settings. This meeting encourages participation from the public, and includes two evening seminars. One will focus on the human microbiome, and one will explore regional impacts of microbial communities in a changing global environment.

Contact: Thomas Schmidt