SIMB 2018 Annual Meeting Welcome Letter

It is my pleasure to invite you to join us in Chicago on August 12-16, 2018 for our Annual Meeting of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology.

The kick-off to our meeting on Sunday afternoon includes a keynote address from Dr. Jens Nielsen, Director of Systems and Synthetic Biology at Chalmers University. Immediately following is the Science Slam session that features “rapid-fire” style presentations from students, postdocs, and young investigators that serve as “teasers” for the program.

Our technical program once again builds from the five SIMB focus areas of Biocatalysis, Environmental Microbiology, Fermentation & Cell Culture, Natural Products, and Metabolic Engineering.

We are honored to enter into an agreement with the Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology (KMB) where SIMB and KMB exchange two speakers from each other’s society during each other’s Annual Meeting. 2018 marks the inauguration of this exchange. The current KMB President and another KMB member will be speaking in our session on “Frontiers in fermentation: uncommon microbes.”

New and notable topics this year include:

  • A theme of finding new microbes, with sessions on characterizing new microbes and developing genetic and fermentation methods in non-conventional organisms.
  • Genome editing in industrial organisms
  • Business and regulatory issues, with a Special Session on SBIR, and a session on non-GMO organisms.
  • Bioelectrocatalysis
  • A Resume/CV writing workshop in place of the Student Mentoring Luncheon; both students and professionals at all stages are welcome.

We will have four special sessions this year. One on SBIRs with Ruth Shuman of NSF, one on Food and Biomaterials, and a session honoring the contributions of the late Dr. George Somkuti. Finally, we continue our tradition of hosting a Diversity session featuring Boardroom Ready, an organization helping women develop skills in corporate networking.

We have two timely and informative pre-meeting workshops this year: one on CRISPR technology applications by ATUM (formerly DNA2.0), and an encore of the popular Fermentation Basics workshop presented by Mark Berge.

In addition to the technical program, the 5K run and conference banquet are traditional highlights of the conference. At the Banquet, we will continue the tradition of honoring our finest with the naming of the year’s SIMB Fellows, and presentation of the Charles Thom, Charles Porter, and Waksman Awards. This year’s banquet will not have a speaker, but instead have a band for your entertainment (We’re still deciding on the band. So far, we’ve auditioned E.coli and the Plasmids, along with that famous singing duo, Sam n’Ella.)

This year’s annual meeting promises to be an excellent opportunity for networking and scientific dialogue. The program committee has been very active in establishing a robust, cutting-edge scientific program to highlight both recent industrial successes and emerging research advances that will revolutionize our field. I encourage you to participate by both contributing through oral and poster presentation abstracts as well as attending this great meeting. We especially encourage student and young investigators to can participate with posters, in the student oral presentation session.

I look forward to seeing you in Chicago in August!

Noel M. Fong
San Diego, CA