Recap: 73rd SIMB Annual Meeting and Exhibition

Posted 10/12/23 by . Filed under Featured News, Meeting Calendar, News and Updates.

Fairfax, VA (October 12, 2023) – It was an honor to chair the Annual meeting of the Society of Industrial Microbiology (SIMB), held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from July 31st to August 2nd, 2023. The conference reached an astounding 538 attendees, and attracted close to 180 new members. Attendees spanned national labs, industry, and academia, and represented eighteen different countries.

The program this year continued with our five main topics; Biocatalysis, Environmental, Cell Culture & Fermentation, Natural Products, and Metabolic Engineering, each with engaging sessions organized by our dedicated topic chairs and an amazing team of conveners. Our special sessions included one on the powerful new program – BioMADE, that highlighted biomanufacturing and the diversity of projects conducted by its members. A second special session focused on the impact of biotech on the future food supply. The session on diversity and inclusion was sponsored by Corteva and provided a forum to discuss mental health concerns and offer solutions to academics and professionals at all career phases. We also had an exciting Science Slam session that showcased work by talented students and early career scientists.

We opened the symposium with an inspiring talk from our keynote Speaker, Dr. Jill Zullo, President & Chief Executive Officer of NatureWorks, who provided an inspiring perspective from her time at Cargill on biotechnology development and deployment. SIMB continued its partnership with the Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology (KMB) with a plenary lecture featuring Prof. Byung-Kwan Cho of  KAIST, South Korea. Prof. Rolf Muller, Helmholtz Institute, Germany presented the Charles Thom Lecture. These talks saw packed attendance and generated extensive discussion afterwards. Also of note are the poster sessions and the 5K run/walk that were well-attended and provided valuable interaction opportunities to all attendees.

We celebrated all the awardees at the Annual meeting banquet dinner, including the 2023 Waksman Outstanding Teaching Award to  Prof. George Pierce, the SIMB Early Career Award to Prof. Aditya M. Kunjapur and the Charles Porter Award to Prof. George Garrity. Prof. Elisabeth Elder, Dr. Noel Fong, and Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos were the 2023 SIMB Fellows. José D.D Cediel-Becerra and Maya Venkataraman were recognized as the Diversity Travel Award recipients. We also announced the student winners for outstanding oral presentation and posters in each topic area: Kitty Sompiyachoke (Student Oral Session), Charles Ayers (Environmental), Aileen Lee (Natural Products), Claire Anderson (Biocatalysis), William Cordell (Cell Culture and Fermentation), and Joshua Abraham (Metabolic Engineering).

It was a privilege to serve as the Program Chair of the 2023 SIMB Annual Meeting. Much credit for the excellent program and the success of the conference goes to the Topic Area Chairs and Session Conveners responsible for enlisting a great group of speakers and running the sessions. We also thank all our sponsors (Inscripta, Nu-Tek BioSciences, Poet, ExxonMobil, Corteva, DSM-firmenich, IFF, Infors HT, FFT) for their generous support of SIMB. We got invaluable guidance from Dr. Nigel Mouncey, the President of SIMB during this period and from Prof. Mark Blenner, the program chair for SIMB AM 2022. This conference would not have been a success without the wonderful SIMB staff, Tina Hockaday, Jennifer Johnson, Suzi Citrenbaum, James Earle, and Haley Cox.

The 74th SIMB Annual Meeting will be held in Boston, MA, under the guidance of the Program Chair, Dr. John Evans from August 4-7, 2024. Please contact Dr. Evans to participate and provide support or input for this upcoming meeting. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Aindrila Mukhopadhyay
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
2023 SIMB Annual Meeting Program Chair

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