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18th Annual Microbiology Student Symposium (April 29, 2017): Carly Grant

As part of its mission to encourage engagement within the genetics community, PLOS Genetics is sponsoring a number of conferences and meetings this year. In order to raise awareness about these conferences and the researchers who attend them, we are featuring a number of these conferences on Biologue, with posts written by the organizers or PLOS Genetics editors who are involved.

PLOS Genetics’ next sponsored conference is the 18th Annual Microbiology Student Symposium, which takes place at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, CA, USA on April 29th. The PLOS Genetics sponsorship will provide travel awards for two students traveling from the Los Angeles area to present their research at the symposium. We asked Carly Grant, one of the symposium chairs, about the event.

The Microbiology Student Symposium is a free all-day event organized by the University of California, Berkeley Microbiology Student Group (MSG). The MSG is an interdepartmental collection of graduate students who share a common interest in microbiology. We meet once a month and hold the annual Microbiology Student Symposium to celebrate microbiology research.

Inspired by the podcast This Week in Virology episode #352, the art displayed at the Microbiology Student Symposium highlights microbial art and microbe-inspired art created by scientists and artists. Last year’s top prize was awarded to UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate Kate Scheibel for her Crocheted Glassware inspired by endless hours in the lab. Image credit: Elena Antonova (UC Berkeley)

The Microbiology Student Symposium is a forum for students researching all topics in microbiology, with presentations by graduate and undergraduate students as well as two keynote speakers. Just as the field of microbiology is broad, the research presented at the Microbiology Student Symposium reflects this, with presentations on topics ranging from classic microbiology to physics and engineering. With opportunities to present all types of microbiology— research, class projects, and art— we not only attract students across disciplines at the University of California, Berkeley, we also draw students from universities and community colleges across California to attend and participate.

MSG Logo. Image credit: Jeffrey Johnson (UC Berkeley)


With the support of over 20 sponsors, the MSG is focusing more resources this year to improve networking opportunities during the symposium. From coffee breaks featuring sponsors and microbiology art, to a casual lunch with discussions led by experts on various topics including “Pathways from Academia to Industry”, “Teaching & Giving Talks”, and “Transitioning from a Community College to a University”, we hope to facilitate conversation and collaboration for students of all levels.

Students present their research at the poster session during the 16th Microbiology Student Symposium. Photo credit: Han Teng Wong (UC Berkeley/Northwestern University)

Extra efforts to invite students from community colleges and universities across California have paid off as there is a record number of students registered to attend and participate this year. We’re excited to invite over 40 students to present their research, as well as keynote speakers Bonnie Bassler from Princeton and Edward DeLong from the University of Hawaii.

Please visit our website for more details about the program. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter using #CalMicro2017.


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