Title: How microorganisms view their world

Body: General information about the conference Microorganisms are omnipresent in the biosphere and provide the greatest diversity of life on Earth. They successfully colonize every possible habitat. A key factor for the ecological success of microorganisms is their ability to adapt to various and frequently quickly changing environmental conditions. For most microbes, there is only one certainty: change! The collaborative research center SFB 987 and the ERASynBio consortium ECFexpress jointly organize the conference "How microorganisms view their world" in Marburg, Germany from September 23 to 25, 2018. International renowned speakers will present their latest research. Please visit our conference website for further information on the exciting conference program. Special sessions will be dedicated to celebrating 25 years of ECF sigma factors from their discovery to synthetic biology applications. Intensive poster sessions and short talks selected from the submitted poster abstracts will round off the program. The SFB 987 Microorganisms are omnipresent in the biosphere and provide the greatest diversity of life on Earth. They successfully colonize almost every possible habitat. A key factor for the ecological success of microorganisms is their enormous biochemical, physiological, genetic and cellular adaptation potential that allows them to respond to countless challenging environmental conditions and cellular cues. For most microorganisms, there is only one certainty: change! As a consequence, microorganisms have developed specialized mechanisms that enable both individual cells and cellular communities to recognize and to respond to environmental changes with high sensitivity and specificity. Within the framework of the SFB 987, research teams at the Philipps-University and the Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology jointly focus on “Microbial Diversity in Environmental Signal Response”. The SFB 987 research consortium aims at significantly advancing the current knowledge about the ability of microorganisms to react to environmental and cellular cues with situation- conforming adaptive responses. ECFexpress ERASynBio is a transnational initiative to promote the robust development of Synthetic Biology (SynBio) and to structure and coordinate national efforts and funding programs. Under this umbrella, the ECFexpress consortium – which includes research groups from Germany, the UK and the US – aims at developing a SynBio design framework based on ExtraCytoplasmic Function σ factors (ECFs) to implement highly orthogonal regulatory switches and circuits. ECFs, which are typically non-essential and stress-inducible, were discovered 25 years ago and represent the most minimalistic and diverse group of the σ70 protein family that also includes the essential primary (or housekeeping) σ factors. ECFs represent ideal building blocks for SynBio applications, because they are modular, inherently orthogonal, universal, and scalable. By combining theoretical and experimental approaches, the ECFexpress consortium aims at implementing novel ECF-based switches and circuits in four phylo- genetically diverse microorganisms to benchmark their orthogonality and to explore the ECF-based circuit design space. Contact If you have questions concerning this conference, please contact: microbiocongress@uni-marburg.de Bettina Happel & Svenja Estor, Marburg

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