US (PA): Succesful Environmental Microbiology Symposium at Pennstate

A campus-wide interdisciplinary symposium on Environmental Microbiology sponsored by the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, the College of Agricultural Sciences, and the Huck Institute of the Life Sciences was held on Saturday, September 28 in 100 Thomas Building.

More than 90 students, postdocs, and faculty from four colleges and two satellite campuses of Penn State registered for the symposium, with 24 oral presentations by faculty and 35 posters. Dr. Rita Colwell, Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland and at John Hopkins University, and Director of the National Science Foundation from 1998-2004, presented the morning keynote address. Dr. Colwell presented her research on the role of environmental factorPPATH Graduate Students (L-R: Carla Lanze, Emily Pfeufer, Eric O'Neal, Chris Smyth, Rob Harvey, Anita Behari, and Sara Atyeo).s influencing emerging diseases and research on recent cholera epidemics worldwide.

PPEM Symposium Organizing Committee and Speakers: Drs. John Pecchia, David Geiser, Regina Redman, Marilyn Roossinck, Rita Colwell, Mary Ann Bruns

The afternoon keynote address was presented by Dr. Regina Redman, the founder of Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies. Dr. Redman’s talk entitled “Microbial Symbiosis in Habitat Adaptation of Plants” discussed interactions of microbial organisms with plant hosts that influence plant tolerance to stress and expansion of plant distribution into hostile environments or increased disease resistance. Participants at the symposium agreed that the meeting and resulting discussions allowed them to gain a good overview of research activities in Environmental Microbiology at Penn State and to exchange ideas. Follow-up activities are planned to foster future interdisciplinary collaborations.

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