Geo-Carb-Cymru Subsurface Microbiology Workshop

Bridging the gap between molecular microbiology and subsurface biotechnology

In the first week of June, Aberystwyth University (AU) welcomed visitors from Bozeman, Montana, USA, Tübingen, Germany and Cardiff to a Subsurface Microbiology workshop organised by Geo-Carb-Cymru. This was in collaboration with AU’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Environmental Microbiology (iCEM). Through support from the NRN-LCEE’s Distinguished Visiting Experts Scheme, Geo-Carb-Cymru invited Professor Robin Gerlach and Dr Adrienne Phillips from the Centre for Biofilm Engineering (CBE) at Montana State University. Both are experts at subsurface biotechnology and are world-leading in using biofilms and mineral-precipitating bacteria to solve environmental engineering problems.

In total, 19 scientists gathered to showcase their latest work in subsurface geomicrobiology and biotechnology, molecular microbiology and modelling. Sessions included several discussions on integrating molecular biology, laboratory- and field-scale tests and modelling, to improve the potential of using biotechnology to solve problems in subsurface engineering. Round table discussions were used to identify priority areas for research and strategies for developing stronger links with industry. Prof Gerlach and Dr Phillips also contributed to panel discussions on the development of novel applications in biotechnology and on how to build successful collaborations with industry. The CBE has a pioneering programme for working with industrial partners and policy-makers, and during the workshop there was a dedicated session on setting up a similar programme in Wales. Prof Gerlach also gave a public lecture on ‘Rock-Forming Microbes – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’.Prof. Robin Gerlach (MSU) speaking at Aberystwyth UniversityProf. Robin Gerlach (MSU) speaking at Aberystwyth University

The workshop not only provided a forum for deepening existing and establishing new collaborations, but also allowed us to showcase the excellent science carried out at Welsh research institutions and the biotechnology potential that Wales has to offer.

For further information, please contact Dr Andrew C. Mitchell or Dr Arwyn Edwards.

Publication date: 2 July 2018