Session 5: Harnessing Microbial Activities

Saturday, September 16, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Beckman Room 1025 – Auditorium
Chair: Shannon Sirk

Shannon Sirk

Recent years have seen a growing appreciation and understanding of the fundamental and powerful roles that microbes play in countless processes across human, animal, and environmental health. Researchers studying these microscopic organisms have uncovered countless insights into their behavior, metabolism, and community interactions, establishing the foundations to move beyond discovery, toward application. Speakers in this session will share the diverse approaches they have taken to exploit and expand this substantial body of microbial knowledge, and describe the innovative ways in which they aim to harness microbial activities to address unmet needs in human health and environmental sustainability.

Erica Majumder
Brenda Wilson
Brenda Wilson
Asma Hatoum-Aslan
Asma Hatoum-Aslan
Na Wei
Na Wei


Mechanisms of microbe-contaminant interactions and their applications in environmental health
Erica Majumder, Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Harnessing bacterial toxin diversity: Learning from modularity, domain swapping, and evolutionary fine-tuning
Brenda Wilson, School of Molecular & Cellular Biology, University of Illinois

Harnessing bacterial viruses to combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens
Asma Hatoum-Aslan, School of Molecular & Cellular Biology, University of Illinois

Engineering microbes for environmental sustainability
Na Wei, Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois