John Innes-Rudjer Bošković Summer School - Microbial Specialised Metabolites: From Genome to Molecule

8 September 2018 14:00 - 16 September 2018 09:00, HR-20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia

The seventh in this series of summer schools will be at the Inter-University Centre (IUC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia on 8 - 16 September 2018.

These summer schools are intended primarily for scientists at post-graduate and early post-doctoral level, or early career industrial scientists, but some junior faculty may also qualify. They have established a reputation for the quality of the faculty and participants and the high degree of productive interaction during the week-long courses.

The context of the summer schools is to recognise the recent development of interest in microbial metabolites that has resulted from the sequencing of small molecule-producing microorganisms, coupled with the explosive development of sequencing technology, bioinformatics and chemical analysis. Ecological developments highlighting the wide range of roles for small molecules in microbial communities are also very significant. An important aim is to bring together a cadre of young scientists from diverse backgrounds, including molecular microbiology, chemistry, microbial ecology and bioinformatics, to share information that can lead to inter-disciplinary approaches to understanding and exploiting metabolite production. A particular urgency has been added to the search for novel antibiotics by the rapid rise in drug-resistance among pathogenic microorganisms and cancers. A special feature of the summer school will be hands-on computer workshops to annotate genomes and analyse natural product gene clusters.

Mervyn Bibb, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK
Greg Challis, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
Dušica Vujaklija, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia
Barrie Wilkinson, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK

Teaching Faculty:
Mervyn Bibb, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK
Greg Challis, University of Warwick, UK 
Govind Chandra, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK
Julian Davies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Alison Foster, Botanical Horticulture and Science Communication, Leamington Spa, UK
Roberto Kolter, Harvard Medical School, USA
Flavia Marinelli, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
Paul Jensen, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, USA
Emzo de los Santos, University of Warwick, UK
Andrew Truman, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK
Duška Vujaklija, Rudjer Bošković Institute, Croatia
Barrie Wilkinson, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK
Gerry Wright, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
María Mercedes Zambrano, Corporación Corpogen, Bogotá, Colombia

Likely content and format of the Summer School:
isolation and screening of metabolite-producing microorganisms;
diversity of specialised metabolite producers;
natural product biosynthesis;
natural products in microbial communities and cell-cell interactions;
natural products in symbioses with higher organisms;
regulation of natural product biosynthesis, including intra- and extracellular signalling;
metagenomics and heterologous pathway expression;
diverse microbiomes;
genomics mining for novel natural product discovery;
prediction and characterisation of biosynthetic pathways in silico and experimentally;
activation of transcriptional silent cryptic gene clusters
pathway engineering.

Hands-on computer workshops will be a unique aspect of the course. Next generation sequencing of microbial genomes and communities can now be accomplished in a matter of days and is becoming increasingly affordable. The two workshops will focus on the latest bioinformatic tools that greatly facilitate the handling, interrogation and exploitation of such sequences, including genome assembly and analysis, and the recognition of the diverse array of gene clusters for specialised metabolism. Analyses will include the identification of functional catalytic domains, and prediction of substrate specifity and stereochemical control within a large modular polyketide synthase gene cluster.

A typical working day will include lectures in the morning, computer workshops and small-group discussions in the afternoon, and guest talks and poster sessions in the evening; all participants will be asked to bring a poster. There will be free time on the working days and one day will be devoted to an all-day excursion. There will be a welcome mixer party on the day of arrival and a farewell party on the final evening before departure the next day.

The course will be limited to 40-45 participants.

The 2018 Summer School will be held at the Inter-University Centre (IUC) in Dubrovnik. The Centre has bedroom accommodation on the top floor and fine facilities for lectures and seminars, computer teaching, poster viewing and spaces for small group discussions and relaxation. Swimming from a rocky bathing spot is a few minutes' walk from the Centre and the Old City of Dubrovnik is also very close. A sandy beach is less than 30 minutes' walk away. Transfers from the airport are easy: the airport bus to town stops very close to the IUC.
Inter-University Centre (IUC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Inter-University Centre (IUC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Don Frana Bulića 4, HR-20000 Dubrovnik, HR-20000, Croatia

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