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Published: 2023-09-01 Updated: 2023-09-06, 17:09

Infection researchers forge new connections at symposium in Umeå

NEWS MIMS and UCMR co-hosted a symposium showcasing novel research directions and networking opportunities in the microbial infection field at Umeå University.

Text: Nóra Lehotai, MIMS, and Ingrid Söderbergh, UCMR

The strength of the life science scene here lies in creating platforms for incubating new ideas and promoting new synergies

“It is exciting to hear about these diverse subjects, especially from the side of bacteria since I work with viruses. It was a fantastic event!,” says Päivi Ojala, Professor at University of Helsinki, invited speaker.

Umeå Microbial Research Centre (UCMR) and The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS) dedicated a half day on 30th August 2023 to highlight microbial infection research in the form of a joint scientific symposium. Over 130 members from the Umeå life science community and invited guests participated at the event, also including members of the UCMR and MIMS Executive Boards. 

The symposium gave opportunity to delve deeper into the research visions of newly recruited scientists. It also facilitated connections among the participants, cultivating the collaborative local research environment to kick off future potential joint projects. Oliver Billker, Director of MIMS, opened the symposium.

The programme contained inspiring talks by two international keynote speakers – Carmen Buchrieser, Institute Pasteur, and Päivi Ojala, University of Helsinki. Carmen gave a lecture on evolution and virulence strategies of an environmental pathogen, Legionella pneumophila, while Päivi highlighted a novel function for key lymphatic transcription factor SOX18 in Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV).  

Recently recruited young group leaders talked about novel research approaches and directions at Umeå University in the field of microbial and infection research. Max Renner from the Department of Chemistry, Laura Carroll and Olivia Wesula Lwande from the Department of Clinical Microbiology highlighted RNA virus assembly and replication, machine learning for bacterial pathogen surveillance and preparedness against emerging mosquito-borne viruses. 

Bringing the event to a close, UCMR Director Yaowen Wu delivered the final remarks, promoting UCMR’s “Excellence by Choice” Postdoctoral Programme in Life Science, which has recruited already five talented postdocs to Umeå University and its next and last call is opening in the end of September 2023. The participants further engaged in conversation during the lunch mingle, following the end of the symposium. 

“The strength of the life science scene here at Umeå University lies in creating platforms for incubating new ideas and promoting new synergies and collaborations in an excellent research environment. UCMR has worked hard to enable and strengthen this strategy”, says Yaowen Wu, UCMR Director.