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Engineering and Control of Natural and Synthetic Microbial Communities


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26th November 2014 to 28th November 2014

Organisers: Rosalind Allen (Edinburgh), Thomas Curtis (Newcastle), Thomas Pfeiffer (Massey), William Sloan (Glasgow), Orkun Soyer (Warwick) and Carsten Wiuf (Copenhagen)

Workshop Theme

The importance of microbial communities for health, industry and the natural environment cannot be overstated. Powerful new tools in molecular microbial ecology are being brought to bear on these systems in the anticipation of new technologies and treatments. However our lack of theoretical understanding of their function, structure, and dynamics represents a strategically important lacuna in our knowledge. It is unlikely that we will ever be able rationally design very large and very complex natural or "synthetic" communities without an appropriate mathematical description of how they work. Thus, a better understanding of microbial communities will increase our ability to harness the power of the microbial communities in biotechnology and to manipulate such communities to promote health and well-being. This workshop will explore the development of a generic suite of mathematical tools and concept that can be grounded in a tractable experimental reality to the rational predictive design of natural and synthetic communities. Key topics community assembly, immigration, community stability and dynamics, the development of model-based community design, experimental approaches for implementing synthetic communities, and application of microbial communities in biotechnology and health and well-being.

Deadline for applications: 1st November 2014

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Registration Only
  • Registration Package: £175
  • Student Registration Package: £130

The Registration Package includes admission to all seminars, lunches and refreshments on the days that lectures take place (Wednesday ? Friday), wine reception and formal dinner, but does not include other meals or accommodation.

Formal Dinner Only
  • Formal dinner: £50

Participants on the Registration Package, including organisers and speakers, are automatically included in this event. For all remaining participants who would like to attend, such as Visiting Fellows, programme participants or their guests, the above charge will apply.


Unfortunately we do not have any accommodation to offer so all successful applicants will need to source their own accommodation. Please see the Hotels Combined website for a list of local hotels and guesthouses.



Lunch will be served at Wolfson Court in the Cafeteria from 12:30 to 13:30 on days that lectures take place.

  • Accommodation Package and Registration Package participants should present their badge as payment for their meal
  • Those issued with a blue Institute door entrance card can add money onto the card via the Porters' Lodge at Wolfson Court
  • Other participants must purchase their meal using their dining card via the Porters' Lodge (forms can be found on the registration desk or at the Porters' Lodge)

Evening Meal

Participants are free to make their own arrangements for dinner.

Formal Dinner

The Formal Dinner will take place at 19:30 on Thursday 27 November at Cambridge Union Society. Participants on the Accommodation Package or Registration Package, including organisers and speakers, are automatically included in this event.

If you are on the dinner list please ensure you arrive by 19:15 at the venue

University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons