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State of the Society Address

ASM President Timothy J. Donohue will open with the State of the Society Address. Dr. Donohue’s update will cover the ASM Futures Project, ASM Microbe 2016, and the search for ASM’s next CEO.
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Life after Death

Decomposition returns an organized system back to its constituent compounds via the biochemical and chemical breakdown of molecules. Bacteria, fungi, and related microbial communities are fundamental in the process of decomposition and the significance of their role in these specialized scenarios is becoming increasingly better understood. The knowledge generated by these “pan-omic” studies has far-reaching impacts in diverse fields such as carbon cycle, climate change, microbial ecology, renewable energy, synthetic biology, downs silence, and human health. The session will organize talks that describe microbial communities of decomposition at a variety scales and for a variety of systems and how actionable knowledge is generated by inter-disciplinary R&D.

Unearthing the Dark Matter of Microbial Metabolism and Diversity

The genomic revolution ( over 25,00 microbial genomes are sequenced to date) combined with new genomic methods to sequence uncultivated organisms has revealed how little is really known about microbial diversity and metabolism. This session will highlights the “unknown, unknowns”, i.e., aspects of microbiology about which we know little currently, and in fact, don’t even know how much we don’t know. Examples will including efforts to cultivate the uncultivated, efforts to characterize previously-unrecognized or poorly understood microbial diversity, and methods to predict the function of unknowns coding sequences or RNA in microbes.