The Workshop on Microbial Community Dynamics: Cooperation and Competition to be held in the fall of 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, is an initiative of the Environmental Biotechnology Working Group of the EU-US Taskforce on Biotechnology Research, a cooperative program between the European Commission and the United States of America. The activities of the Environmental Biotechnology Working Group have as their goals to provide a forum for early career scientists from the US and EU to meet, to learn cutting edge research in the area of microbial biotechnology from world experts and to set the groundwork for future transatlantic cooperation and collaboration. Workshop presentations (20 min talks with 10 min questions) will address fundamental physiology and genetics of microbial communities that will contribute to advances in bioremediation, human health protection and treatments, bioenergy conversion and carbon sequestration. Senior scientist participants (10 EU and 10 US) will be world renowned experts who will present the current status of their fields and forecast research challenges and opportunities. Each will be responsible for identifying a promising early career scientist to participate in the workshop and present their research results in poster format. The workshop will also provide time for all attendees to engage in open discussion to identify areas where scientific advancement is needed and plan the steps necessary for realizing future research collaborations. A new feature of this workshop will be an opportunity for mentoring of the early career scientists by the senior scientists on an individual basis. Finally, a report summarizing the major scientific opportunitie, visions and challenges revealed through the presentations and discussions will be prepared for publication.
Our first line of defense against environmental toxins is the microbial world. Knowing that the predominant lifestyle of microbes in the environment is as sessile communities, understanding the interactions and functions unique to that lifestyle is of critical importance. Thus the focus of this workshop is for researchers of distinction to present the status of the dynamic interactions among communities of microbes to a cadre of promising early career scientists from the EU and the US, to provide a venue for developing trust and respect and to mentor the younger scientists in developing their careers.