The Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference (MMPC) is a long-standing scientific meeting that brings together junior and established investigators from the Midwest to present and discuss research in microbial pathogenesis. The first MMPC convened in 1994 at the University of Iowa and the meeting has subsequently been held every year since in alternating venues at academic institutions in the Midwest. Between 250-350 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty participate in this meeting annually, most of who are from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The 23rd annual MMPC is being held on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on September 23-25, 2016. This conference constitutes a major scientific venue that supports the development of the next generation of research scientists with special emphasis upon inclusion of women and researchers from underrepresented minority (URM) populations. In addition to providing an interactive and engaging scientific forum for investigators to present their work and establish collaborations, the MMPC fosters networking between investigators and institutions in the Midwest. Regional accessibility, low cost, and travel/registration support provided for select attendees allows this meeting to attract a diverse group of participants. In keeping with long tradition, approximately 60% of speakers invited to give oral presentations at the 2016 meeting will be junior faculty (Assistant Professors) who are often presenting their first formal seminar since establishing their own laboratories. Talks from a smaller number of more established investigators who recently moved their laboratories to the Midwest are also planned to encourage networking. Five graduate student or postdoctoral fellows chosen based upon merit of their submitted abstracts will also be invited to present their research orally, providing an invaluable opportunity to showcase their research in a collegial and interactive environment. We propose to select from abstract submissions 10 additional trainees for registration waivers, focusing again on merit and URM status. We will also offer 10 travel/registration/hotel awards to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in minority serving institutions in our Illinois Partners for Diversity program or participants in our Summer Research Opportunities Program to increase meeting diversity. This year's MMPC will also include an interactive forum focused on career development, which will be led by a panel of prominent scientists from academia, industry and government. Thus, the MMPC will be supporting a variety of activities that are directly relevant to the missions of the National Institutes of Health.
The annual Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference (MMPC) is a major venue that seeks to promote interactions between microbial pathogenesis researchers located within the Midwest region of the United States. It provides a forum for the exchange of cutting-edge research, and provides training, career development, and networking opportunities for scientists who seek to understand mechanisms influencing interactions between microbes and their hosts, with emphasis on human pathogens. The focus of the MMPC is directly applicable to the scientific missions of the National Institutes of Health and the field of public health, including the identification and characterization of new therapeutic targets and strategies for combating human infectious diseases.