The objective of the annual meetings of the West Coast Bacterial Physiologists (WCBP) is to foster communication among established investigators, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students working in the broad area of microbial physiology. Started in the 1940.s by C. B. van Niel for his associates on the West Coast, participants now come from Canada, the Midwest and the East Coast of the USA. This is one of the few conferences in North America that have retained a focus on microbial physiology, with a primary, but not exclusive, emphasis on the physiology of prokaryotic microorganisms. The conference especially provides a forum for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to present and discuss the results of their research projects utilizing experimental systems ranging from model organisms to those of specific relevance to pathogenic and environmental microbiology. The conference has been held continuously since 1963 over a weekend in the middle of December at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California.
The annual meeting is announced in August and September by direct mailings and by posting on the WCBP web site (http://wcbacterialphysiologists.ucdavis.edu). The web site also contains a brief history of the meeting as well as the complete program of past meetings dating back to 1999. The meeting is organized with four formal sessions (Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening, and Sunday morning) and four unstructured informal sessions (Friday afternoon and late evening, and Saturday afternoon and late evening). Each of the four formal sessions is initiated with a 45 min overview lecture. The overview lectures are endowed by the Genentech Corporation and identified as the John Ingraham Lectures in Microbial Physiology. The John Ingraham Lecturers may be principle investigators, postdoctoral fellows or graduate students. They are selected by the conference co-directors on the basis of scientific merit and current high profile research topic of relevance to microbial physiologists. The overview lectures are followed by offered papers of 15 or 20 min duration. Typically, 7-9 and 5-7 offered papers are scheduled for the morning and evening sessions, respectively, depending on the number of abstracts submitted. No graduate student submitting an abstract has been denied a chance to present her/his data and conclusions. A registration fee covers lodging, food, meeting room expenses and support for the informal sessions. A differential between the registration fees for graduate students and all other participants has traditionally been preserved. NSF funding will be applied to maintain at least a 20% lower registration fee for graduate students.