As a finishing Ph.D. candidate hoping to find a job in research, establishing work contacts and collaborations across the world is one of my main goals this year.
I started 2015 well by spending three months in California and travelling to Oregon and British Colombia. Then this summer I had the chance to go to the 10th International Symposium on Phyllosphere Microbiology (a quinquennial conference directly in my research field) in Switzerland.
The meeting was organized by Julia Vorholt (http://www.nature.com/nrmicro/journal/v10/n12/execsumm/nrmicro2910.html), the author of the first paper I read on the Phyllosphere and its complexity. As it was a single-session meeting (everybody listened to the same talk), I got to appreciate the multiple aspects of research on leaf microbiology ranging from abstract physics of microbial presence on leaves to applied techniques for the USDA to control Salmonella infections. Oh and someone in the US is trying to increase rainfall by using Pseudomonas bacteria to trigger droplets formation. Not kidding.
Although much progress has been made in the last five years, there are still so many basic questions that need to be answered. Especially in microbial ecology, since our understanding of communities’ dynamics depends on detection technology and our comprehension of host-bacteria interaction, I feel that we are only looking at the tip of an iceberg. Even if this realization seems challenging, it fuels me to do more and understand better the mechanisms I am looking at.
The 10th International Symposium in Phyllosphere Microbiology was a blast for many reasons:
- I got to meet great researchers from around the world.
- I learned an awful lot of things through the four days of conferences.
- I saw how important it is to work with scientists from different fields (i.e. physics).
- I got an award for BEST CONTRIBUTION sponsored by ISME for my poster.
- Switzerland is mesmerizing though very warm.
Hope to see you all in five years!