Insights from the congress of the Chinese Society for Microbiology

The official conference of the Chinese Society for Microbiology was held in Yichang in the late fall. Attracting more than 1000 microbiologists, BioMed Central’s Kun Yu and Karen Cheng talk about the discussions held at the conference.


Yichang, an ancient city in China, where the history can be dated back to 2000 years ago, is famous for the battle of Yiling (the ancient name of Yichang) between the State of Shu Han and the Kingdom of Wu in the Three Kingdoms period of China. Nowadays, this city is the home of the world’s largest power station: Three Gorges Dam.

In the late fall of 2015, the official conference of the Chinese Society for Microbiology was held in Yichang and it attracted more than 1000 microbiologists to exchange the latest scientific findings in microbiology.

Five big topics were discussed during the conference; the discovery and the application of microbial resources; pathogenic microorganisms and human health; microorganisms and the environment; synthetic biology and microbial genetics and innovation of biotechnology.

Pathogenic microorganisms and human health

Professor Liping Zhao from State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism, Shanghai Jiao Tong University gave a talk on the influence of microbial communities in human guts to human health.

His presentation uncovered the interactions between nutrition and gut microbiota in onset and progression of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, and how traditional Chinese medicine and medicinal foods may modulate this relationship for achieving preventive healthcare.

Professor Zhao pointed out that by investigating gut microbiota and their effect on metabolic phenomics in humans, the mechanisms of metabolic disease progression can be disclosed, which is important for developing the intervention therapies for the related chronic diseases.

Microorganisms and the environment

Professor Li Huang from Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences shared with the audience the important role of microbes in regulating the biogeochemical cycle of the most important elements, such as nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus in the earth.

The microbes that have been discovered only comprises less than 1% of the total microbes in the earth.

He pointed out that the microbes that have been discovered only comprises less than 1% of the total microbes in the earth. Therefore, the discovery of new microbes and the understanding of their biological and physiological aspects are very important projects for global microbiologists.

He said that microbes were very diverse and represented all the great kingdoms of life. Utilizing the new technologies and methodologies, humans could explore more microbes than ever before.

Finally, he mentioned that in recent decades, many discoveries were being made in the field of marine microbes, and their contribution to the geochemical cycle. The role of microbes in the biogeochemical cycle will remain to be one of the most important topics in life sciences.

Further discussions at the conference

As another keynote speaker, Professor Jianguo Xu, the Director of National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention talked about the importance of biosafety from the national aspects.

He mentioned that with the globalization, countries are confronted with more and more emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorism attacks. China currently cannot handle and control emerging infectious diseases efficiently and quickly.

Therefore, Dr. Xu initiated the establishment of a network called PulseNet China to get prepared for future emerging infectious diseases. The network aims to detect infectious diseases at the earliest stage, forewarn the diseases, and work with other countries worldwide to fight against the diseases.

In the final day of this conference, we met Professor Xiuzhu Dong, the secretary general of Chinese Society for Microbiology. Professor Dong shared with us her vision and expectation to the future of microbiology.

The discovery of new pathogens and the evaluation of their biosafety are still the important issues in the world.

She pointed out that understanding microbes from their physiological aspects would continuously play a very important role in the future. Also, she mentioned that the discovery of new pathogens and the evaluation of their biosafety are still the important issues in the world.

When talking about the relationship between environment and microbes, she said that microbes would be playing a key role in solving the environmental problems currently and in the future, especially for China.

Regarding human health, she mentioned that Chinese people pay more and more attention to personal health nowadays and research related to human health attracts more attention from the whole society, such as the research uncovering the relationship between gut microbes and human health.

Sharing the experience

During the three days, many professors, scientists and graduate students came to BioMed Central’s booth and shared their experience in research and scientific publishing. Our Journal Development Editor Karen Cheng from the Shanghai office gave a talk on Open Access publishing at BioMed Central, and introduced our microbiology cluster journals, such as Microbial Cell Factories, Retrovirology, Virology Journal, Microbiome and BMC Microbiology, which were praised.

As part of BioMed Central, we feel so proud and we aim to provide the best publishing services for our authors to deliver their latest research efficiently and with maximum visibility via open access.

Kun Yu & Karen Cheng

Kun has a BSc in Chemistry from Lanzhou University and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from State University of New York at Binghamton. Before joining BioMed Central, he was an assistant professor at Chongqing University, China. He is now working in the Springer Shanghai office as an acquisitions and development editor for BioMed Central.

Karen Cheng completed a PhD in Cell Biology (Chinese Academy of Sciences) before joining BioMed Central. Karen blogs about microbiology and cell biology.

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