Confirmed plenary presenters are: 

Opening Plenary Presentation 

Jill Banfield
University of California, Berkeley
United States

Jill Banfield is the director of microbiology research within the Innovative Genomics Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a professor in several departments at UC Berkeley, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a faculty member within the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University. Her research focuses on microbial community roles in biogeochemical cycling in a wide range of natural ecosystems as well as microbiome development in humans and other animals.  Working with collaborators, her lab pioneered genome reconstruction from metagenomes and metaproteomics for study of organism diversity, interaction, evolution and function in situ. She was awarded the Van Leeuwenhoek Medal, an award presented around once per decade, for recognition of this work. Microbiomes in wetlands and rice paddies, CRISPR-Cas discovery, phage diversity, alternative genetic codes, and novel extrachromosomal elements of archaea have been of particular interest in recent years.

Keynote Speakers

Osvaldo Ulloa
Universidad de Concepción

Osvaldo Ulloa is a Professor at the Department of Oceanography and Director of the Millennium Institute of Oceanography at the Universidad de Concepción in his native Chile. He is also a member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences.
For the last twenty years, his research has focused on the microbial phylogenetic diversity, environmental genomics, and biogeochemistry of oxygen-depleted oceanic waters. His most recent work focuses on the exploration and study of ultra-deep (hadal) environments, particularly the Atacama Trench.

Fields of expertise:
Microbial Oceanography

Simonetta Gribaldo
Institut Pasteur

Bird's Eye View Presentation

Victoria Orphan
California Institute of Technology
United States

Closing Plenary Presentation

Rob Knight
University of California, San Diego
United States

Rob Knight is the founding Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation and Professor of Pediatrics, Shu Chien-Gene Lay Department of Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering and Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at UC San Diego. He is the Wolfe Family Endowed Chair in Microbiome Research at Rady Children's. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Microbiology. He was honored with the 2019 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for his microbiome research and received the 2017 Massry Prize, often considered a predictor of the Nobel. He is the author of “Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes” (Simon & Schuster, 2015), coauthor of “Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), and written over 900 scientific articles. He spoke at TED in 2014 which is viewed over 2.1 million times. His lab has produced many of the software tools and laboratory techniques that enabled high-throughput microbiome science, including the QIIME pipeline (cited over 30,000 times as of this writing) and UniFrac (cited over 10,000 times including its web interface). He is co-founder of the Earth Microbiome Project, the American Gut Project, and the company Biota, Inc., which uses DNA from microbes in the subsurface to guide oilfield decisions. His work has linked microbes to a range of health conditions including obesity and inflammatory bowel disease, has enhanced our understanding of microbes in environments ranging from the oceans to the tundra, and made high-throughput sequencing techniques accessible to thousands of researchers around the world. Dr. Knight can be followed on X/Twitter or on his website.

Fields of expertise: