Micro-Talks: an ECS-led webinar series

The Micro-Talks webinar series marks another in a series of firsts that we’ve had to adapt to a changing world in 2020

In March this year, when lockdown was just beginning in the UK, the ECS Committee made the decision to cancel their annual research symposium. Poster presenters were invited to join an online poster conference – the first SfAM has done – but the question was left hanging: “what about the oral presentations?”

The Micro-Talks webinar series was devised as an alternative available to early career scientists who missed out on presenting among the COVID-19 pandemic. A series of 10 short talks was devised, held online via the Zoom webinar platform, chaired by members of the ECS committee. Each 15-minute talk was followed by an extended Q&A session with the presenter to give the audience a chance to engage with the research.

Between June and August, talks were held every Tuesday at midday, with over 500 registrations from across the globe for the 10 talks. We heard from a wide variety of speakers from the fields of biotechnology, agricultural microbiology, the microbiome, environmental microbiology, antimicrobial resistance, and public outreach. Many of the speakers also took to Twitter after their Micro-Talk, letting the discussion continue for longer – you can look up the #MicroTalks hashtag to catch up on the conversation.

The Micro-Talks webinar series marks another in a series of firsts that we’ve had to adapt to a changing world in 2020, but it’s no exaggeration to call this event a great success for both SfAM and the early career scientists who took part.


Nasmille Larke-Mejía

Microbial ecology of isoprene-degrading bacteria

Iago Grobas

Antibiotics turn bacterial swarms into biofilms through a localised dynamic phase transition

Javier Martinez-Perez

Identifying novel plant disease treatment in New Zealand kiwifruit orchards

Victoria Rimmer

Antimicrobial tear proteins influence the phenotype of keratitis-causing Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Anete Krista Salmane

Use of textiles for attached cultivation of red marine microalgae Porphyridium purpureum

Alison Hughes

Eliciting Production of Specialised Metabolites in Marine Microalgae

Ellis Beltrami Monaghan

Understanding the influence of crop genotype upon root and rhizosphere microbiomes

Simms Adu

Effects of microbial biosurfactants on the human skin microbiome

Sreyashi Basu

A novel approach towards raising awareness of Tuberculosis amongst children in a low income setting

Allison Cartwright

Sponging up the microbes: Is my water safe?