Breakout Sessions

Back by popular demand,  we are having optional breakout sessions during lunch.  These sessions will be moderated by experts in the field, and will include a short informative overview and time for discussion and questions.Breakout sessions have been expanded to both days of BBM so pay attention to which day the session occurs on. Each session will be limited to ~30 participants, and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you wish to attend, please sign up during registration on the registration form!

The breakout sessions this year will be:

Thursday, May 31

Antibiotic Resistance and Tolerance

Peter Belenky, Edward Geisinger, Kim Lewis

Adaptive and innate responses provide bacteria with a variety of survival mechanisms in the face of antibiotic stress. Hear the latest on the frontiers of research on bacterial responses to antibiotics.

Little Signals, Big Outcomes

Jon Clardy, Michael Laub

Bacteria contain complex, elegant signaling networks that allow them to thrive in a variety of niches. Come hear a discussion of the molecular mechanisms of how bacteria interact with each other and their environment from leaders in the field.

Careers in Industry

Lauren Fitch, Clarivate Analytics; Geoffrey Hannigan, Merck; Vincent Isabella, Synlogic;  Brian Meehan, Kaleido Biosciences

Explore a career in industry by hearing from professionals in biotech! Panelists will speak about their jobs, companies, and what you should do to be successful.

The Age of ‘Omics

Julian Avila,  Aleksandar Kostic, Tim van Opijnen

Come discuss high-throughput techniques with experts in the fields of metabolomics, transposon sequencing, and microbiome profiling.

How to Win Grants and Influence People

Emily Balskus, Christina Faherty, Karine Gibbs, Linden Hu

In an increasingly competitive funding environment it is essential to write a grant that stands out from the rest. Here we’ve assembled a winning team of grant writers to talk about writing strategies and grantsmanship that apply to all levels of writers.

Synthetic Biology

Robert Brewster, Lisa Goers, Kristala Jones Prather

With the progress in molecular tools, our ability to engineer biology is increasingly limited only by our imagination. Synthetic biology allows for manipulation and utilization of biological systems in unique and often unconventional ways. Come join our panel for a creative conversation on the field at large.

The Host-Pathogen Arms Race

Tami Lieberman, Cammie Lesser, Brian Russo, Clare Smith

Two competing interests, one environment. An action-packed discussion on the myriad ways pathogens fight for their niche and sometimes win.

Heterogeneity in Bacterial Populations

Maha Farhat, Bill Hanage, Johan Paulsson

Your bacteria may be clones, but it doesn’t mean they act the same. Here we look at the the interesting differences that exist within populations and the remarkable outcomes these discrepancies can lead to.


Friday, June 1

Scientific Taste

Dianne Newman, Keynote Speaker

A conversation with keynote speaker Dianne Newman on the question of “What is scientific taste and how subjective is it?”. This is a question that can impact students/postdocs/faculty in different ways, from how to pick a research problem, to how to present results for a paper or a proposal, to how to give an effective job talk.

Single Cell Techniques

Bree Aldridge, Bryan Bryson, Ethan Garner

From microscopy to quantitative -omics, we now have unprecedented tools to understanding microbes down to the single cell level. Hear from experts on the development and use of single cell techniques.

Environmental Microbiology

Slava Epstein, Martin Polz

Despite being the dominant organisms on earth, we know remarkably little about microbes in the environment. Join our panel to learn about the approaches being taken to breach this gap and study the diversity and interactions of environmental microbes at the individual and population level.

Building a Diverse Community of Microbiologists

Whitney Henry, JCC Postdoctoral Fellow at Whitehead Institute; Joanne Kamens, Executive Director of Addgene; Steven Lopez, Assistant Professor at Northeastern;  Leslie McClain, Instructor at MIT

Diversity in STEM profits us all. How do we check our implicit bias and actively build a supportive and diverse community of microbiologists? Hear stories and practical ideas from experienced diversity campaigners.

Communication & Public Engagement

Scott Chimileski, Harvard Museum of Natural History; Tyler Ford, Addgene; Katie Wu, Harvard Science in the News; Morgan Thompson, Harvard Medical School

Have you wondered how best to effectively engage audiences with your science? Effective communication is key! Gain insights from science communication & public engagement experts here!


Yunrong Chai, Neel Joshi, George O’Toole

Delve into the vast, but microscopic, world of biofilms in this panel. Their complex nature, how they form & disperse, and other questions can be explored here!

The Microbiome

Henry Haiser, Xuesong He, Philip Strandwitz

Hear perspectives on the human oral and gut microbiomes, their members, disease states, influences on other systems, and potential therapeutic approaches.

Careers Beyond the Bench

Garima Bhardwaj, Sales at STEMCELL Technologies; Danielle Gutelius Andruchow, Middle-school STEM; April Pawluk, Editor at Cell Press; Kate Steblenko, Quality manager at Jack’s Abby Brewing; Rachel Yunck, Technology specialist at Clark & Elbing

A variety of careers await scientists beyond the bench. Come hear from our speakers who have explored and enjoyed success outside the realms of academia and industry.