Dr. Tatiana Vishnivetskaya, a Research Associate in the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, has received a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Office of International Science and Engineering, for organization of the International Workshop on Biology and Biotechnology of Thermophilic Microorganisms. This workshop will combine two satellite conferences, which take place October 5-7, 2015 in Vere Palace Hotel Tbilisi, Georgia and October 8-10, 2015 in ANI Plaza Hotel Yerevan, Armenia. Georgia and Armenia are countries in the region of the Caucasus Mountains, which is located between the Black and the Caspian seas and are rich in deposits of various minerals, oil, and gas, as well as mineral waters and thermal springs. This region is poised for major discoveries since the thermal features here have not undergone intensive study with advanced methods.
A total of 10 U.S. scientists will be supported through this grant to be a part of this exciting workshop. They are Tatiana Vishnivetskaya (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee); Robert Ramaley (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska); Lori Ziolkowski (University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina); John Spear (Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado); Jordan Bird (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee); Drake McCrimmon (University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina); Fran Perler (New England BioLabs, Boston, Massachusetts); Dina Polosukhina (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee); Wesley Swinley (Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois); and Eric Becraft (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, East Boothbay, Maine).
The purpose of this workshop is to exchange research information, discuss new technologies for examining thermophiles, enhance our understanding of thermophiles, and build scientific collaborations.
The registration site for the 2015 International Workshop on Biology and Biotechnology of Thermophilic Microorganisms is now closed but stay tuned for future workshops [Registration Link].
The agenda for the Georgia conference (link)
The agenda for the Armenia conference (link)
Final program on the 2015 International Workshop on Biology and Biotechnology of Thermophilic Microorganisms (link)
The workshop in Armenia and Georgia was a stimulating and welcoming event for all attendees. The organization committees and our hosts in both countries provided interesting scientific sessions, friendly hospitality, and excellent services, making the entire event a great success. The workshop format was similar in both countries, with a symposium comprised of local and U.S. speakers, site visits to local scientific institutions, site visits to natural environments, and cultural landmarks.
The NSF U.S. Expert Panel, consisting of Tatiana Vishnivetskaya, Robert Ramaley, Lori Ziolkowski, John Spear, Jordan Bird, Drake McCrimmon, Francine Perler, Dina Polosukhina, Wesley Swinley, and Eric Becraft, evaluated thermophilic microbiology in Georgia and Armenia and highlighted significant potential for establishing beneficial new collaborations. The scope of the analysis included (i) existing collections of thermophilic microorganisms, (ii) natural resources with potential for the discovery of novel thermophiles, and (iii) basic or applied thermophilic microbiology research programs. The U.S. scientists expressed their opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations in the report published at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (link).