You’re invited to the Evergreen International Phage Meeting!

Issue 133 | July 2, 2021
14 min read
Capsid and Tail

Evergreen is back! Join over 90 phage folks who have already registered, by registering here: https://evergreen.phage.directory

In case you haven’t heard, the Evergreen Phage Meeting is happening both in person and online this year in Olympia, Washington from Aug 1-6. This week, we’re highlighting what to expect from this meeting (via a letter from Betty Kutter) and why you should join us!

What’s New

Xiaorong Wu (The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC) and colleagues published a new paper in mBio on how phage T4 escapes CRISPR attack by ‘minihomology’ (very short stretches of sequence identity) recombination and repair. This is a novel counterdefense mechanism by which phage T4 restores its genomic DNA following CRISPR cleavage. This subtle functional tuning of pre-existing DNA metabolism leads to a profound impact on phage survival.

CRISPRResearch paper

Bjorn Criel (Ghent University, Belgium) and colleagues published a research article in Viruses on PhaLP: a database for the study of phage lytic proteins and their evolution. This database serves as an open portal to facilitate the development of phage lytic proteins. PhaLP can act as a starting point for the broad community of enzybiotic researchers, while the steadily improving evolutionary insights will serve as inspiration for protein engineers.

DatabaseEndolysinsResearch paper

Anna Dragoš (Technical University of Denmark) and colleagues published a new paper in Current Biology on how phages carry interbacterial weapons encoded by biosynthetic gene clusters. They investigated phage-encoded Biosynthetic Gene Clusters (BGCs), challenging the relationship between phage origin and BGC structure and function. They found BGCs in temperate phages that infect certain human-associated bacteria, with almost all phage BGCs being bacteriocins. Some BGCs provide a competitive fitness advantage for lysogenized hosts.

BacteriocinsBiosynthetic Gene ClustersResearch paper

Tamsin Redgwell (Copenhagen University Hospital) and colleagues published a preprint in bioRxiv describing how prophages in the infant gut are largely induced, and may be functionally relevant to their hosts. They found prophages in the infant gut are largely unique to the individual and not shared. The most abundant group of phages are novel and possess elements that may allow them to maintain differentially susceptible subpopulations of their host bacterium.

Gut phageomePreprintProphage

Amber Dance (science journalist in Los Angeles, California) published a Nature news feature article on the virus discoveries transforming biology. She highlighted the work of Mya Breitbart, Frederik Schulz, Luis Camarillo-Guerrero, Colin Hill, and others about the diversity and abundance of viruses (“beyond coronavirus”) in nature.

NewsPhage diversity

Latest Jobs

Microbe-phage interactionsPost Doc
Wai-Leung Ng (Tufts University, Boston) is looking for a postdoc to work on microbe-microbe, microbe-phage or microbe host interactions. Interested candidates may email [email protected].
HypoxiaPhage evolutionPost Doc
The Roach lab at San Diego State University is actively seeking a postdoc to understand and exploit phage-host interactions at low oxygen (hypoxia) environments in Pseudomonas aeruginosa using adaptive laboratory evolution.
Post DocVirus-host Interactions
The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Leipzig, Germany) is looking for a postdoc to work on understanding the role of the virosphere in the Critical Zone and the consequences of virus-host interactions for the subsurface genetic landscape, microbial ecosystem functions and nutrient cycling.

Community Board

Anyone can post a message to the phage community — and it could be anything from collaboration requests, post-doc searches, sequencing help — just ask!

Call any and all US phage researchers. Does anyone have 500ml Nalgene Polycarbonate centrifuge bottles (3122-0500 or 3140-0500 from Thermo). They are needed for an emergency phage treatment. Contact James Gurney if you can help; and/or please share this tweet!

Seeking equipment

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (Kids Research) is excited to present the 4th webinar in their Advanced Therapeutics webinar series, “When a Virus is the Cure – phage therapy & mini lungs”, which will focus on phage therapy and airway organoids.

When: Jul 23, 2021, 2:00 PM in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Phage therapy offers an exciting new treatment option to target difficult-to-treat infections, including infections in patients with cystic fibrosis. Airway organoids created from individual patients’ stem cells provide a model for that individual’s disease. They can be used for disease modelling and personalised medicine.

Hear from two leading experts in paediatric infectious diseases and stem cell biology, who are investigating novel therapeutic options for patients with cystic fibrosis and other difficult-to-treat infections. Speakers will discuss:
• Phage therapy – what is it and how are we using it to help patients at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network?
• Airway organoids - what are they and how do we use them in conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis?

Register here

Virtual Event

ModelMEMS (Modelling Microbial Ecology at Multiple Scales) is hosting its second tutorial (virtually) Aug 17th (3-6 pm): “Exploring bacterial and phage interactions with dynamical models”

Hilje Doekes will give the next tutorial in August, this time about modeling phage/bacterial dynamics. Hilje is an expert in eco-evolutionary dynamical systems modeling and has been interested in understanding the dynamics governing the lysis/lysogenic decisions of phages. She recently published a beautiful paper about modeling a viral small-molecule communication system that governs the switch between lytic and lysogenic modes of a phage.

Hilje will cover the broader question of how to model phage-bacterial interactions and how to use these models to gain insights into the detailed ecological and evolutionary dynamics that are governed by phages. She will first give a historical and current overview of previous models(e.g. and). Next, she’ll talk about her own work and finalize the tutorial with a practical hands-on tour of her model.

Register here and watch the previous tutorial here!

Virtual EventWorkshop

The Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phage Meeting will be held virtually on August 2, 2021. Register for free here. The conference is calling for the submission of oral and poster abstract submissions (schedule to be announced soon).

ConferenceVirtual Event

You’re invited to the Evergreen International Phage Meeting!

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Phage microbiologist and co-founder of Phage Directory
Co-founder
Phage Directory, Atlanta, GA, United States

Jessica Sacher is a co-founder of Phage Directory and has a Ph.D in Microbiology and Biotechnology from the University of Alberta.

For Phage Directory, she takes care of the science, writing, communications, and business aspects.

In case you haven’t heard, the 24th Biennial Evergreen Phage Meeting is happening in Olympia, Washington, USA, Aug 2-5 (with workshops on Aug 1 & 6). This year, there will be an option to attend either online or in-person!

Abstracts due

Oh, and abstracts are due TODAY! (But you can still register for a couple more weeks!)

Register for Evergreen here: Register for Evergreen

Submit an abstract here: Submit abstract

Phage friends from all over: you’re invited!

The iconic Evergreen phage meeting is best described by the founder herself, Betty Kutter (who has hosted this meeting every other year since its beginning almost 50 years ago!). So here’s a letter from Betty to all of you, explaining the conference, how it will work, and why you should seriously consider joining us this August!

Dear phage friends,

Despite all the special challenges this year, we have at last worked out a way to put on the scheduled 24th Biennial Evergreen Phage Meeting on August 2nd - 5th 2021, with hands-on workshop(s) on Sunday the 1st and Friday the 6th. We invite all phage people to consider submitting abstracts and making plans to participate either in person or virtually. As always, we look forward to hearing about all the exciting phage work going on worldwide!

This time we will offer a hybrid event, where participants can actively engage either in person or in virtual environments. The meeting will include primary sessions with 20-min talks, live and virtual poster sessions with daily brief flash talks, breakout rooms, and Q&As for all participants. Virtual attendees will be invited to view the primary talks in a live format, with the ability to submit questions, and most talks will also be available as recordings to be viewed at your leisure.

We are working to make this event as safe as possible for everyone attending in person. Thus, we will be following all public health guidelines and are requiring all attendees to provide evidence of vaccination prior to the event. We will be glad to supply masks, and to ensure the safety of all attendees the meeting is capped at 25% of the venue capacity.

Please submit draft abstracts by July 2nd to be considered for oral presentations. Given the hybrid nature of this event, we will need a recorded video version of your talk, whether or not you are coming in person. This may be submitted until July 16th. Poster presentations will also take place both virtually and in-person; please submit the poster file in pdf format to facilitate printing on-site. We are also asking for a recording of a short video talk (~3 to 5 minutes) to accompany each of your posters, whether you are attending virtually or in-person.

The Evergreen campus is largely closed for the summer, so we have chosen Hotel RL Olympia to be our venue. Hotel RL is located in a large wooded park, perched in woodlands on a high hill just west of downtown Olympia, overlooking Capital Lake. The hotel is within walking distance of the downtown area, it’s is also a drop site for the airport shuttle and a stop for the free city buses. It has excellent meeting spaces for up to 500 hundred people. Their very comfortable rooms have either a king-sized bed plus couch or two queen-sized beds, so each can accommodate 1 to 4 people. Our special Evergreen Phage Conference price is $100 a night per room, including all breakfasts, whether or not you choose to share the room. All lunches, an evening gala with dinner and dancing, and our traditional Native American Salmon Bake are included with the registration fee, and dietary restrictions may easily be accommodated. The hotel has kindly arranged that payment for rooms can be made in advance or upon arrival. If necessary, room cancellations can be made up until the start of the meeting without penalty.

Information on registration fees is on our website; please contact us should you require assistance with registration. We intend to be fully flexible in meeting the needs of our international participants and will work to enable those who wish to speak remotely to do so. Please inquire about discounts for lab or corporate groups wishing to attend. As always, we will do our best to make this event accessible for those with limited funds. We look forward very much to seeing as many of you as possible both either here or online, and will work with all who are keen to present their research, whether in person or virtually, as a poster or as a talk.

We welcome those interested in contributing suggestions for making this the best meeting yet!

Best wishes,

— Betty Kutter

Sneak-peek: phage genome annotation workshop!

We’re hard at work putting together an unforgettable schedule for all of you, so stay tuned for the program! That said, here’s a sneak peek at one of the sessions we’ve got in store for you!

PATRIC Workshop coming
Get a better handle on your phage bioinformatics skills with a workshop run by the phage enthusiasts behind PATRIC, the bioinformatic resource anyone can use to assemble, annotate and analyze their phage genomes.

Still need convincing? A few phage phans took to Twitter to share their stories…

One last thing: want to sponsor Evergreen?

It’s not too late! Sponsoring lets you get your message out to the community (and makes you look really good!). But most importantly, you’ll have a hand in ensuring the phage community continues to grow through events like these. Thanks so much to our early sponsors, Baylor College of Medicine’s TAILOR Labs, and of course Phagebiotics Research Foundation (Betty’s foundation), which is the main producer of the conference.

To sponsor Evergreen, visit: https://evergreen.phage.directory/sponsorshipp

TAILOR Sponsorship

In closing

Our beloved Evergreen phage meeting will undoubtedly be a bit different this year, but with your help, we hope it will be the magical event we’ve all come to love and look forward to!

Join over 90 phage folks who have already registered for Evergreen, by registering here: Register for Evergreen


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