One of the most exciting and rewarding* parts of being an editor at a Nature journal is the chance to work with colleagues and the research community to put together conferences dedicated to certain parts of the field, or aligned with particular topical themes. And at the present time in microbiology, medicine and public health, there are few topics more timely and relevant than the potential threats posed by the spread of antimicrobial resistance and the faltering of our drug and vaccine development pipelines.
While occasional doom-laden headlines can sometimes err of the side of hyperbole (and some are down-right hysterical), the problems faced in controlling and treating drug resistant infections are very real, and look set to worsen in years to come. Resistant microorganisms will affect many of those reading this piece directly, or indirectly through infection of family members, friends and colleagues. Being a microbiologist (or microbiology editor**) will provide irony not immunity when drug-resistant infection comes calling.
So what can we do to try and help push back against resistance, even slightly? Well as an editor I can publishing exciting new avenues of research in the discovery and development of antimicrobial approaches, and use Nature Microbiology’s editorial voice to raise awareness of resistance and encourage, of course. But when trying to effect change, one of the best ways is often to get a bunch of smart people together in a room for a proper assessment of the problems faced and to catalyse the development of potential solutions.
That is why I have been thrilled to work with colleagues from Nature Microbiology, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Medicine and Sichuan University, China to pull together the upcoming Nature conference on Countering Antimicrobial Resistance, May 28-29th 2018 in Beijing, China. We have a fantastic line up of speakers with diverse expertise from the basic research laboratory, industry and public health bodies and are going to be looking at the issues surrounding antimicrobial resistance from many angles.
Genuinely I have not looked forward to attending a conference quite so much for some time, and I do hope that I might get a chance to meet some of you in Beijing in May.
The conference website is here: https://www.nature.com/natureconferences/car2018/index.html
And you can register now here: https://www.nature.com/natureconferences/car2018/registration.html
Chase Beisel (Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research, Germany)
Sean Brady (The Rockefeller University, USA)
Ilana Brito (MIT, USA)
Eric Brown (McMaster University, Canada)
Gautam Dantas (Washington University, USA)
Herman Goossens (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Christina Vandenbroucke-Grauls (VU Medical Center Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Kat Holt (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Jian-Dong Jiang (China Academy of Medical Sciences, China)
Jennifer Leeds (Novartis, USA)
Max Nieuwdorp (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Kevin Outterson (Boston University, USA)
Sharon Peacock (University of Cambridge, UK)
Xiao-Qing Qiu (Sichuan University, China)
Jean-Marie Pages (Aix-Marseille Université, France）
Rino Rappuoli (GlaxoSmithKline, Italy)
John Rex (F2G Limited, UK)
Margaret Riley (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA)
Tanja Schneider (University of Bonn, Germany)
Eriko Takano (University of Manchester, UK)
Nick Thomson (University of Cambridge, UK)
Tim Walsh (Cardiff University, UK)
Yu Wang (Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China)
Younghui Zhang (Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China)
*Experientially rewarding, alas not financially so, despite the additional work required.
**Yes, even microbiology editors and their families have their troubles with antibiotic resistant bacteria on occasion