Kerensa McElroy (UNSW) started us off immersing the audience in deep sequencing in order to understand pathogen evolution in biofilms. Two model pathogens, Phaeobacter gallaeciensis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, were used to grow biofilms under conditions that select for reproducible phenotypic diversification. Variations in the genetic structure were revealed addressing different stages of biofilm development. Kerensa could describe genetic variation accurately and comprehensively within evolving populations using her established approach in genome-wide deep sequencing.
Next up was Neil Portman from University of Sydney who was investigating proteomic interrogation of flagellum function. Neil gave us insights in the importance of eukaryotic flagella playing a role in biological processes and human diseases. His worked focused on Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of sleeping sickness in humans, that produces a single flagellum being essential in many critical aspects of cell biology and pathogenicity. The analyses of the protein composition of the paraflagellar rod led to the discovery of two co-dependent sub-groups of proteins. Neil suggested a link between calcium sensing and adenine nucleotide homeostasis in the paraflagellar rod that has wider implications for the regulation of flagellum function generally.
Our brains were fueled with pizza and beer looking forward to the final JAMS talk. Renee Whan from the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre (UNSW) fascinated us with a world driven by temporal and spatial resolution limits: The world of light and optical microscopy in 2012. She showed us by means of fantastic microscopic images and new techniques how much this world has evolved in the last 10 years. Renee gave us an understanding of what temporal and spatial resolution can be obtained in practice and whether a technique can be used to obtain qualitative as well as quantitative data for experiments. Now we know that super resolution does not just play a role in science fiction novels but found its way to microscopic techniques such as STED, SIM and PALM. Of course we still have to deal with challenges using this techniques but if you were not a friend of microscopy before Renees talk, sure you are now!