Another great JAMS evening at the Australian Museum. Nicolas Barraud from UNSW kicked off with a biotechnology story about the use of nitric oxide in biofilm control. John-Sebastien Eden from Eddie Holmes group at USyd gave us the low down on norovirus evolution using the Sydney 2012 strain (the chunder from downunder) as a case study. Somehow our two 15 min presentations consumed an hour so starting back late after the break JAMS co-founder Prof Andrew Holmes gave an excellent presentation on what shapes microbial communities in the the gut. Despite the late start Andy had the audience glued to their seats with a showcase of technology used to unravel human-gut microbiome interactions.

Mike Manefield
JAMS this week was a real blast with an excellent presentation by Prof Rainer Meckenstock, director of the Helmholtz Institute for Groundwater Ecology. Rainer's presentation took the fed and watered JAMS audience through a tour de force of anaerobic polyaromatic hydrocarbon degradation from hard core biochemistry to field studies revealing what limits the clean up of hydrocrabons in polluted groundwater resources (the biggest freshwater resource on Earth). Tim Lachnit gave a revealing presentation on disease in seaweed (Ecklonia) driven not by bacteria but by viral infection. Ali Khameneh gave another great short talk on evolutionary responses of Burkholderia cepacia to environmental and host conditions. Ian Paulsen advertised the Synthetic Biology and Bio-engineering Workshop (see attached) - registration closes 1st Oct 2013. The audience was on fire with probing questioning of speakers giving all plenty to think about and pushing the quality of science in our community to further heights.

Mike Manefield

Amazing turn out for JAMS last night at the Australian Museum. Three excellent presentations from Nathan Lo (Blattabacterium genome evolution - USyd), Tom Jeffries (Sydney Harbour Microbiome - UTS) and Yit Heng Chooi (Fungal metabolite genetics and biochemistry - ANU). The audience was also on the money with probing questions reassuring the speakers that their labours are well appreciated by an elite body of microbiology professionals.

The idea of a two day microbial community analysis workshop was also re-introduced and planning for this has commenced. A call is also out for volunteers for the Australian Museum Sciecne Festival (10th August, 13th-15th August and 20th-22nd August).

Please email Mike Manefield if you're interested. As of the 1st of August, we still need around 10 more volunteers.

The Australian Museum Science Festival is fast approaching and JAMS Inc is registered to occupy an exhibition booth to introduce thousands of school children to the wonders of microbiology.

Michael Kertesz (USyd) has again agreed to be the scientific content manager of the exhibition but we're still in need of a human resources manager to schedule and advise volunteers for the exhibition. Email Mike Manefield if you're interested in the HR gig or if you're interested in volunteering.

Continue reading for the festival schedule.

Tom Jeffries
January JAMS got the new year off to a good start with a solid turnout and some stimulating talks. First up was Olivier Laczka who took us in to the technical realm of biosensors. Olivier’s work has focused on developing cost-effective tools for the rapid identification of micro-organisms relevant to industry and has led to several Patents.

Ani Penesyan
On the last Wednesday of spring we were spoiled with the room on the top floor of the Australian Museum and magnificent views of Sydney, yes, once again! Joining us were not only our regular JAMS crowd, but also visitors from Europe (yes, that is really cold in Europe during this time of the year!)

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 14:00 - 21:00

It's that time of the year again and I'm not talking about Santa Claus. It's time for our second anniversary JAMS Presentation and Banquet. This year has been full of milestones including a microbiology display at the Australian Museum for grade school students and a trip to the Hawkesbury RIver to visit the new campus of the University of Western Sydney. JAMS also has some exciting news -- we will be incorporating next year which will make us bigger, better and official.
February 27th 2013 marks the second Annual JAMS Dinner at the Australian Museum with an expanded schedule, some great speakers from around the world and a poster session for PhD students. The Skeleton Gallery and over 100 skeletons -- including the horseman and the movable bicycle-riding man will play host to the banquet.
As an incentive for students to present their work, the best poster will be awarded with the Jeff Powell Perpetual Student Award.
The rest of the meeting is detailed below.

Maria-Luisa Gutierrez-Zamora

The JAMS rendezvous this October 31st took place in the fourth floor of the Museum with a magnificent view of Sydney, and began with an ad hoc presentation featuring sulphurous scents and sexy fangs. Katherina Petrou (UTS) initiated us in the science of the sulphur cycle in the oceans and how this process is dominated by the production of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) by microalgae and its decomposition into dimethylsulphide (DMS), a strong odorous chemoattractant for a range of marine organisms. In tackling the mystery of how harmful algal blooms disappear, Katherina discovered that DMS produced by the dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum (causative agent of toxic algal blooms) was the chemical cue for the infection of its parasitoid Parvilucifera sinerae.  An elegant video illustrated how DMS at 300 nM was able to activate the parasitoid spores from a dormant state to leave the sporangium (an infected A. minutum cell) in transit to infect other cells and propagate. Activation only occurred in the range of 30 to 300 nM indicating that the effect was dependent on cell density. Thus, Katherina’s work showed that DMS plays an important role in the biological control of toxic algal blooms in the oceans. Her results contribute to the better understanding of marine chemical ecology.

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