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Session 1: The extracellular space of biofilms


The extracellular space in biofilms represents a highly complex microhabitat with more and more constituents and functions being suggested. In fact, knowledge on the biochemical makeup and functionality of the extracellular space still represents a neglected research field. Nevertheless, studies using advanced imaging, biochemical analysis, molecular biology, proteomics, modelling and new approaches at different scales are on the rise.

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Session 2: New models for biofilm structure and function


The variety of tools available for mathematical modelling of biofilm structure and function has developed quickly in the past decade. Whether fluid flow around biofilm structures or population dynamics within the biofilm both can be simulated with a number of existing models and simulation tools. The aim of this session is to attract modellers focussing on the spatial organization of microbial biofilms and related hydrodynamics. 

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Session 3: Unveiling the unseen: new and emerging technologies in biofilm research


Historically, microbial behaviours have been studied in the laboratory using large mono-culture microbial populations grown in vitro. However most microbial ecosystems are composed of microbes growing in spatially organized microcolonies, and the number and localization of cells within the community has profound effects on behaviour. With this knowledge, microbiologists are now embracing new technologies, resulting in new insights into the behaviours of individual cells. This session will focus on novel techniques for spatially organizing small cell populations and monitoring their behaviours using micro-scale analytical techniques. 

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Session 4: Evolution and ecology of biofilms

Biofilm formation is a key evolutionary adaptation of microbes. However, biofilms are often very genetically diverse. That is, biofilms contain multiple genotypes, which can range from point mutants through to different strains and species. The study of biofilms therefore requires both ecological and evolutionary approaches. Specifically, we need to know the different genotypes and phenotypes that occur in biofilms, how genotypes change in frequency over time, and how genotypes interact and affect one another. We expect both positive (cooperative) and negative (competitive) interactions to occur between cells in biofilms and the balance of these is expected to define key phenotypes and properties, such as productivity and persistence. This session will discuss a wide range of applications of evolutionary and ecological thinking to the study of biofilms.

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Session 5: Omics for the study of biofilm structure and function


High-resolution molecular methods, ranging from genomics to metabolomics, are facilitating unprecedented insights into structure-function relationships within microbial biofilms. Apart from single dedicated omics, integration and analysis of different omic datasets obtained from spatially and temporally resolved samples allow deconvolution of biofilm-wide processes into shared and population-specific contingents. This in turn is essential to place constituent populations into their ecological contexts. This session will explore current approaches for high-resolution molecular characterization of biofilms as well as the ecological and evolutionary questions, which can now be addressed through these.

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Session 6: From genes to biofilm dynamics and back


Biofilm formation involves a coordinated spatio-temporal expression of motility, adhesion, matrix or cell death genes. Patterns of individual cells gene expression in such spatially organised communities is controlled by a complex genetic network responding to local micro-environmental conditions and signalling molecules. Evidence is rising that this heterogeneity in cells populations triggers most of what make biofilm cells different from their planktonic counterparts. This session will focus on innovative approaches that make possible to replace descriptive architectural studies by those in which the local dynamic of gene expression and cellular physiology are deciphered.

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Session 7: Biophysics and environmental consequences of microbial biofilms


Biofilms can differentiate into complex and recurrent physical structures often inducing chemical and physiological heterogeneity in biofilms. Studying the biophysics of these structures is on the rise now. What remains less well understood are possible feedbacks between biofilm physical structure and both the physical and chemical environment of the biofilms. This session welcomes empirical and modelling studies on the biophysics of biofilms in the broad sense. We particularly encourage submissions that illuminate the environmental consequences of micro-scale biophysical patterns and processes in biofilms. 

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Session 8: Biofilms remixed: Microbial mats, stromatolites and soils


Classical biofilm research considers attached and matrix-enclosed microbial communities in fully hydrated systems. There is more, however. This session will bring together scientists studying biofilms of the beaten track. Particularly welcome are contributions on the structure and function of suspended particles (flocs), microbial mats, stromatolites and soil microbial communities. The session will highlight these microbial lifestyles as adaptations to often extreme environments, ranging from the deep sea to saline lakes, for instance.

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Session 9: Applied water systems

Biofilms play key roles in drinking water and wastewater plants, including membrane and reactor technology. This session will highlight new findings on biofilms in these applied systems, with a particular focus on pathogenicity, contaminant behaviour, and management strategies.

Biofilm 6 | Universitätsring 1  | 1010 Wien