Location & dates Virtual 4 - 5 Nov 2020
Deadlines Registration closed

EMBL Courses and Conferences during the Coronavirus pandemic

With the onsite programme paused, many of our events are now being offered in virtual formats.

Registration is open as usual for many events, with back-up plans in place to move further courses and conferences online as necessary. Registration fees for any events affected by the COVID-19 disruption are fully refundable.

More information for participants of events at EMBL Heidelberg can be found here.


Roberto Kolter
Harvard University, USA

Microbial diversity: How much is there and where is it headed?


When compared to plants and animals, the extent of microbial diversity on Earth is much greater (by many orders of magnitude) and, as a consequence, much more difficult to measure accurately. In this lecture, I will outline how we measure microbial diversity and discuss what are the current ideas on the concept and meaning of microbial species. Despite the fact that there is remarkable abundance of microbes and they contain unimaginably large genetic diversity, there are clear indications that in some ecosystems, microbial diversity is declining as a consequence of human activity.


Roberto Kolter is Professor of Microbiology, Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School, where he joined the faculty in 1983. As a graduate student and post-doc he studied basic mechanisms of DNA replication and transcription. At Harvard, he worked on antibiotic synthesis, bacterial starvation physiology, bacterial evolution, bacterial biofilms, and chemical communication in the microbial world. Dr. Kolter continues to be actively involved in science teaching, communication and policy worldwide. In the past he served as President of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and as Chair of the ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board. A native of Guatemala, Dr. Kolter earned his B.S. at Carnegie-Mellon University, his Ph.D. at University of California, San Diego and carried out post-doctoral training at Stanford University.