UK Archaea Workshop

Archaea are the third domain of life, alongside eukaryotes and bacteria. Archaea are prokaryotes like bacteria but in many aspects they resemble eukaryotes. For example, the machineries for DNA replication, transcription and translation are strikingly similar in archaea and eukaryotes. In fact, it has recently been suggested that there are only two primary domains of life, and that eukaryotes arose as a sub-group of archaea. But the archaeal machineries for DNA replication, transcription and translation much simpler than those found in eukaryotes. For this reason, archaea are increasingly being used as tractable models for the dissection of complex cellular processes.

Despite widespread interest, little is still known about the basic biology of archaea. These microorganisms are renowned as extremophiles and thrive in volcanic hot springs, hypersaline lakes and deep sea vents. Mesophilic archaea are also found, in fact they comprise >25% of microbial life in the oceans and  soil. Our ignorance of archaeal biology stems from the fact that they were discovered only recently. It was not until the 1970s and 1980s that pioneering work by Carl Woese and Wolfram Zillig, using molecular phylogenetics and biochemistry respectively, uncovered the third domain of life. The community of archaeal researchers has grown organically and now numbers several hundred worldwide, it is particularly active in the UK. Pioneering work in the disciplines of microbiology, genetics, biochemistry and structural biology is being carried out by UK laboratories on thermophiles, halophiles and methanogens.

Since 2002, the  archaeal community in the UK has been served by the "Annual UK Workshop on Archaea". It is held at a different venue each year, these have been in Bath (2002), Nottingham (2003), St Andrews (2004), Cambridge (2005), Newcastle (2006), York (2007), Nottingham (2009), Birmingham (2010), St Andrews (2011), Newcastle (2012), York (2013) and London (2014). The same format has been maintained over the years: an afternoon of talks by PhD students and young postdocs, a poster session with drinks, a conference dinner, and a morning of talks (again by PhD students and postdocs). Since 2007 the UK Archaea workshop has been generously supported by the Genetics Society and is officially the annual meeting of the Archaeal Sectional Interest Group of the Genetics Society.

In 2015, the UK Archaea workshop will be held at the University of Nottingham. The talks and posters will be given in the Exchange Building on Jubilee Campus, a modern purpose-built campus that was constructed on the site of the former Raleigh Bicycle Company factory. Accommodation will be provided on-site in Newark Hall and the conference dinner will be Nottingham city centre at Piccolino restaurant.

For more information, please contact the organisers Thorsten Allers and Ed Bolt.

Online registration


The University of Nottingham
University Park

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151