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
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.