In 2006 and 2007 I went to this amazing meeting called Science Foo camp, or "SciFoo." More about my previous experiences with it are here:Holy s$&# - I am going back to #SciFoo
Right now I want to note something that for me is pretty unusual. In 2006 I gave a mini presentation on microbial diversity at SciFoo. I just posted my slides to Slideshare here:
The next year I was not sure if I was going to try to present anything and then, while at SciFoo someone (can't remember whom) asked me if I could do a presentation on "The Human Microbiome." Silly me - I said - sure. Alas - it meant staying up very very late in the Wild Palms hotel because, well, I had never given a presentation on the Human Microbiome before that. My slides from that are below:
Why am I writing this? Well, doing that presentation is largely what moved me into being interested in the human microbiome and the microbiomes of various plants and animals. Prior to that I had done very little work on communities of microbes associated with animals or plants. I had done a lot of genomics, and studies of microbial diversity and even metagenomics. But most of work on plant or animal associated microbes was one cases where there were a small number of symbionts living in or on a host - simple systems. The complexity of the "microbiome" of plants and animals kind of scared me off. I was thinking about doing more work on microbes associated with Drosophila but not yet convinced it was the right thing to do. And that presentation - as well as the response from the people at SciFoo (e.g., Freeman Dyson said he found it fascinating) helped spur me on to do much more work on plant and animal associated microbial communities.
I wonder what will happen this year ... SciFoo starts tonight ...