Thomas Jeffries

Research Associate (Environmental Microbiology), University of Western Sydney
Scott A Rice

Associate Professor, Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering

A/Prof. Rice’s research programme is centered on how and why bacteria form matrix encased biofilms. The goal of such research is to define the molecular pathways that control the biofilm life-cycle, with a particular interest in those processes that regulate the switch between planktonic and biofilm growth. Such knowledge can be used to manipulate the biofilm in a directed fashion to either encourage or discourage biofilm formation as needed. His group works on a variety of biofilm systems, ranging from single species populations to increasingly more complex multispecies systems, which are more representative of natural biofilms. Current projects include the continued development and investigation of a simple three species biofilm consortia, focusing on the mechanisms and consequences of microbial interactions. He is also keenly interested in how bacteriophage may contribute to the development of biofilms, as opposed to their role as killing agents. Predation is a primary environmental factor responsible for the killing of bacteria and A/Prof. Rice is investigating how bacteria respond to predators. Another aspect of his research focuses on the application of nitric oxide, a bacterial signal, to control biofilm formation for medical and industrial applications.
Federico Lauro

Dr, Nanyang Technological University

A/Prof. Lauro has pioneered skills in both experimental and computational sciences – in particular deep-sea microbiology and the latest 'omic' technologies. In total, he has authored 51 peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals, including Science and PNAS. In 2009, he described a mathematical model, which could predict the trophic strategy of marine bacteria from its genome sequence. This approach was widely acclaimed, and was the start of his integrative multidisciplinary venture – combining (meta) genomics, bioinformatics, physics and chemistry for the study of microbes in the global biogeochemical cycles. In 2011, Lauro described the microbial ecosystem of an entire Antarctic lake using a systems biology approach, shifting the conventional ecological paradigm away from microbial populations to whole microbial communities. Lauro’s research and his innovative ideas continue to put him at the forefront of his field. In a 2014 publication (Lauro et al. 2014), Federico addresses the lack of data coverage and sampling across oceanic waters, a prevalent issue that has always left the scientific community with incomplete information to make concrete deductions and predictions on ocean weather, currents, climatic patterns, trajectories of missing objects and the like. Currently, there is little information to allow even for an estimate of the physical, biological and chemical characteristics of the world’s waters. Lauro’s open call for the crowdsourcing of oceanographic data has garnered much attention and will hopefully lay the foundation for yet another pioneering success. Along with his pursuit of marine microbial environments, Lauro is extending his expertise and highly renowned set of skills to that of the air microbiome.
Diane McDougald

Associate Professor, Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering

Asst. Prof. McDougald has made significant contributions to the fields of Vibrio biology, bacterial adaptation to stress and mechanisms of molecular control of these responses, cell-to-cell communication, biofilm formation and interactions of bacteria with higher eukaryotes. Her group’s major research interest is on the investigation of mechanisms of survival and persistence of pathogens in the environment, and what impact these mechanisms have on virulence and pathogenicity in the host. They investigate the evolutionary drivers and consequences of bacterial adaptation to stresses, including interactions with higher organisms. Broadly, they study the interactions of prokaryotes and eukaryotes using a number of model systems to investigate the impact of predation by protozoa on microbial communities and how evolution of grazing defences drives the evolution of pathogenicity in the environment. Predation is an important selection pressure that pathogens face in the environment, and as a result, pathogens may evolve phenotypes that not only increase their fitness in the environment, but may also increase their fitness in the human host. This research platform will allow her group to test key aspects of the Coincidental Selection Hypothesis, which states that the virulence of many opportunistic human pathogens may be an accidental by-product of selection for adaptations not related to human disease.
Jen Thoroughgood

Former Head of Communities, Springer Nature

I'm no longer with Springer Nature so please send your community-related queries to communities@nature.com. Thanks!
Martin Delahunty

Global Director, Nature Partner Journals, Nature Research

Working within Nature Research's Open Research Group, I am Global Director for Nature Partner Journals based in London. I have responsibility across five global office locations to develop Nature Partner Journals, a new series of online-only, open access journals, published in collaboration with world-renowned partners. Launched in April 2014, the portfolio now includes 14 titles including 'npj Biofilms and Microbiomes'. I have a Degree in Natural Sciences specializing in Microbiology from Trinity College Dublin and a Masters in Business Administration from The Open University. Within the broader medical publications community, I serve as Secretary and Trustee for the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals.