How microorganisms view their world


General information about the conference

Microorganisms are omnipresent in the biosphere and provide the greatest diversity of life on Earth. They successfully colonize every possible habitat. A key factor for the ecological success of microorganisms is their ability to adapt to various and frequently quickly changing environmental conditions.

For most microbes, there is only one certainty: change!

The collaborative research center SFB 987 and the ERASynBio consortium ECFexpress jointly organize the conference "How microorganisms view their world" in Marburg, Germany from September 23 to 25, 2018.
International renowned speakers will present their latest research. Please visit our conference website for further information on the exciting conference program.

Special sessions will be dedicated to celebrating 25 years of ECF sigma factors from their discovery to synthetic biology applications.
Intensive poster sessions and short talks selected from the submitted poster abstracts will round off the program.

The SFB 987

Microorganisms are omnipresent in the biosphere and provide the greatest diversity of life on Earth. They successfully colonize almost every possible habitat. A key factor for the ecological success of microorganisms is their enormous biochemical, physiological, genetic and cellular adaptation potential that allows them to respond to countless challenging environmental conditions and cellular cues. For most microorganisms, there is only one certainty: change! As a consequence, microorganisms have developed specialized mechanisms that enable both individual cells and cellular communities to recognize and to respond to environmental changes with high sensitivity and specificity. Within the framework of the SFB 987, research teams at the Philipps-University and the Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology jointly focus on “Microbial Diversity in Environmental Signal Response”. The SFB 987 research consortium aims at significantly advancing the current knowledge about the ability of microorganisms to react to environmental and cellular cues with situation- conforming adaptive responses.


ERASynBio is a transnational initiative to promote the robust development of Synthetic Biology (SynBio) and to structure and coordinate national efforts and funding programs. Under this umbrella, the ECFexpress consortium – which includes research groups from Germany, the UK and the US – aims at developing a SynBio design framework based on ExtraCytoplasmic Function σ factors (ECFs) to implement highly orthogonal regulatory switches and circuits. ECFs, which are typically non-essential and stress-inducible, were discovered 25 years ago and represent the most minimalistic and diverse group of the σ70 protein family that also includes the essential primary (or housekeeping) σ factors. ECFs represent ideal building blocks for SynBio applications, because they are modular, inherently orthogonal, universal, and scalable. By combining theoretical and experimental approaches, the ECFexpress consortium aims at implementing novel ECF-based switches and circuits in four phylo- genetically diverse microorganisms to benchmark their orthogonality and to explore the ECF-based circuit design space.


If you have questions concerning this conference, please contact:
Bettina Happel & Svenja Estor, Marburg


The conference will begin on Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 at 4:50 p.m. and will end on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 at 8 p.m.

You can download the flyer here to learn more about the detailed program.

If you wish to print the flyer, you can download a smaler version here.

Invited speakers

Prof. Dr. Ruma Banerjee (University of Michigan, USA)
Prof. Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler (Princeton University, USA)
Prof. Dr. Anke Becker (Philipps-University Marburg, D)
Prof. Dr. Mark Buttner (John Innes Centre Norwich, GB)
Prof. Dr. Dirk Bumann (Biozentrum Basel, CH)
Dr. Elizabeth A. Campbell (Rockefeller University New York, USA)
Prof. Dr. Pascale Cossart (Institute Pasteur Paris, F)
Prof. Dr. Sean Crosson (University of Chicago, USA)
Prof. Dr. Timothy J. Donohue (Wisconsin University, USA)
Prof. Dr. Richard H. Ebright (Rutgers University, USA)
Prof. Dr. Craig D. Ellermeier (University Iowa, USA)
Dr. Georg Fritz (Philipps-University Marburg, D)
Prof. Dr. Anne Galinier (CNRS Marseille, F)
Prof. Dr. Susanne Gebhard (University of Bath, UK)
Prof. Dr. Chris Grant (University of Manchester, UK)
Prof. Dr. Eduardo A. Groisman (Yale University New Haven, USA)
Prof. Dr. Carol A. Gross (University of California at San Francisco, USA)
Prof. Dr. John D. Helmann (Cornell University Ithaca, USA)
Prof. Dr. Johannes Herrmann (Universität Kaiserslautern, D)
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang R. Hess (University Freiburg, D)
Prof. Dr. Regine Kahmann (Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology Marburg, D)
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Mascher (University Dresden, D)
Prof. Dr. Markus Ralser (University of Cambridge, UK)
Prof. Dr. Uwe Sauer (ETHZ Zürich, CH)
Prof. Dr. Julia Vorholt (ETHZ Zürich, CH)


All participants need to register here



Standard price: 270 € (incl. fee and taxes)
Standard price with dinner: 300 € (incl. dinner & drinks, fee and taxes)

Standard registration includes

·         Registration and conference fees
·         Welcome reception
·         Lunch and coffee breaks incl. drinks


You can apply for a short talk. To do so, please submit an abstract before June 15th that includes the following information:

·         Title
·         Authors and adress
·         Summary (max. 250 words)
·         max. 2 references
·         font: Arial 11

We will examine all received abstracts and select the ten best for a short talk. You will be informed if you have been selected. We accept files in Word (doc or docx). Please sent your abstract to


Please bring along a printed copy of your poster (max. A0 format, in portrait orientation).


Marburg’s unique location offers visitors to the university town an unforgettable stay between Elisabeth church and the castle of the Landgrave, between river and mountains. Whether it’s relaxing on the banks of the Lahn, exploring the old town or a stop at the castle gate, Marburg offers wonderful moments and breathtaking vistas at 100 metres above sea level.

Historic monuments and green oases, time-honoured history and modern student life -– Marburg brings together, in often surprising fashion, the town life and the wonder of nature, the past and the present, progress and Tradition. (Text by Marburg Tourismus)

The University of Marburg was founded in 1527 by “Philip the Generous”, Count of Hesse. It has been a vibrant place of research, teaching and scientific discussions for nearly five centuries. The Philipps University shapes modern city life with over 26,500 students focusing on medicine, natural sciences, humanities and social studies.

Visit (or for more information about our beautiful town. You can also get more information about Marburg from the friendly staff of the Tourist information since their office is located in the building where the conference will take place.

The conference will take place at the Erwin-Piscator-Haus, Biegenstrasse 15, 35037 Marburg, Germany.

Photos by Georg Kronenberg

Public transportation (recommended):

Step out of the main train station, cross the road to get to the bus stop. Take bus line 1 - 5 and 7 and exit at stop “Rudolphsplatz”, which is near the venue.

Click here to see the departure times of the busses from the main train station to Rudolphsplatz.

By car:

Coming from the north, exit the freeway at “Bahnhofstraße“ and turn right at the first traffic light. Coming from the south, exit the freeway also at “Bahnhofstraße“ and turn right at the next three traffic lights. Follow the course of the road and always stay right, the street will separate into two lanes and join again at the Elisabeth church. Drive straight ahead until you are in a street called “Pilgrimstein”, where you will find a (charged) parking deck at your right (red arrow on the map).

Address of the nearest parking garage for navigation devices:
Pilgrimstein 17, 35037 Marburg



Travel & Accomodation


Travel to Marburg

Marburg is located about 100 km north of Frankfurt. There is an hourly train service from Frankfurt main station to Marburg (Lahn) Hauptbahnhof. For details, please refer to the website of Deutsche Bahn.


In cooperation with the office for touris information, we reserved some hotel rooms in Marburg.
You can find more information at
For booking a hotel room, please contact Theresa Birk:

Phone: +49 (0)6421 991224
Fax: +49 (0)6421 2012332

IMPORTANT: Please mention SFB 987-ERA while booking an accomondation via the tourist information office.