2017 Evergreen International Phage Meeting
The 22nd biennial Evergreen Bacteriophage conference was held from 6-11 August 2017 at the Evergreen State College.
Special Africa focus: Paul Mutumba and Jesca Nakavuma.
Overview, present focus and history of the current major phage-related meetings
Starting in 1945, Max Delbrück greatly stimulated and redirected the course of phage research by organizing annual phage courses and phage meetings at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, drawing scientists from around the world and leading to the development of molecular biology. Phage research and funding blossomed, but then declined as new phage-derived techniques enabled the molecular analyses of other organisms, and the Cold Spring Harbor phage meetings evolved into “Phage and Microbial Genetics”. They have now been shifted to the University of Madison, Wisconsin, but only generally include one session on phage.
The Evergreen International Phage Biology Meeting is the only current US meeting concentrating exclusively on phage. It started in 1975 as a west-coast lytic-phage meeting, reflecting the fact that the traditional Cold Spring Harbor meeting had decreased its emphasis on lytic phages and had also become too expensive for many, particularly for students. With the help of Bruce Alberts, Chris Mathews, Gisela Mosig, Fumio Arisaka, Jan Drake, Eleanor Spicer, Peter Gauss, Wolfgang Rueger, Vadim Mesyanzhinov, Eric Miller, Jim Karam and others, it soon became an international meeting, which was the birthplace of the T4 genome project, of the 1983 and 1994 ASM Bacteriophage T4 books, and of many key collaborations. The 1983 book was ASM’s first monograph, with much collaboration between all relevant labs on each chapter. Evergreen gradually grew into a broader, much more general phage meeting in the mid 1990’s, as people became aware of the Eastern European therapeutic work and the ranges of phage studies and applications became much broader. The 2017 meeting drew over 200 people from 43 countries.
Complementary Meetings: This year, there were also 2 special celebrations in Europe of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Felix d’Herelle’s first paper on phage. The first, at the Pasteur Institute, was April 24-27. The second, in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, was in June. Major meetings exploring Viruses of Microbes more broadly are now held in alternate years, usually in July. The Pasteur Institute held the first Viruses of Microbes meeting in 2010 in Paris, in 2012 it was at the military academy in Brussels, in 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland, and in 2016 in Liverpool, England. The next is scheduled in Wroclaw, Poland in July 2018.