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The keynote speakers for this event are

North America

Karine Gibbs
Harvard University
United States
Research area: self- and non-self recognition in bacteria


Thulani Makhalanyane
University of Pretoria
South Africa
Research area: ecology of microbial communities in extreme environments

Thulani Makhalanyane is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology at University of Pretoria. He completed his undergraduate and honor’s degree at the North West University (Mafikeng Campus) before moving to the University of the Western Cape where he earned his MSc (cum laude) and doctoral degree in 2013. His scientific interests focus primarily on fundamental questions in the field of microbial ecology, genomics, and microbial metabolic activity. Understanding microbial community dynamics in natural systems is a central goal of his research. Thulani’s current research spans across ecologically extreme terrestrial and marine environments. 
Thulani has coauthored over 45 publications in leading international journals and written several book chapters. Thulani has received several awards, including the prestigious National Science and Technology Foundation TW-Kambule Award (2014/2015). He was elected to the board of the International Society for Microbial Ecology in 2018. Thulani serves on the editorial boards of Environmental Microbiology, mSystems and Frontiers in Microbiology and is a regular reviewer for several. Since joining the University of Pretoria in 2014, he has been a supervisor/co-supervisor of 15 postgraduate students (7 Hons, 4 MSc. and 4 Ph.D.) and hosted 4 postdoctoral researchers. Thulani is principal supervisor to 12 students (5 MSc. and 9 Ph.D.) and co-supervises 2 Ph.D. students.


Janelle Thompson
Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering
Research area: relationship between structure of microbial communities and their function

#UnityInDiversity highlights the diversity of the microbial ecology field by showcasing scholars from all over the world. ISME has a wide range of diverse members throughout the world and is taking action to shine a light on this diversity.

Confirmed Invited Speakers:

North America
Nkrumah Grant, University of Idaho, USA
Nikki Traylor-Knowles, University of Miami, USA
Paul Turner, Yale University, USA

South America 
Sara Cuadros, Universidad Católica del Maule, Chile
Pedro Meirelles, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil

Clémence Joseph, KU-Leuven, Belgium
Sara Mitri, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Nancy Obeng, University of Kiel, Germany

Sub-Saharan Africa
Benjamin Enagbonma, North-West University, South Africa 
Wesaal Khan, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Olubukola Oluranti Babalola, North-West University, South Africa

North Africa & the Middle East
Hanin Alzubaidy, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
Ramy K. Aziz, Cairo University, Egypt
Aashish Jha, NYU Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Hisashi Endo,  Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan
Fanghua Liu, Yantai Institute of Coastal Research, China
Hyun Ju You, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Kim Handley, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Brajesh Singh, University of Western Sydney, Australia
Rochelle Soo, University of Queensland, Australia