Dr. Rob Knight is the founding Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation and Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, and Computer Science & Engineering at UC San Diego.  He is the Wolfe Family Endowed Chair in Microbiome Research at Rady Children’s.  He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Microbiology. He was honored with the 2019 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for his microbiome research and received the 2017 Massry Prize, often considered a predictor of the Nobel. He is the author of “Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes” (Simon & Schuster, 2015), coauthor of “Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), and written over 800 scientific articles. He spoke at TED in 2014 which is viewed over 2.1 million times.

His lab has produced many of the software tools and laboratory techniques that enabled high-throughput microbiome science, including the QIIME pipeline (cited over 30,000 times as of this writing) and UniFrac (cited over 10,000 times including its web interface). He is co-founder of the Earth Microbiome Project, the American Gut Project, and the company Biota, Inc., which uses DNA from microbes in the subsurface to guide oilfield decisions. His work has linked microbes to a range of health conditions including obesity and inflammatory bowel disease, has enhanced our understanding of microbes in environments ranging from the oceans to the tundra, and made high-throughput sequencing techniques accessible to thousands of researchers around the world. Dr. Knight can be followed on Twitter (@knightlabnews) or on his web site http://knightlab.ucsd.edu/

Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai  is the Director of the Division of Biosphere Sciences and Engineering at Carnegie Institution for Science and a Faculty Associate at California Institute of Technology. Her research group studies the role of beneficial bacteria in health using the squid-vibrio model.

McFall-Ngai has also been heavily involved in promoting microbiology as the cornerstone of the field of biology. In support of this effort, she recently served at the White House during the Obama Administration on the committee for the development of the National Microbiome Initiative. She was a Moore Scholar at California Institute of Technology (2011-2013) and a Guggenheim fellow (2010), is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2002), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011), and the National Academy of Sciences (2014).

Past FRMS Keynote Speakers

2022 Zakee Sabree and Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello

2019 Jill Banfield and Ed Yong