The Tiny Earth Summer Symposium Committee, led by co-chairs Dr. Heather Pelzel (UW-Whitewater) and Dr. Brian Merkel (UW-Green Bay), hosted the annual summer research symposium at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Tiny Earth is headquartered. The in-person conference returned to WID for the first time since 2019, reigniting the network’s face-to-face engagement through a suite of instructor workshops and activities, student research presentations, and talks from experts in a diverse range of fields.

Plenary speakers, Dr. Jo Handelsman (UW-Madison), Dr. César de la Fuente (University of Pennsylvania), and Dr. David Andes (UW-Madison) delivered a series of presentations on cutting-edge approaches and considerations to antibiotic discovery and stewardship. Dr. Handelsman, Tiny Earth founder and recent inductee to the National Academy of Sciences, brought the audience’s attention to the soil crisis that threatens food security and antibiotic discovery. Her talk was complemented by Dr. de la Fuente and Dr. Andes, who shared new antibiotic-discovery approaches such as artificial intelligence and insect microbiota, respectively.

Energized by the plenary speakers’ thought-provoking presentations, students gathered to share their own antibiotic-discovery research. Over 75 students from 21 colleges and universities presented their research findings. Their posters can be found on the 2023 Tiny Earth Summer Symposium webpage.

Prior to the main event, Tiny Earth Partner Instructors (TEPIs) engaged in interactive activities revolving around Curriculum, Community, and Science & Discovery. Workshop topics included Scientific Teaching Course (STC), Antiracism, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (AJEDI), and Pythium Assays. Seventeen TEPIs presented Tapas Talks ranging from new ideas for soil curricula and international Tiny Earth engagement to Tiny Earth in space!

Thank you to the Tiny Earth network, WID team, Tiny Earth Summer Symposium, and our sponsors for making this event possible!

—Trang Tran, Outreach Specialist