BLAST meetings were created to provide a way for the bacterial locomotion and signal transduction community to meet in alternate years when the biennial Gordon Research Conference on Sensory Transduction In Microorganisms is not held. Furthermore, the BLAST meetings are designed to:

  • Minimize meeting and travel costs to the greatest extent possible consistent with a high quality meeting, in order to maximize the opportunity for young scientists to attend.

  • Avoid an attendance cap to allow wide participation.

  • Provide preference for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and early career investigators when choosing oral presentations for the meeting program.

  • Choose most talks from submitted abstracts, and limited speakers subsidized by other attendees.

  • Provide a meeting focused exclusively on prokaryotic microorganisms. 

  • Promote student and postdoc success by giving out travel, poster and talk awards. 

The Bacterial Locomotion and Signal Transduction (BLAST) group was founded in 1990 by Phil Matsumura, Joe Falke, Mike Manson, and Sandy Parkinson.  For more information on BLAST history, see the excellent historical review written by Gerald Hazelbauer (Hazelbauer, G.L. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 66, 285 (2012)).  BLAST is legally incorporated in North Carolina as a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(3)(c) charitable organization.

BLAST Board of Directors
Robert Bourret
Chair (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Rasika Harshey (University of Texas Austin) January 2023

Birgit Scharf (Virginia Tech) January 2025

Gladys Alexandre (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) January 2027

Ariane Briegel (Leiden University) January 2029

BLAST Social Media Chair
Maria Hadjifrangiskou (Vanderbilt University, US)

Emeritus Board members
Joe Falke (University of Colorado)
Urs Jenal (Biozentrum, Basel, Switzerland)
Mike Manson (Texas A&M University)
Sandy Parkinson (University of Utah)
Philip Matsumura
Emeritus Chair (University of Illinois-Chicago)

Alan Wolfe (Loyola University)

Karen Ottemann (University of California, Santa Cruz) January 2021