Tbilisi Knowledge Hub
he series of biannual conferences on Viruses of Microbes, which was launched in Paris in 2010 and since then travelled all around Europe, reached Tbilisi in 2023.
The conference marks a new era in viral research which has begun with the recognition of viruses of microorganisms – viruses of bacteria, archaea, and microbial eukaryotes as predominant component of the biosphere and led to the identification of these viruses as major players in the global ecology, public health, microbial physiology, and evolution.
The Rector of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Academician Jaba Samushia has welcomed more than 500 scientists from 54 countries of all five continents, members of various scientific academies of America, Europe and Asia, who are participating in the international conference “Viruses of Microbes.” The conference will last for 5 days at TSU.
According to Rector Jaba Samushia, it is important that Tbilisi State University hosts a large-scale scientific event, the World Congress of Microbiologists, with the participation of leading scientists, who will discuss various fundamental issues about viruses of microorganisms. “Obviously, a conference of this importance in Georgia should have been held at TSU, because our university was at the forefront of scientific research in this field, and even today, TSU professors and students are successfully involved in international collaboration in the research of microbial viruses, responding to the challenges faced by all mankind,” Rector Jaba Samushia said.
Nodar Papukashvili, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, noted that the peculiarities of the spread of microorganisms on Earth are in the focus of world attention. “Basic research in this direction is indispensable. The problem of antibiotic resistance is still a challenge today, and therefore, their replacement by bacteriophage drugs will allow us to explore many new scientific directions. The contribution of Georgian scientists in this field is enormous. Today’s conference is an echo of this,” said Nodar Papukashvili.
Davit Prangishvili, Honorary Professor of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said that the prerequisite for holding such a conference in Georgia is the result of the great authority of Georgian scientists in the field of virus research and the interest of the international community in the knowledge and experience gained in Georgia in this field. “The conference is useful for Georgian scientists, on the one hand, to learn about the latest achievements in the field, the results of ongoing research, as well as to present their own research results and exchange experience with foreign colleagues, establish new scientific contacts and participate in international scientific projects. It is very important for young people to participate in this conference, because it opens the door to the international academic space. I hope that scientists of all generations will take advantage of this unique opportunity,” said Davit Prangishvili.
The international conference on microbial viruses - the most numerous and the most mysterious part of the virus world - will discuss the evolution, diversity of viruses of microorganisms, their role in the environment and the human body, and other fundamental issues. Attention will be paid to aspects using viruses of microorganisms, such as the creation of new nano-biotechnologies and the use of bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) in medical practice.
According to Prof. Eliora Ron (Tel Aviv University), member of the Board of the International Union of Microbiological Societies, the study of microbial viruses is a very important field today, because through them we are looking for new ways to fight infections. Prof. Ron noted that the final proceedings of the conference will be published in the Journal of the European Academy of Microbiology.
One of the pioneers and recognized leaders in the use of bacteriophages in medical practice is the Tbilisi-based Giorgi Eliava Bacteriophage Institute, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Georgian scientists occupy leading positions not only in research of bacterial viruses (bacteriophages), but also in research of another type of microorganisms - viruses of archaea. It is precisely for these reasons that the World Forum of Microbial Virologists is being held in Tbilisi, which, in turn, will contribute to highlighting the importance of this field in the Georgian scientific space and its further development.
The conference is jointly held by Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, the Georgian Association of Microbiologists and the Eliava Bacteriophage Institute. The organizers of the conference are Professor Nina Chanishvili and Honorary Professor Davit Prangishvili of the Pasteur Institute, on whose initiative a series of “Viruses of Microbes” conferences was launched at the Pasteur Institute in 2010. Previous conferences were held in Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, England and Portugal.