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Welcome Letter

Welcome to the International Conference on Mycorrhizas (ICOM 12) that will take place from Sunday 4th to Friday 9th August 2024 at Manchester, UK!

The theme of ICOM12 is “Bridging gaps in form, function and diversity”. Alongside showcasing some of the most exciting and cutting-edge mycorrhizal research, we will address this theme through conversation, culture, gastronomy, and fun.

Our emphasis on diversity applies not only to the scientific theme but also to the delegates: we aim to make sure this is the most diverse and inclusive ICOM yet and so we warmly welcome you all.

We have a stimulating programme that includes keynote talks from eminent established scientists as well as ‘rising stars’. The four plenary themes are: Managing mycorrhizas for sustainability and food security; Functional consequences of mycorrhizal fungal diversity; Regulation of transport in mycorrhizal networks; Mycorrhizas as drivers of interaction networks.

The plenary themes are supported by parallel sessions that will cover topics such as: Mycorrhizas in ecosystem structure and function; Evolution of a mycorrhizal world: drivers and under-explored mycorrhizal systems; Genes to molecules: mechanisms of resource exchange; Mycorrhizas, climate and environmental change; Strengthening links between genomics and ecology. In addition, we will shortly be putting out a call for workshop themes to which we welcome applications from all participants.

For all sessions, we will seek to include talks that capture the full diversity of research on mycorrhiza, so we expect there will be something for everyone regardless of whether you work at scales from sub-cellular to global, are interested in mechanisms, processes and patterns, or have a favourite study system.

The venue for ICOM12 is the “Manchester Central” conference centre, which as the name suggests, is located in the heart of the city providing easy access to the city and simple access from the international airport. It also provides fantastic space for our wonderful sponsors and trade stands, so we hope you can make the most of their attendance.

ICOM has never been to the UK, so we are very excited to give you the chance to sample outstanding international cuisine, some of the finest ‘public houses’ in the country, alongside the varied culture, humour and history the UK and the North of England, in particular, has to offer.  We know from past experience that networking opportunities are vital in pushing forward the science and helping early career researchers expand their horizons. To that end, we will be organising some *essential* social events, as well as suggesting many options for those that prefer to do their own thing. 

We look forward to seeing you in August 2024, on behalf of the local organising committee, the International Mycorrhiza Society, and Kenes Group, who are managing the event.

David Johnson (University of Manchester)
Thorunn Helgason (University of Edinburgh)
Katie Field (University of Sheffield)
Tim Daniell (University of Sheffield)
Uta Paszkowski (University of Cambridge)