British Society for Microbial Technology

The article Introducing NGS to the clinical microbiology laboratory: an update was published in the August edition of Pathology in Practice by Dr Adela Medina and Dr Mark Wilks. The paper summarises the presentation Adela planned to give at the 2020 BSMT Annual Scientific Conference - it discusses the work using Oxford Nanopore sequencing directly on clinical specimens from patients to identify rapidly any bacteria, fungi or DNA viruses present.

It’s goodbye PHE and hello National Institute for Health Protection by Dr Valerie Bevan was published in Pathology on Practice in October 2020. The article explores the history of Public Health England and discusses how the impact of the demise of PHE might affect its staff and governance.

Another article by Valerie Bevan Women advancing in science: an ongoing tale of inequalities was featured in the October 2019 edition of Pathology in Practice discussing why women continue to struggle to get to the top in science.

Read The Laboratory Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic by Brian Duerden (who has chaired many BSMT scientific conferences) and colleagues - like many other microbiologists and the public health community, Brian and colleagues are very concerned about the COVID-19 microbiology testing debacle and the consequences of the demise of PHE.

Brian has also written an introduction to the article which can be read here.

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The BSMT is renowned for its excellent Microbiology conferences!

  • Covid 19 - The Infection Challenging the World

    Tuesday 11 May - Friday 14 May 2021

    The BSMT is organising a virtual conference in conjunction with media partner Pathology in Practice on laboratory related aspects of COVID-19. The conference will be FREE and held over 4 afternoons (Tuesday 11 May - Friday 14 May 2021) with 2 pre-recorded lectures at 2pm and 3 pm – pre-recording will enable participants to listen in a time of their choosing. Each session will be introduced by a moderator who will also chair a live Q&A session after each presentation.

    Although the conference will be FREE, you will need to register. Watch this space for more information on how to register!

    The virtual conference has internationally renowned speakers including:
    • Dr Michael Head, University of Southampton, on the COVID-19 pandemic & global health
    • Professor Jonathan Deeks, University of Birmingham, on evaluating test performance for the diagnosis of COVID-19
    • Dr Catherine Moore, Public Health Wales, on her experience setting up & running a SARS-CoV-2 testing service
    • Professor Alan McNally, University of Birmingham, on setting up & running a Lighthouse Lab for mass SARS-CoV-2 testing
    • Professor Jonathan Edgeworth, Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, on secondary bacterial and fungal infections in COVID-19 patients

    • Professor Eric Bolton, Public Health England
    • Dr Kate Templeton, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
    • Professor Brian Duerden CBE, Emeritus Professor of Medical Microbiology, Cardiff University
    • Dr Mark Wilks, Barts and the London, Queen Mary University of London

    We are also grateful to the following companies who will be supporting the conference:
    Alpha Laboratories Ltd
    Altona Diagnostics
    Becton Dickinson UK Ltd
    BioConnections Ltd
    bioMérieux UK Ltd
    Bruker UK Ltd
    Culture Collections Public Health England
    Don Whitley Scientific
    Launch Diagnostics Ltd
    Mast Group Ltd
    Medical Wire and Equipment Co
    Mobidiag Ltd
    Pro-Lab Diagnostics
    Randox Laboratories Ltd
    R-Biopharm Rhône Ltd
    Serosep UK Ltd
    University of Greenwich (Faculty of Engineering and Science)
    Werfen UK Ltd

    The BSMT Committee regrets that the BSMT 35th Annual Scientific Conference has been postponed due to the pandemic until 12 May 2022 and we have again booked the RAF Museum in Hendon. We will be updating the programme and application form in the Autumn and hope that you will be able to register.

New BSMT President

The BSMT is delighted to announce that Dr Kate Templeton from the University of Edinburgh will be the next President of the BSMT. Kate has presented at several BSMT Conferences and replaces Professor Eric Bolton who has been our President since 2012. We thank Eric for his massive contribution to the Society and for chairing the conferences since 2010. We will miss you Eric.

Both Kate and Eric will be moderators at the Virtual BSMT Conference on COVID in May.

New Website

We will soon be having a new website developed by Mike Brind at Step Communications Ltd. This existing website was built 15 years ago by Henry Bevan and has served us well – thank you Henry.

About the Conferences

BSMT conferences are aimed at senior biomedical and clinical scientists, other scientists, medical microbiologists and other healthcare professionals. They are particularly relevant for bench microbiologists to provide up-to-date information about organisms and techniques especially with regard to new molecular technologies.

The 34th BSMT Annual Scientific Symposium was held at the RAF Museum in Hendon, the first time we had used this prestigious venue. It was a great success with the added bonus that delegates could visit the Museum afterwards. The theme of the meeting was respiratory microbiology and a striking feature was demonstrating the increasing disconnect between traditional culture based methods, which are still the mainstay of nearly all diagnostic microbiology labs for diagnosing infection, and the number of commercial molecular tests available.

Full use was made of the increased space available, which permitted a record attendance of 150 delegates and a greatly increased trade exhibition.

A comprehensive write-up was published in the August editions of Pathology in Practice and an overview appeared in The Biomedical Scientist.

Follow the link to the evaluation report.

Recent Events

  • BSMT Annual Scientific Conference 2019
    Thursday 16 May 2019, Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon
    Respiratory Microbiology – A Day of Inspiration

    Professor Brian Duerden CBE and Professor Eric Bolton, President of the BSMT, chaired the conference.

    We again had a comprehensive trade show and are grateful to the following commercial companies for supporting the conference. It is only with their support that BSMT conferences can take place:

    • Alpha Laboratories Limited
    • Beckman Coulter UK Limited
    • Becton Dickinson UK Limited
    • Bioconnections Limited
    • BioMérieux UK Limited
    • Bruker UK Limited
    • Culture Collections Public Health England
    • Don Whitley Scientific Limited
    • E&O Laboratories
    • Genetic Signatures
    • Qiagen
    • Launch Diagnostics Limited
    • Mast Group Limited
    • Medical Wire and Equipment Co Limited
    • Mobidiag Ltd
    • Pro-lab Diagnostics
    • R-Biopharm Rhône Limited
    • Serosep UK Ltd
    • Siemens Healthineers
    • Sysmex UK Ltd

Evaluation Reports

View the Evaluation Report on the 2019 Annual Scientific Symposium here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2018 Autumn Symposium in Liverpool here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2013 Sheffield Symposium here

Responding to the Evaluation Reports

The BSMT committee is very pleased with the feedback from delegates on the scientific meetings where over 90% of those completing the form scored the content, speakers and venue very highly. Praise from delegates included:
Excellent speakers
Professional presentations in high profile establishment with excellent Chairs
Excellent trade show and opportunity for networking
Good food
Variety of topics

Please follow the link to find out about the criticisms and how we are responding!

Past Events

Follow the link to see information on other BSMT conferences.

About Us

The BSMT is a not-for-profit organisation of healthcare scientists and medical microbiologists working mainly in the NHS and Public Health England. The society's aim is to promote an exchange of information on laboratory practices in clinical microbiology and it does this mainly by organising an annual scientific conference every May and every other year (or when possible) holds an autumn symposium in a regional venue.

The BSMT was founded in 1985 by microbiologists from a widespread geographical area in the UK with a common interest in antimicrobial susceptibility sensitivity testing and with concerns about the plethora of methods and the need for validation of procedures. Since then, the BSMT has become broader in its interests and covers many different aspects of microbial technology and management. The BSMT has complementary roles by offering grants to support laboratory based education and facilitating consultation of microbiology guidance / policies via this website.

Laboratory Education Grants

The BSMT offers Laboratory Education Grants of up to £1000. Ideally, these will support the practical side of laboratory-orientated education. For example, they may be used to purchase consumables or commercial kits used in the project module of microbiology courses.

Grants will be awarded on the basis of the application’s quality and its relevance to diagnostic microbiology. Submissions should include a budget breakdown of costs.

If you would like to apply, please fill out the Laboratory Education Grants Application Form and post it to the address in the form. If you would like to discuss an application in advance of applying, please contact Sally Lowe at

Invitation to Comment on UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations

All microbiologists are invited to comment of the UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations (SMIs).
To access current SMIs and documents under consultation follow the following link on the PHE website: UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations.
To access documents "under consultation" please go to the following link Publications: Consultations.

Additional information on the UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations can be viewed here.


Contact the BSMT at