Symposium Policy

The MIT-Harvard Microbiome Symposium is committed to reflecting the core values of the MIT Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics: supporting excellent translational research, fostering collaborations across disciplines, and building an active and diverse community in the microbiome space.

In organizing the events of the day and choosing our speakers, we are motivated by the symposium’s goal of creating an active community and generating excitement about opportunities in the microbiome space, targeting both established researchers as well as others who may be unfamiliar with the field.

Speaker selection

We select our keynote speakers based on their record of pursuing excellent translational research and their potential to become leaders in our field. We strive for representation across disciplines, from basic scientific research to applied clinical practice. We recognize that certain groups are often underrepresented in the sciences, and that invitations to conferences and symposia can have long-term effects on the overall diversity of our field. We strive for a broad and diverse panel of speakers in our symposium, and explicitly commit to gender equality and racial diversity in our keynote speaker invitations. Selected flash talk speakers are chosen to reflect the diversity of research occurring in the microbiome field, with a preference for speakers who are traditionally underrepresented in conference proceedings.

In our inaugural 2016 symposium, 4 out of 6 invited speakers were women. Our speakers represented a mix of scientific backgrounds: 2 clinical, 2 translational science, 1 public health, and 1 industry speaker. Both of our keynotes came from outside of the Boston area and all of our flash talks were local to the Boston area.

Social Media Policy

Conference hashtag: #Mbiome2017

A major objective of the MIT-Harvard Microbiome Symposium is to share research and innovation with attendees and the wider public. We encourage the sharing of information from the conference on social media and it is expected that all presenters (talk and poster) implicitly allow their work to be photographed and shared. If anyone wishes to opt out, we cannot guarantee adherence, but provide these recommendations:

For talks, a verbal announcement at the beginning and a footer on every slide is recommended if the entire talk is embargoed. If specific images or slides are not for a wider audience, we recommend placing an image on particular slides that are embargoed (such as

For posters, we recommend a blurb on the poster and communication by the presenter.

The Society for Marine Mammalogy provides a thoughtful and helpful list of social media best practices, which we have selected and modified:

Social Media Best Practices

  • Presenters should give out handle and affiliation in title slide/poster. If you want recognition, give tweeters the details.
  • Always ask before posting images. Do not post figures or tables with data without consent and always get permission before posting images of people.
  • Differentiate your opinion from statements by presenter. Separate your own comments/viewpoints on the presenter or their science from the presenter’s own words by using different tweets. One is their statement, follow up is your commentary. If you don’t use quotes and/or attribution, readers will assume it’s your statement.
  • Direct quotes get “quotation marks”. Other people’s words belong to other people. This isn’t just on social media, its professional ethics.
  • Be respectful. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t post about it online


*Thank you to the Society for Marine Mammalogy for text and guidance.