Message from our Ambassador of the Year, Prof. Rup Lal 

RL It was indeed an honor to accept the Best Ambassador Award during the Ambassador meet held during the ISME-18 conference   organized at Lausanne, Switzerland from August 14-19, 2022.  My journey as Senior Ambassador of the International Society for   Microbial Ecology (ISME), The Netherlands for the Indian Region, started in March 2017. To reiterate, I am truly humbled to have   been given this honour and privilege. It is really gratifying to work with ISME as an Ambassador to the Indian region. 

 Our focus during these five years has been to work towards the mission of propagating microbial ecology among microbiologists,   biologists, young graduates and faculty across different colleges, institutes, and universities in India. We achieved this by organizing   several workshops, conferences, pre-conference workshops and outreach programs. In the capacity of ISME Ambassador during the past 5 years, I have organized several workshops on genomics and metagenomics and the art of scientific writing and communication and delivered several lectures, especially on microbiome literacy for better management of Human Health and the environment. We even continued this endeavor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ISME office has been continuously supporting these events both financially and academically. In our honest opinion, these efforts in popularizing microbial ecology during the past five years have made a huge impact amongst our audience. Not only that, the platform that was provided by ISME also gave an opportunity to disseminate microbiology, especially microbial ecology, among members of society and children.

With ISME’s support, I built a network of young and energetic microbial ecologists in India. I was also supported by young ambassadors (Prof. Punyasloke Bhadury and Prof. Vishakha Raina) and my team of around 25 academicians for the successful organization of events that helped us in fulfilling our mission of propagation of microbial ecology. My team carried out activities (in the form of online webinars) even during the COVID lockdown, under the ambassador’s program. It was an incredibly productive experience for me as well as my team members.

In addition, ISME has helped us build a network of microbial ecologists from the South Asian countries of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Maldives. The first regional meeting of the regional network was successfully organized in Nepal, where we also organized an exclusive workshop on the role of computers in microbial ecology. We have incorporated such pre-conference workshops in the annual international conferences of the Indian Network for Soil Contamination Research and the Association of Microbiologists of India. Our long-term goal is to strengthen the South Asian Network to promote the exchange of scientific knowledge across the member countries. I once again thank and congratulate the entire ISME office for their untiring efforts for the propagation of microbial ecology.