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Celebrating International Microorganism Day

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Hands on activities and talks by ITQB NOVA researchers

Oeiras, 11.09.2018

International Microorganism Day (since 2017) aims to raise awareness among young people and the society in general on the essential role that microorganisms play in our health, environment and quality of life, as well as of their biotechnological potential.

It is celebrated on 17th of September, the day in 1683 when the Dutch Anton van Leeuwenhoek – a merchant with no fortune or university degrees - sent a letter to the Royal Society of London, reporting the first description of a single-celled organism. This unlikely scientist displayed infinite curiosity, being a pacient and tireless worker, gifted with extraordinary power of observation. He built and developed his own microscopes (hundreds of them!), perfecting the lenses of his optical system and thus making it possible to obtain extraordinary amplifications, well ahead of his time, and to observe and describe, for the first time, microorganisms. In this famous letter, an exquisite description was made of the first observation of living bacteria present on the dental plaque, which was accompanied by drawings of the microorganisms and their movements. Finaly reaching Microscopic Life, the foundations of Microbiology were laid.

The 2018 edition of the International Microorganism Day will happen in several cities and include activities done by dozens of scientists across Portugal that are working on Microbiology. Open Laboratories, Do-It-Yourself experimental exhibits, Microbial product tasting stands, Workshops for high-school and university undergraduate students and Workshops for high-school teachers. Gathering all participants in Portugal and the remaining adherent countries, a streaming session will be organized with high-impact seminars, given by outstanding scientists, focused on hot topics in modern Microbiology.

ITQB NOVA will be present again this year, with hands on activities and invited lectures (see program bellow).

The 2nd International Microorganism Day is an initiative of the Portuguese Society of Microbiology, in collaboration with Ordem dos Biólogos, Ciência Viva Agency, the Portuguese Society of Ecology and the high patronage of the Portuguese National Commision for UNESCO.


ITQB NOVA participation (full program here)

Hands-on activities, Main Hall Central Building



Talks, Salão Nobre Central Building

10h10 - The revolution of microscopy in cellular and molecular microbiology: Electron Cryomicroscopy, Célia Romão

14h45 - Bacterial Cell Division, Mariana Gomes de Pinho


Coordination: Lígia Saraiva Lab

With Science Communication Office

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