Applied Molecular Microbiology

Applications are invited for a summer school on Microbial Specialised Metabolites: From Genomes to Biological Functions, the tenth in the series of John Innes – Rudjer Bošković Summer Schools on Applied Molecular Microbiology.

The summer school will be held at the Inter-University Centre (IUC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia between 7 – 15 September 2024

These summer schools are intended primarily for scientists at post-graduate and early post-doctoral level, or early career industrial scientists, but some junior faculty may also qualify. Over the years, these week-long courses have established a reputation for the quality of the faculty and participants, and a high degree of productive interaction.

The schools focus on the continuing interest in microbial metabolites that has resulted from the sequencing of the genomes of small molecule-producing microorganisms, coupled with the advances in sequencing technology, bioinformatics and chemical analysis. Ecological developments highlighting the wide range of roles for small molecules in microbial communities are also covered, as is the evolution of biosynthetic gene clusters and pathways.  The course brings together young scientists from around the world with diverse backgrounds, including molecular microbiology, chemistry, microbial ecology and bioinformatics, to share information that can lead to inter-disciplinary approaches to understanding and exploiting microbial metabolite production.  The summer school will include hands-on computational analysis of natural product gene clusters as well as small group discussions on topics chosen by the participants.

Financial support for the 2024 Summer School from the Boehringer Ingelheim Stiftung is gratefully acknowledged.

Read report of the 2022 Summer School




Administrative assistance:

Teaching Faculty:



 Content covered is likely to include:

  • isolation and screening of metabolite-producing microorganisms
  • purification and characterisation of microbial natural products
  • natural product biosynthesis and its regulation
  • ecology and evolution of natural product biosynthetic gene clusters
  • genome mining for novel natural products
  • prediction and characterisation of biosynthetic pathways in silico and experimentally
  • activation of transcriptionally silent cryptic gene clusters
  • natural products in microbial communities and cell-cell interactions
  • chemical ecology of insect-microbe symbiosis
  • specialised metabolites and plant-microbe interactions
  • marine microbial chemistry

Computer workshop:

The workshop will introduce software, websites and methods for the analysis of specialised metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters encoding modular polyketide synthases and/or non-ribosomal peptide synthetases. These websites and methods are useful for analysing cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters and making structural predictions about their metabolic products, providing examples of the increasing power of bioinformatics for deducing details of biosynthetic pathways from DNA sequences and hence aiding in the discovery of novel compounds.



A typical working day will include lectures in the morning, computer workshops, and small-group discussions and classes in the afternoon, and student presentations and poster sessions in the evening; all participants will be asked to bring a poster. There will be free time on the working days and one day will be devoted to an all-day excursion. There will be a welcome mixer party on the day of arrival and a farewell party on the final evening before departure the next day.

The course will be limited to 40-45 participants.



The 2024 Summer School will be held at the Inter-University Centre (IUC) in Dubrovnik, which provides bedroom accommodation (a mixture of single and twin bedrooms). Swimming from a rocky bathing spot is a few minutes’ walk from the Centre and the Old City of Dubrovnik is also very close. A sandy beach is less than 30 minutes’ walk away. Transfers from the airport are easy: the airport bus to town stops very close to the IUC.


Costs and applying

Participants will be accommodated in single or twin air-conditioned rooms at the IUC and meals will be provided there and at a restaurant within a couple of minutes of the Centre or at other venues in the beautiful Old City of Dubrovnik.

The total charge for the eight days board and lodging, including the opening reception and the closing party, is 1400 Euro.  Scientists from less developed countries, and other applicants subject to financial constraints, may apply for a grant from the Summer School (funding from the Boehringer Ingelheim Stiftung is gratefully acknowledged).

To apply, click here

All applications must be received by 2nd February 2024.

Applicants who are members of a FEMS Member Society may apply for a FEMS Meeting Attendance Grant.  See:

Please note that the deadline for the FEMS application is 1st March 2024