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The Gordon Research Seminar on Applied and Environmental Microbiology is a unique forum for early career researchers to present their latest results, exchange cutting-edge research approaches and ideas, and network with other peer-level scientists during two oral scientific sessions and two interactive poster sessions. A mentoring session and panel discussion provide the opportunity for young scientists to use four experts from diverse areas of research as sounding boards for their own scientific interests and expectations. This year’s GRS will highlight the mechanisms and applications of microbial languages. In the natural environment, built environment, or in human and non-human hosts, microbes commonly use small molecules or metabolites to coordinate behaviors and metabolisms, assemble into simple or complex communities, or mount a defense from intruders. Discussions of novel insights into microbial communication and its wide-ranging applications from pure culture studies to health and human services or environmental functioning and response will be encouraged.