The fifth Congress of the International Human Microbiome Consortium (IHMC) was held in Luxembourg from March 31-April 2, 2015 with the title: “Future Directions for Human Microbiome Research in Health and Disease. A total of 50 internationally renowned scientists and experts in a diverse range of fields applicable to microbiome research have been invited as speakers.

The first plenary session addressed the evolutionary basis of the host-microbiome symbiosis and the significance of the microbiome in human biology and human evolution, while the second plenary session described state-of-the-art research in the role of the microbiome in a wide spectrum of human diseases and disorders. The third plenary session, focused on future applications and directions for the field and discuss the challenges of conducting microbiome research in resource-limited regions of the world. The six concurrent sessions was designed to provide more in-depth exposure to the current approaches and methods for microbiome research. These sessions were focused on: computational and integrative “-omics” analyses, the causative role of microbiome in diseases, emerging model systems, new methodologies and tools, interventions for microbiome disorders, and microbiome biobanking. The last session of the Congress was a “Futures” Roundtable. The open floor discussion brought all of the Congress participants back together for an opportunity to discuss where this field is going and what is needed to advance the field.