Funding Alert: Contact Congress for Emergency Funding for ZikaPlease contact Congress to urge the immediate passage of a bipartisan emergency supplemental bill for Zika.
FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES
ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES
SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS
ASMCUE: New Initiatives, Opportunities in 2012
As the only national meeting that gathers faculty to learn and share best practices for teaching in the microbiological sciences, the Annual ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) is a must-attend event for more than 300 educators each year. This year marks the 19th occurrence of conference, which is planned for June 14-17 at the San Mateo Marriott, San Mateo, Calif.
ASMCUE attendees can look forward to numerous plenary sessions by scientists at the forefront of research and education; concurrent sessions that highlight effective classroom solutions and topics in science education; and short Microbrew sessions, i.e., "chalk-talks," on successful teaching strategies. In addition, special initiatives in place this year include a joint program with asm2012 (the ASM General Meeting), a new collaboration with the American Academy of Microbiology, and two opportunities to affect the future of science education.
Joint Program: ASMCUE and asm2012
This year’s ASMCUE will be held in conjunction with the nearby asm2012 meeting in San Francisco, Calif. The resulting joint program features two complimentary benefits for ASMCUE registrants. The first is a field trip to the opening asm2012 keynote session and reception on June 16, and the second is a registration pass for asm2012 sessions held on June 17.
Special Academy Presentations
On Friday, June 15, the American Academy of Microbiology, in partnership with ASMCUE and the ASM Education Board, will offer presentations on two topics from the Academy’s new FAQ report series, which takes a nontechnical approach to reporting on emerging news topics that involve microbes. The presentations will highlight information from the first two reports in the series: FAQ: Microbes and Oil Spills and FAQ: The Good, Bad, and Deadly. Published in February 2011, the reports are excellent supporting materials for faculty to use to supplement texts and deepen student understanding about current topics in microbiology. Copies of both reports will be available at the session.
Opportunities to Contribute to Future Directions in Science Education
On Friday, June 15, the ASMCUE community will receive an opportunity to provide input on a newly compiled set of biosafety guidelines for instructors of microbiology laboratories. Covering six topical areas that relate to the two biosafety levels most used by educators, the guidelines will reviewed and discussed in breakout working groups.
On Saturday, June 16, conferee feedback will be requested by editors of the MicrobeLibrary Laboratory Protocol Collection, a repository of peer-reviewed information on standard microbiology protocols. Needed feedback centers on ways educators incorporate the library’s newest protocols (carbohydrate fermentation, decarboxylase test, gelatin agar, and starch agar) in their teaching. Especially sought are tips and tools that can enhance use of the protocols or provide advice for first-time users. Outcomes of the session will be reviewed and published at Microbelibrary.org, and participants will be recognized as contributors to the publication.
With such a packed lineup of events to choose from, attendees are sure to come away with numerous new tools for teaching, new collaborations, and reconnections with old friends. April 20 is the last day to register, so don’t delay. For more information, visit http://www.asmcue.org.
Professional Development Opportunities
ASM Education Board programs support student and faculty development through numerous fellowships, conferences, institutes, and workshops. Please share the following program opportunities with your students and colleagues in the microbiological sciences:
ASM Kadner Institute. The ASM Committee on Graduate and Postdoctoral Education invites senior-level graduate students and early-career postdoctoral scientists to apply for the 2012 ASM Kadner Institute for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scientists in Preparation for Careers in Microbiology. The Kadner Institute, which is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, will be held on July 21-25 at Michigan State University. Institute participants receive careful guidance and mentoring in key topics important for choosing and succeeding in microbiology careers: (i) career opportunities and preparation; (ii) preparation, review, and critique of research proposals; (iii) scientific presentations and communication; (iv) effective teaching methods; and (v) professional standards development. The application deadline is May 15, 2012. Learn more at http://www.asmgap.org.
ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship. The ASM Committee on Minority Education invites senior-level graduate students to apply for the 2012 ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship. The Watkins fellowship (i) seeks to increase the number of students from underrepresented minority groups who complete doctoral degrees and (ii) provides students with support to complete and present their microbiological-sciences-based research. Watkins fellows attend the ASM Kadner Institute for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scientists in Preparation for Careers in Microbiology (see above) or the ASM Scientific Writing and Publishing Institute (http://www.asmgap.org/swpi) and, dependent on abstract submission and acceptance, are supported to present their research at the ASM General Meeting. Interested students should apply by May 1, 2012. Learn more at:ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship.
Certification is a voluntary process in which individuals are recognized for demonstrating required skills and knowledge. It is achieved by demonstrating education and experience requirements and by passing a multiple-choice question exam. Many seek it to obtain a tangible and coveted credential that will set them apart from others who have similar education and experience. It gives employers a tool to help them make the right hire--a microbiologist who has been "tested" and "certified."
The American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM) certifies the expertise of doctoral-level microbiologists seeking to direct public health or clinical microbiology laboratories. It is recognized by federal and state governmental agencies as a significant component toward meeting licensure requirements to direct laboratories engaged in the microbiological diagnosis of human disease. It is recognized under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 final rule and in all 12 states that require licensure.
ABMM certification is achieved by passing an online multiple-choice exam that is offered daily in the month of June at testing centers worldwide. Visit http://www.microbiologycert.org/ to learn more and apply online.
Deadline: April 1, 2012
ASM PRESS: Recently Published Titles
Germ Theory: Medical Pioneers in Infectious Diseases
Author: Robert P. Gaynes
List Price: $29.95
Member Price: $24.95
From Hippocrates to Lillian Wald - the stories of scientists whose work changed the way we think about and treat infection.
Recommended for anyone with an interest in microbiology, infectious diseases, or medical history.
Medically Important Fungi: A Guide to Identification, Fifth Edition
Author: Davise H. Larone
List Price: $109.95
Member Price: $99.95
The tool you need to confidently and accurately identify clinically relevant fungi.
Recommended for novice and experienced lab technologists and mycology students.
Oral Microbial Communities: Genomic Inquiry and Interspecies Communication
Editor: Paul E. Kolenbrander
List Price: $179.95
Member Price: $169.95
Understand how the intricacies of multispecies community life are related to human oral health.
Recommended for anyone interested in the role of oral microbiome in health, oral disease and systemic disease.
Microbial Metal and Metalloid Metabolism: Advances and Applications
Editors: John F. Stolz and Ronald S. Oremland
List Price: $159.95
Member Price: $149.95
The ideal reference for novice and experienced investigators interested in environmental biogeochemistry and bioremediation.
Recommended for advanced students, researchers, and professionals in microbial physiology, microbial ecology, and applied and environmental microbiology.
Find all of these titles and more at http://estore.asm.org/press
112th General Meeting | June 16-19, 2012 | San Francisco, CA
Late-Breakers Diagnostic Microbiology and Epidemiology Site Closes: March 23, 2012
Advance Registration Deadline: April 30, 2012
Join more than 8,000 microbiologists from around the world to learn about the latest advances in the field of microbiology at the asm2012 meeting. asm2012 promises to deliver a unique learning and networking opportunity where ideas and approaches can be shared across the various fields of microbiology. With over 3,500 abstracts submitted, you are guaranteed exposure to the field's latest discoveries and the broad range of scientific disciplines represented by the scientific program will address the needs of all attendees.
For more information about asm2012 go to: http://www.asm.org/asm2012
52nd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
September 9-12, 2012 | San Francisco, CA
Registration, Housing, and Website Open: March 5, 2012
Abstract Submission Closes: May 7, 2012
Late-Breaker Abstract Submission Opens: June 1, 2012
Travel Grant Application Submission Closes: June 29, 2012
Late-Breaker Abstract Submission Closes: July 30, 2012
ICAAC, the premier conference on antimicrobial agents and infectious diseases, showcases the latest-breaking science and lectures from top researchers from around the world. With over 60% of its attendees living outside of the United States, ICAAC provides a rare opportunity to bring together the field’s foremost leaders to discuss the state of infection control and prevention on a global scale.
Through oral and poster presentations, 10,000 physicians, clinical microbiologists, researchers, and pharmacists will come together to share their research, discover the latest breakthroughs, and work towards fostering global solutions to the problems of infectious diseases and antimicrobial agents.
For more information about ICAAC go to http://www.icaac.org
11th ASM Conference on Candida and Candidiasis
March 29 – April 2, 2012 | San Francisco, CA
Last Day to Register Online: March 12, 2012
Hotel Reservation Deadline (subject to availability): March 14, 2012
Candida is the major cause of invasive fungal infections, affecting AIDS patients, hospitalized patients, premature infants, and many others. The 11th ASM Conference on Candida and Candidiasis will provide a forum for the Candida research community to present the most recent advances and ideas, covering a broad spectrum of subjects from clinical issues to molecular mechanisms, from growth of the fungus to response of the host. The conference will help chart the course of future research and facilitate the urgent need to understand, treat, and prevent candidiasis.
4th ASM Conference on Prokaryotic Cell Biology and Development
May 6 - 10, 2012 | Montreal, Canada
Discounted Pre-registration Deadline: March 23, 2012
Housing Deadline (subject to availability): April 16, 2012
Last Day to Register Online: April 19, 2012
The central goals of this conference are to bring together researchers using the most sophisticated approaches to address the most important questions in the field of prokaryotic cell and developmental biology, and provide a forum for them to share ideas.
3rd ASM Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance in Zoonotic Bacteria and Foodborne Pathogens in Animals, Humans and the Environment
June 26 – 29, 2012 | Aix-en-Provence, France
Abstract Deadline: April 4, 2012
Discounted Pre-registration Deadline: May 15, 2012
Last Day to Register Online: June 8, 2012
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) remains a major public health concern despite significant progress in understanding the epidemiology of resistance, sources for selection, and the genetic mechanisms involved in both human and animal antimicrobial resistance. The 3rd ASM Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance in Zoonotic Bacteria and Foodborne Pathogens offers scientists from both backgrounds a unique, integrated platform to discuss these issues.
FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES
Eradication of HIV-1 from CNS Reservoirs: Implications for Therapeutics (R01, RFA-MH-13-030)
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) invite research grant applications to address the problem of HIV-1 persistence focused solely on the central nervous system (CNS) of HIV-infected persons treated with Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will support innovative research in five areas: (1) basic research to identify and characterize CNS-based cellular reservoirs of HIV-1 for individuals on HAART; (2) basic research to determine the mechanisms involved in the temporal establishment, maintenance, and resurgence of CNS-based HIV-1 reservoirs in relationship to the effects and timing of HAART, viral expression, and viral evolution within the brain; (3) development of physiologically relevant animal models and CNS-based cellular assays that recapitulate HIV-1 persistence and latency in the presence of effective HAART; (4) drug screening of potential agents which traverse the blood-brain barrier and eliminate latent or other sources of residual virus in the CNS; and (5) design of therapeutic strategies aimed at eradication of HIV-1 from the CNS. Applications ranging from basic to translational research in domestic and international settings are of interest. Multidisciplinary research teams are encouraged but not required. More information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-MH-13-030.html, and letters of intent are due August 12, 2012.
NIMHD Basic and Applied Biomedical Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01, RFA-MD-12-004)
This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is issued by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to solicit innovative grant applications on:
1. Biological and genetic research to explore disease mechanisms or pathways that influence health outcomes in minority and health disparity populations.
2. Clinical and translational research linking basic science discovery with effective treatment or clinical practice.
The overall goal of this initiative is to enhance our understanding of fundamental biological mechanisms involved in disease conditions and develop therapies or interventions that can directly or demonstrably contribute to the elimination of health disparities.
Biological, genetic, clinical and translational research projects investigating the etiology, physiology, genetic risk factors, molecular pathways, gene-environmental interactions, pharmacogenomic and personalized medicine in health disparity populations are particularly encouraged. More information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-MD-12-004.html, and letters of intent are due May 11, 2012.
Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER, NSF 12-524)
To address ecological questions that cannot be resolved with short-term observations or experiments, NSF established the Long Term Ecological Research Program (LTER) in 1980.Three unique components differentiate LTER research from projects supported by other NSF programs: 1) the research is located at specific sites chosen to represent major ecosystem types or natural biomes; 2) it emphasizes the study of phenomena over long periods of time, based upon data collection in five core areas; and 3) projects include significant integrative, cross-site, network-wide research. Research at LTER sites provides experiments, databases, and research programs for use by other scientists. It must test important ecological or ecosystem theories including, but not limited to, ecosystem stability, biodiversity, community structure, and energy flow. Recognizing that the value of long-term data extends beyond use at any individual site, NSF requires that data collected by all LTER sites be made broadly accessible. More information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12524/nsf12524.htm, and deadline is March 21, 2012.
Assembling the Tree of Life (ATOL, NSF 10-513)
A flood of new information, from whole-genome sequences to detailed structural information to inventories of earth's biota to greater appreciation of the importance of lateral gene transfer in shaping evolutionary history, is transforming 21st century biology. Along with comparative data on morphology, fossils, development, behavior, and interactions of all forms of life on earth, these new data streams make even more critical the need for an organizing evolutionary context. Phylogeny, the genealogical map for all lineages of life on earth, provides an overall framework to facilitate biological information retrieval, prediction and analysis. Currently, single investigators or small teams of researchers are studying the evolutionary pathways of heredity usually concentrating on taxonomic groups of modest size. Assembly of a framework phylogeny, or Tree of Life, for all major lineages of life requires a greatly magnified effort, often involving large teams working across institutions and disciplines. This is the overall goal of the Assembling the Tree of Life activity. The National Science Foundation announces its intention to continue support of creative and innovative research that will resolve evolutionary relationships for large groups of organisms throughout the history of life. Investigators also will be supported for projects in data acquisition, analysis, algorithm development and dissemination in computational phylogenetics and phyloinformatics. More information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2010/nsf10513/nsf10513.htm, and deadline is March 26, 2012.
Dimensions of Biodiversity FY2012 (NSF 12-528)
Despite centuries of discovery, most of our planet's biodiversity remains unknown. The scale of the unknown diversity on Earth is especially troubling given the rapid and permanent loss of biodiversity across the globe. With this loss, humanity is losing links in the web of life that provide ecosystem services, forfeiting an understanding of the history and future of the living world, and losing opportunities for future beneficial discoveries in the domains of food, fiber, fuel, pharmaceuticals, and bio-inspired innovation. More information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12528/nsf12528.htm, and deadline is April 10, 2012.
ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES
Clinical Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health is searching for a Clinical Director/Senior Investigator qualified for tenured appointment to direct its clinical research program. Additionally, the Clinical Director is expected to conduct her/his own independent research as a Senior Investigator. As Clinical Director/Senior Investigator, the incumbent is responsible for the leadership of the intramural NIMHD clinical program located at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Director of the clinical research program/Senior Investigator position is administratively within the Office of the Scientific Director, NIMHD. The successful candidate will oversee a combination of studies, including outpatient, inpatient, epidemiological, clinical protocols, and laboratory studies. Emphasis will be placed upon investigators with a primary research interest in clinical research; however, the selected candidate must adopt the NIMHD strategies in utilizing an interdisciplinary approach toward the science of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases that disproportionately affect the underserved populations in the U.S.
QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates must have an established and nationally or internationally recognized record in the conduct and supervision of clinical research in a discipline relevant to the field of minority health and health disparities research. Candidates should also have an established record of experience with clinical training, institutional review boards, and compliance with current clinical safety and regulatory issues. Candidates must have a Doctor of Medicine degree from a school in the United States or Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) in the year of the applicant's graduation, or a Doctor of Medicine or equivalent degree from a non-LCME accredited medical school that is certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) or hold a Fifth Pathway certificate issued prior to December 31, 2009. Candidates must be board certified or board-eligible in a medical specialty approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and have the ability to obtain medical licensure in the U.S.
SALARY/BENEFITS: The Clinical Director, NIMHD, will be appointed at a salary commensurate with his/her qualifications and experience. Full Federal benefits, including leave, health and life insurance, retirement and savings plan (401K equivalent) will be provided. This position is subject to public financial disclosure requirements.
HOW TO APPLY: Interested candidates should send a letter of interest, including a brief description of research and administrative experience; curriculum vitae and bibliography; and full contact information for three to five individuals who may be contacted to provide letters of reference. Application packages should be sent to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, c/o Dr. Richard Cannon, Chair, Search Committee, 6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 800, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, or electronically: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Subject Line: NIMHD Clinical Director Search. For further information about the position, please contact Ms. Keta Lawson at 301-594-3986 or email@example.com. ALL information provided by the candidates will remain confidential and will not be released outside the NIMHD search process without a signed release from candidate. The NIH encourages the application and nomination of qualified women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities. Applications must be received by Monday, March 19, 2012. DHHS and NIH are Equal Opportunity Employers. Deadline is March 19, 2012.
Deputy Director, Division of Extramural Activities (NIAID)
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is one of the largest Institutes of the world-renowned National Institutes of Health (NIH). With a budget approaching $4.5 billion annually, NIAID supports and conducts basic, applied, and clinical research to better understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. The Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) oversees grants, contracts, peer review, and extramural policy and information dissemination for NIAID. DEA also directly supports extramural research through research training and career development programs, small business research awards, and international extramural activities in the areas of allergy, immunology, transplantation, and infectious diseases.
The selected candidate will serve as deputy to the DEA director and fully share responsibility for managing DEA’s grants, contracts, peer review, and policy functions. In collaboration with the director, the deputy participates in the planning, administration, development, and evaluation of DEA’s research management programs and in directing, overseeing, and evaluating DEA’s ongoing activities through subordinate supervisors, project leaders, program specialists, and contract employees. The deputy also has full responsibility to manage the DEA units and staff responsible for coordination of training and career development programs, small business innovative research, and international extramural research policies. The deputy represents the division at NIAID, NIH, national, and international meetings and conferences; makes scientific policy presentations at scientific/medical meetings; and serves as a key advisor to the directors of DEA and NIAID. The chosen candidate must have the ability to encourage participation and partnering with public and private/commercial entities to transition basic research knowledge into the development of products that will improve human health in the United States and globally.
Applicants must have an M.D., Ph.D., or equivalent degree, be a U.S. citizen, and exhibit a broad scientific management vision; an ability to lead staff; an outstanding ability to communicate with diverse audiences; flexibility in responding to multiple and rapidly emerging issues; and a demonstrated expertise in supervision and management of a broad and complex biomedical research program encompassing one or more of the following areas: biomedical research relevant to the NIAID mission, research training and career development, international research collaborations, or small business biotechnology research development. The chosen candidate will possess the supervisory, project management, interpersonal, and oral and written communication skills required to interact effectively with staff, representatives of academia, private industry, national and international research and health organizations, other units of NIH, the media, and the general public.
Candidates must be familiar with both standard university grantee processes as well as private laboratory and small business organizations with regard to conduct and management of complex biomedical research projects and training programs. They must have a clear understanding of regulatory requirements pertaining to such things as use of animals, human subjects, infectious agents, and other biohazards. Familiarity with research program initiative development, clinical regulatory affairs, and intellectual property issues, either as an NIH grantee or program director, would be a plus.
Salary is commensurate with experience, and a full package of benefits is available including retirement, health and life insurance, long term care insurance, leave, and savings plan (401K equivalent). Provide curriculum vitae, bibliography, and a three-page summary explaining 1) your vision of extramural research, 2) your reasons for being interested in the position, and 3) the specific leadership skills and experience you would bring to NIAID to Ms. Theresa D. Shrader, 6700B Rockledge Drive, Room 2145, Bethesda, MD 20892-7610 (FedEx: Bethesda, MD 20817). The application review process will begin April 14, 2012. Direct inquiries to Ms. Shrader at 301-496-3795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about NIAID and how you can play a role in this exciting and dynamic research organization: Visit us on the Web: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/careers/dda22; Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/NIAIDCareers; Like us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/niaid.nih. HHS, NIH, and NIAID are proud to be equal opportunity employers. Deadline is April 14, 2012.
Postdoc position in FDA Division of Viral Products
A postdoctoral position in immunology is available in the Laboratory of Dr. Hana Golding, Division of Viral Products, CBER, FDA located on the main NIH campus. Our laboratory is a vibrant community with several important projects: development of the assays to evaluate efficacy and mechanisms of influenza vaccines, mode of action/safety of adjuvants and bioimaging of vaccinia virus infection in live mice. The position is now available to study the effects of anti-viral drugs and vaccines on dissemination of recombinant vaccinia virus in live mice using whole body bioimaging (relevant papers: M. Zaitseva et al. 2009 “Application of bioluminescence imaging to the prediction of lethality in vaccinia virus-infected mice” J Virology. 83:10437-10447 and M. Zaitseva et al., 2011 “Passive immunotherapies protect WRvFire and IHD-J-Luc vaccinia virus infected mice from lethality by reducing viral loads in the upper respiratory tract and internal organs” J. Virology 85:9147-9158). We are especially interested in studying the mechanisms of protection conferred by anti-virals administered post-challenge as a surrogate model of post-exposure treatments in humans. This is an opportunity to pursue a combination of research interests in immunology and virology with applied work on vaccine/anti-viral drug development. The initial position is for two years (starting May-June 2012) with possible extension.
Qualifications: Highly motivated individual with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences or with an MPH degree. Experience/Skills: animal work (mice), cell biology/immunology lab. To apply for this position, please email CV, a statement of past research experience, and contact information of three potential references to Dr. Hana Golding email@example.com
Minorities in Scientific Ocean Drilling Fellowship
The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program - U.S. Implementing Organization (IODP-USIO) is currently accepting applications for the Minorities in Scientific Ocean Drilling Fellowship. The Fellowship will award $30,000 to an outstanding minority student whose research is using data and/or materials obtained from scientific ocean drilling, or who is developing technology that will help advance science or engineering in scientific ocean drilling research. The fellowship is open to graduate students that are a member of a racial or ethnic minority group and who are enrolled in a geoscience or engineering program at any U.S. university or college. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2012. For additional details, visit: http://www.oceanleadership.org/education/diversity/minorities-in-scientific-ocean-drilling-fellowship/
Keystone Symposia provides Early Career Investigator Travel Awards (ECITA)
Keystone Symposia is funding Early Career Investigator Travel Awards (ECITA). These awards are for Assistant Professors from designated underrepresented minority backgrounds in the U.S. who are “bench” researchers. The purpose is to support their research success by providing funds for them to attend one of the Keystone Symposia research meetings (Up to $1800). The application process opened March 1, 2012 for all meetings between through Feb 28, 2013. However, the awards will be made upon review. The application may be found on-line at http://www.keystonesymposia.org/diversity (see ECITA).
SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGY SCIENTISTS
Lydia V. Rump, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Maryland
Various Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serotypes have been implicated in foodborne illness worldwide. Although enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) serotype O157 is most commonly associated with severe consequences like the life threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), many other “non-O157 STEC” serogroups are gaining importance as foodborne pathogens. In May 2011 an unusual serotype O104:H4 caused a major outbreak in Europe (mostly Germany). The severity of the recent O104:H4 outbreak, the uncommon vehicle of infection (seeds of fenugreek) and the unsuspected characteristics of the outbreak strain indicates the need for a detailed investigation on this type of organisms in the United States. E. coli O104 from different sources in the United States were examined for virulence genes typical for enterohemorrhagic E. coli and those identified in the O104:H4 isolate associated with the 2011 German outbreak (“Genetic Characterization of Escherichia coli O104 Isolates from Different Sources in the United States.” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2012, March; 78, 1615-1618). Isolates were characterized by several molecular and phenotypic assays. We further looked for selected virulence loci specific for the E. coli O104:H4 outbreak strain other EHECs markers (stx1, stx2, eae, ehxA, terD, ipAfO26, irp2, fyuA, iha, aatA, aggR, set1, and pic) and to establish their genetic relationship. The strains analyzed in this study carried some of the typical O104:H4 virulence associated loci and showed distinct PFGE profiles grouping strains in two clusters. Some markers (irp2, lpfAO26) were shared by most strains, although hemolysis-activity was limited to one cluster. Unexpected presence of virulence markers in these isolates highlights the importance of screening unusual and potentially pathogenic Shiga toxin-producing E. coli serotypes.
Dr. Lydia Rump’s (http://agnr.umd.edu/directory/Bio.cfm?ID=lvrump) research interests include food safety and the identification of foodborne bacteria including unknown organisms, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Salmonella sp. She is currently a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Rump earned her Ph. D. in Food Chemistry/Microbiology at the University of Hamburg, Germany where she investigated the genetic cause for the lack of O157 expression in an atypical Escherichia coli O rough: H7 strain (MA6) which carries all characteristic O157:H7 virulence traits. Dr. Rump has been the recipient of an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) fellowship at the Food and Drug Administration and is currently a member of the International Association of Food Protection, The American Society for Microbiology, the Association of Analytical Communities International and the American Chemical Society.
In July 2006, the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM) of the American Society for Microbiology Public and Scientific Affairs Board developed a monthly e-newsletter which contains information pertinent to minority microbiologists. Currently, there are very few minority-based newsletters for scientists, and there are none for microbiologists.
This e-newsletter provides a central means of distributing pertinent information to underrepresented minorities in the field of microbiology. Some examples include career advice, networking tips, relevant news articles, unique funding and career opportunities, microbiological issues affecting minorities (e.g., HIV), minority issues affecting microbiologists (e.g., minority retention), and scientific articles published by minorities or by minority-serving institutions (MSIs).
The target populations are African-Americans, Latino-Americans, Native Americans, Alaska natives, and Pacific Islanders; however, all ASM members are invited to sign up and to share this information with others who may find this e-newsletter beneficial.
Signing up to receive The Minority Microbiology Mentor is very easy and is open to ASM members and non-members: simply go to: Subscribe to Listserv enter your email address, and select "MinorityMicroMentor" then submit, and you will receive confirmation of your subscription by email. If you are an ASM member, you will be prompted to Log In before signing up.
The Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities is chaired by Marian Johnson-Thompson, Ph.D., retired Director of Education and Biomedical Research Development at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, in Research Triangle Park, NC. The Minority Microbiology Mentor Editor-in-Chief is Dwayne W. Boucaud, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Quinnipiac University Department of Biomedical Sciences in Hamden, CT and the Associate Editor is Crystal N. Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.