Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - February 2008

The Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities Celebrates Black History Month (2/1/08 - 2/29/08)

For many generations, African-Americans have made significant cultural, political, economic, scientific, and other contributions to this country's advancement. Therefore, as is being done throughout February in various sectors, the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities would like to take this time to honor all contributions made by African-Americans to the field of microbiology in recognition of Black History Month (2/1/08 - 2/29/08). In celebration, this month's featured microbiologists are Quincy E. Moore III, Ph.D., of The University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Paul E. Turner, Ph.D., of Yale University.

ASM ACTIVITIES

 

  • ASM Presentation Institute for Graduate Students
  • ASM Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship
  • 2008 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators
  • 2008-2009 Biology Scholars Research Residency
  • Upcoming ASM Meetings and Conferences
     
     
  • ASM Pre-Meeting Workshop Scholarship Program
     
     
  • UNESCO/ASM International Visiting Resource Person (VRP) Program
  • The ASM International Fellowships for Asia, Africa and Latin America
  • The ASM International Professorships for Asia, Africa and Latin America

FEDERAL AGENCY UPDATES

  • NSF 08-528 Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (RISE)
     
     
  • NSF 06-591 Undergraduate Research and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences (URM)
     
     

ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES

  • Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools Training Program Applications Due March 3, 2008
  • Job Announcement: National Institutes of Health Department of Transfusion Medicine Transfusion Medicine Physician (deadline March 25, 2008)
  • Keep The Minority Microbiology Mentor newsletter growing

Spotlight on Minority Microbiology Scientists

 

  • Quincy E. Moore III, Ph.D., University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Paul E. Turner, Ph.D., Yale University

 


 

ASM ACTIVITIES

 

ASM Presentation Institute for Graduate Students

Graduate students are encouraged to submit applications for the newly established ASM Presentation Institute for Graduate Students. This one and a half day program will allow graduate students to work on their scientific presentations under careful guidance and mentoring. Emphasis will be on 3- and 10-minute oral presentations. The 2008 Institute will be held on May 31 - June 1 preceding the ASM General Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. Visit http://www.asmgap.org/for information and an application. Application deadline is March 1, 2008. Contact Ronica Rodela at 202-536-7013 or rrodela@asmusa.org if you have questions.

ASM Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship

 

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is accepting applications for the ASM Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship (UTF). The UTF is aimed at highly motivated and competitive students who are interested in a career as an elementary or a secondary school science teacher. Students will have the opportunity to develop a project to provide instruction in a scientific discipline in a local school or community setting in partnership with a mentor at their home institution and a teacher or site coordinator from the host site. The fellowship requires a joint application from the student, a faculty co-mentor and a field site co-mentor. Applications are available online at index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51660. Deadline is April 1, 2008. Contact Tiffani Fonseca at 202/942-9283 or tfonseca@asmusa.org if you have questions.

2008 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators

The 15th anniversary of ASM Conference for Undergraduate Education is now available at http://www.asmcue.org/. The meeting will be held May 30 – June 1, 2008 at the Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Plenary topics and speakers include Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance, Stuart B. Levy, Tufts University School of Medicine; How the Media Mangles Genetics; Ricki Lewis, Fellow, Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical Center; Undergraduate Involvement in Genomics and Bioinformatics-Now is Time, Brad Goodner, Hiram College, Cheryl Kerfeld, Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, and Tuajuanda Jordan, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Microbial Ecology, Colleen Cavanaugh, Harvard University. Registration opens January 1, abstracts are due February 22 and travel grant applications are due March 21.

2008-2009 Biology Scholars Research Residency

Ever wondered if your students are actually learning the concepts you are teaching? As a researcher, are you interested in designing experiments in the classroom to help you determine student learning? Interested in reforming biology education? Apply now for the Biology Scholars Program Research Residency at http://www.biologyscholars.org/. The Research Residency seeks biologists who are asking questions about the effectiveness of their teaching approaches. The 2008 Research Residency begins with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Institute planned for July 16-19 in Washington, DC. Applications to the program are due March 1, 2008.

Upcoming ASM Meetings and Conferences

 

6th ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting
February 24-27, 2008
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel

Registration: Registration at the on site fee is possible on-line through February 20, 2008 at http://www.asmbiodefense.org/. Registration by mail or fax is also accepted but must be dated/time stamped by February 11, 2008.

This meeting is to bring together individuals who are carrying out research to defend against the growing threat of bioterrorism and decision makers shaping the future biodefense research agenda, recognizing that emerging infectious diseases serve as a paradigm for handling the public threat of bioterrorism.

International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases
March 16-19, 2008
Hyatt Regency Atlanta

Pre-Registration Deadline: February 29, 2008

Hotel Reservations Deadline: February 21, 2008

The International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases was first convened in 1998; ICEID 2008 marks its sixth occurrence. The conference brings together public health professionals to encourage the exchange of scientific and public health information on global emerging infectious disease issues. The program will include plenary and panel sessions with invited speakers as well as oral and poster presentations on emerging infections. Major topics to be included are current work on surveillance, epidemiology, research, communication and training, bioterrorism, and preventions and control of emerging infectious diseases, both in the United States and abroad. Detailed program and registration information can be found at: http://www.iceid.org/.

Organized by:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)
Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)
World Health Organization (WHO)
American Society for Microbiology (ASM)

9th ASM Conference on Candida and Candidiasis
March 24 – 28, 2008
The Hyatt on the Hudson – Overlooking New York City!

Pre-Registration Deadline: February 19, 2008

Hotel Reservations Deadline: February 24, 2008

Scientific sessions include:

  • Experimental Models of Clinical Candida Infections
  • Candida Evolution and Epidemiology
  • Candida Genetics and Differentiation
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions (Pathogen)
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions (Host)
  • Biofilms, Communities and Polymicrobial Interactions
  • Environmental Signaling and Adaptive Responses
  • Morphogenesis and Signaling
  • Cell Wall and Cell Surface
  • Antifungal Agents and Resistance
  • Diagnostics and Treatment

Plus:

 

  • Clinical Issues Session
  • Evening Discussion Sessions (Wednesday Night)

Register at the ASM Conferences website: index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50466.

ASM Conference on Emerging Technologies of Medical Importance for the Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases and the Detection of Pathogenic Microbes
April 6 - 10, 2008, Beijing, China
Beijing International Hotel

ASM’s 1st International Conference in Asia

Please note the following important EXTENDED deadlines:

Pre-Registration - Monday, February 25, 2008

Hotel Reservations - Friday, February 29, 2008

The American Society for Microbiology is organizing its first ASM Conference to be held in Asia and this historic event will present the first-ever cutting-edge technology meeting in the areas of molecular diagnostics and informatics that are immediately applicable to clinical microbiology laboratories worldwide. This conference will bring together internationally recognized faculty leaders in emerging technologies research and translational deployment of new technology to present the latest information on what clinical laboratories can, and should, be using to best diagnose infectious diseases, assist infection control, and serve patients.

This is the conference to attend to find out what the future is likely to bring into the diagnostic arena. You can learn more at the ASM Conferences website: index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50466.

 

ASM Pre-Meeting Workshop Scholarship Program

 

Make the most of the ASM General Meeting with the ASM Pre-Meeting Workshop Scholarship Program! This highly prestigious scholarship offers an opportunity to learn scientific techniques from leaders in the field.

The ASM Pre-Meeting Workshop Scholarship Program provides successful applicants with registration to the pre-meeting workshop of their choice at the ASM General Meeting. The scholarship is available to all ASM members who are from, and currently residing in, developing countries. To be eligible for this scholarship applicants must have had an abstract accepted for the ASM General Meeting and be pre-registered for the meeting. Preference will be given to those who are pursuing, or who are within ten years of having received, their Masters, Ph.D., or equivalent academic degree. This scholarship provides the registration fee for one pre-meeting workshop. It does not cover registration for the ASM General Meeting, travel, or accommodation for the meeting.

A list of this year’s workshops can be found at http://gm.asm.org/workshops.asp

Application Form and Procedure:

To learn about the application procedures and to download the application form please visit http://www.asm.org/International/workshopscholarship

Deadline: March 1, 2008

UNESCO/ASM International Visiting Resource Person (VRP) Program

 

Planning an international trip within the next 6 months? UNESCO and ASM offer you the chance to extend your stay and share your knowledge with scientists around the world!

If you will be traveling to a developing nation, on academic or other business, within the next 6 months the UNESCO/ASM International Visiting Resource Person (VRP) Program can offer you the opportunity spend an extra day with colleagues at a university or research institute in a major city. UNESCO will provide funds to cover the cost of the extended stay, making this program a cost-effective way to share your knowledge with others while enhancing your experience of the country. The ASM member is expected to present a seminar to faculty and students at the institution and to spend the rest of the visit as a resource person - discussing ideas for scientific research, curriculum development and international cooperation with local faculty and students. For additional information on the program and a link to the application, please visit: http://www.asm.org/International/vrp

The ASM International Fellowships for Asia, Africa and Latin America

An opportunity for young scientists from Asia, Africa and Latin America to collaborate with experienced scientists in the United States!

These programs encourage international research and training collaborations in the microbiological sciences. The International Fellowship Program provides funding to meet the costs of a visit to one US institution. The award is not intended to provide travel to obtain a degree at the host institution.

Eligibility:

  • The programs require a joint application from two partners - the investigator and the host scientist.
     
     
  • The applicants set the time frame for their program - anywhere between 6 weeks to 6 months. Applicants who are unwilling to return to their home country after 6 months sojourn are discouraged.
     
     

The Host:

  • Actively involved in research and training in the microbiological sciences
     
     
  • Demonstrated interest in sustaining international collaborations
     
     

The Investigator:

  • In the process of obtaining, or has obtained within the past five years, a Masters, Ph.D. or equivalent degree
     
     
  • Actively involved in research in the microbiological sciences
     
     

Preference will be given to investigators who:

  • Have not previously participated in an international fellowship
     
     
  • Have additional sources of funding which would enable the applicant to maximize their collaborations
     
     
  • Can demonstrate three years of membership in ASM or any other national microbiology society
     
     

Application Form and Procedures:

To learn more about the application procedures and to download an application visit: http://www.asm.org/International/fellowships

Deadline: April 15, 2008 (for fellowships taking place between July 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008), It is a recommended that all applications be received in advance of the deadline to allow to for confirmation that all required documents have been received.

The ASM International Professorships for Asia, Africa and Latin America

Share your knowledge with young scientists around the world!

These programs provide funding to an ASM member from the US who is scientifically recognized in his/her area to teach a hands-on, highly interactive short course on a single topic in the microbiological sciences atan institution of higher learning in Africa, Asia or Latin America.

Eligibility:

  • The application must be made jointly between a hosting institution and the visiting professor.

Host Institution

  • Institution with graduate students enrolled in a masters, doctoral or equivalent program, post-doctoral fellows or residents, and teaching faculty
     
     
  • Institution where at least 12 students will be enrolled full-time in the short course
     
     
  • Commitment to maximizing use of the course, as demonstrated by the applicability of the course’s contents to existing programs at the institution or to the field of research of the Research Professor
     
     
  • Demonstrated commitment to international collaborations and partnerships
     
     
  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing the microbiological sciences through interactions with professional organizations
     
     

Visiting Teaching Professor

  • Nationally recognized microbiological expertise
     
     
  • Actively engaged in teaching at the post-secondary level
     
     
  • Commitment to international collaborations and partnerships
     
     
  • Must be an ASM member during the term of the Professorship. All selected applicants will receive a one-year membership as part of their award. Current ASM members will be reimbursed their membership fees for the applicable year.
     
     

Preference will be given to:

  • Applicants who will be able to make maximal use of the course, as demonstrated by the applicability of the course’s contents to existing programs at the host institution.
     
     
  • Applications that demonstrate a commitment to building an ongoing institutional relationship
     
     

Application Form and Procedures:

To learn more about the application procedures and to download an application visit: http://www.asm.org/International/professorship

 

Deadline: April 15, 2008 (for professorships taking place between July 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008), It is a recommended that all applications be received in advance of the deadline to allow to for confirmation that all required documents have been received.


FEDERAL AGENCY UPDATES

NSF 08-528 Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (RISE)

 

Synopsis of Program:

The Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program makes resources available to enhance the research capabilities of minority-serving institutions through the establishment of centers that effectively integrate education and research. CREST promotes the development of new knowledge, enhancements of the research productivity of individual faculty, and an expanded presence of students historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines. Awards are offered as new centers, supplements to existing centers, proposals for the CREST Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE) initiative, or supplements to CREST/HBCU-RISE-eligible awardees for diversity collaboration in projects co-funded with NSF's Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs, which are administered by NSF's Directorate for Engineering.

Innovation through Institutional Integration (I3) projects enable institutions to think and act strategically about the creative integration of NSF-funded awards, with particular emphasis on awards managed through programs in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), but not limited to those awards.For Fiscal Year 2008, proposals are being solicited in six EHRprogramsthat advance I3 goals: CREST, ITEST, MSP, Noyce, RDE, and TCUP.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

  • Patrick Mensah, Program Officer, CREST/HBCU-RISE, 815, telephone: (703) 292-4988, fax: (703) 292-9018, email: pmensah@nsf.gov
     
     
  • Toni Edquist, Program Assistant, CREST/HBCU-RISE, CREST, 815, telephone: (703) 292-4649, email: tedquist@nsf.gov
     
     
  • Juan Figueroa, Program Officer, SBIR/STTR, 590, telephone: (703) 292-7054, fax: (703) 292-9057, email: jfiguero@nsf.gov
     
     

Estimated Number of Awards: 20 to 40 - Up to 5 CREST center Cooperative Agreements, up to 10 CREST partnership supplements, up to 5 HBCU-RISE standard grants, up to 10 CREST SBIR/STTR diversity collaborative supplements. For the Innovation through Institutional Integration competition, up to 10 continuing awards in this cross-divisional effort will be made, pending availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $22,500,000 - $12,500,000 in FY 2008 pending the availability of funds for all CREST and HBCU-RISE awards - $5,000,000 for CREST centers ($1,000,000 1st year commitments), $1,000,000 for CREST partnership supplements and $5,000,000 for HBCU-RISE grants. Up to $750,000 from CREST and $750,000 from SBIR for co-funded SBIR/STTR diversity collaborative supplements. $10,000,000 over 5 years for Innovation through Institutional Integration projects which are being requested across multiple EHR programs, pending the availability of funds.

 
NSF 06-591 Undergraduate Research and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences (URM)

 

 

Synopsis of Program:

The goal of the Undergraduate Research and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences (URM) program is to increase the number and diversity of individuals pursuing graduate studies in all areas of biological research supported by the NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences. Support will be provided to academic institutions to establish innovative programs to engage undergraduates in a year-round research and mentoring activity. Particular emphasis will be placed on broadening participation of members of groups historically underrepresented in science and engineering: African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, Native Pacific Islanders, and persons with disabilities.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

  • URM Program Director, telephone: (703) 292-8470, email: biourm@nsf.gov

Estimated Number of Awards: 8 The URM Program expects to make at least 8 awards.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $4,000,000 for new standard or continuing awards in FY 2007 subject to the availability of funds.

More information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf06591.

 


 

ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES
 
Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools Training Program Applications Due March 3, 2008

HSHPS/CDC Internship Program

http://www.hshps.org/applications/2008/CDCInternship.pdf

9-week paid traineeship that places trainees at the CDC Headquarters in Atlanta, GA. The goal of the training program is to increase the overall knowledge of public health, to provide the necessary tools needed to enhance trainees’ careers in medicine and public health, and to increase the overall understanding of the CDC as an international public health agency. The HSHPS/CDC Internship Program also matches trainees with a mentor, an experienced scientist/researcher at the CDC, depending on their area of interest and experience. The trainee will assist their mentor with various aspects of a project, while at the same time attending weekly seminars and networking events that the CDC offers.

HSHPS/CDC Fellowship Program

http://www.hshps.org/applications/2008/CDCFellowship.pdf

6-month paid traineeship that places trainees at the CDC Headquarters in Atlanta, GA. The goal of the training program is to increase the overall knowledge of public health, to provide the necessary tools needed to enhance trainees’ careers in medicine and public health, and to increase the overall understanding of the CDC as an international public health agency. The HSHPS/CDC Internship Program also matches trainees with a mentor, an experienced scientist/researcher at the CDC, depending on their area of interest and experience. The trainee will assist their mentor with various aspects of a project, while at the same time attending weekly seminars and networking events that the CDC offers.

HSHPS/NIOSH Internship Program

http://www.hshps.org/applications/2008/NIOSHInternship.pdf

9-week traineeship that helps assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by providing research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health. This federal agency which makes up part of CDC places trainees at one of three locations: Cincinnati, OH, Pittsburgh, PA., and Morgantown, WV.

HSHPS/NIOSH Fellowship Program

http://www.hshps.org/applications/2008/NIOSHFellowship.pdf

6-month traineeship that helps assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by providing research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health. This federal agency which makes up part of CDC places trainees at one of three locations: Cincinnati, OH, Pittsburgh, PA., and Morgantown, WV.

HSHPS/NCSH Internship Program

http://www.hshps.org/applications/2008/NCSHInternship.pdf

9-week traineeship that compiles statistical information to guide actions and policies to improve the health of our people. NCHS is a key element of our national public health infrastructure, providing important surveillance information that helps identify and address critical health problems. This federal agency which makes up part of CDC places trainees in Hyattsville, MD.

HIV/AIDS and Associated Comorbidities in the US-Mexico Border Fellowship Program

http://www.hshps.org/applications/2008/HIVAIDSFellowship.pdf

6-month paid traineeship based at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Division of International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine. The goal of the program is to train the next generation of Hispanic public health and biomedical researchers to develop expertise in HIV/AIDS and comorbidities associated with HIV including alcohol and injection drug addictions; tuberculosis; sexually transmitted infections; and mental health issues.

HSHPS/ U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Health Fellowship Program

http://www.hshps.org/applications/2008/EnvironmentalFellowship.pdf

6-month paid and mentored position for two fellows: One is at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) extended campus in Laredo and the other is at the UTHSCSA Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen. Trainee will participate in an informative range of Border-related leadership and educational opportunities, including attending seminars, visiting clinics, health departments and hospitals on both sides of the border and spend time with families in colonias. These experiences will give you first hand knowledge of major health challenges confronting public health workers in this region, including obesity, tuberculosis, diabetes, and zoonotic diseases.

HSHPS/ Cancer Prevention & Control Internship Program

http://www.hshps.org/applications/2008/CancerInternship.pdf

9-week traineeship based at the University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Health and the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program of the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center. This internship provides trainees with an increased understanding of cancer prevention and control through practical hands-on experiences on cancer research, community outreach, preventive clinical practice, seminars and workshops. The program specifically focuses on Hispanics with a special emphasis on health disparities in Puerto Ricans and other Hispanic/Latino populations.

HSHPS/ FRONTERA: Focusing on the Border Area Internship Program

http://www.hshps.org/applications/2008/FRONTERAInternship.pdf

10-week traineeship coordinated by the University of Arizona, College of Medicine's Hispanic Center of Excellence and Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs. The program provides participants with an increased understanding of public health disparities in the border region through practical hands-on research training, role-model mentoring and collaboration, and networking skills building in a supportive environment. Each trainee is matched, according to their area of interest, with a faculty mentor whose research has an impact on border health.

Job Announcement: National Institutes of Health Department of Transfusion Medicine Transfusion Medicine Physician (deadline March 25, 2008)

 

The Department of Transfusion Medicine at the National Institutes of Health is seeking an outstanding leader and physician scientist for the position of Chief, Laboratory Services Section an exciting position at the largest hospital in the world totally dedicated to translational clinical research. Resources include a state-of-the-art service laboratory, molecular immunology, and an experienced and stable team of more than 30 full-time laboratory and clinical personnel. The Director will have the opportunity to recruit staff and develop collaborative translational research programs. Laboratory Services is one of four clinical sections within the Department of Transfusion Medicine which has extraordinary facilities for blood collection, apheresis, HLA and molecular diagnostics and a GMP facility for cell processing. The Department includes 5 physicians, 120 staff, and active clinical and research training programs.

The ideal candidate for this position should have an M.D. or M.D./Ph.D., and advanced training or experience in transfusion medicine, a strong history of academic accomplishment, and a commitment to excellence in service, teaching, and clinical research. Candidates should have national recognition, preferably in the field of molecular immunohematology, as evidenced by publications and involvement in professional societies at a national level. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, resident aliens, or nonresident aliens eligible for an employment-authorized visa. Salary is commensurate with research experience and accomplishments, and full benefits package (including retirement, health, life and long-term care insurance, Thrift Savings Plan participation, etc.) is available. Please submit your curriculum vitae, bibliography, and a letter describing your clinical, research, and management experience by March 25, 2008 to: Lacey Gholson, Administrative Officer; NIH/CC/DTM; 10 Center Drive, Bldg. 10/Rm 1C-711 (MSC 1184); Bethesda MD 20892-1184. DHHS / NIH is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Selection for this position will be based solely on merit, without discrimination for non-merit reasons such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, politics, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, age or membership or non-membership in an employee organization.

Keep The Minority Microbiology Mentor newsletter growing

 

Since its first distribution in July of 2006 to a list of only 158 subscribers, The Minority Microbiology Mentor has grown to 637 subscribers as of January 2008. In total, peer-reviewed research articles have been featured for 39 African-American, American Indian, and Hispanic microbiologists, thus putting a face and a voice to these seldom-encountered members of the microbiology community. The newsletter is listed among honors on the CVs of featured scientists, and it was even cited on the Science Careers Forum in October 2006. It also serves as a rich source of outstanding underrepresented minority microbiologists, and this growing pool of potential targets is actively used by recruiters in need of panelists, employment, service, and other resources. Let's keep the newsletter growing by passing it on to colleagues, friends, mentors, advisors, students, postdocs, undergraduates, and anyone who might find its contents useful.

 


SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS

 

Quincy E. Moore III, Ph.D., University of Mississippi Medical Center

 

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a Gram-positive bacterium and a major cause of community-acquired pneumonia, middle ear infections, and sepsis. One pathogenicity factor found in most S. pneumoniae isolates is the pneumococcal surface protein C (PspC), which binds choline and secretory IgA. Recent studies involving the mouse model for S. pneumoniae have indicated that its virulence factors exhibit differential expression patterns depending on the route of infection. A recent paper by Dr. Quincy C. Moore III, and colleagues at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) has demonstrated that this is also the case for PspC expression in vivo (Infect. Immun. doi:10.1128/IAI.01066-07). After intraperitoneal injection and subsequent transition to the mouse blood stream by pathogenic S. pneumoniae, pneumococci collected from the blood expressed significantly more PspC than those isolated from the peritoneum. This result suggested that PspC may play a more important role in the blood than in the peritoneal cavity. The group also identified possible inflammatory cytokine-based expression differences in PspC. This study provides a further understanding of the role of PspC in S. pneumoniae pathogenicity and represents the first description of differential expression of a pneumococcal surface protein attribution to cytokine release in mouse serum during S. pneumoniae infection.

Quincy C. Moore III, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology at UMMC, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2007. He earned his M.S. at Auburn University in Biological Sciences in 2000 while studying antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus spp. While at Auburn, he was nominated for Outstanding Minority Graduate Student in the College of Science and Mathematics. He is the recipient of an ASM Corporate Activities Program Student Travel Grant (Division E). He has received an Outstanding Service Award from the Mississippi Academy of Science (MAS) and placed in the top 3 slots for the MAS Oral Presentation in the Health Sciences Division in 2004, 2005, and 2006. In 2007, he received the Trailblazer Award for the School of Graduate Studies at the UMC Division of Multicultural Affairs’ 30th annual Tribute to Seniors. In 2007, he coauthored three papers in Infection and Immunity. He is a member of ASM, MAS, the Alliance for Graduate Education in Mississippi, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the International Society for Eye Research.

 

 

Paul E. Turner, Ph.D., Yale University

 

The evolution of species has traditionally been thought to occur via a gradual accumulation of genetic incompatibilities between physically separated populations, such that when they are placed back into close proximity, they are unable to reproduce with each other. This type of evolution is called allopatric speciation, and the result is called reproductive isolation. Recent reports, however, have indicated that this incompatibility may arise more from phenotypic differences produced by natural selection (adaptation to the environment), rather than from genotypic differences that accumulate by chance. There have been several reports suggesting that viral adaptation to a novel host precludes the virus's ability to infect the ancestral host, thus separating the virus from its previous gene pool and indicating formation of a separate virus species. But this complete speciation process has never been observed experimentally. A recent study by Dr. Paul E. Turner and colleagues at the Yale University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology documented this process in a recent paper in Evolution (doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2007.00226.x). Wild type RNA bacteriophage f6 is known to infect four Pseudomonas spp. The group isolated a mutant of phage f6 that could infect two additional Pseudomonas hosts, and examined 150 generations of virus evolution on one of the novel hosts in vitro. Due to adaptation on the new host bacteria, three out of the four virus populations lost the ability to infect at least one other Pseudomonas host in the known host range of wild type f6. One of these populations lost the ability to infect any other host aside from the novel one, thus completely separating it from the wild type’s gene pool. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that both the adaptation and the reproductive isolation resulted from the same single-nucleotide substitution. Thus, this represents the first study to show that adaptation to a new environment can simultaneously lead to reproductive isolation, and lays a solid foundation for future studies of allopatric speciation of viruses or other organisms in the laboratory.

Dr. Turner is Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University and a faculty member in the Yale School of Medicine Graduate Program in Microbiology. He earned his Ph.D. at Michigan State University in 1995 and did postdoctoral work at The University of Maryland, The University of Valencia (Spain), and at the National Institutes of Health. In 2007 alone, he was nominated for Councilor of the Society for the Study of Evolution, served as the 8th Annual James P. Holland Memorial Lecturer at Indiana University, delivered an ASM Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology Division R seminar at the ASM general meeting, was featured in Economist magazine and The New York Times, and published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, Ecology Letters, and twice in Evolution. He has also been published in PNAS, Nature, and Genetics. Additional accolades include book chapters, patents, and numerous invited lectures. He has served as a mentor in the Science, Technology and Research Scholars (STARS) program at Yale University and the ASM Committee on Minority Education and is currently the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Yale.

 


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, and Native Americans; 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 http://www.asm.org/subscribe.asp, 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., 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 editors of The Minority Microbiology Mentor are Crystal N. Johnson, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, MS, and Carolyn B. Brooks, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Association of Research Directors at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES).

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