Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - August 2016

ASM ACTIVITIES

  • Turning Your Science into a Company – Explorations in Entrepreneurship
  • ABRCMS 2016:  Accepting Abstracts and Travel Award Submissions
  • Integrate Quantitative Concepts into Your Courses with Help from ASM
  • ASM Biothreats Conference: Research, Response and Policy
  • 33rd Clinical Virology Symposium
  • ASM Microbe 2016 Session Recordings
  • Save the Dates: ASM Microbe 2017
  • Upcoming ASM Conferences

FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES

  • International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) 
  • Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (DDIG) 
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) 
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB)   
  • Maintain and Enrich Resource Infrastructure for Existing Environmental Epidemiology Cohorts (R24) 
  • Mechanisms of Immune Activation and Inflammation: HIV Infection, ART, and Drugs of Abuse (R01) 

ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES

  • PhD - 4 yr funded Plant-Microbial Ecology, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • Postdoc in floral microbial ecology--University of Pittsburgh
  • Postdoc in microbial ecosystem modeling at NAU
  • Postdoc position in community and ecosystem ecology

SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS

  • Wanda M. Figueroa-Cuilan

ASM ACTIVITIES

Turning Your Science into a Company – Explorations in Entrepreneurship
To guide investigators in combining their research interests with entrepreneurial ventures, ASM will offer the Turning Your Science into a Company course on 6-8 October 2016, in Washington, D.C.  The course covers the fundamentals of establishing scientific businesses and will feature examples from the biotechnology industry. Join the program today to learn valuable tips, advice, and resources from successful principals of leading start-up and small scientific companies as well as legal and regulatory experts. Turning Your Science into a Company is sponsored by the ASM Committee on Graduate and Postdoctoral Education and is open to ASM members and non-members. The deadline for applications is 20 August. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/tsc16nl.

ABRCMS 2016:  Accepting Abstracts and Travel Award Submissions
The 16th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) will take place 9-12 November 2016 in Tampa, FL. Register early (by 12 October) to receive $100 discount off the onsite registration fee. ABRCMS 2016 attendees will benefit from a distinguished roster of speakers, along with numerous workshops, scientific presentations, professional development opportunities, networking events, and more.

Students (undergraduates and postbaccalaureates) are invited to submit abstracts and travel award applications for the conference. Deadline is 26 August for ABRCMS Student Travel Awards and 9 September for ABRCMS Student Abstract submissions.

ABRCMS also solicits volunteers to review abstracts online. Indicate your interest through the intent form. Deadline is 1 September.

ABRCMS is managed by ASM and supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number T36GM073777.

Integrate Quantitative Concepts into Your Courses with Help from ASM
This fall, ASM, in partnership with the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES) project, has organized a new four-part webinar series focused on increasing quantitative understanding in undergraduate biology education. Students often struggle with quantitative concepts, and mastering these skills can be key to their success in science careers and advanced training. The webinar series will address common issues around teaching quantitative skills and reasoning, ranging from dilutions to graphing to data analysis. This webinar series is based on the concept of “massive open online courses” and will be coupled with an online faculty mentoring network where participants can share and develop curriculum. The program will run from September to December, 2016. The registration deadline is 14 September. Learn more and register

ASM Biothreats Conference: Research, Response and Policy
February 6–8, 2017 | Washington, DC
Formerly known as the ASM Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research Meeting, the 2017 ASM Biothreats meeting  will discuss a wide-range of biological threats and emerging infectious diseases to stimulate knowledge-sharing amongst stakeholders in academia, industry and government; and to help the overlapping communities prepare for, mitigate, and prevent these global threats.

33rd Clinical Virology Symposium
May 7–10, 2017 | Savannah, Georgia
This international symposium delves into the relationship between rapid viral diagnosis, clinical course of viral infections, and preventive and therapeutic modalities for viral infections.

ASM Microbe 2016 Session Recordings
Access year-round audio-synched slides from ASM Microbe 2016 via the web. Select the tracks that are of most interest to you or purchase the full package. Purchase your session recordings here.

Save the Dates: ASM Microbe 2017
Join us next year for an even bigger and better ASM Microbe as we head to New Orleans, Louisiana, June 15, 2017.

Upcoming ASM Conferences
http://www.asm.org/conferences

5th ASM Conference on Salmonella
August 29–September 1, 2016 | Potsdam, Germany
Early bird registration deadline: July 21, 2016

6th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes
September 9–12, 2016 | Seattle, WA
Early bird registration deadline: July 28, 2016

ASM Conference on Infection and Cancer
October 24–27, 2016 | Washington, DC
Abstract submission deadline: August 16, 2016
Early bird registration deadline: September 15, 2016

ASM Conference on Antibacterial Development
December 11–14, 2016 | Washington, DC
Abstract submissions open: July 12, 2016
Online Registration opens: July 12, 2016
Abstract submission deadline: October 3, 2016
Early bird registration deadline: November 3, 2016

Save the dates for more 2016 ASM Conferences!


FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES

International Research Experiences for Students (IRES)
The International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program supports development of globally-engaged U.S. science and engineering students capable of performing in an international research environment at the forefront of science and engineering. The IRES program supports active research participation by students enrolled as undergraduates or graduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. IRES projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the IRES program.    Full proposals are due 8/22/2016, and more information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12551/nsf12551.htm.

Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (DDIG)
The National Science Foundation awards Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants in selected areas of the biological sciences. Proposals must fall within the scope of any of the clusters in the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) or the Behavioral Systems Cluster in the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS). These grants provide partial support of doctoral dissertation research for improvement beyond the already existing project. Allowed are costs for doctoral candidates to participate in scientific meetings, to conduct research in specialized facilities or field settings, and to expand an existing body of dissertation research.    Full proposals are due October 13, 2016, and more information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13568/nsf13568.htm.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)
The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education. NSF especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, veterans, and undergraduate seniors to apply.  Full proposals are due October 24, 2016, and more information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16588/nsf16588.htm.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB)  
The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) awards Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology to recent recipients of the doctoral degree for research and training in selected areas supported by BIO and with special goals for human resource development in biology. The fellowships encourage independence at an early stage of the research career to permit Fellows to pursue their research and training goals in the most appropriate research locations regardless of the availability of funding for the Fellows at that site. For FY 2015 and beyond, these BIO programs are (1) Broadening Participation of Groups Under-represented in Biology, (2) Research Using Biological Collections, and (3) National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. These areas change periodically as new scientific and infrastructure opportunities present themselves. For this reason, this solicitation will be changed as necessary to reflect the areas being funded.  Full proposals are due November 1, 2016, and more information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15501/nsf15501.htm

Maintain and Enrich Resource Infrastructure for Existing Environmental Epidemiology Cohorts (R24)
The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit grant applications that propose to: (1) support the maintenance of existing Environmental Epidemiology Cohorts (EECs) and to (2) enrich research infrastructure to improve scientific activities and resource sharing with the broader scientific communities.  The ultimate goal is to maintain and maximize NIEHS cohort investments within the environmental epidemiology community by supporting the infrastructure needed to prepare for future research opportunities and to promote broader scientific collaborations.  Preliminary proposals are due October 10, 2016, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-ES-16-004.html.

Mechanisms of Immune Activation and Inflammation: HIV Infection, ART, and Drugs of Abuse (R01)
The purpose of this FOA is to promote research to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms of HIV infection-induced immune activation and inflammation in the presence of antiretroviral therapy (ART) agents and drugs of abuse. The ultimate goal is to obtain information for developing therapeutic interventions for attenuating chronic inflammation-associated comorbidities as well as for restoring or improving ART efficacy in HIV-infected drug-abusing populations.     Preliminary proposals are due October 18, 2016, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DA-17-013.html.

 


ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES

Ph.D. - 4 Year funded Plant-Microbial Ecology, University of Antwerp, Belgium
The Faculty of Sciences is seeking to fill the following full-time (100%) vacancy in the Department of Biology for a Doctoral Grant by the University Research Fund (BOF) in the area of Plant-Microbial Ecology Research at the centre of excellence. A doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year period after positive evaluation; the start date of scholarship will be October 1st, November 1st or December 1st 2016 or January 1st 2017; a gross monthly grant ranging from € 2.189,88 - € 2.513,13; a dynamic and stimulating work environment.  Applications may only be submitted online https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/jobs/vacancies/ap/2016bapdocproex208/, and should include a copy of your CV and a cover letter, until the closing date August 15th 2016.  The interviews of the candidates, preselected by a selection panel, will take place from August 22nd until September 16th 2016. More information about the application form can be obtained from Myra De Munck (Tel. 03 265 32 24). For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Erik Verbruggen (erik.verbruggen@uantwerpen.be). The University of Antwerp is a family friendly organization, with a focus on equal opportunities and diversity.

Postdoc in floral microbial ecology--University of Pittsburgh
A Postdoc position characterizing the floral microbiome in diverse flowering plant communities is available in the laboratory of Tia-Lynn Ashman, Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Field work will be conducted in various natural and urban settings including Pennsylvania, California, Hawaii, and Germany. Responsibilities include characterizing plant-pollinator interactions; chemical analyses of flower tissues; culture-independent characterization microbial diversity and function (e.g., amplicon sequencing; metagenomics); phylogenetically-controlled and community-level statistical analyses; and preparation of manuscripts for publication. The postdoc position is for two years. Start date is negotiable, but September 2016 is preferred. Qualifications: PhD in biology, ecology, evolution, microbiology or related disciplines conferred by the time of appointment. Record of publication in the peer-reviewed literature; skills and experience in statistics, bioinformatics, microbial ecology, molecular biology and/or pollination biology; demonstrated verbal and written communication skills; self-motivation, critical thinking and problem solving skills; innovative ideas and vision for collaborative research. To apply: Please send a CV and a description of your experience and interests as relevant to the position to tia1@pitt.edu, along with the names and contact information for three referees. In a covering letter clearly highlight skills and experience related to key responsibilities.

Postdoc in microbial ecosystem modeling at NAU
Conduct research at the interface between quantitative ecology and microbial genomics in the Center for Ecosystem Science & Society at Northern Arizona University. The postdoc will use tools in ecological modeling, molecular microbial ecology, bioinformatics, and statistics, to develop new quantitative models describing the influence of temperature on growth and carbon-use efficiency of microorganisms in soil. The work will involve computer modeling, with a minor component of laboratory work, as needed. The postdoc will collaborate with and help supervise two PhD students working on the same project. The postdoc will also collaborate with the multiple PIs involved in the project (Hungate, Schwartz, Dijkstra, Koch, and Mack) as well as with external collaborators from the DOE National Labs (LLNL, Pett-Ridge, and PNNL, Hofmockel). For details and to apply, please paste the link, below, into your browser. Review of applicants will begin 20 August. https://hr.peoplesoft.nau.edu/psp/ph92prta/EMPLOYEE/HRMS/c/HRS_HRAM.HRS_APP_SCHJOB.GBL.     

Postdoc position in community and ecosystem ecology
Applications are invited for a Postdoc position in the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Successful applicants will have completed a PhD in community ecology, ecosystem ecology, or a related discipline by September 2016. The best applicants will have a track record of publications on plant or microbial community ecology, experimental global change ecology, plant-soil linkages, or nutrient and carbon cycling. Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact Professor Nathan Sanders at nathan.sanders@snm.ku.dk or Associate Professor Aimee Classen at aimee.classen@snm.ku.dk.  Applicants should write their application in English and submit it electronically at http://employment.ku.dk:   Application letter (max 1 page), A statement of potential research ideas related to the description of the project (max 2 pages), A statement of your previous research experience (max 1 page), Curriculum vitae, including applicant’s e-mail address and telephone number, University transcripts, Complete publication list, PDFs of relevant manuscripts, The names and email addresses of at least three professional references The deadline for applications is August 15, 2016. Go here to apply: http://employment.ku.dk/all-vacancies/?show=834932.

SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS

Wanda M. Figueroa-CuilanWanda
Wanda M. Figueroa-Cuilan is a Ph.D. candidate in the division of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Wanda received her B.S. in Natural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey.  During her undergraduate studies, Wanda worked in multiple research projects including the characterization of the phytochemical content of traditional herbal formulations used to treat diabetes. These investigations led to a manuscript entitled: “Chemical profile and in vivo hypoglycemic effects of Syzygium jambos, Costus specious and Tapeinochillus ananassae plant extracts used as diabetes adjuvants in Puerto Rico”, published in BMC Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In addition, during her undergraduate studies, Wanda was an NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) fellow, and received USA Department of Defense SMART and NASA Space Grant Consortium scholarships. Before attending to graduate school, Wanda participated in the University of Missouri-Columbia NIH Post-Baccalaurate Research Education Program (PREP), working on a project aimed to characterize the expression of nonstructural 1 (NS1) protein isoforms encoded by the canine parvovirus MVC and their role on viral replication.

Once in graduate school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Wanda became interested in uncovering the mechanisms by which polar growing bacteria grow and divide. In recent publication entitled: “Mini-Tn7 insertion in an artificial attTn7 site enables depletion of the essential master regulator CtrA in the phytopathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens” (doi: 10.1128/AEM.01392-16), co-led by Wanda M. Figueroa-Cuilan, the authors developed and validated an approach that allows the depletion of essential genes in Agrobacterium. To deplete essential genes, the mini-Tn7 system is utilized to introduce the target gene under the control of an inducible promoter to an engineered site on the chromosome. Next, the gene is deleted from its native location.  As proof-of-concept, the authors employed this strategy to deplete an essential gene. They found that depletion of CtrA results in an increase of bacterial cell rounding and eventual cell death. In summary, this new strategy will enable the characterization of essential genes in Agrobacterium, a polar growing bacteria which mechanism of growth and division has not been defined. Understanding this form of growth will provide novel targets that may contribute in the development of the new class of target-based antibiotics.

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