Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - January 2013

ASM ACTIVITIES

  • ASM General Meeting Minority Travel Grant
  • ASMCUE 2013: Celebrating 20 Years of Excellence in Teaching!
  • ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship: Last call!
  • Biology Scholars Program: Apply Today!
  • 2013 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting
  • asm2013 | 113th General Meeting
  • ASM Conferences
  • ASM PRESS: Featured Titles

FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES

  • Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (OCE-PRF, NSF 13-504)
  • Ocean Sciences Research Initiation Grants (OCE-RIG, NSF 13-505)
  • Research on the Science and Technology Enterprise: Statistics and Surveys (NSF 12-545)
  • Coastal SEES (Coastal SEES, NSF 12-594)
  • Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (NSF 13-506)
  • Division of Environmental Biology (core programs) (DEB, NSF 13-508)
  • Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences: Investigator-initiated research projects (MCB)
  • Mechanisms of HIV-Related Lung Disease (U01, RFA-HL-13-026)
  • Immune Mechanisms of Virus Control (U19, RFA-AI-12-048)

ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES

  • NIH Initiative to Raise Numbers of Minorities in Biomedical Science Research
  • National Cancer Institute Principal Investigator Position Available
  • 2013-2014 Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP)
  • Immunology Faculty Positions Available at Case Western Reserve University

SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS

  • De’Broski R. Herbert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Division of Experimental Medicine within the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

 


ASM ACTIVITIES

ASM General Meeting Minority Travel Grant
In an effort to increase the participation of underrepresented minority (URM) groups in microbiology related fields, ASM will offer American General Meeting Minority Travel Grants to help defray expenses associated with travel to asm2013. Postdoctoral scholars, faculty from URM groups, and faculty from Minority Serving Institutions and Community Colleges who have demonstrated their interest in mentoring URM trainees in the microbiological sciences will be eligible to receive up to $2,000. Funding for this program is pending. For complete details on eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and to download the application form, please visit http:www.asm.org/asmgmminoritytravelgrant.

ASMCUE 2013: Celebrating 20 Years of Excellence in Teaching!
By helping educators develop curricula, teach undergraduates about the microbiological sciences, and form research collaborations, the Annual ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) helps faculty take their teaching and research to the next level. Register today for ASMCUE 2013, which will take place May 16-19 at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood, CO.

This year, the ASMCUE 2013 planning committee has developed a dynamic and enriching anniversary-themed conference that celebrates its 20 years of “Blending Science and Education.” Featured is an impressive roster of scientists to share key research and education insights:

  • Katrina Edwards, Ph.D., University of Southern California (on environmental microbiology)
  • Graham Hatfull, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh (on bacteriophage discovery and genomics)
  • Joseph Petrosino, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine (on metagenomic approaches for microbiome association and disease etiology discovery)
  • William Wood, Ph.D., University of Colorado-Boulder (on scientific teaching)

A special ASMCUE initiative this year is a collaborative program with the nearby ASM General Meeting (asm2013) in Denver. The joint program offers two exciting benefits for ASMCUE attendees. The first is a "field trip” to the asm2013 opening keynote session and reception on Saturday, May 18, and the second is a complimentary one-day registration pass to attend asm2013 sessions on Sunday, May 19.

At ASMCUE, expect to be inspired and challenged to exchange ideas and grow in remarkable new ways.

Conference registration is available online at a discounted rate from January 1 to March 15, and the abstract submission deadline is February 1. Learn more at http://www.asmcue.org.

ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship: Last call!
The ASM Committee on Undergraduate Education invites applications for the 2013 ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF). The URF program provides undergraduate students who wish to pursue graduate careers (Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D) in microbiology with opportunities to conduct full-time research at their home institutions and present research results. Fellows spend a minimum of 10 weeks in the summer conducting research projects under the direction of ASM member faculty mentors. In addition, dependent on abstract submission and acceptance, fellows are supported to present their research results at the following summer’s ASM General Meeting. Interested students should apply by February 1. Please note: This program requires a joint application from both the student and an ASM member faculty mentor willing to serve as the applicant's mentor for the duration of the research experience. Learn more at http://www.asm.org/urf.

Biology Scholars Program: Apply Today!
The 2013 ASM-NSF Biology Scholars Program offers three independent, but intertwined, professional development residencies to guide dedicated biology and microbiology faculty in taking their classroom teaching and educational research to the next level. Each residency is a yearlong commitment comprised of several key training components, including one or two face-to-face meetings, online “homework” assignments and specialized peer-to-peer mentoring. In the Assessment Residency, Scholars learn to measure students’ foundational knowledge, monitor gains in learning, and collaborate with colleagues to improve student learning and performance. The Research Residency helps Scholars design research projects that investigate student learning; understand methods for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting surveys and data on student learning outcomes; and identify the best venues for publishing study results. The Transitions Residency helps Scholars “transition” from conducting scholarly work in student learning to publishing in print and electronic biology and/or science education venues. To be a Scholar, apply by February 1. The Biology Scholars Program was developed with the support of the National Science Foundation under grant number DUE-1022542. Learn more at http://www.biologyscholars.org.

Career Development Grants for Postdoctoral Women
The ASM Career Development Grants for Postdoctoral Women Committee is currently accepting applications for its 2013 grant program.  Three grants ($1200 each) are given annually to advance the careers of postdoctoral women with outstanding scientific accomplishments and potential for significant research in the area of microbiology.  The fields covered by the award are any of those represented by the scientific divisions of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).  The grants support the career development of the winning candidates by providing funds to attend a meeting (other than the ASM General Meeting or ICAAC), to visit another laboratory, to take a course in a geographically distant place, or for other travel to advance the candidate's career. 

To be eligible for this program, a woman scientist must hold a doctoral degree and have no more than five years of relevant research experience since receipt of her most recent doctoral degree.  Candidates must currently be performing postdoctoral work in microbiology, at an institution in the United States.  The candidate must be a member of ASM.  A letter of support must be provided by a nominator, who should be the candidate’s research project director, Department Chair, or Center Director.  The nominator must be a member of ASM and may only support one candidate for this award per year.  

For more information on the program and the application process, go to http://www.asm.org/index.php/career-development-grants-for-postdoctoral-women on the Membership section of the ASM website. 

Deadline for applications is February 1, 2013. 

2013 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting
February 25-27, 2013 | Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel | Washington, DC
December 3, 2012:        Abstract Submission Deadline
December 6, 2012:
        Website Opens                                               
December 6, 2012:        Registration & Housing Open    
January 25, 2013:         Advance Registration Closes

Join leading scientists, public health researchers, and policy makers to learn about the latest advancements in the biodefense and emerging disease fields.

For more information go to: http://www.asmbiodefense.org

asm2013 | 113th General Meeting
May 18-21, 2013 | Denver, Colorado

January 15, 2013:         Abstract Submission Deadline
April 1, 2013:                Advance Registration Closes    

asm2013 will showcase the central role of microbes in the biosphere by reporting today’s best science in the diverse areas influenced by microbes. The breadth of this meeting provides participants with the chance to immerse themselves in their field of specialization and take forays into different disciplines.

For more information go to: http://www.asm.org/asm2013

ASM Conferences

Save the date!
3rd ASMET - The ASM Emerging Technologies Conference
June 25 – 28, 2013 | Izmir, Turkey

4th ASM Conference on Salmonella: The Bacterium, the Host and the Environment
October 5-9, 2013 | Boston, Massachusetts

3rd ASM-ESCMID Conference on Methicillin-resistant Staphylococci in Animals: Veterinary and Public Health Implications

November 4 – 7, 2013 | Copenhagen, Denmark

For more information go to: http://www.asm.org/conferences

ASM PRESS: Featured Titles
The Immune Response to Infection
Editors: Stefan H. E. Kaufmann
, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology; Barry T. Rouse, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee; David L. Sacks, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institutes of Health

List Price: $169.95
Member Price: $135.95

Examines the mechanisms of both the innate and adaptive immune systems as they relate to infection and disease.

  • Explores the underlying mechanisms of immunity and the many sequelae of host-pathogen interactions, ranging from the sterile eradication of the invader, to controlled chronic infection, to pathologic corollaries of the host-pathogen crosstalk.
  • Discusses the pathogenesis of certain autoimmune disorders and cancers that are induced by infectious agents but then become independent of the infection process.
  • Serves as a resource for immunologists, molecular microbiologists, infectious disease clinicians, researchers, and students.

For more information related to Immune Response to Infection please visit: http://estore.asm.org/viewItemDetails.asp?ItemID=958.

Cryptococcus: From Human Pathogen to Model Yeast
Editors: Joseph Heitman
, Duke University Medical Center; Thomas R. Kozel, University of Nevada School of Medicine; Kyung J. Kwon-Chung, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; John R. Perfect, Duke University Medical Center; and Arturo Casadevall, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

List Price: $169.95
Member Price: $135.95

The full range of scientific and clinical perspectives on Cryptococcus at your fingertips.

  • Covers both the Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii species, examining in detail the life cycle, pathophysiology, molecular biology, genetics, genomics, epidemiology, immunology, and clinical management of this encapsulated yeast.
  • Provides in-depth discussions of the 1999 Vancouver Island C. gattii outbreak that spread to the Canadian mainland and the United States, causing infections in both humans and animals.
  • Discusses diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and other clinical perspectives on Cryptococcus infection.
  • Serves as a resource for molecular biologists, microbiologists, public health officials, epidemiologists, and infectious disease clinicians.

For more information related to Cryptococcus please visit:
http://estore.asm.org/viewItemDetails.asp?ItemID=920.

Find all of these titles and more at estore.asm.org/press.

When you buy books directly through the ASM Press, you support the society that supports the science of microbiology.


FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES

Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (OCE-PRF, NSF 13-504)
The Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) offers Postdoctoral Research Fellowships to increase the participation of under-represented groups in the ocean sciences. Awards are intended to support the individual fellows' research and increase the diversity of the U.S. ocean sciences research community. In this solicitation, the term under-represented groups will refer to and include the following: women, persons with disabilities, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders. Fellowships are awards to individuals, not organizations, and are administered by the fellows. Deadline is January 14, 2013, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13504/nsf13504.htm.

Ocean Sciences Research Initiation Grants (OCE-RIG, NSF 13-505)
The Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) offers Research Initiation Grants in an effort to increase the participation of under-represented groups in the ocean sciences. Research Initiation Grants provide start up funding for researchers who have been recently appointed to tenure track (or equivalent) positions, with the twin goals of enhancing the development of their research careers and broadening the participation of under-represented groups in ocean sciences. In this solicitation, the term under-represented groups will refer to and include the following: women, persons with disabilities, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders. Deadline is January 14, 2013, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13505/nsf13505.htm.

Research on the Science and Technology Enterprise: Statistics and Surveys (NSF 12-545)
The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) would like to enhance its efforts to support analytic and methodological research in support of its surveys, and to engage in the education and training of researchers in the use of large-scale nationally representative datasets. NCSES welcomes efforts by the research community to use NCSES data for research on the science and technology enterprise, to develop improved survey methodologies for NCSES surveys, to create and improve indicators of S&T activities and resources, and strengthen methodologies to analyze and disseminate S&T statistical data. To that end, NCSES invites proposals for individual or multi-investigator research projects, doctoral dissertation improvement awards, workshops, experimental research, survey research and data collection and dissemination projects under its program for Research on the Science and Technology Enterprise: Statistics and Surveys. Deadline is January 15, 2013, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12545/nsf12545.htm.

Coastal SEES (Coastal SEES, NSF 12-594)
Coastal SEES is focused on the sustainability of coastal systems. Humans benefit from their use of coastal environments for enjoyment, dwelling, food, industry, and commerce, altering them physically, chemically, and ecologically. These alterations influence and interact with natural variability, extreme events, and long-term change to affect the system as a whole, including human benefits. A major challenge is to understand the dynamics of this coupled human-natural system in order to inform societal decisions about the uses of coastal systems, including for economic, aesthetic, recreational, research, and conservation purposes. Such understanding requires integration of natural, social, economic and behavioral sciences. It includes, for example, an understanding of reciprocal feedbacks between humans and the natural environment; how people and organizations interpret, assess, and act upon scientific and other evidence; and how they weigh these interpretations against other interests to influence governance and decision-making. Thus, coastal sustainability relies on broad and intimately interconnected areas of scholarship about natural and human processes. Deadline is January 17, 2013, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12594/nsf12594.htm.

Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (NSF 13-506)
The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) supports research aimed at understanding why organisms are structured the way they are and function as they do. Proposals should focus on organisms as a fundamental unit of biological organization. Principal Investigators (PIs) are encouraged to apply systems approaches that will lead to conceptual and theoretical insights and predictions about emergent organismal properties. Areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, developmental biology and the evolution of developmental processes, nervous system development, structure, and function, physiological processes, functional morphology, symbioses, interactions of organisms with biotic and abiotic environments, and animal behavior. Deadline is January 18, 2013, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13506/nsf13506.htm.

Division of Environmental Biology (core programs) (DEB, NSF 13-508)
The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) supports fundamental research on populations, species, communities, and ecosystems. Scientific emphases range across many evolutionary and ecological patterns and processes at all spatial and temporal scales. Areas of research include biodiversity, phylogenetic systematics, molecular evolution, life history evolution, natural selection, ecology, biogeography, ecosystem structure, function and services, conservation biology, global change, and biogeochemical cycles. Research on organismal origins, functions, relationships, interactions, and evolutionary history may incorporate field, laboratory, or collection-based approaches; observational or manipulative experiments; synthesis activities; as well as theoretical approaches involving analytical, statistical, or computational modeling. Deadline for preliminary proposals is January 23, 2013, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13508/nsf13508.htm.

Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences: Investigator-initiated research projects (MCB)
The Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) supports quantitative, predictive, and theory-driven fundamental research and related activities designed to promote understanding of complex living systems at the molecular, subcellular, and cellular levels. MCB is soliciting proposals for hypothesis-driven and discovery research and related activities in four core clusters: Molecular Biophysics, Cellular Dynamics and Function, Genetic Mechanisms, and Systems and Synthetic Biology. MCB gives high priority to research projects that use theory, methods, and technologies from physical sciences, mathematics, computational sciences, and engineering to address major biological questions. Research supported by MCB uses a range of experimental approaches--including in vivo, in vitro and in silico strategies--and a broad spectrum of model and non-model organisms, especially microbes and plants. Typical research supported by MCB integrates theory and experimentation. Projects that address the emerging areas of multi-scale integration, molecular and cellular evolution, quantitative prediction of phenome from genomic information, and development of methods and resources are particularly welcome. Highest funding priority is given to applications that have outstanding intellectual merit and strong broader impacts. Proposals that include research motivated by relevance to human health or address the molecular basis of human diseases and treatment are not appropriate for the Division and will be returned without review. Deadline is January 30, 2013, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13510/nsf13510.htm.

Mechanisms of HIV-Related Lung Disease (U01, RFA-HL-13-026)
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute invites cooperative agreement (U01) applications to investigate and define cellular and molecular events, including host genetic factors, underlying the pathogenesis of HIV-associated lung diseases (e.g., COPD and pulmonary hypertension). Biospecimens and clinical data from HIV-infected patients and controls should be utilized. Clinical translation is encouraged to the extent that it is possible. Both independent (site-specific) and collaborative research with other groups funded by this FOA will be conducted under this program. The goals are to identify disease sub-phenotypes, potential biomarkers to predict risk, progression, and outcome, and molecular targets to help design therapeutic interventions. Deadline for letters of intent is February 19, 2013, and more information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HL-13-026.html.

Immune Mechanisms of Virus Control (U19, RFA-AI-12-048)
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) invites multi-project applications to be part of a network of synergistic research teams focused on the immunological parameters of virus infection and vaccination that are important for understanding the key molecular and cellular immune mechanisms involved in the natural control of infection, the induction of protective immunity by vaccination, or the immune-mediated processes that cause pathology after virus infection or vaccination. Studies involving multiple viruses are encouraged to foster discovery of novel immune mechanisms and generalizable principles of anti-viral immunity. The viruses of interest to the Immune Mechanisms of Virus Control (IMVC) program are listed as part of the NIAID Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases (http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/emerging/Pages/list.aspx). The ultimate goal of this program is to discover and define novel basic immune mechanisms for controlling virus infections that will lead to new potential targets for developing future vaccines and therapeutics. Deadline for letters of intent is March 15, 2013, and more information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-12-048.html.

 


ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES

NIH Initiative to Raise Numbers of Minorities in Biomedical Science Research
A recent article highlights NIH's new initiative that aims to raise the numbers of minorities entering and remaining in biomedical research. The initiatives are based at least partially on a 2012 study reporting that grant proposals submitted by white scientists were almost twice as likely to be funded as were those submitted by black scientists. The study found that members of other minority groups did not face such a gap. One fact also resulting from the study identified a trend that black applicants also publish less frequently and include fewer co-authors on their publications, which may help explain the gap in funding rates. The NIH program aims to accomplish this by increasing recruitment and retention of minorities, increasing financial support of the students once they are on the biomedical research path, and increasing mentoring structure for scientists early in their careers. The initiatives include blind review of grant proposals in which reviewers are unaware of the proposing scientists' identities. The full article and links to the study and initiative are available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/science/nih-to-start-initiatives-to-raise-number-of-minority-scientists.html?ref=kennethchang&_r=1&.

National Cancer Institute Principal Investigator Position Available
The Experimental Immunology Branch (EIB), Center for Cancer Research (CCR) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Bethesda, MD, invites applications for a tenure-eligible principal investigator position in basic molecular or cellular immunology. The applicant should have a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree, a strong record of scientific accomplishments that would be commensurate with tenure at the NIH, and evidence that he/she has already established an independent research program in molecular immunology focused on elucidating the gene regulatory networks that control the development and/or function of innate and/or adaptive immune cells. The position provides salary and full funding for an independent research program, including laboratory space, equipment, budget, technical personnel, and support for fellows. Salary will be commensurate with education and experience. The EIB consists of 7 Principal Investigators: Alfred Singer, Richard Hodes, Dinah Singer, Paul Roche, Hyun Park, Vanja Lazarevic, and Damian Kovalovsky. Active research areas include: thymic education and T cell differentiation, cytokine receptor signaling, inflammation biology, antigen presentation, receptor assembly and transport, signal transduction, and regulation of gene expression. Scientific interactions are encouraged and occur extensively among members of EIB as well as with other scientists at the NIH. Applicants should send a CV and bibliography, outline of a proposed research program (no more than two pages), and three letters of recommendation by email to Caroline McCabe, NCIEIBSEARCH@mail.nih.gov. Applications are requested by January, 15, 2013 but will be accepted until the position is filled.

2013-2014 Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP)
Do you want to learn more about federal science policy and how funding decisions are made? Have you wondered whether—and how—you might be able to make a difference in the federal policies that shape your profession and career? If so, you'll want to pursue this unique AAI opportunity to learn and become involved—all without leaving your training or research program. The AAI PPFP engages postdoctoral fellows and junior scientists in a year-long program that teaches how legislative and agency activities impact the conduct and funding of biomedical research—and how AAI works on behalf of its members for the best possible outcome. Successful applicants have the opportunity to experience advocacy firsthand on a visit to Capitol Hill and learn more about key issues through public affairs programs at the AAI annual meeting. Except for these two travel experiences, Fellows do not need to leave their institutions or labs. The AAI Committee on Public Affairs keeps Fellows informed and engaged throughout the year. For a full description of the program, please see the letter of invitation from AAI President Gail A. Bishop, Ph.D., and AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Elizabeth J. Kovacs, Ph.D. For program details or to apply, see http://aai.org/Public_Affairs/PPFP/index.html or contact AAI Legislative Assistant Jake Schumacher at jschumacher@aai.org (301-634-7744). Application deadline is January 24, 2013.

Immunology Faculty Positions Available at Case Western Reserve University
The Department of Pathology at Case Western Reserve University is recruiting immunology research faculty. Research topics may include all areas of immunology and related areas of infectious diseases, host defense, cell biology and biochemistry. The positions will be supported by a substantial start-up packages and opportunity to participate in the interdepartmental Immunology Training Program. The program’s strengths include fundamental immunology (innate immunity, signaling, MHC molecules, APCs, T cell biology), immunology of infectious diseases (particularly tuberculosis and HIV), autoimmunity (e.g. IBD) and other topics. Annual research funding related to immunology and infectious diseases exceeds $100M at CWRU and affiliated institutions. Candidates should have a substantial trajectory toward developing a rigorous, externally-funded immunology research program. The anticipated appointment is as Assistant Professor, tenure track. Please send a cover letter, CV, and contact information for three references to (denise.davis@case.edu). In employment, as in education, Case Western Reserve University is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Women, veterans, members of underrepresented minority groups, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Case Western Reserve University provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity at 216-368-8877 to request a reasonable accommodation. Determinations as to granting reasonable accommodations for any applicant will be made on a case-by-case basis.

 


SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS

De’Broski R. Herbert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Division of Experimental Medicine within the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Homeostasis, repair and immunity at the mucosal surface are controlled by diverse biological mechanisms that are incompletely understood. A recent study appearing in the Journal of Immunology [J Immunol. 2012 Sep 15;189(6):3078-84] addressed the hypothesis that proteins responsible for repairing damaged mucosal epithelia would also influence the immune system in ways that dampen inflammatory responses. To test this hypothesis, Dr. De’Broski R. Herbert et al. focused on Trefoil factor 2 (TFF2), which is known to promote restitution following injury of mucosal epithelia. TFF2 gene deficient mice (TFF2KO) were studied under steady state conditions and also following infection with the human parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. Results showed that TFF2 deficiency reduced the mucosal barrier function of small intestine and caused excessive macrophage and T cell accumulation in naïve mice. Paradoxically, T. gondii infected TFF2KO mice displayed low rates of parasite replication and reduced gut immunopathology, whereas wild-type (WT) mice experienced disseminated infection and lethal ileitis. Mechanistically, the resistant phenotype of TFF2KO to oral toxoplasmosis correlated with the pro-inflammatory nature of CD8+ dendritic cells (DC), because TFF2-/- DC from expressed higher amounts of p38 MAPK activation and interleukin (IL)-12p70 production than WT CD8+ DC. Moreover, rTFF2 suppressed Toll-like receptor (TLR)-induced IL-12/23p40 production from DC. Given that TFF2 -/- mice were made susceptible to T. gondii pathogenesis following neutralization of interferon-γ and IL-12, our data demonstrate that TFF2 is a critical modulator within the intestinal tract that enforces mucosal barrier function and also limits microbial-driven Type 1 inflammation.

De’Broski R. Herbert, Ph.D., is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Experimental Medicine within the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He majored in Microbiology at Xavier University of Louisiana, earned his Ph.D. in immunology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA and went on to conduct postdoctoral research in Infectious Immunology at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa. The Herbert laboratory investigates host immune responses against parasitic helminth infection to gain insights into the mechanisms responsible for host protection and tissue pathology at mucosal surfaces.   His studies have led to several publications in prestigious journals such as the American Journal of Pathology, Journal of Immunology, Journal of Experimental Medicine, and PloS Pathogens. His research that is featured in this month’s “Spotlight” piece investigates how mucosal tissue repair proteins within the Trefoil factor family regulate mucosal immunity against the human parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. This study is supported by one of two RO1 awards that he has received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Herbert is on the editorial boards of Infection and Immunity and the Journal of Clinical and Cellular Immunology, reviews for Mucosal Immunology and the Journal of Immunology, and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for the Inflammation and Host Defense (IHD) study section of the NIH. He has also won several awards including the National Foundation of Infectious Disease Colin Powell Tropical Disease Fellowship, Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Minorities, National Research Foundation of South Africa Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the American Association of Immunologists Travel Award.

   

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 http://asm.org/index.php/component/content/article/31-forms/forms/238-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 Dwayne W. Boucaud, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Quinnipiac University Department of Biomedical Sciences in Hamden, CT.  The Minority Microbiology Mentor Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Floyd L. Wormley Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Associate Editor is Crystal N. Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.

If you are interested in placing an ad in the MMM, please send the copy to CMIIM@asmusa.org by the first of the month.

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