Vincent B. Young, M.D., Ph.D.

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(Speaker Term: July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2017)


Vincent B. Young, M.D., Ph.D. (term: 7/1/15 through 6/30/17)

Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases Division

Department of Microbiology & Immunology

University of Michigan Medical School

Room 1520B MSRB I

1500 W. Medical Center Drive

Ann Arbor, MI  48109           


Phone: 734-764-2237

Fax:      734-763-4168           



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  D  (Microbe-Host Interactions)

Secondary Division:  B  (Microbial Pathogens)



The Next Phase of the Human Microbiome Project: On to Function

This lecture will review the history of research on the human microbiome.  Key findings from the past decade defining the scope and structure of host-associated microbial communities will be reviewed.  The talk will proceed with a discussion of how microbiome research is moving from association to causality by investigating the functional significance of disease-associated changes in microbiome structure.


Collateral Damage: Antibiotic Administration and Clostridium difficile Infection

The development and use of antibiotics has had a tremendous effect on limiting the morbidity and mortality of infectious diseases.  However, it has become clear that antibiotics have had the unanticipated effect of altering the indigenous microbiota in ways that can have multiple effects on host health.  The acute effect of antibiotics is clearly manifested in antibiotic-associated colitis due to C. difficile infection (CDI).  This talk will review the pathogenesis of CDI, highlighting how understanding the role of the host, the microbiota and the pathogen is pointing the way to new modalities to prevent and treat this important nosocomial infection.


Novel, Alternative Models for the Study of Enteric Diseases  

A great deal of our understanding of the pathogenesis of enteric infectious diseases has come from studying disease in human patients, the use of animal models and employing in vitro systems.  However, each of these systems has specific shortcomings in dissecting aspects of the host-pathogen interaction.  A recent addition to our experimental armamentarium has been the development of tissue-engineered systems for studying epithelial-microbe interactions.  This talk will discuss how human intestinal organoids can be used to investigate the intricate interactions between pathogenic and non-pathogenic microbes with a model intestinal epithelium.   


It Takes a Village: Team Science and Microbiologic Research   

A recent development in biomedical science is formation of large teams of researchers to tackle broad-ranging problems that require an interdisciplinary approach.  The Human Genome Project and the Human Microbiome Project are examples of “big science” projects that bring together scientists, clinicians, engineers and informaticians.  Although these projects are conceptually exciting, individual scientists are often left wondering how and if they should become involved.  This talk will review the lecturer’s experience with team science including the potential upsides and downsides of involvement in interdisciplinary research.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH – Vincent B. Young, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Young received his Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  After receiving his M.D. and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Stanford University, Dr. Young returned to the Boston area where he completed his residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  Following a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT, Dr. Young began his career at Michigan State University in 2001.  It was there that he first began to study the gut microbiota in earnest.  In 2007, he moved to the University of Michigan where he continued work directed at understanding the role of bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract and how they influence the health status of the host.  Dr. Young’s group studies the role of what would traditionally be considered “pathogenic bacteria” in gastrointestinal illness, with a particular emphasis on Clostridium difficile.  In addition, his team examines how the population structure of the indigenous GI microbiota can influence the host-pathogen interaction and how changes in the community structure of the indigenous microbiota itself can lead to pathogenic states.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters




The ASMDL program represents an important part in ensuring the continuation of the field of microbiology as a dynamic, important part of the scientific enterprise.  In order to continue to attract the best and brightest scientists to the field, it is important to expose trainees at all levels to the state-of-the-art research that is being done in all areas of microbiology.  My broad experience as an infectious diseases physician and microbiology researcher will allow me to try to impart some of the excitement that I have felt in studying a variety of topics in microbiology.  I have been fortunate to have been taught and mentored by some of the leaders in the field and I feel it is my duty to try to pass on this scientific heritage to the next generation of microbiologists.  I have chosen to stay in the academic field so that I can help foster the development and careers of students and postdocs who are interested in microbiology.  The ASM has had a major role during the development of my own career as a microbiologist and I think that initiatives such as the ASMDL program play a central role in ensuring that microbiology will continue to be a vibrant field.  As a participant in the ASMDL program, I am eager to meet the next generation of microbiologists who will continue to push the field forward.


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Tara C. Smith

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(Speaker Term: July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2017)


Tara C. Smith (term: 7/1/15 through 6/30/17)

College of Public Health

Kent State University

750 Hilltop Drive, Lowry Hall 

Kent, OH  44242        


Phone: 330-672-3946



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  Y  (Public Health)

Secondary Division:  B  (Microbial Pathogens)



Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Pigs, Pork, and Pathogens   

Dr. Smith’s research examines MRSA in community settings, particularly revolving around livestock and farmers.  She is one of only a handful of researchers examining this issue in the United States, and was the first to publish on it.  This lecture will discuss those results and the connection between agriculture and antibiotic-resistant bacteria more broadly.                                                                                           


Staphyloccocus aureus in Animals

This lecture discusses the many species where S. aureus has been found, from humans to dolphins and many in between.  It discusses evidence of which types of S. aureus seem to travel frequently between species, and which seem to be more “species-specific,” and what this means overall for human disease.


Science Denial and the Internet   

This talk discusses the rise of social media as a force for dissemination of medical information, including information about vaccines and other infectious disease topics.  It includes the “bad” (misinformation spread on social media) but also the potential “good” that can be brought when scientists and medical professionals also participate in social media.


Ebola and Emerging Diseases: Why We’ll Always Have Pandemics    

Dr. Smith has been writing and speaking about Ebola for almost 20 years, including publication of a book for high school-age students on the topic (second edition, 2010).  This lecture will cover the history of Ebola and Marburg outbreaks, putting the 2014 outbreak into the context of the history, political, and social issues that affect the spread of the outbreak.  It will also discuss the potential for similar outbreaks—and why such “spillover” epidemics happen at all.                                   


Zombies and Infectious Diseases in Popular Culture    

Zombies are the horror movie monster du jour, appearing in TV shows and best-selling video games in addition to multiple blockbuster films.  This zombie obsession can be harnessed to teach many important concepts in infectious diseases and epidemiology.  These concepts will be reviewed and demonstrated in a light-hearted talk.



Dr. Smith joined the faculty of Kent State University College of Public Health in August 2013 following nine years in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa, where she directed the College’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.  She completed post-doctoral training at the University of Michigan after obtaining her Ph.D. at the University of Toledo and her B.S. in Biology from Yale University.

Dr. Smith’s research focuses on zoonotic infections (infections which are transferred between animals and humans).  She was the first to identify livestock-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the United States, and has pioneered the investigation of this organism in the United States.  Dr. Smith has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters.  She has received over three million dollars in funding from AHRQ, USDA, and NIOSH to carry out her studies.  She has presented her research at numerous national and international platforms, including talks on Capitol Hill on the topic of agriculture and antibiotic resistance.  Her work has been profiled in many major publications, including Science, Nature, and The New York Times.

Dr. Smith is also active in science communication and outreach.  She has maintained a science blog since 2005, and has written books on Group A Streptococcus, Group B Streptococcus, and Ebola.  She also writes about infectious disease for among other sites, and is a member of the advisory board of the Zombie Research Society.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I have been involved in microbiology outreach for all of my career, from writing local letters to the editor on scientific issues when I was an undergraduate, to maintaining a well-trafficked science blog for the past ten years, to writing for large national venues about science issues.  I have given talks at major universities to esteemed colleagues, and on Capitol Hill to individuals with minimal scientific backgrounds.  I will bring this breadth of expertise and passion for science to this lectureship.  As a mentor, I have provided laboratory experiences for dozens of undergraduates and graduate students over the past decade, as well as to a handful of gifted high school students.  Most of these students have ended up as co-authors on journal manuscripts.  I am currently training my first post-doctoral fellow, and we have already been awarded a local pilot grant for his research project.

My philosophy is that first and foremost, academics must not linger in our ivory towers.  If we are out discussing science in public on a regular basis, the public will be more likely to trust and rely on us when they need our expertise—for example, in the shadow of the current Ebola outbreak that has hit my own campus, or for more “ordinary” issues like the science of vaccination.  I have worked hard to make myself both a reliable and accessible academic and a national voice for microbiology and infectious disease information, and would be honored to bring that experience to this lectureship.

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Dr. Steven C. Ricke

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(Speaker Term: July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2017)


Dr. Steven C. Ricke (term: 7/1/15 through 6/30/17)

Department of Food Science

University of Arkansas

2650 North Young Avenue

Fayetteville, AR  72704-5690           


Phone: 479-575-4678

Fax:     470-575-6936   



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  P  (Food Microbiology)

Secondary Division:  Z  (Animal Health Microbiology)



Salmonella in the Gastrointestinal Tract: Life in a War Zone 

Natural infection of the gastrointestinal tract of avian and mammalian hosts by Salmonella spp. can lead to extensive colonization and in some cases systemic invasion.  However, the gut of a mature animal is a harsh, highly competitive complex ecosystem that is not easy to colonize.  Microbial factors that influence competition in the gastrointestinal tract center on the respective organism(s) present, as well as their ability to scavenge and grow on available nutrients.  Although there is considerable information about environmental signals that control growth and pathogenesis during and after invasion of the intestinal tract, less is known about the biology of Salmonella spp. in the gastrointestinal tract prior to attachment and invasion.  This talk will describe several host and microbial factors that must be considered when studying the growth and/or competitiveness of Salmonella spp. in a gut ecosystem, including passage rate, diet composition, cross-feeding between organisms and potential inhibitory conditions resulting from microbial activity.  Understanding these factors and their respective contributions has implications not only for competitiveness of Salmonella spp. in the gut, but also addresses practical issues regarding strategies such as dietary supplements, biological amendments, probiotics and vaccines for limiting Salmonella spp. gut colonization.


Foodborne Salmonella spp. in Food Production Systems: How Do They Get There and How to Keep Them Out

Salmonellosis is one of the most common foodborne diseases, as well as one of the more costly of the foodborne diseases in the United States.  Given that foodborne Salmonella spp. can originate from a wide variety of food production environments, reduction of this organism at all stages of food production is critical.  This talk explores the prevalence of Salmonella species in food production systems and how they survive the various environmental pressures they encounter.  In particular, virulence and stress expression responses of Salmonella spp. under typical food production and processing conditions are discussed.  Finally, integrated approaches for controlling Salmonella spp. are described in the context of the foodborne pathogen’s ability to persist.


Stacking the Deck in the Gut - Current Status and Future Prospects of Prebiotics   

The concept of prebiotic therapy is to provide the beneficial gut bacteria some form of dietary nutrient source that once consumed either by food animals or humans, gut microorganism(s) are selectively favored that benefit the host.  Prebiotics that have been used include non-digestible carbohydrates such as fructooligosaccharide products (FOS), yeast cell walls (mannanooligosaccharides) and other fermentable carbohydrates which are either not digested or are only minimally digested in the gut by the host.  As non-digestible ingredients, prebiotics traverse the gut where they are fermented by specific gut bacteria such as Bifidobacterium sp. to produce end products that may benefit the host as well as possess antimicrobial activity against foodborne pathogens.  As more is understood about the metabolism of these prebiotic compounds, it is anticipated that the application of such compounds will be further optimized and potential additional functions identified.  This talk will discuss the history, current applications and potential future applications for these compounds.


The Ultimate Challenge: Antimicrobial Strategies for Foodborne Pathogen Reduction in Organic Foods

The organic food industry in the United States has grown substantially in the past decade in response to consumer demand for non-conventionally produced food items.  However, organic standards are generally based only on the methods used for production and processing of the product and not necessarily on the product’s safety.  Food safety hazards associated with organic meats remain unclear because of the limited research conducted to determine the safety of organic meat from farm-to-fork.  Likewise, strategies for either limiting exposure of these food products to foodborne pathogens and/or reduction of foodborne pathogens already present is challenging due to the strict production and processing requirements to meet organic standards.  This talk will discuss foodborne pathogen risks inherent in organic production systems and antimicrobial strategies that have potential for such systems.



Dr. Steven Ricke’s expertise is primarily focused on pathogenic characteristics of foodborne Salmonella.  He received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, and was a USDA-ARS postdoctoral fellow in Microbiology at North Carolina State University.  He was a professor at Texas A&M University until 2005, when he became the first holder of the new Donald “Buddy” Wray Endowed Chair in Food Safety at the University of Arkansas (UA) and Director of the Center for Food Safety.  He has received numerous awards, including the Poultry Science Association Research Award, American Egg Board Award, UA Food Science Department Outstanding Research Award, and UA Division of Agriculture John White Outstanding Research Award, and was also named a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station Faculty Fellow.   He has been a member of the National Academies Standing Committee on Use of Public Health Data in FSIS Food Safety Programs and the United Egg Producers Food Safety Scientific Advisory Council, and served as co-founder and former President of the Arkansas Association of Food Protection.  Dr. Ricke has served as an editor for five books and as Editor-in-Chief of two scientific journals.  He has co-authored 377 peer refereed research and review articles as well as 46 book chapters, and he has given 126 talks to local, national and international audiences. 

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I am highly interested in participating in the ASMDL program to have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of microbiologists that there are not only great careers in microbiology, but also opportunities to highly impact both the food industry as well as the public sector.  I firmly believe that the future of food microbiology will become less dependent on a “reactionary solving problems of the moment” approach to a more predictive long-range approach.  However, this will require individuals not only well trained in microbiology, but also those that are willing to apply these concepts to seek a better understanding of the biology of the microorganisms and pathogens associated with food.  My guidance of students and postdoctorates stems directly from the mentoring I received from a wide range of individuals during my own graduate training. Since joining the Food Science Department at the University of Arkansas, I have incorporated this philosophical background in designing a food microbiology research program that instills in students and postdocs the scientific fundamentals that provide them with the tools to understand and apply integrated microbiology concepts to real world questions raised by the food industry and the public sector.  My vision is that individuals equipped in such a manner are in the best position to succeed whether they are quality control managers in food processing plants, serving with government regulatory agencies dealing with food safety issues, or managing their own research programs in a related discipline.


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David H. Sherman

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(Speaker Term: July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2017)


David H. Sherman (term: 7/1/15 through 6/30/17)

Life Sciences Institute

University of Michigan

210 Washtenaw Avenue

Ann Arbor, MI  48109-2216 


Phone: 734-615-9907

Fax:  734-615-3641



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  O  (Fermentation & Biotechnology)

Secondary Division:  K  (Microbial Physiology & Metabolism)



Function and Structure of the Biochemical Machines that Generate Pharmaceuticals from Bacteria and Fungi  

In this lecture I will describe our research over many years relating to polyketide synthases and non-ribosomal peptide synthetases that create important natural products, many now in use as antibiotics and anticancer drugs.


Identification and Characterization of Secondary Metabolic Systems Using Metagenomic Approaches

Many secondary metabolites are derived from uncultured microbial sources.  In this lecture I will describe how next-generation sequencing and bioinformatic tools enabled the discovery and characterization of a marine-invertebrate-derived bacterial endosymbiont responsible for the production of a clinical anticancer agent.


Development of Novel C-H Functionalization Catalysts Derived from Natural Product Biosynthetic Pathways   

One of the major challenges in industry and academia involves the introduction of functionality in small molecules that contain unactivated C-H bonds.  Natural product biosynthetic systems have been evolving these catalysts over millions of years, and we are just beginning to explore their value.  In this lecture I will describe how modern tools for substrate and protein engineering enable the facile development of powerful and versatile new biocatalysts for generating pharmaceuticals and high value chemicals.


The Re-emergence of Natural Products in Drug Discovery and Development     

Over the past ten years there has been enormous progress in the identification of novel natural products from diverse microbial sources.  In this lecture I will describe the strategies for developing a phylogenetically diverse collection of microorganisms that produce novel natural products with value biological activities.  The emergence of academic drug discovery and development using microbial natural product extracts is leading to the discovery of important new anti-infective agents and other molecules with high medicinal value.



My group works in the general area of natural product sciences relating to microbial secondary metabolism.  Our work begins with a field program to collect source materials from diverse ecosystems.  These are used to isolate new culturable microbes from which we generate fractionated organic extracts for high throughput screening against a wide range of important disease targets (including human microbial pathogens).  Bioassay-guided isolation of the active constituents of the extract provides access to purified biologically active natural products that are fully characterized to give complete structural information.  With this in hand, we sequence the genome of the product microbe, mine the gene cluster using bioinformatic approaches and begin detailed biochemical studies on enzymes responsible for assembling the core molecule and subsequent tailoring reactions.  Structural biology approaches (x-ray and cryo-electron microscopy) are employed to gain atomic resolution insights regarding enzyme mechanisms. Molecular dynamic and quantum mechanical approaches are used to engineer biocatalysts from these systems that have novel selectivity against a range of unnatural substrates.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I am motivated to participate in the ASMDL program to improve awareness, education and visibility of the role of microorganisms in drug discovery and development.  As we gain access to new DNA sequencing information, our ability to rapidly assess, recognize and manipulate gene clusters involved in secondary metabolism and novel natural products increases dramatically.  Moreover, next-generation sequencing enables access to new genomes and pathways from unculturable microbes, and it is now possible to refactor the genetic blue-print for heterologous expression and production of new metabolites.  The proposed lectures will bring a broad perspective to the role of microbiology and microorganisms in natural product discovery and identification of new drug quality molecules.  Thus, as we continue to strive for new translational applications of our basic research, the microbiology of natural products enable a diverse range of avenues with great significance for improving human health.  As a ~25 year member of ASM, I have attended many national meetings, participated three times as an international lecturer in Peru to give an ASM-sponsored short course at La Molina National University (Lima), and have trained >100 postdoctoral fellows and Ph.D. students as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota (Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology Institute; 1990-2003) and the University of Michigan (Departments of Medicinal Chemistry, Chemistry, and Microbiology & Immunology; 2003 to present).  My vision as a scientist is to train students to have a trans-disciplinary perspective in the microbiological and chemical sciences.  Microbial diversity is the ultimate starting point for the chemical diversity observed in the wonderfully complex natural products that can be isolated from bacteria and fungi.  Moreover, these metabolites have improved the health of millions of humans and animals over the past seventy years.  I am committed to conveying my energy and enthusiasm toward today’s students and postdocs regarding the vast opportunities in research and translational sciences based on microbial secondary metabolism.

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Pamela A. Marshall

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(Speaker Term: July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2017)


Pamela A. Marshall (term: 7/1/15 through 6/30/17)

School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences

Arizona State University

4701 W Thunderbird Road

Glendale, AZ  85306 


Phone: 602-543-6143

Cell:     602-677-6443



Speaker’s Website:  



Primary Division:  W  (Microbiology Education)

Secondary Division:  X  (Molecular, Cellular & General Biology of Eukaryotes)



Community Outreach in Elementary Schools

What can the average microbiologist do to support education in the community?  This lecture will give examples of how to get involved, give support to those who need guidance, and demonstrate activities and experiments one can do easily and cheaply at the elementary level.                                                                                            


Backwards Design

Backwards Design is a method of designing a course in which learning objectives are identified first and then assessments and teaching modalities are determined.  Backwards Design is student-focused and learning-centered and is a proven method for course design.  This lecture will describe the method and give coaching on how to implement Backwards Design in any classroom. 


Phosphate Storage in the Vacuole of Saccharomyces

The yeast vacuole was once thought to be the equivalent of the plant storage vacuole, but with the advent of modern cell biology, scientists determined that the organelle was degradative, like the human lysosome.  However, this fascinating organelle has additional functions akin to the acidocalcisome (required for infection by parasites like malaria), including phosphate accumulation in the form of polyphosphate.  This lecture will describe recent work into the analysis of polyphosphate in Saccharomyces and the cellular requirements for its formation.                                      


Calcium Homeostasis in Saccharomyces

Saccharomyces utilizes calcium as a second messenger to induce distinct signaling cascades in response to many diverse signals such as light, hyperosmolarity, and mating.  We recently have discovered novel interactions in yeast calcium homeostasis and have been characterizing the low affinity calcium channel in the membrane.  Regulation of the vacuolar calcium exporter will also be discussed.



Pamela A. Marshall is an accomplished yeast microbiologist, studying the yeast vacuole and calcium and phosphate homeostasis in this organelle.  However, she is better known for her pedagogical and community service work in the K-12 arena and her work to support all students in their quest to excel.  She has published numerous papers on pedagogy, is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education and a Co-Director for the Arizona State University (ASU) New College Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence.  She is a Fellow of the Arizona Nevada Academy of Science, and has won ASU awards for teaching, service, and undergraduate and colleague mentoring, as well as a Volunteer of the Year Award at a Title I eligible elementary school. 

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



My entire philosophy can be summed up in one question, “What is in the best interest of the student?”  Everything I do in my position at ASU is student-centered and focused on helping students at all levels succeed.  I volunteer at a Title I eligible elementary school and have been instrumental in bringing high-level science to the students in the form of experiments (published in the ASM K-12 Curriculum Collection) and a large grant to build an outdoor classroom on the campus.  At ASU, I am the Faculty Instructor for the TRIO SSS STEM Program, supporting low income, first generation, and/or disabled students in our STEM majors with workshops, advising, mentoring and classes.  

My microbiology research focuses on the vacuole of the budding yeast Saccharomyces and its non-standard functions of calcium homeostasis and phosphate storage and accumulation.  One would think that with its degradative nature, the vacuole would be like the lysosome.  Indeed, the transport pathways to the organelle are similar, but yet this organelle has similar functions to the acidocalcisome in parasites as well.  It’s quite fascinating as the vacuole seems to have functions of both organelles and yet it also has unique functions.  Calcium homeostasis in this yeast has been proposed to be a model for calcium storage and movement in higher eukaryotes, such as human cardiac cells, as well.


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