June 3, 2017
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
ASM Lifetime Achievement Award
Kyung Kwon-Chung; Nat. Inst. of Allergy & Infectious Diseases; Bethesda, MD
Dr. Kwon-Chung received her Bachelor’s degree in biology from Ewha Womans University in Seoul Korea and her MS and Ph.D degrees in Bacteriology/Mycology from University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin under the tutelage of Kenneth B. Raper. She received her postdoctoral training in medical mycology at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH in the mid-1960s under the late Chester W. Emmons. In 1973, she became a Senior Investigator in the Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases (formerly Laboratory of Clinical Investigation/NIAID/NIH) and has been serving as Chief of the Molecular Microbiology Section in the same laboratory since 1995. During the past five decades at NIH, she has pioneered development and advancement of the pathogenic mycology field. Dr. Kwon-Chung’s primary research has focused on the systematics and pathobiology of Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii, the two etiologic agents of cryptococcosis as well as various etiologic agents of aspergillosis. Her comprehensive research on the biology of cryptococcosis agents starting from the mid 1970’s has culminated in the conversion of C. neoformans and C. gattii from human pathogens to model yeasts. She has published over 275 peer-reviewed original articles, 52 solicited book chapters or reviews, co-authored two medical mycology books and edited two books on pathogenic fungi. In acknowledgement of her contributions to the field of medical mycology, she has received numerous awards including ISHAM Award and Lucile George’s Award from International Society for Human and Animal Mycology and Rhoda Benham Award from Medical Mycological Society of the Americas. She was the recipient of the Honorary Doctor’s Degree in Science from University of Wisconsin in 2009. She has also had a basidiomycetous yeast genus Kwoniella, named for her. Her high energy, leadership, unwavering enthusiasm and research accomplishments have earned her worldwide stature as the most influential medical mycologist of the last half century.
Deepwater Horizon Lecture
Samantha Joye; Univ. of Georgia; Athens, GA
Samantha Joye is an educator, a deep ocean explorer, and a vocal ocean and environmental advocate. She holds the Athletic Association Distinguished Professorship in Arts and Sciences and is a Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia. She is an expert in environmental microbiology and geochemistry and her interdisciplinary research focuses on hydrocarbon and trace gas dynamics in ocean ecosystems.
She has been studying the ecosystem impacts of natural seepage of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic, and elsewhere for over 20 years. Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Joye examined the distribution of deepwater plumes of oil and gas, and her group continues to measure the activities of the microorganisms that break down oil and gas and assess the impacts of the spill on blue water benthic and pelagic ecosystems. She currently directs a large research program that studies hydrocarbon dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico.
Joye earned her Ph.D. in Marine Sciences from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1993 and joined the faculty of the University of Georgia in 1997, having served briefly as an assistant professor of oceanography at Texas A&M. She was awarded a fellowship at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study in Delmenhorst, Germany, where she served as a visiting professor at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, in 2002-03. In 1997 and again in 1999, she served as a research fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.
DuPont Industrial Biotechnology Award
Lonnie Ingram; Univ. of Florida; Gainesville, FL
Professor Ingram began his faculty career at the University of Florida in 1972 and has remained productive throughout his career. He has contributed 245 refereed publications, 25 book chapters, and 30 U.S. and 12 foreign patents. His peers around the world have recognized the excellence of his research in a variety of ways. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2001, which was preceded by his election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 1998. He was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology Board of Governors in 2006, invited advisor to President George W. Bush on Cellulosic Ethanol in 2007, and at the same year was a member of the Advisory Group of the Florida Energy Commission of Renewable Energy. He received the C.D. Scott Award for distinguished contributions to the field of biotechnology for fuels and chemicals. From 2007-2009, he was a member of the Florida Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change. In 2008, he received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Southeastern Universities Research Association. In2010, he was recognized worldwide as one of the Top 100 People in Bioenergy, and in 2013 and 2014, in Bioeconomy. He is a recipient of the Wood Utilization Award in 2011, from the Florida Society of American Foresters and in 2013, a Medalist of the Florida Academy of Sciences, and Elected Fellow in the US Academy of Inventors.
His achievements in academia have always been anchored in a belief that academic science can provide solutions to problems in our society. Professor Ingram is one of the early pioneers in metabolic engineering that has led to the construction of bacterial strains that efficiently convert biomass to ethanol and several industrially important chemicals. In 1991, this ethanol technology was selected by the Department of Commerce to become Landmark Patent No. 5,000,000th. Research from his laboratory has resulted in the formation of four biotechnology companies: Bioenergy, Verenium, Myriant, and AHB with four products in commercial production (ethanol, alanine, succinate, and lactate). Based on his technology, a biorefinery pilot plant to produce ethanol and value added chemicals was established in Perry, Florida.
Professor Ingram has combined academic science with industry applications to promote a new biobased economy. His 23 graduate students and 40 postdocs are superbly trained and are now employed throughout academia and industry. These include metabolic engineering research positions in biotechnology industries (Verenium Corp., Myriant, Gevo, Amyris, Dupont, BASF, Novozymes, Syngenta, and Genomatica) and in academia (Rice University, University of Georgia, Penn State University, University of Mexico, Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, University of Thailand among others). Dr. Ingram’s research has been continuously funded with more than $48M in contracts and grants from federal and corporate sponsors throughout his 44 years as a faculty member at the University of Florida.
Eli Lilly & Company - Elanco Research Award
Harmit Malik; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Res. Ctr.; Seattle, WA
Harmit Malik is a member in the Division of Basic Sciences at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Trained as a chemical engineer at IIT Bombay, he obtained his PhD in biology from the University of Rochester, USA. There, he worked with Thomas Eickbush on the evolutionary strategies and origins of retrotransposable elements. As a postdoctoral fellow with Steve Henikoff at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he worked on the origins of retroviruses and the 'centromere paradox'- the extremely high rate of evolution of centromeric DNA and proteins in spite of extreme conservation of function. Since starting his own lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Dr. Malik has dissected the evolutionary history of host-virus interactions between primate genomes and retroviruses or poxviruses. His lab's evolution-guided functional virology approach has revealed the means to identify the specificity domains by virtue of signatures of rapid evolution (‘where’). These case studies of antiviral genes have revealed many common 'evolutionary rules' of genetic adaptation, using which it may be possible to even infer the action of past viral infections (‘when’); his collaborator Michael Emerman and he coined this indirect 'paleovirology' (study of ancient viruses). More recently, his lab has discovered that one previously unappreciated form of viral adaptation (‘how’) is via 'gene-accordions' that facilitate acquisition of adaptive alleles. By focusing on case studies of host-virus interactions, his lab hopes to elucidate general principles of antagonistic genetic interactions.
Robert Bonomo; VA Med. Ctr.; Cleveland, OH
MilliporeSigma Alice C. Evans Award
Diane Griffin; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Sch. of Public Hlth.; Baltimore, MD
Diane E. Griffin MD, PhD is University Distinguished Service Professor and former Chair of the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Vice President of the US National Academy of Sciences. She earned her BA in Biology at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and her MD and PhD at Stanford University School of Medicine. Her research interests are in the area of pathogenesis of viral diseases with a particular focus on measles and alphavirus encephalitis. These studies address issues related to virulence and the role of immune responses in protection from infection and in clearance of infection. She has more than 300 publications and has served on multiple advisory and editorial boards. She is past president of the American Society for Virology and the American Society for Microbiology. Among other honors, she has received the Rudolf Virchow Medal from the University of Wurzburg (2010), Wallace Sterling Lifetime Alumni Achievement Award from Stanford University (2011), the FASEB Excellence in Science Award (2015) and Maxwell Finland Award (2016).
Antimicrobial Research Award
Melanie Cushion; Univ. of Cincinnati Coll. of Med.; Cincinnati, OH
Melanie T. Cushion, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She serves as the Senior Associate Dean for Research at the College of Medicine and is a Research Career Scientist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her research focuses on Pneumocystis. Fungi in this genus cause an oftentimes lethal pneumonia (PCP) in humans and other mammals with compromised immune status. PCP is not responsive to standard antifungal therapy with few treatment alternatives besides tri¬methoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Her laboratory focuses on pre-clinical drug development that includes discovery of potential new targets by understanding the metabolism of these obli¬gate fungi through comparative genomics, transcriptomics, and metallomics; in silico or in vitro screening of inhibitors to identify potential new drugs; evaluation of toxicity in vitro, and evaluation of efficacy in rodent animal models. Her publications include over 90 peer-reviewed papers; over 50 chapters, reviews, editorials or letters. She has served on the AARR4 study section as a member and Chair and on several ad hoc sections. She holds a patent for bisbenzamidines as therapeutic agents and conducts a service that screens potential new anti-PCP drugs. Dr. Cushion has served on several editorial boards, especially for ASM journals. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2009). She is a member of the advisory body to the JPC-2 Chair for the Defense Health Program Military Infectious Diseases Research Program. Her research program has been funded since 1987 through grants from the VA, NIH, and NSF.
June 4, 2017
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award
Stephen Goff; Columbia Univ.; New York, NY
Dr. Stephen P. Goff is Higgins Professor of Biochemistry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was a Biophysics undergraduate at Amherst College, and a PhD student with Dr. Paul Berg at Stanford University, where he focused on the replication of simian virus 40 (SV40) and its use as a vector for the expression of foreign DNAs in mammalian cells. He did postdoctoral work with Dr. David Baltimore at MIT on murine leukemia viruses as a Jane Coffin Childs fellow before joining the Columbia faculty in 1981. His laboratory studies the retrovirus life cycle and host restriction systems that inhibit virus replication.
Goff was a Searle Scholar and has received two MERIT awards from the NIH. He was selected as co-organizer of the Cold Spring RNA Tumor Virus meeting for 1988 and 1994, and co-chairman of the Animal Cells and Viruses Gordon Conference for 1989. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Science. He has served as a reviewing editor for the journals Science, Cell, eLife, Journal of Virology, and Virology and reviews submissions for these and other journals. He has mentored over 35 graduate students and 35 postdoctoral fellows. He has authored or coauthored over 300 publications on viral replication and oncogenesis.
Merck Irving S. Sigal
Jesse Bloom; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Res. Ctr.; Seattle, WA
Jesse Bloom studies the molecular evolution of proteins and viruses, with a special focus on influenza. His lab uses a combination of experimental and computational approaches to address this topic. One recent focus of his work has been to use high-throughput experiments to measure the effects of large numbers of mutations on viral replication or antigenicity, and then develop computational algorithms that utilize this information to better understand evolution in nature.
Jesse is currently an Associate Member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the Division of Basic Sciences and the Computational Biology Program. He is also an affiliate assistant professor in the Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington.
Prior to beginning his faculty position at the Fred Hutch, Jesse performed postdoctoral and doctoral work at Caltech. As a postdoc, he worked with Dr. David Baltimore studying viral evolution. For his PhD in Chemistry, he worked with Dr. Frances Arnold on the evolution and engineering of proteins. Prior to that, he obtained an MPhil in Theoretical Chemistry from Cambridge University, and a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Chicago.
Promega Biotechnology Research Award
Raymond St. Leger; Univ. of Maryland, College Park
Raymond J. St. Leger is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland. St. Leger has published > 200 scientific papers and book chapters on fungal pathogens of plants, animals and insects. St. Leger’s dominating research interest has been directed toward using fungal parasites of insects as models for understanding how pathogens in general respond to changing environments, initiate host invasion, colonize tissues, and counter host immune responses. These investigations have also used highly accurate genome sequences to address the mechanisms by which new pathogens emerge with different host ranges. St. Leger's laboratory has altered insect pathogens in the genus Metarhizium so that they express genes encoding arthropod toxins or human antibody genes. The potential of these engineered pathogens to control vector borne diseases such as malaria is currently being trialed in Burkina Faso. Other field trials are exploiting functional genomic tools to provide detailed knowledge of the evolutionary potential and invasion ecology of transgenic microbes, and to predict the consequences of different types of human intervention (e.g., habitat fragmentation, climate change, invasive species, and genetically modified introductions). During these studies, Dr. St. Leger demonstrated that several very common insect pathogenic fungi colonize roots and have multiple beneficial effects on plant growth, besides killing insects. These observations have opened the way for using improved strains with customized properties to replace chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award
Kyria Boundy-Mills; Univ. of California, Davis, Davis, CA
Since 2001, Dr. Kyria Boundy-Mills has been the curator of the Phaff Yeast Culture Collection at the University of California Davis. The Phaff collection is the fourth largest collection of its kind in the world, containing over 7,500 strains belonging to over 1,000 different yeast species. The collection is the living legacy of eminent UC Davis yeast ecologist Herman Phaff, who received the J. Roger Porter Award in 1984. Over the last 16 years, Boundy-Mills has revitalized and modernized the collection, and expanded the holdings. She is currently rescuing two imperiled yeast collections from retiring professors, which will expand the holdings by up to 50%. These efforts ensure that yeasts collected by past generations continue to be available to academic, government agency and industry researchers, who use them in research areas including pathogenesis, ecology, taxonomy, physiology, biogeography, genetics, biotechnology, and food fermentations. She has exploited the diversity of the collection in innovative research projects such as discovering 30 oleaginous yeast species, unearthing a new class of biosurfactants secreted by several species, revealing new aspects of yeast/Drosophila associations, and developing starter cultures for olive fermentations.
Boundy-Mills is a leader in national and international culture collection organizations. She strongly advocates preserving biologically and geographically diverse collections of yeasts and other microbes, because building these types of collections is now extremely difficult due to restrictive international treaties and habitat loss. She earned her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1992, and BS in Chemistry from Hope College in 1987.
William A. Hinton Research Training Award
Steven Finkel; Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Steven Finkel is a Professor in the Molecular & Computational Biology section of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California. Dr. Finkel is also a Senior Scientist with the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations, an NSF-funded Science & Technology Center, where he directs an undergraduate research program focused on increasing the diversity of students in the STEM fields. Dr. Finkel received his B.A. in Molecular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Research in Dr. Finkel’s laboratory focuses on the long-term survival and evolution of bacteria both in planktonic culture and in biofilms, including applications to bacterial respiration and electricity production. Among current topics of study are (1) mechanisms of survival in many organisms, including population structure at the genetic & genomic level and studies of the GASP (growth advantage in stationary phase) phenotype; (2) generation of bacterial diversity in different environments, including the roles of error-prone DNA polymerases in generating genetic diversity; (3) genomic and metagenomic analyses of evolving populations of microbes; and (4) understanding the role of extracellular electron transport in the long-term survival ability of bacteria in electricity-generating microbial fuel cells (MFCs), human gut and human lung. Model organisms in the laboratory include: Escherichia coli, Shewanella oneidensis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Dr. Finkel is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.