Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - January, 2008



  • ASM General Meeting Minority Travel Grant
  • ASM Career Connections – New and Improved Website
  • 2008 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators
  • 2008-2009 Biology Scholars Research Residency
  • ASM Volunteer Translators Network
  • ASM Pre-Meeting Workshop Scholarship Program
  • UNESCO/ASM International Visiting Resource Person (VRP) Program
  • ASM Presentation Institute
  • ASM Undergraduate Fellowships
  • 6thASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting - Baltimore, MD
  • 108thGeneral Meeting - Boston, MA
  • 48thICAAC/IDSA 46th Annual Meeting - Washington, DC
  • 2008 ASM Conferences
  • 2008 ASM Teleconferences


  • National Research Initiative – Microbial Genomics (A): Genome Sequencing
  • Notice of Intent to Publish a Request for Applications for the NIH Partners in Research Program


  • Stanford University Funds Major New Program Aimed at Increasing the Number of Minority Faculty
  • Major Shortfall in Doctorates to African Americans in the Natural Sciences


  • Margaret Kanipes, Ph.D., North Carolina A & T State University




ASM General Meeting Minority Travel Grant

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) will offer travel grants to increase the participation of underrepresented minority (URM) groups in the ASM General Meeting. The ASM will select post-doctoral scholars from URM groups in the microbiological sciences or faculty from Minority Serving Institutions. Each grantee will be offered up to $1500 to defray expenses associated with travel to the ASM General Meeting.

To be eligible for the award you must be an ASM Member, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, a faculty member from a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), i.e. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Hispanic Serving institutions (HSI), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) or other institutions with substantial enrollments of minority students and are considered to be Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) or be a Post-doctoral scholar from an URM Group.

To apply for an ASM General Meeting Travel Grant, complete the application and submit with all required materials following the instructions outlined on the application form which is posted at index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=38173. The application is posted in a downloadable Word form. The Application Deadline is Friday, February 1, 2008.

ASM Career Connections – New and Improved Website

Beginning January 1, 2008, ASM Career Connections debuted a new and improved website at http://www.asmcareerconnections.org/ featuring exciting changes and enhancements. ASM Career Connections is the online job board of ASM and serves as the onsite placement service at the ASM General Meeting and ICAAC. Visit ASM Career Connections to manage your employment or recruitment search online and search for the right job or most qualified candidate!

New features to the website provide ASM members with increased benefits. ASM member employers receive discounted pricing for posting a job on ASM Career Connections. ASM member candidates receive full access to the website free of charge and premium exposure to employers through priority placement in resume database search results. Non-member candidates are eligible to post a resume for a 45 day trial period with fees applying after the trial period ends.

Whether you are looking for a job in microbiology or to recruit qualified microbiology professionals, ASM Career Connections targets your efforts and gives you the tools you need to end your search successfully. Visit ASM Career Connections at http://www.asmcareerconnections.org/ or contact ASM at placement@asmusa.org or 202-942-9285 with any questions.

2008 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators

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

2008-2009 Biology Scholars Research Residency

Ever wondered if your students are actually learning the concepts you are teaching? As a researcher, are you interested in designing experiments in the classroom to help you determine student learning? Interested in reforming biology education? Apply now for the Biology Scholars Program Research Residency at http://www.biologyscholars.org/page02a.shtml. This program seeks biologists who are asking questions about the effectiveness of their teaching approaches. The 2008 Research Residency begins with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Institute planned for July 16-19 in Washington, DC. Applications to the program are due March 1, 2008.

ASM Volunteer Translators Network

ASM International Affairs is seeking volunteers to expand the International Volunteer Translators Network. Through this important program, ASM members can assist in translating important resources such as the MicrobeLibrary, monthly journal summaries and the ASM website into other languages to make ASM resources more accessible to international members. Currently, the IEC is working with Spanish, French,and Portuguese-speaking members. Other languages will be added in the near future. Volunteers will be recognized for their efforts in the Microbe magazine at the end of each year. For more information or to volunteer, contact International Affairs staff at: international@asmusa.org.

ASM Pre-Meeting Workshop Scholarship Program

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

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

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

Application Form and Procedure:

To learn about the application procedures and to download the application form please visit index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18369

Deadline: March 1, 2008

UNESCO/ASM International Visiting Resource Person (VRP) Program

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

If you will be traveling to a developing nation, on academic or other business, within the next 6 months the UNESCO/ASM International Visiting Resource Person (VRP) Program can offer you the opportunity to spend an extra day with colleagues at a university or research institute in a major city. UNESCO will provide funds to cover the cost of the extended stay, making this program a cost-effective way to share your knowledge with others while enhancing your experience of the country. The ASM member is expected to present a seminar to faculty and students at the institution and to spend the rest of the visit as a resource person - discussing ideas for scientific research, curriculum development and international cooperation with local faculty and students. For additional information on the program and a link to the application, please visit: index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2788

ASM Presentation Institute

The goal of this one-and a half day workshop is to develop the skills needed to make a successful presentation at a scientific meeting and interact in a professional manner with colleagues. Emphasis will be on 3- and 10-minute oral presentations.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2008 website: http://www.asmgap.org/

ASM Undergraduate Fellowships

The American Society for Microbiology's fellowships programs for undergraduate students are aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers (Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D.) in microbiology.

ASM's Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF)
A 10-week summer program for students to conduct microbiology-related research with an ASM member at the student's undergraduate institution - requires joint application from student and faculty sponsor. Application Deadline: February 1, 2008
website: index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4319
Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MURF) - formerly ASM Minority Undergraduate Research Fellowship
A 10-week summer program for students from underrepresented and historically excluded groups to conduct microbiology-related research with an ASM member at their home institution or at a sponsoring U.S. institution. Application Deadline: February 1, 2008
website: index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4322
ASM's Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship (UTF)
A 12 week/150 hour instructional project for students to work with ASM faculty mentors at the students’ home institutions and field site mentors – requires a joint application from the student, faculty co-mentor, and field site co-mentor. Application Deadline: April 1, 2008
website: index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51660

6th ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting - Baltimore, MD

Final opportunity to register for this meeting in advance at a savings is January 25, 2008. Hotel reservation deadline is February 1 and the meeting hotel is the Baltimore Marriott Waterfont Hotel, set on the edge of the Baltimore Harbor close to numerous restaurants and shops. The date of the meeting is February 24-27. The purpose of this meeting is to bring together individuals who are carrying out research to defend against the growing threat of bioterrorism and decision makers shaping the future biodefense research agenda, recognizing that emerging infectious diseases serve as a paradigm for handling the public threat of bioterrorism. Register online at http://www.asmbiodefense.org/.

108th General Meeting - Boston, MA

Discounted General Registration has opened. Register early and save! Visit http://gm.asm.org/ for registration details. Recently added to this web site is also the Preliminary Program for your viewing. This year's meeting will take place in June.

48th ICAAC/IDSA 46th Annual Meeting - Washington, DC

The online abstract submission site is now open. Visit http://www.icaacidsa2008.org/program-dearcolleagues.asp. The deadline to submit an abstract is May 19, 2008. Housing and registration opens for ASM and IDSA members at a member rate in March. The joint organizational meeting will take place in October of this year.

2008 ASM Conferences

ASM Conference on Manipulation of Nuclear Processes by DNA Viruses has a Discounted Registration Deadline of January 21, 2008. The conference takes place March 2-5, 2008 in Historic Charleston, South Carolina at the Doubletree Guest Suites. In year 2006, Charleston was rated as a TOP 10 travel destination for parks, beaches, golf courses, tennis courts, art galleries, B&Bs, restaurants, and theatres. Viral-host interactions continue to play an important role in determining the course of viral infections, and this conference will bring together researchers to discuss how DNA viruses interact with many host pathways, so join us.

The Abstract Submission Deadline for two other upcoming ASM Conferences that you will find listed below is January 15, 2008. The Discounted Registration Deadline is February 19, 2008. Please visit "ASM Conferences" at index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=703 for details related to these deadlines.

  • 9th ASM Conference on Candida and Candidiasis, March 6-9, 2008 - Jersey City, New Jersey
  • ASM Conference on Emerging Technologies of Medical Importance for the Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases and the Detection of Pathogenic Microbes, April 6-10, 2008 - Beijing, China


Federal Agency Updates


National Research Initiative – Microbial Genomics (A): Genome Sequencing


As a collaborative, interagency effort, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture invite research proposals (i) to support high-throughput sequencing of the genomes of microorganisms (including viruses, bacteria, archaea, fungi, oomycetes, protists and agriculturally important nematodes) and (ii) to develop and implement strategies, tools and technologies to make currently available genome sequences more valuable to the user community. The availability of genome sequences provides the foundation for understanding how microorganisms function and live, and how they interact with their environments and with other organisms. The sequences are expected to be available to and used by a community of investigators to address issues of scientific and societal importance including:

  • novel aspects of microbial biochemistry, physiology, metabolism, development and cellular biology;
  • the diversity and the roles microorganisms play in complex ecosystems and in global geochemical cycles;
  • the impact that microorganisms have on the productivity and sustainability of agriculture and natural resources (e.g., forestry, soil and water), and on the safety and quality of the nation's food supply; and
  • the organization and evolution of microbial genomes, and the mechanisms of transmission, exchange and reshuffling of genetic information.

All applications for this element should be submitted through the National Science Foundation and the due date is February 19, 2008. Further information is at the NSF website and the funding opportunity number is 08-511. (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5688&org=NSF&from=home)


Notice of Intent to Publish a Request for Applications for the NIH Partners in Research Program; Notice Number: NOT-OD-07-089

Issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (http://www.nih.gov/)

The purpose of the NIH Partners in Research Program is to support two-year pilot and/or feasibility studies of innovative activities designed to improve public understanding of biomedical and behavioral research, develop strategies for promoting collaboration between scientists and the community to improve the health of the public, and to identify the conditions (e.g., settings and approaches) that will enhance the effectiveness of such activities. The long-term objectives of this initiative are: (1) to raise the level of public awareness and understanding of biomedical and behavioral research related to health, the role of the National Institutes of Health, the role the public can play in the research enterprise, and the value of public funding; (2) to increase scientists’ awareness of the importance of public engagement; and (3) to provide a menu of techniques for researchers and communities to implement to facilitate the participation of lay communities in the health research endeavor.

The Partners in Research Program will call for partnerships between a science/research institution and a community organization. Eligibility will be limited to domestic institutions.


For further scientific/research information regarding this planned RFA, please contact:

Alexis D. Bakos, Ph.D., MPH, RN,C
Office of Extramural Programs
National Institute of Nursing Research
6701 Democracy Boulevard, Room 710, MSC 4870
Bethesda, MD 20892-4870
Telephone: (301) 594-2542
FAX: (301) 480-8260
Email: bakosa@mail.nih.gov


Stanford University Funds Major New Program Aimed at Increasing the Number of Minority Faculty


Stanford University has announced a new $4.5 million program to increase the number of minority students who pursue careers in the academic world. Over the next four years 36 doctoral candidates will be awarded fellowships that will provide faculty mentors, funds for seminars, money to visit undergraduate institutions where they might find a faculty position, and the opportunity to present their research and scholarship. The program is called Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellowships. In addition, four of the DARE Fellows will be offered one year assistant professorships at Stanford after they complete their Ph.D.s.

Major Shortfall in Doctorates to African Americans in the Natural Sciences


As reported in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, data from the National Opinion Research Center show a persisting shortfall in Ph.D.s awarded to African Americans. In 2006, 13.1 percent of doctorates awarded to whites were in the physical sciences, and only 4.4 percent were awarded to African Americans, and these awards were identified as only 16 doctorates awarded in mathematics and 12 doctorates awarded in physics. In computer science, blacks earned one (1) percent of all Ph.D.s awarded and 1.2 percent of the doctorates in chemistry. Also in 2006, 133 African Americans were awarded the Ph.D. in the biological sciences, a mere 2.0 percent of all the doctorates awarded in this area.




Margaret Kanipes, Ph.D., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


A recent paper published by Dr. Margaret Kanipes and colleagues helps elucidate the mechanisms of the pathogenicity of Campylobacter jejuni 81-176. Campylobacter is a Gram-negative, slender, curved bacterium that has become the most commonly reported cause of bacterial human diarrhea in the United States. The food-borne infection caused by Campylobacter is usually a result of the mishandling of raw poultry products harboring the organisms or the eating of undercooked infected poultry. An article entitled “Genetic analysis of lipo-oligosaccharide core biosynthesis in Campylobacter jejuni 81-176” published by Dr. Kanipes and her colleagues in the Journal of Bacteriology (Epub. Dec. 2007), discussed the isolation and characterization of two lipoligosaccharide (LOS) core mutants, lgtF and galT. The lgtF gene of C. jejuni has been suggested to encode a two domain glucosyltransferase that is responsible for the transfer of a beta-1, 4 glucose residue on Hep I and a beta-1,2 glucose residue on Hep II. The group generated a site-specific mutation in the lgtF gene of C. jejuni 81-176 that resulted in the expression of a truncated LOS and showed via mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance of the truncated LOS, the loss of two glucose residues, a beta-1,4 glucose on Hep I and a beta-1,2 glucose on Hep II. Mutation of another gene, galT, encoding a glycosyltransferase that maps outside the region defined as the LOS biosynthetic locus in C. jejuni 81-176, resulted in loss of the beta-(1,4)-galactose residue and all distal residues in the core. Both mutants were shown to invade intestinal epithelial cells in vitro at levels comparable to wild-type, in marked contrast to another LOS core mutant, waaC. These studies have important implications for the role of LOS in the pathogenesis of Campylobacter-mediated infection.

Margaret Kanipes, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at North Carolina Agicultural and Technical State University where she had also received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in 1990. She received her Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University in 1997 and did postdoctoral work in Biochemistry at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Kanipes’ research interests include microbial genomics and lipid enzymology. Her current research focus involves developing rapid molecular genotyping technologies for identifying potentially harmful strains of Campylobacter and her research program is currently funded by the Department of Defense and NIH. She serves on the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM) of the American Society for Microbiology’s Public and Scientific Affairs Board. She enjoys mentoring both graduate and undergraduate students on how to be successful in reaching their goals in scientific fields.