ASMDL Slide Show


American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer (ASMDL) Program


Introductory Slide Show and Script


All ASMDL Lecturers are asked to incorporate the short ASMDL Introductory Slide Show and Script into the beginning of their lectures. Please contact Anne Dempsey at ASM Headquarters to have the slide show and script e-mailed to you:

Anne Dempsey




Daniel J. Wozniak

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Daniel J. Wozniak (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

Departments of Microbial Infection and Immunity, Microbiology

Center for Microbial Interface Biology

Ohio State University

704 BRT, 460 West 12th Avenue

Columbus, OH  43210


Phone: 614-247-7629 (Office)

Phone: 614-688-1619 (Lab)

Fax:     614-292-9616



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  D (Microbe-Host Interactions)

Secondary Division:  H (Genetics & Molecular Biology)                                         



My research activities and interests are focused on the pathogenesis of several bacteria that cause chronic, devastating infections in humans.  In chronic airway infections and wounds, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Acinetobacter are the most common nosocomial pathogens isolated and are consistently associated with high mortality rates. Resources spent treating such infections in the United States are estimated at ~ $25 billion annually.  These infections are extremely difficult to control since the bacteria exhibit a biofilm-mode of growth rendering them resistant to antimicrobials and phagocytic cells.  Topics and descriptions of potential lectures include:


Bacterial Biofilms  

Biofilms, which are defined as communities of microorganisms that are attached to a surface, play a critical role in infectious diseases.  Because of their innate resistance to antibiotics, phagocytic cells and other biocides, biofilms are difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate, representing a critically important challenge for antiinfective programs in the pharmaceutical industry.  Topics for discussion include the overall developmental cycle of microbial biofilms, the impact of various matrix components as well as type IV mediated twitching motility in P. aeruginosa biofilm development, and the links between biofilms and chronic infection.


Experimental Therapeutics for Use in Patients Infected with Bacterial Biofilms  

The matrix contributes considerably to the highly resistant nature of microbial biofilms.  In collaborative studies, we are developing novel vaccines and enzymes that could inhibit growth and/or formation of the biofilm matrix.  Such agents may be of significant therapeutic value in patients colonized with biofilms.


Defining Pathoadaptive Processes and Evolution of Pathogens during Infection   

Patients with cystic fibrosis become colonized with multiple pathogens.  During the course of infection, P. aeruginosa undergoes a phenotypic conversion to either a rugose or mucoid phenotype due to the overproduction of distinct polysaccharides.  These conversions result from mutations occurring in genes that regulate polysaccharide synthesis.  Since such conversion is associated with increased patient morbidity and persistence and mortality, we are investigating both the molecular mechanisms and the host-factors that may promote such conversion.  The topic of bacterial evolution in the context of a chronic infection will be covered in the lecture. 


Interface of Innate Immunity and Biofilms  

Biofilms are capable of dampening proinflammatory host responses as well as subverting neutrophil killing.  These phenomena are unique to biofilms; planktonic bacteria are efficiently killed and produce a robust inflammatory response in neutrophils.  We have evidence that unique biofilm mechanisms are utilized to subvert neutrophil killing, thereby resisting host clearance.  By identifying such immune evasion tactics and neutrophil dysfunction, pharmacologic manipulation can be implemented in new and innovative ways for the prevention and treatment of a variety of diseases.    



Dr. Daniel Wozniak obtained his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Ohio State University in 1989.  He spent a three-year Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-supported fellowship at the University of Tennessee Medical School studying the molecular biology and pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  He joined the faculty of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 1993 and remained there until 2008, when he returned to Ohio State University, where he is currently a full professor in the Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity.  Dr. Wozniak has published ~80 peer-reviewed manuscripts, four book chapters, and >200 abstracts/conference proceedings.  He currently has ten scientists in his group, each of whom is studying some aspect of bacterial pathogenesis or behavior.  His scientific interests include understanding fundamental aspects of gene expression, especially the control of virulence determinants and biofilm formation of pathogenic bacteria.  Dr. Wozniak has NIH- and CFF- sponsored research to study biofilm matrix composition and function, immune interactions with biofilms, pathoadaptation, and chronic infections.  Sorrento, Medimmune, and Pfizer also sponsor projects in his laboratory.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I believe that many of the problems and future concerns of mankind could be solved by harnessing the power of microbes.  I want to be involved in the ASMDL program due to a passion for microbiology and wish to communicate this to junior scientists.  My enthusiasm for Branch meetings has been fostered throughout my career, participating as a graduate student in the Ohio Branch, and serving as a speaker for both North Carolina and Ohio Branch meetings. I saw first-hand how effective communicators instill the excitement and thrill of microbial discovery.  I am also a dedicated educator and my philosophy has been shaped by experiences that I’ve encountered during my tenure as a scientist and teacher.  In essence, my philosophy is geared towards reinforcing four underlying, inter-related principles: (1) the thrill of discovery, (2) fostering inherent curiosity, (3) tenacity trumps complacency, and (4) bringing knowledge to practice.  I emphasize these principles in both education and public speaking opportunities.  My commitment to training and educating students and postdocs is evidenced by teaching awards and the training of eleven pre-doctoral and five postdoctoral students, each with independently established research or academic positions.  I have also served on the advisory committees of

65 graduate students and 20 undergraduates through my career.  Finally, my dedication to the mission of ASM is evidenced by the fact that I have maintained membership since 1986, attended most General Meetings and numerous conference meetings, spoken or organized symposia, participated in ASMCUE, served on the Journal of Bacteriology Editorial Board, and served as Division D (Microbe-Host Interactions) Chair Elect/Chair.

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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 am honored to bring that experience to this lectureship. 


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Henry Neal Williams, Ph.D.

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Henry Neal Williams, Ph.D. (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

School of the Environment

Florida A&M University

FS Humphries Science Research Complex

1515 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard

Tallahassee, FL  32301


Phone: 850-599-3550

Phone: 410-627-4336



Speaker’s Website:




Primary Division:  N (Microbial Ecology)

Secondary Division:  Q (Environmental & General Applied Microbiology)                                        



The Life and Times of Bdellovibrio and Like Organisms, the World’s Smallest Predator    

Bdellovibrio-like predatory bacteria which prey on many Gram-negative bacterial species are widely distributed in the environment, water, soil, sewage, animals and plant roots and rhizophere.  Through predation and killing of other bacteria, they are believed to play a role in bacterial mortality and controlling bacterial populations, including human pathogens, in nature along with bacteriophage and protists.  They also are involved in the cycling of nutrients.  In this talk, the ecology of these predatory bacteria will be discussed along with their unique biphasic life cycle, distribution and factors which influence it, interaction with other bacteria including pathogens, and future potential for practical uses in controlling human, animal and plant pathogens.    


Predatory Bacteria and Bacteriophage: Antagonists or Conspirators?  

Predatory bacteria such as Halobacteriovorax and other Bdellovibrio-like organisms and bacteriophage infect and kill bacteria resulting in bacterial mortality and control of bacterial populations.  Both Bdellovibrio-like predators and bacteriophage are obligate predators, requiring prey (or host) cells to multiply and sustain their populations.  In some cases they prey on the same bacterial strains.  In seeking prey and controlling bacterial populations, are they antagonists/protagonist or co-conspirators)?   This talk will explore this question. 


Environmental Factors Orchestrate Bacterial Predators and Predation  

Nature has provided several, and perhaps more, predators of bacteria, ostensibly to contribute, along with physical and chemical factors, to the control of bacteria in the environment.  Do these predators work in concert or independent of each other?  Is there an influence by the environment?  This talk will address this issue.


Mentoring Outside the Box  

It is widely agreed that good mentoring is a critical aspect of students’ success and also in producing sufficient numbers of scientists and technical professionals to meet the needs of the nation’s workforce for the future.  It is also acknowledged that many students who enter into the sciences subsequently drop out or change fields and are drained from the pipeline.  This talk will explore how different mentoring approaches may improve this outcome. 


Diversity and Inclusion in Science – Making it Happen: The Story of One Scientist  

Henry Neal Williams believes he has achieved success in producing a diversified and inclusive group of scientists.  He also believes that elements of his approach are applicable to others.  In this talk he will share his approach. 


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH – Henry Neal Williams, Ph.D.

Dr. Henry N. Williams, Professor at the School of the Environment at Florida A&M University, has over 40 years of experience in higher education and research and is considered the leading authority on the ecology of the Bdellovibrio and like predatory bacteria.  Another area of his research has been the microbiological quality of dental unit water supply.  He has extensive experience as a lecturer and seminar speaker and has been invited to make presentations of his research at many national and international scientific meetings and universities.  Williams has published several book chapters and over 50 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals, some of which have been cited as landmark contributions to the field.  Reviews of his published works have been positive.  Links to Nature reviews and to blog:

Williams has organized and convened ASM General Meeting symposia and sessions and has served as President of the Maryland Branch of ASM.  He has been invited to serve as an ad hoc reviewer for several scientific journals.  He has been awarded many grants from both government agencies and private organizations, and has been nationally recognized for mentoring of students at all levels.  In 2003, Dr. Williams was elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I want to participate in the ASMDL program to share topics that are novel, engaging and appealing to audiences in various fields of microbiology, from ecology and clinical to basic science.  A primary topic will be the ecology of the bacterial predators, Bdellovibrio and like organisms (BALOs), among the most fascinating bacteria in the microbial world.  They are among the smallest and fastest bacteria known.  My passion for understanding the role of BALOs in bacterial mortality, the microbial loop, and potential as a live antibiotic comes across in my presentations.  Further, my participation adds diversity to the program in both topic and ethnicity (African American).  My commitment to students and postdoctoral associates is nationally recognized; e.g., recipient of the ASM William A. Hinton Research Training Award, and the Role Model of Year Award by American Role Models Conference.

My commitment to ASM is demonstrated by active membership for 40 years, contributing to the science and community; e.g., organized/convened three General Meeting sessions, served as ASM Congressional Science Fellow, AAM Fellow, AAM Symposium panel, and co-chaired Task Force on Minority Participation within ASM, mentored an ASM Undergraduate Research Fellow and in the ASM Mentoring Program, reviewed for ASM and more than 12 other journals, most recently Nature and Nature Communications.

My vision/philosophy is to better understand microorganisms and how to apply their power.  My purpose is to share my knowledge and expertise with future scientists and to bring greater diversity to science.  I would be a good fit for the ASMDL program because people find me approachable, interactive and engaging. 

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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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Christine White-Ziegler

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(Speaker Term: July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Christine White-Ziegler (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

Smith College

Ford Hall 110

Northampton, MA  01063


Phone: 413-585-3815

Fax:    413-585-4534   



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  B (Microbial Pathogens)

Secondary Division:  K (Microbial Physiology & Metabolism)                                       



There’s No Place Like Host: Comparative Transcriptome Studies of Pathogenic and Commensal E. Coli in Response to Human Body Temperature  

We have completed temperature upshifts from room temperature to human body temperature (23˚C to 37˚C) in a nonpathogenic, uropathogenic, and enteropathogenic strain of E. coli to mimic the temperature transitions experienced as a bacterium enters a human host.  Transcriptome studies in each organism characterize what bacterial genes may be more highly expressed in the host, and allow us to build models of how temperature may cue adaptive responses in each strain.  In addition, identification of conserved thermoregulatory responses between the strains may elucidate targets for novel antimicrobial therapies.   


Stress Responses to the Ups and Downs of Temperature Changes  

The transitions between temperatures elicit a number of stress response pathways, ranging from the broad general stress (RpoS) response to more narrowly defined regulons.  These and a variety of metabolic pathways are quickly altered in response to temperature, suggesting that temperature may be a sentinel cue for anticipating and preparing the organism for new environments. 


From RNA to RNA-Seq: Bringing Next Gen Sequencing Technology into the Undergraduate Laboratory  

I recently taught a course-based research experience in which students utilized RNA-Seq, a next generation sequencing method, to analyze the expression pattern of every gene in an organism in response to varying environmental cues.  In this primarily laboratory-based course, each group of students designed and implemented an independent project on how bacteria respond to changes in their surroundings that may impact survival, transmission, or infection.  Going from sample preparation through bioinformatic analyses, the students used state-of-the-art molecular techniques to complete their experiments.  The course culminated in each group presenting and writing about their research in professional format.  This was completed in collaboration with our core Center for Molecular Biology and might serve as a model for involving advanced undergraduates in novel research. 


Doing It All: Teaching and Research at an Undergraduate Institution

As a professor at a small liberal arts college, I have taught a variety of courses along with having an undergraduate driven research lab that has been funded periodically by an NIH AREA grant.  My college is well equipped and has a high level of research support, making transcriptomics and proteomics accessible for the students in my lab.  I am happy to provide a career talk or Q&A session to discuss the variations in the balance between research and teaching that occurs at different types of colleges and discuss advice on how to get a job at a liberal arts institution.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH – Christine White-Ziegler

Christine White-Ziegler is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Program in Biochemistry at Smith College, an all-women’s liberal arts college located in Northampton, Massachusetts.  In collaboration with the numerous undergraduates she has mentored in her laboratory, she explores how commensal and pathogenic bacteria sense and respond to temperature, responses that may facilitate survival and colonization in a host and lead to infection.  She has frequently presented her research at national ASM meetings and the Gordon Conference on Microbial Stress Response, the latter of which she co-chaired in 2014.  At Smith College, she teaches courses in microbiology, immunology, and microbial pathogenesis.  She serves as Director of the Center for Molecular Biology, a core facility that emphasizes the integration of cutting edge molecular biology techniques in undergraduate courses, research and K-12 outreach.  Using the Center resources, she recently developed an advanced course-based research experience using RNA-Seq on which she will give a talk at the upcoming ASM Microbe 2016.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



As an active researcher at a primarily undergraduate institution, I am highly committed to undergraduate research training and teaching.  I can bring a unique perspective to the ASM Distinguished Lecturer program about the research training and teaching of microbiology that is occurring at the undergraduate level in liberal arts colleges that are highly research active.  The pedagogy of scientific teaching recently emphasizes (1) how to do science and (2) the involvement of students in novel projects through course-based research experiences.  The integration of undergraduates as the primary participants in research labs or CRE courses achieves both of these goals.  Through my research program, I enjoy the opportunity to highlight how undergraduates can contribute to peer reviewed investigations of important microbiological problems and how this type of training prepares them for entry level positions or graduate school.  ASM has offered my undergraduates the unique and valued opportunity to present their research in a national forum; I would like to give back to ASM by highlighting for others how the support of students at this level builds our scientific pipeline, particularly in microbiology.

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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)

Wray Food Safety Endowed Chair and

Director of the Center for Food Safety, IFSE

Food Science Department

Division of Agriculture

University of Arkansas

2650 North Young Avenue

Fayetteville, AR  72704-5690   


Phone: 479-575-4678

Fax:     479-575-6936           



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 is former President of the Arkansas Association of Food Protection, as well as its co-founder.  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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Melanie R. Mormile

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Melanie R. Mormile (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

Department of Biological Sciences

Missouri University of Science and Technology

400 W. 11th Street

Rolla, MO  65409-1120


Phone: 573-341-6346

Fax:     573-341-4821



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  Q (Environmental & General Applied Microbiology)

Secondary Division:  W (Microbiology Education)                                         



Going from Microbial Ecology to Genome Data and Back Again:  Studies on a Haloalkaliphilic Bacterium Isolated from Soap Lake, Washington State  

This talk was developed to explore whether the annotation of genes in the Halanaerobium hydrogeniformans genome reflected the extreme conditions in Soap Lake that is highly alkaline with a mineral content 10 X that of the oceans.  The organism possesses many genes that apparently provide it with the capability of thriving under both saline and alkaline conditions.  The most abundant COG genes are also investigated.  In addition, comparisons can be made between the genome of H. hydrogeniformans and other species of Halanaerobium.


Industrially Relevant Metabolic Activities of a Haloalkaliphilic Bacterium Isolated from Soap Lake, Washington  

Extreme environments present the opportunity to isolate bacteria and/or their genes for use during industrial processes.  Halanaerobium hydrogeniformans was isolated from Soap Lake, a salty alkaline lake in Washington State.  H. hydrogeniformans is capable of producing hydrogen from biomass that has been alkaline-pretreated without the need for adjusting the pH to neutral or diluting out the salts.  In addition, this organism can form propanediol, a commodity chemical, from glycerol, a waste product from biodiesel production.  This talk will illustrate how extremophilic environments can be a source of industrially relevant bacteria and/or their genes.    


Are There Martians in Australia?  How Acid Saline Lakes Can Serve as a Mars Analog  

People have long wondered if there is life on Mars.  With the confirmation of the presence of water on Mars, this question is seriously considered.  The acidic saline lakes of Australia serve as analogs for previous bodies of water on Mars.  The microbial communities in these extreme sites can provide targets for the investigation of the possible presence of life on Mars. 


How Extremophiles Can Provide Undergraduate Students with Experiential Learning  

Missouri University of Science and Technology requires that all undergraduate students have exposure to experiential learning.  Undergraduate research opportunities on extremophilic bacteria provide an exceptionally good way for students to participate in research experiences.  In addition, extremophilic exploration can be integrated into experiences such as contributing to the Mars Rover Design Team, a student group that participates in competitions, both nationally and internationally.



Dr. Melanie Mormile is an environmental microbiologist who specializes in extremophiles; e.g., halophilic bacteria.  She has published extensively in this field and holds two patents on the use of a haloalkaliphilic bacterium for biohydrogen production and has a patent pending on the use of this organism to form propanediol from glycerol, a biodiesel waste.  She is one of a very limited number of researchers who have studied the microbial populations in both saline alkaline and saline acidic environments.  She has extensive experience in performing research with Masters- and undergraduate-level students.  Dr. Mormile was interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation for inclusion on their Horizon episode covering the possibility of life elsewhere in our solar system.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



  • Why Lecturer Wants to Be a Part of the ASMDL Program:  The lecturers who were a part of the ASMDL program when I was a graduate student truly inspired me.  Long after the regional meeting was held, I was impressed that these people remembered me.  I would like to provide similar inspiration, advice and encouragement to the students at these meetings.
  • What Lecturer Will Bring to the ASMDL Program:  Since Biology at Missouri S&T does not have a Ph.D. program, my research has been carried out with Masters-level and undergraduate students. Therefore, I represent a unique perspective in the ASMDL program.
  • Lecturer’s Commitment to Students/Postdocs:  Early career scientists are the future of our discipline.  I cherish opportunities to hear about their experiences and discuss how they may fulfill their career objectives and possibly balance work/personal life issues.
  • Lecturer’s Commitment to ASM and to Microbiology:  Since I was a Masters student in 1985, I have been a member of ASM.  My career path has never strayed from environmental microbiology.
  • Lecturer’s Vision/Philosophy/Statement of Purpose:  In my interactions with students and others that I mentor, I seek to be a problem solver.  I also look for ways to meld basic research with practical applications, such as the use of extremophilic bacteria for industrial purposes.
  • Any Other Relevant Information as to Why Lecturer Is a Good Match for the ASMDL Program:  As a graduate student, I gave my first paper at an ASM Branch meeting.  Since becoming a faculty member at Missouri S&T, I have gained much from serving at almost all officer ranks of the Missouri Branch.  The opportunity to serve the ASM Branches in the capacity of the ASMDL program would allow me to return the benefits that I obtained early in my career.

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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. 


Differential Effects of Rexinoids: Building a Better Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma Treatment

Bexarotene is an FDA approved treatment for Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma, but this drug has several untoward side effects.  In this talk, new, better CTCL treatments (rexinoids that bind to the Rexinoid X Receptor) are discussed and their differential effects are outlined.



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, 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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Nancy S. Miller, M.D.

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Nancy S. Miller, M.D. (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

Department of Laboratory Medicine

Boston Medical Center

1 BMC Place

670 Albany Street, Suite #733

Boston, MA  02118


Phone: 617-638-8705

Fax:     617-638-4556



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  C (Clinical Microbiology)                                       



Case-based Potpourri: Challenges, Conundrums, and Lessons Learned  

An audience-interactive favorite!  From Dr. Miller’s log book, case-based presentations are used to illustrate a spectrum of clinical and laboratory challenges such as, when to say yes, no, or maybe; noteworthy practice standards; what to do with new or no guidelines; trials of taxonomy; temptations of technology; phenotypic triumphs; odd observations; and lessons learned. [Intermediate to advanced; but there’s plenty for beginners to enjoy as well]


Point of Care Meets Microbiology: What We Have, What We Need, What Is on the Way? Preparing for the Next Frontier at Point-of-Care!  

The last decade has seen an explosion of new technology for infectious diseases diagnostics including point-of-care applications.  This whirlwind tour briefly reviews point-of-care basics and explores some key considerations: How do we bring the microbiology laboratory to the bedside?  Do we really need to do it?  Is there a Holy Grail of diagnostics?  What defines success at the point-of-care here and in the global community?  This presentation points the way to the new frontier at point-of-care! [Basic to intermediate]


Diagnostic Algorithms: A Study in Black, White, and Gray  

A review of current algorithms and approaches that govern specific infectious diseases testing and how they may succeed, struggle or fail to pin-the-tail on the diagnostic question.  Examples may include: Syphilis, Lyme disease, HIV, C. difficile disease, and pneumocystis pneumonia, etc. [Basic to intermediate]


Blood Culture Best Practices  

Blood cultures have been called “the most important test performed by the clinical microbiology laboratory.”  Equally important are the various mythologies, uncertainties, and controversies associated with optimal blood culture practices.  This is a review of the mythology, guidelines and literature meant to inform laboratory and clinical practice. [Basic to intermediate-plus]


Fungal Fest – A Primer of Medical Mycology

Yeast and mould.  Friend and foe.  Some live with us, on us, and inside us.  Others are ubiquitous environmental dwellers.  Who are they?  What laboratory and clinical challenges do they pose?  Here’s an opportunity to find out more about fungal phenomena or to refresh your memory!  This primer covers a variety of medically important fungi and includes audience-interactive quizzes. [Basic to intermediate]


Administrative Clinical Microbiology (Three Separate 1-Hour Lecture Options):  

Planning for New Diagnostic Platforms or Tests – What to Pick and How to Choose?

Rock, paper, scissors!  In this dynamic era of diagnostics how do we plan and pick new instruments and tests for the microbiology laboratory?  Who, what, where, when and why?  Do you have a scheme to help tackle the 5 W’s? [Basic to intermediate]


Cost Analysis for New Tests and Presentation to Leadership

This is an introduction to definitions, examples, and calculations relevant to budget, financial considerations, and justification to leadership – focusing on new tests and instruments; includes SWOT analysis, cost categorization, break-even analysis, return-on-investment, and the basics of dynamic financial models. [Basic to intermediate-plus]


Occupy Call Street! Reconsidering Critical Action Values for Clinical Microbiology

In spite of general regulatory oversight of critical action values (CAV), individual policy revisions are left to the discretion of laboratory directors in conjunction with their clinical communities.  With regard to clinical microbiology and CAV, discussion in published literature is limited.  Reconsideration of microbiology CAV policy benefits from an organized approach and reconciliation of different perspectives and resources.  Recent experiences and considerations for the future are presented. [All levels of experience]




Nancy S. Miller, M.D. is a board-certified pathologist (Anatomic and Clinical Pathology) with a fellowship in medical microbiology (all at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions).  She is currently Medical Director of Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Diagnostics at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and is an Associate Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.  At BMC, Dr. Miller is immersed in the daily challenges of diagnostic microbiology within a complex environment.  In addition, she nurtures interests in practice standards, policy, and process improvement.  She was a contributor to the CLSI M52 Verification of Commercial Microbial Identification and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Systems (2015).  Currently she serves on two working groups: (1) Protocol development for validation of endoscope culturing and reprocessing quality monitor (ASM-CDC-FDA); and (2) Evidence-based Laboratory Practice Guideline on C. difficile, (ASM-CDC).  Dr. Miller has various teaching responsibilities that include laboratory and medical house staff, students, and peers.  She is faculty and a lecturer for workshops at ASM General Meetings and at national and regional professional events.  Her research focus is translational.  She is a clinical Principal Investigator for projects involving new diagnostics for infectious diseases and she serves on expert panels for development and implementation of new assays and instrumentation. 

Dr. Miller has served two terms as President of the Northeast Branch of ASM (2014-2016).


Summary of Professional Experience Relevant to the ASMDL Program – Nancy S. Miller, M.D. 

  • Current Appointments:
    1. Medical Director, Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Diagnostics, Boston Medical Center
    2. Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
  • My experience in clinical microbiology is broad and deep, including diagnostics, clinical care, process improvement, informatics, and new technologies and their impact on the core lab and at point-of-care.
  • My lectures reflect the dynamic nature of clinical and academic microbiology across a range of experience and topics. Presentations are designed to engage, educate, and encourage audience interaction.
  • Recent presentations at an introductory- and intermediate-level include: The shift to culture-independent technology, basic molecular techniques, lab biosafety preparedness, and the evolution of infectious diseases testing at point-of-care.  Intermediate- to advanced-level lectures include: Optimal blood culture practices, a medical mycology primer, Lyme disease diagnostics and controversies, fecal microbiota transplants, lab considerations in an era of improved microbial identification, planning for new diagnostic assays and platforms, cost assessment for new tests, and a variety of case-based diagnostic challenges.
  • Current teaching responsibilities include leadership roles and presentations to clinical peers, medical house staff, laboratory staff, and students:
    1. Convener and lecturer at professional conferences and student-centric events, including:
      1. American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
      2. Northeast Branch of ASM and other Region I Branches of ASM
      3. Northeast Association for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease
      4. American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science–Central New England
    2. Lecturer, “General Pathology of Infectious Diseases,” Graduate School course, Pathology and Pathophysiology of Disease, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM)
    3. Director and teacher, Microbiology laboratory orientation and core didactics, Infectious Diseases fellows and PharmD residents, Boston Medical Center (BMC)
    4. Director and teacher, Medical Microbiology weekly tutorial, Pathology residents, BUSM
    5. Co-director and lecturer, Infectious Diseases elective, medical students, BUSM
    6. Ad hoc faculty mentor, medical technologist students on clinical lab internship at BMC
    7. Continuing Education seminars for laboratory staff, BMC
    8. Ad hoc lectures for house staff and medical students, BMC and BUSM
  • Ongoing professional commitment to ASM and microbiology – recent activities include:
    1. President, Northeast Branch ASM (2014-2016, 2 terms)
    2. Workshop Faculty, ASM General Meetings (2012, 2014-2016)
    3. Symposium co-convener, ASM General Meeting, 2014
    4. Contributor, Document Development Committee: Verification of Commercial Microbial Identification and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Systems, 1st ed. CLSI M52, 2015
    5. Member, Working Group: Protocol development for validation of endoscope culturing and reprocessing quality monitor, joint effort by ASM, CDC, and FDA
    6. Member, Working Group: Evidence-based Laboratory Practice Guideline on C. difficile, joint effort by ASM and CDC, Laboratory Medicine Best Practice initiative

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



It is a privilege to represent the ASM educational mission by participating in the Distinguished Lecturer program.  At work and as President of the Northeast Branch of ASM, I’ve had the pleasure of convening and participating in various educational conferences and events.  The camaraderie and mentorship provided by these activities is inspiring and important to our profession, particularly with regard to students and those just beginning their careers. My experience in clinical microbiology includes diagnostics and clinical care, process improvement, informatics, and new technologies and their impact on the core lab and at point-of-care.  My presentations reflect the dynamic nature of our field across a range of topics and expertise.  My goal is to engage and encourage audience interaction; to educate and be educated.  I look forward to meeting new colleagues and sharing experiences with you.

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Michael Ibba

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


Michael Ibba (term: 7/1/15 through 6/30/17)

Department of Microbiology

The Ohio State University

484 West 12th Avenue

Columbus, OH  43210-1292 


Phone: 614-292-2120

Fax:     614-292-8120           



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  H (Genetics & Molecular Biology)

Secondary Division:  K (Microbial Physiology & Metabolism)



Mistranslation of the Genetic Code: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly   

While errors during translation of the genetic code are often harmful, it is becoming clear that mistranslation can sometimes be beneficial to the cell under certain conditions.  This lecture explores the mechanisms by which cells control the accuracy of translation under different conditions and how this allows adaptation to a surprising range of physiological stresses.  


Translational Control of Antibiotic Resistance

In response to different environmental stresses, such as the presence of antibiotics, microbes direct resources away from translation to a variety of pathways that contribute to antibiotic resistance.  This lecture describes recent advances in key examples of such pathways, ranging from tRNA-dependent lipid modification to the use of a tRNA mimic that allows post-transcriptional control of gene expression. 


Career Advancement Programs at ASM / Career Tracks at a Major Research Institution

This talk covers various aspects of career training and advancement for microbiologists, including the career paths available at a major research institution, and the numerous training programs administered by the ASM Committee on Graduate and Postdoctoral Education.       



Michael Ibba is Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Co-Director of an NIH-sponsored graduate training program in Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry at Ohio State University.  He obtained an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Imperial College in London and his Ph.D. degree at the University of Manchester.  He undertook both industrial and academic post-docs in Switzerland and the United States before going on to set up his own independent research group.  After starting out as a faculty member in Copenhagen, Denmark, Mike moved to the Department of Microbiology at Ohio State University where his lab now works on various aspects of microbial protein synthesis and antibiotic resistance.  His research has uncovered novel mechanisms of quality control in protein synthesis, and unexpected connections between the protein synthesis machinery and other cellular processes.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



One of the goals of my research is to advance student learning by providing training to a broad range of microbiologists.  To this end, I have mentored sixteen graduate students and six post-docs over the last twelve years.  Over the same period I have also provided training in my lab for high school students, high school science teachers and numerous undergraduate students (45, eleven from URMs).  In addition to this training, dissemination of our findings through publications and public presentations are a critical part of our work.  As an active researcher, I typically give four to six invited seminars each year at meetings and at research institutes, largely to audiences of graduate students and doctoral researchers with specific interests.  I am now interested in being a part of the ASMDL program, as I want the opportunity to speak to the wider audience of an ASM Branch Meeting about our research and what I feel are its increasingly broad implications.  My research is directed towards understanding the mechanisms that determine how cells ensure the accurate translation of the genetic code, and how changes in the underlying processes impact cellular health and contribute to microbial pathogenesis and disease.  Many of these processes are essential and unique to particular systems, making them ideal potential drug targets.  Furthermore, as a member of the ASM Committee on Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, speaking at an ASM Branch Meeting would also allow me to discuss career development and promote the numerous advancement opportunities we offer ASM members.


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Karl Klose

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Karl Klose (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases

Department of Biology

University of Texas at San Antonio

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX  78249


Phone: 210-458-6140

Fax:     210-458-4468



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  D (Microbe-Host Interactions)



Deadly Diarrhea: Vibrio cholerae in the Time of Cholera 

Cholera pandemics have been a major cause of morbidity and mortality among humans.  There is still no highly effective vaccine to prevent cholera, so a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie disease is warranted to develop new therapeutics and preventives.  This lecture will cover a background on cholera, and discuss research designed to understand how the bacteria respond to their environment and cause disease in humans.


Killer Bunnies and Bioweapons: Tularemia and Biodefense  

Francisella tularensis, long known as the cause of rabbit fever, was developed into an aerosolized bioweapon that can cause high mortality in humans.  This lecture will describe uncovering the mechanisms that F. tularensis uses to cause disease, and discuss how a vaccine can be developed to prevent tularemia.    


The Rise of the Superbugs: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria  

Bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to all the antibiotics that are used to treat infections.  This is leading to a crisis in which medicine is heading backwards to the pre-antibiotic era, where humans die from infections that should be easily treatable with antibiotics.  This lecture will be a general talk regarding the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, what causes the spread of antibiotic resistance, and ideas on how we can combat this problem. 



Dr. Karl Klose received his Ph.D. in Microbiology at UC Berkeley, and performed postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School.  He was then hired as a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (UTHSCSA), and later moved to the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and is the founder of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.  Klose’s research focuses on understanding bacterial pathogenesis.  His laboratory studies Vibrio cholerae and the potential bioweapon Francisella tularensis.  Klose is an author on more than 90 publications, and has received funding from numerous sources.  He has mentored many Ph.D., Masters, and undergraduate students.  He served as the President of the Texas Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (2001-2003), and has been an organizer of multiple national and international meetings.  He has twice been a recipient of ASM Visiting Professorships, in Kolkata, India and in Valparaiso, Chile.  He received the 2002 Presidential Junior Research Scholar award at UTHSCSA and the 2009 President’s Distinguished Research Achievement Award at UTSA.  Klose has given a TEDx talk on antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is available on YouTube and that has received over 40,000 views (  Klose was recently elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I want to be a part of the ASMDL program because I am a strong supporter of the ASM, and especially ASM Branches.  As president of the Texas Branch of the ASM from 2001-2003, I was responsible for organizing Branch meetings, which allowed me the opportunity to interact with Branch members (students, faculty, scientists) as well as the ASMDL speakers.  I realize what a great opportunity this program provides for the ASMDL to inspire the next generation of microbiologists.  I am a committed educator, having been teaching microbiology to undergraduate and graduate students at two different universities for my entire career.  I have a fair amount of speaking experience; in addition to my teaching and scientific lectures, I have given two TED talks, so I feel I can bring this experience to the ASMDL program.  I have been committed to the ASM and microbiology since I was in graduate school.  I received the ASM Raymond Sarber award as a Ph.D. student, and the ASM Vector Lab Investigator award as a postdoctoral fellow.  I have also served six years on the ASM Indo-US visiting professorship committee and six years on the ASM Biodefense Meeting committee.  I enjoy teaching people (scientists and non-scientists) about the fascinating world of microbes.

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Ramon Gonzalez

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(Speaker Term: July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Ramon Gonzalez (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

Departments of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Bioengineering

Rice University

6100 Main Street, MS-362

Houston, TX  77005  


Phone: 713-348-4893

Fax:      713-348-5478



Speaker’s Websites:  



Primary Division:  O (Fermentation & Biotechnology)

Secondary Division:  K (Microbial Physiology & Metabolism)



Engineered Modular Biosynthesis for the Production of Advanced Fuels and Chemicals  

Advanced, higher-chain (C ≥ 4) fuels and chemicals are generated from short-chain, 2- or 3-C metabolic intermediates through pathways that require carbon-chain elongation.  While native carbon-chain elongation pathways, such as the fatty acid and polyketide biosynthesis, have been engineered to produce higher-chain molecules, these pathways suffer from major energy constraints.  Motivated in part by these limitations, we recently engineered a functional reversal of the β-oxidation cycle that can be used as a general platform for the synthesis of short-, medium- and long-chain products with great structural and functional diversity (ACS Synth. Biol. 1: 541, 2012; Nature 476: 355, 2011).  Through a systems-level, quantitative assessment of the metabolic capabilities of the engineered reversal of the β-oxidation cycle, we demonstrated that product synthesis can be coupled to cell growth and achieved at high fluxes, titers and yields (Metab. Eng. 23, 100, 2014).  The superior capabilities of the β-oxidation reversal, when compared to other pathways used for carbon-chain elongation, originate from its higher energetic efficiency, which is enabled by the use of acetyl-CoA as an extender unit and a non-decarboxylative Claisen condensation mechanism.  This talk will highlight the use of an engineered β-oxidation reversal for the synthesis of a wide range of product families including carboxylic acids, alcohols, alkanes, and their alpha-, beta-, omega-functionalized derivatives (Metab. Eng. 28, 202, 2015; Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 81, 1406, 2015; J. Industrial Microbiol. Biotechnol. 42, 465, 2015).


Understanding and Harnessing the Anaerobic Fermentation of Glycerol in Escherichia coli  

Glycerol is a 3-carbon triol generated in large amounts during production of bioethanol and biodiesel.  Its abundance, low price and high degree of reduction of its carbon atoms make glycerol an advantageous feedstock for fuel and chemical production (Trends Biotechnol. 31, 20, 2013).  However, because of the highly reduced nature of its carbon atoms, only a handful of organisms are able to utilize glycerol under fermentative conditions (i.e., absence of external electron acceptors), a metabolic mode essential to fully exploit the reduced nature of glycerol.  A few years ago, our laboratory discovered that the bacterium E. coli can anaerobically ferment glycerol, a previously unknown metabolic capability of this organism (Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74: 1124, 2008; Biotechnol. Bioeng.  94: 821, 2006).  These findings led us to propose a new metabolic model for the fermentative utilization of glycerol in E. coli and other bacteria (Biotechnol. Bioeng. 109: 187, 2012; Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 75: 5871, 2009; Metab. Eng. 10: 234, 2008).  The knowledge base created by these fundamental studies laid the foundation for the design and implementation of a new metabolic platform to efficiently convert glycerol to fuels and chemicals such as succinate, ethanol, hydrogen, formate, D- and L-lactate, and 1,2-PDO (Microb. Cell Fact. 12: 7, 2013; Biotechnol. Bioeng. 108: 867, 2011; Metab. Eng. 12: 409, 2010; Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 76: 4327, 2010; Biotechnol. Lett. 32: 405, 2010; Biotechnol. Bioeng. 103: 148, 2009; Metab. Eng. 10: 340, 2008).  This talk will highlight our contributions to the understanding and harnessing of the anaerobic fermentation of glycerol in E. coli.                                                


Rethinking the Logic of Biological Activation of Methane and Conversion to Liquid Fuels  

If methane, the main component of natural gas, can be efficiently converted to liquid fuels, world reserves of methane could satisfy demand for transportation fuels in addition to use in other sectors.  However, the direct activation of strong C-H bonds in methane and conversion to desired products remains a grand challenge for both catalysis and biocatalysis.  This talk discusses opportunities to rethink the logic of biological methane activation and conversion to liquid products (Nat. Chem. Biol. 10, 331, 2014; Science 343, 621, 2014).  Our vision includes both a new foundation for methane bioconversion and paths to develop technologies for the production of liquid products from methane at high carbon yield, high energy efficiency and with low CO2 emissions.  These technologies could support natural gas bioconversion facilities with a low capital cost and at small scales, which in turn could monetize the use of natural gas resources that are frequently flared, vented, or emitted.



Dr. Ramon Gonzalez is a Professor in the Departments of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Bioengineering at Rice University and the Director of Rice’s Energy and Environment Initiative.  He has published over sixty articles in leading scientific journals, is the lead inventor in ten patents or patent applications, and has given over eighty invited talks.  He holds several editorial positions including Senior Editor of the Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology and Member of the Editorial Board of Science, Applied & Environmental Microbiology, Biotechnology Journal, Metabolic Engineering Communications, Applied Biochemistry & Biotechnology, and Food Biotechnology.  Dr. Gonzalez was the Program Chair of the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB), and currently serves as a Director in the SIMB's Board of Directors.  He is co-founder of Glycos Biotechnologies, Inc., a Houston-based technology company.

Dr. Gonzalez is also a Program Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) of the U.S. Department of Energy.  His areas of technical focus include biological conversion of natural gas and other sources of methane to liquid fuels and the direct synthesis of liquid fuels from carbon dioxide.  Dr. Gonzalez received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Chile, an M.S. in Biochemical Engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso (Chile), and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Central University of Las Villas (Cuba).    

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



Throughout my career, I have been committed to not only excellence in research, technology development and commercialization, but also to the sharing of my disciplinary expertise and professional experiences within the university and in the community at large.  As an ASM Distinguished Lecturer, I will share my perspective on how the engineering of biology for energy applications is one of the most exciting technological opportunities of the 21st Century and one in which microbiologists will play an instrumental role.  My lectures will cover a broad range of topics around the use of metabolic engineering and synthetic & systems biology to engineer microorganisms for fuel and chemical production.

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Dr. D. Jay Grimes

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Dr. D. Jay Grimes (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

The University of Southern Mississippi

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

300 Laurel Oak Drive

Ocean Springs, MS  39564


Phone: 228-818-8009



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  N (Microbial Ecology)

Secondary Division:  Q (Environmental & General Applied Microbiology)                                        



Ecology of Indigenous Marine Bacteria such as the Vibrios and the Factors that Allow Them to Cause Disease in Humans and Other Animals  

Several members of the Vibrionaceae cause diseases in humans and other animals.  These diseases are usually gastroenteritis or wound infections. 


Microbiomics of the Brown Alga Sargassum  

Pelagic Sargassum is an important habitat for diverse species of pelagic fish.  This lecture will cover both the microbiomics of normal Sargassum and Sargassum oiled by the Deepwater Horizon blowout.


Microbiomics of Bottlenose Dolphins  

This lecture will address the viromics and bacteriomics of healthy, free-ranging bottlenose dolphins. 


Bacterial Diseases in Marine Aquaculture  

This lecture will address diseases in cultivated marine fishes including red snapper, speckled seatrout and striped bass, and it will also cover diseases in cultivated white shrimp. 


Flesh Eating Bacteria

There are several bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis, called “flesh eating bacteria” by the press.  This talk will cover all of these pathogens – their ecology, epidemiology and pathogenesis – and describe what is really meant by flesh eating.



D. Jay Grimes is Professor of Coastal Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM).  From 2002 to 2007 he served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at USM and from 1997 to 2007 he was Director of the USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.  Previously, Grimes served on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (1971 to 1980), University of Maryland (1980 to 1987), and University of New Hampshire (1987 to 1990); he was also director of the New Hampshire Sea Grant College Program.  In 1990, Grimes was selected for federal service as a microbiologist and program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy.  Grimes is a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology and in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He chaired the American Society for Microbiology’s Communications Committee for nine years and he chaired ASM’s Environmental Microbiology Committee from 2012 to 2015.  He is past-president of the U.S. Federation of Culture Collections, served as vice chair of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education, was chair of the NASULGC Board on Oceans and Atmosphere, and served on the Science Advisory Panel to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.  Much of his research has focused on the ecology of waterborne human diseases, especially the Vibrios.  Recently, Grimes investigated the applicability of satellite remotely sensed data to predict human health risks from waterborne pathogens, especially Vibrio parahaemolyticus.  He is also examining antibiotic resistance in bacteria isolated from water, sediment, fish and bottlenose dolphins in Mississippi Sound.  Grimes received his B.A. and M.A. in Biology from Drake University (1966 and 1968) and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Colorado State University (1971).

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I have been a member of ASM since 1967 and a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) since 1990.  I began my teaching career in 1971, the year I received my Ph.D., and, with one exception, I have been teaching every year since.  The exception is the seven years I spent as a microbiology program manager for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Research.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the many challenges, opportunities and rewards associated with teaching and I firmly believe that to become an effective science educator one must be a successful scientist.  Accordingly, I have endeavored to do both and I believe I have accomplished my goal.  I believe that microbiology offers an exciting platform for educators and to that end I have always tried to inspire students with the mystery of microbes.  My interest in microbiology has always involved microbial ecology, and in 1980 I “added salt to my media” and became a marine microbiologist.  Most of my research has been focused on members of the Vibrionaceae, and especially Vibrio cholerae, V. parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus.  Recently, I have launched a research program that is examining antibiotic resistance in seawater, sediment, marine fish, oysters and bottlenose dolphins.

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Prof. Ferric Fang

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


Prof. Ferric Fang (term: 7/1/15 through 6/30/17)

Department of Microbiology, Box 357735

University of Washington School of Medicine

1959 NE Pacific Street

Seattle, WA  98195-7735


Phone: 206-221-6770

Fax:     206-616-1575



Speaker’s Website:   



Primary Division:  B (Microbial Pathogens)

Secondary Division:  C (Clinical Microbiology)                      



Antimicrobial Actions of Nitric Oxide 

A discussion of the role of the mechanisms of nitric oxide's antibacterial activity and its role in host-pathogen interactions, with a focus on the important human pathogenic bacteria Salmonella enterica and Staphylococcus aureus                                                    


The Pathogenesis of Research Misconduct

An overview of scientific misconduct, its impact on the research literature, its costs to society, its underlying causes, and its prevention


Two Tales of Salmonella – From PhoP to IceT

A basic research talk exploring the evolution of bacterial transcriptional regulatory networks and recent new insights into bacterial iron metabolism


Clinical Microbiology in Jeopardy!

An entertaining update of clinical microbiology and infectious diseases presented in a game show format; an audience response system is ideal but not essential


Salmonella Pathogenesis – A Bug's Life

An overview of Salmonella interactions with the host, with an emphasis on recent research developments                                                   



Dr. Ferric Fang is a Professor of Laboratory Medicine, Microbiology, and Medicine at the University of Washington.  He previously held faculty positions at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the University of Colorado.  He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and his fellowship training in infectious diseases and molecular microbiology at UCSD.  Dr. Fang has authored more than 175 peer-reviewed articles pertaining to bacterial pathogenesis, clinical microbiology and research ethics.  His research group has made many fundamental contributions to our understanding of the dynamic interaction between professional phagocytes and intracellular pathogens.  Topics currently under active investigation in the Fang Lab include oxidative and nitrosative stress in Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus, extracytoplasmic stress responses, host and microbial iron metabolism, the pathogenesis of human typhoid fever, and the role of xenogeneic silencing proteins in transcription and the evolution of transcriptional regulatory networks.  Dr. Fang directs the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Harborview Medical Center, serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Infection and Immunity, and has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Academy of Microbiology, the Association of American Physicians and the Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I am a molecular microbiologist with thirty years of experience as clinician, educator and researcher studying bacterial genetics and pathogenesis.  ASM has played an essential role in my professional life since I joined the Society as a post-doctoral fellow.  I still recall the thrill of having my first paper published in the Journal of Bacteriology and the awe I felt when I attended my first ASM General Meeting.  So much of what I have learned about microbes has come from ASM journals, books, conferences, meetings, workshops and listservs.  In recent years I have had the privilege to serve as Chair of the ASM General Meeting, Chair of the ASM Conference on Salmonella, and Editor in Chief of the ASM journal Infection and Immunity.  I have spoken at ASM Branch meetings from New York to San Francisco and thoroughly enjoy the informal collegial interactions that these small meetings afford.  As the Director of an NIH-supported training program and a research mentor to more than fifty graduate students and post-doctoral trainees, I have a special interest in providing guidance and inspiration to the next generation of microbiologists.  I believe that my diverse research activities in bacterial pathogenesis, diagnostic microbiology and research ethics would be of broad interest to the ASM community.  It would be a great honor to participate in the ASM Distinguished Lecturer Program. 

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Kelly S. Doran

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Kelly S. Doran (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego, CA  92182


Phone: 619-594-1867

Fax:    619-594-5676



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  D (Microbe-Host Interactions)

Secondary Division:  B (Microbial Pathogens)                                         



Mechanisms by which Bacteria Disrupt the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB)  

This lecture will focus on a newly identified mechanism by which bacteria disrupt tight junction components in brain endothelium.  This mechanism appears to be employed by multiple pathogens associated with meningitis that may disrupt cell polarity and allow bacteria to penetrate paracellularly and promote BBB permeability.  Focus will be given to both bacterial virulence factors and host cell determinants that result in pathogen transit across the BBB.   


Mechanisms Governing Bacterial Colonization and Therapeutic Intervention  

This lecture will discuss vaginal colonization by Group B streptococcus and focus on bacterial factors that promote attachment, competition with normal flora, and resistance to mucosal immunity.  Various therapeutic interventions designed to reduce vaginal carriage will also be discussed.    


Bacterial Regulation of Commensal and Invasive States  

This lecture will discuss the role of bacterial two component regulatory systems in modulating gene transcription during the switch from colonizing to invasive disease states.



Dr. Doran is a microbiologist with a broad background in host-pathogen interactions with expertise working with a variety of Gram-positive bacterial pathogens including Streptococcus, Staphylococcus (MRSA), and Bacillus anthracis.  Specifically, her research program seeks to elucidate the mechanisms by which bacteria penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in order to cause meningitis, as well as characterize the host response and defense during infection and disease progression.  She is also interested in how bacteria colonize the female reproductive tract and transmit to the fetus or newborn during pregnancy.  Using a variety of molecular genetic approaches, her research team seeks to discover and characterize bacterial virulence determinants involved in cytotoxicity, adherence, invasion, inflammation, molecular mimicry and resistance to immunologic clearance.  She also investigates the contribution of host factors such as surface receptors, signal transduction pathways, transcription factors, and autophagy in defense against invasive bacterial infection.  Dr. Doran has successfully developed a research program that has a demonstrated track record of productivity at the interface of bacteriology, host cell biology and immunology.  As a teacher-scholar she is passionate about teaching, training and mentoring students.  Graduates from her laboratory have taken academic faculty positions and/or industrial positions, or are now involved in graduate/professional school programs.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



My passion for microbiology has been shaped through various research experiences ranging from the genetic mechanisms responsible for light production in bioluminescent bacteria, to broad host range plasmid replication in various Gram-negative bacteria, to understanding the host-pathogen relationships that govern colonization and disease in the human host.  Just as my previous experiences and mentors helped cultivate my love for microbes and the scientific process, I similarly strive to impart my knowledge and love for my research field.  This is why I want to be a part of the ASMDL program – because I truly enjoy interacting with students and postdocs as well as mentoring them on career choices.  I have been active in ASM during my entire profession as a microbiologist and I have participated in our local ASM Branch meetings, where for the past six years students from my laboratory have won best poster presentation.  This has allowed them to travel to the national ASM meeting to present their work.  As a woman in science, I am also committed to promoting women and those underrepresented in microbiology, and have been a mentor for students in the ASM Undergraduate Research Capstone Program. Additionally, over the last four years I have been invited to give 21 seminars, with already two invitations as a Key Note speaker in 2016.  Thus I will bring my speaking and research experience in microbiology to the ASMDL program and feel that I will do my best to be an asset to the program.   

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Briana M. Burton

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


Briana M. Burton (term: 7/1/15 through 6/30/17)

Department of Bacteriology

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Microbial Sciences Building

1550 Linden Drive

Madison, WI  53706


Phone: 608-890-0510



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  J (Cell and Structural Biology)

Secondary Division:  H (Genetics & Molecular Biology)                                         



Genes without Borders: Towards a Mechanistic Understanding of Bacterial DNA Uptake   

Natural competence, or the ability to take up DNA from the environment, has been known since the days of Avery’s experiments.  Yet only very recently has a description of the physical process involved in DNA import begun to take shape at the molecular level.  This talk will focus on key mechanistic questions associated with DNA import and the experimental evidence revealing the inner workings of this process. 


Rules of the Road: Motor Proteins that Mediate Bacterial Chromosome Segregation

Over a decade of studies have tackled the question of how ATP-dependent FtsK/SpoIIIE translocases establish and maintain directional DNA translocation during chromosome segregation in bacteria.  This talk will highlight recent insights into the role of these proteins in DNA movement and the state-of-the-art techniques that have made these advances possible.


Mechanisms of Protein Export

One universal barrier towards progress against bacterial pathogens is the lack of basic knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that underlie virulence factor secretion.  This talk will highlight research defining a novel mechanism for the export of folded protein oligomers from a protein secretion system that is best known for its role in virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Staphylococcus aureus.


A 100+ Person Conversation: Active Learning in the Introductory Lecture Classroom

Research demonstrating the importance and effectiveness of active learning has risen to the fore in the last several years, yet implementation of such practices remains daunting, especially in large lecture settings.  This discussion will illustrate examples of active learning strategies for large introductory biology courses. 


Developing Projects and Writing Graduate/Postdoctoral Fellowships  

Even when guided by an academic advisor, the prospect of developing a project plan and writing it into the form of a funding application can be daunting.  Numerous excellent resources exist in print and on the web that all describe various aspects of the fellowship writing process.  This talk distills several of the common themes of best practices and common pitfalls of grant writing for trainees. 



Dr. Briana Burton is a faculty member in the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  The research in her laboratory has provided several key advances in understanding biochemical mechanisms underlying the physically challenging problem of macromolecule transport at membrane barriers.  Her group combines state-of-the-art biochemistry and imaging approaches with classical microbiological techniques to explore the action of membrane-associated DNA transporters involved in DNA uptake and chromosome segregation and in protein secretion.  The innovative research in Dr. Burton’s lab has been recognized by several awards including from the Rita Allen Foundation and Ellison Medical Foundation.  Dr. Burton is a former officer for Division J (Cell and Structural Biology) of ASM and served as a Steering Committee member for the Harvard Microbial Sciences Initiative.  She was appointed a National Academy of Sciences Education Fellow in 2010, and received a prestigious award for Excellence in Science Teaching in 2014.  Dr. Burton enjoys training students and post-doctoral fellows and is active in mentoring programs on campus, including participating in the STEM Diversity Network and serving as a post-baccalaureate student advisor.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



My career has been shaped by several inspirational scientists who have not only shared great work and key insights in their fields, but who have also taken the time to think carefully about teaching and mentoring.  For this reason, as I have become established in my own research career, I would like to bring to the ASMDL program the sense of excitement and wonder that I have for science and to share that with like-minded scientists.  My commitment to microbial sciences has led me to be an active member of the Harvard Microbial Sciences Initiative, a regular contributor to the annual Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages conference, and an officer for an ASM Division.  Through these and other venues, I have taken part in numerous mentoring mechanisms to support graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in their quest to develop their own careers as microbial scientists. 



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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, he 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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Niaz Banaei, M.D.

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


Niaz Banaei, M.D. (term: 7/1/15 through 6/30/17)

Departments of Pathology and Medicine

(Infectious Diseases & Geographic Medicine)

Stanford University

3375 Hillview Avenue

Palo Alto, CA  94304


Phone: 650-736-8052

Fax:     650-725-5671



Speaker’s Websites:   



Primary Division:  C (Clinical Microbiology)

Secondary Division:  U (Mycobacteriology)                                         



Laboratory Diagnosis of Latent M. tuberculosis Infection: Understanding Sources of IGRA Variability  

Interferon γ release assays (IGRAs) are being used increasingly in place of the tuberculin skin test (TST) for diagnosis of latent M. tuberculosis infection (LTBI).  Accurate LTBI diagnostics will play an essential role in TB elimination programs globally.  However, early adopters of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube assay for annual screening among U.S. health care workers are now reporting higher false conversion rates compared with TST.  Given the growing use of IGRAs, it is essential to identify and address the underlying sources of false conversions.  This presentation will cover the various sources of IGRA variability and how they can be standardized to reduce false results.


Quality Assured Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile Infection:  Can We Diagnose More Disease and Less Colonization?  

Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the leading cause of infectious diarrhea in health care settings.  However, the optimal method for diagnosis of CDI remains controversial.  In the absence of a definitive gold standard, diagnosis of CDI is based on a combination of clinical criteria (including evidence of diarrhea) and laboratory evidence for the presence of either C. difficile toxin or toxigenic C. difficile in stool.  This presentation assesses the effectiveness of the current clinical and laboratory testing guidelines for diagnosing CDI.  It also covers factors that may be contributing to diagnoses of C. difficile colonization (rather than disease) and novel approaches that can be applied to improve the quality of laboratory testing for CDI. 


Laboratory Diagnosis of Mycobacterial Disease in Resource Rich and Resource Limited Settings

Laboratory diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis using conventional microbiological methods is a lengthy and laborious process.  Automated nucleic acid amplification tests offer an attractive alternative for rapid detection of M. tuberculosis and simultaneous genotypic drug resistant testing.  This presentation will cover laboratory diagnosis of mycobacterial diseases using conventional and emerging technologies.


Novel Methods for Rapid Detection and Identification of Blood Cultures

Conventional methods for detection and identification of positive blood cultures can take several days.  This presentation will discuss emerging technologies such as colorimetric sensor arrays to simultaneously detect and identify blood cultures in the bottle as well as MALDI-TOF for unbiased identification of blood cultures.


Sequencing Comes to Rescue When All Else Fails: Pathogen Detection and Identification in Clinical Samples with Broad Range PCR Amplicon Sequencing

Clinicians frequently encounter patients with life threatening culture-negative infections.  Broad range PCR combined with amplicon sequencing is a powerful tool for rapid and accurate diagnosis of culture-negative or uncultured invasive infections.  In this case presentation I will describe and discuss the utility and potential pitfalls of ribosomal RNA locus sequencing for direct detection and identification of invasive bacteria and fungi from fresh and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens.



Niaz Banaei received his medical education from Stanford University and completed residency training in laboratory medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.  He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in infectious diseases at the New York University.  He is currently an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Medicine at Stanford University and is the Medical Director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Stanford Medical Center.  In addition, he is the Director of Stanford Pathology Fellowship in Global Health Diagnostics.  He serves on the board of advisors for the Centers for Disease Control Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium II (TBESC).  His research interests include (1) development, assessment, and improvement of novel infectious diseases diagnostics, (2) enhancing the quality of C. difficile diagnostic results, and (3) characterization of M. tuberculosis virulence determinants.  He was the recipient of Kenneth L. Vosti Infectious Diseases and Stanford University clinical pathology junior faculty teaching awards, and has authored over sixty peer-reviewed journal articles and several book chapters.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



For over 100 years, infectious diseases have been diagnosed through microscopic visualization of pathogens or microbiological culture.  In the molecular era, there is an opportunity to detect pathogens more rapidly and accurately through their genetic or metabolic signatures and host immune responses.  My scholarly activities in clinical microbiology primarily focus on two areas: (1) leveraging emerging technologies and basic understanding in immunopathogenesis to advance infectious diseases diagnostics and (2) measuring the performance characteristics and clinical impact of novel diagnostics.  Over the past decade, I have developed and implemented a number of novel nucleic acid amplification assays.  In addition, I have also investigated and improved the quality of results for existing assays.  These efforts have in turn improved patient care and enhanced health care efficiency.  By participating in the ASMDL program, I hope to share opportunities and challenges I have encountered in a clinical microbiology laboratory at an academic medical center.  Much of what I have achieved has occurred through working closely with trainees and clinical laboratory scientists.  I take the education of trainees seriously.  I believe students learn best when the same subject matter is presented from different angles and the students are engaged in connecting the information dots.  I have successfully mentored undergrads, medical students, pathology residents, infectious diseases fellows, and postdoctoral fellows on various projects.  My dedication to teaching was recognized with several prestigious teaching awards.  I would find it gratifying and an honor to expand my interaction with trainees through the ASMDL program. 


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