Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:10

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - February


  • Receive Funds for a Summer Research Fellow ASM Blogs
  • Celebrate National Mentoring Month
  • Register for ASMCUE and Submit an Abstract
  • Find Out if Your Teaching Is Making an Impact on Student Learning
  • New Books from ASM Press
  • Build Your Science Career
  • ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
  • ASM Microbe 2017
  • Upcoming ASM Conferences


  • Dimensions of Biodiversity
  • Innovation Corps Teams Program (I-Corps Teams)
  • Integrative Research in Gynecologic Health (R01)


  • PhD Opportunity in Microbial Ecology and Soil Carbon Cycling
  • Post-doctoral Researcher in Soil Microbial Ecology & Biogeochemistry
  • REU opportunities studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Louisiana salt marshes and coastal environments


  • ASM CMIIM celebrates Black History Month 2016 Dr. Phaedra Thomas, Infectious Disease Researcher


Receive Funds for a Summer Research Fellow
Conduct research and mentor a talented student this summer with a 2017 ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Open to community college and undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in the microbial sciences, students will receive up to a $4,000 stipend to conduct research at their home institution. The following year students will be funded to attend the 2018 Microbe Academy for Professional Development (MAPD) and present their research results at ASM Microbe 2018 (if abstract is accepted). Apply by February 15.

ASM Blogs Celebrate National Mentoring Month
January was National Mentoring Month, and ASM’s Education Blog celebrated with posts on making mentoring work in your classroom or lab and the story of an undergraduate whose mentor helped fuel his excitement for microbiology. The ASM Careers Blog published posts on why having multiple mentors helps you and the importance of finding the right mentor. If you have feedback on or ideas for the blogs, please contact Bethany Adamec (Education) or Shilpa Gadwal (Careers).

Register for ASMCUE and Submit an Abstract
Registration is now open for the 24th Annual ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE). Set for July 27-30 at The Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel (Denver, Colorado), ASMCUE 2017 will offer intensive professional development sessions and inspiring talks by leaders at the forefront of science and teaching. The lectures will complement concurrent sessions on classroom-tested resources for advancing in pedagogy, scholarship, research design, methodology, and assessment, along with poster and oral “microbrew” sessions on best practices in microbiology and biology education. There will also be opportunities to network with colleagues, visit with higher education vendors, and take part in discussions of lab safety guidelines, teaching tools, student learning, and more.

Nearly 80% of the conference presentations are from attendees. Submit for an oral or poster presentation now. Abstracts for 15-minute oral presentations are due March 15. The abstract submission deadline for poster presentations is April 3. Conference registration is available online at a discounted rate until May 15, 2017.

Find Out if Your Teaching Is Making an Impact on Student Learning
To help advance and sustain science education reform at the undergraduate level, the ASM Biology Scholars Hybrid Courses offer biologists training via two intensive and independent, yet intertwined hybrid courses. The Biology Scholars Assessment Hybrid Course helps participants to measure learning outcomes and implement, integrate, and align assessment strategies with course learning outcomes. The Biology Scholars Education Research Hybrid Course guides participants in conducting evidence-based research on student learning in biology and identifying interdisciplinary collaborators.

Key components of both courses include online pre-workshop assignments, a face-to-face workshop, specialized peer mentoring, and post-workshop follow-up. The courses are open to national and international biology educators from various types of institutions, such as community colleges, undergraduate institutions, and doctoral-granting universities. The face-to-face workshops will run concurrently from July 25-27, 2017, in Denver, Colorado — just before the start of the annual ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) taking place at the same location. The application deadline is March 15, 2017.

New Books from ASM Press

Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host
The new edition of Diagnostic Microbiology of the Immunocompromised Host provides complementary views of often complex diagnostic challenges and presents topics such as:

  • Host biology and antineoplastic and transplantation techniques
  • The basis of immunosuppressive conditions ranging from diabetes to age-related immunosuppression
  • The approach, interpretation, and limitations of the laboratory
  • Diagnosis of infections caused by a wide range of etiologic agents
  • Laboratory diagnosis of infections of organ systems, such as respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system
  • Diagnostic aspects of prosthetic devices and catheters, healthcare- acquired infections, and morphologic considerations (anatomic pathology)

List Price: $160
ASM Member Price: $128
August 2016. Hardcover, 794 pages, full-color illustrations, index.

Clinical Virology Manual, Fifth Edition
As clinical laboratories work to keep up with rapid advances in diagnostics technology and the growing volume of tests, this valuable reference is more important than ever. The accurate and comprehensive information will help keep your laboratory staff capably delivering the results that clinicians depend on to identify and diagnose viral infections and make treatment decisions.

In this completely revised edition, Editor in Chief Michael Loeffelholz and Editors Richard Hodinka, Stephen Young and Benjamin Pinsky have compiled the expertise of renowned clinical virologists and incorporated recommendations for emerging and reemerging viral diseases, such as enterovirus D68, measles virus, mumps virus, influenza viruses, norovirus, chikungunya, dengue, Ebola virus, and Zika virus.

Updates Include:

  • State-of-the-art diagnostic technologies, including next-generation sequencing and nucleic acid Amplification methods
  • Taxonomy of clinically important viruses such as polyomaviruses and zoonotic viruses
  • “Diagnostic Best Practices” sections in each viral pathogens chapter that summarize recommendations for diagnostic testing and cites evidence-based guidelines
  • Standards and references from virology laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local public health laboratories, and international reference laboratories and laboratory systems

List Price: $180
ASM Member Price: $144
October 2016. Hardcover, 622 pages, full-color illustrations, index.

Clinical Virology, Fourth Edition
Clinical virology incorporates a spectrum of disciplines, ranging from molecular and cellular biology, X-ray crystallography, genetics, immunology, and vaccinology to public health, treatment, and epidemiology to the global socioeconomic impact of disease and clinical practice. It is one of the most dynamic and rapidly changing fields of clinical medicine, and this new edition reflects the latest research in the field with extensive revisions and updates.

Clinical Virology covers broad topics in virology, including immune responses, vaccinology, laboratory diagnosis, and principles of antiviral therapy, as well as detailed considerations of significant organ system syndromes caused by viral infections. The book also provides overviews of specific etiologic agents, including discussions of their molecular virology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, laboratory diagnosis, management, and prevention. Clinical Virology is a comprehensive collection that presents the diverse agents and a disease associated with human viral infections and provides the critical information scientists and health care professionals need to stay current.

List Price: $280
ASM Member Price: $224
December 2016. Hardcover, 1,489 pages, illustrations, index.

Build Your Science Career
ASM's career newsletter is for students, postdocs, and early-career individuals who want to learn about their career options, tips, and job listings. Sign up for our monthly email and you could win free registration to Microbe and the Microbe Academy for Professional Development* in New Orleans, LA in June 2017. *Please note that the Microbe Academy for Professional Development is aimed at students and post-baccalaureates.

ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 7–10, 2017 | Savannah, GA
This international symposium delves into the relationship between rapid viral diagnosis, clinical course of viral infections, and preventive and therapeutic modalities for viral infections. Register to attend. View the preliminary program here.

ASM Microbe 2017
June 1–5, 2017 | New Orleans, LA
Have new, cutting-edge microbial science to share? Submit your late-breaker abstract! Submission closes on March 6, 2017. Save on your ASM Microbe 2017 registration when you register before April 20, 2017.

Upcoming ASM Conferences

ASM Conference on Mechanisms on Interbacterial Cooperation and CompetitionASM Conference on Mechanisms on Interbacterial Cooperation and Competition
March 1–4, 2017 ǀ Washington, DC
Hotel reservation deadline: February 7, 2017

ASM Conference on Innovative Microbial Ecology for Mitigation of Antibiotic Resistance and Bacterial Diseases
March 22–25, 2017 | Crystal City, VA
Early bird registration deadline: February 9, 2017
Hotel reservation deadline: February 28, 2017

ASM Conference on Tuberculosis: Past, Present and Future
April 1–4, 2017 ǀ New York, NY
Early bird registration deadline: February 16, 2017
Hotel reservation deadline: March 10, 2017

ASM/ASV Conference on Interplay of Viral and Bacterial Pathogens
May 1–4, 2017 | Bethesda, MD
Don’t miss the chance to present your work at this brand new conference – more than 20 travel grants are available for students and postdocs. Submit your abstract and apply for a travel grant before February 21, 2017.

2nd ASM Conference on Rapid Applied Microbial Next-Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatic Pipelines
October 8–11, 2017 | Washington, DC

Save the dates for more 2017 ASM Conferences!


Dimensions of Biodiversity
Despite centuries of discovery, most of our planet's biodiversity remains unknown. The scale of the unknown diversity on Earth is especially troubling given the rapid and permanent loss of biodiversity across the globe. The goal of the Dimensions of Biodiversity campaign is to transform, by 2020, how we describe and understand the scope and role of life on Earth.

This campaign promotes novel integrative approaches to fill the most substantial gaps in our understanding of the diversity of life on Earth. It takes a broad view of biodiversity, and focuses on the intersection of genetic, phylogenetic, and functional dimensions of biodiversity. Successful proposals must integrate these three dimensions to understand interactions and feedbacks between and among them. While this focus complements several core programs in BIO, it differs by requiring that multiple dimensions of biodiversity be addressed simultaneously, in novel ways, to understand their synergistic roles in critical ecological and evolutionary processes, especially pertaining to the mechanisms driving the origin, maintenance, and functional roles of biodiversity.

The Dimensions of Biodiversity program again includes partnerships with the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) of Brazil in fiscal year 2017. Investigators wishing to inquire about the suitability of potential projects for Dimensions of Biodiversity are encouraged to email a brief summary and contact information to Full proposals are due February 21, 2016, and more information is available at

Innovation Corps Teams Program (I-Corps Teams)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystem that builds upon fundamental research to guide the output of scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society.

In order to jumpstart a national innovation ecosystem, NSF has established the NSF Innovation Corps Teams Program (NSF I-Corps Teams). The NSF I-Corps Teams purpose is to identify NSF-funded researchers who will receive additional support - in the form of mentoring and funding - to accelerate innovation that can attract subsequent third-party funding.

The purpose of the NSF I-Corps Teams grant is to give the project team access to resources to help determine the readiness to transition technology developed by previously-funded or currently-funded NSF projects. The outcomes of I-Corps Teams projects will be threefold: 1) a clear go or no go decision regarding viability of products and services, 2) should the decision be to move the effort forward, a transition plan for those projects to move forward, and 3) a technology demonstration for potential partners. A webinar will be held on the first Tuesday of every month to answer questions about this program. Details will be posted on the I-Corps website (see as they become available. Full proposals are due March 15, 2017, and more information is available at

Integrative Research in Gynecologic Health (R01)
The purpose of this FOA is to provide a platform to support novel, complex research with integrated studies that involve basic, translational and clinical science to focus on a single clinically-important, understudied gynecologic disorder, or a research question that cuts across disorders, while facilitating economy of effort, space and equipment. The ultimate goal of the FOA is to improve human gynecologic health by fostering partnerships between experts in diverse fields of research and enabling enhanced knowledge and resource sharing across these lines of inquiry. The projects developed will allow a cost-effective and collaborative route to accelerated transfer of scientific knowledge from bench to bedside and back again. These projects will also encourage partnerships with investigators who have not yet applied their expertise to gynecologic research, thereby expanding the potential scientific insight and investigational toolkit available to these projects. Letters of intent are due February 28, 2017, and more information is available at


PhD Opportunity in Microbial Ecology and Soil Carbon Cycling
The Morrissey lab at West Virginia University is seeking a motivated Ph.D. student interested in researching microbial ecology and soil carbon cycling. Students with experience in molecular biology, stable isotope probing, bioinformatics, biogeochemistry, and/or soil ecology are particularly encouraged to apply. If you are interested in this opportunity please contact Dr. Ember Morrissey and provide a brief description of your research interests and career goals as well as a resume/CV highlighting any relevant coursework and experience. Potential students will apply to one of the graduate programs within the Davis School of Agriculture at WVU.   Lab website.

Post-doctoral Researcher in Soil Microbial Ecology & Biogeochemistry
A post-doctoral position is now available in the Ecology Center and the Department of Biology at Utah State University, Logan, UT. The successful candidate will contribute to a project examining how soil microbial growth efficiencies are influenced by drought in agro-ecosystems. Minimum qualifications include: a PhD in biogeochemistry, soil science, microbial ecology, or a related field; excellent written and oral communication skills; good quantitative skills; evidence of research productivity demonstrated by publications in quality peer-reviewed journals; and the ability to work closely with others and independently at field sites. Additional background in analytical chemistry and stable isotope techniques is preferred. Utah State University is located within the beautiful mountain ranges of the Cache Valley in Northeastern Utah. The area provides a wealth of recreational possibilities, a high quality of life, and an affordable cost of living. The position is for a minimum of two years with the possibility of extension as funds allow. Salary range is $45,000 to $48,000 per year plus a generous benefits package. To apply go to Review of applications will begin March 1, 2017 and continue until the position is filled. For more information contact John Stark (

REU opportunities studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Louisiana salt marshes and coastal environments
Two Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) positions are available at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) for the summer of 2017. The REU students will design and conduct studies that contribute to the larger Coastal Waters Consortium collaborative effort studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Louisiana salt marshes and coastal environments. Over the past 5+ years CWC researchers have been studying the impacts of the spill at paired oiled- unoiled marshes across the southeastern Louisiana coast. The REU students will be expected to work with a team of researchers (under the supervision of Dr. Brian Roberts and/or Dr. Nancy Rabalais) to develop studies which address aspects of the larger effort. We are particularly interested in students interested in conducting projects on wetland biogeochemistry and ecology, plant ecology, microbial ecology, sediment microalgae and/or subtidal benthos. The REU students will be involved in both the field and laboratory components of their project as well as a variety of related projects and experiments being conducted by other LUMCON and CWC researchers. Candidates must be available for a ten week period beginning in early June 2017. We will provide a $500/week stipend, room and board at the Marine Center in Cocodrie, LA and support for their research. The ideal candidate should be interested in pursuing a career in ecology or biogeochemistry, creative, hard-working, detail orientated, dedicated, and comfortable working as part of research team. Experience with field or laboratory research in these areas in a plus but not necessary. Background or at least one course in ecology, chemistry, biogeochemistry, or environmental science is required. To be eligible you must be returning to an undergraduate degree program in the fall (e.g., if you will graduate in May or June, you are NOT eligible). Application deadline: March 15th 2017. Applications should include: copy of unofficial transcripts, contact information for two academic references, CV/resume, and a one page statement that describes your interest in the REU position, academic goals, and any previous research experience. Applications should be sent to Dr. Brian Roberts at with “2017 REU application” in the subject line. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Dr. Phaedra Thomas, Infectious Disease ResearcherPhaedraThomas
Malaria is a debilitating disease responsible for nearly half a million deaths across the world annually, most of which affect children under 5 years old. Drug resistance has increased the need for novel methods of combating malaria as much of the parasite’s biology is yet to be understood. The most fatal form of human malaria is caused by the parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, which has a 48-hour life cycle that triggers the immune system’s fever response. In the journal article titled “Phenotypic Screens Identify Parasite Genetic Factors Associated with Malarial Fever Response in Plasmodium falciparum piggyBac mutants (10.1128/mSphere.00273-16),” Dr. Thomas and her colleagues utilized a forward genetics approach via heat shock screens to select for genes or pathways associated with fever pathogenesis during malaria infection. The piggyBac system uses a transposable element to generate single random insertional mutations in the organism’s genome, creating multiple distinct mutants that can be screened for potential drug targets. This study found that an in vitro heat shock of malaria-infected red blood cells induces growth changes in certain piggyBac mutants. In a test of 25 mutants, twelve had a decrease in growth after heat shock and one mutant displayed an increase in growth or enhanced heat shock phenotype. Many of these mutants are involved in biological processes such as transcription, RNA metabolism, protein binding/modification, cell signaling and membrane or structural maintenance of the cell. Such information can increase our understanding of the parasite’s survival mechanism during fever and aid in the development of new antimalarial drugs.

As an infectious disease researcher, Dr. Thomas has been afforded the opportunity to learn about the issues affecting human health and ways to improve it. The path from novice to scientist began at Albany State University, a historically black college and university (HBCU) in Albany, Georgia where she received her undergraduate degree in Biology. It was here that she worked on a summer project at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Büch, Germany as a research training fellow. Her graduate education continued at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, where she obtained her Master’s degree in Biology and Doctorate in Global Communicable Disease. Each research experience led to new methods of scientific exploration that allowed her to study microorganisms in the oceans or pathogens on land, work on genome annotation projects and present her work at conferences. While at ASU and USF, Dr. Thomas participated in professional development seminars and minority mentoring programs such as the Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation or FGLSAMP and the Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship program. These programs, along with the Florida Education Fund’s McKnight Doctoral Fellowship, created an environment where she could balance academic, research and teaching obligations. Dr. Thomas states that “ultimately, the goal is to give back and introduce others to the world of S.T.E.M. so that we all may have an impact on our local and global communities.”

In July 2006, the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM) of the American Society for Microbiology Public and Scientific Affairs Board developed a monthly e-newsletter which contains information pertinent to minority microbiologists. Currently, there are very few minority-based newsletters for scientists, and there are none for microbiologists.

This e-newsletter provides a central means of distributing pertinent information to underrepresented minorities in the field of microbiology. Some examples include career advice, networking tips, relevant news articles, unique funding and career opportunities, microbiological issues affecting minorities (e.g., HIV), minority issues affecting microbiologists (e.g., minority retention), and scientific articles published by minorities or by minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

The target populations are African-Americans, Latino-Americans, Native Americans, Alaska natives, and Pacific Islanders; however, all ASM members are invited to sign up and to share this information with others who may find this e-newsletter beneficial.

Signing up to receive The Minority Microbiology Mentor is very easy and is open to ASM members and non-members: simply go to, enter your email address, and select "MinorityMicroMentor" then submit, and you will receive confirmation of your subscription by email. If you are an ASM member, you will be prompted to Log In before signing up.

The Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities is chaired by Dwayne W. Boucaud, Ph.D., Professor in the Quinnipiac University Department of Biomedical Sciences in Hamden, CT. The Minority Microbiology Mentor Editor-in-Chief is Crystal N. Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA, and the Associate Editor is Andrea M. Rocha, Ph.D., Senior Staff Scientist with Geosyntec Consultants in Knoxville, TN.

The MMM can post employment ads only if they are first featured on the ASM’s Career Connections site: Career Connections is offering a discount for job postings that are featured in the MMM. Please contact with your ad needs.

For more information about the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM) go to the committee’s web page: 

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:55