Friday, 16 June 2017 11:33

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - June


  • ASM Minority Travel Awards for ASM Microbe Meeting Presented
  • New on ASM’s Teaching Microbiology Blog
  • Tips on Writing Effective Grants
  • ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE)
  • ASM-ESCMID Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
  • Save the Dates: ASM Microbe 2018
  • Upcoming ASM Conferences
  • New Books From ASM Press!


  • Partnerships for the Development of Vaccines and Immunoprophylactics Targeting Multiple Antimicrobial-Resistant Bacteria (R01)
  • Partnerships for Development of Clinically Useful Diagnostics for Antimicrobial-Resistant Bacteria (R01)
  • Silencing of HIV-1 Proviruses (R61/R33)
  • Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER and PECASE)
  • ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE)


  • PhD Student - Fungal and Microbial Ecology - University of Memphis
  • REU at UC Santa Barbara
  • PhD Scholarship- Wetland Microbial Ecology/Biogeochemist in Australia
  • Postdoctoral position in tree/forest microbial ecology


  • Radamés Cordero, Ph.D.


ASM Minority Travel Awards for ASM Microbe Meeting Presented
The winners of the ASM Minority Travel Awards from ASM Microbe were presented at the 34th Annual Mixer during the ASM Microbe Meeting. The following awardees were honored:

Aisha T. Burton, B.A., Indiana University
Naydu M. Carmona, Ph.D., Queensborough Community College
Veronica Casas, Ph.D., San Diego State University
Letimicia Fears, MSc, Tennessee State University
Ar'Quette Grant, Ph.D., University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Laura Elizabeth Martínez, Ph.D., Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Carlos Ríos-Velázquez, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
Pedro J. Torres, MS, San Diego State University
Monica Trujillo, Ph.D., Queensborough Community College, City University of New York
Carmen V. Vallin, BS, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Photos of the awards winners are available on the ASM Web Page.

New on ASM’s Teaching Microbiology Blog
Recent highlights on our blog for faculty include using the Microbe Academy for Professional development as a model to foster student success at conferences, fun hands-on science ideas for Mother’s Day (or any day), and education sessions not to miss at Microbe 2017.

Tips on Writing Effective Grants
Writing a grant, but not sure where to start? Cynthia Cornelissen, Ph.D. and Michael Ibba, Ph.D., co-facilitators of the ASM Grant Writing Online Course, provide some handy tips on writing successful grants:

  • Know the grant landscape and where you fit in.
  • View biosketches as a two-minute elevator talk.
  • Make sure your application is accessible to both experts and non-experts in your field.

Register for the ASM Grant Writing Online Course to learn more! This seven-part series will take place August—November 2017 and provide personalized feedback while exploring the grant writing process. Deadline to register: July 15.

ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE)
July 27–30, 2017 | Denver, CO
Take part in the important discussions that will shape the future of teaching and learning in the biological sciences. Join us to connect, learn, and share with other passionate educators. Act now–registration closes on June 21, 2017. Register today!

ASM-ESCMID Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance
September 6–8, 2017 | Boston, MA
Antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) is an urgent global health problem. Join us atthis multidisciplinary meeting where we will address the challenges, opportunities and current requirements for antimicrobial drug development for AMR. Register today and submit your abstract by June 22, 2017, to take part in these important discussions.

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
November 1–4, 2017 | Phoenix, AZ
Join a large community of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Abstract submission is now open! Submit your abstract to share your recent findings or apply for the judges travel subsidy if you’d like to volunteer. Stay tuned! Registration opens on June 30, 2017.

Save the Dates: ASM Microbe 2018
Join us next year for an even bigger and better ASM Microbe as we head to Atlanta, Georgia, June 7–11, 2018.

Upcoming ASM Conferences

2nd ASM Conference on Rapid Applied Microbial Next-Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatic Pipelines 
October 8–11, 2017 | Washington, DC
Abstract submission closes: July 17, 2017
Early bird registration deadline: August 31, 2017

6th ASM Conference on Cell–Cell Communication in Bacteria
October 16–19, 2017 | Athens, GA
Abstract submission deadline: August 8, 2017
Early bird registration deadline: September 6, 2017

ASM Conference on Vibrio2017: The Biology of Vibrios
November 12–15, 2017 | Chicago, IL
Abstract submission deadline: September 6, 2017
Early bird registration deadline: October 3, 2017

4th ASM Conference on Viral Manipulation of Nuclear Processes
December 3–6, 2017 | Charleston, SC
Abstract submission deadline: September 25, 2017
Early bird registration deadline: October 24, 2017

New Books From ASM Press!

The Power of Plagues, Second Edition
Author: Irwin W. Sherman, University of California, Riverside
The Power of Plagues presents a rogues’ gallery of epidemic-causing microorganisms placed in the context of world history. Author Irwin W. Sherman introduces the microbes that caused these epidemics and the people who sought (and still seek) to understand how diseases and epidemics are managed. What makes this book especially fascinating are the many threads that Sherman weaves together as he explains how plagues past and present have shaped the outcome of wars and altered the course of medicine, religion, education, feudalism, and science. Cholera gave birth to the field of epidemiology.

The Power of Plagues provides a sobering reminder that plagues are not a thing of the past. Along with the persistence of tuberculosis, malaria, river blindness, and AIDS, emerging and remerging epidemics continue to confound global and national public health efforts. West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and Ebola and Zika viruses are just some of the newest rogues to plague humans.

The argument that civilization has been shaped to a significant degree by the power of plagues is compelling, and The Power of Plagues makes the case in an engaging and informative way that will be satisfying to scientists and non-scientists alike.

ASM List Price: $40 | ASM Member Price: $32
May- 2017, 494 pages, full-color illustrations. Paperback or eBook.

Molecular Biotechnology: Principles and Applications of Recombinant DNA, Fifth Edition
Authors: Bernard R. Glick, University of Waterloo; Cheryl L. Patten, University of New Brunswick
Explains the many ways that recombinant microbes are harnessed in the service of humankind

In the early 1970s, Stanley Cohen and Herb Boyer, along with two of their students, successfully carried out the first gene cloning experiments and ushered in the age of recombinant DNA technology, which has transformed scientific research, commerce, and society. Although industrial fermentations and related uses of microorganisms to produce products useful to humans was a well-established industry known as biotechnology, molecular biotechnology was born by merging recombinant DNA methods with biotechnology.

Since 1994, Molecular Biotechnology: Principles and Applications of Recombinant DNA has introduced students to the fast-changing world of molecular biotechnology. With each revision, the authors have extensively updated the book to keep pace with the many new techniques in gene isolation and amplification, nucleic acid synthesis and sequencing, gene editing, and their applications to biotechnology. In this edition, authors Bernard R. Glick and Cheryl L. Patten have continued that tradition, but have also overhauled the book’s organization to

ASM List Price: $125 | ASM Member Price: $125
Jun- 2017, 740 pages, full-color illustrations, Hardcover. Electronic versions of this title are sold on Redshelf and VitalSource.

Tuberculosis and Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections, Seventh Edition
Editor: David Schlossberg, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

For Tuberculosis and Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections, Dr. Schlossberg assembled an international team of experts to write about nearly every facet of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacterial infections. The seventh edition of Tuberculosis and Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections is an essential resource for anyone working to prevent and treat tuberculosis and associated infections, from infectious disease specialists and pulmonologists to scientists, policymakers, and epidemiologists.

ASM List Price: $200 | ASM Member Price: $160
June- 2017, 792 pages, full-color illustrations. Hardcover or eBook


Partnerships for the Development of Vaccines and Immunoprophylactics Targeting Multiple Antimicrobial-Resistant Bacteria (R01)
The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support milestone-driven projects focused on discovery, establishment of proof-of-concept for, and/or preclinical development of, lead candidate vaccines or immunoprophylactics that target multiple antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens prevalent in nosocomial infections: carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter and MDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Letters of intent are due September 4, 2017, and more information is available at

Partnerships for Development of Clinically Useful Diagnostics for Antimicrobial-Resistant Bacteria (R01)
The objective of this initiative is to support milestone-driven projects focused on the development of clinically informative diagnostic platforms that identify select antimicrobial-resistant bacterial pathogens and determine associated antimicrobial sensitivity and/or resistance. Applications must include a Product Development Strategy and demonstrate substantive investment by at least one industrial participant. Letters of intent are due September 4, 2017, and more information is available at

Silencing of HIV-1 Proviruses (R61/R33)
Currently the most actively explored approach for the eradication of HIV-1 reservoirs is the use of latency reversing agents (LRA), followed by a drug or immune-based therapy to kill cells induced to express HIV proteins. Most compounds used as LRA have been selected from molecules developed for a different medical indication. While NIAID has supported this approach, a gap exists in other mechanism-based research for new agents with novel mechanism(s) of action. One such approach would be to epigenetically silence HIV-1 proviruses. The feasibility of an epigenetic approach to HIV-provirus silencing is suggested by the suppression of endogenous retrovirus (ERV) elements in vertebrate genomes. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages exploratory and developmental bi-phasic research applications to support the identification and optimization of small molecules or RNAs that interact with host epigenetic machinery to mediate long-term or permanent epigenetic silencing of HIV-1 proviruses. Letters of intent are due November 6, 2017, and more information is available at

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER and PECASE)
CAREER: The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from early-career faculty at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

PECASE: Each year NSF selects nominees for the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from among the most meritorious recent CAREER awardees. Selection for this award is based on two important criteria: 1) innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology that is relevant to the mission of NSF, and 2) community service demonstrated through scientific leadership, education, or community outreach. These awards foster innovative developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in science and engineering, give recognition to the scientific missions of the participating agencies, enhance connections between fundamental research and national goals, and highlight the importance of science and technology for the Nation’s future. Individuals cannot apply for PECASE. These awards are initiated by the participating federal agencies. At NSF, up to twenty nominees for this award are selected each year from among the PECASE-eligible CAREER awardees most likely to become the leaders of academic research and education in the twenty-first century. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy makes the final selection and announcement of the awardees. Full proposals are due as early as July 19, 2017, and more information is available at

ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE)
Despite significant increases in the proportion of women pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) doctoral degrees, women are significantly underrepresented as faculty, particularly in upper ranks, and in academic administrative positions, in almost all STEM fields. The problems of recruitment, retention, and advancement that are the causes of this underrepresentation vary by discipline and across groups of women faculty (e.g., by race/ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, foreign-born and foreign-trained status, and faculty appointment type). The ADVANCE program is designed to foster gender equity through a focus on the identification and elimination of organizational barriers that impede the full participation and advancement of all women faculty in academic institutions. Organizational barriers that inhibit equity may exist in areas such as policy, practice, culture, and organizational climate. For example, practices in academic departments that result in the inequitable allocation of service or teaching assignments may impede research productivity, delay advancement and create a culture of differential treatment and rewards. Policies and procedures that do not mitigate implicit bias in hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions could mean that women and underrepresented minorities are evaluated less favorably, perpetuating their underrepresentation and contributing to a climate that is not inclusive. Pre-proposals are due August 9, 2017, and more information is available at


PhD Student - Fungal and Microbial Ecology - University of Memphis
I am looking for one PhD student to start January 2018 to join the Brown Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Memphis. In the Brown Lab, we use a cross-domain approach (Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea, Algae, etc.) to ask questions about how communities are structured, how microbe-microbe or microbe-host interactions influence assembly, and how these communities play a role in ecosystem processes. Research questions are open, but may include: snow algae-microbe interactions and function, isolation and characterization snow-borne and alpine fungal and microbial communities, or microbial successional dynamics after glacier retreat. Preferences given to candidates who have a strong background or interest in the following: next-generation sequence generation and analysis – including command line based analyses, familiarity with Fungi (as well as bacteria), and a strong sense of curiosity. If interested, please contact me (Shawn Brown) at with “Memphis PhD position” in the subject line. Include in the email (in PDF or .docx format) a short description of your interests, experience, and career goals that includes undergraduate (and graduate if applicable) GPA. Also include a CV/resume, GRE scores. Applications will be screened as received and a Skype interview may be invited soon thereafter. Applications will be accepted until position is filled.

REU at UC Santa Barbara
Position is available for an NSF-REU student to work on several laboratory projects at UC Santa Barbara for two months (July/August; exact dates negotiable) of 2017. A stipend will be provided for housing, food, and amenities. These projects will be focused on soil and litter samples imported from the Mpala Research Centre’s Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment (KLEE), a 20-year herbivore experimental exclosure in Laikipia, Kenya. If interested, please send an updated resume and a 2-paragraph explanation of your interest in ecology and the project at hand, plus any relevant experience you may have had, to Provide your contact information and your availability for the months requested. The REU student would be expected to find housing in Santa Barbara (with logistical aid from the graduate student advisor) and be able to commit to a period of 2 months of work on the project. The available time window for this project is July through August, with limited flexibility on dates for either end.

PhD Scholarship: Wetland Microbial Ecology/Biogeochemist in Australia
PhD position is available to study the microbiology and greenhouse gas dynamics of inland wetlands. Selection criteria: 1. A first class Honours or Masters degree with experience in environmental microbiology. 2. A proven track record of academic excellence. Applicants with first-authored publications in quality journals will score highly. 3. Experience in collecting field data and capacity to undertake independent fieldwork. 4. Capacity to implement research in collaboration with a range of stakeholders (government agencies, private landholders, conservation groups etc.). 5. Strong English written communication skills including the capacity to write research results into scientific papers. Special requirements: Manual drivers licence To apply: Email the following information to 1. A letter (2 pages max) a. Addressing each of the selection criteria b. A summary of your research experience c. Your reasons for wanting to do a PhD d. Information on how your skills will be relevant to the project 2. A copy of your academic transcript 3. An example of your written work as lead author (e.g. paper, manuscript, thesis). For more information, contact s.trevathantackett@DEAKIN.EDU.AU.

Postdoctoral position in tree/forest microbial ecology
Postdoctoral Project : Drought, plant nutrition, and the microbial ecology of Quebec forests Global change is projected to lead to temperature increases and modifications in precipitation regimes in Quebec forests, which may lead to increased drought stress and changes in tree growth and regeneration and forest productivity. We seek a postdoctoral researcher to participate in an experiment established in 2014 in the Forêt Montmorency in Quebec where trees have been exposed to different degrees of drought stress to simulate potential changes in precipitation due to global change. The postdoctoral researcher will use an experimental plantation of more than 2000 tree seedlings to study the interaction among different degrees of drought stress, tree nutrition and the microbial communities associated with trees and soils. The candidate will carry out work in the field (sampling at the field site) and in the laboratory (quantification and analysis of microbial communities using high-throughput sequencing approaches). The project represents a collaboration between the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife, and Parks (MFFP), and the Ouranos climate change consortium. The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Steven Kembel (UQAM) and Dr. Daniel Houle (MFFP / Ouranos). Qualifications · Ph.D. in Biology, Ecology, Forestry, Microbiology, or related fields · Excellent motivation and publication record · Expertise in methods for microbial community ecology (e.g. high-throughput 16S sequencing, metagenomic sequencing, multivariate analysis) · Expertise in plant ecology / ecophysiology / plant microbiomes an asset The anticipated start date will be the summer or autumn of 2017. Funding is guaranteed for one year. Interested candidates should send a cover letter, CV, and the name of two references to Steven Kembel ( and Daniel Houle (


Radamés Cordero, Ph.D.cordero
Melanin is what makes human skin black, brown, reddish or yellowish, but this kind of pigments are more than coloring agents. Found in all kingdoms of life, melanin provides photoprotection from dangerous solar radiation by functioning both as a sunscreen and antioxidant by (1) absorbing and dissipating radiation energy in the form of heat, and (2) neutralizing free radicals caused by ionizing radiation. This radiation-to-heat conversion underlies their role in thermoregulation; it is essential for ‘cold-blooded’ organisms that rely on radiation, convection, and conduction to maintain healthy body temperatures. Similar to photosynthesis, recent studies with black fungi have shown that melanin can also convert high-energy electromagnetic radiation into chemical and electrical energy, resulting in enhanced fungal growth and metabolic activity. The ability of melanin to conduct electricity is perhaps one of the most exciting properties of these biopolymers, inspiring new applications in bioelectronics and other sustainable technologies. The structure of melanin remains largely unknown, yet its remarkable structural stability and strong affinity to water, metals, and other compounds make it resistant to a wide range of mechanical and chemical environmental stressors. The widespread presence of melanins in biology, unique properties, and diverse functions implies that the process of melanization possesses a conserved adaptation mechanism to changes in climate, making it significant for the evolution of life on Earth. Black fungi are notorious for inhabiting the most extreme environments on the planet such as Earth poles, desserts, hydrothermal vents, and radioactively polluted areas. In their article “Functions of fungal melanins beyond virulence” Cordero and Casadevall explore the properties of melanin and its function in photoprotection, antioxidants, thermal regulation, energy harvesting, mechanical and chemical protection, metal binding, and cell development.

Dr. Cordero is currently a Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he studies biology and physicochemical properties of fungal melanins in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology under the mentorship of Dr. Arturo Casadevall. Dr. Cordero’s research utilizes a biophysical approach to study how melanization alters fungal biology and protects against environmental stressors associated with climate change (i.e. temperature, radiation, and humidity). By understanding the physicochemical properties of fungal melanins, Dr. Cordero hopes to discover new insights into the ecology of fungi and animals and to exploit melanin’s properties to design new biotechnologies to improve human living, sustainability, and evolution. Along with Dr. Casadevall, he was recently co-awarded the Spark Award from the Bloomberg American Health Initiative to develop bioremediation technologies for sequestration of atmospheric greenhouse gasses. In 2005, he graduated with a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo (UPRA), and he received his M.S. with distinction in Biochemistry and his PhD. in Microbiology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2009 and 2012 respectively. His doctoral research work describes the structure, dynamics, and physicochemical properties of the Cryptococcus neoformans polysaccharide surface to understand its role in human pathogenesis. In 2013, after completing his Ph.D., Dr. Cordero received the Young Talent Attraction Scholarship to continue his research on biophysical microbiology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he studied virulence synergism in a murine co-infection model. While in Brazil, he developed an interest in improving scholarly communication practices, which led him to a new line of research in bibliometric analysis and involvement in Public Health United Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to improving science education and communication for the public. He is also the co-founder of Melatech LLC, an R&D startup specializing in the design and production of melanin-based biomaterials for various technological applications including radioprotection, solar thermal, and energy storage. Through his research on black fungi, Dr. Cordero aspires to combine biophysics, technological innovation, and communication to provide creative solutions to pressing global issues such as climate change.

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 Friday, 16 June 2017 11:41