Tuesday, 03 October 2017 09:44

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - October


  • Winter Online Courses for Early Career Microbiologists
  • Call for Articles on International Education
  • Comment on Curriculum Guidelines for Microbiology in Nursing
  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
  • 2018 ASM Biothreats
  • 2018 ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
  • ASM Microbe 2018
  • Upcoming ASM Conferences


  • NIAID Transition Program in Clinical Research
  • Postdoctoral Fellow in Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy
  • ASM Career Connections


  • Laura E. Martinez, Ph.D., ASM Microbe Minority Travel Award Winner Scientist Spotlight Feature


Winter Online Courses for Early Career Microbiologists
Mark your calendars! ASM Education will be offering courses in curriculum design and scientific writing and publishing in early 2018. The Curriculum Design course helps prepare educators for positions at teaching-intensive institutions (including minority serving institutions), while the Scientific Writing and Publishing course aids authors in preparing and publishing impactful scientific manuscripts. Both courses are interactive and fully online; registration opens mid-October.

Call for Articles on International Education
The Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) is pleased to announce a call for manuscripts for an International Science Education-themed issue. This special issue will compare and contrast pedagogical approaches on an international scale, exploring topics such as:

  • Design, training, and implementation of culturally-sensitive outreach programs
  • Novel and exciting approaches to teaching abroad, especially those that foster collaborative relationships and multicultural awareness
  • Exploration and assessment of regional trends in education
  • Opportunities to foster education research and improve education globally
  • Open access, readily available electronic resources for resource-limited countries

Research articles, perspective pieces, activities and tools, and reviews of resources related to international science education are welcome. Learn more about submission requirements. To be considered for the issue, all manuscripts must be submitted by April 6, 2018.

Comment on Curriculum Guidelines for Microbiology in Nursing
In early 2017, ASM formed a Task Committee to investigate microbiology in the undergraduate nursing curriculum. To support instructors, the Committee drafted a set of community-driven curriculum guidelines. These guidelines are aligned to both the general ASM Recommended Undergraduate Curriculum Guidelines and the NCLEX-RN test, which all RNs must pass to become licensed. The Committee is now seeking input from microbiology and nursing educators. Provide feedback here.

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
November 1–4, 2017 | Phoenix, AZ
Join one of the largest communities of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at ABRCMS 2017. Register today!

2018 ASM Biothreats
February 12–14, 2018 | Baltimore, MD
With five all-new tracks, the 2018 ASM Biothreats meeting is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas that will shape the future of the important work you do every day. Abstract submission is now open! Share your cutting-edge research and submit today.

2018 ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
Led by biomedical scientists engaged in research as well as primary care physicians and laboratorians involved with patient care, the 2018 ASM Clinical Virology Symposium will provide an unmatched forum for the meaningful exchange of ideas dealing with viral infections. Join us May 6–8, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Florida, for an unparalleled meeting. Stay tuned! Abstract submission will open soon.

ASM Microbe 2018
This unmatched event allows you to explore the full breadth of the microbial sciences, from basic science to translation and application. Featuring eight scientific tracks, ASM Microbe 2018 has something for every microbiologist. Stay tuned! Abstract submission will open in November.

Upcoming ASM Conferences

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

6th ASM Conference on Cell–Cell Communication in Bacteria
October 16–19, 2017 | Athens, GA

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

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


NIAID Transition Program in Clinical Research
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institutes of Health
Department of Health and Human Services

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Transition Program in Clinical Research provides an exceptional opportunity for physicians to gain clinical and translational research experience in the NIAID Division of Intramural Research (DIR). The program aims to increase the pool of well-trained clinical investigators who are competitive for clinical tenure-track positions.

Up to three candidates per year are selected for three- to five-year appointments as assistant clinical investigators. Applicants must have an M.D. or Ph.D., be board-eligible or board certified in a subspecialty (or equivalent), and qualify for credentialing by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. Applicants should identify a DIR lab chief who will agree to host their research. Information about DIR labs and contact information for lab chiefs is available on the DIR website.

Applications are evaluated by a search committee composed of DIR principal investigators with clinical and basic research interests. Competitive candidates will be invited to present their research accomplishments and plans to the search committee.

Participants will receive independent resources and staff and are mentored by an NIAID senior investigator. 

Interested candidates may contact DIR deputy director Dr. Karyl Barron for additional information or assistance in identifying an appropriate host lab. 

To apply for the program, email a curriculum vitae/bibliography, a research program proposal (no more than two pages), and a letter of support from the accepting NIAID lab chief by November 30, 2017 to Ms. Amy Fuse at Amy.fuse@nih.gov. In addition, send three letters of recommendation to the chair, Transition Program in Clinical Research Search Committee, c/o Ms. Amy Fuse by e-mail at Amy.fuse@nih.gov, or by post at 33 North Drive, MSC 3204, Building 33, Room 1N19, Bethesda, MD 20892-1356. Email is preferred. Please note “TPCR Search” when sending materials.

Visit Careers at NIAID for more information about NIAID and additional opportunities.

HHS, NIH, and NIAID are equal opportunity employers.

Postdoctoral Fellow in Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy
A postdoctoral position is available in the Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to work in the laboratory of Dr. Manuel L. Penichet. We are affiliated with the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA. We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow to join our research team working on cancer immunology and immunotherapy, including the development and characterization of new antibodies for the therapy of cancer. We work in the new field of AllergoOncology, which aims to reveal the function of immune responses elicited by antibodies of the IgE class in the context of cancer, and to develop novel IgE-based treatment options against malignant diseases. In addition, we are interested in developing new generations of antibodies of the IgG class and their derivatives, such as antibody fusion proteins, to be used as drug delivery systems and novel anti-proliferative/pro-apoptotic agents against cancer cells. Our projects have a basic science (mechanistic) component and translational potential.

Applicants should hold M.D. degree and/or Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences. Fluency in English and strong written and oral communication skills are pre-requisites; US permanent residency or citizenship is preferred but not required. Interested individuals should send (e-mail) their CV, a brief description of their research experience, a statement of research interests, and a list of three references to:

Manuel L. Penichet, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Surgery, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
10833 Le Conte Ave, CHS 54-117
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Telephone (lab): (310) 825-0457
Telephone (office): (310) 825-1304
Fax: (310) 825-7575
E-mail: penichet@mednet.ucla.edu

ASM Career Connections
Find Your Future at ASM Career Connections. Job highlights this week include faculty positions in pathogenesis and immunology, microbiology lecturer and clinical microbiology director.


Laura E. Martinez, Ph.D.
ASM Microbe Minority Travel Award Winner Scientist Spotlight FeatureLaura Martinez
Dr. Martinez is currently a Postdoctoral Scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, where she studies Zika virus pathobiology under the mentorship of Dr. Arumugaswami. Laura received her Ph.D. in Pathobiology from the University of Washington in 2016 for research conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Nina Salama at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Her doctoral research work describes how the helical cell shape of Helicobacter pylori impacts its motility in purified gastric mucin solutions and survival in a murine stomach infection model. As a doctoral student, Laura actively volunteered in multiple capacities for the Fred Hutch (Hutch United), the UW Graduate Opportunity for Minority Achievement Program, co-chaired the School of Public Health Diversity Committee (2014-2016), and was an active member of the UW Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Chapter, where she mentored underrepresented students in the sciences. Laura was granted a Science Communication Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the Pacific Science Center (2013-2016), which allowed her to develop and display her own scientific activity and review mini-grants and science activity proposals from different national science centers through the Portal to the Public Network. In 2016, Laura received an Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. She was recently selected to participate in the Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute (LPSLI). LPSLI provides premier training for motivated underrepresented minority (URM) scientists, laying the foundation for institutional transformation, in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Research Description

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a major human pathogen spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, and it can be transmitted sexually and vertically from mother to child. Infection with ZIKV during the first or second trimester of pregnancy can cause severe brain and eye disease in the developing fetus. To study how ZIKV induces damage in the developing eye, Dr. Martinez and her colleagues established biologically relevant human ocular cell model systems that represent first (retinal stem cells or RSCs) and second-trimester (fetal retinal pigment epithelial cells or FRPE cells) cells in ocular development. Retinal stem cells build the retina during embryonic development. The RPE is a firmly attached cell layer overlying retinal visual cells, and supports many of the retina’s important metabolic functions. They infected FRPE cells with an Asian genotype ZIKV strain circulating during the 2015-2016 outbreak in the Americas. ZIKV induced gene expression changes in innate immune and inflammatory genes, cell survival pathways, and factors involved in mitochondrial health. RSCs were susceptible to ZIKV infection but to a lesser extent than FRPE cells, which may be explained by the expression of different receptors on the surface of cells. Recent studies using an immunocompromised mouse model system have shown that ZIKV infects and persists in the eyes of mice and is secreted in tears, suggesting that the virus can be spread to others from infected eyes. They used this mouse model system to study ZIKV pathogenesis using an ocular route of infection. Although the virus did infect the eyes and disseminate to other organs, such as the brain, spleen, and testes, eye inoculation did not cause morbidity or mortality in mice. Moreover, infected mice had enlarged spleens suggesting an active adaptive immune response. Together they further developed an ocular immunization platform against ZIKV using a mouse pregnancy model system. They found that ocular inoculation with ZIKV (single or double dose) protects pregnant mothers and their fetuses from subcutaneous challenge with ZIKV.

Their study serves as a resource to the scientific community to further dissect the immuno-pathobiology of ZIKV-mediated eye disease. Their mouse model study suggests that ocular exposure with ZIKV may lead to infection in immunocompromised individuals. Direct ZIKV inoculation in the eye may induce a strong immune response due to specialized eye barriers. This work was completed by Drs. Contreras and Martinez, and Gustavo Garcia Jr., under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Dr. Vaithi Arumugaswami at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (RMI) at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. Other collaborators include Drs. Jones and Wang at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, scientists Gangalapudi and Tang at the Cedars-Sinai Genomics Core, Dr. Wu at Alpine Biotech in San Diego, CA, and Dr. Zhao at the Shiley Eye Institute at UCSD.

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 http://www.asm.org/index.php/subscriptions2, 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 Andrea M. Rocha, Ph.D., Senior Staff Scientist with Geosyntec Consultants in Knoxville, TN the Associate Editor is Thessicar Antoine, Ph.D.

The MMM can post employment ads only if they are first featured on the ASM’s Career Connections site: http://www.asmcareerconnections.org/home/index.cfm?site_id=756. Career Connections is offering a discount for job postings that are featured in the MMM. Please contact CMIIM@asmusa.org with your ad needs.

For more information about the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM) go to the committee’s web page: http://www.asm.org/cmiim


Last modified on Tuesday, 03 October 2017 09:52