Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - April 2014


  • Call for Comments: Microbiology Learning Objectives
  • Volunteer Career Advisers Needed at asm2014: Last Call!
  • IDP at asm2014: How an Individual Development Plan (IDP) Can Help YOU!
  • ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship
  • ASM Kadner Institute
  • ASM Press: New Title
  • 30th Annual Clinical Virology Symposium
  • asm2014: 114th General Meeting
  • 1st ASM Conference on Experimental Microbial Evolution
  • 5th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes
  • ICAAC 2014 (54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy)
  • Recognize Excellence with ASM Awards
  • American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (ABMLI) Certification


  • Catalyzing New International Collaborations (CNIC)
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites and Supplements
  • Avenir Award Program for Research on Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS (DP2)
  • Modeling Immunity for Biodefense (U19)
  • Partnerships for Diagnostics to Address Antimicrobial Resistance of Select Bacterial Pathogens (R01)


  • The American Association of Immunologists, Assistant Science Coordinator
  • FDA Summer Internships Available


  • Julian G. Hurdle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX



Call for Comments: Microbiology Learning Objectives
If you are involved in undergraduate microbiology education, a few moments of your time can help shape the future of the discipline. In 2010 ASM published a collection of curriculum guidelines for introductory microbiology courses (http://www.asm.org/index.php/guidelines/curriculum-guidelines). To improve and expand the collection, ASM is asking for your thoughts on a sampling of learning objectives mapped to core themes and fundamental statements identified in the guidelines. To share your comments, download ASM General Microbiology Learning Objectives: a Working Document from the link above and complete the feedback form before May 1.

Volunteer Career Advisers Needed at asm2014: Last Call!
Heading to Boston for asm2014? Microbiologists from public health, industry, government, nonprofits, community colleges, clinical and state labs, patent law, science policy and communications, etc., are needed to offer career advice on Saturday, May 17, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Share insights about your work – responsibilities, expectations, colleagues, salary, getting started, and advancement – in interactive, roundtable discussions with 10 to 12 students. To be an adviser, please complete the participation form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1YvNBHdsyI8p-8t2Xvc9KsXFLHeRfSVymm8ZG37wdnzU/viewform.

IDP at asm2014: How an Individual Development Plan (IDP) Can Help YOU!
Trainees in the biomedical sciences who create and follow a written plan are more likely to achieve their research and career goals. An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an important tool for all researchers can use to reach their own goals. Attendees of the asm2014 are encouraged to learn more about the tool during the session “Achieving Your Scientific and Career Goals: How an Individual Development Plan (IDP) Can Help YOU!” In this session, you will learn about the components of an IDP, view a sample IDP, hear about how some research institutions and mentors are using IDPs, and discover resources available to you to create your own. By going through the IDP process, you will be able to explore career options more fully and consider those that are the best fit for your skills, values, and interests. The session takes place Monday, May 19, from 4:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., in Meeting Room 252A in the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship
Senior-level graduate students are invited to apply for 2014 ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowships. With an aim to increase the number of students from underrepresented minority groups who complete doctoral degrees in the microbiological sciences, the Watkins fellowship provides students with support to complete and present their microbiology research. Fellows attend the ASM Kadner Institute for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scientists in Preparation for Careers in Microbiology (see below) or the ASM Scientific Writing and Publishing Institute (http://www.asmgap.org/swpi) and, dependent on abstract submission and acceptance, are supported to present their research at the ASM General Meeting. Apply by May 1. To learn more, visit http://www.asm.org/watkins.

ASM Kadner Institute
Senior-level graduate students and early-career postdoctoral scientists are invited to apply for the 2014 ASM Kadner Institute for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scientists in Preparation for Careers in Microbiology. Sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the institute will be held in San Jose, Calif., on July 19-23. Participants receive careful guidance and mentoring in key topics important for succeeding in the microbiological sciences: (i) career preparation and opportunities; (ii) preparation, review, and critique of research proposals; (iii) scientific presentations and communication; (iv) effective teaching methods; and (v) professional ethics development. Apply by May 30. To learn more, visit http://www.asmgap.org/kadner.

ASM Press: New Title

Cheese and MicrobesNEW!
Catherine W. Donnelly, University of Vermont

Explore cheese from its early discovery to the complex interaction between cultures and milk to why stinky cheeses smell to the aging process…all governed by microbes. Whether you are a cheese lover, a scientist, or both, the book is a remarkable resource to understand this delicious transformation.

Jeff Roberts, Owner/President, Cow Creek Creative Ventures; Adjunct Faculty, New England Culinary Institute; and Visiting Faculty, University of Gastronomic Sciences

Cheese and Microbes:

  • Explains the transformation of milk to cheese and how sensory attributes of cheese are evaluated.
  • Discusses the regulations governing cheese making, both in the United States and abroad, that ensure safety.
  • Explores how the tools of molecular biology provide new insights into the microbial complexity of cheeses.
  • Examines the biodiversity of traditional cheeses as a result of traditional practices.
  • Presents research on the stability of the microbial consortia of select traditional cheese varieties.

Recommended for cheese makers, scientists, students, and cheese enthusiasts who wish to expand their knowledge of cheeses and traditional foods.

List Price: $150.00
ASM Member Price: $120.00
April 2014. Hardcover, 350 pages.

Print ISBN: 978-1-55581-586-8
eISBN: 978-1-55581-859-3

To purchase this title and more visit http://www.asmscience.org.


When you buy books directly through ASM Press, you support the society that supports the science of microbiology.

30th Annual Clinical Virology Symposium
April 27-30, 2014 | Daytona Beach, Florida
Can’t attend? Purchase the Clinical Virology Symposium On Demand and watch 16 hours of presentations from this year’s event. Stay tuned to the website for details.

asm2014: 114th General Meeting
May 17-20, 2014 | Boston, Massachusetts

  • Discounted Pre-Registration Deadline – April 7, 2014

1st ASM Conference on Experimental Microbial Evolution
June 19–22, 2014 | Washington, DC

  • Abstract Submission Deadline – April 7, 2014
  • Travel Grants – 20 travel grants of $500 each are available for predoctoral student and postdoc abstract submitters within one year of earning the doctoral degree.

5th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes
September 27 – 30, 2014 Washington, DC

  • Abstract Submission and Registration opens – April 23, 2014

ICAAC 2014 (54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy)
September 5-9, 2014 | Washington, DC

Recognize Excellence with ASM Awards
Your help is needed in identifying and nominating distinguished scientists for the asm2015 Awards. This is your chance to honor those who have greatly contributed to the field of microbiology. Two particular awards of interest are the EMD Millipore Alice C. Evans Award and the William A. Hinton Research Training Award.

The EMD Millipore Alice C. Evans Award honors a member of ASM for major contributions toward the full participation and advancement of women in microbiology.  This award was established by the ASM's Committee on the Status of Women in Microbiology, and is given in memory of Alice C. Evans, the first woman to be elected ASM President in 1928.

The William A. Hinton Research Training Award honors those who have contributed to the research training of undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, or health professional students and whose efforts have led to the increased participation of underrepresented minorities in microbiology.  This award is given in memory of William A. Hinton, a physician-research scientist and one of the first African-Americans to join the American Society for Microbiology.

The nomination forms and more information regarding eligibility, the nomination process, and other ASM Awards can be found at http://bit.ly/1g83zNP.

Nominations are due July 1.

American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (ABMLI) Certification
ABMLI certification confirms you have the knowledge and skills necessary to direct a laboratory engaged in the immunological diagnosis of human disease. As the highest doctoral-level credential available to practicing medical laboratory immunologists,  ABMLI certification provides a competitive advantage when applying for jobs and the other candidates have similar education and professional experience. The ABMLI is recognized by federal and state governmental agencies as a significant component toward meeting licensure requirements for high complexity laboratory directors and is recognized under the final rule of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA ‘88).

ABMLI certification is achieved by meeting rigorous educational and experiential eligibility requirements and passing an online multiple-choice exam that is offered daily in the month of August at testing centers worldwide.

Visit http://bit.ly/1gUJBaC to learn more and apply online.



Catalyzing New International Collaborations (CNIC)
The CNIC program will support US researchers' participation in activities intended to catalyze new international collaborations designed to open up new scientific directions for the proposer. These include, but are not limited to: research planning visits, initial data gathering activities, proof-of-concept, single or multiple visits within a maximum 12-month time period to plan a new international research collaboration, or exploratory workshops designed to bring together US and non-US-based researchers representing several institutions and focused on a topic specified in the Project Description. Generally, CNIC-supported workshops will include between 10-25 individuals, of whom roughly half will be from the US, and are usually expected to take place abroad. However, in special circumstances, they may take place within the US if they include substantial international participation and are held for the purpose of establishing new international collaborations. Full proposals are due April 22, 2014, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13605/nsf13605.htm.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites and Supplements
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. This solicitation features two mechanisms for support of student research: (1) REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department or may offer interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Proposals with an international dimension are welcome. (2) REU Supplements may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects. Undergraduate student participants in either REU Sites or REU Supplements must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. Students do not apply to NSF to participate in REU activities. Students apply directly to REU Sites or to NSF-funded investigators who receive REU Supplements. To identify appropriate REU Sites, students should consult the directory of active REU Sites on the Web at http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.cfm. Full proposals are due May 23, 2014.

Avenir Award Program for Research on Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS (DP2)
Avenir means future in French, and this award looks toward the future by supporting early stage investigators proposing highly innovative studies. The award will support those in an early stage of their career who may lack the preliminary data required for an R01 grant, but who propose high impact research and who show promise of being tomorrow's leaders in the field. NIDA has developed two Avenir Award Programs, one for HIV/AIDS research and the other for genetics or epigenetics studies. The Avenir Award Program for Research on Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS will support creative individuals who wish to pursue innovative research at the nexus of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. The Avenir Award Program for Research on Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS will support research approaches for substance using populations with or at risk for HIV/AIDS that may lead to improved preventive interventions, improved therapies and/or long term retention in care, and ultimately, eradication of HIV. Full proposals are due November 12, 2014, and more information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DA-15-007.html.

Modeling Immunity for Biodefense (U19)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicits applications from single institutions, or consortia of institutions, to participate in a network of research groups developing computational models of immunity to infectious diseases other than HIV/AIDS. Applications are sought to develop, refine and validate computational models of immune responses (1) during or following infection, and/or (2) before and after vaccination against an infectious disease, through an iterative approach involving computational studies and immunological experimentation. The main goal of this FOA is to advance our understanding of the complex immune mechanisms triggered by infection and/or vaccination through the development and application of computational models of immunity, coupled with immunological experimentation to validate and improve the utility and robustness of the computational models. Another goal of this FOA is to make the computational models and data developed under this initiative readily available to the broader research community for further refinement or direct use in biological experimentation. This program will also support pilot projects, workshops, and symposia to foster the use of computational models of immunity by the broader research community. Full proposals are due July 18, 2014, and more information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-14-028.html.

Partnerships for Diagnostics to Address Antimicrobial Resistance of Select Bacterial Pathogens (R01)
The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit research applications for projects focused on development and/or production of diagnostics that will enable rapid, sensitive, specific, culture-independent detection of high-priority antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. This FOA is focused on select healthcare-associated bacteria where resistance compromises effective treatment, including: Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter species and extra-intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli. Applications must include a Product Development Strategy and demonstrate substantive participation by at least one industrial participant. Letters of intent are due May 19, 2014, and more information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-14-019.html.



The American Association of Immunologists, Assistant Science Coordinator
The American Association of Immunologists (AAI), a professional biomedical association, seeks a scientist to assist primarily with the peer review and editorial process for a major scientific journal, and also provide scientific expertise for relevant society activities. Duties include writing assignments. Some travel required. Advanced degree (Ph.D., or related) in biological sciences with at least 3 years post-doctoral experience; fluency in immunology required, including research and publications. Must have excellent writing and computer skills. Competitive salary, outstanding benefits & free parking. Send cover letter, resume, writing sample, and salary history to FASEB/AAI, Human Resources, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814 or e-mail: resumes@faseb.org. EOE. http://www.aai.org

FDA Summer Internships Available
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory Dauphin Island, AL Three positions are currently available for 10- to 12- week internships supporting research at the FDA Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory (GCSL)/Division of Seafood Science and Technology, Dauphin Island, AL. This Division is within the Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). The participants will assist senior scientists in planning and conducting studies and related activities in support of the FDA’s mission. Responsibilities will include laboratory science in microbiology, molecular biology and/or chemical analysis, such as conventional microbiological analyses, real-time PCR, reverse transcription- PCR, and whole genome sequencing of pathogenic bacteria or viruses. The projects will require a practical knowledge of the basic theories and practices of the scientific area supported as well as some resourcefulness, initiative, and independent judgment. The ideal applicant will have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s level degree program. Applicants with a Doctorate’s degree will not be considered. Research will be performed in the development and application of microbiological and molecular assays to address the occurrence of hazards in seafood. Three projects will be supported by awardees of the internships: (1) investigation into the relationship between histamine formation (the main causative agent in scombrotoxin fish poisoning) and histamine-producing bacteria using rapid molecular based methods, (2) determination of variability in norovirus concentrations between individual oysters, and (3) identification of the Vibrio parahaemolyticus O4:K12 outbreak strain from environmental samples from the northeastern US. Applications will be accepted until April 11, 2014 for the internships starting in mid- to late- May, 2014. Start and end dates are flexible. To apply, please send CV/resume and two letters of reference to Dr. William Burkhardt (William.Burkhardt@fda.hhs.gov). If you are selected for the internship, college transcripts (official or unofficial) and proof of health insurance will be required. Stipend: $450/ week + relocation assistance (up to $250).



Julian G. Hurdle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Clostridium difficile, a spore forming Gram-positive anaerobe,is the leading cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea in developed countries. Each year in the United States alone, there are more than 400, 000 cases of C. difficile infection resulting in about14, 000 deaths. Besides few treatment options, a key problem in treating CDI is the high rates of recurrence following initial treatment with vancomycin and metronidazole. To address the need for new treatment approaches, Hurdle and colleagues reasoned that plant-derived phytochemicals could play a role. Plants have a long history of use in traditional medicine and have been used as treatments for diarrhea, but their phytochemicals are clinically underexploited as antibacterials. These include flavonoids that are part of a large family of polyphenolic compounds. In a study published in J Appl Microbiol. 2014 Jan;116(1):23-31, Wu et al. examined the anti-C. difficile properties of naturally occuring and synthetic flavonoids. Their results showed that several natural occurring flavonoids lacked anti-C. difficile activity or failed to inhibit the production of its toxins (TcdA/TcdB) and spores. In contrast olympicin A, an acylphloroglucinol phytochemical with some structural features to flavonoids was active and inspired the discovery of chemically modified flavonoids in collaboration with Dr. Dianqing Sun at University of Hawaii at Hilo. The modified flavonoids were potent, killing stationary phase C. difficile and reducing the production of toxins and spores. These results suggest that whilst naturally occurring flavonoids lacked activity, their chemical modified analogs could serve as starting points to derive more potent anti-C. difficile agents. The potency of these compounds was due to dissipation of the bacterial membrane potential, which the Hurdle lab has shown is a prime target site for the killing of toxin-producing stationary phase C. difficile (J Antimicrob Chemother. 2013 Apr;68(4):806-15).

Julian Hurdle is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), where his laboratory adopts an inter-disciplinary approach to address the problem of antibiotic resistance. He earned his PhD from the University of Leeds, UK, in Dr. Ian Chopra’s laboratory, where his work focused on mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and associated microbial fitness costs in MRSA. After his PhD he carried out research fellowships under the mentorship of Dr. Richard E. Lee at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and St Jude Children's Research Hospital, both in Memphis, Tennessee. During this period, he examined the mode of action and antimicrobial properties of early stage antibacterial agents, such as spectinamides which are anti-tuberculosis drug candidates. In September 2010, he joined the University of Texas at Arlington, where his laboratory seeks to address treatment needs and mend knowledge gaps for C. difficile, through in vitro and in vivo characterization of new agents, evaluation of potential drug targets and probing of resistance mechanisms. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. His work is funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.


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://asm.org/index.php/component/content/article/31-forms/forms/238-subscribe-to-listserv, 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., Associate Professor in the Quinnipiac University Department of Biomedical Sciences in Hamden, CT.  The Minority Microbiology Mentor Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Floyd L. Wormley Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Associate Editor is Crystal N. Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.

If you are interested in placing an ad in the MMM, please send the copy to CMIIM@asmusa.org by the first of the month.