Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - February 2016


  • Undergraduate Faculty Research Initiative Fellowships
  • ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Upcoming ASM Conferences
  • ASM Microbe 2016
  • 32nd Clinical Virology Symposium


  • Dimensions of Biodiversity
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP)


  • Postdoctoral Research Associate in Stream Microbial Ecology at Loyola University Chicago 
  • Halophiles 2016: The 11th International Meeting on Halophilic Microbes


  • An interview with Sophonie Jean, Robert D. Watkins Fellow 2011-2014


Undergraduate Faculty Research Initiative Fellowships
Early-career (and future) undergraduate STEM educators are encouraged to apply for a 2016 ASM-NSF LINK Undergraduate Faculty Research Initiative (UFRI) Fellowship. This nascent professional development resource trains STEM faculty to develop undergraduate research programs by initiating successful research partnerships. As part of the fellowship, LINK will provide travel subsidies of up to $2,000 to (i) increase participation of undergraduate STEM educators at eight eligible ASM-sponsored research conferences, (ii) encourage networking and collaborations with potential research partners, and (iii) access resources and mentoring to advance undergraduate research programs. Fellowship applications are accepted on a rolling basis for each of the eight conferences. The deadline is April 4 to be considered for a UFRI fellowship for the ASM Microbe 2016 meeting (Boston, MA). To learn more, visit http://www.asmlink.org/ufri.

ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship
Senior-level graduate students are invited to apply for a 2016 ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship. With an aim to increase the number of students from underrepresented minority groups who complete doctoral degrees in the microbial sciences, the Watkins fellowship provides students with support to complete and present their microbiology research. Fellows are allowed to participate in an Education-Board-sponsored professional development program one time during the three-year tenure and,dependent on abstract submission and acceptance,  are supported to present their research at the ASM Microbe Meeting. Apply by May 1. To learn more, visit http://www.asm.org/watkins.

32nd Clinical Virology Symposium
May 19–22, 2016 | Daytona Beach, Florida

Time is running out to submit abstract for this esteemed event. Get yours in today to present your research findings alongside  the foremost leaders in the field!
Abstract submission deadline: March 17, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. ET
Early bird registration deadline: April 7, 2016

ASM Microbe 2016
June 16–20, 2016 | Boston, Massachusetts
Register early and save up to $50! Reserve your seat today at this one-of-a-kind event that brings ASM’s General Meeting and ICAAC under one roof.

Early bird registration deadline: May 5, 2016

Upcoming ASM Conferences

@ASM Conference on The Individual Microbe: Single-cell Analysis and Agent-based Modeling
March 18–20, 2016 | Washington, DC
A highly interactive, exclusive conference held at the ASM headquarters in Washington, DC.  .

13th ASM Conference on Candida and Candidiasis
April 13–17, 2016 | Seattle, Washington
Early bird registration deadline: March 3, 2016

ASM Conference on Streptococcal Genetics
July 31–August 3, 2016 | Washington, DC
Abstract submission opens: February 29, 2016
Abstract submission closes: May 23, 2016
Early bird registration deadline: June 23, 2016

2nd ASM Conference on Experimental Microbial Evolution 
August 4–7, 2016 | Washington, DC

Abstract submission opens: March 3, 2016
Abstract submission closes: May 26, 2016
Early bird registration deadline: June 23, 2016

Save the dates for more 2016 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 among them. While this focus complements several core programs in BIO and GEO, 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.

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 2016.

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 Dimensions@nsf.gov.  Full proposals are due March 17, 2016, and more information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15611/nsf15611.htm.

Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP)
The Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) provides awards to Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native-serving institutions, and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions to promote high quality science (including sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, statistics, and other social and behavioral sciences as well as natural sciences and education disciplines), technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, research, and outreach. Support is available to TCUP-eligible institutions (see the Additional Eligibility subsection of Section IV of this solicitation) for transformative capacity-building projects through Instructional Capacity Excellence in TCUP Institutions (ICE-TI), Targeted STEM Infusion Projects (TSIP), and Preparing for TCUP Implementation (Pre-TI). Collaborations that involve multiple institutions of higher education led by TCUP institutions are supported through PArtnerships for Geoscience Education (PAGE), Partnerships for Documentary Linguistics Education (PADLE), and Pre-Engineering Education Collaboratives Phase II (PEEC-II). Finally, research studies that further the scholarly activity of individual faculty members are supported through Small Grants for Research (SGR) and Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science in Tribal Colleges and Universities (SEA-PHAGES in TCUs). Through the opportunities highlighted above, as well as collaborations with other National Science Foundation (NSF) units and other organizations, TCUP aims to increase Native individuals' participation in STEM careers and the quality of STEM programs at TCUP-eligible institutions. TCUP strongly encourages the inclusion of activities that will benefit veterans.  Full proposals are due April 14, 2016, and more information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16531/nsf16531.htm.



Postdoctoral Research Associate in Stream Microbial Ecology at Loyola University Chicago
Job Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Stream Microbial Ecology
Background: Loyola University Chicago (LUC), College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology invites applications for a full-time postdoctoral associate, with expertise in the area of stream microbial ecology. The position is for one year with the possibility of renewal for a second year based on performance. For more information about the department visit http://www.luc.edu/biology.       

Duties and Responsibilities: The postdoc will work with Dr. John Kelly and Dr. Timothy Hoellein on a funded research project that will seek to quantify and identify sources, sinks, and biological interactions of microplastic particles in the eight major tributaries of Lake Michigan. The project will include extensive fieldwork as well as molecular analysis of plastic-associated bacterial communities.  Minimum Qualifications: Applicants must have a Ph.D. in biology, ecology, microbiology, or a related field, experience with stream ecology fieldwork, and a valid U.S. driver’s license. Under- represented minority candidates and those with prior experience in molecular microbial ecology, bioinformatics analysis of high-throughput sequencing data, and/or geographic information systems are especially encouraged to apply.      

Special Instructions to Applicants: Special Instructions to Applicants: Applicants should apply on-line at http://www.careers.luc.edu and submit a letter of intent, a current Curriculum Vitae, and a brief statement describing their research interests and experience. They also should provide the names and email addresses of three individuals prepared to speak to their professional qualifications for this position. Referees will not be solicited immediately but might be at subsequent points in the review process. For further information, please contact Dr. Kelly (jkelly7@luc.edu).      

The position is available immediately and will remain open until filled. LUC is an Equal Opportunity employer with a strong commitment to hiring for our mission and  diversifying our faculty. As a Jesuit Catholic institution of higher education, we seek candidates who will contribute to our strategic plan to deliver a Transformative Education in the Jesuit tradition. To learn more about LUC’s mission, candidates should consult our website at www.luc.edu/mission/. For information about the university’s focus on transformative education, they should consult our website at http://www.luc.edu/transformativeed.

Halophiles 2016: The 11th International Meeting on Halophilic Microbes
The Halophiles 2016 conference to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from May 22-27, 2016, is pleased to announce Young Investigator Travel Grants sponsored by the National Science Foundation for the participation of U.S. undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.  Recent research on halophilic microbes (Archaea, Bacteria, Eukarya and viruses) will be presented and discussed with topics covering biodiversity, evolution, ecology, physiology, phylogeny, taxonomy, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, genomics and biotechnology. For more details regarding the conference, speakers, abstract submission, and Young Investigator application forms, please visit http://www.halophiles2016.org/


An interview with Sophonie Jean, Robert D. Watkins Fellow 2011-2014
The following interview of Sophonie Jean, Watkins Fellow 2011 – 2014, is adapted and reproduced with permission; its original content is available at http://www.asm.org/index.php/fellowships-2/25-education/students/93392-watkins-testimonials.

Jean Sophonie received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from the University of Richmond. She is receiving her PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Biology, Integrative Life Sciences Program where she studies outer-membrane transporters in Neisseria gonorrhoeae and their role in nutrient acquisition and virulence. Jean is very much interested in the intersection of microbiology research and public health and hopes to pursue a career either in clinical/diagnostic microbiology or surveillance/management of disease outbreaks.

What would you say to those considering applying for the Fellowship?

I would definitely encourage students to apply for the Fellowship! There really is nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if you are not awarded the fellowship on your first try, the experience of completing the application process will only make you more competitive for future application cycles.

What is the most valuable aspect of the Watkins Fellowship?

In addition to the considerable financial support, I have found the most valuable aspect of the Watkins Fellowship to be the incredible access to the ASM Education and Post-doctoral Committee network. Watkins fellows have the opportunity to meet with renowned scientists in smaller gatherings at the General Meeting and at workshops like the Kadner Institute and Scientific Writing and Publishing Institute.


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., 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., ORAU postdoctoral research associate within the Biosciences division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN.

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