Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - December 2016


  • ABRCMS Brings World-Class Science and a Strong Community to Tampa, FL
  • ASM Research Capstone Fellowship Program
  • ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program
  • Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) Announces December Issue
  • Register for the Next ASM M(icro)OOCs Webinar Taking Place on December 14th!
  • 2017 ASM Biothreats: Research, Response and Policy
  • ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
  • ASM Microbe 2017
  • Upcoming ASM Conferences
  • National Cancer Institute’s Graduate Student Recruiting Program (GSRP)


  • Division of Integrative Organismal Systems
  • EAR Postdoctoral Fellowships  (EAR-PF)
  • Optimizing the HIV Care Continuum for Substance Abusing Populations at High-Risk and/or Living with HIV (R01)
  • Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) (U54)
  • Innovations for Healthy Living - Improving Population Health and Eliminating Health Disparities (R43/R44)


  • National Cancer Institute’s Graduate Student Recruiting Program (GSRP)
  • Ph.D. Research Assistantship at the University of Florida


  • Jaime Hernandez-Maldonado, UCSC


ABRCMS Brings World-Class Science and a Strong Community to Tampa, FL
The 16th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) conference took place from November 9-12, 2016. Over 4,000 attendees, the majority of whom were undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students, gathered to present their research; network with one another, faculty, graduate program administrators, and employers; and participate in professional development activities. ABRCMS also included plenary presentations from world-renowned scientists representing a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. Read a recap of the conference on ASM’s Education Blog. We hope to see you next year in Phoenix, AZ from November 1-4, 2017!

ASM Research Capstone Fellowship Program
Community college, undergraduate, and post-baccalaureate students are invited to apply to the 2017 ASM Research Capstone Fellowship Program. The program provides an opportunity for students to enhance presentation and professional development skills by participating in the Microbe Academy for Professional Development held prior to ASM Microbe and present research results at the 2017 ASM Microbe (if abstract is accepted).  Award package is up to $1,500.  Apply by January 20 by clicking here.

ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program
The goal of the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program is to help develop the next generation of future scientists actively pursuing careers in the microbial sciences. The program aims to support highly motivated, promising community college and undergraduate students by funding a summer research experience in the microbial sciences, working with a faculty mentor. Students will (i)conduct full-time research in the summer, (ii) attend the Microbe Academy for Professional Development (MAPD) held prior to ASM Microbe and (iii) present research results at the 2018 ASM Microbe meeting (if abstract is accepted). Community college and undergraduate students (who are not graduating seniors) are invited to apply. Award package is up to $4,000 (stipend) and up to $2,000 (travel).

Apply by February 15 by clicking here.

Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) Announces December Issue
The newest JMBE issue begins with an editorial that presses the education community to keep microbiology as a mandatory component of the nursing curriculum. Within the issue, readers can expect late-breaking abstracts from the 2016 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators, research on student misconceptions, a guide for assessing a CURE, a discussion of ASM’s Science Teaching Fellows course structure and impact, and a vetted statistics module for the classroom. There are over ten innovative, easily-implemented classroom and laboratory activities on topics such as quantitative modeling, using Twitter as a teaching tool, and more. Read the full issue.

Register for the Next ASM M(icro)OOCs Webinar Taking Place on December 14th!
The ASM M(icro)OOCs is a four-part webinar course focused on increasing quantitative biology in undergraduate education. The course is coupled with an online mentoring network, where participants can share and develop curriculum. Each of the four 60-minute webinars will address common issues around teaching quantitative skills and reasoning, ranging from dilutions to graphing to data analysis.

Join our next webinar, Applying Mathematical Modeling: Student-Driven Microbiome Research on Wednesday December 14th at 3:00 PM ET. Participants may join at any time with access to previous recorded sessions in the series. Register here.

2017 ASM Biothreats: Research, Response and Policy
February 6–8, 2017 | Washington, DC
Join the top minds in Biothreats to help prepare for, mitigate, and prevent global microbial threats. Register today to join your peers in government, academia, and industry to discuss a wide-range of biological threats and emerging infectious diseases.

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 and submit an abstract today to present your cutting-edge research and recent discoveries at this leading event.

ASM Microbe 2017
June 1–5, 2017 | New Orleans, LA
This unmatched event showcases the best microbial sciences in the world, and provides a one-of-a-kind forum to explore the complete spectrum of microbiology from basic science to translation and application. Submit an abstract today to present your latest research findings at this unprecedented event.

Upcoming ASM Conferences

ASM Conference on Antibacterial Development
December 11–14, 2016 | Washington, DC

ASM Conference on Mechanisms on Interbacterial Cooperation and Competition
March 1–4, 2017 ǀ Washington, DC
Early bird registration deadline: January 19, 2017
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
bstract submission deadline: January 12, 2017
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
Abstract submission deadline: January 19, 2017
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
Abstract submission deadline: February 21, 2016
Early bird registration deadline: March 23, 2017
Hotel reservation deadline: April 10, 2017

Save the dates for more 2017 ASM Conferences!


Innovations for Healthy Living - Improving Population Health and Eliminating Health Disparities (R43/R44)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites eligible United States small business concerns (SBCs) to submit Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications that propose to develop a product, process or service for commercialization with the aim of reducing disparities in healthcare access and health outcomes and in preventing disease and improving health in one or more NIH-defined health disparity population group(s). Appropriate technologies should be effective, affordable, culturally acceptable, and deliverable to racial/ethnic minorities, low-income and rural populations.   Letters of intent are due January 22, 2017, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-MD-17-001.html.

Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) (U54)
The purpose of the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Program is to expand the national capacity for research in the health sciences by providing cooperative agreement support to institutions that offer doctorate degrees in the health professions or in a health-related science and have a historical and current commitment to  educating underrepresented students, and for institutions that deliver health care services, providing clinical services to medically underserved communities. The primary goals of the RCMI specialized centers are to: (1) enhance institutional research capacity within the areas of basic biomedical, behavioral, and/or clinical research; (2) enable all levels of investigators to become more successful in obtaining competitive extramural support, especially from NIH, particularly on diseases that disproportionately impact minority and other health disparity populations; (3) foster environments conducive to career enhancement with a special emphasis on development of new and early career investigators; (4) enhance the quality of all scientific inquiry and promote research on minority health and health disparities; and (5) establish sustainable relationships with community-based organizations that will partner with the RCMI Institution.  Letters of intent are due February 7, 2017, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-MD-17-003.html.

Optimizing the HIV Care Continuum for Substance Abusing Populations at High-Risk and/or Living with HIV (R01)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages research that examines the optimization of multiple components of the care continuum, such as HIV testing (identification) status, linkage and retention in care, and viral suppression for individuals with HIV for substance abusing populations at high-risk and/or living with HIV. There is limited evidence for how strategies that are successful in targeting one part of the HIV care cascade (linkage to care) can be integrated with interventions for other behaviors (ART adherence, retention in care). Moreover, the need to understand how government policies related to financing and clinical recommendations affect care, along with professional norms and the policies and guidelines established within individual clinics or organized systems of care effect the care continuum and HIV clinical outcomes, are critical. This FOA requires that applications include an examination beyond patient-level outcomes alone to include provider practices, system or organizational capacities, policies, and protocols; and structural issues including national, state/provincial or local policies that affect access to substance use and/or HIV care.   Letters of intent are due April 9, 2017, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DA-17-024.html.

EAR Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF)
The Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) awards Postdoctoral Fellowships to recent recipients of doctoral degrees to carry out an integrated program of independent research and education. The research and education plans of each fellowship must address scientific questions within the scope of EAR disciplines.  The program supports researchers for a period of up to two years with fellowships that can be taken to the institution of their choice (including facilities abroad). The program is intended to recognize beginning investigators of significant potential, and provide them with research experience, mentorship, and training that will establish them in leadership positions in the Earth Sciences community. Because the fellowships are offered only to postdoctoral scientists early in their career, doctoral advisors are encouraged to discuss the availability of EAR postdoctoral fellowships with their graduate students early in their doctoral programs. Fellowships are awards to individuals, not institutions, and are administered by the Fellows.  Full proposals are due January 10, 2017, and more information is available at https://www.nsf.gov/mobile/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503144&org=NSF&from=home.

Division of Integrative Organismal Systems
The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) supports research aimed at understanding why organisms are structured the way they are and function as they do. Proposals should focus on organisms as a fundamental unit of biological organization. Principal Investigators (PIs) are encouraged to apply systems approaches that will lead to conceptual and theoretical insights and predictions about emergent organismal properties. Areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, developmental biology and the evolution of developmental processes, nervous system development, structure, and function, physiological processes, functional morphology, symbioses, interactions of organisms with biotic and abiotic environments, and animal behavior.  Proposals are welcomed in all of the core scientific program areas supported by the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems. All investigator-initiated proposals submitted to this solicitation must be invited based on merit review of preliminary proposals. There is a single submission deadline with a limit of 2 preliminary proposals per investigator per year as PI or Co-PI in response to this solicitation. Please see the PAPPG for definition of roles for PI and Co-PI. The PI/Co-PI limits apply only to the preliminary proposals submitted to this solicitation and do not pertain to proposals submitted in response to other IOS or NSF solicitations.  Preliminary proposals are due January 19, 2017, and more information is available at https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17508/nsf17508.htm.


National Cancer Institute’s Graduate Student Recruiting Program (GSRP)
The National Cancer Institute is committed to fostering a diverse community of scientists and expanding the representation among its trainees.  The GSRP was instituted by the Center for Cancer Training and its Intramural Diversity Workforce Branch to recruit postdoctoral fellows to complete their training at NCI. 

The Graduate Student Recruiting Program is a competitive program that aims to facilitate senior graduate students obtaining postdoc positions at NCI.  The top 25 applicants are invited to NCI, and over the course of three days the attendees will learn about the research program & training opportunities, present their work at poster sessions, and interview with principal investigators (scheduled prior to arriving at the NIH).  This program provides an advantage to graduate students because applicants are reviewed by NCI investigators looking to fill open positions and view GSRP as a source for qualified candidates.  In addition, the poster sessions provide an excellent opportunity for networking and fostering collaborations with NCI investigators.  In order to be eligible, you must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program in the United States and on schedule to complete your PhD requirements by December 1, 2017.  The GSRP is open to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.  Please visit here for more information about the program.  If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the GSRP Coordinator at ncigsrp@mail.nih.gov.

Ph.D. Research Assistantship at the University of Florida
A Ph.D. Research Assistantship is available in the Soil Microbiology Lab (Soil and Water Sciences department) at the University of Florida/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) in Immokalee, FL. Research will focus on examining the interactions of the soil microbial community with agricultural production and crop health.  This includes topics such as development and influence of rhizosphere microbial communities, and the effect of biostimulant amendments on the soil microbial community composition and function. The candidate is expected to work in the laboratory as well as in  the greenhouse and field. Field and greenhouse work will involve periods of working under hot and humid conditions. The research focus will be on citrus production, but may also include vegetable production systems. Laboratory experimentation will include metagenomics methods and analyses. There will also be opportunities to develop extension experience by providing results to stakeholders.  A Master’s degree in soil science, microbiology, plant biology, or a related discipline from an accredited institution and experience in microbial ecology, next-generation sequencing, and/or bioinformatics is preferred. Successful candidates will have a desire to serve the agricultural industry.  The SWFREC is located in the in the heart of citrus and vegetable production in Florida and provides a unique opportunity to combine scientific research with the needs of the industry. Visit the SWFREC webpage for additional information.  Interested candidates should contact Dr. Sarah Strauss for additional information. Complete application packets are due Feb. 1, 2017. Application details are on-line.


Jaime Hernandez-Maldonado, UCSC
Jaime Hernandez-Maldonado is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC).  He received his B.S. in Molecular Cell Developmental Biology from UCSC.  During his undergraduate studies, he was awarded fellowships through the National Institute of Health (NIH), Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) and California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) through the National Science Foundation (NSF). As an undergraduate student, Jaime worked in Dr. Manel Camps’ laboratory on a cancer chemotherapeutic project.  Jaime investigated the effects of mutations on the activity of a certain DNA repair protein, ABH2, with the goal to improve its ability to repair DNA damaged caused by chemotherapeutic agents.  Jaime’s contributions led to two co-authored publications “Random mutagenesis by error-prone Pol I plasmid replication in Escherichia coli” and “The mutagenic footprint of low-fidelity Pol I ColE1 plasmid replication in E. coli reveals an extensive interplay between Pol I and Pol III”.  As a PhD student at UCSC, Jaime was awarded multiple fellowships such as the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD), and the Research Mentoring Institute (RMI) fellowship.  Additionally, this academic year (2016-17) he was awarded the UCSC Dissertation Year Fellowship.  Currently, Jaime’s research interests are to study the interactions of microbes with toxic metals such as arsenic.  Arsenic is most known as a notorious toxin for mammalian cells.  Conversely, certain bacteria are known to thrive in arsenic rich environments by coupling oxidation-reduction of arsenic to cellular energy production.

For his thesis project, Jaime is working to understand the molecular hardware of photosynthetic arsenic “eating” bacteria and investigating their microbial ecology in arsenic contaminated environments.  Photosynthetic arsenic metabolism was first observed in red-pigmented microbial mats within arsenic containing hot pools of Paoha Island located in Mono Lake California.  The discovery of light-driven arsenic transformations by microbes adds a new layer of complexity to the arsenic biogeochemical cycle. These earlier findings have sparked his interest to address the question how microbes use solar energy to power anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation (“photoarsenotrophy”).  This was challenging to address because there were no genetic models to study this metabolism.  However, Jaime was successful in developing the first bacterial genetic system to study this pathway by working with a photoarsenotroph isolated from a hypersaline alkaline lake in Nevada.  His genetic studies in addition to the genome sequence for this model organism were recently published in Environmental Microbiology Journal “The genetic basis of anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation” (DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13509) and ASM Genome Announcements (DOI:10.1128/genomeA.01139-16), respectively.  In his work he identified the genes responsible for light-dependent arsenite oxidation in purple sulfur bacteria.  Jaime and collaborators referred to this gene cluster as arxB2AB1CD and determined that they are essential for photoarsenotrophy.  Jaime is keenly interested in intergrading his genetic studies to understand environmental impacts of arsenic-transforming microbes in the environment.  As an example, he has worked in collaboration with several research groups from the US Geological Survey to demonstrate in situ arxA gene expression within the hot pools of Paoha Island, which are dominated by photosynthetic purple sulfur bacteria.  His research has important implications in understanding public health issues associated with arsenic in drinking water supplies such as in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, Argentina, Mexico and Chile.  Lastly, anoxygenic photosynthesis with arsenite could be an ancient form of phototrophy.  Hence, Jaime’s studies may lead to novel insights on the evolution of early forms of anoxygenic photosynthesis.



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 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