Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - July 2014


  • ASM-NSF LINK Mentoring Mondays
  • ASM Entrepreneurship Workshop
  • ABRCMS 2014
  • ASM Science Teaching Fellowship Program
  • ASM Press: Revised, Best-Selling Textbook, Just in Time for the Fall Semester Scientific Integrity, Fourth Edition
  • ICAAC 2014 (54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy)
  • ASM Conferences


  • ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers
  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program
  • Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR)
  • International Research Experiences for Students (IRES)
  • Methods Development in Natural Products Chemistry (STTR) (R41)
  • Innovative Approaches for the Identification of Mitochondria-Cell Signaling Networks in Response to Environmental Stress
  • Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program (P42)
  • Interventions for Health Promotion and Disease prevention in Native American Populations (R01)


  • Postdoctoral Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA), Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Position Announcement: Instructor, Department of Microbiology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Postdoc at University of Guelph
  • Postdoctoral positions in Plant Pathology, Ecology and Metagenomics in agricultural soils Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada)


  • Maria E. Cardenas, Ph.D., Research Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.



ASM-NSF LINK Mentoring Mondays
The ASM-NSF Leaders Inspiring Networks and Knowledge (LINK) initiative is recruiting participants for a new mentoring program, ASM-NSF LINK Mentoring Mondays. Created as a blended professional development series, Mentoring Mondays combines webinars, discussion forums, and workshops for all-encompassing mentor training. The program is specifically designed for research investigators and educators interested in incorporating mentoring into their research programs. Topics will include establishing beneficial mentoring relationships, implementing effective mentoring strategies to enhance research, and expanding research teams through mentoring. At the culmination of the webinars, select participants who desire advanced mentoring partnerships will be invited to a two-day, onsite-facilitated workshop held in conjunction with the 2014 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). Registration for Mentoring Mondays is free, and space will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees can sign up for one or all offerings. Learn more at http://www.asmlink.org/mentoringmondays.

ASM Entrepreneurship Workshop
In fall 2014, ASM will debut “Turning Your Science into a Company,” a workshop about launching scientific businesses. Planned for September 26-27 in Washington, D.C., the workshop targets advanced graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career scientists and will feature valuable insider secrets, along with practical tips, advice, and resources, from highly successful principals of leading start-up and small companies. Session leaders – Jeffrey F. Miller, Crystal R. Icenhour, and more – will use examples from the biotechnology industry to focus on the fundamentals of establishing a scientific business. Turning Your Science into a Company is sponsored by the ASM Committee on Graduate and Postdoctoral Education. Workshop availability is by application only, and the deadline for applications is August 17. For more information, visit http://www.asmgap.org/index.php/tsc.

Exhibitor and attendee registration, abstract submissions, and travel award submissions are open for the 2014 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), set for 12-15 November in San Antonio, Tex. At ABRCMS, distinguished speakers will share insights on hot topics, and attendees will benefit from workshops, presentations, professional development opportunities, networking, and more. Students (undergraduate sophomore through postbaccalaureate and graduate levels) are invited to submit abstracts, and travel awards are available to postdoctoral scientists, faculty members, and active researchers who serve as first-time ABRCMS onsite presentation judges and to investigators seeking to identify and connect with faculty instrumental in student learning in undergraduate biology. Deadlines are September 5 for abstract submissions and the ABRCMS Travel Award, September 26 for the ABRCMS Judges' Travel Subsidy, and October 3 for the FASEB MARC Program Travel Award and ABRCMS-LINK Travel Award. For more information, visit http://www.abrcms.org. ABRCMS is sponsored by NIH award number T36GM073777.

ASM Science Teaching Fellowship Program
Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career scientists are encouraged to apply for the 2014-2015 ASM Science Teaching Fellowship Program, a four-month online training experience that guides doctoral-trained participants in understanding the essentials of science teaching positions at non-doctoral institutions (community colleges, minority-serving institutions, regional or state colleges, and primary undergraduate institutions). Program activities combine structured mentoring with in-depth webinars, pre- and post-webinar assignments, and a highly interactive community of practice, all focused on four areas: teaching science to undergraduates, curriculum and course design and assessment, student-centered learning, and students as research collaborators. To join the program, apply by September 12. For details, see http://www.facultyprograms.org/index.php/stf-program.

ASM Press: Revised, Best-Selling Textbook, Just in Time for the Fall Semester
Scientific Integrity, Fourth Edition
Francis L. Macrina, Virginia Commonwealth University

Scientific Integrity covers the breadth of concerns faced by scientists: protection of animal and human experimental subjects, scientific publication, intellectual property, conflict of interest, collaboration, record keeping, mentoring, and the social and ethical responsibilities of scientists. Learning activities and resources designed to elucidate the principles of scientific integrity include

  • Dozens of highly relevant, interactive case studies for discussion in class or online
  • Supported by a companion website that allows ready access to relevant online content
  • Numerous print and online resources covering the newest research guidelines, regulations, mandates and policies
  • Discussion questions, role-playing exercises, and survey tools to promote critical thought
  • Documents including published rules of conduct, sample experimentation protocols, and patent applications

The new edition of Scientific Integrity responds to significant recent changes, new mandates, policies, laws, and other developments, in the field of responsible conduct of research. Dr. Macrina plants the seeds of awareness of existing, changing, and emerging standards in scientific conduct and provides the tools to promote critical thinking in the use of that information.

“Scientific Integrity should be on the bookshelf of the entire research community. With the ever-growing ability of science to positively impact society, education in the responsible conduct of research is increasingly important for all members of the community, from students through faculty, staff, and administrators, ” Timothy Donohue, Professor of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Director, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

List and ASM Member Price: $65
2014. 568 pages, illustrations, index.
Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-55581-661-2) or
eBook (ISBN: 978-1-55581-848-7)

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

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

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

Late-Breaker Abstract Submission Deadline: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (11:59 p.m. EDT)
Discounted Registration Deadline: July 24, 2014

ASM Conferences

5th ASM Conference on Beneficial Microbes
September 27 - 30, 2014 | Washington, DC
July 14, 2014 | Abstract Submission Deadline
August 20, 2014 | Discounted Pre-Registration Deadline

5th ASM Conference on Cell-Cell Communication in Bacteria
October 18 – 21, 2014, San Antonio, Texas
Abstract Submission Deadline: August 4, 2014

Discounted Registration Deadline: September 10, 2014

Travel grants are available for undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs. Travel grants are tied to abstract submission and applicants will be prompted during the online abstract submission process to apply.

For more information on conferences go to: http://www.asm.org/conferences


ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers
The goals of the ADVANCE program are (1) to develop systemic approaches to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic STEM careers; (2) to develop innovative and sustainable ways to promote gender equity in the STEM academic workforce; and (3) to contribute to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. ADVANCE also has as its goal to contribute to and inform the general knowledge base on gender equity in the academic STEM disciplines. There are three tracks with distinct purposes. The Institutional Transformation (IT) track is meant to produce large-scale comprehensive change and serve as a locus for research on gender equity and institutional transformation for academic STEM. The Institutional Transformation Catalyst (IT Catalyst) track is meant either to conduct self-assessment or to implement unique strategies – either adapted from those found effective in the IT track or ones designed to be responsive to the unique environments of eligible institutions – and evaluate their effectiveness. The Partnerships for Learning and Adaptation Networks (PLAN) track is meant to provide a larger scale environment for adapting, implementing and creating knowledge about the effectiveness of a particular strategy for change within a context of networked adaptation and learning. PLAN is focused on adaptation/implementation and learning either in particular STEM disciplines (PLAN D) or across institutions of higher education (PLAN IHE). Letters of intent are due August 11, 2014, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14573/nsf14573.htm.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program
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 junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from junior faculty members 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 the sponsoring organization or agency, 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 who are 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 July 21, 2014, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14532/nsf14532.htm.

Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR)
The Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR) Program provides funds: 1) for improvements to secure, improve, and organize collections that are significant to the NSF BIO-funded research community; 2) to secure collections-related data for sustained, accurate, and efficient accessibility of the collection to the biological research community; and 3) to transfer collection ownership responsibilities.

The CSBR program provides for enhancements that secure and improve existing collections, result in accessible digitized specimen-related data, and develop better methods for specimen curation and collection management. Requests should demonstrate a clear and urgent need to secure the collection, and the proposed activities should address that need. Biological collections supported include established living stock/culture collections, vouchered non-living natural history collections, and jointly-curated ancillary collections such as preserved tissues and DNA libraries. Full proposals are due August 11, 2014, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14564/nsf14564.htm.

International Research Experiences for Students (IRES)
The International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program supports development of globally-engaged U.S. science and engineering students capable of performing in an international research environment at the forefront of science and engineering. The IRES program supports active research participation by students enrolled as undergraduates or graduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. IRES projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the IRES program. Full proposals are due August 19, 2014, and more information is available at http://nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12551/nsf12551.htm.

Methods Development in Natural Products Chemistry (STTR) (R41)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicits Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) to address problems associated with the methods of collection, bioassay, isolation, purification, de-replication, yield, and supply that hamper the full utilization of natural products. Letters of intent are due August 10, 2014, and more information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AT-15-002.html.

Innovative Approaches for the Identification of Mitochondria-Cell Signaling Networks in Response to Environmental Stress
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) supports the development of technologies and experimental models to more precisely track signaling between the mitochondria and other cellular processes under environmental stress conditions, including mitochondrial-nuclear signaling with respect to epigenetic regulation, DNA damage response, or response to oxidative stress. This FOA uses the R21/R33 Phased Innovation Award mechanism to develop new technologies and experimental models to elucidate mitochondrial-cell signaling. Technologies developed in the R21 phase may include more sensitive reagents for detection of specific reactive oxygen or nitrogen species, enhanced approaches for metabolic flux analysis, and expanded in vitro or experimental models for identifying alterations in signaling pathways in response to environmental stressors. Successful completion of milestones outlined in the R21 phase will enable investigators to be considered for the R33 phase to conduct additional pilot testing and validation of these technologies using environmental stressors to probe bidirectional communication resulting in either altered cellular programming or mitochondrial function or both. Letters of intent are due August 15, 2014, and more information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-ES-14-006.html.

Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program (P42)
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is announcing the continuation of the Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program, referred to as Superfund Research Program (SRP) Centers. SRP Center grants will support problem-based, solution-oriented research Centers that consist of multiple, integrated projects representing both the biomedical and environmental science and engineering disciplines; as well as cores tasked with administrative, community engagement, research translation, training, and research support functions. The scope of the SRP Centers is taken directly from the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, and includes: (1) advanced techniques for the detection, assessment, and evaluation of the effect on human health of hazardous substances; (2) methods to assess the risks to human health presented by hazardous substances; (3) methods and technologies to detect hazardous substances in the environment; and (4) basic biological, chemical, and physical methods to reduce the amount and toxicity of hazardous substances. Letters of intent are due August 3, 2014, and more information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-ES-14-007.html.

Interventions for Health Promotion and Disease prevention in Native American Populations (R01)
The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to develop, adapt, and test the effectiveness of health promotion and disease prevention interventions in Native American (NA) populations. NA populations are exposed to considerable risk factors that significantly increase their likelihood of chronic disease, substance abuse, mental illness, oral diseases, and HIV-infection. The intervention program should be culturally appropriate and promote the adoption of healthy lifestyles, improve behaviors and social conditions and/or improve environmental conditions related to chronic diseases, the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, mental illness, oral disease, or HIV-infection. The intervention program should be designed so that it could be sustained within the entire community within existing resources, and, if successful, disseminated in other Native American communities. The long-term goal of this FOA is to reduce mortality and morbidity in NA communities. For the purposes of this FOA Native Americans include the following populations: Alaska Native, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian. The term ‘Native Hawaiian’ means any individual any of whose ancestors were natives, prior to 1778, of the area which now comprises the State of Hawaii. Letters of intent are due April 12, 2015, and more information is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-14-260.html.


Postdoctoral Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA), Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
With nationwide responsibility for improving health and well-being, the Department of Health and Human Services oversees the biomedical research programs of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and those of NIH’s research Institutes. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a major research component of NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services, is recruiting for the following position:

Postdoctoral intramural research training award (IRTA)
Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), Hamilton, MT

Postdoctoral IRTA position is available in the Virus Ecology Unit within the Laboratory of Virology at the RML campus of NIAID in Hamilton, MT. The laboratory studies the ecology of high- or maximum-containment RNA viruses, including coronaviruses, filoviruses, henipaviruses, and orthomyxoviruses.

The Virus Ecology Unit is interested in the identification and understanding of the biological drivers of zoonotic transmission for emerging viruses. Our laboratory utilizes a combined field ecological and an experimental laboratory approach to understand the emergence of novel viruses.

Field ecological research includes long-term study sites in the Republic of Congo under the NIH International Centers of Excellence in Research (ICER) program, in close collaboration with the National Public Health laboratory in Brazzaville and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Fundamental experimental approaches of the laboratory include molecular-, cellular-, and immunological-based techniques and animal models of pathogenesis and transmission. Studies are carried out in biosafety level (BSL)-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 laboratories. The successful applicant is expected to combine field and experimental research to study the underlying biotic or abiotic changes in virus-host ecology involved in virus emergence.

RML is located in the scenic Bitterroot Valley of western Montana with easy access to some of the best hiking, skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, and trout fishing in North America.

The Laboratory of Virology is located in the new Integrated Research Facility (IRF) on the RML campus. The IRF offers state-of-the-art BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 laboratories, as well as BSL-4 animal space. Additional BSL-2 and BSL-3 animal space and state-of-the-art genomics, flow cytometry, and microscopy facilities are available to researchers on the RML campus.

Read more about the Virus Ecology Unit in the NIAID Laboratory of Virology.


Highly motivated candidates with a strong background in molecular biology, disease ecology, epidemiological modeling, and infectious disease animal modeling are encouraged to apply. Experience working in high biological containment laboratories (BSL-3 or BSL-4) and experience with infectious disease field research would be an advantage.

Well-developed oral and written communication skills are essential. Candidates must hold a Ph.D., D.V.M., or M.D. in virology, molecular biology, or other appropriate discipline and have less than three years of postdoctoral experience. Applicants may be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or international citizens; for an IRTA, visa requirements apply. Trainee will receive a stipend (commensurate with his or her experience) and health insurance.

Send curriculum vitae, a letter expressing career goals and interests, list of publications, and three letters of reference with contact information no later than August 4, 2014, to Kay Menk, Laboratory Operations Specialist, Laboratory of Virology, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, 903 S 4th Street, Hamilton, MT 59840, 406-375-9624 (phone), 406-375-9620 (fax), or email menkk@niaid.nih.gov.

Stay connected to NIAID Careers to see how you can join NIAID and make a difference: Visit us on the Web; subscribe to email updates; and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

HHS, NIH, and NIAID are proud to be equal opportunity employers.

Position Announcement: Instructor, Department of Microbiology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
The Department of Microbiology is seeking qualified applicants for one part-time (40%) Instructor position starting August 16, 2014.

Appointment: Term appointment by semester.

Responsibilities: Duties include teaching and administrative work relevant to courses in Biotechnology (MICR 421), Introductory Microbiology (MICR 201) and a portion of each of Molecular Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory (MICR 480) and Diagnostic and Applied Microbiology Laboratory (MICR 481).

Qualifications: Master's or PhD degree in microbiology; teaching experience in the field of microbiology.

Application Deadline: July 15, 2014 or until the position is filled.

Application Procedure: Applicants should submit a letter of application, a current curriculum vitae, a statement of teaching background, a copy of all university-level course transcripts, and contact information for at least three references. Preferably, all materials should be submitted electronically as a PDF document to the Microbiology Search Committee Chair via e-mail to microbiology@micro.siu.edu or by regular mail to:

Department of Microbiology
Mail Code 6508
1125 Lincoln Drive
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois 62901

For more information about the Department of Microbiology, visit our web site at http://www.micro.siu.edu/.

SIU Carbondale is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer of individuals with disabilities and protected veterans that strives to enhance its ability to develop a diverse faculty and staff and to increase its potential to serve a diverse student population. All applications are welcomed and encouraged and will receive consideration.

Postdoc at University of Guelph
A postdoctoral position is immediately available in the Smith lab at the University of Guelph (Ontario) in the application of DNA-based diagnostics in the early detection of species involved in predating upon the spruce budworm (SBW). In particular, experience in the design and implementation of microarrays is necessary. Applicants should have a Ph.D. and extensive training and experience in one or more of the following areas: DNA extraction, PCR, qPCR and microarray development. The ideal candidate will also have broad training in evolutionary biology, strong writing skills, and prior management experience. The successful applicant will play a key role in a recently funded project to develop and apply new methods involving DNA-based diagnostics for the rapid identification natural enemies of the spruce budworm in New Brunswick. The spruce budworm (SBW - Choristoneura fumiferana) is the major coniferous forest pest in eastern North America. The goal of this project is to design a DNA-based diagnostic for these critical, but difficult to quantify and identify the complement of natural enemies (insect parasitoids and pathogens) that act as natural control agents. To do so, we will adapt, and augment, the existing library of DNA barcodes (small, standardised gene sequences) into a DNA microarray chip enabling us to rapidly identify and quantify the many organisms that interact directly (> 100 species of natural enemies) and indirectly (other conifer-feeding species that serve as alternate/alternative hosts of SBW parasitoids) with the spruce budworm and form the so-called “spruce budworm food web”. Interested applicants should submit a CV, a letter describing their research interests and career goals, and contact information for two references to Dr. Alex Smith (salex@uoguelph.ca). Further information on my research interests and publications can be found at: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~salex/ and on Google Scholar http://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=i5jERHcAAAAJ&hl=en. Applications will be considered for an immediate start date. Alex Smith email: salex@uoguelph.ca web site: https://sites.google.com/site/smithlabfieldwork/ Twitter: @Alex_Smith_Ants

Postdoctoral positions in Plant Pathology, Ecology and Metagenomics in agricultural soils Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada)
Postdoctoral positions in Plant Pathology, Ecology and Metagenomics in agricultural soils Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada) is looking for candidates for two postdoctoral fellowship positions of three years, to understand factors influencing the severity of common scab of potato. Common scab is a bacterial disease responsible for important economic losses every year and there is still no reliable method to control the disease. This is due to a poor understanding of the dynamic of the pathogenic Streptomyces population, of the influence of agricultural practices and of the biotic and abiotic factors influencing the severity of common scab. The project’s overall goal is to develop innovative control methods for common scab of potato. The specific objectives of the project are 1) to measure the effect of biopesticide and agricultural practices on common scab (position 1) and 2) to compare the biotic (microbial communities using metagenomics) and abiotic (edaphic and environmental) factors between healthy and common scab infected fields (position 2). Applicants should have experience in plant pathology, molecular biology and next generation sequencing of microbial communities (position 2). Knowledge of English is required. The candidate needs to be Canadian citizen or permanent resident and meet the criteria of the NSERC Visiting Fellowship in Canadian Government Laboratories Program (http://www.nserccrsng.gc.ca/Students-Etudiants/PD-NP/Laboratories-Laboratoires/index_eng.asp ). The position will be opened until filled; suggested start date is September. Please send a resume to: Dr. Claudia Goyer (claudia.goyer@agr.gc.ca), Potato Research Centre, AAFC, Fredericton, NB. Fax: (506) 460-4377.


Maria E. Cardenas, Ph.D., Research Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.
The evolutionarily conserved TORC1 pathway controls growth in response to nutrients, in particular amino acids, and is perturbed in diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Key components of the endolysosomal membrane trafficking system have been implicated in the regulation of TORC1 signaling in both humans and yeasts. Two protein complexes collectively called VPS-C complexes, HOPS and CORVET, mediate distinct membrane fusion events in the endolysosomal trafficking system. Disruption of VPS-C complexes in yeast leads to fragmentation of vacuoles, the equivalent of lysosomes in mammals, and to severe defects in TORC1 signaling. The vacuole is a major amino acid reservoir and the TORC1 machinery resides on the vacuolar membrane. We demonstrate that the HOPS and CORVET complexes promote TORC1 activity by maintaining amino acid homeostasis in yeast. Given the ubiquity and pervasive conservation of TORC1 signaling across eukaryotes, these findings suggest ways in which cell growth may be controlled in metazoans and other multicellular eukaryotes. Thus, understanding the roles for the yeast endolysosomal membrane system in TORC1 signaling will provide therapeutically relevant insights in dysregulated mTORC1 defects that underlie disease in humans.


Recent featured publication: Endolysosomal membrane trafficking complexes drive nutrient-dependent TORC1 signaling to control cell growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Kingsbury JM, Sen ND, Maeda T, Heitman J, Cardenas ME. Genetics. 2014 Apr;196(4):1077-89. doi: 10.1534/genetics.114.161646.


Maria E. Cardenas, Ph.D. is a Research Professor at Duke University Medical Center. Her studies focus on elucidating the mechanisms of activation and signaling of the Tor kinases. Tor was discovered in Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the target of the immunosuppressive and anticancer drug rapamycin. Rapamycin has widespread applications in several clinical arenas including organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, and cardiology, and might find additional indications in cognitive disease and aging-related disorders. Dr. Cardenas received a MS degree from the National University of Mexico and a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas training with Dr. Myron Jacobson. She learned genetics and chromatin structure as a postdoctoral fellow with Drs. Susan Gasser (ISREC, Lausanne, Switzerland) and Titia de Lange (The Rockefeller University). She was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2011.


At Duke her studies led to the characterization of the transcriptional programs governed by the TORC1 cascade and its contribution to filamentous growth in yeast and other fungi. More recently, she employed yeast to characterize the genetic synthetic interaction network of TOR1. These studies uncovered a novel role for the endomembrane vesicular trafficking system in regulating TORC1 signaling. She found that cell growth is compromised or abolished when mutations in different protein complexes including the VPS-C, preautophagosomal (PAS), and EGO (EGOC) involved in vesicular trafficking and tethering, and protein sorting are combined with a mutation of the nonessential Tor1 kinase. The EGOC and orthologs of its GTPase subunits (Rag proteins) are implicated in amino acid-dependent TORC1 activation in yeast and mammals. Current studies focus on characterizing the roles of the vesicular trafficking system in TORC1 signaling and to elucidate the molecular mechanism by which the VPS-C and EGOC complexes convey amino acid signals to evoke TORC1 activation. TORC1 pathway components are localized to vacuolar membranes. Her hypothesis is that this endomembrane network serves as a platform to facilitate molecular interactions that activate and enable TORC1 signaling. Similar to yeast TORC1, the mammalian mTORC1 ortholog targeted by rapamycin and its analogs in the treatment of multiple cancer malignancies is localized to endomembranes. Thus, her studies will continue to reveal fundamental basic and conserved aspects of Tor signaling that could serve as a guide to pharmacological intervention in select mTor pathway defects.


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 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.

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