COMS Division Interdisciplinary Councilors

 

Division Interdisciplinary Councilor Candidates

 

Jorge Cervantes
Maria G. Dominguez-Bello
Richard H. Ebright 
Suzanne Fleiszig
He Fu
Peter R. Girguis
Joanna B. Goldberg
Russell T. Hill 
Birthe Kjellerup
Guy Lanza

Erin K. Lipp
Michael J. Loeffelholz  
Tara C. Smith
Joy Sturtevant
Alfredo Torres 
Naqeeb Ullah
Hui Wu
Chuanwu Xi
Vincent B. Young

 

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Candidates
Please select 8

JORGE CERVANTES, M.D., Ph.D.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
El Paso, TX 

 Cervantes

 

I obtained my medical degree from Cayetano Heredia University, a well-known and respected Medical School in Peru.  I always had great interest in microbiology/immunology, so after receiving my M.D. degree, I attended a training course in Tropical Medicine in Japan. Back in Peru, I joined the US Naval Center Detachment dengue surveillance project in the Peruvian Amazon, and supported actively the Ecuadorian Institute of Health during an outbreak of dengue fever.

I obtained a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences (Virology), at the Faculty of Medicine of Kagoshima University in Japan. I chose the Department of Virology because it had a good reputation in working with HLA and viruses. I performed epidemiological studies on HLA and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection in Bolivian Andean ethnic groups. I spent the third year of my Ph.D. studentship at the Department of Epidemiology (previously Department of Public Health), as it fit well with my interests and were developing projects on virus infection and cancer susceptibility.

After receiving my Ph.D. I accepted a post-doc position at Hamamatsu University School of Medicine. This was part of a COE project granted by Hamamatsu Photonics, a company dedicated to develop new fields of scientific technology.  I joined the Department of Infectious Diseases and worked on innate immunity against intracellular pathogens using modern imaging techniques.

I then joined the Spirochete Research group at the University of Connecticut Health Center, where I studied human innate immunity aspects of Lyme disease and Syphilis. Our findings have provided novel concepts of TLR signaling and interaction in the recognition of bacterial RNA, as well as the role of macrophages in these diseases. I also collaborated in studying TLR2 signaling response to various lipids from Porphyromonas gingivalis and commensal bacteria, and their role in the development of autoimmunity, periodontal disease and atherosclerosis.

I am currently working on Mycobacterial recognition human lung alveolar macrophages, and how hyperglycemia and macrophage polarization affect this host-pathogen interaction.

I have started several other infectious diseases-public health related projects, with collaborators at my home university and other international institutions.

I believe competence in foreign languages is an invaluable asset for communication within a team in an international setting.  Besides Spanish, my mother tongue, I speak English, French, and Japanese.

Candidate’s Statement

It is with great pleasure to nominate myself for the Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS). As an active reviewer for several journals on different fields, I am confident I have the capacity to review and advice the BOD on various scientific matters. Since the COMS serves as an advisory on trends and opportunities in microbial sciences, I think my background allows me to provide a broader scientific perspective of microbiology, as well as microbial scientific trends of clinical and public health impact. In these times where science is required to be translational, it is essential to identify and prioritize certain domains within the field of microbiology that have a future. A visionary perspective and review is necessary for the advancement of the field. Last, my experience in setting up multi-disciplinary teams internationally would certainly help in the mission of the COMS

 

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MARIA DOMINGUEZ-BELLO
New York University School of Medicine
New York, NY 

Dominguez Bello

 

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello received her undergraduate degree in 1983 from Simon Bolivar University –Venezuela-, her Masters in 1987 and her PhD in 1990 from University of Aberdeen –Scotland- did a postdoc at the Institute National de la Recherche Agronomic, France, and worked at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research in Venezuela, at University of Puerto Rico, and is at NYU School of Medicine since 2012.

She is a member of the American Academy of microbiology, an IDSA fellow, and has been in the editorial board of several journals, currently in mBio, Science Reports. 

She has 109 scientific papers to date, and her lab uses metagenomics, ecology, and anthropology to address broad questions about microbe- hosts interaction, microbiome development, impacts and restoration. Her research focuses on microbiome development and on impact of modern practices, and is focused on babies during development, and on isolated peoples that have not been exposed to medicine. Her research work has involved the synergy of a network of collaborators in a scope of disciplines -Microbiology, Bioinformatics, Genomics, Ecology, Medicine, Public Health, Engineering, Architecture and Anthropology-  in multiple countries -Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Sweden, Germany, USA-. 

Candidate’s Statement
Dr Dominguez is an old member of ASM, and has served as an American Society for Microbiology Ambassador for the Central American and Caribbean region, from 2008 to 2011. Her life experience comprises multi-cultural exposures, and her work is multidisciplinary by nature, working in microbial system assemblages that range from fermenting organs in animals, to human microbiota and the built environment, with an anthropological approach.

Her personal and professional multidisciplinary experience makes her a good candidate to serve ASM as an Interdisciplinary Councilor.

 

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RICHARD H. EBRIGHT
Waksman Institute of Microbiology
Piscataway, NJ 

elbert

 

Richard H. Ebright, Ph.D., is Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University and Laboratory Director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology.  He directs a laboratory of approximately fifteen postdoctoral associates, graduate students, and technicians and serves as project leader on three National Institutes of Health research grants ("Bacterial Transcription Complexes," "Therapeutics for Drug‑Resistant Bacteria: Pseudouridimycins," and "Therapeutics for Drug-Resistant Bacteria: Arylpropionyl Phloroglucinols").

His research focusses on the structure, mechanism, and regulation of bacterial transcription complexes, and on the development of inhibitors of bacterial transcription as antituberculosis agents and broad‑spectrum antibacterial agents.  His research employs tools of structural biology, biophysics, and drug-discovery.

He received his A.B. (Biology, summa cum laude) and Ph.D. (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) degrees from Harvard University.  He performed graduate research at Harvard and the Institut Pasteur and was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows.  In 1987, he was appointed as a Laboratory Director at the Waksman Institute and a faculty member at Rutgers University.  From 1997 to 2013, he was co-appointed as an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 

He has received the Searle Scholar Award, the Schering-Plough Award of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Walter J. Johnson Prize, the Waksman Award of the Theobald Smith Society, the MERIT Award of the National Institutes of Health, and the Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence of Rutgers University.  He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

He has more than one hundred thirty publications in peer-reviewed journals and more than thirty issued and pending patents.

He served for sixteen years as editor of the Journal of Molecular Biology.  He has served on the National Institutes of Health Molecular Biology Study Section and on National Institutes of Health special emphasis panels.   He is a member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee of Rutgers University and the Antimicrobial Resistance Committee of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and has been a member of the Working Group on Pathogen Security of the state of New Jersey and the Controlling Dangerous Pathogens Project of the Center for International Security Studies.

Candidate’s Statement

I perform interdisciplinary research on the structural biology and structural biophysics of bacterial RNA polymerase and on antibacterial drug discovery targeting bacterial RNA polymerase.

My laboratory employs a broad range of interdisciplinary research methods, including methods of structural biology (x-ray crystallography and cryo electron microscopy), structural biophysics (single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and single-molecule nanomanipulation with magnetic tweezers and nanopore tweezers), molecular biology (bacterial and bacteriophage genetics, deep sequencing, and deep-sequencing-based multiplexed assays), biochemistry (protein chemistry and nucleic acid chemistry), bacteriology (antimicrobial susceptibility assays and antimicrobial resistance-rate, resistance-fitness-cost, resistance-spectrum analyses), and antibacterial drug discovery and development (high-throughput screening, hit-to-lead-chemistry lead validation, and lead optimization).  Our primary research organisms are Escherichia coli, Mycobacterium spp., Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., and Thermus spp.

I have strong interests in research and public policy.  I have especially strong interests in antibacterial drug development (from the discovery research stage through the preclinical and clinical research stages), antibacterial drug commercialization, policy issues regarding antibacterial drug use, policy issues regarding biosecurity and biodefense, policy issues regarding research prioritization and research funding, and policy issues involving preprints, publication and post-publication peer review.

I am a member of ASM Division H (Molecular Biology and Genetics), but my interests span at least ten ASM Divisions: A (Antimicrobial Chemotherapy), B (Microbial Pathogens), C (Clinical Microbiology), H (Genetics and Molecular Biology), J (Cell and Structural Biology), K (Microbial Physiology and Metabolism), M (Bacteriophage), O (Fermentation and Biotechnology), U (Mycobacteriology), and Y (Public Health).  I support improving communication and coordination across Division lines.

 

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SUZANNE FLEISZIG
University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California

Fleiszig

Incumbent

 

Education:
OD (Doctor of Optometry), University of Melbourne
PhD (Microbiology), University of Melbourne
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Infectious Disease, Harvard Medical School
Professional Experience:
Dr. Fleiszig has been a Professor at the University of California Berkeley since 1994. Her appointment includes membership in several graduate programs on the Berkeley campus including Microbiology, Infectious Diseases & Immunity, Vision Science, Optometry, and Health & Medical Sciences. She is also an adjunct Professor at the Proctor Foundation, UCSF. Until 2010, she was involved in regular clinical practice.

Dr. Fleiszig’s outside activities reflect the multidisciplinary nature of her education, interests and experiences. A fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) and current standing member of the NIH Bacterial Pathogenesis (BACP) study section, she has been a standing member of the Anterior Eye Disease (AED) study section. President of the International Society for Contact Lens Research (ISCLR), Vice-President of TFOS (international ocular surface society), Chair of the 2012 Corneal Biology GRC, Chair of the Immunology & Microbiology Section for the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology (ARVO), and is a member of the Mentoring Committee of the International Society for Eye Research.  She is currently on the editorial boards of Infection & Immunity, PLOS One, Frontiers in Cellular & Infection Microbiology, The Ocular Surface Journal, and PeerJ.

ASM Activities:
Chair Division D (2007-2009)
ASM Council (2012-2016)
ASM COMS (2016-2018)
Editorial Board, Infection & Immunity (2012-2017)


Publications: 
Dr. Fleiszig has published 98 peer-reviewed publications, focused mostly on P. aeruginosa pathogenesis. She has been awarded four patents for novel strategies to prevent infection.

Research Interests: 
Research in the Fleiszig lab focuses on host interactions with opportunists utilizing P. aeruginosa as a model. Attention is paid equally to the microbe and the host, emphasizing fundamental biology and its translation, with hypotheses drawn from clinical observations and clinical studies. The lab aims to prevent not treat infection, so it is exploring why our epithelial surfaces are not usually infected by opportunistic pathogens (most having significant virulence potential), how that normal protective function is compromised, and how opportunists exploit that compromise to cause disease. Model systems used involve in vitro cell culture, 3D tissue culture, rodents, and human subjects. An unusually wide variety of methods are utilized, including novel imaging technologies resulting from the group’s expertise in the eye, vision and optics. By providing high-resolution quantitative information about individual bacteria and simultaneously the infected host cells in vivo, these methods are allowing the laboratory to study cellular microbiology in vivo. 

Candidate’s Statement
While ASM has almost 30 divisions covering a range of topics relevant to microbiology, problems and solutions relevant to this and other fields are becoming increasing more multidisciplinary. Not only are we seeing themes crossing species and kingdom barriers, diverse fields in life and physical sciences are becoming more relevant, as are disciplines outside of the sciences including psychology, politics, and even art. Further, we are witnessing change and disruption at an almost overwhelming rate in every aspect of our lives. I believe that the role of the interdisciplinary councilors should be to look across the divisions to help ensure that COMS expertise and programs can meet the full range of challenges and opportunities that arise as we move forward, including those we cannot predict today. Specifically, I see interdisciplinary COMS members facilitating communication across divisions and branches, while also monitoring division structure to help the society flexibly represent the field. This necessitates a general understanding of the scope and importance of multiple missions of the society, including fostering the basic and clinical sciences, education, and application of knowledge in its various forms.

I believe I am particularly well suited to being a COMS Division Interdisciplinary Councilor because of the unusual diversity of my education and experiences. I have a clinical degree in optometry in addition to a PhD in microbiology. I have 30 years of experience studying bacterial pathogenesis, utilizing a wide variety of basic biological and translational approaches that study both the host and pathogen. I am expert in the host system I focus on; indeed I teach ocular biology at UC Berkeley. I have 27 years of clinical experience in eye care, with accompanying expertise in vision, optics, neuroscience, and imaging that I have brought into my research. At UC Berkeley I hold appointments in multiple programs including Microbiology, Infectious Diseases & Immunity, Health & Medical Sciences, Vision Science, and Optometry. I have significant leadership experience, which has also been interdisciplinary.  For ASM, I have served as Chair of Division D, and as a member of ASM Council. I have also been President of the International Society for Contact Lens Research, Vice-President of TFOS (international ocular surface society), Chaired a Cornea GRC, and I am currently a member of the Mentoring Committee for the International Society for Eye Research. A current standing member of the NIH bacterial pathogenesis (BACP) study section, I have also served as a standing member of the Anterior Eye Disease (AED) study section. I am excited by the prospect of continuing as a COMS Division Interdisciplinary Councilor, and would be honored to represent all contingencies of the ASM membership in this capacity.

 

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HE FU
Department of Marine Sciences, University of Georgia

fu he

  He Fu is a postdoctoral research associate in Mary Ann Moran’s lab at the University of Georgia. Born and raised in China, he received a well-rounded education at Wuhan University with a major in Biology. Concerned about many pressing environmental issues while equally impressed with the great metabolic diversity of microbes, he joined Ning-Yi Zhou’s lab to work on microbial bioremediation. In 2011, he came to the US and joined Bill Metcalf’s lab at the University of Illinois, working on the metabolism of methylated sulfur compounds by Methanosarcina acetivorans, a model marine methanogen, and its impact on the global sulfur cycle and climate change. After earning his Ph.D. degree in 2017, he joined Moran’s lab to delve deeper into marine microbial ecology/microbial oceanography. His research currently focuses on microbial community assembly in model marine phytoplankton-bacteria systems. He is broadly interested in microbial physiology, ecology and evolution.

When not doing bench work, he enjoys reading science, history, philosophy, poetry and everything in-between. While in graduate school, he translated Martin Blaser’s Missing Microbes into Chinese, which came out in 2016 and won the Chinese National Library Book Award in 2017.

Candidate’s Statement
I’m very excited about the opportunity to serve as an interdisciplinary councilor, and I believe that my research and background have prepared me to take on this role. First, my current research focuses on the bacterial communities that assemble around phytoplankton cells in the ocean, a topic which draws from the fields of microbial ecology, microbial oceanography and biogeochemistry. My project uses various 'omics tools to explore the underlying microbial physiology that drives community assembly. The team members that contribute to this highly-collaborative project include environmental scientists, microbial ecologists, theoretical physicist-turned-microbiologists, biophysicists, and computational oceanographers, which puts me in a unique position to foster interdisciplinary interactions in this area of applied and environmental sciences.

Secondly, my previous interactions with scientists, journalists, publishers, and the public have equipped me with communication skills to converse with a wide range of audiences. In 2014, while pursuing my Ph.D., I was invited to give an oral presentation at the general meeting of American Society for Microbiology. At this and other scientific conferences I have attended, the moments I have most enjoyed were opportunities for discussions with other scientists who share my interests yet bring different perspectives. To better learn and share knowledge, I have translated three books from English to Chinese, covering topics of human microbiome research, biographies of scientists, and the history of biology. Partly due to this visibility, I have had the opportunity to speak with Chinese journalists, explaining the implications of discoveries in microbial sciences to the public, putting new findings into context, and sometimes clarifying misconceptions.

Thirdly, serving in the role of interdisciplinary councilor would be a very rewarding avenue to explore new ways to contribute to the scientific community. So far, I have gained research experience in laboratory and field settings, presented research to the scientific community in the form of publications and talks, and reviewed articles for scientific journals, such as Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Looking forward, the opportunity to serve as an interdisciplinary councilor would open new avenues for interacting with colleagues from different backgrounds for the promotion of microbial sciences, bringing together a diversity of experts to expand human understanding of the microbial world. 

 

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PETER R. GIRGUIS
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 

girguis

  Peter Girguis received his B.Sc. in Biology from the University of California Los Angeles and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. After a post-doc at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), he joined the Harvard faculty as an assistant professor in 2005, becoming full professor in 2012. In addition to his faculty appointments, he founded Trophos Energy Inc. in 2009, an alternative energy company that leveraged off two patents on microbial fuel cells that were issued to him (Trophos was acquired by Teledyne Benthos Inc. in 2011). He continues to be active in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship mentoring.

Girguis’ research efforts are aimed at better understanding how microbes mediate matter and energy flow through Earth’s biosphere. He develops novel methods and technologies for studying microbially-mediated energy flow and harvesting, including laboratory and in situ incubators that better mimic environmental conditions, and field-deployable instruments such as underwater mass spectrometers, carbon isotope analyzers and high-performance hydrogen sensors that allow him to study microbial processes in the lab and in situ.

Girguis has authored or co-authored over 85 publications, including papers in the journals Nature, Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Proceedings of the Royal Society. Girguis is a board member of the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), is on notable Schmidt Ocean Institute vehicle advisory boards, and served as chair of the National Science Foundations’ Deep Submergence Science Committee (DeSSC) from 2010-2016.  Most recently, he is a founding member of the Harvard-Kavli Institute of Bionano Science & Technology (KIBST).

Girguis’ honors include 5 consecutive years of commendations for distinguished teaching, the 2007 and 2011 Lindbergh Foundation Award for Science & Sustainability, a 2010 Honorable mention in the ENI International Energy and the Environment Award, a feature in the 2008 Discover Magazine’s “10 Everyday Technologies That Can Change the World” (bio-powered lights), and a 2008 Honorable Mention in the Buckminster Fuller Innovations in Science Award. He was also a Distinguished Lecturer for National Science Foundation’s RIDGE program, a Merck Co. Innovative Research Awardee, a recipient of the State of California’s Distinguished Community Service Award, and a Department of Energy’s E.C.-U.S. Biotechnology Fellowship.

 

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JOANNA  B. GOLDBERG
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, GA 

Goldberg

 

I am a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine and hold a secondary appointment in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Prior to joining Emory, I was an Associate then Full Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology at the University of Virginia (UVA). My first academic position was an Instructor and then Assistant Professor at the Channing Laboratory, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

I have had continuous NIH funding to support the on-going research in my laboratory. I study the biology of bacterial pathogens associated with life-threatening lung infections in individuals living with cystic fibrosis (CF), particularly Pseudomonas aeruginosa and members of the Burkholderia cepacia complex. My research is focused on the study of the synthesis and regulation of surface antigens, including polysaccharides and protein adhesins, and their role in infection and as potential antimicrobial and vaccine targets. I have an outstanding research reputation and track record, and have published numerous peer-reviewed papers, editorials, chapters, and reviews on these topics.

With my move to Emory University, I have been able to increase my interactions with both clinicians and patients. My research has also expanded to include bacterial- bacterial interactions and analysis of specimens from patients. It is my hope that our findings can be translated into therapeutics to limit infections in CF.

In addition to my own research, I am strongly committed to training the next generation of scientists and strive to promote them to succeed in their chosen career paths. Thus far in my career, I have trained 15 graduate students and 20 postdoctoral fellows in my laboratory. At UVA, I served as the Graduate Student Advisor for two different NIH T32 training grants. At Emory, I serve as Director for the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Training Program, part of the Emory University Laney Graduate School Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. In addition, I am Director for Outreach and Education as part of Emory + Children's Cystic CF Center of Excellence and the Director of the Research Training Core for the CF@LANTA Research Training Program supported by the CF Foundation. In recognition of my efforts and contributions as a mentor, I was awarded the ASM Graduate Microbiology Teaching Award in 2012.

Candidate’s Statement
I am interested in serving as the ASM Council for Microbial Sciences (COMS) Interdisciplinary Councilor in order to continue to give back to the scientific community that helped me develop my own career. I was awarded the ASM Raymond W. Sarber Fellowship Award as a graduate student and have continued my membership and involvement as a volunteer in the ASM ever since. As a few examples, I was Chair- Elect and then Chair of Division D. I was also Councilor-At-Large and Alternate Councilor and then Councilor for Division B. In terms of Committee Service, I was a Member and then Chair of the ASM Career Development Committee, and I was a Member, Vice-Chair, and then Chair of the ASM Conferences Committee. I also served as President-Elect and then President of the Virginia Branch of the ASM. I have also taught in the ASM Scientific Writing and Publications Institute and will be participating in the on-line version of this course during the Spring 2018.

I was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) and have served on the AAM Committee of Awards. In a pleasing sense of symmetry, I was a Member and then Chair of the Raymond W. Sarber Fellowship Award Committee, the award of which originally piqued my excitement and enthusiasm for Microbiology in general and the ASM in particular. Altogether I believe these activities demonstrate my unwavering passion for positively impacting our scientific community through service.

I see my role as the ASM COMS Interdisciplinary Councilor will be to encourage participation of microbiologists with different backgrounds and interests to focus collaboratively and bring unique perspectives to the problems at hand. I believe that these interactions can be useful as we as scientists attempt to better communicate both as individuals and as a society to a broader more diverse audience and stimulate positive action to promote education and public health.

 

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RUSSELL T. HILL
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Baltimore, MD 

hill

 

Russell Hill, professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), is director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) in Baltimore, Maryland. A microbiologist, Dr. Hill studies the diversity and functions of microbes associated with marine invertebrates.  His research interests include the biodiversity of marine microbes and the potential of marine microbes as sources of new drugs, in particular the role of microbial symbionts in production of important bioactive compounds.  He also has an interest in marine microalgae and associated bacteria as a source of biofuel.

Since 2012, he has served as director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), a joint University System of Maryland facility that brings together scientists from UMCES, University of Maryland Baltimore, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County to engage in cross-cutting research in microbiology, molecular biology, and biotechnology to sustainably use natural resources and enhance environmental and human health.

Russell Hill has been actively engaged as an ASM member since 1990. He has served as Councilor and as President of the Maryland Branch, a three-term member of the Editorial Board of “Applied and Environmental Microbiology”, and as a member of the Program Committee for the past four years.  He is currently Track Leader for the Microbial Ecology and Evolution track. Russell is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology.  He is President of the International Marine Biotechnology Association.  He has published more than 110 research papers on marine microbiology and biotechnology.

Russell Hill completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 1988 and did his postdoctoral studies with Rita Colwell at the University of Maryland where he has spent most of his career, except for three years working at the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Candidate’s Statement
Two of the common threads running through my career are the multidisciplinary nature of my work and my involvement with the American Society for Microbiology. I am a marine microbiologist with a primary research interest in the symbioses between bacteria and marine invertebrates, in particular sponges. Our work has ranged from microbial ecology to nutrient cycling in coral reef environments to quorum sensing.  One of the reasons for studying the microbes present in marine sponges is their role in producing the prolific bioactive compounds which make sponges such a promising source for prospecting for new pharmaceuticals.  This aspect of our research has led to productive collaborations with natural products chemists in academia as well as pharmaceutical companies.  Another research area is the interaction between bacteria and microalgae and this has led to interactions with biotechnology companies that are exploring microalgae as sources of biofuels and high-value products as well as their use in carbon sequestration. 

I joined ASM in 1990 while I was a postdoc and have maintained active involvement ever since. My most recent role has been to serve on the Program Committee for the past four years, helping to put together the program for the last of the ASM Annual General Meetings and the first three Microbe meetings.  Service on the Program Committee has really reinforced for me the huge commitment made by the many members that volunteer their time for ASM and the remarkable diversity and interconnectedness within the discipline of microbiology. I would bring to COMS my broad background in microbiology, my international perspective, a commitment to diversity in science and a deep belief in the importance of the ASM for all microbiologists world-wide.  

 

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BIRTHE KJELLERUP
University of Maryland at College Park
College Park, MD 

birthe

 

Birthe Kjellerup is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an adjunct assistant professor in the Fischell Department of BioEngineering at the University of Maryland at College Park. Dr. Kjellerup began her training at Aalborg University, Denmark, in the Department of Life Sciences where she received her PhD in 2004 with her thesis titled "Monitoring, detection and control of bacteria involved in biocorrosion in district heating systems”. And As a part of her graduate studies she traveled to the international training center for biofilm research, the Center for Biofilm Engineering (CBE) in Montana, and has continued collaboration with CBE in her current position. Dr. Kjellerup then moved to Baltimore to become a postdoctoral fellow at the Center of Marine Biotechnology to continue her work on environmental biofilms and bioremediation. Dr. Kjellerup became an Assistant Professor in 2009 in the Biology Department at Goucher College (Small, private Liberal Arts College), Baltimore, where she stayed until 2014. In January 2015 she accepted a position as Assistant Professor at University of Maryland at College Park. Since arriving in at University of Maryland, Dr. Kjellerup has continued her research and teaching interests in biofilms. Dr. Kjellerup has trained as an environmental engineer and microbiologist specializing in beneficial and detrimental aspects of biofilms for over 20 years. She has pioneered the application of biofilms on sorptive materials for bioremediation and energy recovery and used them, along with chemical analysis, to develop novel bioremediation strategies and approaches for groundwater and stormwater clean-up. As an indication of her expertise on the subjects of biofilm-forming microbes and their relation to environmental systems, she has presented her scientific findings on the subject at 50 meetings and symposia and has orally presented at 39 national and international meetings/seminars. She has also authored close to 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers, book chapters, and published abstracts and 2 patents on bioremediation using biofilm strategies. Dr. Kjellerup has a strong background in organizing highly skilled colleagues in multidisciplinary research. She also has a strong working knowledge of budget development and has obtained nearly $3 million from local (DC Water at Blue Plains), state (Maryland State Highway Administration) and national (SERDP, USDA) funding agencies in the past 7 years. Dr. Kjellerup has served on 19 graduate committees and is the primary advisor for 7 graduate students committees (4 PhD, 3 Masters). She has also mentored 2 postdoctoral fellows, where one has progressed to an international faculty in addition to more than 25 undergraduate students with the majority at University of Maryland at College Park. Dr. Kjellerup is active in several organizations such as ASM, American Chemical Society (ACS) and Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). She has been a member of ASM since 2003 and currently serves on the ASM Microbe program committee.

Candidate’s Statement
A common theme of my academic career (research, teaching and mentoring) has always been interdisciplinary projects and diverse working groups, whether as a graduate student researching biocorrosion or as a faculty member involved in applied biofilm research. Interdisciplinary projects foster my curiosity and challenges me to understand other disciplines but also to understand the background that a diverse group of people bring to these discussions. These aspects are some of the reasons why I am interested in becoming a member of the ASM Council on Microbial Sciences. ASM provides a great forum for bringing microbiological and other cross-cutting disciplines together and I would like to be involved in promoting these interactions for the future ASM generations and beyond.

A main part of my mentoring responsibility as a faculty member is to create a diverse and creative environment in my research group that supports microbiological discoveries but also to bring this knowledge outside the laboratory an into the public awareness. The undergraduate students in my group come from more than 10 majors and the graduate students from many disciplines and countries. This diversity in disciplines, majors, cultural backgrounds (several 1st generation in college) and languages fosters a community, where curiosity and support is the main goal. Also, as a member of the Diversity Council at The Clark School of Engineering at University of Maryland, diversity and inclusion are important issues that I would like to promote in general and specifically to organizations, institutions and environments that ASM would be able to influence in the future. ASM is uniquely positioned to bridge the worlds of education, research, industry and public/private institutions and I would like to promote this movement within ASM.

Academically my research with a focus on biofilms in different environmental settings involves many disciplines from microbiology, engineering, hydrology, bioinformatics to public health just to name a few. This diversity in topics gives me the opportunity to include scientific aspects from many disciplines that for instance can benefit the design biofilm systems to improve rate of success for implementation of solutions. In addition, I often work with different constituencies to establish viable bioremediation solutions in the urban watersheds and interaction with the public is very important.

As a part of my academic career, I have also had the opportunity to be involved in international and national societies, where I have designed and run sessions and symposia. An example of this was a two day symposium on Biofilms (“Impact of Materials, Surface Chemistry & Modifications on Biofilm Formation in Environmental Remediation & Engineering Applications”) that took place during the Annual American Chemical Society Meeting in August 2017. The goal was to highlight the importance of microbial biofilms on many of the traditionally considered chemical research topics and to introduce biological disciplines to the ACS audience. The national and international involvement gives me a strong background for being a good advocate for ASM member interests in fora that not traditionally would involve microbiological topics.

 

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GUY LANZA
Research Professor, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York

Lanza

 

 

Education:
BS Biology, Fairleigh Dickinson University
MS Zoology (Parasitology), University of Kentucky
Ph.D. Biology (Environmental Microbiology), Virginia Tech 

Professional Experience:
Research Professor of Aquatic Ecology and Microbiology in the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY. Currently serves as Secretary for the International Expert Advisory Council for the University of Tyumen in Siberia, and as a technical advisor in environmental microbiology for the Belize Environmental Law and Policy Organization (BELPO) in Central America. 

Research on the ecology of waterborne diseases related to several major hydroelectric dam projects in Asia. Fulbright Scholar Vietnam (2006) and Russia (2010). Active on several editorial peer review boards and committees in microbiology and related areas of the environmental sciences. Involved in several initiatives to develop innovative curricula in the environmental microbiology, served as the Head of the Department of Environmental Health and later the Dean of the College of Public Health and Adjunct Professor of Microbiology in the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. Founding editor and Editor-in Chief of the International Journal of Phytoremediation published by Taylor Francis.

ASM Activities:
Committee on Diversity AAM (2012 to Present) , Distinguished Lecturers Committee (1992-2005), American Society for Microbiology, Councilor, Division Q Applied & Environmental Microbiology (1999-2002), , American Society for Microbiology Waksman Foundation for Microbiology Lecturer, (1991 to 1994). Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (Elected 2000)

Publications: Selected Publications
Lanza, G.R., Wilda, K., Bunluesin, S., Panich-Pat, T. 2017. Green Aquaculture: Designing and Developing Aquaculture Systems Integrated with Phytoremediation. Chapter 11, Phytoremediation: Management of Environmental Contaminants. Volume 5, 2017, pp. 307-323.
Upatham, E.S. Kruatrachue, M., Pokethitiyook, P., Panich-Pat, T., Lanza, G.R., 2015. Phytoremediation in Thailand: A Summary of Selected Research and Case Histories, Chapter 24, Phytoremediation: Management of Environmental Contaminants, Volume 1, 2015, pp. 333-342.
Ansari, A.A., Gill, S.S., Gill, R., Lanza, G.R., Newman, L.A. (Eds.) 2015-2017. Phytoremediation: Management of Environmental Contaminants. Volumes 1-5, Springer, Cham, Switzerland.
Lanza, G., Chernaik, M. 2016. Environmental and Human Health Impacts Associated with the Construction and Operation of the Chalillo Dam. (Belize, CA). Report to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Organization of American States (OAS), Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide and the Belize Environmental Law and Policy Organization (BELPO), 30 pp.
Lanza, G.R. 2011. Accelerated Eutrophication in the Mekong River Watershed: Hydropower Development, Climate Change, and Waterborne Disease. Chapter 19, Eutrophication: Causes, Consequences, Controls, 2011, Ansari, A.A., Gill, S.S., Lanza, G.R., Rast, W. Springer, N.Y. pp. 373-386.
Panich-Pat, T., Srinives, P., Kruatrachue, M., Pokethitiyook,P., Upatham,S., and G.R.Lanza 2010. Phytoextraction of Metal Contaminants by Typha angustifolia: Interaction of Lead and Cadmium in Soil-Water Microcosms, Journal of Environmental Protection, 1(4): pp 23-34.

Research Interests:
International and environmental curriculum development, microbial ecology and physiology, phytoremediation, ecotoxicology, aquatic ecology, water quality/water resource development and policy, environmental microbiology, the ecology of waterborne diseases.

Candidate’s Statement
I’m currently working with colleagues at the University of Tyumen (UT) in Siberia and other universities in the region to develop new interdisciplinary programs in microbial biodiversity relating to conservation, agro-ecology, and habitat remediation. We recently established two mirror labs to link common research and education activities at UT and Environmental Science and Forestry at SUNY, Syracuse. The themes of the mirror labs are Insect Vectored Disease Ecology (e.g. Lyme disease and bat parasites), and Environmental Remediation and Habitat Restoration (microbial bioremediation of oil contaminated soils and water using isolates from permafrost sites in Siberia.).  The mirror lab concept allows microbiologists and other scientists to simultaneously complete joint multidisciplinary research projects on the same topic in both countries. I’m also working in Thailand (Mahidol University) and Vietnam (Hue University) to establish new Dual Degree programs in Environmental Biology and in Biotechnology. The programs will feature a strong core of interdisciplinary microbiology.

Service on the COMS would provide an opportunity to contribute to the “creative mind” of ASM by linking and sharing expertise from appropriate ASM programs and research initiatives with the new evolving programs in Eurasia and South East Asia. Specifically, I would strongly advocate for BOD support to create new connections directly linking ASM branch microbiologists with microbiologists in Eurasia and South East Asia who lack experience with the decentralized science networks that have enriched the activities of the ASM membership.

I would work with ASM branches and advocate for the mentorship of Eurasian and South East Asian microbiologists. Both regions are rich in cultural and ethnic diversity and are poised to provide traditional ASM programs with new global insights and approaches to microbiology education and research.  At the same time, the rapidly expanding environmental microbiology programs in Eurasia and South East Asia could greatly benefit from increased linkages and direct involvement with experienced ASM mentors and program activities that actively promote interdisciplinary education and research, and encourage and strongly support ethnic and cultural diversity.  In my view, establishing strong new relationships with interdisciplinary microbiology programs in Eurasia and South East Asia should be a priority within COMS. The increasing and rapid economic development in both regions under-scores the importance of training a new cadre of microbiologists prepared to meet the environmental challenges facing the regions. Siberia represents approximately 10% of the planet’s total land area and is facing many environmental challenges due to development and climate change. And the challenges will require culturally sensitive and regionally appropriate solutions. In my view, COMS should play an increasing role in developing new multidisciplinary approaches to avoid and to remediate the negative environmental effects of growth and development. The new approaches will require training a new cadre of microbiologists, engineers, ecologists, and agricultural scientists accustomed to working together to solve complex environmental challenges across traditional disciplines. Working with COMS would be a rewarding and productive experience for a senior microbiologist with a strong desire to help affect change.

 

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ERIN LIPP
Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

lipp

Incumbent

 

Education:
Dr. Lipp received her bachelor's degree in biology from New College of Florida and PhD in marine science from the University of South Florida. She worked at the University of Maryland Center of Marine Biotechnology (now IMET) for her post-doctoral research.

Professional Experience:
Dr. Lipp is currently a professor of environmental health science at the University of Georgia, where she began as an assistant professor in 2002. She holds courtesy positions in the Odum School of Ecology, Dept. of Marine Science, and Dept. of Microbiology at UGA.

ASM Activities:
Dr. Lipp has been a member of ASM since 1996. She currently serves on the Committee for Environmental Microbiology (Public and Scientific Affairs Board). She is an editorial board member for Applied and Environmental Microbiology. She was an at-large divisional councilor for 2015 - 2016 and a COMS member in 2017. She was the President of the Southeastern Branch of ASM in 2013. In 2016, she was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology.

Publications:
Dr. Lipp has 64 publications in areas of environmental microbiology and microbial ecology. Her Google Scholar profile can be accessed at: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=xvALnNsAAAAJ&hl=en

Research Interests:
Research in Dr. Lipp's lab is focused around water, waterborne disease, and aquatic microbial ecology. Work includes the interactions between environment, microbe and hosts, be they humans or others, to better understand fate, persistence and transmission of pathogens and infectious diseases. Dr. Lipp's research encompasses a range of problems in environmental microbiology including source tracking for fecal pollution in fresh and marine waters, climate change impacts on waterborne diseases, landscape ecology in explaining disease risk, and ecology and evolution of environmental pathogens. While much her research is focused on coastal and marine systems, research spans a full continuum of water types from black water streams in southeast US to coral reefs in the Caribbean.

Candidate’s Statement
I have been a member of ASM since 1996, when I jumped head first into microbiology as a new doctoral student. ASM has continued to be an integral part of my career and professional development both at the branch level and the national organization. I have tried to give back to ASM through leadership in the organization including serving as President of the Southeastern Branch, on the editorial board for Applied and Environmental Microbiology, and as a member of the Environmental Microbiology Committee (Public and Scientific Affairs Board). Most recently I served as an At-Large Divisional Councilor to ASM, which rolled into a one-year term as a member of the new ASM COMS. I am excited to see where COMS can take ASM as a society and how we can shape our community of scientists. I come to microbiology from an interdisciplinary perspective and look forward to the chance to build connections across microbiology disciplines.

 

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MICHAEL J. LOEFFELHOLZ, Ph.D. D(ABMM)
University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

Loeffelholz

Incumbent

  Education:
1988-1990    Postdoctoral Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology-accredited Residency Program in Medical and Public Health Laboratory Microbiology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.
1987-1988    Postdoctoral researcher at Diagnostic Hybrids, Inc., Athens, OH. Focus: research and development of DNA probe-based infectious disease diagnostics
1987   Ph.D., Microbiology, Ohio University, Athens, OH.  Thesis:  Oxygen-independent antimicrobial activity of rat polymorphonuclear leukocyte granule contents: role of plasmid RP1 in Acinetobacter calcoaceticus.
1982   B.S., Microbiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Professional Experience:
2013-Present    Professor
Director, Clinical Microbiology Division
Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
2008-2013    Associate Professor
   Director, Clinical Microbiology Division
   Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
2007-2008    Consultant (Scientific and clinical affairs), EraGen Biosciences, Madison, WI
2005-2007    Director, Virology/Serology, ViroMed Laboratories (LabCorp), Minnetonka, MN
2003-2005    Director, Public Health Laboratory, Arkansas Depart of Health, Little Rock, AR
2001-2003    Director, Virology and Molecular Diagnostics, Compunet Clinical Laboratories, Dayton, OH
1995-2001    Chief of Virology, Serology, Molecular Biology, University Hygienic Laboratory (Iowa public health laboratory), University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
1990-1995    Senior Scientist, Roche Molecular Systems, Somerville, NJ 

ASM Activities:
2017-present    Appointed member, Committee on Microbial Sciences (COMS), American Society for Microbiology
2012-present    Member, Professional Affairs Committee, American Society for Microbiology
2010   American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Division C Chair Nominating Committee
2002-2009    Member, American College of Microbiology, American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM) Exam Development Committee
2007-2008    Invited member (representing American Society for Microbiology), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Association of Public Health Laboratories Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Workgroup

Publications:
(selected, of 65 peer reviewed indexed articles)
Ren P., Ortiz DA, Terzian ACB, Colombo TE, Nogueira ML, Vasilakis N, and Loeffelholz MJ. 2017 Evaluation of Aptima Zika Virus Assay. J Clin Microbiol. 55(7):2198-2203.
Shan C,Xie X, Ren P, Loeffelholz MJ, et al. 2017. A rapid Zika diagnostic assay to measure neutralizing antibodies in patients.  EBioMedicine Mar;17:157-162.
Berry GJ and Loeffelholz MJ. 2016. Use of Treponemal Screening Assay Strength of Signal to Avoid Unnecessary Confirmatory Testing. Sex Transm Dis. 43:737-40.
Pal S, Dauner A, Valks A, Forshey B, Long K, Thaisomboonsuk B, Sierra G, Picos V, Talmage S, Morrison A, Halsey E, Comach G, Yasuda C, Loeffelholz M, et al. 2015. Multi-country prospective clinical evaluation of two ELISAs and two rapid diagnostic tests for diagnosing dengue fever. J Clin Microbiol. 53:1092-101.
Loeffelholz MJ, Trujillo R, Pyles RB, et al. 2014. Duration of Rhinovirus Shedding in the Upper Respiratory Tract in the First Year of Life.  Pediatrics. 134:1144-50

Research Interests:
My research interests focus on the development and evaluation of novel infectious disease diagnostic assays.  Additionally, I am interested in the appropriate utilization of infectious disease tests, and their impact on patient outcomes.

Candidate’s Statement
During the 27 years since completing my post-doctoral training I have gathered a diverse experience in private, public health and academic clinical microbiology laboratories.  Add several years of industry experience to that, and I’ve almost done it all.  This breadth of experience has helped me throughout my career, and during my service for various scientific membership organizations, including the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).  I have had the opportunity to serve on several ASM committees over the past 15 years, most recently as an appointed Interdisciplinary representative to the Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS).  ASM has been and remains the preeminent life science organization in the world, but it is faced with challenges including rapidly evolving scientific and communication technologies, and changing political landscapes, all in an era of tightened budgets.  My goal is to use my experience to contribute in any way I can to ensure that ASM maintains this reputation, best serves the needs of its diverse membership, and operates in an efficient and financially sound manner.  As a clinical laboratory scientist member of COMS, going forward I would focus my energy and efforts to identify relevant trends in science, and opportunities to advance professionally, ASM members engaged in diagnostic microbiology.

 

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TARA C. SMITH
Kent State University College of Public Health
Kent, OH 

SmithTara

 

  Dr. Smith is a Professor of Epidemiology at the Kent State University College of Public Health. She previously spent 9 years in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, where she directed the College’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases and attained the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. She completed post-doctoral training in molecular epidemiology at the University of Michigan from 2002-2004. She obtained her PhD at the University of Toledo, investigating the pathogenesis of the Group A Streptococcus, and her B.S. in Biology from Yale University. Dr. Smith’s laboratory studies the epidemiology and evolution of Staphylococcus aureus, with a focus on zoonotic transmission.

Candidate’s Statement
I am a 20-year member of ASM, joining during my first scientific research position as an undergraduate. As a graduate student, I started an ASM student branch at my institution, and have served ASM previously as a member of its communication committee and as an ASM Distinguished Lecturer (2015-2017). The nature of my work as an infectious disease epidemiologist is highly interdisciplinary. Though my home divisions are currently Divisions Y (public health) and B (microbial pathogens), my publications or ongoing projects over the past few years have included areas in microbiology education, evolutionary and genomic biology, food microbiology, microbial ecology, healthcare epidemiology, clinical microbiology, animal health microbiology, and host-microbe interactions. As such, I believe I am well-suited to serve as a Division Interdisciplinary Councilor.

 

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JOY STURTEVANT, PhD 
Louisiana State University Medical School
New Orleans, LA 

Sturtevant

 

Current Positions:
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology& Parasitology 2005
(Assistant Professor: 2002 – 2005)
Co-Director Basic Science Curriculum, Office of Medical Education  017
Louisiana State University Medical School, New Orleans, Louisiana 

Education:
Ph.D. in Immunology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 1981-1985
B.S. in Zoology, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO 1973-1977

Post-Doctoral Fellowships
Molecular Mycology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC 1992- 1994
Medical Mycology, Unité Aspergillus, Institute Pasteur, Paris, France    1988-1991
Invertebrate Immunology, UMBS, Millport, Scotland, Uppsala Univ, Sweden 1986-1988

Professional Experience:
Honorary Visiting Scientist, Institute Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen,  2011
Aberdeen, Scotland   
Associate Professor on the Research Track, Department of Microbiology & Immunology,
Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC  2001-2002
Assistant Professor (1994-2001)
Visiting Scientist, Unit of Biophysical Membranes, University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris France, 1991-1992
Scientific Consultant, Immunology, Cassenne Laboratories, Paris, France, 1989-1991

ASM Activities:
ASM: Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS) Council Member At-Large  2017 - 2018
ASM: Clinical Awards Selection Committee Member   
Education Category 2015 →
ASM Journal: Infection and Immunity Editorial Board 2014 →
ASM: Candida and Candidiasis Conference Scientific Advisory Board 2000 – 2002
ASM Journals Reviewer 1999 →
Including: Infection and Immunity, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Eukaryotic Cell, mBio, Applied and Environmental Microbiology
American Society of Microbiology Member 1992 →

Publications, Selection:
Sturtevant, J.  2014. Vocation, Location, Vocation: Researching Candida pathogenesis. Virulence. 5:8, 773-774, DOI: 10.4161/ 21505594.2014.973806
Sturtevant, J. 2013. Site-directed and Random Insertional Mutagenesis in Medically Important Fungi, Genetic Manipulation of DNA and Protein – Examples from Current Research, D. Figurski, ed. ISBN 978-953-51-0994-5, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/47799
Kelly, M.N., Johnston, D.A., Peel, B.A., Morgan, T.W., Palmer, G.E., and J.E. Sturtevant. 2009. Bmh1p (14-3-3) mediates pathways associated with virulence in Candida albicans. Microbiology, 155: 1536-46.
Sturtevant, J. 2009. Reporter gene assays in Candida albicans. Methods Mol Biol, 499: 157 -67. PMID 19152407.
Palmer, G.E, Johnson, K.J., Ghosh, S and Sturtevant, J. 2004.Mutant alleles of the essential 14-3-3 gene in Candida albicans distinguish between growth and filamentation. Microbiology, 150:1911-1924. PMID 15184577
Sturtevant, J. 2002. Elongation factors: are they rational antifungal targets? Emerging Therapeutic Targets. Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets,6:545-553.
Sturtevant, J.E. 2000. Differential display reverse transcriptase PCR (DDRT-PCR): Its application to molecular pathogenesis and medical mycology. Clinical Reviews in Microbiology 13:408-427. PMID: 10885984
Sturtevant, J.E. & J-P. Latgé. 1992. Interactions between the conidia of Aspergillus fumigatus and human complement component C3. Infect Immun, 60:1913-1918. PMID: 1500740
Sturtevant, J.E. & A.E. Balber. 1983. Externally disposed membrane polypeptides of intact and protease-treated Trypanosoma lewisi correlated with sensitivity to alternate complement pathway-mediated lysis.  Infect Immun, 42:869-879. PMID: 6358042

Research Interests:
Initial reaction between pathogen and host; evasion and modification of the host immune response
Intracellular events after the opportunistic fungal pathogen, Candida albicans interacts with new environments.
Monitoring Candida growth in the corneal transplant media, Optisol-GS
Reprogramming of the innate immune response by Shigella E3 ligases
Medical Education: Encouraging Faculty to Adapt Content Delivery to Student Learning Skills

Candidate’s Statement
My professional life began with postdoctoral fellowships in Scotland, Sweden, and France, and advancement at Georgetown University. I have now been a faculty member at LSUHSC-NO for 15 years. My research has focused on the initial interaction between host and pathogen including parasites, fungi, and now bacteria. With 30 years of experience in the academic and scientific fields, I can apply a unique combination of skills to accept the challenges and contribute at several levels as an Interdisciplinary Councilor on COMS Council. I have a broad range of interests and experience in the microbial world; significant experience in serving or chairing numerous committees; and voluntarily involved with ASM on several levels.  

Please consider the following highlights from my CV:

My scientific background has been a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on the basic microbiological and immunological medical sciences but incorporating biochemistry, cell biology, genetics and molecular biology.  I have worked with - and teach about immunology, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. Therefore, my interest in ASM is broad-based and not discipline focused.

Volunteer with ASM at several levels including member of editorial board of Infection and Immunity; member of ASM: Clinical Awards Selection Committee; consistently review manuscripts for a number of ASM journals; and acted as a founding Council Member At-Large on the ASM Council on Microbial Sciences.

My work life has made a significant switch to a focus on education, particularly course and curriculum development for both PhD and MD students. I was recently appointed as a co-director of the Basic Science Curriculum in the Office of Medical Education. I believe that education should continue to be a significant focus of ASM.

I was accepted as a LEAD Fellow in the 2017-2018 cohort in the AAMC Southern Group on Education Affairs. The goal of this fellowship is develop/ improve leadership skills with a specific focus on Medical Education.

During the COMS Council Meeting 2017, I participated in the Antimicrobial Agents and Resistance/ Clinical Infections and Vaccines and Profession of Microbiology breakout groups, though my research foci has centered on Host- Microbe Biology.  Consequently, due to my research and medical education skills, I feel qualified to contribute to all ASM Microbe Tracks. COM’s goals should not only be Conference Meeting content but also education of the public, government officials, as well as future microbiologists in all Tracks identified by ASM Microbe.

My leadership strengths include enthusiasm, organization and commitment. I have had significant experience in committee meetings.  As a chair my strategy is to establish goal(s), solicit suggestions to achieve goals yet keep the discussion focused, provide simultaneous summation statements, establish an action plan, and assign action items. As a member, I consider all opinions, contribute, and follow through with assignments in a timely fashion.

 

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ALFREDO TORRES
University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX 

Torres

  Alfredo Torres got his BS in Chemistry, Pharmacology and Biology, and his Masters in Microbiology at the Universidad Autonoma de Puebla in Mexico. He then got his Ph.D. at the University of Texas in Austin in Molecular Biology under the mentorship of Dr. Shelley Payne. He did his Post-doctoral training at the University of Maryland School of Medicine with Jim Kaper, and joined the faculty at the Microbiology and Immunology department at UTMB as an Assistant Professor in 2003. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a Professor in 2012. He is currently the Herman Barnett Distinguished Professor in Microbiology and Immunology and the Director for Faculty Diversity at the School of Medicine at UTMB. He received an excellence in Teaching award at UTMB in 2006, was a permanent member of the NIH study section BACP from 2013-2017. He has pioneered and founded the Latino American Coalition for Escherichia coli Research (LACER) that has been a key entity in promoting collaboration among Latin American and US researches, and has had a huge impact in Latin American Science. An article about LACER and its impact in science and collaboration was published this year in January in PLoS Pathogens. Alfredo’s research involves basic and translational science (vaccinology) in bacterial pathogens causing diarrheal disease, such as pathogenic Escherichia coli or Shigella, or biodefense-related organisms, such as pathogenic Burkholderia species. He has published more than 100 peer-review publications, 14 book chapters and 2 books, combining a wide variety of topics including microbial pathogenesis, biosafety, therapeutics, and vaccine development. His research addressed the role of iron in bacterial pathogenesis, with the discovery of a Heme uptake system in enteric bacteria. He also is highly regarded as an expert in adhesins in the EHEC field, having shown that the long Polar Fimbriae is responsible for EHECs tissue tropism in the intestine. He has also been active in vaccine development against EHEC and Burkholderia.

Candidate’s Statement
Alfredo Torres is the Herman Barnett Distinguished Professor in Microbiology and Immunology and the Director for Faculty Diversity at the School of Medicine at UTMB. He is a world recognized bacteriologist/vaccinologist with extensive experience in the study of bacterial pathogens causing diarrheal disease, such as pathogenic Escherichia coli or Shigella, or biodefense-related organisms, such as pathogenic Burkholderia species. He has published more than 100 peer-review publications, 14 book chapters and 2 books, combining a wide variety of topics including microbial pathogenesis, biosafety, therapeutics, and vaccine development. In the educational arena, Dr. Torres is heavily involved in teaching and mentoring of different types of trainees at UTMB and in different countries in Latin America, as part of the Latino American Coalition for Escherichia coli Research that he founded and continue coordinating for about 10 years.  At the National level, Dr. Torres has been part of the steering committee organizing the largest underrepresented minority meeting for biomedical researchers (ABRCMS) and a member of the educational committee for graduate and postdoctoral trainees at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), committee which oversaw the successful ASM Kadner Institute, formerly known as the Graduate and Postdoctoral Summer Institute in Preparation for Careers in Microbiology.  At UTMB, Dr. Torres is highly supportive of the PREP R25 program, participating both as a faculty mentor and workshop presenter and he is passionate about teaching, receiving two times the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Microbiology and Immunology Graduate Program. 

 

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HUI WU
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, AL 

 wuhui

 

During my career, I have published more than 60 peer-reviewed research articles in ASM and other journals such as Molecular Microbiology, Nature Communications and PloS Pathogens.

I was trained as a microbiologist with Paula Fives-Taylor at the University of Vermont. Studies from my PhD training focused on the identification, structural and functional characterization of a novel family of bacterial ahdesins, serine-rich repeat glycoproteins. We identified the first protein from the most abundant oral streptococcus Streptococcus parasanguinis in the family, and named it Fap1. It turns out this family of adhesins is highly conserved in gram-positive bacteria and plays an important role in bacterial fitness and virulence. My independent work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) addressed previously unknown molecular mechanisms of protein glycosylation and secretion, using serine-rich repeat glycoproteins as a model. We demonstrated that bacteria can sugar coat serine-rich repeat proteins sequentially using a series of new glycosyltransferases.  Our investigation has established a new protein glycosylation model system and discovered a complete new family of glycosyltransferases.   Our ongoing studies are to determine how the sugar coated proteins are recognized and exported to the bacterial surfaces to perform their functions. Most recently, our work has demonstrated that the gram-positive bacteria have evolved a highly conserved quality control system that recognizes the glycosylated serine-rich proteins and process them to beecome mature surface anchored adhesins.  Our studies have revealed new biology of bacterial  protein  glycosylation  and  secretion  and  provided  new  targets  to  discover potential therapeutics that mediate bacterial adhesion and colonization. 

At UAB, I also became interested in polymicrobial interactions within the oral cavity as it harbors hundreds of bacteria that contribute to health and disease, and the oral cavity provides a window to overall health.  We  have  showed  that  abundant  commensal streptococci  protect  the  invasion  of  oral  and  non-oral  pathogens  to  main  healthy homeostasis. Our studies demonstrate that oral streptococci exhibit probiotic activities in collaboration with host factors, such as nitrite that is highly enriched in the oral cavity. This innate anti-infective mechanism prevents the invasion of foreign microbes, which provides  insights  into  why  the  oral  community  is  distinct  and  exhibits  colonization resistance to foreign microbes. 

From  the  study  of  basic  signaling  mechanisms  of  polymicrobial  interactions  within complex biofilm communities, we learned much about the problem of antibiotic resistance to the biofilm related infections, and realized that we could apply signal mechanisms we learned to solve the problem of antibiotic resistance by design biofilm-selective small molecules. We have engaged an interdisciplinary team of investigators consisting of microbiologists, chemists, and structural biologists across the UAB campus to work toward developing novel anti-biofilm leads using high-throughput phenotypic screening or structure-based drug discovery approaches. We share the vision of translating our basic science findings to health care and benefiting the society. Work from my lab has bridged oral microbiology community and general microbiology community through collaboration and  engagement,  we  would  like  to see more integration of the oral microbiology community to ASM.

Candidates's Statement
It is with great enthusiasm that I run for ASM Interdisciplinary Councilor. I remember the first time I did my poster presentation as a student at the ASM annual meeting in 1997. Since then ASM has become a major professional home to my graduate, postdoctoral and independent career, through networking, mentoring, having access to the cutting- edge new technologies and the exciting new scientific discoveries, offering me and my trainees a forum to share our ongoing studies, to receive feedback from diverse audience. The ASM has been a critical and vital player in our research endeavor. I thus want to contribute  to  this  amazing  organization  by  bridging  increasing  gaps  between  oral microbiology and general microbiology.

 

The ASM is a highly influential research organization, it includes many disciplines within the microbial science umbrella. Dedicated to the advancement of microbial sciences and the  relationship  to  overall  human  health,  the  ASM  can  provide  greater  service  by expanding its constituencies and becoming more inclusive. During the next few years, I would like to see the Society to speak not only to existing memberships but also to the greater  research  and  academic  communities,  especially  to  the  oral  microbiology community. The oral cavity is an integral part of human body and provides a window to the overall health. Oral microbes are increasingly recognized to play important roles in systemic conditions, however there is no comfortable home for the oral microbiologists call home at this amazing organization. As a result, we have created our own oral microbiology/immunology group. This is a great venue for the oral microbiologists to interact and exchange ideas, however we missed the broad exciting science going on in overall microbial science area.   Our students and postdocs are our future we should encourage them to participate ASM to envision the future. We need incorporation and integration of oral microbiologists into our general ASM microbe meetings to facilitate interdisciplinary research. The value of a healthy smile is equally important to the value of overall health.

 

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CHUANWU XI, Ph.D.
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Ann Arbor, MI 

xi

 

Dr. Chuanwu Xi is a professor of Environmental Health Sciences, professor of Global Public Health and director of Global Environmental Health in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Xi is also serving as director of U-M-BICI Partnership Program and associate director of Global Collaboratory of Water Technologies. He received a B. Sc. in Biology from Anhui Normal University in 1993, a M.Sc. in Molecular Microbiology from Guangxi University in 1996, and a Ph. D. in Molecular Microbiology from Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium in 2010. His research focuses on biofilms, water quality and treatment and human health in three major inter-related areas: (A) molecular mechanisms of biofilm development; (B) characterization of biofilms/microbiome in industrial and clinical settings and its impact on human health; and (C) development of novel approaches for biofilm control. He has received numerous research awards from National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, private foundations and industrial sources. He has published over 90 research papers and book chapters, and received/filed 5 patents. He has served on numerous review panels for US NSF, NIH, EPA and ARMY, and national funding agencies of several other countries. Dr. Xi was a Scholar-in-Residence at US FDA and a chair and council of Division Q of American Society for Microbiology. Dr. Xi currently serves as president of Overseas Chinese Society of Microbiology, a board member of Council of Public Health Consultants of NSF Internationals, an associate editor for BMC Microbiology, and an editorial board member of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 

Candidate’s Statement
I have been a member of ASM since 2001 and served ASM as Chair/Council of Division Q from 2014 to 2016. Currently I am the president of Overseas Chinese Society for Microbiology. In these roles, I have actively participated in the process of reforming ASM, promoted the collaboration between ASM and CSM (Chinese Society for Microbiology), and attracted Chinese microbiologists to join the ASM General Meetings. My education and research background touch upon different disciplines including environmental and molecular microbiology, ecology, genomics, engineering, medicine and public health ranging from molecular mechanisms to microbial communities and its impact on human communities. I have also performed research on microbial safety of drinking water in different parts of the world including US, China, Peru and Qatar. In addition, I have spent substantial effort in bringing basic research to field applications. I would like to serve as an Interdisciplinary Councilor for COMS of ASM in order to bring my expertise and experience to bridge the cross disciplinary nature of fascinating microbial research, and help to establish mechanisms for translating our basic research to improve the environment and human wellbeing and to promote collaborations of microbiologists around the globe.

 

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NAQEEB ULLAH
International Islamic University, Islamabad
Islamabad, Pakistan 

ulll

 

Experience:

Working as Research Fellow under Project titled “Health security: Point of Care, multiplexed molecular detection of infectious diseases endemic in Pakistan” under PAK-US Science & Technology Cooperation Program.
(To date)
Worked as Visiting Faculty Member department of Politics & I.R International Islamic University Islamabad (01 Semester)

Responsibilities:
• Teaching
• Guiding
• Conducting tests
• Checking and Preparation of results
• Enhancing the Presentation skills of students
• Comments & Observation

Working as a Visiting Faculty Member department of Bioinformatics & Biotechnology International Islamic University Islamabad (1 year)

Responsibilities:
• Teaching
• Guiding
• Conducting tests
• Checking and Preparation of results
• Enhancing the Presentation skills of students
• Comments & Observation

Worked as a Subject Specialist (BPS-17) with Worker Model Higher Secondary School from 08Aug 2011 to 24th January 2012

Responsibilities:
• Teaching
• Guiding
• Conducting tests
• Checking and Preparation of results
• Enhancing the Presentation skills of students
• Comments & Observation

Worked as Researcher at CASVAB for completing MS Biotechnology and informatics from 13th May 2009 to 15 January 2010

Education:
PhD Biotechnology (specialization in Biomedical Engineering) From IIUI
MS (Bio Technology & Informatics)  4 year From BUITEMS,QUETTA
BSc from Degree College Loralai 
FSc (Pre Medical) Tameer-e- Nau College Quetta

Computer Skill:
Software Installation, Hardware Installations, Windows, MS Word, Ms Excel, MS PowerPoint, Corel Draw, In page.

Training &Workshop:
Participated in the 5th international conference on Microbiology at Karachi University
Participated in the first international conference on Biotechnology and Emerging science at BUITEMS
Participated in the 2nd international conference on Biotechnology & emerging Science at BUITEMS
Participated National workshops on molecular Diagnostics organized by American Society for Microbiology and DOW University Karachi.
National Workshop on molecular Diagnostics organized by UVAS Lahore.
Attended seminars on tissue culture at Karachi University
Participated seminar on DNA structure at BUITEMS Balochistan

Interests & Expertise:
Collecting information on the different social issues & struggle for the favor of human being.
Community Mobilization
Participant for welfare/Motivate a community for welfare
To conduct orientation meetings to solve different sort of problems in the community.
Designing of micro fluidic devices
Working on Biosensors for diagnostic purpose
Isolation of RNA through column based technique
Designing chip for molecular diagnostics

Publications:
Presence of multiple antimicrobial resistant strains and frequency of pseudomonas aeruginosa in bronchiectasis patients in balochistan
Production optimization of microbial alpha amylase from bacillus subtilis
Effect of different parameters on optimum production of microbial alpha amylase production from bacillus subtillus

Languages:
Pashto
Urdu
English

Candidate’s Statement
The aim to serve as Interdisciplinary Councilor because to obtain challenging position to utilize the ability & skills developed through my educational & professional experience with an opportunity for professional growth based on performance.

 

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VINCENT B. YOUNG, MD/PhD
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 

Young

 

Dr. Young received his bachelor of science in life sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then received his medical degree and a PhD in microbiology from Stanford University under the joint guidance of Gary Schoolnik and Stanley Falkow. Dr. Young completed his residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Following postdoctoral research in the lab of David Schauer at MIT, Dr. Young took his first faculty position at Michigan State University in the College of Human Medicine in 2001. In 2007, he moved to the University of Michigan where he is currently the William Henry Fitzbutler Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases Division with a joint appointment in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. 

Research in the Young lab is directed at understanding the role of indigenous microbiota in influencing the health status of their host. One research focus is to examine how the population structure and thus function of the gastrointestinal microbiota can influence host-pathogen interactions and how changes in the community structure of the indigenous microbiota itself can lead to pathogenic states. This research is being conducted both with material from human subjects as well as animal models of disease.

One key area of study in the lab concerns the role of the indigenous gut microbiota in antibiotic-associated diarrhea. About 20% of cases of antibiotic-associated diarrhea arise from infection with the toxin producing bacterial pathogen Clostridium difficile. Previous work has provided evidence that antibiotic-associated diarrhea, both cases due to infection with Clostridium difficile and cases independent of infection with this pathogen, results from the effect of antibiotics on the indigenous gut microbiota. In the case of antibiotic-associated diarrhea without C. difficile infection we have provided evidence that loss of the normal fermentation capacity of the microbiota results in an osmotic diarrhea as well as potential colonic epithelial dysfunction due to decreases in the levels of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate. Our work on recurrent C. difficile infection has demonstrated that recurrence is associated with decreases in the overall diversity of the indigenous gut microbiota. This work provides the first evidence that alteration in the community structure of the gut microbiota can lead to sustained loss of colonization resistance against bacterial pathogens. To supplement our clinical studies, we have developed a murine model of C. difficile infection that recreates most aspects of human disease and allows us to closely examine the interaction between the pathogen, the indigenous microbiota and host responses in the development of disease. Using the model we have conducted studies that have examined how disruption of the indigenous microbiota by antibiotics creates a metabolic environment that favors the germination C. difficile spores and vegetative outgrowth within the gastrointestinal tract.

To extend our work on host-microbe interactions we have recently started using stem cell-derived intestinal organoids to study how commensal microbes and pathogens interact with the intestinal epithelium. This flexible system allows us to examine the bidirectional interaction between microbes and the host epithelium to understand how this interaction affects both members of the symbiosis.

Candidate’s Statement
It would be a great honor to serve on the Council on Microbial Sciences of the American Society for Microbiology. As an infectious diseases physician who conducts research that ranges from mechanistic studies of bacterial pathogenesis to translational research on nosocomial infections I have been fortunate to be able to walk the path from bench to bedside. The study of the role of microbes in human health and disease has expanded with increasing interest in the human microbiome, the rise and spread of antibiotic resistant microbes and technical advances in our ability to generate and process large amounts of data. All of these factors have contributed to the rise of "team science" approaches to study microbial systems. My interest in understanding the role that microbes play in human health has led me to seek out microbiologists with what was initially thought to be disparate interests and expertise.

As someone who was studying microbial pathogenesis when I started my academic career in 2001, a number of my colleagues thought it was odd that I took my first faculty position so that I could work with scientists who were studying microbes in soil and termite guts. As someone who as a trainee only presented posters at the ASM General Meeting in Divisions B, C or D it was interesting for me to spend time wandering posters in Division N. Currently, with the interest in the microbiome this is not at all unusual, but my experiences early in my independent academic career taught me the value of bridging multiple areas of interest and expertise in the field of microbiology. As I have continued to seek out collaborators willing to tackle broad problems related to human health this has prompted me to extend collaborations outside of microbiology. Working with developmental biologists as allowed me to investigate the use of stem cell-derived intestinal organoids as potential novel systems for the study of enteric diseases. Collaborating with a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering is opened up opportunities to apply big data machine learning techniques to apply a systems biology approach to study hospital-acquired infections.

The American Society for Microbiology is the world's premier society for the study of microbes in all spheres of activity. More than ever, this confluence of researchers with broad expertise would best be served by a concerted effort to look for novel intersections between its members. As a member of the Council on Microbial Sciences I would work to strengthen existing cross disciplinary interactions and seek to foster novel collaborations that would further leverage the combined strengths of our membership in order to understand the role that microbes play in the world at large.

 

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