ASMDL Slide Show


American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer (ASMDL) Program


Introductory Slide Show and Script


All ASMDL Lecturers are asked to incorporate the short ASMDL Introductory Slide Show and Script into the beginning of their lectures. Please contact Anne Dempsey at ASM Headquarters to have the slide show and script e-mailed to you:

Anne Dempsey




Daniel J. Wozniak

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Daniel J. Wozniak (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

Departments of Microbial Infection and Immunity, Microbiology

Center for Microbial Interface Biology

Ohio State University

704 BRT, 460 West 12th Avenue

Columbus, OH  43210


Phone: 614-247-7629 (Office)

Phone: 614-688-1619 (Lab)

Fax:     614-292-9616



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  D (Microbe-Host Interactions)

Secondary Division:  H (Genetics & Molecular Biology)                                         



My research activities and interests are focused on the pathogenesis of several bacteria that cause chronic, devastating infections in humans.  In chronic airway infections and wounds, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Acinetobacter are the most common nosocomial pathogens isolated and are consistently associated with high mortality rates. Resources spent treating such infections in the United States are estimated at ~ $25 billion annually.  These infections are extremely difficult to control since the bacteria exhibit a biofilm-mode of growth rendering them resistant to antimicrobials and phagocytic cells.  Topics and descriptions of potential lectures include:


Bacterial Biofilms  

Biofilms, which are defined as communities of microorganisms that are attached to a surface, play a critical role in infectious diseases.  Because of their innate resistance to antibiotics, phagocytic cells and other biocides, biofilms are difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate, representing a critically important challenge for antiinfective programs in the pharmaceutical industry.  Topics for discussion include the overall developmental cycle of microbial biofilms, the impact of various matrix components as well as type IV mediated twitching motility in P. aeruginosa biofilm development, and the links between biofilms and chronic infection.


Experimental Therapeutics for Use in Patients Infected with Bacterial Biofilms  

The matrix contributes considerably to the highly resistant nature of microbial biofilms.  In collaborative studies, we are developing novel vaccines and enzymes that could inhibit growth and/or formation of the biofilm matrix.  Such agents may be of significant therapeutic value in patients colonized with biofilms.


Defining Pathoadaptive Processes and Evolution of Pathogens during Infection   

Patients with cystic fibrosis become colonized with multiple pathogens.  During the course of infection, P. aeruginosa undergoes a phenotypic conversion to either a rugose or mucoid phenotype due to the overproduction of distinct polysaccharides.  These conversions result from mutations occurring in genes that regulate polysaccharide synthesis.  Since such conversion is associated with increased patient morbidity and persistence and mortality, we are investigating both the molecular mechanisms and the host-factors that may promote such conversion.  The topic of bacterial evolution in the context of a chronic infection will be covered in the lecture. 


Interface of Innate Immunity and Biofilms  

Biofilms are capable of dampening proinflammatory host responses as well as subverting neutrophil killing.  These phenomena are unique to biofilms; planktonic bacteria are efficiently killed and produce a robust inflammatory response in neutrophils.  We have evidence that unique biofilm mechanisms are utilized to subvert neutrophil killing, thereby resisting host clearance.  By identifying such immune evasion tactics and neutrophil dysfunction, pharmacologic manipulation can be implemented in new and innovative ways for the prevention and treatment of a variety of diseases.    



Dr. Daniel Wozniak obtained his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Ohio State University in 1989.  He spent a three-year Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-supported fellowship at the University of Tennessee Medical School studying the molecular biology and pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  He joined the faculty of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 1993 and remained there until 2008, when he returned to Ohio State University, where he is currently a full professor in the Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity.  Dr. Wozniak has published ~80 peer-reviewed manuscripts, four book chapters, and >200 abstracts/conference proceedings.  He currently has ten scientists in his group, each of whom is studying some aspect of bacterial pathogenesis or behavior.  His scientific interests include understanding fundamental aspects of gene expression, especially the control of virulence determinants and biofilm formation of pathogenic bacteria.  Dr. Wozniak has NIH- and CFF- sponsored research to study biofilm matrix composition and function, immune interactions with biofilms, pathoadaptation, and chronic infections.  Sorrento, Medimmune, and Pfizer also sponsor projects in his laboratory.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I believe that many of the problems and future concerns of mankind could be solved by harnessing the power of microbes.  I want to be involved in the ASMDL program due to a passion for microbiology and wish to communicate this to junior scientists.  My enthusiasm for Branch meetings has been fostered throughout my career, participating as a graduate student in the Ohio Branch, and serving as a speaker for both North Carolina and Ohio Branch meetings. I saw first-hand how effective communicators instill the excitement and thrill of microbial discovery.  I am also a dedicated educator and my philosophy has been shaped by experiences that I’ve encountered during my tenure as a scientist and teacher.  In essence, my philosophy is geared towards reinforcing four underlying, inter-related principles: (1) the thrill of discovery, (2) fostering inherent curiosity, (3) tenacity trumps complacency, and (4) bringing knowledge to practice.  I emphasize these principles in both education and public speaking opportunities.  My commitment to training and educating students and postdocs is evidenced by teaching awards and the training of eleven pre-doctoral and five postdoctoral students, each with independently established research or academic positions.  I have also served on the advisory committees of

65 graduate students and 20 undergraduates through my career.  Finally, my dedication to the mission of ASM is evidenced by the fact that I have maintained membership since 1986, attended most General Meetings and numerous conference meetings, spoken or organized symposia, participated in ASMCUE, served on the Journal of Bacteriology Editorial Board, and served as Division D (Microbe-Host Interactions) Chair Elect/Chair.

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Nancy S. Miller, M.D.

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Nancy S. Miller, M.D. (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

Department of Laboratory Medicine

Boston Medical Center

1 BMC Place

670 Albany Street, Suite #733

Boston, MA  02118


Phone: 617-638-8705

Fax:     617-638-4556



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  C (Clinical Microbiology)                                       



Case-based Potpourri: Challenges, Conundrums, and Lessons Learned  

An audience-interactive favorite!  From Dr. Miller’s log book, case-based presentations are used to illustrate a spectrum of clinical and laboratory challenges such as, when to say yes, no, or maybe; noteworthy practice standards; what to do with new or no guidelines; trials of taxonomy; temptations of technology; phenotypic triumphs; odd observations; and lessons learned. [Intermediate to advanced; but there’s plenty for beginners to enjoy as well]


Point of Care Meets Microbiology: What We Have, What We Need, What Is on the Way? Preparing for the Next Frontier at Point-of-Care!  

The last decade has seen an explosion of new technology for infectious diseases diagnostics including point-of-care applications.  This whirlwind tour briefly reviews point-of-care basics and explores some key considerations: How do we bring the microbiology laboratory to the bedside?  Do we really need to do it?  Is there a Holy Grail of diagnostics?  What defines success at the point-of-care here and in the global community?  This presentation points the way to the new frontier at point-of-care! [Basic to intermediate]


Diagnostic Algorithms: A Study in Black, White, and Gray  

A review of current algorithms and approaches that govern specific infectious diseases testing and how they may succeed, struggle or fail to pin-the-tail on the diagnostic question.  Examples may include: Syphilis, Lyme disease, HIV, C. difficile disease, and pneumocystis pneumonia, etc. [Basic to intermediate]


Blood Culture Best Practices  

Blood cultures have been called “the most important test performed by the clinical microbiology laboratory.”  Equally important are the various mythologies, uncertainties, and controversies associated with optimal blood culture practices.  This is a review of the mythology, guidelines and literature meant to inform laboratory and clinical practice. [Basic to intermediate-plus]


Fungal Fest – A Primer of Medical Mycology

Yeast and mould.  Friend and foe.  Some live with us, on us, and inside us.  Others are ubiquitous environmental dwellers.  Who are they?  What laboratory and clinical challenges do they pose?  Here’s an opportunity to find out more about fungal phenomena or to refresh your memory!  This primer covers a variety of medically important fungi and includes audience-interactive quizzes. [Basic to intermediate]


Administrative Clinical Microbiology (Three Separate 1-Hour Lecture Options):  

Planning for New Diagnostic Platforms or Tests – What to Pick and How to Choose?

Rock, paper, scissors!  In this dynamic era of diagnostics how do we plan and pick new instruments and tests for the microbiology laboratory?  Who, what, where, when and why?  Do you have a scheme to help tackle the 5 W’s? [Basic to intermediate]


Cost Analysis for New Tests and Presentation to Leadership

This is an introduction to definitions, examples, and calculations relevant to budget, financial considerations, and justification to leadership – focusing on new tests and instruments; includes SWOT analysis, cost categorization, break-even analysis, return-on-investment, and the basics of dynamic financial models. [Basic to intermediate-plus]


Occupy Call Street! Reconsidering Critical Action Values for Clinical Microbiology

In spite of general regulatory oversight of critical action values (CAV), individual policy revisions are left to the discretion of laboratory directors in conjunction with their clinical communities.  With regard to clinical microbiology and CAV, discussion in published literature is limited.  Reconsideration of microbiology CAV policy benefits from an organized approach and reconciliation of different perspectives and resources.  Recent experiences and considerations for the future are presented. [All levels of experience]




Nancy S. Miller, M.D. is a board-certified pathologist (Anatomic and Clinical Pathology) with a fellowship in medical microbiology (all at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions).  She is currently Medical Director of Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Diagnostics at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and is an Associate Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.  At BMC, Dr. Miller is immersed in the daily challenges of diagnostic microbiology within a complex environment.  In addition, she nurtures interests in practice standards, policy, and process improvement.  She was a contributor to the CLSI M52 Verification of Commercial Microbial Identification and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Systems (2015).  Currently she serves on two working groups: (1) Protocol development for validation of endoscope culturing and reprocessing quality monitor (ASM-CDC-FDA); and (2) Evidence-based Laboratory Practice Guideline on C. difficile, (ASM-CDC).  Dr. Miller has various teaching responsibilities that include laboratory and medical house staff, students, and peers.  She is faculty and a lecturer for workshops at ASM General Meetings and at national and regional professional events.  Her research focus is translational.  She is a clinical Principal Investigator for projects involving new diagnostics for infectious diseases and she serves on expert panels for development and implementation of new assays and instrumentation. 

Dr. Miller has served two terms as President of the Northeast Branch of ASM (2014-2016).


Summary of Professional Experience Relevant to the ASMDL Program – Nancy S. Miller, M.D. 

  • Current Appointments:
    1. Medical Director, Clinical Microbiology and Molecular Diagnostics, Boston Medical Center
    2. Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
  • My experience in clinical microbiology is broad and deep, including diagnostics, clinical care, process improvement, informatics, and new technologies and their impact on the core lab and at point-of-care.
  • My lectures reflect the dynamic nature of clinical and academic microbiology across a range of experience and topics. Presentations are designed to engage, educate, and encourage audience interaction.
  • Recent presentations at an introductory- and intermediate-level include: The shift to culture-independent technology, basic molecular techniques, lab biosafety preparedness, and the evolution of infectious diseases testing at point-of-care.  Intermediate- to advanced-level lectures include: Optimal blood culture practices, a medical mycology primer, Lyme disease diagnostics and controversies, fecal microbiota transplants, lab considerations in an era of improved microbial identification, planning for new diagnostic assays and platforms, cost assessment for new tests, and a variety of case-based diagnostic challenges.
  • Current teaching responsibilities include leadership roles and presentations to clinical peers, medical house staff, laboratory staff, and students:
    1. Convener and lecturer at professional conferences and student-centric events, including:
      1. American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
      2. Northeast Branch of ASM and other Region I Branches of ASM
      3. Northeast Association for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease
      4. American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science–Central New England
    2. Lecturer, “General Pathology of Infectious Diseases,” Graduate School course, Pathology and Pathophysiology of Disease, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM)
    3. Director and teacher, Microbiology laboratory orientation and core didactics, Infectious Diseases fellows and PharmD residents, Boston Medical Center (BMC)
    4. Director and teacher, Medical Microbiology weekly tutorial, Pathology residents, BUSM
    5. Co-director and lecturer, Infectious Diseases elective, medical students, BUSM
    6. Ad hoc faculty mentor, medical technologist students on clinical lab internship at BMC
    7. Continuing Education seminars for laboratory staff, BMC
    8. Ad hoc lectures for house staff and medical students, BMC and BUSM
  • Ongoing professional commitment to ASM and microbiology – recent activities include:
    1. President, Northeast Branch ASM (2014-2016, 2 terms)
    2. Workshop Faculty, ASM General Meetings (2012, 2014-2016)
    3. Symposium co-convener, ASM General Meeting, 2014
    4. Contributor, Document Development Committee: Verification of Commercial Microbial Identification and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Systems, 1st ed. CLSI M52, 2015
    5. Member, Working Group: Protocol development for validation of endoscope culturing and reprocessing quality monitor, joint effort by ASM, CDC, and FDA
    6. Member, Working Group: Evidence-based Laboratory Practice Guideline on C. difficile, joint effort by ASM and CDC, Laboratory Medicine Best Practice initiative

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



It is a privilege to represent the ASM educational mission by participating in the Distinguished Lecturer program.  At work and as President of the Northeast Branch of ASM, I’ve had the pleasure of convening and participating in various educational conferences and events.  The camaraderie and mentorship provided by these activities is inspiring and important to our profession, particularly with regard to students and those just beginning their careers. My experience in clinical microbiology includes diagnostics and clinical care, process improvement, informatics, and new technologies and their impact on the core lab and at point-of-care.  My presentations reflect the dynamic nature of our field across a range of topics and expertise.  My goal is to engage and encourage audience interaction; to educate and be educated.  I look forward to meeting new colleagues and sharing experiences with you.

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Henry Neal Williams, Ph.D.

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Henry Neal Williams, Ph.D. (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

School of the Environment

Florida A&M University

FS Humphries Science Research Complex

1515 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard

Tallahassee, FL  32301


Phone: 850-599-3550

Phone: 410-627-4336



Speaker’s Website:




Primary Division:  N (Microbial Ecology)

Secondary Division:  Q (Environmental & General Applied Microbiology)                                        



The Life and Times of Bdellovibrio and Like Organisms, the World’s Smallest Predator    

Bdellovibrio-like predatory bacteria which prey on many Gram-negative bacterial species are widely distributed in the environment, water, soil, sewage, animals and plant roots and rhizophere.  Through predation and killing of other bacteria, they are believed to play a role in bacterial mortality and controlling bacterial populations, including human pathogens, in nature along with bacteriophage and protists.  They also are involved in the cycling of nutrients.  In this talk, the ecology of these predatory bacteria will be discussed along with their unique biphasic life cycle, distribution and factors which influence it, interaction with other bacteria including pathogens, and future potential for practical uses in controlling human, animal and plant pathogens.    


Predatory Bacteria and Bacteriophage: Antagonists or Conspirators?  

Predatory bacteria such as Halobacteriovorax and other Bdellovibrio-like organisms and bacteriophage infect and kill bacteria resulting in bacterial mortality and control of bacterial populations.  Both Bdellovibrio-like predators and bacteriophage are obligate predators, requiring prey (or host) cells to multiply and sustain their populations.  In some cases they prey on the same bacterial strains.  In seeking prey and controlling bacterial populations, are they antagonists/protagonist or co-conspirators)?   This talk will explore this question. 


Environmental Factors Orchestrate Bacterial Predators and Predation  

Nature has provided several, and perhaps more, predators of bacteria, ostensibly to contribute, along with physical and chemical factors, to the control of bacteria in the environment.  Do these predators work in concert or independent of each other?  Is there an influence by the environment?  This talk will address this issue.


Mentoring Outside the Box  

It is widely agreed that good mentoring is a critical aspect of students’ success and also in producing sufficient numbers of scientists and technical professionals to meet the needs of the nation’s workforce for the future.  It is also acknowledged that many students who enter into the sciences subsequently drop out or change fields and are drained from the pipeline.  This talk will explore how different mentoring approaches may improve this outcome. 


Diversity and Inclusion in Science – Making it Happen: The Story of One Scientist  

Henry Neal Williams believes he has achieved success in producing a diversified and inclusive group of scientists.  He also believes that elements of his approach are applicable to others.  In this talk he will share his approach. 


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH – Henry Neal Williams, Ph.D.

Dr. Henry N. Williams, Professor at the School of the Environment at Florida A&M University, has over 40 years of experience in higher education and research and is considered the leading authority on the ecology of the Bdellovibrio and like predatory bacteria.  Another area of his research has been the microbiological quality of dental unit water supply.  He has extensive experience as a lecturer and seminar speaker and has been invited to make presentations of his research at many national and international scientific meetings and universities.  Williams has published several book chapters and over 50 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals, some of which have been cited as landmark contributions to the field.  Reviews of his published works have been positive.  Links to Nature reviews and to blog:

Williams has organized and convened ASM General Meeting symposia and sessions and has served as President of the Maryland Branch of ASM.  He has been invited to serve as an ad hoc reviewer for several scientific journals.  He has been awarded many grants from both government agencies and private organizations, and has been nationally recognized for mentoring of students at all levels.  In 2003, Dr. Williams was elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I want to participate in the ASMDL program to share topics that are novel, engaging and appealing to audiences in various fields of microbiology, from ecology and clinical to basic science.  A primary topic will be the ecology of the bacterial predators, Bdellovibrio and like organisms (BALOs), among the most fascinating bacteria in the microbial world.  They are among the smallest and fastest bacteria known.  My passion for understanding the role of BALOs in bacterial mortality, the microbial loop, and potential as a live antibiotic comes across in my presentations.  Further, my participation adds diversity to the program in both topic and ethnicity (African American).  My commitment to students and postdoctoral associates is nationally recognized; e.g., recipient of the ASM William A. Hinton Research Training Award, and the Role Model of Year Award by American Role Models Conference.

My commitment to ASM is demonstrated by active membership for 40 years, contributing to the science and community; e.g., organized/convened three General Meeting sessions, served as ASM Congressional Science Fellow, AAM Fellow, AAM Symposium panel, and co-chaired Task Force on Minority Participation within ASM, mentored an ASM Undergraduate Research Fellow and in the ASM Mentoring Program, reviewed for ASM and more than 12 other journals, most recently Nature and Nature Communications.

My vision/philosophy is to better understand microorganisms and how to apply their power.  My purpose is to share my knowledge and expertise with future scientists and to bring greater diversity to science.  I would be a good fit for the ASMDL program because people find me approachable, interactive and engaging. 

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Karl Klose

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Karl Klose (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases

Department of Biology

University of Texas at San Antonio

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX  78249


Phone: 210-458-6140

Fax:     210-458-4468



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  D (Microbe-Host Interactions)



Deadly Diarrhea: Vibrio cholerae in the Time of Cholera 

Cholera pandemics have been a major cause of morbidity and mortality among humans.  There is still no highly effective vaccine to prevent cholera, so a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie disease is warranted to develop new therapeutics and preventives.  This lecture will cover a background on cholera, and discuss research designed to understand how the bacteria respond to their environment and cause disease in humans.


Killer Bunnies and Bioweapons: Tularemia and Biodefense  

Francisella tularensis, long known as the cause of rabbit fever, was developed into an aerosolized bioweapon that can cause high mortality in humans.  This lecture will describe uncovering the mechanisms that F. tularensis uses to cause disease, and discuss how a vaccine can be developed to prevent tularemia.    


The Rise of the Superbugs: Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria  

Bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to all the antibiotics that are used to treat infections.  This is leading to a crisis in which medicine is heading backwards to the pre-antibiotic era, where humans die from infections that should be easily treatable with antibiotics.  This lecture will be a general talk regarding the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, what causes the spread of antibiotic resistance, and ideas on how we can combat this problem. 



Dr. Karl Klose received his Ph.D. in Microbiology at UC Berkeley, and performed postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School.  He was then hired as a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (UTHSCSA), and later moved to the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and is the founder of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.  Klose’s research focuses on understanding bacterial pathogenesis.  His laboratory studies Vibrio cholerae and the potential bioweapon Francisella tularensis.  Klose is an author on more than 90 publications, and has received funding from numerous sources.  He has mentored many Ph.D., Masters, and undergraduate students.  He served as the President of the Texas Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (2001-2003), and has been an organizer of multiple national and international meetings.  He has twice been a recipient of ASM Visiting Professorships, in Kolkata, India and in Valparaiso, Chile.  He received the 2002 Presidential Junior Research Scholar award at UTHSCSA and the 2009 President’s Distinguished Research Achievement Award at UTSA.  Klose has given a TEDx talk on antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is available on YouTube and that has received over 40,000 views (  Klose was recently elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I want to be a part of the ASMDL program because I am a strong supporter of the ASM, and especially ASM Branches.  As president of the Texas Branch of the ASM from 2001-2003, I was responsible for organizing Branch meetings, which allowed me the opportunity to interact with Branch members (students, faculty, scientists) as well as the ASMDL speakers.  I realize what a great opportunity this program provides for the ASMDL to inspire the next generation of microbiologists.  I am a committed educator, having been teaching microbiology to undergraduate and graduate students at two different universities for my entire career.  I have a fair amount of speaking experience; in addition to my teaching and scientific lectures, I have given two TED talks, so I feel I can bring this experience to the ASMDL program.  I have been committed to the ASM and microbiology since I was in graduate school.  I received the ASM Raymond Sarber award as a Ph.D. student, and the ASM Vector Lab Investigator award as a postdoctoral fellow.  I have also served six years on the ASM Indo-US visiting professorship committee and six years on the ASM Biodefense Meeting committee.  I enjoy teaching people (scientists and non-scientists) about the fascinating world of microbes.

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Christine White-Ziegler

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(Speaker Term: July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Christine White-Ziegler (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

Smith College

Ford Hall 110

Northampton, MA  01063


Phone: 413-585-3815

Fax:    413-585-4534   



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  B (Microbial Pathogens)

Secondary Division:  K (Microbial Physiology & Metabolism)                                       



There’s No Place Like Host: Comparative Transcriptome Studies of Pathogenic and Commensal E. Coli in Response to Human Body Temperature  

We have completed temperature upshifts from room temperature to human body temperature (23˚C to 37˚C) in a nonpathogenic, uropathogenic, and enteropathogenic strain of E. coli to mimic the temperature transitions experienced as a bacterium enters a human host.  Transcriptome studies in each organism characterize what bacterial genes may be more highly expressed in the host, and allow us to build models of how temperature may cue adaptive responses in each strain.  In addition, identification of conserved thermoregulatory responses between the strains may elucidate targets for novel antimicrobial therapies.   


Stress Responses to the Ups and Downs of Temperature Changes  

The transitions between temperatures elicit a number of stress response pathways, ranging from the broad general stress (RpoS) response to more narrowly defined regulons.  These and a variety of metabolic pathways are quickly altered in response to temperature, suggesting that temperature may be a sentinel cue for anticipating and preparing the organism for new environments. 


From RNA to RNA-Seq: Bringing Next Gen Sequencing Technology into the Undergraduate Laboratory  

I recently taught a course-based research experience in which students utilized RNA-Seq, a next generation sequencing method, to analyze the expression pattern of every gene in an organism in response to varying environmental cues.  In this primarily laboratory-based course, each group of students designed and implemented an independent project on how bacteria respond to changes in their surroundings that may impact survival, transmission, or infection.  Going from sample preparation through bioinformatic analyses, the students used state-of-the-art molecular techniques to complete their experiments.  The course culminated in each group presenting and writing about their research in professional format.  This was completed in collaboration with our core Center for Molecular Biology and might serve as a model for involving advanced undergraduates in novel research. 


Doing It All: Teaching and Research at an Undergraduate Institution

As a professor at a small liberal arts college, I have taught a variety of courses along with having an undergraduate driven research lab that has been funded periodically by an NIH AREA grant.  My college is well equipped and has a high level of research support, making transcriptomics and proteomics accessible for the students in my lab.  I am happy to provide a career talk or Q&A session to discuss the variations in the balance between research and teaching that occurs at different types of colleges and discuss advice on how to get a job at a liberal arts institution.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH – Christine White-Ziegler

Christine White-Ziegler is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Program in Biochemistry at Smith College, an all-women’s liberal arts college located in Northampton, Massachusetts.  In collaboration with the numerous undergraduates she has mentored in her laboratory, she explores how commensal and pathogenic bacteria sense and respond to temperature, responses that may facilitate survival and colonization in a host and lead to infection.  She has frequently presented her research at national ASM meetings and the Gordon Conference on Microbial Stress Response, the latter of which she co-chaired in 2014.  At Smith College, she teaches courses in microbiology, immunology, and microbial pathogenesis.  She serves as Director of the Center for Molecular Biology, a core facility that emphasizes the integration of cutting edge molecular biology techniques in undergraduate courses, research and K-12 outreach.  Using the Center resources, she recently developed an advanced course-based research experience using RNA-Seq on which she will give a talk at the upcoming ASM Microbe 2016.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



As an active researcher at a primarily undergraduate institution, I am highly committed to undergraduate research training and teaching.  I can bring a unique perspective to the ASM Distinguished Lecturer program about the research training and teaching of microbiology that is occurring at the undergraduate level in liberal arts colleges that are highly research active.  The pedagogy of scientific teaching recently emphasizes (1) how to do science and (2) the involvement of students in novel projects through course-based research experiences.  The integration of undergraduates as the primary participants in research labs or CRE courses achieves both of these goals.  Through my research program, I enjoy the opportunity to highlight how undergraduates can contribute to peer reviewed investigations of important microbiological problems and how this type of training prepares them for entry level positions or graduate school.  ASM has offered my undergraduates the unique and valued opportunity to present their research in a national forum; I would like to give back to ASM by highlighting for others how the support of students at this level builds our scientific pipeline, particularly in microbiology.

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Dr. D. Jay Grimes

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Dr. D. Jay Grimes (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

The University of Southern Mississippi

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

300 Laurel Oak Drive

Ocean Springs, MS  39564


Phone: 228-818-8009



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  N (Microbial Ecology)

Secondary Division:  Q (Environmental & General Applied Microbiology)                                        



Ecology of Indigenous Marine Bacteria such as the Vibrios and the Factors that Allow Them to Cause Disease in Humans and Other Animals  

Several members of the Vibrionaceae cause diseases in humans and other animals.  These diseases are usually gastroenteritis or wound infections. 


Microbiomics of the Brown Alga Sargassum  

Pelagic Sargassum is an important habitat for diverse species of pelagic fish.  This lecture will cover both the microbiomics of normal Sargassum and Sargassum oiled by the Deepwater Horizon blowout.


Microbiomics of Bottlenose Dolphins  

This lecture will address the viromics and bacteriomics of healthy, free-ranging bottlenose dolphins. 


Bacterial Diseases in Marine Aquaculture  

This lecture will address diseases in cultivated marine fishes including red snapper, speckled seatrout and striped bass, and it will also cover diseases in cultivated white shrimp. 


Flesh Eating Bacteria

There are several bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis, called “flesh eating bacteria” by the press.  This talk will cover all of these pathogens – their ecology, epidemiology and pathogenesis – and describe what is really meant by flesh eating.



D. Jay Grimes is Professor of Coastal Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM).  From 2002 to 2007 he served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at USM and from 1997 to 2007 he was Director of the USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.  Previously, Grimes served on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (1971 to 1980), University of Maryland (1980 to 1987), and University of New Hampshire (1987 to 1990); he was also director of the New Hampshire Sea Grant College Program.  In 1990, Grimes was selected for federal service as a microbiologist and program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy.  Grimes is a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology and in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He chaired the American Society for Microbiology’s Communications Committee for nine years and he chaired ASM’s Environmental Microbiology Committee from 2012 to 2015.  He is past-president of the U.S. Federation of Culture Collections, served as vice chair of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education, was chair of the NASULGC Board on Oceans and Atmosphere, and served on the Science Advisory Panel to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.  Much of his research has focused on the ecology of waterborne human diseases, especially the Vibrios.  Recently, Grimes investigated the applicability of satellite remotely sensed data to predict human health risks from waterborne pathogens, especially Vibrio parahaemolyticus.  He is also examining antibiotic resistance in bacteria isolated from water, sediment, fish and bottlenose dolphins in Mississippi Sound.  Grimes received his B.A. and M.A. in Biology from Drake University (1966 and 1968) and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Colorado State University (1971).

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



I have been a member of ASM since 1967 and a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) since 1990.  I began my teaching career in 1971, the year I received my Ph.D., and, with one exception, I have been teaching every year since.  The exception is the seven years I spent as a microbiology program manager for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Research.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the many challenges, opportunities and rewards associated with teaching and I firmly believe that to become an effective science educator one must be a successful scientist.  Accordingly, I have endeavored to do both and I believe I have accomplished my goal.  I believe that microbiology offers an exciting platform for educators and to that end I have always tried to inspire students with the mystery of microbes.  My interest in microbiology has always involved microbial ecology, and in 1980 I “added salt to my media” and became a marine microbiologist.  Most of my research has been focused on members of the Vibrionaceae, and especially Vibrio cholerae, V. parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus.  Recently, I have launched a research program that is examining antibiotic resistance in seawater, sediment, marine fish, oysters and bottlenose dolphins.

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Melanie R. Mormile

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Melanie R. Mormile (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

Department of Biological Sciences

Missouri University of Science and Technology

400 W. 11th Street

Rolla, MO  65409-1120


Phone: 573-341-6346

Fax:     573-341-4821



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  Q (Environmental & General Applied Microbiology)

Secondary Division:  W (Microbiology Education)                                         



Going from Microbial Ecology to Genome Data and Back Again:  Studies on a Haloalkaliphilic Bacterium Isolated from Soap Lake, Washington State  

This talk was developed to explore whether the annotation of genes in the Halanaerobium hydrogeniformans genome reflected the extreme conditions in Soap Lake that is highly alkaline with a mineral content 10 X that of the oceans.  The organism possesses many genes that apparently provide it with the capability of thriving under both saline and alkaline conditions.  The most abundant COG genes are also investigated.  In addition, comparisons can be made between the genome of H. hydrogeniformans and other species of Halanaerobium.


Industrially Relevant Metabolic Activities of a Haloalkaliphilic Bacterium Isolated from Soap Lake, Washington  

Extreme environments present the opportunity to isolate bacteria and/or their genes for use during industrial processes.  Halanaerobium hydrogeniformans was isolated from Soap Lake, a salty alkaline lake in Washington State.  H. hydrogeniformans is capable of producing hydrogen from biomass that has been alkaline-pretreated without the need for adjusting the pH to neutral or diluting out the salts.  In addition, this organism can form propanediol, a commodity chemical, from glycerol, a waste product from biodiesel production.  This talk will illustrate how extremophilic environments can be a source of industrially relevant bacteria and/or their genes.    


Are There Martians in Australia?  How Acid Saline Lakes Can Serve as a Mars Analog  

People have long wondered if there is life on Mars.  With the confirmation of the presence of water on Mars, this question is seriously considered.  The acidic saline lakes of Australia serve as analogs for previous bodies of water on Mars.  The microbial communities in these extreme sites can provide targets for the investigation of the possible presence of life on Mars. 


How Extremophiles Can Provide Undergraduate Students with Experiential Learning  

Missouri University of Science and Technology requires that all undergraduate students have exposure to experiential learning.  Undergraduate research opportunities on extremophilic bacteria provide an exceptionally good way for students to participate in research experiences.  In addition, extremophilic exploration can be integrated into experiences such as contributing to the Mars Rover Design Team, a student group that participates in competitions, both nationally and internationally.



Dr. Melanie Mormile is an environmental microbiologist who specializes in extremophiles; e.g., halophilic bacteria.  She has published extensively in this field and holds two patents on the use of a haloalkaliphilic bacterium for biohydrogen production and has a patent pending on the use of this organism to form propanediol from glycerol, a biodiesel waste.  She is one of a very limited number of researchers who have studied the microbial populations in both saline alkaline and saline acidic environments.  She has extensive experience in performing research with Masters- and undergraduate-level students.  Dr. Mormile was interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation for inclusion on their Horizon episode covering the possibility of life elsewhere in our solar system.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



  • Why Lecturer Wants to Be a Part of the ASMDL Program:  The lecturers who were a part of the ASMDL program when I was a graduate student truly inspired me.  Long after the regional meeting was held, I was impressed that these people remembered me.  I would like to provide similar inspiration, advice and encouragement to the students at these meetings.
  • What Lecturer Will Bring to the ASMDL Program:  Since Biology at Missouri S&T does not have a Ph.D. program, my research has been carried out with Masters-level and undergraduate students. Therefore, I represent a unique perspective in the ASMDL program.
  • Lecturer’s Commitment to Students/Postdocs:  Early career scientists are the future of our discipline.  I cherish opportunities to hear about their experiences and discuss how they may fulfill their career objectives and possibly balance work/personal life issues.
  • Lecturer’s Commitment to ASM and to Microbiology:  Since I was a Masters student in 1985, I have been a member of ASM.  My career path has never strayed from environmental microbiology.
  • Lecturer’s Vision/Philosophy/Statement of Purpose:  In my interactions with students and others that I mentor, I seek to be a problem solver.  I also look for ways to meld basic research with practical applications, such as the use of extremophilic bacteria for industrial purposes.
  • Any Other Relevant Information as to Why Lecturer Is a Good Match for the ASMDL Program:  As a graduate student, I gave my first paper at an ASM Branch meeting.  Since becoming a faculty member at Missouri S&T, I have gained much from serving at almost all officer ranks of the Missouri Branch.  The opportunity to serve the ASM Branches in the capacity of the ASMDL program would allow me to return the benefits that I obtained early in my career.

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Kelly S. Doran

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(Speaker Term:  July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018)


Kelly S. Doran (term: 7/1/16 through 6/30/18)

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego, CA  92182


Phone: 619-594-1867

Fax:    619-594-5676



Speaker’s Website:



Primary Division:  D (Microbe-Host Interactions)

Secondary Division:  B (Microbial Pathogens)                                         



Mechanisms by which Bacteria Disrupt the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB)  

This lecture will focus on a newly identified mechanism by which bacteria disrupt tight junction components in brain endothelium.  This mechanism appears to be employed by multiple pathogens associated with meningitis that may disrupt cell polarity and allow bacteria to penetrate paracellularly and promote BBB permeability.  Focus will be given to both bacterial virulence factors and host cell determinants that result in pathogen transit across the BBB.   


Mechanisms Governing Bacterial Colonization and Therapeutic Intervention  

This lecture will discuss vaginal colonization by Group B streptococcus and focus on bacterial factors that promote attachment, competition with normal flora, and resistance to mucosal immunity.  Various therapeutic interventions designed to reduce vaginal carriage will also be discussed.    


Bacterial Regulation of Commensal and Invasive States  

This lecture will discuss the role of bacterial two component regulatory systems in modulating gene transcription during the switch from colonizing to invasive disease states.



Dr. Doran is a microbiologist with a broad background in host-pathogen interactions with expertise working with a variety of Gram-positive bacterial pathogens including Streptococcus, Staphylococcus (MRSA), and Bacillus anthracis.  Specifically, her research program seeks to elucidate the mechanisms by which bacteria penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in order to cause meningitis, as well as characterize the host response and defense during infection and disease progression.  She is also interested in how bacteria colonize the female reproductive tract and transmit to the fetus or newborn during pregnancy.  Using a variety of molecular genetic approaches, her research team seeks to discover and characterize bacterial virulence determinants involved in cytotoxicity, adherence, invasion, inflammation, molecular mimicry and resistance to immunologic clearance.  She also investigates the contribution of host factors such as surface receptors, signal transduction pathways, transcription factors, and autophagy in defense against invasive bacterial infection.  Dr. Doran has successfully developed a research program that has a demonstrated track record of productivity at the interface of bacteriology, host cell biology and immunology.  As a teacher-scholar she is passionate about teaching, training and mentoring students.  Graduates from her laboratory have taken academic faculty positions and/or industrial positions, or are now involved in graduate/professional school programs.

CV is available by request from at ASM Headquarters



My passion for microbiology has been shaped through various research experiences ranging from the genetic mechanisms responsible for light production in bioluminescent bacteria, to broad host range plasmid replication in various Gram-negative bacteria, to understanding the host-pathogen relationships that govern colonization and disease in the human host.  Just as my previous experiences and mentors helped cultivate my love for microbes and the scientific process, I similarly strive to impart my knowledge and love for my research field.  This is why I want to be a part of the ASMDL program – because I truly enjoy interacting with students and postdocs as well as mentoring them on career choices.  I have been active in ASM during my entire profession as a microbiologist and I have participated in our local ASM Branch meetings, where for the past six years students from my laboratory have won best poster presentation.  This has allowed them to travel to the national ASM meeting to present their work.  As a woman in science, I am also committed to promoting women and those underrepresented in microbiology, and have been a mentor for students in the ASM Undergraduate Research Capstone Program. Additionally, over the last four years I have been invited to give 21 seminars, with already two invitations as a Key Note speaker in 2016.  Thus I will bring my speaking and research experience in microbiology to the ASMDL program and feel that I will do my best to be an asset to the program.   

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