Thursday, 16 March 2017 09:56

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - March

ASM ACTIVITIES

  • Volunteer to be a Career Adviser at ASM Microbe session
  • Pre-ASM Microbe Workshop Provides One-On-One Coaching
  • Questions about Writing Grants?
  • ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
  • ASM Microbe 2017
  • ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE)
  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
  • Upcoming ASM Conferences
  • American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM) Certification

FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES

  • NIMHD Specialized Centers of Excellence on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54)
  • Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers (EHS CC) (P30)
  • HIV Pathogenesis and the Oral Microbiota (R01)
  • NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (S-STEM)
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES

  • Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP)
  • FDA Summer Internships Available
  • Postdoc in Soil Microbial Ecology & Biogeochemistry
  • Graduate assistantship at University of Alberta

SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS

  • Matthew Christopher Ikaika Medeiros, Ph.D., University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

ASM ACTIVITIES

Volunteer to be a Career Adviser at ASM Microbe session
We’re calling for volunteers to share insights about career pathways and provide coaching and advising in an informal small group discussion setting at the ASM Microbe session, “Microbiology Career Choices: What's Available and How to Succeed”. The session will be held Thursday, June 1, 2017 from 12:30 pm – 4:00 pm. This workshop is targeted to undergraduate and graduate students seeking diverse careers in the microbial sciences. Sign up here to serve as a career adviser.

Pre-ASM Microbe Workshop Provides One-On-One Coaching         
Undergraduates, postbaccalaureates, and graduate students are encouraged to register today for the Microbe Academy for Professional Development (MAPD)! Participants will receive personalized feedback on their presentation, strengthen mentoring relationships with researchers and academic advisors, and network with peers and faculty members during the two half-day workshops being held Wednesday, May 31 (2:00—6:00 pm) and Thursday, June 1 (8—11:30 am).

Questions about Writing Grants?
Sign up for the ASM Grant Writing Online Course being held August-October, 2017. The course will cover an overview of the funding landscape, tips for writing grants, and personalized feedback on portions of your grant. Registration closes July 15.

ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 7–10, 2017 | Savannah, GA
Join the top minds in the field at this leading international symposium to discuss key viral infection topics. Save on registration when securing your seat before March 30, 2017. View the program here.

ASM Microbe 2017
June 1–5, 2017 | New Orleans, LA
Explore the full scope of microbiology! Attend this premier event to connect with peers, learn about the latest updates, and share your science. Register before April 20, 2017 for early bird savings.

ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE)
July 27–30, 2017 | Denver, CO
Register now and take part in the important discussions to shape the future of teaching and learning in the biological sciences. Submit Microbrew Oral Abstract by March 15, 2017, and Submit Poster Abstract by April 3, 2017. View the preliminary program here and pre-conference workshops here.

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
November 1–4, 2017 | in Phoenix, AZ
Join a large community of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Stay tuned! Abstract submission opens from April 5, 2017 through September 8, 2017. Registration opens on June 30, 2017. Early bird registration rates end on October 10, 2017.

Upcoming ASM Conferences
http://www.asm.org/conferences

ASM Conference on Mechanisms on Interbacterial Cooperation and Competition
March 1–4, 2017 ǀ Washington, DC

ASM Conference on Innovative Microbial Ecology for Mitigation of Antibiotic Resistance and Bacterial Diseases
March 22–25, 2017 | Crystal City, VA

ASM Conference on Tuberculosis: Past, Present and Future
April 1–4, 2017 ǀ New York, NY
Hotel reservation deadline: March 10, 2017 

ASM/ASV Conference on Interplay of Viral and Bacterial Pathogens
May 1–4, 2017 | Bethesda, MD
Early bird registration deadline: March 23, 2017
Hotel reservation deadline: April 10, 2017

2nd ASM Conference on Rapid Applied Microbial Next-Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatic Pipelines 
October 8–11, 2017 | Washington, DC

Save the dates for more 2017 ASM Conferences!

American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM) Certification
Certification is a voluntary process in which individuals are recognized for demonstrating required skills and knowledge. ABMM certification is achieved by meeting rigorous educational and experiential eligibility requirements and passing a comprehensive written examination. This certification confirms you have the knowledge and skills necessary to direct laboratories engaged in the microbiological diagnosis of human disease. 

ABMM certifies the expertise of doctoral-level microbiologists seeking to direct medical and public health microbiology laboratories. It is recognized by federal and state governmental agencies as a significant component toward meeting licensure requirements for high complexity laboratory directors and is recognized under the final rule of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).

ABMM certification is achieved by passing an online multiple-choice exam that is offered daily in the month of June at testing centers worldwide.

Visit http://www.asm.org/abmm to learn more and apply online.

Deadline: April 1, 2017


FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES

NIMHD Specialized Centers of Excellence on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications to establish NIMHD Centers of Excellence in eligible institutions of higher education. The purpose of this initiative is to advance the science of minority health and health disparities by conducting transdisciplinary, multi-level research in a defined thematic area and by providing research opportunities and support for post-doctoral fellows, junior faculty, and other investigators. NIMHD Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Framework communicates NIMHD’s conceptualization of factors relevant to the understanding and promotion of minority health and to the understanding and elimination of health disparities (http://www.nimhd.nih.gov). The thematic focus chosen should address the intersection of domains of influence (biological, behavioral, physical environment, sociocultural environment, healthcare system) and levels of influence (individual, interpersonal, community, societal) in the Framework in some way and that research activities will embrace a multi-domain, multi-level perspective. The thematic focus should map onto the Framework, but the Framework is not intended to substitute for theoretical or conceptual models that underlie proposed research activities. Each Center of Excellence is expected to have a unifying thematic focus. The thematic focus should be at a level of specificity such that it is reasonable to expect that center activities can have a direct and demonstrable impact on addressing minority health and health disparities in that topic area. All center activities, including research projects, pilot projects, and community dissemination activities, should be designed to contribute to this impact. Letters of intent are due April 14, 2017, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-MD-17-005.html.

Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers (EHS CC) (P30)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites grant applications for Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers (EHS CC). As intellectual hubs for environmental health research, the EHS CC is expected to be the thought leaders for the field and advance the goals of the NIEHS Strategic Plan (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/about/strategicplan/). The Core Centers provide critical research infrastructure, shared facilities, services and /or resources, to groups of investigators conducting environmental health sciences research. An EHS CC enables researchers to conduct their independently-funded individual and/or collaborative research projects more efficiently and/or more effectively. The broad overall goal of an EHS CC is to identify and capitalize on emerging issues that advance improving the understanding of the relationships among environmental exposures, human biology, and disease. The EHS CC supports community engagement and translational research as key approaches to improving public health. Letters of intent are due April 17, 2017, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-ES-17-003.html.

HIV Pathogenesis and the Oral Microbiota (R01)
The objectives of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) are to expand our understanding of the interactions between HIV and the oral microbiota and the perturbations to the oral microbiota that may occur in the context of HIV infection. Outcomes from these studies may help develop tools for advanced prophylactic and therapeutic strategies to manage HIV and its manifestations in the oral cavity.

Despite our understanding of the important role of the oral ecosystem in health and disease, limited information is available regarding the oral microbiota (comprising bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses) in HIV pathogenesis. This includes how changes in the oral microbiota of an HIV-infected individual impact mucosal immunity, acute and chronic inflammation, HIV viremia, transmission, and latency, and how antiretroviral therapy (ART) influences the oral microbiota. Oral manifestations of HIV are common and include both opportunistic and ART-mediated diseases. Clinical manifestations of oral HIV include fungal, viral and bacterial lesions. ART-mediated dry mouth (xerostomia) also diminishes the antimicrobial effects of saliva potentially leading to tooth decay, oral candidiasis and periodontitis. However, only a few studies have attempted to characterize the oral microbiota in the context of HIV infection. Acute and chronic HIV infection, along with changes in local and systemic immunity, may perturb the normal oral microbiota. This in turn may lead to enhanced replication and/or latency of the virus. The systemic and local consequences of this are unknown. Studies of the gut microbiota after HIV infection suggest that the loss of homeostasis in the enteric community of the gut may lead to additional adverse health outcomes. HIV infection results in depletion of gastrointestinal CD4+ T cells. The changes in the mucosal immune system may contribute to perturbations in the gut microbial community that have been observed in HIV-infected individuals. Several studies have found enrichment of taxa with pathogenic potential and depletion of taxa that have anti-inflammatory potential. The loss of homeostasis in the enteric community of the gut may allow HIV progression and lead to other adverse health outcomes. Studies are warranted to examine whether similar changes occur in the oral microbiota in HIV infection. This FOA seeks to stimulate innovative research that will enhance our understanding of the role of microbiota in changing the immune response to HIV pathogenesis in the oral cavity. Specifically, this FOA encourages investigations of the underlying microbiota-related mechanisms that promote opportunistic infections and may facilitate further HIV replication and persistence in the oral cavity. Investigations of the systemic sequelae of oral microbial shifts are also encouraged. Letters of intent are due October 24, 2017, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DE-18-007.html.

NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (S-STEM)
A well-educated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce is a significant contributor to maintaining the competitiveness of the U.S. in the global economy. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program addresses the need for a high quality STEM workforce in STEM disciplines supported by the program and for the increased success of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Recognizing that financial aid alone cannot increase retention and graduation in STEM, the program provides awards to Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) to fund scholarships and to advance the adaptation, implementation, and study of effective evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities that support recruitment, retention, transfer (if appropriate), student success, academic/career pathways, and graduation in STEM. The S-STEM program encourages collaborations among different types of partners: Partnerships among different types of institutions; collaborations of STEM faculty and institutional, educational, and social science researchers; and partnerships among institutions of higher education and local business and industry, if appropriate.

The program seeks: 1) to increase the number of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need obtaining degrees in STEM and entering the workforce or graduate programs in STEM; 2) to improve the education of future scientists, engineers, and technicians, with a focus on academically talented low-income students; and 3) to generate knowledge to advance understanding of how factors or evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities affect the success, retention, transfer, academic/career pathways, and graduation in STEM of low-income students. Full proposals are due March 29, 2017, and more information is available at https://www.nsf.gov/mobile/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5257&org=NSF&from=home.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. This solicitation features two mechanisms for support of student research: (1) REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department or may offer interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Proposals with an international dimension are welcome. (2) REU Supplements may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects. Undergraduate student participants in either REU Sites or REU Supplements must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. Students do not apply to NSF to participate in REU activities. Students apply directly to REU Sites or to NSF-funded investigators who receive REU Supplements. To identify appropriate REU Sites, students should consult the directory of active REU Sites on the Web at http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.cfm. Full proposals requiring access to Antarctica are due May 26, 2017, and those not requiring access are due August 24, 2017. More information is available at https://www.nsf.gov/mobile/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5517&org=NSF&from=home.


ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES

Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP)
The Department of Energy (DOE) and Office of Environmental Management (EM) are offering summer internships to current undergraduate and graduate students attending a Minority Serving Institution through the Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP). Eligible candidates must be enrolled in a STEM discipline.

Requirements:

Be a US citizen
Be working toward a degree in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, or mathematics)
Have a minimum undergraduate or graduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

When & Where:
Summer start dates vary between May 15 & June 5, and are 10 weeks in duration
Research internships available at all six national labs
Argonne National Laboratory (Illinois)
Idaho National Laboratory (Idaho)
Los Alamos National Laboratory (New Mexico)
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Tennessee)
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Washington)
Savannah River National Laboratory (South Carolina)

Application Deadline: March 20, 2017

Compensation:
Selected candidates will be compensated by either a stipend or salary, and may include one round trip domestic travel to and from the host laboratory. Stipends and salaries will be commensurate with cost of living at the location of the host laboratory. Housing information will be provided to interns prior to arrival at the host laboratory, and will vary from lab to lab.

For the full list of internships and eligibility, visit http://orise.orau.gov/msipp. Questions? Contact Kerry.fomby@orau.org. To hear more about position openings like this, follow us on Twitter at @GovCareerPaths.

FDA Summer Internships Available
Three internships are available for 10- to 12- weeks to support research at the FDA Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory (GCSL)/Division of Seafood Science and Technology, Dauphin Island, AL. This Division is within the Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). The participants will assist senior scientists in planning and conducting studies and related activities in support of the FDA’s mission to address the occurrence of hazards in seafood. Potential areas of investigation for the internship awardees are: (1) Extraction of marine biotoxins from seafood for detection by in vitro analytical methods; (2) Extraction, detection, and characterization of enteric viruses from clinical, environmental, and food samples; (3) Evaluation of selective media for identification of pathogenic Vibrio species from seafood and environmental samples. Anticipated start of internships is early June 2017. Begin and end dates are flexible. The ideal applicant will have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s level degree program. Applicants with a doctorate degree will not be considered. To apply, please send CV/resume and two letters of reference to Dr. Jessica Jones (Jessica.Jones@fda.hhs.gov). Please include the area(s) of investigation in which you are interested. If you are selected for the internship, college transcripts (official or unofficial) and proof of health insurance will be required. Applications will be accepted until March 10, 2017. Stipend: $550/week + relocation assistance (up to $250)

Postdoc in Soil Microbial Ecology & Biogeochemistry
A post-doctoral position is now available in the Ecology Center and the Department of Biology at Utah State University, Logan, UT. The successful candidate will contribute to a project examining how soil microbial growth efficiencies are influenced by drought in agro-ecosystems. Minimum qualifications include: a PhD in biogeochemistry, soil science, microbial ecology, or a related field; excellent written and oral communication skills; good quantitative skills; evidence of research productivity demonstrated by publications in quality peer-reviewed journals; and the ability to work closely with others and independently at field sites. Additional background in analytical chemistry and stable isotope techniques is preferred. Utah State University is located within the beautiful mountain ranges of the Cache Valley in Northeastern Utah. The area provides a wealth of recreational possibilities, a high quality of life, and an affordable cost of living. The position is for a minimum of two years with the possibility of extension as funds allow. Salary range is $45,000 to $48,000 per year plus a generous benefits package. To apply go to https://usu.hiretouch.com/job-details?jobid=2134. Review of applications will begin March 1, 2017 and continue until the position is filled. For more information contact John Stark (john.stark@usu.edu). More information is available at http://www.biology.usu.edu/htm/research/stable-isotope-lab.

Graduate assistantship at University of Alberta
The Catchment and Wetland Sciences group (caws.ualberta.ca), led by Dr. David Olefeldt, studies impacts of disturbances and land management practices on catchment and wetland functions. We have a strong focus on northern peatlands and peatland-rich catchments, with current research conducted on the Boreal and Taiga Plains of western Canada. Here we study topics related to greenhouse gas fluxes, water quality, soil biogeochemistry, terrestrial-aquatic linkages, hydrogeology, permafrost thaw, wildfire, thermokarst, and soil carbon storage. We are currently looking for at least one new graduate student at either PhD or MSc level to join our group for the fall of 2017, to carry out research with focus on shallow lake biogeochemistry in northern Alberta and in the Northwest Territories. Proficiency with GIS software is an advantage, as well as general knowledge of biogeochemistry, ecology, or aquatic sciences. Specific research topics include impacts of climate change on methane emissions from ponds located in different ecozones of western Canada, or research on impacts of forest management and wildfire on pond water quality.   Interested students with suitable backgrounds and qualified GPA scores are encouraged to explore the information on graduate studies provided by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, and the Department of Renewable Resources.   How to apply: Please send a letter of interest to olefeldt@ualberta.ca. Include resume/CV describing your skills end education, university transcripts and names of three referees. Positions will be open until suitable candidates have been hired.   Full funding for these graduate opportunities is available through Graduate Research Assistant Fellowships, but students are expected to supplement this funding. This may include NSERC funding or other external sources. The University and the Department of Renewable Resources also provide competitive recruitment awards between $5,000 and $10,000 for outstanding MSc applicants and between $3,000 and $17,000 for outstanding PhD applicants. Graduates from a Canadian University with a GPA>3.7 on a 4.0 scale and international students with equivalent academic accomplishments usually receive a recruitment award.  


SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS

Matthew Christopher Ikaika Medeiros, Ph.D., University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Seasonal variation in weather is a strong driver of infectious disease transmission and determines the pathogens that circulate in the same populations of hosts and vectors at the same time. These co-infections can lead to interactions between pathogens which can be important modulators of infection and disease within hosts, and transmission dynamics between hosts. In a recent study published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (M.C.I. Medeiros, R. E. Ricklefs, J.D Brawn, M.O. Ruiz, T. L. Goldberg, and G. L. Hammer; “Overlap in the seasonal infection patterns of avian malaria parasites and West Nile virus in vectors and host”; https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.16-0236), the authors explore the seasonal infection patterns of various avian malaria parasites and West Nile virus, two common pathogens of North American bird populations. They demonstrate that infection dynamics of avian malaria parasites are strongly seasonal in both the Culex mosquito vectors and the avian hosts. However, several distinct species of avian malaria parasites had different seasonal infection patterns in both the mosquito vector and avian hosts. This suggests that despite utilizing similar hosts and vectors, different environmental drivers likely govern the transmission of avian malaria taxa. The temporal transmission dynamics of zoonotic West Nile virus broadly overlapped with avian malaria parasites in these host and vector populations. Indeed, West Nile virus and avian malaria infection were positively correlated in pools of individual Culex vectors captured at the same site at the same time, suggesting that some avian malaria parasites and West Nile virus respond to similar environmental drivers and may interact in hosts and vectors via coinfections. Future research should elucidate the drivers that determine differences in the seasonal infection patterns between distinct avian malaria parasite species. Moreover, future work must clarify the nature of interactions between ubiquitous avian malaria parasites and zoonotic West Nile virus in both avian hosts and mosquito vectors to determine if pathogens exclusive to wildlife can modulate zoonotic disease risk in human populations.                                          

Dr. Matthew Christopher Ikaika Medeiros earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and a Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in the laboratory of Dr. Robert E. Ricklefs. His post-doctoral training was completed at the Universidade de Brasília in the Department of Zoology and at Texas A&M University in the Department of Entomology. In his current position as an Assistant Professor in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Dr. Medeiros investigates the ecology of host-microbe interactions, with a special emphasis on infectious pathogens. Broadly, his research aims to understand the proximate and ultimate drivers of infectious disease transmission to inform invention strategies that mitigate transmission risks. Currently, a major research theme focuses on the influence of cosymbiosis on infection dynamics, disease progression in the host, and transmission between hosts.   This research line recognizes that the co-occurrence of parasitic, commensal, and mutualistic microbial symbionts in the same host individual is ubiquitous in nature, and interactions between these organisms within hosts have tangible consequences on the transmission of pathogens between hosts. In addition to his research, Dr. Medeiros has a deep commitment to expanding opportunities in the research enterprise for underrepresented groups in science. This commitment drives outreach initiatives to engage native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander communities to facilitate the understanding of ecological and environmental issues facing these communities and to increase participation in the STEM fields that will ultimately find solutions to these problems.

In July 2006, the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM) of the American Society for Microbiology Public and Scientific Affairs Board developed a monthly e-newsletter which contains information pertinent to minority microbiologists. Currently, there are very few minority-based newsletters for scientists, and there are none for microbiologists.

This e-newsletter provides a central means of distributing pertinent information to underrepresented minorities in the field of microbiology. Some examples include career advice, networking tips, relevant news articles, unique funding and career opportunities, microbiological issues affecting minorities (e.g., HIV), minority issues affecting microbiologists (e.g., minority retention), and scientific articles published by minorities or by minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

The target populations are African-Americans, Latino-Americans, Native Americans, Alaska natives, and Pacific Islanders; however, all ASM members are invited to sign up and to share this information with others who may find this e-newsletter beneficial.  

Signing up to receive The Minority Microbiology Mentor is very easy and is open to ASM members and non-members: simply go to http://www.asm.org/index.php/subscriptions2, enter your email address, and select "MinorityMicroMentor" then submit, and you will receive confirmation of your subscription by email. If you are an ASM member, you will be prompted to Log In before signing up.

The Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities is chaired by Dwayne W. Boucaud, Ph.D., Professor in the Quinnipiac University Department of Biomedical Sciences in Hamden, CT.  The Minority Microbiology Mentor Editor-in-Chief is Crystal N. Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA, and the Associate Editor is Andrea M. Rocha, Ph.D., Senior Staff Scientist with Geosyntec Consultants in Knoxville, TN.

The MMM can post employment ads only if they are first featured on the ASM’s Career Connections site: http://www.asmcareerconnections.org/home/index.cfm?site_id=756. Career Connections is offering a discount for job postings that are featured in the MMM. Please contact CMIIM@asmusa.org with your ad needs.

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

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