Thursday, 11 May 2017 13:24

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter - May

ASM ACTIVITIES

  • ASM Microbe – 34th Annual Minority Microbiologists Mixer and CMIIM Session
  • New on ASM’s Teaching Microbiology Blog
  • Volunteer to be a Career Adviser at ASM Microbe session
  • Pre-ASM Microbe Workshop Provides One-On-One Coaching
  • Get your Questions about Grants Answered at ASM Online Course
  • Profession of Microbiology Sessions at ASM Microbe
  • Diversity lecture at ASM Microbe 2017: Training for Post-Docs and Students with Dr. José Víctor García-Martínez
  • ASM Microbe 2017: From NASA to NOLA
  • ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE)
  • ASM-ESCMID Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
  • New Books From ASM Press!

FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES

  • Dysregulation of Immune Cell Regulatory Pathways by Mtb in the Context of HIV Infection (R61/R33)
  • Advancing Exceptional Research on HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse (R01)
  • Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES)
  • Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)

ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES

  • PhD candidate in soil phosphorus and carbon cycling in hydrocarbon degrading microbial communities
  • MS research opportunity in coastal plant-microbial ecology
  • NSF REU opportunity for field work with amphibians\

SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS

  • Letimicia Fears., MSc

ASM ACTIVITIES

ASM Microbe – 34th Annual Minority Microbiologists Mixer and CMIIM Session
If you are attending the ASM Microbe meeting which is being held from June 1 – 5, in New Orleans be sure to add the 34th Annual Minority Microbiologists Mixer onto your calendar. The Mixer will be held on Friday, June 2 at 6:30 PM at the New Orleans Marriott, Mardi Gras Ballroom Salon H. The Mixer is a great event to network. The winners of the ASM Microbe Minority Travel Award will be announced.

The Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities is sponsoring a special interest session at ASM Microbe:

SESSION 430 - Increasing Diversity of Faculty and Administration in Higher Education
June 4, 2017, 2:30 - 5:00 PM, Convention Center, Room 260
The session will report on the current status of underrepresented minorities in academia, specifically at the faculty and administrative level. Methods for increasing academic URM faculty an administration will also be discussed as well as means of increasing their retention. Each presenter is active and are leaders in these areas and many have published extensively concerning these issues.

New on ASM’s Teaching Microbiology Blog
Recent highlights on our blog for faculty include thoughts on Transforming Microbiology Education from ASM Education Director Amy Chang, sneak peeks of the plenary presentations taking place at ASMCUE in July (including one by Dr. Sylvia Hurtado, who will speak about diversity in higher education), Writing a Great Grant Application, Teaching Biodiversity, and Assessing Student Learning in the Lab.

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). ASM members receive a discount on registration fees.

Get your Questions about Grants Answered at ASM Online Course
Writing a grant application can be daunting, especially when you’re new to the process. How do you know what funding opportunities are available, how do you make your writing both succinct and impactful, and how can you ensure you’ve completed all of the forms correctly? Get your questions answered at the ASM Grant Writing Online Course. This seven-part series, taking place fall 2017, will answer your questions about the grant writing process and provide personalized feedback on your grant. Registration is open until July 15. Learn more

Profession of Microbiology Sessions at ASM Microbe
Are you attending the Microbe meeting in New Orleans? If so, don’t miss the Profession of Microbiology Sessions. With topics ranging from starting your teaching career to high impact practices in undergraduate education to digital technologies and e-learning, there’s something for everyone. You can also learn how to use social media more effectively to advance your career and meet experts in a variety of disciplines.

Diversity lecture at ASM Microbe 2017: Training for Post-Docs and Students with Dr. José Víctor García-Martínez
Join us at ASM Microbe 2017 for a training for students and post-docs with Dr. José Víctor García-Martínez, ASM’s Honorary Diversity Lecturer, on Saturday, June 3rd from 5:00—6:00 PM in the Student Lounge, Room 205, Convention Center. Dr. García is a professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During this unique session, Dr. García will offer advice to young scientists on:

  • How to sustain funding,
  • How to publish research in top tier journals,
  • How budding scientists can benefit from a mentor.

This session immediately follows the Inaugural Honorary Diversity with Dr. García, taking place from 3:15—3:45 PM in Room 344, Convention Center. The Diversity Lecture celebrates an accomplished microbiologist and exceptional speaker whose heritage is under-represented in the microbial sciences.

ASM Microbe 2017: From NASA to NOLA
June 1–5, 2017 | New Orleans, LA
Dr. Kate Rubins, microbiologist and astronaut, will give the keynote address on Saturday, June 3, at ASM Microbe 2017. Attend this premier event to hear Dr. Rubins speak about microbes in space, connect with peers, and share your science. Register today!

ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE)
July 27–30, 2017 | Denver, CO
Take part in the important discussions that will shape the future of teaching and learning in the biological sciences. Register today to connect, learn, and share with passionate educators. View the preliminary program here and pre-conference workshops here.

ASM-ESCMID Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance
September 6–8, 2017 | Boston, MA
Antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) is an urgent global health problem. Join us atthis multidisciplinary meeting where we will address the challenges, opportunities and current requirements for antimicrobial drug development for AMR. Register now to take part in these important discussions. Stay tuned! Abstract submission opens on May 8.

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)
November 1–4, 2017 | Phoenix, AZ
Join a large community of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Abstract submission is now open! Submit your abstract to share your recent findings or apply for the judges travel subsidy if you’d like to volunteer. Stay tuned! Registration opens on June 30, 2017.

New Books From ASM Press!

Myeloid Cells in Health and Disease: A Synthesis
Editor: Siamon Gordon, University of Cape Town
The structure, functions, and interactions of Myeloid cells have long been the focus of research and therapeutics development. Yet, much more remains to be discovered about the complex web of relationships that makes up the immune systems of animals. Scientists today are applying genome-wide analyses, single-cell methods, gene editing, and modern imaging techniques to reveal new subclasses of differentiated myeloid cells, new receptors and cytokines, and important interactions among immune cells.

ASM List Price: $160 | ASM Member Price: $128
Feb. 2017, 892 pages, full-color illustrations. Hardcover or eBook

Urinary Tract Infections: Molecular Pathogenesis and Clinical Management, Second Edition
Editors: Matthew A. Mulvey, University of Texas at Austin; David J. Klumpp, Northwestern University; Ann E. Stapleton, Harvard University
This essential reference serves as both a resource and a stimulus for future research endeavors for anyone with an interest in understanding these important infections, from the classroom to the laboratory and the clinic.

ASM List Price: $150 | ASM Member Price: $120
Feb. 2017, 690 pages, full-color illustrations. Hardcover or eBook

A Guide to Specimen Management in Clinical Microbiology, Third Edition
Editors: J. Michael Miller, Microbiology Technical Services, LLC; Shelley A. Miller, University of California at Los Angeles
The face of infectious diseases has changed since the second edition of A Guide to Specimen Management in Clinical Microbiology was published in 1999. For these reasons, A Guide to Specimen Management in Clinical Microbiology is as essential as ever. The book is divided into four sections and features tips and words of wisdom that come directly from experts in the field.

ASM List Price: $60 | ASM Member Price: $48
Mar. 2017, 250 pages (EST), illustrations, index

Biological Safety: Principles and Practices, Fifth Edition
Editor: Dawn P. Wooley, Wright State University; Karen B. Byer, University of Maine
Biological safety and biosecurity protocols are essential to the reputation and responsibility of every scientific institution, whether research, academic, or production. Every risk—no matter how small must be considered, assessed, and properly mitigated. If the science is not safe, it is not good science. Now in its fifth edition, Biological Safety: Principles and Practices remains the most comprehensive biosafety reference.

ASM List Price: $150 | ASM Member Price: $120
Feb. 2017, 725 pages, full-color illustrations, index. Hardcover or eBook

Food Microbiology: An Introduction, Fourth Edition
Editor: Karl R. Matthews, Rutgers University; Kalmia E. Kniel, University of Delaware; Thomas J. Montville, Rutgers University.
The multidisciplinary nature of food microbiology is one of the things that make it so fascinating as a career. Food microbiologists must understand basic microbiology, the roles of beneficial microbes, food safety regulations and policy, and the proper practices that ensure safe and healthy food for billions of people. They must also be nimble thinkers, willing to embrace new analytical methods, eager to solve problems, and ever vigilant about keeping the food supply safe.

ASM List Price: $110 | ASM Member Price: $110
Mar. 2017, 598 pages, full-color illustrations. Hardcover or eBook


FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIVITIES

Dysregulation of Immune Cell Regulatory Pathways by Mtb in the Context of HIV Infection (R61/R33)
The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to invite applications to support innovative preclinical research to identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb)-mediated changes in key immune cell regulatory pathways in the context of HIV infection. The goal of the research will be to support exploratory preclinical research to identify and characterize changes in key cell regulatory signaling pathways, epigenetic changes, or other relevant gene expression control mechanisms of human immune cells caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection that underlie immune evasion and/or contribute to immune-pathology in TB with and without HIV coinfection. A major gap exists in knowledge of the precise mechanisms of TB and HIV/TB immunopathogenesis following infection. Multidisciplinary studies involving investigators with experience in the study of diseases caused by alterations in cell regulatory pathways (e.g., aging, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, etc.), relevant immune cell functions and interactions, and Mtb pathogenesis are strongly encouraged. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to invite applications to support innovative preclinical research to identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb)-mediated changes in key immune cell regulatory pathways in the context of HIV infection and evaluate strategies to reverse these changes to treat TB and TB/HIV infection, limit long-term disease associated tissue damage, and/or potentiate vaccine effectiveness. Letters of intent are due July 1, 2017, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-17-010.html.

Advancing Exceptional Research on HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse (R01)
This FOA supports highly innovative R01 applications on HIV/AIDS and drug abuse and complements the Avant-Garde Award Program for HIV/AIDS and Drug Use Research and the Avenir Award Program for Research on Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS. The Avant-Garde award supports individuals who conduct high-risk, high-reward research and does not require a detailed research plan. The Avenir award is similar to the Avant-Garde award but focuses on support for early stage investigators. Applications submitted under this FOA are required to have a detailed research plan and preliminary data. This FOA focuses on innovative research projects that have the potential to open new areas of HIV/AIDS research and/or lead to new avenues for prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS among substance abusers. The nexus with drug abuse should be clearly described. This FOA is open to both individual researchers and research teams and is not limited to any one area of research on HIV and substance use, but all studies must focus on NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-137.html. Letters of intent are due July 22, 2017, and more information is available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DA-18-002.html.

Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES)
Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) is a comprehensive national initiative designed to enhance U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) discoveries and innovations focused on NSF's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and broadening participation in these fields. NSF INCLUDES supports efforts to create networked relationships among organizations whose goals include developing talent from all sectors of society to build the STEM workforce. This initiative seeks to improve collaborative efforts aimed at enhancing the preparation, increasing the participation, and ensuring the contributions of individuals from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented and underserved in the STEM enterprise: women, persons with disabilities, African Americans/Blacks, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Native Pacific Islanders, and persons from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Significant advancement in the inclusion of these groups will result in a new generation of STEM talent and leadership to secure our nation’s future and long-term economic competitiveness. Full proposals are due May 16, 2017, and more information is available at https://www.nsf.gov/mobile/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505289&org=NSF&from=home.

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)
CAREER: The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from early-career faculty at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply. Full proposals are due July 19, 2017, and more information is available at https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2017/nsf17537/nsf17537.htm.


ARTICLES OF INTEREST AND OTHER UPDATES

PhD candidate in soil phosphorus and carbon cycling in hydrocarbon degrading microbial communities
The remediation of complex mixtures by microorganisms involves a wide variety of bacteria, archaea and fungi. Yet, little is known about the different roles played by various members of these communities. As part of a project between industrial and university partners, the University of Saskatchewan, Department of Soil Science, is recruiting a PhD student in soil microbiology, to identify and characterize the role and function of select members of the soil microbial community during engineered biostimulation. The candidate will use the newly invented phosphate stable isotope probe coupled with conventional stable isotope probes to identify members and functions of communities across six different field sites. Using a combination of expression and metabolomic approaches, the PhD candidate will unravel how these members respond to amendment gradients, to identify optimal biostimulation strategies in cold region soils. The successful candidates should have some experience in soil ecosystems, bioinformatics, ecological modelling, chemistry, and/or microbiology. The Department of Soil Science is Canada’s premier soil science department with 13 faculty, over 70 graduate students and a thriving undergraduate program in renewable resource management and environmental soil science. The PhD candidate in soil microbiology would join an applied research laboratory group headed by Steven Siciliano, an NSERC/COOP Industrial Research Chair in In Situ Remediation and Risk Assessment. The successful candidate should expect to spend substantial time interacting with industrial partners and working at field locations with environmental engineering teams. If interested, candidates are asked to contact Steven.Siciliano@usask.ca with a resume, a statement of interest, and a transcript. Exceptional master’s candidates will also be considered.

MS research opportunity in coastal plant-microbial ecology
The Van Bael laboratory in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University seeks applications from students who are interested in pursuing a one year master's degree (non- thesis) in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, combined with a research experience on coastal plant ecology and microbial ecology. Selected master's students will work with Dr. Van Bael and a team of Ph.D. and undergraduate students to gain research experience in plant ecology studies, sterile culture work with bacteria and fungi, and molecular techniques. This research experience is a perfect opportunity for students deciding whether or not to pursue a Ph.D., or for students that need to strengthen their graduate school applications. Read more about our lab's research at: http://www.tulane.edu/~vanbael25/sunshine/Home.html. The program deadline is May 1 for starting in August. Applications for starting in January will be accepted until November 1. Please read more about the one year master's program at: http://tulane.edu/sse/eebio/academics/graduate/plus-one-ms.cfm. For information or questions about the research experience, email Dr. Sunshine Van Bael, at svanbael@tulane.edu. Please be sure you have read the information at the link above before inquiring. No financial aid is available for this program. For general information or questions about the one-year masters program, email Dr. Jordan Karubian, at jk@tulane.edu.

NSF REU opportunity for field work with amphibians
An NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) fellowship is open for one student to participate in a project studying Sierra Nevada amphibians affected by a chytrid fungal pathogen, and the role of the skin microbiome in disease resistance. The aim of this research is to understand if symbiotic microbes on the skin of frogs explain why some frog populations are able to co-exist with the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), while other frog populations suffer catastrophic declines. Must be able to backpack at high elevations and safely carry a heavy pack long distances over rugged terrain. You must be an undergraduate student (enrolled in a degree program in biology, ecology, or related field, part-time or full-time, leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree). This fellowship includes a stipend of $500/week. Housing is provided at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL). Applications should include the following: current transcripts (unofficial OK), resume, 2-3 references (include reference's name, position, affiliation, and context from which he/she knows you), and a statement of interest specifically describing (1) why you are interested in the position, (2) your qualifications, including field research and experience backpacking at high elevations and in remote areas, and (3) your professional goals. Also specify your dates of availability. Send all application materials as a pdf file to Andrea Jani (jania@hawaii.edu). Subject line for all application emails should include "summer REU" and your name.


SPOTLIGHT ON MINORITY MICROBIOLOGISTS

Letimicia Fears., MScLetimicia Fears
Letimicia Fears, MSc earned her B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology and Immunology from Middle Tennessee State University, briefly studying amoeba-resistant bacteria found in local water systems that can cause human infection. She earned her Master’s from Tennessee State University (TSU) researching the correlation between expression of the Universal Stress Protein and production of poly-3-hydroxybutyrate in strains of Bacillus thuringiensis. She is currently a Preparing Our Tomorrow Uniquely in STEM (POTUS) fellow and Doctoral candidate at TSU, researching the effects of the microbe Chromobacterium violaceum’s violacein on the serotonin 2C receptor. This current project integrates neuropharmacology and microbiology, employing a novel violacein extraction process and competition binding assays. Letimicia has also focused a great deal of time into encouraging the next generation of scientists as a science teaching fellow through the Scientist in the Classroom program. This fellowship allows her to teach hands-on science to public middle school students. In the same spirit, she will be taking on a teaching postdoctoral fellowship this year which includes bringing interdisciplinary, research-centered learning experiences to middle and high school students. Letimicia will be teaching gifted high school students the recent developments and commonly used techniques in Alzheimer’s research via a summer camp program. Her long-term goal is to teach, mentor students and be involved in STEM education and research in the K-12 level.

Serotonin (5-HT), a neurotransmitter, plays a role in many physiological responses by binding to 16 receptor subtypes. The serotonin 2C receptor subtype is a 7-transmembrane, G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that is involved in neuronal excitability, spatial learning, mood, and appetite. The microorganism Chromobacterium violaceum produces a purple pigment, violacein, which can be extracted. Violacein has antibiotic, antileishmanial, antiviral and antitumoral effects in various cancer cell lines. Violacein is similar in structure to 5-HT, however, no one has ever reported the activity of violacein at 5-HT receptors. In a recent study titled, “Pharmacological Properties of Chromobactrium violaceum Violacein at the Human Serotonin 2C Receptor,” Fears et al. (2016) employed a novel violacein extraction process from Chromobacterium violaceum strains isolated from the Tennessee Copper Basin. The serotonin 2C receptor is a target for drug therapies for depression, schizophrenia and anxiety. Receptor internalization, competition binding and downstream effects have been investigated. Preliminary data suggests violacein may serve as an antagonist at the receptor. Overall, this study expands our knowledge of violacein effects and explores its possible pharmacological effects.

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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