The UNESCO-ASM Travel Awards provide the opportunity for promising young scientists from throughout the world to travel to another country or a distant site to obtain expertise in a method, procedure, or specific topic, but are not intended to provide travel to obtain a degree at the host institution. The awards of $4,000 per recipient are equally funded by UNESCO and ASM. The recipients of the 2006 UNESCO-ASM Travel Awards are:



Ishrat Jahan Amzi, a research officer in the Enteric Microbiology Laboratory of the International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR.B) Centre for Health and Population Research, has received a 2006 UNESCO-ASM Travel Award to carry out her research project entitled “Understanding the Molecular Basis of Shigella Toxin-Induced Mammalian Cell Death” beginning in August, 2006. A member of the Bangladeshi Graduate Microbiologist Association since April 2000, Amzi was a member of the Executive Committee from 2001-2003 and was selected as Cultural Secretary for 2003-2005. Amzi will be working in the laboratory of Alam Nur-E-Kamal in the Department of Pharmacology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Brunswick, N.J. The two will collaborate on studying the molecular mechanisms of DNA damage in the signaling pathway as part of an ongoing collaboration between Nur-E-Kamal and the ICDDR.B.



Anindya S. Ghosh earned his B.S. in Physiology from the University of Calcutta in India in 1990. His academic career continued with an M.S., also in Physiology, in 1992 and a Ph.D. in Microbiology in 1999, both also from the University of Calcutta. Ghosh has advanced to be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biotechnology at the Indian Institute of Technology in Midnapore, West Bengal, India. Ghosh's UNESCO-ASM Travel Award will allow him to travel back to the University of North Dakota School of Medicine in Grand Forks and reunite him with Kevin Young, with whom Ghosh trained in microbial genetics from 2001 to 2004. The two will further pursue their research on the effects of O-antigens on cell shape in PBP mutants of Escherichia coli.


Shazia T. Hakim was selected for a 2006 UNESCO-ASM Travel Award for her research project “Anti-Viral Activity of Betulin Derived Compounds Against Bovine Viral-Diarrhoea Virus: a Surrogate Model for Hepatitis C Virus.” Hakim, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology at Karachi, Pakistan's Jinnah University for Women, received her B.S. in Microbiology and Chemistry from the Abdullah Government College for Women and stayed in Karachi for her M.S. and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Virology at the University of Karachi. She will be traveling to Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., where she will work with  Muhammad Amiad, a professor of Fundamental and Applied Sciences on her project.



Milica Jovanovic  received her M.S. in Medical Sciences as well as her M.D. at the University of Belgrade in Serbia & Montenegro. She has remained in Belgrade, working as a clinical microbiologist at the Institute for Infectious and Tropical Diseases, where she has a research interest in the activity of various disinfectants to Morganella morganii. With the 2006 UNESCO-ASM Travel Award, Jovanovic will travel to Detroit, Mich., where she will work with Marcus Zervos, the division head in the Department of Infectious Disease at Henry Ford Hospital. Jovanoviæ will bring 120 collected strains of vancomycin-resistant enterococci to Zervos' lab, where she will learn and perform PCR technique testing.



Irma Ochigava received her Ph.D. in Biotechnology in 2005 from the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, going on to become a scientist in the Department of Biotechnology at the Georgian State Technical University in Tbilisi. Ochigava did her doctoral research on the investigation of antibacterial properties of Saccharomyces yeasts, studying the coexistence of various phenotypes of yeasts with pathogenic bacteria. With the 2006 UNESCO-ASM Travel Award, Ochigava will travel to the laboratory of Graeme Walker, Professor and Division head of the Department of Biotechnology at the University of Abertay in Dundee, Scotland. The two will work together on the large-scale screening of crude and native killer toxin preparations of K9-type killer protein against pathogenic bacteria.



Luciana V. Rinaudi is a Ph.D. student in molecular biology at the Universidad Nacional de Rio Cuarto (UNRC) in Córdoba, Argentina, where she also received her B.S. in microbiology in 1998. She learned about the UNESCO-ASM Travel Awards from her host scientist, Juan González, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Texas at Dallas. Rinaudi and González mark the beginning of a new collaboration between the two universities, similar to the one already in place between the UNRC and the University of California. For their joint project, the two scientists will investigate exopolysaccharides synthesis and their relationship with rhizobial biofilm formation.


Sebastián H. Sarnacki is a Ph.D. student in microbiology at the University of Buenos Aires Department of Microbiology, Parasitology and Immunology in Argentina. In 2005, he traveled to Canada, where he studied with Miguel Valvano, Professor and Department Chair of the  Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Western Ontario. The 2006 UNESCO-ASM Travel Award enables Sarnacki to return to Valvano's laboratory, where the two will cooperate on a project entitled “Regulation of LPS synthesis by the Dam protein in Salmonella




Vitaly E. Smelov is a Senior Researcher in the Faculty of Medicine at Saint Petersburg State University in Russia. Smelov has had an interest in treating and understanding HIV infection and detection methodology. He received his M.D. in Medicine from the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg in 1993 and trained as an internist in urology at St. Petersburg State Medical University in 1997. A member of the European Association of Urology since 2002 and the European Society of Infections in Urology since 2003, Smelov will use the 2006 UNESCO-ASM Travel Award to train at the laboratory of Servaas Morré, the head of the Immunogenetics of Infectious Diseases Section at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Their collaboration will train Smelov in state-of-the-art technology used for microbiological diagnostics and typing of Chlamydia trachomatis infections as well as the methodology of data interpretation and analysis.