Microbiology News

Genetic clues to kidney disease uncovered

Briles.AAASUsing international genomic studies backed by proof-of-concept cell experiments, researchers have identified two genes that contribute to the chronic kidney disease glomerulonephritis.

This provides new genetic clues to understanding IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune kidney disease that commonly causes kidney failure. The findings are relevant to IgA nephropathy and other diseases with similar underlying molecular defects, such as inflammatory bowel disease, certain types of blood disease and cancer.

“Very little is known about the causes of IgA nephropathy, genetic or otherwise, so our discovery represents an important step toward developing better therapies for this disease,” said lead author Krzysztof Kiryluk, M.D., the Herbert Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columba University Medical Center. Read more ...

Majoring in defense: UAB’s new Undergraduate Immunology Program

Briles.AAASIt doesn’t matter whether you live in Beverly Hills or a Brazilian favela — every human being is only a few inches away from disaster. From birth to death, on our arms, legs and everywhere else, each of us carries microbes that would love to get under our skin and reproduce, with potentially fatal results. A paper cut, an insect bite, an untimely rubbing of the eyes — it takes very little for bacteria, viruses and other invaders to get inside and start wreaking havoc. Read more ...

Three UAB faculty members selected as fellows by world’s largest general scientific society

Briles.AAASFaculty members from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences and School of Medicine have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its Science family of journals.

Charles Amsler, Ph.D., professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology, Steven Austad, Ph.D., distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Biology, and David Briles, Ph.D., professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Microbiology and Department of Pediatrics, are UAB’s three representatives in the 2016 class of AAAS fellows. Read more ...

Vaccination of newborn mice with bacteria suppresses asthma as adults

Kahan2The hygiene hypothesis proposes that a 20th century surge in allergies and asthma is because people are living in increasingly hygienic environments. Rather than the rural farm life of the agricultural 19th century, families live in urban and suburban communities, have fewer children who can exchange infections, bathe and wash their hands more frequently, and use antibiotics excessively. This all means reduced infant exposure to microbes that would have tempered excessive immune reactions, such as asthma, later in life. Read more ...

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The 21st Microbiology Research Retreat was held on November 9-11, 2012, at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, Hotel LeCiel, Sandestin, Florida. The 111 attendees took advantage of the opportunity to share their diverse experiences and knowledge in the relaxing atmosphere of the Gulf Coast.

Pete Burrows, director of the Immunology Graduate Theme says, “The retreat provides an informal setting for students and postdocs to present their research and discuss it with the Microbiology faculty.”

The retreat began with a welcome speech from the new department chair, Dr. Frances Lund. Formerly at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, Lund brings with her a desire to broaden the Microbiology Department’s tradition of collaborative science.

The retreat schedule, filled with student and faculty presentations, also included an opportunity to honor a distinguished Microbiology Department alumnus, Sean Whelan. As a postdoc in Gail Wertz’s lab, Whelan focused on vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). He is now a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School.

The three-day retreat concluded with the presentation of awards. Students receiving awards at the retreat include:

Jiri Vlach – Most Outstanding Oral Presentation – Postdoc
Kimberly Thomas – Most Outstanding Poster – Graduate Student
Brandon Hatcher – Outstanding Poster – Graduate Student
Allison Brady – Most Outstanding Poster – New Investigator
Tyler Stewart – Outstanding Poster – New Investigator
Haley Echlin – Most Outstanding Oral Presentation – Graduate Student
Jeffrey Vahrenkamp – Outstanding Oral Presentation – Graduate Student
Ashley Burg – Outstanding Oral Presentation – New Investigator
Gregory Bedwell – Outstanding Oral Presentation – New Investigator
Kathryn Doornbos – Outstanding Oral Presentation – New Investigator