Saad and Steyn Receive Promotion

Congratulations to Dr. Jamil Saad who has been promoted to tenured Associate Professor of Microbiology and Dr. Adrie Steyn who has been promoted to tenured Full Professor of Microbiology.

   
SaadJamil Saad Steyn June 2013Adrie Steyn

UAB Microbiology Department Welcomes New Faculty Member

Hui HuMeet Hui Hu, Ph.D., an immunologist focusing on transcriptional regulation of adaptive immunity—Tfh cell differentiation, GC responses, CD8+ T cell quiescence/activation, T cell responses, immune memory and vaccines.
 
Hu, who comes to UAB from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, joined the microbiology department in May.

After receiving his doctorate from Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden, in 1998, Hu came to the US and began postdoctoral training at the Trudeau Institute. He then moved to the Center for Cancer Research at MIT, where he was a postdoctoral associate. In 2002, Hu joined CBR Institute for Biomedical Research (IDI) at Harvard Medical School. He was an instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard’s Children’s Hospital before moving to the Wistar Institute in 2007. He worked for seven years at the Wistar Institute. Hu has received several awards and honors including the ACGT Young Investigator Award.

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Faculty Retreat to Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Faculty Retreat 2014Informative, beneficial, vibrant . . . these three words describe the 2014 Microbiology Faculty Retreat, which was held on Wednesday, May 14th at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Dr. Fran Lund, chair of the department says, “The turnout was great, and our discussion sessions were especially good this year.

The faculty retreat is a valuable event that focuses on the two major objectives of the department—scientific research and education. Dr. Louis Justement says that the event “provides a venue for the diverse faculty to share research and ideas regarding ways to improve the department. Basically, the retreat is very valuable because it fosters communication between the faculty and communication is the key to building collaborations and for making the department stronger.”

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2014 UAB Pneumococcal Symposium

What began in the late 1990s with only three UAB labs (Briles, Yother and Hollingshead) participating has become a biannual symposium attended by more than 70 attendees from six southeastern research institutions:

UAB
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Mississippi State University
University of Georgia
University of Mississippi Medical Center
Alabama State University
Pneumo Symposium 6Dr. David Briles speaks with Thelma Tower, a student from Mississippi State University, before her presentation.
Pneumo Symposium 2014Dr. Fikri Avci, University of Georgia This two-day symposium offers researchers an opportunity to share the latest developments in the field of pneumococcal research.

Distinguished speaker for the 2014 event was UAB microbiology alumni, William E. Swords, Ph.D. He discussed his research at Wake Forest School of Medicine, which focuses on understanding host-pathogen interactions that determine persistence vs. clearance in the airways.



Saad Honored for Work with Undergraduates

SaadCongratulations to Dr. Jamil Saad for receiving the 2014 Provost's Award for Faculty Excellence in Academic Engagement and Global Citizenship. He is one of only four faculty members campus-wide to receive this honor. The award recognizes UAB faculty members for engaging undergraduate students in research, creative activities, service learning, and study abroad activities. Awards will be presented at the UAB Expo Award ceremony Friday, April 11, 2014.

Speaking Out for Research

Chatham Justement Brown WidderOn March 5, 2014, Drs. Lou Justement (Microbiology), Beth Brown (Epidemiology and Microbiology) and John Chatham (Pathology) travelled to Washington D.C., in between snow storms, to participate in the 2014 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Capitol Hill Day visit. They were accompanied by Joel M. Widder from the Oldaker Group who served as the group liaison.

The FASEB Capitol Hill Day is an annual event during which members of the FASEB Board and Science Policy Committee go to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators to request increased support for the NIH and NSF. Drs. Justement, Brown and Chatham met with staff from Senators Shelby and Sessions offices as well as Representative Sewell’s office. They also had an opportunity to meet directly with Representative Bachus to discuss the important role that UAB plays in the economic growth of Alabama and how its activities foster improved health for the state. Representative Bachus was very supportive as were all of the legislators that they spoke with.

A summary of the FASEB Capitol Hill Day visit for 2014 prepared by Jennifer Zeitzer of FASEB can be viewed here.

Activities such as these are important to raise awareness of the effects that decreased support for NIH and NSF have on the future of biomedical research in the US. If anyone has an interest in speaking out on behalf of biomedical research, they should contact Drs. Justement, Brown or Chatham for advice. Additionally, most professional societies have active public affairs offices that are willing to arrange visits to Capitol Hill. Remember, you can take the initiative to contact your legislators at any time by email or phone, and be sure to respond to requests to contact your legislator sent out by FASEB or other societies. The more often Congressional legislators hear from the scientific community, the more likely they will be to appreciate the importance of the NIH and NSF.