2012 Annual Retreat

Retreat Cropped compressed for web

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