Microbiology News

Microbiology’s Dokland named ASM Distinguished Lecturer

DoklandTerje Dokland, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at BirminghamDepartment of Microbiology, has been named an American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer for 2017-2019. Dokland, a UAB associate professor, studies the structural biology of viral assembly and bacterial pathogenicity, using tools like cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography.

Beginning July 1, he will join a group of scientifically diverse lecturers who speak at American Society for Microbiology Branch meetings throughout the United States. Frances Lund, Ph.D., UAB chair of Microbiology, called Dokland’s appointment “a national honor.” Read more ...

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 ...

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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.