PostDocs Score Big at Research Day

Six microbiology department postdoctoral scholars received awards on February 17, 2014, at the annual Postdoctoral Research Day. “I don’t believe that we have had this many winners from one department previously,” says Sharon Johnston, program manager in the UAB Office of Postdoctoral Education.

Postdoctoral Research Day, hosted by the UAB Postdoctoral Association (PDA) and the Office of Postdoctoral Education (OPE), allows trainees an opportunity to practice their presentation skills, compete for monetary awards, and network with faculty and other postdocs. Trainees present their work in a situation similar to a conference, and receive constructive feedback to help them improve their presentation technique.

                                           The 2014 microbiology winners are:
                                       Davide Botta (Lund lab), 2nd Place, Session One  
                                       Valeria Lulla (Frolov lab), 3rd Place, Session Five  
                                       Colin Reily (Novak lab), 1st Place, Session Five  
                                       Alexander Speer (Niederweis lab), 2nd Place, Session Two  
                                       Jim Sun (Niederweis lab), 1st Place, Session Two  
                                       Venkata Yeramilli (Kearney lab), 2nd Place, Session Five  

These outstanding trainees were among 53 entrants from UAB and SRI (Southern Research Institute). Each submitted a 300-word abstract and presented a 12-minute talk about their research project. Research Day was divided into six sessions with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards for each session. Presentations were judged by UAB faculty and SRI scientists.

Yother Receives Diversity Award

Yother Diversity AwardDavid Briles, Ph.D.; Janet Yother, Ph.D.; Jocelyn Hauser; Kanupriya Gupta, Ph.D.Janet Yother, Ph.D., has a special knack for encouraging minorities who have chosen to pursue a career in science and mentoring them to become successful scientists. Her work to promote diversity in science education and training was recognized on February 13, 2014, when she received the UAB President’s Diversity Award for Mentoring.

"The mentoring award is a new category of diversity award,” explains UAB Microbiology Department professor David Briles, Ph.D. “It is for faculty who through their mentoring have had a significant impact on the diversity of UAB students and graduates. Janet mentored the first under-represented minority student to receive a Ph.D. while training in the UAB Microbiology Department. This success made it clear that our department could provide a nurturing environment for students of all stripes and has led to the training of many minority graduate students in the labs of microbiology faculty members.”

UAB President’s Diversity Awards are presented annually to recognize the significant achievements of faculty, staff and students who have worked to develop a more culturally diverse, competent and inclusive university community. Awards are given in five categories for projects or activities that best reflect the implementation of unit and/or campus diversity goals.

Potential New Drug Pathway Target for Battling Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

A study by the UAB School of Medicine reveals a potential new drug pathway target for battling Mycobacterium tuberculosis, or Mtb, the pathogen that causes tuberculosis. Read more about this research at “Disrupting iron transport leads to cell death in tuberculosis bacterium.”

5th Southeastern Mycobacteria Meeting

Nearly 100 researchers attended the 5th Southeastern Mycobacteria Meeting, held at UAB January 24-26, 2014. This regional meeting provided a platform to catalyze communication and collaboration between mycobacteria researchers and clinicians in the Southeast. Attendees included primary investigators, postdoctoral scholars, medical professionals, graduate and undergraduate students interested in basic biology, epidemiology or clinical aspects of mycobacteria and mycobacterial diseases. Speakers included: Lalita Ramakrishnan, University of Washington; Hardy Kornfeld, University of Massachusetts; Adrie Steyn, K-RITH; Alastair Leslie, K-RITH; Karen LaCourciere, NIH; Ed Khan, UAB; Gail Cassell, IDRI.

The 5th Southeastern Mycobacteria Meeting was supported by UAB Center for AIDS Research, UAB Microbiology Department, and Infectious Disease, Global Health and Vaccines Strategic Planning Initiative.

To read more about this meeting, go to “Mycobacteria meeting focuses on TB.”

For more about Mycobacterium tuberculosis, go to “UAB Reaches to Africa to Study TB;” “Drug-resistant TB underestimated, Cassell says;” and “Disrupting iron transport leads to cell death in tuberculosis bacterium.”

Bliss Chang Invited to Present His Work at Posters on the Hill

Bliss Chang.jpg.opt196x257o00s196x257Undergraduate student Bliss Chang, a Beckman Scholar working in Dr. Jamil Saad’s lab, will participate in the 18th Annual Posters on the Hill event on April 28-29, 2014. 

Chang’s poster is one of only 60 chosen from 600 entries. He will be the first from Alabama to present.

Posters on the Hill, sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research, Washington, D.C., is a part of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. It provides an opportunity for members of Congress to understand the importance of undergraduate research by talking directly with the students and their mentors.

Chang and Saad hope to meet with many Congressional Representatives to tell them how important federal funding is to basic research and the development of future scientists.

Kabarowski Among UAB Researchers to Establish New Imaging Method

Microbiology professor Janusz Kabarowski, Ph.D., and Miranda Collier, an undergraduate student who works in Kabarowski’s lab, are major contributors to the development of a research method that will aid in critical initiatives addressing a variety of diseases including cancer, chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases and age-related degenerative diseases.

Read more about the matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry—MALDI-IMS in the Tuesday, January 28, 2014, edition of the UAB Reporter.