Yother2013Congratulations to Dr. Janet Yother, the School of Medicine faculty nominee for the 2014 President’s Diversity Award for Excellence in Mentoring. Her nomination will be reviewed by the President’s Diversity Award Selection Committee, along with nominees from across the entire university. Award recipients will be announced at a public ceremony on January 30, 2014, at the UAB Alumni House. 

Straightened 1

2013retreatposterpresentation2The 22nd Microbiology Research Retreat was held on October 18-20, 2013, at the Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana, Alabama. “This was the first time for the retreat at this recently remodeled venue. Everyone was very impressed with the facilities, the staff and the surrounding countryside. The 4-H Center is convenient to UAB, less than an hour away,” says Dr. Pete Burrows, Microbiology Graduate Program Director.

The 85 attendees, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty, shared diverse experiences and knowledge. “On Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, there were 20 talks by students and postdoctoral fellows, including a record number of New Investigators, students in their first through third year of graduate school. A poster session with light refreshments was held on Friday evening with 21 presenters,” says Burrows. 
Kimberly Benton, Ph.D. was key note speaker for this year’s retreat. A former graduate student in Dr. David Briles lab, Benton currently is the Deputy Director for the Division of Cellular and Gene Therapies at the US Food and Drug Administration Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Benton gave an informative talk, explaining this career option.

“Sunday morning featured three very interesting faculty talks,” says Burrows. “Dmitry Shayakhmetov, University of Washington, who is a potential Microbiology recruit, Mengxi Jiang, University of Michigan, who will be joining the Microbiology Department in January, and Chuck Elson, who is here at UAB in the Department of Medicine.”

Free time activities were geared for the enjoyment of all attendees.

“On both Friday and Saturday nights there was a campfire by Lay Lake, which forms one boundary of the 4H property,” says Burrows. Several trainees commented that the s’mores and roasted marshmallows were a fun treat at these social gatherings.

The extended Saturday afternoon break allowed time for trainees and their mentors to team up for games of basketball and putt-putt, with only the bravest confronting the climbing wall and giant swing. 

The retreat was a success because of the hard work of many individuals in the Micro office, in particular Kristina Sinclair and Justin Daigneault who attended the entire event and kept things running smoothly," says Burrows.

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


Graduate Students

1st - Shane Kelly
2nd - Lindsey Padgett
2nd - Jeffery Vahrenkamp

New Investigators
1st - Preeyam Patel
2nd - Gwen Gunn

Postdoctoral Fellow
Shannon Kahan

Graduate Students

1st - Xiaojiao Xue
2nd - Rosie Hill

New Investigators

1st - Sara Stone
2nd - Shannon Romano

Postdoctoral Fellow
1st - Nicolas Maillard
David Bedwell 2013
Congratulations to Dr. David Bedwell who has been elected to a three-year term on the School of Medicine Faculty Council, effective January 1, 2014. This school-wide committee reviews all promotions and tenure appointments within the School of Medicine at UAB. The Council reviews both clinical appointments and appointments in the basic science departments. In addition to having served on this committee a number of years ago, Bedwell has served as a member and Chair of the microbiology department Promotion and Tenure Committee.

Kearneynamed2013DFLKearney receives 2013 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer award from Provost, Dr. Linda LucasCongratulations to microbiology department faculty member Dr. John Kearney who was named UAB 2013 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, one of the highest honors a UAB faculty member can receive. 

After earning his Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Melbourne, Australia, Kearney came to UAB as a postdoc with Drs. Cooper and Lawton. His postdoctoral work focused on in vitro models of immunoglobulin isotope switching. He joined the microbiology staff in 1977 and has continued his studies on B cell differentiation. His work has brought worldwide recognition to UAB.

Kearney will be the keynote speaker at the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer reception in the fall.

Read more about Dr. Kearney's accomplishments.

Listen to an interview with Dr. Kearney.
Kym Proctor sAs program administrator for the Immunology and Microbiology Themes of UAB's Graduate Biomedical Sciences program, Kym is the person in the know. She routinely answers questions about enrolling in graduate school at UAB, registering for classes, and even the best places to go for lunch. “She is the rock we lean on for support, the glue that holds our program together, the one who keeps us on track, the Mom away from home, the therapist, the shoulder we cry on and the sun on a cloudy day,” says Melissa Oliver, Ph.D. candidate in the GBS program.

Read more about Kym at Proctor named Employee of the Month for August.