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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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