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

Committed to the study of infectious and immune-mediated diseases

The UAB Department of Microbiology is consistently ranked (#19 NIH funding) amongst the best microbiology departments in the country, and faculty currently hold more than 50 grants and $16 million in extramural grant funding. We are a vibrant highly collaborative research community actively serving the university mission of excellence in research, service and teaching. 

It is an exciting time to be a scientist at UAB and in the Department of Microbiology. The department is actively recruiting new faculty members and with our existing cadre of investigators and the new faculty who join us, we plan to capitalize on the department’s strong foundation and heritage to build a scientifically rich environment that will allow us to meet our twin missions of carrying out cutting-edge, fundamental basic and translational research to improve human health and educating the next generation of scientists who will lead the fight against infectious and immune-mediated diseases.


We are improving human health by carrying out cutting-edge, fundamental basic and translational research focusing on the bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause human disease. Faculty in the Department of Microbiology have research programs in five broad yet interconnected areas; Microbial Pathogenesis, Immunology, Virology, Structural Biology and Cancer.


We are educating and training the next generation of scientists, educators and entrepreneurs who will lead the fight against infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Department of Microbiology faculty participate in teaching classes to undergraduate, graduate and medical students and serve as the organizers and course directors for a number of the graduate level classes and direct the Undergraduate Immunology Program at UAB.