Microbiology’s Dokland named ASM Distinguished Lecturer

These scientifically diverse researchers deliver lectures at American Society for Microbiology Branch meetings throughout the United States.

Terje Dokland wTerje Dokland, Ph.D.Terje Dokland, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department 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.”

“Lecturers are chosen through a competitive nomination process,” wrote Janet R. Donaldson, Ph.D., chair of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi, in her invitation letter to Dokland this month, “and only the most distinguished lecturers and researchers are chosen to participate in the program. The program has a tradition of scientific excellence that has made it a mainstay of Branch programming for over 50 years.”

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, with more than 50,000 scientist and health professional members who study microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, as well as cells and immunology. ASM’s mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

Cryo-electron microscopy uses electrons instead of light to determine three-dimensional structures of cells, bacteria, viruses and proteins in their native, aqueous environment by holding them at liquid-nitrogen temperature during observation.

Dokland has followed a varied route in his career. He was an undergraduate student at the University of Oslo, Norway, and he earned his Ph.D. at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany. He did postdoctoral studies at Purdue University and was a senior scientist at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore, before coming to UAB in 2004.

The ASM Distinguished Lecturers are asked to make special efforts to interact with students at the branch meetings, both informally and through formal roles like judging student posters or hosting career roundtables.

At UAB, Lund holds the Charles H. McCauley Chair of Microbiology.