2014 REU Newsletter

The Department of Microbiology has offered a summer research program focused on training undergraduates from outside The University of Iowa for over 20 years. Our program has been highly successful at providing talented young men and women with a hands-on research experience and co-curricular activities to foster their development into independent scientists. But we are always looking for ways to improve! This Newsletter, the first ever for our program, is one way we are reaching out to our program alumni an others who may be interested in our REU. We hope you will find the newsletter informative and inspiring. We are excited to share some of our (and your!) recent accomplishments.

David Weiss and Linda McCarter
Co-Directors, REU in Microbiology at The University of Iowa

Report on the Summer of 2013 REU in Microbiology

Our 2013 summer program was jointly funded by The National Science Foundation and The Department of Defense. We hosted 10 energetic students, who came from all over the country:

  • Mayowa Balogun, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD
  • Levi Blue, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • Chris Bolden, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS
  • David Cooper, Saint Ambrose University, Davenport, IA
  • Brittney Dinkel, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE
  • Lauren Gentles, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
  • Gabriela Kaus, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA
  • Courtney Moore, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Krizia Pérez, University of Puerto Rico, Humacao, PR
  • Linnea Peterson-Bunker, Earlham College, Richmond, IN

Spotlight on ABRCMS

The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) brings together over 2000 undergraduate students from across the nation, who meet to share the fruits of their research and learn about educational and job opportunities in the biomedical sciences. This year’s conference was held Nov. 13-16 in Nashville, Tennessee, and was attended by five students from The University of Iowa’s “Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Microbiology,” which receives funding from the National Science Foundation. The students were accompanied by faculty member David Weiss, who serves as co-director of the REU. All five participants presented posters (see titles below) on research they had conducted under the direction of faculty in the Department of Microbiology:

Levi Blue, Dr. Craig Ellermeier's laboratory: "Isolation of anti-σ factor rsiV mutants unable to activate sigV in response to lysozyme."

Chris Bolden, Dr. Patrick Schlievert's laboratory: "Staphylococcal Superantigens and Their Correlation with Atopic Dermatitis."

Lauren Gentles, Dr. Chioma Okeoma’s laboratory: "TLR4-mediated Immuno- virologic parameters during CHIKV infection in vivo." Lauren received an award for her poster.

Gabriela Kaus, Dr. Linda McCarter’s laboratory: “Expanding the Scr c-di-GMP responsive regulatory circuit controlling swarming and sticking inVibrio parahaemolyticus." Gabriela received a travel award.

Krizia Pérez, Dr. Alexander Horswill's laboratory: "Identification of Staphylococcus aureus transposon mutants with altered lecithinase activity."

Regarding this year’s REU, Dr. Weiss stated, “It was incredibly gratifying to watch these talented young men and women mature into scientists over the course of the summer. They are, quite literally, the future of our discipline.”

Pictured above (left to right): Krizia Pérez (University of Puerto Rico-Humacao); Gabriela Kaus (Whitman College); Lauren Gentles (University of Arkansas); Chris Bolden (University of Southern Mississippi); Levi Blue (Clemson University); and Dr. David Weiss (University of Iowa).

Department News

2013 MS Thesis Defense

  • Drew Fayram (Lee-Ann Allen, PhD, mentor)

2013 PhD Thesis Defenses

  • Mayumi Oakland (Paul McCray, MD, mentor)
  • Adam Spaulding (Patrick Schlievert, PhD, mentor)
  • Jennifer Walker (Alex Horswill, PhD, mentor)
  • Tiara Pérez Morales (Craig Ellermeier, PhD, mentor)
  • Joe Mootz (Alex Horswill, PhD, mentor)
  • Jessica King (Timothy Yahr, PhD, mentor)

New Faculty Member: Wilmara Salgado-Pabón, PhD

Many of you already know Wilmara because she has participated as a mentor in our summer program. Now she is the newest faculty member in our department! Wilmara grew up on Puerto Rico, and got her BS and PhD at The University of Wisconsin, Madison. She did postdoctoral research at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, and at The University of Iowa.

Wilmara is an expert on host-pathogen interactions. Recently she has been using rabbits as a model to study how the Gram positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus causes infective endocarditis. Learn more about Wilmara’s research by clicking on this link.

Steve Clegg Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Education 

Stanley Perlman Elected to Association of American Physicians

Still trying to figure out what to do with your life?

We know that decisions regarding graduate school and career options can be very daunting, especially in these uncertain economic times. The American Society for Microbiology has put together a useful website with information on careers in microbiology.