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Dr. Sarah Pulvermacher Graduate Student Seminar

Sarah Pulvermacher with Sean Connolly

Dr. Sarah Pulvermacher completed the requirements for her Ph.D. from The University of Iowa in Microbiology in the fall of 2008. This was the culmination of a lifetime of academic success, including graduation from Reedsburg Area High School in Wisconsin in 1999 as a valedictorian. Sarah’s interest in life-long learning was ingrained in her by her parents who took her and her sister to every museum they could find in the area growing up. A 6th grade science camp experience opened her eyes to science. During her time in the biology program at Luther College in Iowa, she attended a summer undergraduate research program at The University of Iowa. It was at this summer program that she found not only her academic future as a graduate student, but the rest of her life as well when she met her future fiancé, support system, and the love of her life, Sean Connolly. Dr. Pulvermacher’s time in the graduate program at The University of Iowa in Dr. George Stauffer’s lab was incredibly successful, with an impressive 4 first author and 1 second author publications. She had plans to engage in post-doctoral research after graduation in Dr. Craig Ellermeier’s laboratory at The University of Iowa.

On the commute to work on her last day in Dr. Stauffer’s lab, Sarah’s life ended tragically when she and her fiancé, Sean, a graduate student in the Immunology program at UI, were killed instantly in a car accident caused by snowy, icy roads.

Sarah’s impact on the students and professors she encountered can be felt both personally and professionally, thanks to both her friendly nature and efficient, intelligent ways in the lab. Her success in the lab was balanced by a life well lived outside of work, as a friend, fiancée, sister, and daughter.

Each year, the Graduate Students in the Department of Microbiology host a seminar speaker in memory of Dr. Pulvermacher. Listed below are past speakers.

Jennifer Walker, PhD  - University of Texas-Houston, McGovern Medical School, March 5, 2024
"Elucidating Host-Pathogen Interactions that Dictate Recalcitrance in Medical Device-associated Infections"

Stacey Schultz-Cherry, PhD, -  St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, March 7, 2023
"Impact of obesity on influenza"

Helen Lazear, PhD,  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, March 15, 2022
“Protective and pathogenic effects of interferon lambda during viral infections”

Deborah Hogan, PhD, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, March 9, 2021
"Evolution in the CF lung: Intergenotype and interspecies interactions"

Laura-Isobel McCall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma, March 10, 2020
“Contextualizing host-microbe interactions using chemical cartography"

Nina Salama, Ph.D., Human Biology Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, February 26, 2019
“Staying in shape: bacterial cytoskeleton-cell wall interactions in the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori”

Andrew Camilli, Ph.D., Department of Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Tufts University, School of Medicine, April 3, 2018
"Impact of Phages on Cholera andDevelopment of Two Preventatives"

Ronald Breaker, Ph.D., Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, April 4, 2017
"Riboswitches: Nature's chemical sensors and switches made of RNA"

 Ian Hewson, Ph.D., Department of Microbiology, Cornell University, April 19, 2016
"The sea star microbiome orchestra:  Old players on a new stage"

 Lauren Bakaletz, Ph.D., Nationwide Children's Hospital, May 5, 2015
"Extracellular DNA-associated DNABII proteins as a target for disruption of biofilms formed by nontypeableHaemophilus influenzae"

Kim Lewis, PhD, Northeastern University, February 11, 2014
"Persisters and the quest for a biofilm-sterilizing antibiotic"

Michael Schmidt, PhD, Medical University of South Carolina, February 5, 2013
"Bacteria, Burden and Bundles: How Copper Surfaces Enhance Patient Safety"

Michael Laub, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, February 28, 2012
"Specificity and evolution of bacterial signaling pathways"

Fitnat Yildiz, PhD, University of California Santa Cruz, March 8, 2011
"Vibrio cholerae biofilms: structural components and regulatory networks"

David Russell, PhD, Cornell University, April 6, 2010
"Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Here today.....and here tomorrow"

Eric Skaar, PhD, MPH, Vanderbilt University, June 9, 2009
"The battle for metal between Staphylococcus aureus and its host"