MIC News

MIC News


A hearty congratulations to Dr. David Brautigan, Program Leader of SIG, who recently was honored by Brown University with a fund for student travel named in his honor: the “David Brautigan Fund for MCB Student Travel “. This fund was catalyzed by a licensing deal with Upstate Biotechnology based on research from David’s laboratory while his was faculty at Brown University.

Laura Gonyar, PhD and former MIC graduate student has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 “Robert R. Wagner Prize” for outstanding research in Microbiology. The selection committee of six MIC faculty, noted her outstanding scientific accomplishments, and also appreciated her service and wonderful contributions to the intellectual and scientific environment of the Department and the Graduate Program. On behalf of all the faculty, we extend our heartiest congratulations!



MIC/Cell Signaling Center Researcher Lifu Wang in the David Brautigan Lab and team ID effect of chronic stress on fat cells.

"The findings provide valuable insight into the causes of insulin resistance and may one day lead to new treatments for high blood sugar. “That’s where we’re headed with this: how obesity inhibits glucose homeostasis,” Thurl E. Harris, PhD, said. “By inhibiting lipolysis [the breakdown of fat], maybe you can offset some of the aspects of obesity that are causing diabetes.”

[ more] [full text article]


MIC Professor Daniel Engel, PhD and structural biologist Zygmunt S. Derewenda, PhD search for inexpensive, accessible test for Ebola.

"Derewenda and Engel recently made a breakthrough in Ebola research when they identified the structure of a part of the virus important in the reproduction process — a protein inside the nucleocapsid, the core of the virus containing all of its genetic material.

That discovery could hold the key to coming up with a detection system more suited to doctors in remote locations. “This is a question of time,” Derewenda said. “There’s a need for fast, cheap detection systems.”"

[ Cavalier Daily article]

MidAtlanticMPM2015.jpg MIC students Laura Gonyar, Emily Billings and Carrie Cowardin and postdoc Richard Juneau presented at the Mid-Atlantic Microbial Pathogenesis Meeting, January 25-27. This meeting occurs every 2 years and showcases the best research in microbial pathogenesis in the region.
engelresearchimage200px.jpg Ebola discovery: MIC Professor Dan Engel and team identifies, maps 
unique structure within deadly virus.[ more] and [ more]

School of Medicine Awards 2014: Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Alison Criss, PhD received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching! Information about the award can be found here. An excerpt of the Award poster can be found here.


School of Medicine Awards 2014: Dean’s Award for Excellence in Team Science Research

Congratulations to Kodi S. Ravichandran, Douglas A. Bayliss, Norbert Leitinger, Brant Isakson, Mark Yeager, Ulrike M. Lorenz, and Bimal Desai for winning the distinguished Dean’s Award for Excellence in Team Science Research! Colleagues described their research together as follows: “The theme of their research is centered on an exciting and relatively new plasma membrane channel, the pannexin channels involved in nucleotide release from cells. This team studies the role of these channels in vascular biology and tissue inflammation, focusing on how this channel regulates cell clearance and inflammation, atherosclerosis, metabolism, and blood pressure regulation.” “The team spans multiple departments and centers and is motivated by the goal of addressing an important scientific problem in a multidisciplinary way.” “In every aspect, this team serves as a model for organization and research excellence in the 21st century here and elsewhere. I have watched the collaboration between two outstanding senior investigators grow, flourish, and expand to include the important contributions of more junior colleagues whose research programs have been strengthened by their outreach.” “This team beautifully exemplifies team science: the whole being much greater than the sum of the parts.” Drs. Ravichandran (Professor & Chair of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology), Isakson (Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics), and Yeager (Professor & Chair of Molecular Physiology & Biological Physics) are all preceptors on the Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant (PSTG), along with Pharmacology Faculty members Drs. Bayliss (Professor and Chair), Leitinger (Associate Professor), and Desai (Assistant Professor).

DTebit72014.jpg Dr. Denis Tebit, Assistant Professor of Research at the Myles Thaler Center for AIDS and Human Retroviruses, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, was recently awarded a Fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel to South Africa to work in collaboration with the University of Venda (Univen) to develop and improve protocols to study the genotypic and phenotypic drug resistance and fitness of HIV-1 strains circulating in South Africa. [ more]
The MIC Retreat 2014
ChristineCoqueryLorenErickson170sm.jpg Christine Coquery (from Loren Erickson’s laboratory), has been selected as the the 2014 MIC Outstanding Student, and will be the MIC Graduate Program's nominee for the Peach and Hungerford Awards. She will join outstanding students from the other BIMS Graduate Programs at GBS Symposium on April 3rd, 2014. There, each student will present a seminar, and the Peach and Hungerford Awards will be announced.

Brittany Johnson (from Alison Criss's laboratory), has been selected as the winner of the 2014  Robert R. Wagner Prize for Outstanding Research in Microbiology.

Brittany will receive the Wagner Award and present a seminar to the Department and others within the SOM on March 19th. Please watch for the seminar notice. 

Wagner Prize Seminar 2014


James Walker retired on February 21 from our department after 34 years of service to UVA.  We appreciate all of his very reliable work, energy, flexibilty, kindness and help in the department and will miss it just as much as we will miss James.


MIC Myles H. Thaler Center Professors Lou Hammarskjold, MD, PhD and David Rekosh, PhD discovered how a specific HIV gene helps the virus adapt, and it may also help HIV hide from the immune system. This finding may offer important insight into the infection process and HIV's confounding ability to become latent - and also into some very fundamental questions of cell biology.

Read the full article "HIV's Unexpected Trickery" in Innovations 4, 2013


source: http://iai.asm.org/

Congratulations to Laura Gonyar, a graduate student in the Kendall lab - her article, "Ethanolamine and choline promote expression of putative and characterized fimbriae in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7" was chosen as a "Spotlight" article of significant interest by the editors at Infection and Immunity. Laura's paper was also chosen for the January cover.


The editors' commentary, "Ethanolamine and choline are critical colonization cues for enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli", can be found at: http://iai.asm.org/content/82/1/1



Photo by Jackson Smith. UVA Today story.

Lufuno Mavhandu, who grew up in the small village of Muduluni, is conducting research at U.Va. as part of an important collaboration between the Myles H. Thaler Center for AIDS and Human Retrovirus Research in the School of Medicine and the Department of Microbiology at South Africa’s University of Venda (November 20). Photo by Jackson Smith. UVA Today story.



Alison Criss, PhD receives Dean's Award for Excellence in Research

“She is…fearless in adopting new technologies as they develop, often applying them to her own research problems in unique and inventive
ways.” – Colleague
“Alison’s research has the potential to remarkably expand our knowledge on Neisseria pathogenesis and has translational implications by providing potential new targets for therapeutic intervention. …This is a fundamentally important series of studies performed by the right
person, using the right approaches, and at the right time.” – Colleague
“Alison epitomizes what we hope to develop in our younger generation of scientists and faculty here at UVa.” – Colleague
“Through her hard work and intelligence, Alison has gained the respect of our department, members of the University community with whom she has interacted, and colleagues throughout the scientic community.” – Colleague
“Since she has joined the Department in 2008, Alison has been stellar in every category of what one would expect of a junior investigator.”
– Colleague

[source:  Award Poster]  Link to Criss Lab

Science Straight Up Interview with Ian Glomski, PhD

Science Straight Up is a monthly "Science Cafe" series organized by scientists at the University of Virginia to promote community conversation about scientific topics in a relaxed atmosphere. It is free and open to all curious minds; no science background needed.

Science Straight Up--Enemies without, enemies within: vaccines and the microbial world

The immune system is an amazingly complex and effective adaptation that typically maintains health, but can sometimes run awry. It is a double-edged sword; without it we would be overrun with viruses, parasites, and bacteria, yet on rare occasions it can run amok and kill us. Guest scientist Ian Glomski will lead a conversation on how the immune system protects us from infectious diseases, how some microbes manage to thwart it, and on occasion how the immune system can become a danger.

[Source: Science Straight Up]

The interview can be found at:

catalysts4changeThaler.jpg MIC Myles H. Thaler Center Professors Lou Hammarskjold, MD, PhD and David Rekosh, PhD investigate how HIV mutates in the body and are awarded a $1,2 million grant from the NIH for further research.  [ more]

iUVA Diploma

Congratulation to our 2013 graduates!

Brautigan-sm-postercontest.jpg David Brautigan, PhD receives the Distinguished Mentor Award from the Biology Department for 2012/2013. The Undergraduate Research Symposium will be held Wednesday, May 1.



A group of undergraduates mentored by faculty members and a graduate student from the Thaler Center have been awarded a Jefferson Public Citizens (JPC) Award in support of their project  "Outreach Biology Education Modules for Secondary School Learners in Limpopo Province, South Africa" JPC is the premier UVa community outreach program for undergraduates. They are providing $44,000 for the project.

The students will work in the Thaler Center this Spring developing the lab exercises and other teaching materials, then go to South Africa this summer for seven weeks to implement what they have planned. In South Africa, the UVA students will interact and transfer their "know-how" to University of Venda students and also teach the high school students directly for several weeks.

JPC Group: Walter Hodges, Heather Lee, Joo Yung Lee, Jason Liao
Faculty Advisors: David Rekosh, Marie-Louise Hammarskjöld, Adrienne Keller
Graduate Mentor: Siripong Tongjai
Community Partner: Vuwani Science Research Center
Project Title: Outreach Biology Education Modules for Secondary School Learners in Limpopo Province in South Africa

New MIC Faculty:  We welcome Hui Zong, PhD

Hui recently moved from University of Oregon and settled down in his new lab at UVa (located in Center for Cell Signaling, West Complex 7191). His lab is focused on brain tumor modeling with MADM, a cutting-edge mouse genetic mosaic system. Taking advantage of the single cell resolution in vivo provided by MADM, Zong lab is focused on revealing tricky maneuvers of tumor cells in their native environment, such as transforming potentials of different cells of origin, tumor-microenvironment interactions, and reprograming mechanisms of cancerous cells. His lab also uses primary tumor cell culture,  orthotopic tumor transplantation, and mouse genetic tools to study molecular mechanisms and to develop novel treatment strategies of brain tumors.

Link to Zong Lab

New MIC Faculty:  We welcome Kwon-Sik Park, PhD

In his new laboratory here at UVA (located in Jordan 7034), Kwon will focus on the identification and functional validation of tumor suppressor genes and oncogene crucial for lung cancer development. Using the genomic data of lung cancers and the genetically-engineered mouse models he will define mechanisms underlying malignant progression of cancer and also develop pre-clinical tumor model based on patient-specific genetic aberrations. He is interested collaborating with people across the University, in both basic and clinical departments.

2012 MIC Poster Contest - Congratulations to David Brautigan, Mariette Babier, Cassandra Hoffman, Alexander Kofman and David Kashatus for winning entries in the competition.  [read more]
New MIC Faculty:  We welcome Melissa Kendall, PhD

In her new laboratory at UVA (located in Jordan 7212), Melissa will focus on understanding the regulatory cascade involved in ethanolamine (EA) metabolism and virulence gene expression in EHEC. Ethanoloamine is present in the large intestine due to the turnover of intestinal cells as well as through the host diet. EHEC uses EA as a nitrogen source and thus gains a competitive advantage for colonization over the indigenous microbiota. Her recent exciting has shown that EA is not only important for nitrogen metabolism, but can signal to activate genes involved in inter-­‐kingdom signaling, type three secretion, and Shiga toxin production (Kendall et al., 2012). Further understanding of this regulatory system will lead to the identification of novel virulence factors and may lead to the development of anti-­‐virulence therapies. [ more]

New MIC Faculty:  We welcome David Kashatus, PhD

In his new laboratory here at UVA (located in Jordan 7022), Dave will focus on the role of mitochondrial dynamics in tumorigenesis. Since mitochondrial fusion and fission are   increasingly recognized to affect metabolism, autophagy and apoptosis, a key focus of his new laboratory will be to elucidate how key oncogenic signaling pathways interact with   the mitochondrial fusion and fission machinery and how they impact mitochondrial morphology and mitochondrial function.  He also plans to use mouse models of cancer to ask whether mitochondrial dynamics plays a role in tumorigenesis, and whether the mitochondrial fusion and fission machinery might represent attractive targets for therapeutic   intervention. He is interested collaborating and working with people across the University, in both basic and clinical departments. [ more]

Catalysts for Change

Marie-Louise Hammarskjold, MD, PhD and David Rekosh, PhD, are molecular geneticists.  For the last 20 years, the couple has worked steadily and qquietly to unravel the genetic mysteries of HIV as co-direcotrs of the Myles Thaler Center for AIDS and Human Retrovirus Research at the University of Virginia. [...] -

More recently, as drug development, treatment and education have helped stabilize the AIDS crisis int eh U.S., Hammarskjold and Rekosh have turned some of their attention to the epidemic that is still devastating other parts of the world.  More specifically, they've turned their attention to Africa.

Read more about the scientific work and outreach of the two MIC faculty and Co-Directors of the Thaler Center  http://catalog.e-digitaleditions.com/i/84132 pp.22-25

Victor H. Engelhard, PhD wins SOM Team Science Award for his work with the Melanoma Immunotherapy Group (other Team members: Craig L. Slingluff, Jr., MD, FACS and Donald F. Hunt, PhD):

“This is is a group that you at UVa should be extremely proud to have fostered. It is one that many institutional leaders can only wish to have developed at their universities.” – Colleague

“This is is a real ‘Dream Team’ that should be an exemplar for future UVa research teams to emulate.” – Colleague

“Together, they have created a world-recognized center for utilizing the immune system to treat cancer which in turn has served as the foundation for a Cancer Center Program that has consistently been among the most highly regarded elements of the University of Virginia’s Cancer Center Support Grant from NCI.” – Colleague [source: Award Poster]


Daniel G. Gioeli, PhD wins SOM Team Science Award for his work with the Prostate Cancer Research Group (other team members: Bryce M. Paschal, PhD, Anindya Dutta, MBBS, PhD, Henry F. Frierson, Jr., MD, David Wotton, PhD, Mark R. Conaway, PhD



“What better example of interdisciplinary collaborative team science is there at UVa SOM? is team includes geneticists and molecular and cell biologists working in concert with a biostatistician and a pathologist on innovative animal models of human disease.” – Colleague

“By virtue of [their Program Project] award we can be assured that they have been judged by experts in the eld to be one of the premier research teams in the country.” – Colleague

“is team brings together basic and clinical scientists with complementary expertise, a track record of collaboration, and a shared vision of dening mechanisms of prostate cancer progression. is P01 project will have a major impact on the prostate cancer field….” – Colleague [source: Award Poster]

Loren Erickson, PhD wins SOM Dean's Award for Excellency in Teaching

"He is patient and methodical, moving at the pace of the student, adapting to their learning needs, and allowing the student to ask questions, ensuring they fully understand the concept." - Student

"His passion for science is infectious and it is his unwavering enthusiasm that drives students not only to excel under his tutelage but to give them the desire to learn more." - Student

“Dr. Erickson is one of the students’ favorites...in both the old and the new curricula... The future of medicl education at our institution is bright and our students will be better physicians because of Dr. Erickson."  - Colleague [source: Award Poster]


UVA Diploma

Graduation 2012 - Congratulations to all graduates





Farrow Fellowship for postdoctoral application


Congratulations to Yulia Koryakina, Daniel G. Gioeli Lab, for her Farrow Fellowship for postdoctoral application “The Effect of Extracellular Matrix Rigidity on Prostate Cancer Cell Growth and Androgen Receptor Transcriptional Program”, April 2012.

This proposal integrates two concepts important in prostate cancer progression: steroid receptor signaling and extracellular matrix rigidity.

Poster Award at FASEB Summer Conference

Brautigan Lab member and Senior Scientist Dr. Lifu Wang, won one of the three poster awards in July 2012 at the FASEB Summer Conference on Protein Phosphatases.


Christine Coquery (Erickson Lab) wins two awards

May 2012 - Gina Finzi Memorial Summer Fellowship ($4000)  from the Lupus Foundation of America [ more]

June 2012 - Student Travel Award ($950) from the Society for the Advancement of Cytometry to attend the Cyto 2012 conference in Leipzig, Germany



BrittanyJohnson-news.jpg Brittany Johnson, graduate student in the Criss lab, was selected to give a talk at the American Society for Microbiology 2012 annual meeting. The title of her talk is Neisseria gonorrhoeae alters antimicrobial granule mobilization and phagolysosome formation to survive intracellularly in human neutrophils. She will be presenting during the session entitled Phagocytes: Heroes and Victims of Infection.
2012 Women in Medicine Leadership Award

The award is given annually to a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in leadership, scholarship and mentoring, and who exerts influence in fostering a better institutional environment by advocating for women's issues.

Bouton has mentored numerous undergraduate, medical and bioengineering students. She has a long history of competing successfully for research awards from the National Institutes of Health, and pre-doctoral and doctoral training awards from the National Cancer Institute. [more]

Outstanding MII Graduate Student

Shawn Fahl, a student in Tim Bender's laboratory, has been chosen as the Outstanding MII graduate student. He will be the 2012 Peach/Hungerford Award Nominee for the MII/MIC Graduate Program. Shawn will join the pool of other BIMS Graduate Programs' outstanding students, in the next round of selection for the Peach and Hungerford Awards, which will be announced during the GBS Symposium in April 2012.

Recipient of the Robert R. Wagner Prize for Outstanding Research in Microbiology

George Liechti, a student in Joanna Goldberg's laboratory, has been chosen as the winner of the Robert R. Wagner Prize for Outstanding Research in Microbiology. George will receive the Wagner Award and present a seminar to the Department and others in the SOM at a MIC seminar in May

Best Presentation Award

Stacey Gorski, a student in Tom Braciale's lab, won best presentation award for: "The biphasic role of IL-5 during influenza infection." at the 2012 Robert J. Huskey Research Exhibition

Young Investigator Award, Best Poster Award and more...

Weiner Z.P., Cardani A., Glomski I.J. Seeding of Bacillus anthracis into the draining lymph node by “Trojan horse” phagocytes does not mediate subcutaneous infection lethality. Huskey Research Symposium 2012, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Presenting student received a third- place poster award

Weiner Z.P., Cardani A., Glomski I.J. Seeding of Bacillus anthracis into the draining lymph node by “Trojan horse” phagocytes does not mediate subcutaneous infection lethality. University of Virginia Infectious Disease Research Day 2012

Presenting student was winner of Best Poster Award


Weiner Z.P., Cardani A., Glomski I.J. Seeding of Bacillus anthracis into the draining lymph node by “Trojan horse” phagocytes does not mediate subcutaneous infection lethality. Bacillus- ACT Meeting 2011. Bruges, Belgium

Presenting student was winner of the “Young Investigator Award”


Lowe D.L., Ernst S.M., Glomski I.J. Characterizing in vivo bottlenecks in disseminating inhalational anthrax. Huskey Research Symposium 2012, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Presenting student received a second- place poster award


*Lowe D.L., Ernst S.M., Glomski I.J. Characterizing in vivo bottlenecks in disseminating inhalational anthrax. University of Virginia Infectious Disease Research Day 2012

Presenting student was winner of Best Presentation Award


Lowe D.L., Ernst S.M., Glomski I.J. Characterizing in vivo bottlenecks in disseminating inhalational anthrax. Bacillus- ACT Meeting 2011. Bruges, Belgium

Presenting student was the recipient of a travel award.

2012 ASM Graduate Microbiology Teaching Award

2012 ASM Graduate Microbiology Teaching Award is Joanna B. Goldberg, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, University of Virginia, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

"Goldberg is truly deserving of this award," describes Sara Cassidy of the University of Michigan, a former student of Goldberg's. "Through years of practice, she has developed an uncanny ability to detect and address the needs of individual students-a quality of mentorship that is difficult to teach."[ more]


June 2011 Microcosm

March 2011 Microcosm


Alison Criss is among the five "Young U.Va. Innovators" chosen for FEST Funding.
"U.Va. faculty members are annually invited to submit proposals for FEST funding. This year, 17 researchers from across the scientific disciplines presented a range of projects. A review committee made up of senior faculty chose the winners based on originality and likeliness of attracting significant future funding.

"In a field of extremely strong proposals, three young biomedical researchers stood out as leaders in their respective fields," said microbiology professor Marcia McDuffie, who served on the review committee.

Criss garnered FEST funding for a project that will use state-of-the-art techniques to define the mechanisms by which pathogenic Neisseria bacteria evade clearance by the immune system, generating devastating diseases such as gonorrhea. The methods she is developing could lead to breakthroughs in understanding at the genome level the resistance of gonorrhea – and other global infectious diseases – to current antibiotics.

"Dr. Criss has established an internationally recognized research program on the interactions between bacteria and the human immune system," McDuffie noted."

Graduation 2011:  17 of the 45 BIMS PhD graduates were from the Department of Microbiology!

UVA Diploma

2011 Micro Graduation

Pictured to the right:

Madhura Lohia with mentor Ian Macara, Virginia Carroll (mentor Mike Brown not
pictured), Jessica Pritchard and Kirsten Ludwig with mentor Sally Parsons, Marcin Walkiewicz (mentor Dan Engel) Associate Dean of Graduate and Medical
Programs Amy Bouton, and Michael Stadnisky (mentor Mike Brown).


Read the Department of Microbiology newsletter.

Jan. 2011

Kodi Ravichandran, PhD

Chairman of the UVA School of Medicine’s  Department of Microbiology and director of the UVA Center for Cell Clearance, Ravichandran is internationally recognized for his ground-breaking research into the mechanisms of cell clearance. When functioning properly, our bodies safely remove an estimated one million dying cells per second. Failure to promptly remove dying cells, however, is linked to chronic inflammation, developmental defects, and such autoimmune diseases as lupus, arthritis and atherosclerosis. [ more]


Matt Hufford, Thomas Brachiale Lab, wins the Wagner Prize for outstanding graduate student research in Microbiology. He was also selected to represent the MII program for the Peach/Hungerford awards.


Jay Fox, PhD, Professor and Assistant Dean of Research Support of Microbiology

University of Virginia Medical School, Charlottesville and his contributions to studies of snake venom toxins have landed him on the pages of ASBMB today.

Read the full article:   http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/asbmbtoday_article.aspx?id=11118


Read the Departmental Newsletters

Dec. 2010

Nov. 2010



Marie Louise Hammarskjold, MD, PhD and David Rekosh, PhD, Myles H. Thaler Center Awarded a new Patent and a Travel Award to teach in South Africa.

The patent is for the discovery of a compound that inhibits HIV replication.  This work is and important step in the development of an entirely new class of anit-HIV drugs.

The travel award will help fund a trip to the University of Venda, South Africa, where members of the Thaler Center have already taught students in previous years.

Kodi Ravichandran and Jeffrey J. Lysiak

UVa researchers breaking ground on male fertility (Daily Progress, Dec. 25, 2010)

Kodi S. Ravichandranchairman of the UVa Department of Microbiology, and  Jeffrey J. Lysiak, assistant professor of urology, have spent four years studying how the male testes remove dead or dying immature sperm cells. This removal is needed for testes to remain healthy and normal,  Lysiak said.[ excerpt from the Daily Progress article.  Read more]

Dr. Kodi Ravichandran, PhD

October 2010: Kodi S. Ravichandran, PhD, was announced to be the new Chair of the Department of Microbiology. Dr. Ravichandran, the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, joined the department in 1996 and was appointed Professor of Microbiology in 2004. He has served as Director of the Center for Cell Clearance since 2008.

Dr. Ravichandran’s research focuses on apoptotic cell clearance and intracellular signaling pathways regulating T and B lymphocyte function. The daily clearance of billions of apoptotic (dead) cells is fundamentally important in maintaining health. Failure to promptly and efficiently clear apoptotic cells can lead to chronic inflammation, autoimmunity and developmental defects. Dr. Ravichandran’s laboratory addresses how the dying cells are recognized by phagocytes, ingested, and removed without harm to the host. His laboratory is also addressing how adapter proteins and chemokine receptors regulate specific checkpoints during T cell development in the thymus.


After receiving a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Madras Veterinary College, Dr. Ravichandran received his PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1992. He performed his post-doctoral work in the Division of Pediatric Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. After a year as Instructor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ravichandran joined the faculty at UVA.


Dr. Ravichandran has authored more than 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including multiple publications in the top biomedical journals such as Cell, Nature, Science, Nature Immunology and Nature Cell Biology. Dr. Ravichandran’s laboratory has been highly productive over the years here at UVA, including four articles published in Nature in the past 12 months. He serves on many NIH review panels and other granting agencies, and also serves as a reviewer for numerous biomedical journals. He has been an Invited or Plenary Speaker in many national and international meetings and is a recognized world leader in the fields of apoptosis and cell clearance.


Dr. Ravichandran has also distinguished himself with his leadership in research and teaching at UVA. Dr. Ravichandran is the Program Director of the Immunology T32 Training Grant and oversaw its successful competitive renewal in 2010. He was also honored with the Robert J. Kadner Mentoring Award for graduate and post-doctoral training.

Dr. David Brautigan, PhD

David Brautigan, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Director of the Center for Cell Signaling has accepted the invitation to serve as chairperson of the Molecular and Integrative Signal Transduction Study Section for Scientific Review at the NIH. "Membership on a study section represents a major commitment of professional time and energy as well as a unique opportunity to contribute to the national biomedical research effort.  Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors. Service on a study section also requires mature judgment and objectivity as well as the ability to work effectively in a group. The skill and leadership offered by the chairperson determine to a significant extent the effectiveness and efficiency of the review group." (excerpt from the letter by Toni Scarpa, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Scientific Review to inform Dean Dekosky, MD of the UVA Medical School about David Brautigan's new responsibility.)



Venda Campus



Lecture in Venda, South Africa, 2010

Two Week Intensive Course and Lab Practicum at the University of Venda, South Africa by the Myles H. Thaler AIDS Center and the Microbiology Department

This spring, five members (Lou Hammarskjold, David Rekosh, AJ Roberts, Lisa Nichols and Emily Sloan) of the Myles H. Thaler AIDS Center and the Microbiology Department joined faculty and students at the University of Venda (UNIVEN) in Limpopo Province, South Africa, for a two-week intensive course and lab practicum emphasizing the molecular biological roles of RNA. Professors Hammarskjold and Rekosh lectured each morning to 30 students who are pursuing undergraduate honors degrees or graduate degrees in microbiology, biochemistry or zoology. Small group discussions, facilitated by UVA and UNIVEN team members, followed each morning's lecture and helped clarify critical concepts. For nearly half the students, the afternoons were filled with an intensive lab practicum that emphasized PCR, cloning, transformations and colony selection, sequence analysis and bioinformatics, cell culture and transfections, fluorescent microscopy, and bioluminescent assays. The course, lab practicum, and other team activities were a critical part of capacity building at UNIVEN for Professors Pascal Bessong and Samie Amidou, UNIVEN researchers, who have ongoing collaborations with UVA faculty in Microbiology and the Center for Global Health. Professors Hammarskjold and Rekosh plan to return in the spring of 2011 to lecture in a microbiology course that is directed by Professor Amidou .

Dr. Platts-Mills

May 28, 2010 - University of Virginia medical professor Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his research into the causes of asthma and allergic disease. The Royal Society is the United Kingdom's national academy of science and the oldest scientific academy in the world. His recent work, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008, looked at patients who developed a life-threatening allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, during treatment for cancer. In February 2009, he led a study on anaphylactic reactions that occurred several hours after eating beef, pork or lamb. Both of these discoveries are related to IgE antibodies to a complex mammalian sugar that appear to be induced by tick bites. This represents a paradigm shift in the understanding of allergic reactions, including those to food. [more]

UVA Diploma
source:  Finals Weekend 2010
MII graduates 2010
Congratulations to all MII graduates 2010!
C. Burns, PhD Teaching Award Christopher Burns, PhD Associate Professor of Medical Education has been selected for the 2009-2010 "Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award" by the graduate students of the Florida Atlantic University College of Biomedical Science for the second year in a row.
Amy Bouton, PhD

Appointment of Amy H. Bouton, PhD, to the position of Associate Dean for Graduate and Medical Scientist Programs, effective July 1, 2010.
Dr. Bouton, who has been at UVA since 1991, is Professor of Microbiology. Her lab has two major research interests - adhesion signaling in macrophages, and molecular mechanisms by which breast cancer cells become resistant to the growth-inhibitory effects of antiestrogens (competitive inhibitors of the estrogen receptor).

In her role as Associate Dean for Graduate and Medical Scientist Programs, Dr. Bouton will be responsible for overseeing and supporting all aspects of graduate studies at the School of Medicine. This includes oversight of the BIMS programs, the Graduate Programs Office, and coordination of graduate studies across departments and schools within the University.

Derek Dube, White Lab 2010 Robert R. Wagner Prize for Outstanding Research in Microbiology for Derek Dube, a student in Judy White's laboratory
Stacy Park, Mehrad Lab 2010 Peach/Hungerford Award Nominee selected for the MII Graduate Program:  Stacy Park, a student in Borna Mehrad's laboratory.
Amelia Hufford

Congratulations to Amelia Hufford (Ravichandran Lab) for her selection by the Scientific Review Panel of the Lindau Council to be a participant of the 60th Interdisciplinary Meeting of Nobel Laureates. Amelia was selected in a nationwide competition to attend the meeting from June 27 to July 2, 2010, at Lindau (Germany).

Amelia is the sole representative for the University of Virginia!
More information on the meeting is available at http://www.orau.org/lindau/.

Mike Stadniski, Brown Lab

Mike Stadnisky, a student in Mike Brown's laboratory, has been selected for the Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences & Engineering. This award recognizes excellence in original scholarship by Ph.D. students at the University. In addition, it rewards those students bringing recognition to graduate programs at U.Va. through their intellect, dedication, creativity, and passion. This year's competition was very strong!







The University of Virginia presented two Thomas Jefferson Awards on October 16, 2009, one recognizing excellence in service and the other recognizing excellence in scholarship. They are the highest honors that the University bestows.The 2009 Jefferon award for scholarship went to J. Thomas Parsons, chairman of the Department of Microbiology and F. Palmer Weber Professor of Medical Research. Parsons, who joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1974, is widely recognized as a leading researcher in the field of cell signaling, an important avenue of cancer research.

"Tom is among the top couple percent in total citations among biochemists and cell biologists," he wrote. "Many researchers at U.Va. and around the world owe their careers to FAK and Tom's discovery." (Rick Horwitz, PhD)
[read the Complete News Release]


KadnerAwardAmyBoutonedit2web.jpg Sept 09:

Academy of Distinguished Educators

Amy H. Bouton, PhD, Professor of Microbiology receives the Robert J. Kadner Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching






NIH, Center for Cancer Research
Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Head, Biochemical Genetics Section
Laboratory Co-Chief
Beyond Transcription: Regulatory Networks with Small RNA Regulators


Jordan Hall Conference Center Auditorium

Two Distinguished Scientist Awards to Professors of Microbiology

J.T. Parsons', PhD and M. Weber's, PhD leadership in their research is recognized both at UVa and by peers nationally and internationally as having made a major impact on their field of study:



J.T. Parsons, PhD Professor of Microbiology and Chair, receives the 2009 University of Virginia Distinguished Scientist Award for his research contributions to Rous sarcoma virus mediated transformation (viral mediated cancer), identification of tyrosine phosphorylated substrates by the Src gene using monoclonal antibodies, identification of several important, novel proteins, especially focal adhesion kinase (FAK), solidified the emerging notion that adhesion receptors mediate signaling and linked FAK-mediated signaling to proliferation, programmed cell death, gene expression, migration and synaptic function in normal cells and implicated it in many diseases, particularly cancer, leading to drugs now in human trials against metastatic cancer that inhibit the kinase activity of FAK.






M. Weber, PhD, Director, Cancer Center, receives the 2009 University of Virginia Distinguished Scientist Award for his research contributions. His early research on the Src oncogene established the importance of multiple tyrosine phosphorylations in causing malignant cell behavior. Further research has profoundly influenced cell regulation research not only in cancer, but in inflammation, diabetes, infectious diseases, and normal development. Weber also was the first to identify a mammalian scaffold protein for MAP Kinases, which regulates and channels the signals. The use of the phosphospecific antibodies revealed that MAP Kinase activation characterized the progression of prostate cancer to hormone independence, opening up new therapeutic possibilities in that disease. In more recent years, his research has become more oriented toward translational goals, and Weber has developed new ways of looking for combinatorial therapies for a variety of cancers, including prostate, melanoma, bladder and head and neck cancers, each of which provides unique opportunities to match knowledge about signaling with potential therapeutic interventions.

Microbiology Faculty Deborah Lannigan, Ian Macara, J.Thomas Parsons and Vic Engelhard Featured in the UVA Alumni Magazine:

Different Skills, Common Goal
Teamwork yielding results in cancer research

Text and Images from UVA Magazine

Deborah Lannigan (cell and molecular biologist), Ian Macara (cell biologist), David Brenin (surgeon) TARGET: BREAST CANCER

Team: Deborah Lannigan (cell and molecular biologist), Ian Macara (cell biologist), David Brenin (surgeon)
Research: They are growing "organoids" from human tissue to track cancer growth at the cellular level and synthesizing a compound derived from the Amazon jungle plant Fosteronica Refracta to stop the growth of breast cancer cells.
In layman's terms: U.Va. is pioneering a process to "grow" live, healthy breast tissue in the lab. By adding cancer cells to the tissue, they can see how cancer develops in human tissue rather than in mice. This breakthrough will be used to test the effectiveness of several therapies, including a compound discovered at U.Va. that inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

Kim Kelly (biomedical engineer), J. Thomas Parsons (cancer biologist), Todd Bauer (surgeon-scientist) TARGET: PANCREATIC CANCER

Team: Kim Kelly (biomedical engineer), J. Thomas Parsons (cancer biologist), Todd Bauer (surgeon-scientist)
Research: They are exploring the basic biology of pancreatic cancer, including identifying a protein (uPAR) that, when blocked, decreases the growth and metastasis of human pancreatic cancers in mice. They are evaluating signaling pathways in individual tumors to develop patient-specific targeted therapies and identifying early biomarkers that could make precancerous cells visible via MRI and PET scans.
In layman's terms: The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is only 5 percent. Diagnosing pancreatic cancer early, preventing its spread and understanding the genetic profile of each patient's individual tumor can greatly improve treatment options and outcomes.

Craig Slingluff (surgeon-scientist), Don Hunt (chemist), Vic Engelhard (microbiologist and immunologist) TARGET: DEVELOPING CANCER VACCINES

Team: Craig Slingluff (surgeon-scientist), Don Hunt (chemist), Vic Engelhard (microbiologist and immunologist)
Research: The group has pioneered the development of vaccines that fight melanoma and other cancers. They were the first group to identify a peptide antigen in melanoma that can be targeted by T-lymphocytes, the cells capable of directly killing cancer cells.
In layman's terms: By identifying molecular targets on cancer cells, the team can use vaccines to muster the body's immune system in a "nontoxic war on cancer." Result: killing cancer cells without killing healthy tissue. Since 1996, the Human Immune Therapy Center has enrolled more than 500 patients in anti-cancer vaccine clinical trials.

Nicholas Sherman, PhD receives award for Thermo Electron Orbitrap XL & ETD Mass Spectrometer
The new instrument will be the foundation of high resolution/mass accuracy HRMA) experiments in complex immunoprecipitations (IPs), biomarkers and
post-translational modifications (PTMs) - allowing for more complex and in-depth experiments to be performed at UVA.
Julie Turner, PhD ""The Art of Diagnosis" is a project still in its "embryogenesis stage," according to Ragan and Turner. In March, they held a public talk to explain the concept and brainstorm about research possibilities with the audience, which included art therapists, neuroscientists, infectious disease specialists and community members simply piqued by the hypothesis." Find out more
SandyWeirich-award Sandy Weirich, graduate program coordinator in the Department of Microbiology, was named Employee of the Month for January 2009.
As one nominator wrote: "She is simply a wonderful person who is an absolute joy to work with. In short, Sandy represents the ideal employee - one who is fully skilled, motivated, hard working, and enjoys what they do."

Department Chair Tom Parsons says they could not function without her.

Karen Eisinger, Lannigan lab

2009 Peach Hungerford Award Recipient

Karin Eisinger is the MII's 2009 recipient for the Peach/Hungerford Award. Karin is a student in Deb Lannigan's laboratory in the Center for Cell Signaling. Karin was chosen by a selection committee comprised of six MII and Microbiology faculty members and chaired by David Benjamin, Professor Emeritus of Microbiology. Congratulations to Karin as this year's recipient.

2009 Wagner Prize

The 7th annual Robert R. Wagner Prize for Outstanding Research in Microbiology was awarded to Anna Maria Copeland. Anna Maria is a doctoral Student in Dr. Jay Browns's lab. Congratulations, Anna Maria!

Find more details on the Wagner Awards web site.


Dan Gioeli, Ph.D. gets Grant for Prostate Cancer Research from the National Cancer Institute
"For me the most exciting thing is now we have some of the resources to address what I think is a very interesting and important question.[...] now we can start to answer a piece of the puzzle." 
Daniel Gioli, Ph.D."

read excerpt from news show on NBC29

Microbiology Retreat October 14, 8am-6pm
Stonefire Station, Barboursville
(click on image to see complete group picture)
Victor H. Engelhard, PhD Sept 08:

Academy of Distinguished Educators

Victor H. Engelhard (Robert J. Kadner Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching)

Chao Jiang, Erickson Lab

2008 Gina Finzi Summer Fellowship Award from the Lupus Foundation of America

Chao Jiang in Dr. Loren Erickson's lab

The purpose of this award is to foster an interest among young researchers in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) through support of basic, clinical, or psychosocial research under the supervision of an established investigator.
Project:"The Role of BCMA for Plasma Cell Survival in Murine SLE".
Mentor:  Dr. Loren Erickson

Kadner Family and Dr. Roth Dr. John Roth with Kadner Family and Dr. J.Thomas Parsons after the lecture.

John Roth, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor
College of Biological Sciences
UC Davis

"Origins of Mutations under  Selection"
September 22, 2008

Jordan Hall Conference Center Auditorium
Julie Davis Turner, PhD

The Robert Bennett Bean Award: Established by the Class of 1966 in honor of Dr. Robert Bennett Bean, anatomist, anthropologist, and chair of the Department of Anatomy from 1916 to 1942. This yearly award is presented by the second year class to one member of the faculty for excellence in teaching the basic medical sciences.

Julie Davis Turner, PhD

Professor Turner received this award for the second year in a row.
M-Demory 2008 Biomedical Sciences Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Michelle Lynn Demory in Dr. Sarah Parsons' Lab
A.M. Copeland

Eighth Annual Robert J. Huskey Graduate Research Exhibition - first place for oral presentation: 

Anna Maria Copeland in Dr. Jay Brown's lab

"Herpes simplex virus replication: Roles of viral proteins and nucleoporins in capsid-nucleus attachment"

K. Hulse
Eighth Annual Robert J. Huskey Graduate Research Exhibition - first place for oral presentation: 

Katie Hulse in Dr. Judith Woodfolk's lab

"Targeting Fel d 1 to FcgammaRI: Single Cell Analysis reveals a novel variation of the Th2 response in cat-allergic subjects."

C. Brinkman

Graduate Biosciences Society Student Symposium - second place for poster presentation

Colin Brinkman in Dr. Victor Engelhard's lab

"Activated CD8 T cells Redistribute to Antigen Free Lymph Nodes and Exhibit Effector and Memory Cell Characteristics"

2008 Jill E. Hungerford Award

Daeho Park in Dr. Kodi Ravichandran's lab

Thesis Project: BAI1 is an Engulfment Receptor for Apoptotic Cells Upstream of ELMO1/Dock180/Rac Signal Module

Mentor:  Dr. Kodi Ravichandran
pic. not available

2008 Michael J. Peach Award

Edward Stites in Dr. Kodi Ravichandran's lab

Project: Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Oncogenic Ras Signaling

Mentor: Dr. Kodi Ravichandran

sanchez.jpg AACR-AstraZeneca Scholar-in-Training Award

Sergio Sanchez in Dr. Sarah J. Parsons' lab has been selected to receive this award  to support his attendance to the AACR Annual Meeting 2008 in San Diego, CA, USA, April 12th - 16th, 2008.

"AstraZeneca has graciously donated funds to the AACR to support young investigators who will be presenting meritorious proffered papers. With Scholar-in-Training Awards presented to fewer than 10% of applicants, overall the process is highly competitive. Congratulations on being selected!"
Lannigan, PhD Deborah Lannigan, PhD in the news



Microbiology and Global Health Lecture

"Polio Eradication:  A Global Case Study"

Neal Nathanson, M.D.
Associate Dean
Global Health Programs
University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine

J. Thomas Parsons, PhD, Dick Guerrant, PhD,  Becca Dillingham, PhD and Neal Nathanson, PhD





Glomski Lab Warming: Ian Glomski joined the Microbiology faculty in August 2007.

Ian  J.  Glomski
Degree(s): Ph.D.
Graduate School: University of California, Berkeley
Primary Appointment: Assistant Professor of Microbiology
Research Interests:
Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of B. anthracis pathogenesis; detection and prevention of anthrax.

Email Address: ijg2b@virginia.edu

Ian Glomski, PhD and Ann Beyer, PhD at the lab warming


2008 Wagner Prize

The 6th annual Robert R. Wagner Prize for Outstanding Research in Microbiology was awarded to Michelle L. Demory, Ph.D.  Michelle is in Dr. Sarah J. Parsons' lab.  Congratulations, Michelle!

Find more details on the Wagner Awards web site.

macara. phd

Ian Macara, PhD receives Distinguished Scientist Award

"Macara is recognized as a scientific leader, both at U.Va. and beyond. He has been instrumental in acquiring state-of-the-art cellular imaging equipment for the Advanced Microscopy Facility, creating an invaluable resource for U.Va.'s scientists. In addition, he has over 165 publications, many of which appear in prestigious journals such as Cell, Science, and Nature. His citation index of 58 is extremely high, indicating the importance and regard his research has generated."

"Ian Macara's research on nuclear protein transport and cellular polarity has shown how cells such as neurons or mammary cells organize information to form specific structures, and to orient within tissues," said Dr. Sharon L. Hostler, interim vice president and dean of the School of Medicine. "This has significant impact in understanding tissue development, and dysregulation of cell function in early tumor progression."

In 2007:

Dec. 07:
Microbiology/Global Health Seminar:
Dr. Tiffany Hamm, PhD

Director for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Treatment Program, Division of Retrovirology - US Military Research Program, Walter Reed Army Institute for Research

"Supporting HIV Care and Treatment in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda"



Oct 07:
Microbiology/Global Health Seminar:

Dr. Siddhartha Mahanty, M.D., M.P.H.
Staff Physician
Helminth Immunology Section
Laboratory of Parasitic Disease NIAID, NIH
"Translational research in the
developing world: Collaborative  studies on malaria and helminth infections in West Africa"

Inaugural Global Health Seminar with Dick Guerrant, Siddhartha Ma, and Tom Parsons (10-17-2007)


Sept 07:

Academy of Distinguished Educators Distinguished Educators, Robert J. Kader Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching :

Kodi S. "Ravi" Ravichandran (Robert J. Kadner Award for outstanding graduate student teaching) and J. Thomas Parsons (Chair).

First Annual Robert J. Kadner Distinguished Lecture in Microbiology

Thomas J. Silhavy, Ph.D.
Warner-Lambert Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

"Outer Membrane Biogenesis in Gram-Negative Bacteria"

Monday, September 17, 2007 at 4pm
Jordan Hall Conference Center Auditorium
Reception to follow

For any information please contact Lynn McCutcheon.

Congratulations to the following MII students:

Anna Maria Copeland, Ph.D. candidate, in Dr. Jay Brown's lab has  received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) for Individual Predoctoral Fellows through the National Institute of  Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS);

Rebecca Obeng, MSTP student, in Dr. Vic Engelhard's lab has  received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Cancer Institute with up to a 5 year renewal.

Teresa Bernaciak, Ph.D. candidate, in Dr. Corinne Silva's lab received funding on a DOD Breast Cancer Research proposal with up to a 3 year renewal for the research on "Role of STAT5b in Breast Cancer Progression and Metastasis."

In 2006:

Martha W. Campbell Retires

Read about Martha W. Campbell's achievements in the department and look at pictures of the retirement party.

2006 Wagner Prize Awarded

The 4th annual Robert R. Wagner Prize for Outstanding Research in Microbiology was awarded to Michael W. Cruise on March 29, 2006.  Michael is in Dr. Young Hahn's lab.  Congratulations, Michael!

2006 Kadner Symposium :

The first annual Kadner Symposium took place on September 12, 2006 in honor and memory of:

Robert J. Kadner, Ph.D.

We mourn the loss of our friend and collegue Robert J. Kadner, Ph.D.  Professor and Vice Chair of Microbiology.  Read the obituary.

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