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Career Development Grants for Postdoctoral Women


The ASM Membership Board is pleased to announce  the recipients of the 2011 Career Development  Grants for Postdoctoral Women. The  recipients are Sinem Beyhan of the University  of California, San Francisco (Anita Sil's laboratory),  Ashley Shade of Yale University (Jo Handelsman's  laboratory), and Laura E. Williams  of Duke University (Jennifer Wernegreen's laboratory). 
beyhanSinem Beyhan received her Ph.D. from the  University of California, Santa Cruz, and is now  a postdoctoral fellow in Anita Sil's laboratory at  the University of California, San Francisco. She  is currently conducting research on the fungal  pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum, the most  common cause of fungal respiratory infections  in immunocompetent hosts. H. capsulatum has  a dimorphic life cycle, switching from an infectious  filamentous form in soil to a pathogenic  yeast form in mammalian hosts. By replicating  this morphological switch in the laboratory,  Beyhan is investigating how H. capsulatum alters  its growth program when it senses temperature  changes. Her research on the three genes  (RYP1, RYP2, and RYP3) that are required for  yeast-phase growth in response to temperature  has provided insights into molecular mechanisms  by which the genes regulate yeast-tohyphal  transition. She demonstrated the importance  of heat shock proteins and a transcription  factor, FacB, in regulation of cell morphology  in H. capsulatum. She is pursuing studies of  the mechanism of how heat shock protein 90  (Hsp90) influences regulation of cell shape by  temperature. Beyhan used the Career Development  Grants for Postdoctoral Women award to  attend the Federation of European Biochemical  Societies (FEBS) Human Fungal Pathogens  Course in La Colle sur Loup, France. 

shadeAfter completing her Ph.D. at the University  of Wisconsin-Madison, Ashley Shade began a  postdoctoral position with Jo Handelsman at  Yale University, where she is using functional  metagenomics and computation for next-generation  (454 and Illumnia) sequencing to assess  microbial resilience after perturbation across  different dynamic systems. Shade has been involved  in the design of the Earth Microbiome  Project, a next-generation sequencing study  to understand microbial diversity across soil,  aquatic, and "extreme" biomes of our planet.  She is leading a conceptual review and metaanalysis  of microbial robustness, which was an  outgrowth of a roundtable session she and Handelsman  cochaired at the International Symposium  on Microbial Ecology. Shade collaborates  with researchers at the University of Colorado  and Argonne National Laboratory on analyses  of temporal variability within and across communities  from host-associated microbiome and  environmental habitats. Additionally, she is  working on a project to understand the implications  of a "core" microbiome on interpretation  of next-generation sequencing. She has mentored  several undergraduates and reviewed articles  for journals, such as Bioinformatics and  Applied and Environmental Microbiology.  Shade used the grant to attend the Marine Biological  Laboratory Microbial Diversity summer  course at Woods Hole, Mass. 

williamsLaura E. Williams joined Jennifer Wernegreen's  Laboratory (originally located at the  Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole,  Mass., but since moved to the Institute for Genome  Sciences and Policy, Duke University,  Durham, N.C.) after receiving her Ph.D. from  the University of Georgia, Athens. She researches  genome evolution in Blochmannia,  which are bacterial endosymbionts of carpenter  ants. Due to extensive gene loss, Blochmannia  can no longer exist independently from their ant  hosts. They are strictly maternally transmitted  and cospeciate with ant hosts. Williams is using  Illumina sequencing technology to generate a  dataset of Blochmannia genomes for comparative  analyses and studies of molecular evolution  in Blochmannia, focusing on how strength of  selection is affected by the reduction in bacterial  effective population size due to bottlenecks during  maternal transmission. By comparing a large  dataset of Blochmannia genomes of closely related  and more divergent species, she hopes to  learn how the symbiosis between Blochmannia  and carpenter ants has evolved. In future research,  Williams plans to investigate the evolution  of predation in bacteria using an integrated  approach that combines genomics and molecular  biology. Williams used the grant to visit  Elizabeth Sockett's laboratory at the University  of Nottingham, United Kingdom, to study isolation,  culture, and assay techniques for predatory  bacteria. 

The 2012 Career Development Grants for  Postdoctoral Women program is currently accepting  applications. Three grants ($1,200 each)  are given annually to postdoctoral women of  outstanding scientific accomplishment and potential  for additional significant research or  study in the area of microbiology. For more  information on the program and the application  process, go to
http://www.asm.org/index.php?option_com_content&view_article&id _37857&Itemid_199 on the ASM website. 

















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