Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology

Volume 5, Issue 5
May 2008

We are extremely pleased to report that the Rocky Mountain Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RM-RBL) - one of the most technically advanced laboratories of its kind - has formally received "Select Agent" research approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the FIRST LAB OF ITS KIND IN THE COUNTRY to begin studying these highly regulated bioterrorism agents.  Kudos to the Bob Ellis-led biosafety team for their efficient navigation of the RM-RBL through the arduous CDC Select Agent Program approval process.

In the News...

Gerald Callahan was highlighted in the Spring 2008 Colorado State Magazine in an article entitled, "In praise of dirt and good health"
Read the Article.

Congratulations to Lora Ballweber for being elected Vice President and Program Chair for the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists.

Don Klein has been appointed to a two year term as Branch Councilor for the Rocky Mountain Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (RM-ASM). In this position, Don will be representing the RM-ASM at a variety of national ASM forums, including policy discussions and meeting planning. Congratulations Don!

Congratulations to Ian Orme for being elected to the executive committee of the Colorado AIDS Foundation.

Effective June 1, Bob Jones will become Chief Academic Officer of the CSU-Global Campus - the state-of-the-art on line university arm of CSU. Congratulations Bob on this exciting opportunity.

Microbiology Majors Alyssa Cohen, Ines Marques da Silva, and Lori Testa, were featured in a recent CSU Today article highlighting Spring 2008 CSU graduates who have accomplished major personal goals and are prepared to further their education or begin meaningful careers, and ultimately, become leaders in their communities.

Before Alyssa Cohen was a student at Colorado State University, she was a professional tennis player. Now with graduation nearing, Cohen, 25, is preparing for the next challenge in her life - ‘aceing’ medical school.

During her academic career at Colorado State University, Ines Marques da Silva, 31, juggled a full-time job, volunteer projects and homework to acheive her goal of a college degree at CSU. Born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, Ines moved to the United States while in her 20s.

After several years of skiing (and several knee surgeries), US free-style ski team member and Tae Kwon Do black belt holder Lori Testa, 40, decided to hit the books instead of the slopes and enrolled at CSU. She'll be continuing her education in the CSU vet school in the Fall.

Congratulations to Madeleine Murray, Andrew Sprowell, and Gwynnevere Milner for their induction into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

Congratulations to Katherine Mladinich, Karen Trott, John Gilchrist and Kristin Spencer (Outstanding CVMBS Junior) for their induction to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

These academic honor societies are two of the oldest, most selective, and most widely recognized.

The following MIP Graduating Seniors presented their Honors Theses this month in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Honors Program:

  • Megan Emerick, advisor Jeffery Wilusz
  • Amanda Kehler, advisor Susan Deines
  • Ha Pham, advisor Mary Jackson
  • Cori Probasco, advisor Sandra Quackenbush
  • Andrew Sprowell, advisor Jeffrey Wilusz

Andrew Sprowell pictured above just prior to his honors thesis presentation

Gerald Callahan was given the Jack and June Richardson Scholar Honors Thesis Mentor Award from the CSU Honors Program in recognition of exceptional mentoring of Jacob Miller.


Congratulations to Katie Mladinich and Stephanie Lehman who are recipients of ASM Undergraduate Fellowships to support their research this summer in the Schweizer lab under the direction of RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer. The fellowships also come with a two-year ASM membership and up to $1000 travel to the ASM General Meeting.

Jerome Lee, a CMB student who works with Dr. Carol Wilusz, recently took home an award for his poster entitled, "CUGBP1 Regulates Stability of TNF mRNA in Muscle Cells: Implications for Myotonic Dystrophy" at the 3rd biannual New Directions in Biology and Disease of Skeletal Muscle Meeting that took place in late April in New Orleans. Jerome's poster was in competition with ~150 others.

...and to put an exclamation point on an excellent semester, Jerome was also recently elected as President of the CMB Student Association this month!

Congratulations Jerome!

The CURC Symposium was another great success this year. Of the 101 total posters, 31 were presented by students mentored by 18 MIP Faculty. Twenty of these student presenters were Microbiology majors. MIP, therefore, had a hand in a whopping ~30% of the presentations at the symposium!

Congratulations to the following MIP Participants and Faculty Mentors:


Jonathan Higgins
Advisor: Mercedes Gonzalez-Juarrero
"M-CSF and GM-CSF Influence Na´ve Murine Alveolar Macrophage Differentiation and Function in vitro"

Kirsten Kulcsar (Biochemistry)
Advisor: Joel Rovnak
"Analysis of Unintegrated Walleye Dermal Sarcoma Virus DNA as a Competent Template for Transcription"


Amber Troy
Advisor: Steven Dow
"Airway Immune Responses to Inhaled Liposome-Based Immunotherapeutics "

April Hohnbaum
Advisor: Mercedes Gonzalez-Juarrero
"Foreign body response and cytokine environment of implanted biomaterials in vivo "


Jamie Everman
Advisors: Julia Inamine and Torsten Eckstein
"Characterization of two genes involved in the biosynthesis of a M. paratuberculosis-specific lipopeptide "

Stephanie Lehman
Advisor: RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer
"Evaluation of resistance to nourseothricin as an antibiotic selectable marker in efflux pump deficient Burkholderia species"

Other MIP Participants

Niccole Carner (Liberal Arts)
Advisors: Julia Inamine and Torsten Eckstein

Lauren Clark (Microbiology)
Advisors: Carol and Jeff Wilusz

Danielle Cogswell (Biological Science)
Advisors: Julia Inamine and Torsten Eckstein

Samantha Fallon (Biological Science)
Advisor: Paul Avery

Peter Garza (Microbiology)
Advisor: Erica Suchman

John Gilchrist (Microbiology)
Advisor: Alan Schenkel

Ann Heiliger (Microbiology)
Advisor: John McKay (BSPM)

Christopher Lehmann (Microbiology)
Advisor: Brian Foy

Ines Marques Da Silva (Microbiology)
Advisor: Alan Schenkel

Katherine Mladinich (Microbiology)
Advisor: RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer

Madeleine Murray (Microbiology)
Advisor: Karen Dobos-Elder

Molly Perres (Biomedical Science)
Advisor: Brian Foy

Michelle Price (Biomedical Science)
Advisor: Vara Vissa

Aaron Pride (Microbiology)
Advisors: Carol and Jeff Wilusz

Jason Ramer (Biological Science)
Advisors: Carol and Jeff Wilusz

Kristen Rutherford (Biological Science)
Advisor: Alan Schenkel

Lacey Sethness (Biological Science)
Advisor: Alan Schenkel

Andrew Sprowell (Microbiology)
Advisors: Carol and Jeff Wilusz

Joanne Tennant (Biochemistry)
Advisor: Tian Wang

Latisha Tucker (Microbiology)
Advisor: Hana Van Campen

Tiffany Tweedy (Microbiology)
Advisor: Mike McNeil

Ranjana Unnithan (Microbiology)
Advisor: Alan Schenkel

Jessica Veatch (Biochemistry)
Advisor: Mark Zabel

Matthew Whitney (Microbiology)
Advisor: Tian Wang

Agatha Wieczorek (Microbiology)
Advisor: Karen Dobos-Elder

Congratulations to Jamie Bush (Anatomic Pathology), Colleen Duncan (Anatomic Pathology), Christie Mayo (Microbiology) and Marjorie Williams (Clinical Pathology) for successfully completing their 3 years of Resident training!

  • Nicole Nemeth presented her final seminar on Tuesday, May 6, entitled, "Avian Immunity to West Nile virus". Her advisors are Dr. Richard Bowen and Dr. Terry Spraker.
  • Carolina Lopez presented her final seminar on Tuesday, April 21, entitled, "Effective targeted mutagenesis in Burkholderia pseudomallei". Her advisor is Dr. Herbert Schweizer.

MIP Publications Late April - early May 2008

On May 9th, many seniors in the microbiology program attended their very last college class before graduating. Pictured above are RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer's MIP400 Medical Microbiology Capstone students celebrating the end of their undergraduate classes on Friday afternoon!

There will be some exciting changes to the MIP Seminar Program and the graduate MIP700 Topics course this fall. These changes were suggested with the goal of improving attendance at seminars and enhancing the Topics program and have received a lot of support from the faculty.

MIP700 Topics in Microbiology

This required graduate class covering recent literature will now have 2-3 invited speakers per semester. The topic in the fall will be "Animal Models in Research" and will be coordinated by Diane Ordway and Ian Orme. The class will be at noon on Thursdays in Pathology 103. Seminars by invited speakers will be advertised in advance and all MIP faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend. Contact Carol Wilusz or Diane Ordway for more information on MIP700 this fall. Contact Herbert Schweizer if you are interested in coordinating future Topics classes (and hosting speakers in your field!).

MIP Seminar Series

Seminars will be held on Fridays at 9am in the fall - please put it on your calendar and make every effort to attend!! Seminars are a great opportunity to learn about the huge range of research going on in MIP and in other world-class institutions. Coffee and cookies will be provided. There will be 8-10 seminars per semester presented by MIP Faculty and invited speakers. Please contact Carol Wilusz if you would like to present your research or host a speaker.

The MIP Spring Picnic, hosted by the Microbiology Student Association, took place Friday May 9th and was a great success. For the first time in recent departmental picnic history IT DIDN'T RAIN!!!

Check out the Photo Gallery

Best Wishes Diana, Greg and Sherry!

We all know that our MIP Staff are the University's finest. Unfortunately for us, this information continues to leak out of the department, resulting in some of our truly outstanding employees being recruited elsewhere. This month, the MIP office will be hit hard with the loss of Diana Vasquez (Department Administrator), Greg Suniga (Micro Office Manager), and Sherry McElwain (Department Account Manager). We will surely miss their knowledge, leadership, and excellent work - but we wish them all the best in their future endeavors!

Interviews for the Microbiology Office Manager were recently conducted with a decision pending in the near future. Interviews for the Department Administrator will be starting soon. The Department Account Manager position is on hold until future notice.

On the Job Therapy

Alan Godwin was an assistant professor at the University of Kansas when he suffered a brain aneurysm. Following major surgery, Alan has been hard on the rehabilitation trail over the last three years trying to recover from the poor physical and cognitive health that resulted from this brain injury. We are pleased to report that Alan has shown steady and significant progress in his recovery and is currently working part time as a non-student hourly in the Wilusz lab doing (very successfully) a variety of molecular biology projects. Alan was recently featured in an article in the Spring publication of the College of Applied Human Sciences. Read the article.

The annual spring D-lab friday afternoon club, hosted by Barb Powers, was held at Mulligan's this year on May 9th.
Check out the photo gallery.

What are graduating seniors doing with their B.S. in Microbiology? Here's a list of what some of them will be up to after getting their sheepskin (or should it be Ramskin?)....

  • Maggie (Adams) Farnik - Employed at Heska in Ft. Collins
  • Richard Anderson - Accepted a position at Amgen through K-Force
  • Janette Basinger - Admitted to the Colorado School of Medical Laboratory Science
  • Samantha Bishof - Admitted to the MS Program in Forensic Science at UC-Davis
  • Megan Cassidy - Admitted into the MS Microbiology Program at CSU
  • Lauren Clark - Accepted a position as a clinical specialist with ArthroCareCorporation in Denver
  • Alyssa Cohen - Admitted to medical school at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • Anna Demosthenes - Admitted to the MS Program in Toxicology in ERHS at CSU
  • Megan Emerick - Admitted to the CSU professional veterinary program
  • Sarah Garcia - Accepted a research associate position with the MRL-MIP at CSU
  • David Hicks - Accepted a position as a lab technician at ENSR - Ft. Collins Toxicology Lab
  • Amanda Kehler - Admitted into the Clinical Lab Scientist Program at the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science
  • Phillip Kieffer - Admitted to the MS Program in Engineering Management at Duke University
  • Jeffrey Krause - Admitted to medical school at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • Meaghan Mercer - Admitted to the school of osteopathic medicine at Western University in Pomona, CA
  • Jessica Mierkey - Accepted a position with the PDM Core of the RMRCE at CSU
  • Aaron Pride - Admitted to PhD Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas-Austin
  • Amber Roberts - Accepted a position as a lab technician at ENSR - Ft. Collins Toxicology Lab
  • Mike Russell - Accepted a position as a lab technologist at the CSU VTH diagnostic lab
  • Ashley Sohn - Admitted to the Masters in Public Health Program at Brown University
  • Lori Testa - Admitted to the professional veterinary program at CSU
  • Kristyn Toth - Pursuing secondary teaching license through the School of Education at CSU
  • Matthew Whitney - Accepted a position at the CDC-Vector-borne Disease Branch in Ft. Collins
  • Agatha Wieczorek - Accepted a position with the MRL-MIP at CSU
  • Daniel Woo - Admitted to the MS Program in Food Science and Human Nutrition at CSU

Move over Tony Stark! MIP's very own ‘Iron Woman’ - Sue Vandewoude - recently won the women's weightlifting contest at the Ft. Collins Club by bench pressing 120 lbs.

Thanks to all the MIP'ers who donated their time on April 15th by participating as a judge at the CURC:

  • Delphi Chatterjee
  • James DeMartini
  • Hao Fang
  • Claudia Gentry-Weeks
  • Mercedes Gonzalez-Juarrero
  • David Higgins
  • Julia Inamine
  • RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer
  • Nicole Kruh
  • Megan Lucas
  • Michael McNeil
  • Sandra Quackenbush
  • Joel Rovnak
  • Alan Schenkel
  • Kelsey Schmidt-Deus
  • Kevin Sokoloski
  • John Spencer
  • Erica Suchman
  • Hana Van Campen
  • Vara Vissa
  • Thomas Welte
  • Carol Wilusz
  • Luke Wittenburh
  • Lisa Wolfe
  • Adam Zandman-Zeman
  • Tina Wang

Everyone has been dealing with the overload of spam in their Inbox's these days....but we believe that the 5451 spam messages caught by an MIP faculty member's spamcanner on Friday, May 9th (and documented by the image snippet below) may be a departmental record.

A new joint publication of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) and the Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP) has been created to keep students informed about the different facets of veterinary pathology and what makes veterinary pathology such an exciting career choice! Check out the April 2008 premier issue!

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) offers a free year of membership to newly minted PhDs. Just have your graduate program coordinator contact the ASBMB membership office at membership@asbmb.org and they will send you an application for a free membership.

May 14, 2008: Five months into the project...

"Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable. "

~Wendy Wasserstein (American playwright)

    Alternative MIP Beer Names:
  • Blair's Interim Ale - You'll enjoy it's distinguished head - only available for a limited time (we hope)
  • Orme Stout - (no longer available)
  • Slap Shot Ale - Are you suchMan enough to try it?
  • Lisa and Susan's Advice Lager - Undergrads drink it up. (note: soon to be available in fine fast food eateries in ‘McCan's’)
  • UP THE CRICK Brown Ale - Made with our patented ‘paddle-less’ brewing process to make you forget your problems
  • Beery Beaty - Pleasing aedes and gentlemen since last century
  • Bud-schweizer - The herbivore's choice
  • Hoover Ale - A dam good brew, now with less hops
  • Schenkel's MALT liquor - If you can get past the mucosal aftertaste...
  • Submit your own

Congratulations to Carol, Evan and Gwen Wilusz for winning the Colorado State Parks "Signs of Spring" Photo Contest for week 4. Check out all the photo winners at the CSP Website.

Click Here for the questions to MIPuzzle #30
Click Here for the answers to MIPuzzle #30

" New Arrivals "

On May 12th (which quite appropriately was Mother's Day), a mallard in Jenny Harding's backyard became the proud momma of dodecatuplets (12 ducklings)! Here they are pictured swimming above the koi in Jenny's backyard pond.

  • Concurrent Support while on NIH K awards: Ready for a little good news from NIH regarding research funding? A new NIH policy is in place for anyone on a mentored career development award (K01, K08, K22, K23, K25) that allows you to receive concurrent salary support from a peer-reviewed grant from any federal agency during the last two years of your award and reduce your commitment on your K award to >6 months. To take advantage of this new policy, you must be PI on a competing research grant or director of a subproject on a multicomponent grant from NIH (or another federal agency) and have an active K award. For more information, read the April 10, 2008, Guide notice.
  • What qualifies as human subjects research can be a confounding issue for some projects.  While you always should check out the full NIH guidelines (Guidance on Research Involving Coded Private Information or Biological Specimens) and consult,  if necessary, with the CSU Regulatory Compliance Office, in a nutshell you are not officially conducting human subjects research according to NIAID if :
    • You are using coded private information, data, or specimens.
    • You are not collecting samples by interacting or intervening with living people.
    • None of the investigators or collaborators can identify subjects through coded private information or specimens (e.g., an investigator's access to identity is prohibited by a written agreement).
  • Ever hear of the KOMP Repository?  The NIH Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP) is now well on its way to generating a comprehensive and public resource comprised of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells containing null and conditional-ready mutations in every gene in the mouse (C57BL/6N) genome. To date more than 1200 ES cell clones representing 289 unique target genes have been released for distribution. ES cell clones, vectors, germplasm and mice can all be obtained by going to the KOMP Repository.
  • Recent RFAs that may be of interest to MIP researchers:
    • Modeling of Infectious Disease Agent Study Research Projects (U01). For more info, see the NIH Website. Please note the June 2 deadline for letters of intent.
    • NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13/U13). For more info, see the NIH Website.

New Grant Awards

John Spencer , "Production of CS-35 ", InBios International, Inc.
John Spencer , "Examination of Lipoarabinomannan-Specific Monoclonal Antibodies", University of Alberta
John Spencer , "Biomarkers for Prediction of Leprosy Reaction: A Prospective Study on Cellular and Humeral Host Responses in Brazil... ", Leiden University Medical Center

MAY 2008

Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
      1 2
Faculty Seminar
Graduate Seminar
Microscopy Seminar
8 9
MSA Picnic
Faculty Committee Election Ballots due
20 21 22 23
26 27 28 29 30

JUNE 2008

Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
2 3 4 5 6
9 10 11 12 13
16 17 18 19 20
23 24 25 26 27
Fiscal Year End

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