Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology

Volume 6, Issue 5
May 2009

Ian Orme

Congratulations to Dr. Ian Orme for receiving University Distinguished Professor status. The title is only conferred by CSU upon the most outstanding faculty members in the institution. With over 240 publications that have received to date >9500 citations, >$74 million in grants as a PI/Co-PI or investigator, his impressive mentoring efforts and national awards such as election as an ASM Fellow, Ian surely qualifies for the distinction. Dr. Orme received the recognition on April 28 at the University's annual "Celebrate! Colorado State" event.

To further celebrate this accomplishment, MIP held a reception for Dr. Orme on May 1st in the Pathology Glover Gallery. Faculty, staff, students and family were all in attendance. At the event colleagues shared "The first time I met Ian..." stories and told of favorite moments (which believe it or not sometimes involved a cold beverage), but mostly talked of his many accomplishments and the tremendous impact he has had on research and teaching. Ian becomes the fourth University Distinguished Professor (UDP) from the MIP faculty (the others are Drs. Hoover, Beaty and Brennan). Given that there are only 13 UDPs in the entire university, the fact that 30% of them are from MIP sure speaks volumes concerning the quality of our faculty. WAY TO GO IAN!!!

See the Photo Gallery.

Outstanding Senior Jamie Everman

Out of some rather intense competition, Jamie Everman was chosen as MIP's outstanding graduating undergraduate student for Spring 2009. Jamie graduated summa cum laude with a nearly perfect GPA, which is an especially impressive accomplishment given the rigor of the microbiology degree program.

In addition to being a full-time student, Jamie is also a very competent young researcher. She worked part-time in the laboratory of Dr. Julia Inamine and Dr. Torsten Eckstein for all of her four years Colorado State. Jamie received College Honors for a poster presentation of her research data at the CSU research symposium last year, and this week she will present her work at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Philadelphia. In addition, Jamie obtained research experience in three different summer internships; two at the University of Colorado Cancer and one at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover, Germany.

Obviously, Jamie is a very busy person, but she somehow still found the time to perform a great deal of community service. Jamie was the President of the Microbiology Student Association (MSA), the webmaster for both MSA and the CVMBS College Council, and an active member of the Rocky Mountain International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers. Additionally, Jamie served as a volunteer in the emergency waiting room at Poudre Valley Hospital. Wow!

On a personal note, Jamie is simply a delightful young, woman. She seems to be perennially cheerful and optimistic, is always willing to do her share (usually much more than her share), and I have never heard her complain. Perhaps her most endearing trait is her humility. Jamie is absolutely unassuming and unpretentious in nature, and those that don't know Jamie might never guess that she is such an accomplished individual.

Not too surprisingly, Jamie was admitted to more than one PhD program, and she has chosen to pursue graduate study in bacteriology at Oregon State University.

I think you will agree that Jamie is very deserving of this award. She will be an outstanding representative of the department, the college, and the university.

Congratulations Jamie!

Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity
2009 CURC

Congratulations to the following MIP students and mentors who received awards at this years event:

Highest Honors

  • Christopher Johnson -"The role of CUGBP1 RNA-binding protein in the stress response in muscle and myotonic dystrophy" Advisor: Carol Wilusz

High Honors

  • Katriana Popichak - "Targeting neuroinflammation with a novel class of natural product-derived chemotherapeutics" - Advisor: Dr. Ronald Tjalkens

College Honors

  • Natalia Reim - "The role of nuclear exosome as a monitor of mRNA processing in mammalian cells" - Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey Wilusz
  • Scott Vigil - "Purification of phenolic glycolipid from Mycobacterium tuberculosis" - Advisor: Dr. Karen Dobos

For a synopsis of all the MIP presentations at the Symposium, please click here.

Rocky Mountain ASM Mtg

More Bling for MIP Undergraduate Researchers

Congratulations toJessica Cannon Jessica Cannon and Natalia Reim for winning awards for their poster presentations at the Spring Meeting of the Rocky Mountain ASM held at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley April 25-26.

Jessica won second place for her poster "Testing the Functionality of Tagged CUGBP1 in mRNA Decay in Muscle Cells"Natalia Reim and Natalia took home third place for her work entitled "The role of the nuclear exosome as a monitor of RNA processing in mammalian cells". The students performed their work in the labs of Drs. Jeff and Carol Wilusz.

Honors Graduates

Felicia Balzano
University Honors Scholar and Biochemistry Honors Scholar
Thesis title: Trends of Autoimmune Disease in Dogs: A Gender Study
Advisor: Gerald Callahan

Petra Gest
Microbiology Honors Scholar
Thesis title: Class II Aldolase-Dependent Inhibition and Detection of Latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infections
Advisor: Mary Jackson

Kerri Glassner
University Honors Scholar
Thesis title: Clinical, Histological, and Phenotypical Characterization of Neoplastic and Non-Neoplastic Feline Hepatic Lymphocytic Diseases: A Retrospective Study
Advisor: Debra Kamstock

Eric Golike
Chemical and Biological Engineering Honors Scholar, Jack and June Richardson Scholar
Thesis title: Packaging Lentiviral Vectors with Vesicular Stomatitis Piry and New Jersey Virus Glycoproteins to Improve Gene Transfer
Advisor: Ramesh Akkina

Tirrel Grovenstein
University Honors Scholar
Thesis title: Microorganisms and Your Health
Advisor: Marisa Bunning

Theodore Johnson
Microbiology Honors Scholar
Thesis title: Modeling Lateral CWD Transmission in the Environment Using Cervid and Bovine PrP-Expressing Mice
Advisor: Mark Zabel

Natalie Kirk
University Honors Scholar and Microbiology Honors Scholar
Thesis title: Anatomy of Pulmonary Blood Supply During Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in the Guinea Pig
Advisor: Randall Basaraba

Melissa Po
Microbiology Honors Scholar
Thesis title: Development of a Genetic Toggle Switch in Arabidopsis thaliana
Advisor: June Medford

Kristen Ruckman
University Honors Scholar
Thesis title: On Hand: Developing Kits to Make Science Easy to Teach and Fun to Learn
Advisor: Erica Suchman

Kristin Spencer
University Honors Scholar and Microbiology Honors Scholar
Thesis title: Comparison of DNA Extraction Methods and Shipping Options for Optimal Detection of Tritrichomonas foetusin Samples Submitted for Diagnostic Testing
Advisor: Lora Ballweber

CVMBS Scholarships & Awards
Tim Kurt with the Olsen Family
Timothy Kurt with Dr. and Mrs. Olsen and Family

MSA Scholarship Officer Award
Jamie Everman

SCAVMA Advisor Appreciation Award
Randy Basaraba

Floyd Cross Memorial Scholarship
Charles Halsey

Don B. Olson DVM-PhD Fellowship
Timothy Kurt

Dr. Virgil and Mitzy H. Yount Postgraduate Veterinary Medicine Scholarship
Elizabeth Magden

Undergraduate award recipients
Susan Deines, with scholarship recipients: Stephanie Lehman, Andrzej Stadnik, Shao-yu Sun, Katriana Popichak, and Jamie Everman.

Microbiology Undergraduate Scholarships
Rachel Ashton
Stephanie Lehman
Andrzej Stadnik

Rowena Odell Scholarship
Shao-yu (Sherry) Sun

Jofrid L. Torgersen Memorial Scholarship
Katriana Popichak

Sumner M. Morrison Memorial Scholarship
Katherine Mladinich

Undergraduate award recipients
Katriana Popichak, Katherine Mladinich, Andrzej Stadnik, Ryan Goffredi, Stephanie Lehman, Jamie Everman, Ian Wallace, Anna Kellund

Beulah and Doyle Blair Memorial Scholarship
Ryan Goffredi

Pamela Hill Griffith Memorial Scholarship
Ian Wallace

Barbara Joyce Microbiology Scholarship
Anna Kellund

Myron Brown Ludlow Scholarship
Christopher Lehmann

Delano F. Scott Scholarship
Ian McMillan

In the News...

  • Ramesh Akkina was quoted in a pair of top Biotech journal artcles on a new genetic treatment to knock down T cells containing the CCR5 HIV co-receptor to help control the AIDS virus. Check out both articles in Nature Biotechnology and Nature Drug Discovery.
  • Ian Orme is May's featured famous scientist on the ASM resource the Microbe World. Check out the article on the Microbe website.

  • Lily Trunck presented her final seminar entitled, "Drug Efflux Systems and Antibiotic Resistance in Burkholderia pseudomallei" and defended her PhD on May 1. Her advisor is Dr. Herbert Schweizer.

pub highlight

Initiation of methylglucose lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis in mycobacteria.

By Devinder Kaur, Ha Pham, Gerald Larrouy-Maumus, Michel Rivière, Vara Vissa, Marcelo Guerin, Germain Puzo, Patrick J. Brennan, and Mary Jackson

PLoS ONE. 2009;4(5):e5447.

When some enterprising carnival entrepreneur puts together a microbacterial sideshow for his/her circus, Mycobacteria have an excellent shot at being the main attraction. From acid fast cell wall architecture to devising a way to kill more humans in history than any other pathogen despite lacking an exotoxin, these bacteria sure have their share of oddities. One very curious one - the presence of sugars in the cytoplasm called MMPs and MGLPs which contain O-methylated modifications - was discovered by Clinton Ballou last century. For the last 20 years, the biosynthesis and function of these modified sugars has remained largely a mystery. Well folks, the MRL laboratories of Mary Jackson, Vara Vissa and Pat Brennan have officially said that 20 years of ignorance is long enough (and we're pretty sure that the quote referred to the biology of MMP and MGLP)!

Devinder Kaur and colleagues took advantage of work published by the Jackson lab two years ago that identified a cluster of genes involved in the biosynthesis of MGLPs and have begun to systematically knock them out using a time-honored genetic approach called homologous recombination. Then they set out to carefully assess the effects of the mutation. The focus of this paper was a gene with the god-awful name of rv1208 in M. tuberculosis (or the even more intimidating msmeg5084 in the related mycobacterium M. smegmatis). What they obtained was very strong evidence that the rv1208 protein is a glycerol 3 phosphoglycerate synthase that transfers the first glucose molecule to MGLPs. Knocking out the protein in M. smegmatis dramatically reduced the level of MGLP and caused a significantly slower cellular growth rate. Notably, no significant changes were seen in fatty acid or mycolic acid content in these cells. This is important since the prevailing hypothesis is that MGLPs are involved in regulating the synthesis of these two compounds in mycobacteria.

So why did we pick this study as our heralded ‘paper of the month®’ for May? First, the clean experimental design and definitive analysis of the physiological effects of the genetic knockout are both very nice examples of fundamental basic science that leads to well-supported conclusions. There no reliance on often misleading correlative experiments in this paper. Second, the study sets up the fundamental characterization of an in vivo biosynthetic pathway in mycobacteria - thus it's a very good bet that it will have significant impact in the field. Finally, we are particularly fond of studies that shoot down existing dogma and pioneer fresh thinking in a field. There's no shortage of that in this paper.

MIP Publications Late April - Early May 2009


Ballot Box

MSA Election Results:

President: Stephanie Lehman
Vice President: Alex Griffith
Secretary: Diana Ir
Treasurer: Christina Needham
Community Service Rep: Katie Mladinich
Public Relations Rep: Eric Collins
Webmaster: Ryan Goffreddi

Congratulations to all of our new student officers. MIP faculty and staff very much look forward to working with you in the coming year.

Congrats Grads!

Congratulations to all MIP Undergraduate and Graduate students who received their degrees this spring! Check out some of our Graduate School Graduation Photos.

Spring Picnic

Our annual MIP spring picnic was held on Friday, May 8 on the good old lawn east of the Anatomy/Zoology Bldg. Many attended with their families and enjoyed volleyball, good food, and a lovely afternoon with their fellow MIP'ers. Check out the Photo Gallery.

Golden Staph Award Golden Staph Awardees 2009

Winners of the Golden Staphylococcus Award Spring 2009, presented by Dr. Claudia Gentry-Weeks, are pictured above from left to right: Alex Scherer, Annie Heiliger, Katie Mladinich, Nina Garbino, Christina Needham, Stephanie Lehman, Devin Cramer, Claudia Gentry-Weeks

The group made a "House" video about epidemic typhus featuring fleas, lice, flying squirrels, and a ‘cat on the ceiling’!

Thank you judges

A big thank you to all the MIP'ers who participated as judges!

Delphi Chatterjee
Sarah Garcia
Julia Inamine
RoxAnn Karkhoff-Schweizer
Donald Klein
Nicole Kruh
Eric Lee
Carolina Mehaffy
Sandra Quackenbush
Alan Schenkel
Kevin Sokoloski
John Spencer
Katie Strain
Erica Suchman
Hana Van Campen
Agatha Wieczorek
Carol Wilusz
Jeff Wilusz
Lisa Wolfe

thank you judges

A big thank you to everyone from MIP who served as judges at this year's Colorado Science and Engineering Fair!

Luke Wittenburg
Kevin Sokoloski
David Higgins
Jennifer Taylor
Misty Carman
John Spencer
Hana Van Campen
Stella Kratzer
Brian Geiss
Kelsey Thornburg
Erica Suchman
Alicia Alberico
Elizabeth Brooks
Katrina Hernandez
Lacey Nickell
Sydney Schaeffer
Jesse Thompson

Fullbright Christine Olver

MIPnews has heard rumors that Dr. Christine Olver is being considered for a Fulbright Scholarship - an international exchange program for scholars. Hopefully we'll have more to report on this story in the not too distant future...

MIP Roadtrip

MIP Takes You Out to the Ballgame

Only about 15 tickets remain for our first annual departmental trip to see the Colorado Rockies take on the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, August 8th at 6:10PM at Coors Field in Denver. The price per ticket (field level box seats, section 117) is $40 - a $10 savings over the face value. All members of the extended MIP community are invited. If interested, please email Jeff Wilusz ASAP so that you don't miss out.

Shell gamePayroll Shenanigans for Hourly Employees

Due to CSU's fiscal year end, hourly payroll for the pay period May 23 to June 5th will NOT be paid until Wednesday July 1. Please plan ahead for this 12 day delay.

International Travel Policy has changed!


Plan Ahead! Additional time will be needed for processing travel requests. Travel to countries subject to trade sanctions, insurance exclusions, travel advisories or high security risks have additional insurance requirements. For complete details as related to your country of travel, please link to the International Travel Liability Issues document on the International Education website.

For additional information please contact the travel preparer in your facility.

AIDL: Tansi Hayes 1-8306
IDA: Jeanette Fritzler 1-4142
MICRO: Dawn Petersen 1-5095
PATH: Kerry Grohman 1-6144

MIP Bits

Quote of the Month

“When we say "War is over if you want it," we mean that if everyone demanded peace instead of another TV set, we'd have peace.”

 ~John Lennon


American Flag

Thank you to all who have served our country.

Spring Graduation

MIP PhD Graduates react with surprise when they discover that you don't really receive your diploma at graduation

Alternative Captions
  1. To combat global warming, CSU officials try to do their part by cutting down on the number of degrees
  2. Silly graduates - you should know that you need a microscope to see anything from Microbiology
  3. Real funny Ian - now give ‘em back their MIPlomas
  4. CSU comes up with a surefire way to avoid the criticism that a degree isn't worth the paper its printed on
  5. I dressed up in silly clothes and sat in a hot arena for 2.5 hours for this?????

Congratulations to Toby Mai for submitting the best caption for the Gary Mason picture run last month....

Gary Mason

"Yes right where my finger is...that's where I want my Mary Kay stand to be"

Photo Contest Ed Hoover

Come up with a funny saying we can inscribe on the inside of Dr. Hoover's University Distinguished Professor Medal in the above photo.

Send all entries to Jeff Wilusz and look for the winners in a future Edition of the MIPnews.


Click Here for the questions to MIPuzzle #42
Click Here or the answers to MIPuzzle #42
MIPuzzle 42

In addition to possessing a fancy medal signifying his status as a University Distinguished Professor, we've heard rumors that Dr. Orme may possess animal-keen senses and enhanced physical capabilities. Move over Captain Justice - there's a new MIP superhero in town. We'd like you all to meet:

Wolver-Ian WolverIan
NIH Happenings
  • NIAID's ARRA Grant Opportunities

    For a comprehensive, up-to-date, one-stop site to check out all of NIAID's recovery act funding opportunities, check out the NIAID website.

  • Don't expect NIH to email your Notice of Grant Award (NGA)

    This info can now be found exclusively on your eRA commons page.

  • eRA Commons will be down for repairs from May 22-May 26

    Grants.gov, however, will still be fully operational for the submission of grant applications

New Fed Withholding Tables

New federal tax withholding tables went into effect this month. The new tables, prescribed by the Department of the Treasury, reflect changes resulting from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, specifically the "Making Work Pay" tax credit, and will reduce the amount of federal income tax withheld from your pay.

This legislation provides a $400 individual income tax credit ($800 for joint filers) for Calendar Year 2009 and Calendar Year 2010 for most tax filers. The Federal tax table adjustments will reduce the amount of income tax that is withheld from your pay during this time period. You are encouraged to consult with your individual tax or financial advisor to see if this reduced withholding will require a modification to your current Federal tax withholding elections/amounts as reported on Form W-4 (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate). Factors such as dual income families, multiple employers, non-employment related income, etc., should be considered in your analysis of the adequacy of the adjusted withholding amounts. Further, the tax credit begins to be phased out for taxpayers filing as single with a modified adjusted gross income (AGI) above $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers), and is totally phased out for taxpayers filing as single with modified AGI in excess of $95,000 ($190,000 for joint filers).

You can view your current tax withholding elections on your W-4 through the new Employee Self-Service Web Application via the Campus Administrative Portal (instructions for using the Employee Self-Service Web Application are available at the CSU Human Resource Services Website). To make changes to your W-4, download the Form from the IRS Website, and return this completed Form to the Payroll Office, 555 South Howes Street, 2nd floor, by the 10th of the month you wish the change to take effect. Additional information about this change, including a "withholding calculator", is available on the IRS website at www.irs.gov. You are also advised to consult with your tax or financial advisor.

New Grant Awards

grantRandall Basaraba, "Protection against Latent TB Infection Via Cystic Fibrosis "CF" Mutation", National Jewish Center

grantJohn Belisle, "Characterization and Targeting Rift Valley Fever Virus N Protein-RNA Interactions", NIH-NIAID

grantJohn Belisle, "Arenavirus Entry and its Inhibition", NIH-NIAID

grantJohn Belisle, "Derivative Treatment of Highly Pathogenic Arenaviral Infections", NIH-NIAID

grantJohn Belisle, "Treatment of Acute West Nile Virus Disease and Neurological Sequelae", NIH-NIAID

grantJohn Belisle, "Mechanisms of Burkholderia pseudomallei Drug Tolerance", NIH-NIAID

grantJohn Belisle, "Rocky Mountain Regional Center of Excellence Administration", NIH-NIAID

grantJohn Belisle, "Inhibitors of the Twin Arginine Translocase system in Burkholeria pseudomallei", NIH-NIAID

grantJohn Belisle, "Immunoproteome of Francisella tularens", NIH-NIAID

grantJohn Belisle, "Derivative Treatment of Highly Pathogenic Arenaviral Infections-UM sub-project", NIH-NIAID

grantCarol Blair, "Development of Human Monoclonal Antibodies (huMAbs) for Medically Important Arboviruses", NIH-NIAID

grantCarol Blair, "Individual CD Support Project", NIH-NIAID

grantSteven Dow, "Mucosal Immunization for Cross-Protection Against Pneumonic Burkholderia", NIH-NIAID

grantBob Ellis, "Biosafety Training for Biosafety and Operations Personnel in the RMRCE", NIH-NIAID

grantBrian Geiss, "Development and Optimization of Novel Anti-Flavivirus Compounds", NIH-NIAID

grantDevinder Kaur, "ARRA Characterization of a Gene Cluster for Glycosylphosphatidylinositides of Mycobacteria", NIH-NIAID

grantKenneth Olson, "Development of a Novel Subunit Vaccine Targeting Multiple Alphaviruses", NIH-NIAID

grantBecky Rivoire, "Product Development and Manufacturing Core", NIH-NIAID

grantHerbert Schweizer, "DP Developmental Research Projects", NIH-NIAID

grantHerbert Schweizer, "Burkholderia pseudomallei Antimicrobial Resistance Mechanisms", NIH-NIAID

grantRichard Slayden, "Development of Novel Broad Spectrum Chemotherapeutics against Priority Pathogens", NIH-NIAID

grantRichard Slayden, "Genomics Proteomics Core", NIH-NIAID

grantJeffrey Wilusz, "A Novel Antiviral Approach using the Cellular RNA Decay Machinery", NIH-NIAID

MAY 2009
Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri

4 5
Graduate Seminar - 12pm - 103 Path
Microscopy Seminar - 8am - 103 Path
7 8
Faculty Seminar - 9am - Path 103
11 12
14 15
18 19
21 22
25 26
Faculty Mtg - 4pm - Path 103
28 29

JUNE 2009
Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
2 3 4 5
8 9 10 11 12
15 16 17 18 19
22 23 24 25 26
29 30
Fiscal Year End

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