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ASM D.C. Branch

Spring Meeting

Student Focused-​April 1, 2022  I  12-4 pm I  4-5 pm-Social Hour
Full Meeting-April 2, 2022  I  9 am-12:15 pm

Join DC area microbial scientists (professionals and students) for an exciting virtual meeting of science and networking!!


The Spring Meeting is a 2-day symposium with day 1 being student-focused and day 2 being the full meeting. Our goal with the 2-day format is to provide different platforms for DC area students and professionals to communicate and learn about important topics in the microbial sciences. 

All are welcome to submit abstracts for the longer talks (15-20 min) or lightning talks (3-5 min). Students and early career scientists are highly encouraged. Abstract submissions closed February 11, 2022.



This event is open to all and is free.

The meeting is virtual and by Zoom.  Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Meeting Abstracts are found here.

Schedule April 2, 2022-Full Meeting

Schedule April 1, 2022-Student Focused

12-12:15: Welcome, Dr. Yaprak Ozakman, ASM Young Ambassador 
12:15-1:00 pm: Keynote speaker, Dr. Esther Babady, Career as diagnostician 
1:00-1:10 pm:  Break, Raffle #1
1:10-1:40 pm: Alexandra Soare-Suppression of nitric oxide production by mucormycosis-causing fungi during macrophage infection
1:40-2:10 pm: Emily Smith-The role of colonization factors CFA/I and CS21 in ETEC pathogenesis in the human enteroid model
2:10-2:15 pm:  Break, Raffle #2
2:15-3:05 pm: Career Panel I (Professionals representing Academia, Industry, & Government), Introduction by Ms. Vi Tran Ho

Academia– Dr. Jennifer Biddle, Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and the Environment, University of Delaware

Industry – Dr. Gerald Capraro, Sr. Director Global Medical Affairs, bioMérieux

Government – Dr. Leah Vincent, Program Officer at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)


3:05 pm:  Break, Raffle #3


3:10-4:00 pm: Career Panel II (Professionals representing Science Education, Journalism, & Outreach), Introduction by Dr. Yaprak Ozakman 

Science Education – Dr. Brad Coleman, Harvard Medical School Curriculum Fellows Program

Journalism – Dr. Alexander McAdams, Vice Chair, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical Director, Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Division, Children's Hospital Boston, Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

Tech Transfer– Dr. Patrick LaBreck, Patent Agent, Intellectual Property & Technology Practice, Greenberg Traurig, Washington, D.C.

4-5 pm: Networking Social Hour (Raffle #4)

9-9:15 am: Welcome and Introduction-Dr. Kileen Shier, President-ASM Washington, D.C. Branch

9:15-10:15 am: ASM Distinguished Lecturer-Dr. Esther Babady, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center-Rapid Diagnosis and Investigation of Hospital-acquired Infections (HAI)


10:20 am-12 pm: Lightning & Longer Talks (Abstracts)

10:20 am: Cecelia Garcia-Development of Biomass Containment Devices (BCDs) to Study Bacterial Degradation of Complex Substrates

10:25 am: Evan Lawrence-Hopanoid Lipids Regulate Membrane Fluidity in the Legume Root-Nodulating Bacterium Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens

10:30 am: Jeffrey Gardner-Identification of the essential functions required for bacterial utilization of recalcitrant insect biomass: A model developed with saprophyte Cellvibrio japonicus and the Brood X periodical cicada (genus Magicicada)

10:50 am: RAFFLE

10:55 am: Juselyn Tupik-Defense Against Disease: The protective role of anti-inflammatory receptor NLRX1 and its recognition of spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi during Lyme disease

11:00 am: Shahad Alqhatani-CodY upregulates SaeR/S two-component system activity by increasing branched-chain fatty acid synthesis

11:05 am: Anthony Martini-Development and Mechanisms of Pyocyanin Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus

11:25 am: RAFFLE 

11:30 am: Ian Windham-Interplay between amoxicillin resistance and osmotic stress in Helicobacter pylori

11:35 am: Jessica Novak-Galactomannan utilization by C. japonicus relies on a single essential α-galactosidase encoded by the aga27A gene

11:40 am: Emma Mills-Genomic Surveillance of Escherichia coli in a large tertiary care hospital in the United States

Closing Remarks & Raffle

Abstract Submissions:

Lightning Talks will be 3-5 minutes and Longer talks will be 15-20 minutes.  Abstracts (max. 250 words) are due by February 11, 2022.  Submit via email to:  Abstract submission is now closed.

ASM Distinguished


Rapid Diagnosis and Investigation of Hospital-acquired Infections (HAI)


Esther Babady, Ph.D., D (ABMM), FIDSA, F(AAM)

Clinical Microbiologist

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Abstract: Accurate and rapid detection and characterization of pathogens causing HAIs is an essential component of any infection prevention program. Rapid detection methods are designed to prevent acquisition of these infections, which can have serious, debilitating consequences for immunocompromised patients. Several new methods for identification of many of the pathogens responsible for HAIs are now available, and novel methods including mass spectrometry and whole genome sequencing are being applied to epidemiology and outbreak investigations. This lecture will review and discuss the use of these methods and their impact on HAI.

Dr. Babady is the Director of the Clinical Microbiology Service, the Director of the CPEP Clinical Microbiology Fellowship program, an Attending Microbiologist and Member (Professor) in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and completed a post-doctoral CPEP fellowship in Clinical Microbiology, both at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, before joining MSKCC. She is board-certified by the American Board of Medical Microbiology, a fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She is a senior editor for Microbiology Spectrum and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. Her research interests include rapid diagnosis of infections in immunocompromised hosts, fungal diagnostics and the development and evaluation of the clinical utility of molecular microbiology assays. She has published extensively on these topics.

Early Career Speakers

Alexandra Soare, Ph.D. Candidate

University of Maryland-Baltimore

Alexandra (Alex) is a 4th year PhD student in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at University of Maryland-Baltimore. She is completing her thesis work in the lab of Vincent Bruno where she studies immune evasion mechanisms by mucormycosis-causing fungi. She is also the President for the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and can be found on Twitter at @AlexandraYSoare.

Emily Smith, Ph.D. Candidate

University of Maryland-Baltimore

Emily Smith studies Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) pathogenesis in the lab of Dr. Eileen Barry in the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health. Her dissertation work focuses on how ETEC employs multiple surface-expressed adhesins, called colonization factors, for adherence and toxin delivery to the intestine, specifically using the innovative human enteroid model. Her work aims to contribute to the literature informing ETEC vaccine targets and vaccine design. After graduating this summer, Emily plans to continue studying host-microbe interactions and vaccine development as a postdoc. Emily is passionate about advocacy for graduate students, serving previously as Graduate Student Association President and being recognized for her efforts in this role with the inaugural UMB Student of the Year Award, and continues to engage in work involving equity in STEM pathway access and education for all.

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