© 2023 by ASM Washington D.C. Branch

Bacteria and viruses by DragonArtz - www.dragonartz.net used under CC BY. Recolored from original.

ASM Peggy Cotter Travel Award Program

The ASM Peggy Cotter Travel Award Program for Early Career Branch Members provides funds for outstanding early career DC Branch members to attend ASM Microbe.


Look for an email regarding the 2020 application process. 

2019 Recipients
Congratulations to our 2019 Peggy Cotter Travel Award winners!

Devrim Kaya, Ph.D.


The University of Maryland College Park Department of Civil and Enviornmental Engineering

 ASM Microbe 2019 Presentations:

  • Effect of Fixed Nitrogen Limitation on Reductive Dechlorination Activity of Dehalococcoides mccartyi (2019-A-6150-MICROBE)

  • Efficacy of Biofilm Covered Activated Carbon Particles on the Enhancement of PCB Dechlorination (2019-A-6149-MICROBE)

  • Microbial Reductive Dechlorination of PCBs in Sludge (2019-A-6147-MICROBE)

  • Bioremediation of Baltimore Harbor Sediments Contaminated with PCBs (2019-A-6135-MICROBE)


Bio: Dr. Kaya is environmental engineer and scientist with Faculty Specialist position in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park.  She has expertise on transformation and degradation, the fate of organic contaminants (especially PCBs and chlorinated solvents) in the environment, bioremediation applications in both natural and engineered systems, application and development of molecular biological tools in bioremediation, application of environmental omic technologies to solve environmental problems, and energy production from anaerobic conversion of organic wastes. Dr. Kaya received her doctoral degree in environmental engineering from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey then was a postdoc in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. She has presented her research at over 40 scientific meetings and invited lectures as well as published on peer-reviewed journals. She has mentored many graduate, undergraduate, high school students, most of whom are women and minority students. She is a member of AEESP, ASM and IWA, has served as a reviewer for numerous domestic and international granting agencies and peer-reviewed journals. 

Website: cee.umd.edu/clark/faculty/848/Devrim-Kaya

S. Stephanie Garcia-Buntley, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Uniformed Services University

ASM Microbe 2019 Presentation:
Inosine-5’-monophosphate Dehydrogenase Inhibitors Halt Cell Division and Exhibit Bactericidal Effects in Borrelia Burgdorferi

Bio: Dr. Garcia-Buntley is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. George Liechti's laboratory at the Uniformed Services University (USU) in Bethesda, MD. Her current research focuses on characterizing small molecule inhibitors of a key enzyme of the purine salvage pathway in the Lyme disease pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi. Prior to USU, she was a postdoctoral fellow and graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Beyond the bench, she is a key-leader of the postdoctoral association (PDA). As Vice-president of the PDA, she advocates on behalf of postdocs, keeps them connected through maintenance of the website, and organizes career exploration seminars. Passionate about STEM education and diversity, she regularly participates in science outreach (ASM booth, seminars, science fair judge) and serves on the STEM committee of a local elementary school. Her long-term career goals include influencing STEM education policy and promoting STEM diversity programs. In her free time, she enjoys baking and hiking with her dog and husband.


Kathleen D. Cusick Ph.D

Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Maryland Baltimore County 

ASM Microbe 2019 Presentation:
Novel Mechanisms of Copper Tolerance in the Marine Bacterium Alteromonas macleodii


Bio: Dr. Kathleen Cusick is an Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences department at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her lab studies several topics in marine molecular microbial ecology. Current research includes unique mechanisms of copper tolerance in bacteria, especially as it relates to biofouling of marine vessels; presence, distribution, and gene content of mega-plasmids in marine bacteria; and the development of molecular tools for studying harmful algal bloom dynamics. 

Website: biology.umbc.edu/directory/faculty/person/MG49731/