MIMG hosted (via Zoom) the Fall 2021 meeting of the KY-TN American Society for Microbiology Branch on November 5-6, 2021. Assistant Professor Erin Garcia and Associate Professor Sarah D’Orazio served as Co-Directors of the virtual conference. The meeting featured Keynote Seminars by two American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturers. Dr. Kimberlee Musser (Lab Director, New York State Public Health Wadsworth Center David Axelrod Institute) gave a presentation entitled “Inside a Legionnaire’s Disease Outbreak Investigation” and Dr.
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The University of Kentucky College of Medicine recently welcomed Ilhem Messaoudi, PhD, as the new chair of microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics. She shares more about her work to better understand viruses and the wide range of factors affecting the immune system. She also shares how her research career led her to UK.

Q: Why did you pursue a career in research?

Dr. Sarah D'Orazio received an Academy of Medical Educator Excellence in Medical Education Awards in Development as well as an Academy of Medical Educator Excellence in Medical Education Awards in Innovation. Dr. Brian Higgins received the First Year Distinguished Teaching Award (awarded by class of 2024) and the Second Year Distinguished Teaching Award (awarded by Class of 2023). Dr. Zach Porterfield and Dr. Subba Bondada were nominated by their trainees and recognized as Outstanding Mentors by the Office of Biomedical Education.
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The University of Kentucky College of Medicine has received the 2021 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

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Brian Higgins, PhD, has been named one of the few medical educators across the world selected for this year’s prestigious Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in Health Professions.

Through the annual Harvard program, Dr. Higgins will learn evidence-based teaching strategies, tips for effective curriculum design, leadership styles, and other skills that will be useful not only for his own teaching, but for the University of Kentucky College of Medicine as a whole.

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Gabi Pugh in the Nikolajczyk Lab has received a 2-year training award from the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science TL1 Training Program. In addition to her graduate student stipend, the grant provides partial tuition and fees to offset the cost of Gabi's graduate studies and up to $1300 for travel expenses to the annual ACTS meeting. Congratulations on your accomplishment, Gabi!

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2021) — At a time when incidence of Lyme disease is rising across the U.S., a study led by University of Kentucky College of Medicine researcher Brian Stevenson, Ph.D., may provide a significant impact in the fight against the disease.

A new study will build upon Stevenson's three decades of research aimed at understanding Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.


As summer camp season wraps up and a new school year begins, this “Research Made Possible” podcast shares how University of Kentucky researchers across campus are targeting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. 

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During Beth Oates' fellowship with FASEB, she was the point-person who drafted, edited and fielded input from scientific societies regarding commercial airlines restrictions on animal transportation. The letter was sent to the Chief Science Officer, Robert Hampshire, PhD, and Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg in June and had over 90 signatures including various science organization like American Society for Microbiology, American Association of Immunologist as well as industry companies like Pfizer, Charles River Laboratories and The Jackson Laboratory.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2021) — When times are tough, a University of Kentucky alumnus can always be found helping others. In the case of Mosoka Fallah, Ph.D., it’s more than just a helping hand — it’s lifesaving work.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2021) — Findings from a University of Kentucky College of Medicine study could lead to a new way to combat the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.

The research led by Natalia Korotkova, assistant professor in the UK Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, identified a potential therapeutic target in Streptococcus mutans, bacteria that lives in the mouth and causes tooth decay.

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As stated by UK's International Center, the UK Alumni Global Impact Award "seeks to recognize alumni whose highly distinguished careers have featured significant work outside the United States that has resulted in outanding contributions to their communities or professions in global contexts, and/or who have exemplified ideals of global citizenship through the promotion of inter-cultural communication and mutual understanding, international peace and security, or responsible and sustainable international development." Dr. Mosoka P. Fallah graduated in 2011 from Dr.

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It is with excitement that after an extensive, nationwide search, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine will officially welcome Ilhem Messaoudi, PhD, to campus as the new chair of the department of microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics. This appointment will be effective Nov. 1. As chair Dr.
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Beth Garvy, PhD, and Sidney Whiteheart, PhD, originally planned to study blood clotting in HIV-positive patients when they first approached one another to establish a unified research team. Then COVID-19 emerged, and their focus shifted on the disease that started a global pandemic.

April 16-17, 2021, was the Spring meeting of the KY-TN Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (see attached program). It was hosted virtually by U of L. Dr. Erin Garcia was an invited speaker, and Jamila Tucker from Dr. Sarah D'Orazio's lab gave a 10 minute talk. Jamila's oral presentation entitled “Intracellular Replication Promotes Colonization of the MLN by Protecting Listeria monocytogenes from Phagocyte Clearance and Exogenous Lipoate Starvation” was awarded second place among graduate student presentations!
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First, thanks to those who helped with the poster session and those who showed up to support the trainees! The event was a big success, and everyone seemed to have a good time! Here are the winners:

Postdoc Category – Invited to speak at the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series in early May

1st place – Dr. Lindsey R. Conroy – Markey Cancer Center – “Visualization of lung tumor microenvironmental glycogen by next generation digital pathology” – winner of $700


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 1, 2021) – The STEM Through Authentic Research and Training (START) program at the University of Kentucky is creating a unique pipeline to increase science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy and promote STEM careers for traditionally underrepresented populations (people of color, individuals with disabilities, students from free or reduced lunch schools), first-generation college students, and girls and women in STEM.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2021) — While the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines continue to be administered across the United States under an emergency authorization status, ongoing coronavirus vaccine research and development remain critical to the fight against the global pandemic.

The emergency authorization allows us to protect people now, but research will continue for decades, says University of Kentucky College of Medicine vaccine researcher Jerry Woodward.


Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne bacterial disease in the U.S., with 200,000 new cases each year. While incidence in Kentucky typically has been relatively low, the incidence of the tick vector, lxodes scapularis, has increased over the past five years, even spreading to areas it did not previously live.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 17, 2020) — A new University of Kentucky College of Medicine study may provide answers for why so many COVID-19 patients experience thrombosis, or the formation of blood clots that obstruct blood flow through the circulatory system.