Eastern Pennsylvania Branch, American Society for Microbiology

ASM Distinguished Lecturer

Monday, September 24, 2018

Cheryl A. Nickerson, PhD
Professor of Life Sciences, School of Life Sciences
Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy
The Biodesign Institute
Laboratory for Infectious Disease Dynamics
Arizona State University,  Tempe, Arizona

“Outpacing Infectious Diseases – Mimicking the Host-Pathogen Microenvironment”

As the world’s leading killer of children and young adults, infectious disease presents a formidable threat to global security.  Bold approaches are urgently needed to combat new and re-emerging pathogens, many of which are multi-drug resistant. Toward this goal, my team’s research takes a multidisciplinary approach that blends microbiology, tissue engineering and physics to mimic the dynamic interactions between the host, its microenvironment, and the pathogen that lead to infection and disease. We focus on bacterial pathogen and human host cellular and molecular responses to physical forces (e.g., fluid shear and gravity) that are physiologically relevant to those encountered in vivo during the natural course of infection. While these forces are relevant to those experienced during the normal lifecycles of bacterial and human cells, they have been widely overlooked as environmental stressors with potential to dictate the outcome of infection.  We have developed several innovative model pathogenesis systems to study these processes, including i) 3-D organotypic tissue culture models as predictive platforms to study host-pathogen and -commensal interactions, and ii) approaches that characterize pathogen responses to physiological fluid shear forces encountered in the infected host, as well as in the microgravity environment of spaceflight.  This presentation will cover our current research findings and future perspectives on the use of these pathogenesis platforms to provide novel insight into the infectious disease process and enable the convergence of basic research discoveries into biotechnological and clinical applications.

The American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer (ASMDL) Program (formerly known as the ASM Branch Lectureships or Waksman Foundation for Microbiology Lectures) annually selects a scientifically diverse group of distinguished lecturers to deliver lectures at ASM Branch meetings throughout the country.  Lecturers are chosen through a competitive nomination process, and only the most distinguished lecturers and researchers are chosen to participate in the program. The ASMDL program, funded by the American Society for Microbiology and the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology, has established a tradition of scientific excellence that has made the program a mainstay of Branch programming for 50+ years.  In the last 20 years alone, ASM Distinguished Lecturers have provided over 500 lectures to thousands of Branch meeting attendees. An important component of the ASMDL program is its emphasis on providing opportunities for students, postdoctoral fellows, and other early career scientists to interact with prominent lecturers who represent a wide range of scientific interest areas.  At Branch meetings, ASMDL Lecturers interact directly with students, postdocs, and other early career scientists in a variety of ways, including participating in informal discussions and round tables and attending and judging posters and/or oral presentations.  

5pm,  Reception
6pm, Lecture

Bluemle Life Sciences Building
233 S. 10th Street (10th and Locust)

(Discount parking available at the lot entrance on 11th street, under the Hamilton Bldg)