The Education Committee of the Eastern PA Branch ASM will host a career panel for our Student Chapter members and other interested students. The panel is geared toward graduate students, although some junior or senior undergraduate students may be interested in attending as well.

Panel members represent industry, clinical settings, consulting, government, education and other areas. The following presenters will be participating in the panel discussion:

Dr. James Brown
Dr. Pina Fratamico
Dr Brian M. Forster
Dr. Stacey Lettini
Ms. Joanne Lilliendahl
Mr. Daniel McArdle
Dr. Shelly Rankin
Dr. John Renye

Date: Thursday, September 21, 2023
Time: Reception 5pm, Panel Discussion 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Location: Drexel University College of Medicine
New College Building, 245 N. 15th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102. (parking nearby, see attached map)

Pre-Registration is advised. Contact:
Bobi McHale ( or Brian Forster (

Donald C. Hall, Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Drexel University College of Medicine
(Early Career Symposium sponsored by ASM Young Ambassadors Program)

“Outsmarting Pathogens: Navigating the Frontier of Drug Discovery with Stringent Response Inhibitors”

The bacterial stringent response, a highly conserved mechanism for bacterial resistance, is controlled by the secondary metabolite (p)ppGpp, known as the magic spot alarmone. This alters cells through transcriptional processes involving RpoS, nucleotide pools, PolyP levels, and direct interaction with RNA Polymerase. Housekeeping of the magic spot alarmones is managed by enzymes RelA and SpoT, falling under the RSH superfamily. RelA and SpoT respond to stresses, influencing (p)ppGpp levels. The stringent response is important as a drug target due to its effects on bacterial quiescence, making bacteria metabolically resistant to antibiotics, and on virulence and toxin production. Disrupting the response reduces resistance and virulence. Our approach involves in silico screening of 5 million compounds, followed by in vitro and in vivo assays to identify effective “hit compounds.” Stage 2 involves a Structure Activity Relationship study, using empirical data to design new compounds. Our team has developed a RelA inhibitor effective against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, targeting the stringent response.

Text gif. Neon letters spell out "Thank You" against a black background while neon rainbow trails of light rash behind it mimicking warp speed in space.

Congratulations to James Nowoslawski, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Courtney Comar, PhD, CPEP Clinical Microbiology Fellow at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania/Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Nicole Loeven, PhD, CPEP Clinical Microbiology Fellow at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania/Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, recipients of this years Peggy Cotter ASM Travel Award to attend ASM Microbe 2023 in Houston.

We are excited to share that the 2024 ASM Awards and Prize nominations are now open and we will accept nominations until June 26, 2023. The American Academy of Microbiology (Academy), ASM’s honorific leadership group and think tank, will select the recipients of 17 ASM awards and 1 microbiome data prize, recognizing individuals for their outstanding contributions to microbiology.   

Research Focused Awards:
Early Career Applied and Biotechnological Research
Early Career Basic Research
Basic Research
Early Career Environmental Research
Environmental Research
D.C. White Award for Interdisciplinary Research
Microbiome Date Prize

Education Awards:
Graduate Education
Carski Award for Undergraduate Education

Clinically Focused Awards:
Early Career Clinical Microbiology Research (new)
Research or Leadership in Clinical Microbiology
Scherago-Rubin Award for Clinical Microbiology
Elizabeth O. King Award

Service Focused Awards:
Award for Service
Moselio Schaechter Award in Recognition of a Developing Country Microbiologist
William A Hinton Award for Advancement of a Diverse Community of Microbiologists

ASM Awards honor exceptional contributions by our members.  We know we have a very large community and numerous individuals who deserve such an award and the national recognition that follows.  In order maintain strong support for these awards from the ASM,  we urge you take the time to nominate individuals for the above awards.   While only one individual can be selected for each award, nominees who are not selected remain in the nomination pool for the next award cycle so have additional opportunities to be considered.     

We invite you to identify and nominate individuals from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented communities. Please share this opportunity with your colleagues and networks. We appreciate your nominations and your efforts to make a difference in the careers of outstanding microbiologists.  

Descriptions and nomination process can be found on the ASM website:

If you have questions about the nomination process or need other information, please feel free to contact Dr. Irving Nachamkin, Chair, ASM Subcommittee on Awards