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Download a copy of the Spring 2024 Symposium Proceedings


The Theobald Smith Society Spring 2024 Symposium was held Friday, 3 May at Trayes Hall, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.  


The program featured 2024 Waksman Award Lecture by Professor Lee Kerkhof, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.  Dr. Kerkhof was our society’s 73rd president (2013-2014).  He has been faculty at Rutgers’ Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences for 30 years and was chair of the department from 2009-2012.  Lee has been using molecular techniques to study microbial activity in an incredible number of environments:  marine water columns, marine sediments, human and mouse gut, contaminated groundwater, contaminated river sediments, wastewater, soil, permafrost, salt marshes, rhizosphere, the air, sea sponges, to name a few. He is a prolific researcher with over 100 publications and has an international reputation as a leading teacher and scholar in the field of microbial ecology. He was a pioneer in the use of long read sequencing using Oxford Nanopore’s Minion technology and has generously shared his expertise with anyone who asked for it. Lee has taught Microbial Life (the foundational microbiology graduate course at Rutgers) to a generation of Rutgers students.  He has also taught Marine Microbiology, Intro to Oceanography, Biochemical Methods in Marine Science, and Biological Oceanography. 

The 2024 Young Investigator Award was presented to Srujana (Sam) Yadavalli, Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics and the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Research in the Yadavalli lab is focused on two emerging themes in bacterial gene regulation: (i) Small regulatory proteins – proteins with less than 50 amino acids that are translated from short open reading frames; (ii) Epitranscriptomic regulators – proteins that connect RNA modifications and translation to metabolism and stress response.

The Andrew Marinucci Service Award was presented to Dr. Andrew Marinucci.

Invited speakers were Chao Li, Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ; Maxwell Akantibila, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Rowan University, Camden, NJ; Garima Verma, Center of Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ; Nupur Tyagi, Dept. of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; LeAnna Ross, Department of Biological Science, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ; and Geordan Stukey, Dept. of Food Science, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.    37 posters were presented.  Poster session winners were Sangeevan Vellappan, Waksman Institute of Microbiology, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ; Grace Bustamante, Department of Biology, William Paterson University of New Jersey, Wayne, NJ as well as Allie Spector and Torri Burghoffer, Department of Biology, William Paterson University of New Jersey, Wayne, NJ.  For details, download the proceedings from the link above.

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