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2014 Meeting of the North Carolina Branch of the American Society for Microbiology

Saturday, 27 September 2014 at Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

New Information:


The program for the meeting has been finalized, everything is in the meeting booklet:


Parking on campus on most lots is free after 5 pm during the week and on Saturdays and Sundays except for the covered lots and those that have signs saying Faculty/Staff parking 24/7. We recommend that you part at the Rankin or Raley parking lots. You can enter these right off of Rivers street, which is the main street that divides AppState campus into two.

Directions to the conference site.

The Parkway Ballroom is located on the top floor of the new addition of the Plemmens Student Union. To get to the Student Union from the parking lots, go up the stairs next to the Bus stop, turn right, walk towards the buildings on the stone pedestrian walkway (or use the ramp that takes you to the stone walkway). Walk past the Rankin Science Buildings (on your right) towards the cafeteria (in front of you). Go up the stairs on your left to get to the large grass area. The student union is the large building on your left, next to the bookstore. Cross the grass area, go up the stairs towards the main door of the union. The Parkway Ballroom is located not in the main building but the new addition to the right of it. You can access it easily by entering from the door next to the main door or walking towards your right to the next set of doors. There will be information desks in the union and you can ask them to point you in the right direction.

We will put up balloons (Red/White/Blue) leading from the Rankin/Raley parking lots to the student union.


Both Friday and Saturday are looking beautiful at this point. Highs in the 70’s, low’s in the 50’s and sunny. Mornings and nights are very cold (it was 41 this morning), so be sure to bring jackets.  The forcast changes around here so be sure to check Boone’s local weather forcast info at Ray’s Weather (  If the forcast holds, according to Ray, “It is a good week to be in the mountains and not at the beach.”

Sponsors :


Cratis D. Williams Graduate School


When :

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Approximately 8:00AM - 5:00PM, with reception to follow

Where :

Parkway Ballroom, Student Union
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC

> Directions to Student Union

> Student Union on Google Map

Parking :

See above, under "New Information".

Acommodations :

For those of you who will be traveling the day before the meeting, or staying the night afterwards, we have arranging discounts at several local hotels. The hotels below will have 10-15% discounts on regular prices if the room is booked before the specified deadline. After these deadlines, the hotels cannot guarantee availability or the discounted prices. The prices range from $105-$169. Please indicate that you are attending the North Carolina American Society of Microbiology meeting or NCASM meeting to get the discounted prices.

Hotel  Phone Address Deadline Distance By foot By car
Courtyard Marriott  265-7676 1050 Highway 105, Boone, NC 28607 15-Sep 0.8 miles 15 min 2-3 min
Comfort Inn and Suites 268-0099 1184 N Carolina 105, Boone, NC, 28607 12-Sep 1 mile 15-20 3-4 mi
Holiday Inn Express 264-2451 1943 Blowing Rock Rd, Boone, NC 28607 8-Sep 1.6 miles ~30 5 min
La quinta 262-1234 165 N Carolina 105 Extension, Boone 1-Sep 1.2 miles ~45 4 min

Registration and abstract submission :

The deadline for abstract submission and advance registration has passed. You will be able to register at the door.

Payment :

The meeting registration and branch memerbship fee is $20. If you joined or renewed your NC Branch membership for 2014 via the ASM eStore (NOT the same as your ASM membership) this year, then the membership portion of this fee ($10) is already paid. Registrants will receive a program (including abstracts and attendee roster), a box lunch, morning and afternoon refreshments, and the reception.

The Registration and/or membership fee is payable at the door, or you can save time at regsitration by paying in advance with PayPal or credit card (using PayPal).

These Paypal buttons were removed after the meeting was over.


Information for presenters :

Short talks

We are scheduling 15 minutes for each talk. This includes Q&A and switching time, so plan on about 12 minutes for your talk, a couple of minutes for Q&A, leaving us 1 minute for switching to the next speaker. Plan on bringing your presentation on a USB memory stick.


Posters will be mounted using small paper clamps onto 36" x 48" hardboard sheets, which can be placed onto the easels either horizontally (landscape) or vertically (portrait). We will provide clamps, boards, and easels; all you need to bring is your poster. If your poster is in panels or pieces, you should contact the meeting organizers ASAP.

Schedule :

The day-long event will be a mix of short talks, the plenary and NC invited speakers, and poster presentations, followed by a catered recepion.

A detailed schedule will be posted before the meeting.

  • Registration will begin at approximetely 8:00AM
  • Sessions will begin at approximately 9:00AM
  • The meeting will adjourn at approximetly 5:00PM, followed by a business meeting
  • The reception will begin at approximetely 5:30PM

ASM Branch Lecture

Michael Federle
University of Illinois at Chicago

Microbial Wikileaks: Bacteria that conspire to harm, and small molecules that may protect

We are focused on understanding how bacteria coordinate gene expression across a population using cell-to-cell communication. Many important behaviors and activities of bacteria, including the ability to become virulent, to form biofilms, or to enter the competent state, are controlled through intercellular communication. This process, referred to as quorum sensing, facilitates inter-bacterial communication and the ability to communicate between bacteria and host, thus potentially affecting the health of the host. Intercellular communication relies on secreted signaling molecules (which we refer to as pheromones) that are detected by various types of receptor proteins in recipient cells. Pheromone detection potentiates differential gene expression.

We have identified and characterized new quorum sensing pathways in Streptococcal species. The protein family known as Rgg is central to these signaling pathways, dually acting as cytoplasmic receptors of peptide pheromones and transcriptional regulators. Rgg proteins contribute to a complex quorum-sensing network in Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A Streptococcus, or GAS). GAS is responsible for a wide variety of diseases that range in severity from mild cases of impetigo and pharyngitis (strep throat), to life-threatening necrotizing fasciitis, myonecrosis, and toxic shock. Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease are a leading cause of death from streptococcal infections in developing countries. We are currently investigating the molecular nature of the streptococcal quorum sensing network, and its role in controlling virulence factors that contribute to disease. Our studies will lead to the development of new methodologies that disrupt infectious diseases by interfering with bacteria's ability to coordinate their assault on the human body.

NC Invited Lecture

Rita Tamayo
UNC-Chapel Hill

Regulation of Clostridium difficile colonization factors by cyclic diguanylate

C. difficile is a Gram-positive, spore-forming, obligate anaerobe that causes a spectrum of intestinal diseases. C. difficile diseases are among the most commonly acquired nosocomial infections in the developed world. Treatment of C. difficile infections costs more than $3 billion in the U.S. alone. Yet little is known about how this organism senses its entry into the host and adapts to the intestinal environment. We are using C. difficile as a model organism to explore the roles of c-di-GMP in Gram-positive bacteria, in which c-di-GMP has been poorly studied. We have developed tools for manipulating c-di-GMP levels in C. difficile and have identified numerous pathways regulated by c-di-GMP, including motility and cell-cell adhesion. We are currently investigating the molecular basis of how c-di-GMP controls these various pathways.

Elections :

The meeting will be concluded by a brief business meeting, including the election of new officers. The nominees to date are:

  • President-elect (currently Ece Karatan, ASU):

  • Secretary (currently Jim Brown, NCSU):

  • Treasurer (currently Wrennie Edwards, Novartis):

  • Councilor (currently Ece Karatan, App State):

  • Alternate Councilor (currently Ed Swords, WFU):

If you would like to nominate someone or volunteer to run for office, please feel free to do so by email to Jim Brown.

Presentation Awards :

Web Links :

Organizing Committee :

Ece Karatan (President-elect)
Eric Anderson (President)
James W. Brown (Secretary)
Wrennie Edwards (Treasurer)
Ece Karatan (Councilor)

Contact :

Ece Karatan
Department of Biology
Appalachian State University
572 Rivers St.
Boone, NC. 28608

Last updated by James W. Brown | Department of Biological Sciences | College of Sciences | NC State University