MSE seminar this Wednesday: Dr. Catherine Girard, “Microbiomes and climate change at the intersection of human and ecosystem health in the North”

This Wednesday there is another installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we’ll hear from a researcher who will share their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series will run from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and registration links for each seminar in the series here.

“Microbiomes and climate change at the intersection of human and ecosystem health in the North”

Dr. Catherine Girard, PhD

April 20, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Portrait photo of Dr. Catherine Girard. Photo courtesy of Dr. Girard.

Dr. Catherine Girard is an Associate Professor at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, where she works on the response of microbiomes to climate change in the Arctic. In the past, she has worked on the human microbiome and how it is shaped by tradition, culture and global warming. She now explores how ice-dwelling microbes are responding to change, from a conservation and ecosystem service perspective. She is involved in collaborative research with partners from the Inuit Nunangat, and views microbiomes as part of our heritage.

Professional page.

Ishaq Lab students present at the 2022 UMaine Student Research Symposium

This year, the UMaine Student Research Symposium was held in person and virtually, and undergrads and grads from the Ishaq Lab shared their research with the Maine community. You can check out the recorded presentations in the links below.

French*, R., Beale, J., Ishaq, S. Abstract 0402. Climate Change Affects Wild Mammal Ranges and Health; Will That Also Affect Infectious Disease Exposure Risk at Maine Farms? UMaine Student Symposium (virtual presentation). April 15, 2022.

Holcomb*, Coffman, J., Harrison, B., Tucker, K., Ishaq, S. Abstract 1080. An Overview of Three Biomedical Science Projects across Three Research Institutes. UMaine Student Symposium (virtual presentation). April 15, 2022.

Hosler*, S., Grey, E., Dankwa, A., Perry, J., Bowden, T., Beal, B., Ishaq, S. Abstract 0816. Initial descriptions of the microbes of farmed Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) veligers and rearing tanks. UMaine Student Symposium (virtual presentation). April 15, 2022.

Pelletier*, E., Taylor, T., Ishaq, S. Abstract 830. Assessing the Veterinary Needs of Rural Maine and Implementing an Effective Management Plan. UMaine Student Symposium (poster presentation). April 15, 2022.

MSE seminar today: Dr. Patricia Kaishian, “Deconstructing the individual: how science can materially advance using queer and feminist theory”

Today there is another installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we’ll hear from a researcher who will share their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series will run from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and registration links for each seminar in the series here.

Deconstructing the individual: how science can materially advance using queer and feminist theory

Dr. Patricia Kaishian, PhD

April 13, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Dr. Patricia Kaishian. Photo courtesy of Dr. Kaishian.
Dr. Patricia Kaishian. Photo courtesy of Dr. Kaishian.

About the speaker: Dr. Patricia Kaishian is a visiting professor of Biology at Bard College in NY. Her scientific research is focused on the taxonomy of Laboulbeniales fungi, fungal biodiversity, and exploration of the use of certain fungi as potential indicators of ecosystem health. Beyond more traditional scientific research, Patricia works in the realms of philosophy of science, feminist bioscience, ecofeminism and queer theory, exploring how mycology and other scientific disciplines are situated in and informed by our sociopolitical landscape. Her publication, The science underground: mycology as a queer discipline, appears in the journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory & Technoscience. Patricia is also a founding member of the International Congress of Armenian Mycologists (ICAM), a research organization comprised of ethnically Armenian mycologists who seek to simultaneously advance mycological science and Armenian sovereignty and liberation.

Professional site.

This talk will explore the field of mycology and the mycobiome through a theoretical framework rooted in queer and feminist theories, as well as philosophy of science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. The goal is to challenge, push, and explore central tenets of institutional science, and to socially and historically situate current research dilemmas in mycology and microbiome studies. By excavating and laying bare ingrained, systemic biases in scientific institutions, we can attempt to disarm fallacious assertions of “purity” in science and better understand bodies at various scales.

AVS students awarded J. Witter Research funds to track Cryptosporidium around the UMaine farm!

Undergraduate Animal and Veterinary Science (AVS) students Natalie Sullivan (4th year), Maria Messersmith (3rd year), and Elaina Cobb (3rd year) were awarded a spring 2022 research award from the J. Franklin Witter Undergraduate Research Endowment Fund! Natalie, Maria, and Elaina will be part of a large student researcher team working on different aspects of this project over the next year, but the three of them composed the funding proposal as they have been working on this project the longest.

The fund supports AVS undergraduate student involvement in faculty supervised research which involves the J. Franklin Witter Teaching & Research Center. A collaboration I am part of was lucky enough to get 2 student proposals funded last year as part of a different project.

Background: Cryptosporidiosis, an infection caused by protozoa from the Cryptosporidium genus, often C. parvum, has emerged as a frequently reported intestinal disease of animals and humans since the 1980s when its zoonotic potential was recognized. C. parvum causes a brief diarrheal disease, which can lead to dehydration, weight loss, and, in extreme cases, death, particularly in children or neonatal animals. On farms, the disease results in intense diarrhea of neonatal calves and is associated with substantial economic losses in dairy farming worldwide as it can have long-term effects on weight gain and production efficiency. Cryptosporidiosis is transmissible via the fecal-oral route, either indirectly or directly, and C. parvum is almost always present in water and soil/bedding. There is no treatment, so disease management and prevention tend to be more focused on animal management practices involving nutrition, biosecurity, and cleanliness. This project centers around the tracking of cryptosporidium parvum in different aged dairy cattle populations at the University of Maine’s J.F. Witter Farm.

Importance/Impact: This project will track the trends and prevalence in C. parvum carriage in the Witter herd, and identify if there are certain conditions in which C. parvum is more prone to grow and multiply, especially in dairy calves. We anticipate that any findings will be used to implement new management practices for the control of Cryptosporidium parvum, specifically in bovine management, and reduce zoonosis at this farm. This project will potentially lead to making management recommendations for other farms in Maine.

Research Question, Objectives, and Hypotheses: What are the difference in disease prevalence and contamination between calves, yearlings, and adults in relation to Cryptosporidium parvum? Is infection rate due to risk of age range or animals or housing conditions?

Sarah HoslerMaster’s student, has been coordinating the project but will be defending thesis this summer and is transitioning project leadership over to Ayo
Ayodeji OlaniyiNew Master’s student Jan 2022, will be taking over project management, overseeing lab work
Natalie S.AVS Capstone senior, graduating this May, has been collecting samples and doing microscopy since fall 2021
Maria M.AVS Capstone junior, has been collecting samples and doing microscopy since fall 2021
Elaina C.AVS Capstone junior, started in Jan 2022, will focus on sample collection at the farm
Jada M.AVS Capstone junior, started in Jan 2022, will focus on sample processing in the lab
Lani P.AVS Capstone junior, started in Jan 2022, will focus on sample processing in the lab
Sydney R.AVS Capstone junior, started in Jan 2022, will focus on literature review
Josh F.AVS Capstone junior, started in Jan 2022, will focus on literature review
Amatullah A.Biology Honors, started in fall 2021, will focus on sample collection at the farm
Team Crypto in the Ishaq Lab

This project is a continuation of the pilot research that undergrad Emily Pierce, master’s student Alex Fahey, and master’s student Sarah Hosler worked on over the past two years.

MSE seminar this Wednesday: Dr. Patricia Kaishian, “Deconstructing the individual: how science can materially advance using queer and feminist theory”

This Wednesday there is another installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we’ll hear from a researcher who will share their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series will run from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and registration links for each seminar in the series here.

Deconstructing the individual: how science can materially advance using queer and feminist theory

Dr. Patricia Kaishian, PhD

April 13, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Dr. Patricia Kaishian. Photo courtesy of Dr. Kaishian.
Dr. Patricia Kaishian. Photo courtesy of Dr. Kaishian.

About the speaker: Dr. Patricia Kaishian is a visiting professor of Biology at Bard College in NY. Her scientific research is focused on the taxonomy of Laboulbeniales fungi, fungal biodiversity, and exploration of the use of certain fungi as potential indicators of ecosystem health. Beyond more traditional scientific research, Patricia works in the realms of philosophy of science, feminist bioscience, ecofeminism and queer theory, exploring how mycology and other scientific disciplines are situated in and informed by our sociopolitical landscape. Her publication, The science underground: mycology as a queer discipline, appears in the journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory & Technoscience. Patricia is also a founding member of the International Congress of Armenian Mycologists (ICAM), a research organization comprised of ethnically Armenian mycologists who seek to simultaneously advance mycological science and Armenian sovereignty and liberation.

Professional site.

This talk will explore the field of mycology and the mycobiome through a theoretical framework rooted in queer and feminist theories, as well as philosophy of science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. The goal is to challenge, push, and explore central tenets of institutional science, and to socially and historically situate current research dilemmas in mycology and microbiome studies. By excavating and laying bare ingrained, systemic biases in scientific institutions, we can attempt to disarm fallacious assertions of “purity” in science and better understand bodies at various scales.

MSE seminar today: Dr. Kristina Lyons, “Decomposition as Life Politics”

Today there is another installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we’ll hear from a researcher who will share their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series will run from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and registration links for each seminar in the series here.

“Decomposition as Life Politics” 

Dr. Kristina Lyons, PhD

April 6, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

About the speaker: Dr. Kristina Lyons is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds affiliations with the Center for Experimental Ethnography and the Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies. Kristina’s current research is situated at the interfaces of socio-ecological conflicts, science, and legal studies in Colombia and Latin America. Her manuscript, Vital Decomposition: Soil Practitioners and Life Politics (Duke 2020), was awarded honorable mention by the Bryce Wood Book Award committee from the Latin American Studies Association. She has also collaborated on the creation of soundscapes, street performances, photographic essays, graphic novels, popular education audiovisual projects, community radio programs, digital storytelling platforms, and various forms of literary writing.

Professional page.

Talk summary: How does attention to and stewardship of soils point to alternative frameworks for living and dying? Dr. Lyons explores the way life strives to flourish in the face of violence, criminalization, and poisoning produced by militarized, growth-oriented development in the midst of the U.S.-Colombia war on drugs.

MSE seminar this Wednesday: Dr. Kristina Lyons, “Decomposition as Life Politics”

This Wednesday there is another installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we’ll hear from a researcher who will share their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series will run from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and registration links for each seminar in the series here.

“Decomposition as Life Politics” 

Dr. Kristina Lyons, PhD

April 6, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

About the speaker: Dr. Kristina Lyons is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds affiliations with the Center for Experimental Ethnography and the Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies. Kristina’s current research is situated at the interfaces of socio-ecological conflicts, science, and legal studies in Colombia and Latin America. Her manuscript, Vital Decomposition: Soil Practitioners and Life Politics (Duke 2020), was awarded honorable mention by the Bryce Wood Book Award committee from the Latin American Studies Association. She has also collaborated on the creation of soundscapes, street performances, photographic essays, graphic novels, popular education audiovisual projects, community radio programs, digital storytelling platforms, and various forms of literary writing.

Professional page.

Talk summary: How does attention to and stewardship of soils point to alternative frameworks for living and dying? Dr. Lyons explores the way life strives to flourish in the face of violence, criminalization, and poisoning produced by militarized, growth-oriented development in the midst of the U.S.-Colombia war on drugs.

MSE seminar today: Dr. Douglas Call, “Risk factors for colonization with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Guatemala and East Africa”

Today there is another installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we’ll hear from a researcher who will share their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series will run from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and registration links for each seminar in the series here.

“Risk factors for colonization with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Guatemala and East Africa”

Dr. Douglas Call, PhD

March 30, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Dr. Douglas Call. Photo courtesy of Dr. Call
Dr. Douglas Call. Photo courtesy of Dr. Call

About the speaker: Dr. Douglas Call is a Regents Professor of molecular epidemiology at the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health, and the Associate Director for Research and Graduate Education, at Washington State University. In 2014 he became a Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition for his contributions to food and water safety, particularly through molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistant bacteria in agricultural systems. Dr. Call has published over 235 peer-reviewed papers and has ongoing antibiotic resistance research projects in the U.S., Kenya, Brazil and Guatemala with funding from NIH, USDA, and the CDC. He has consulted for the Gates Foundation and Fleming Fund regarding antibiotic resistance, and he is a member of the Board of Directors for the Washington State Academy of Science. In 2021 he received the Washington State University Sahlin Eminent Faculty Award. Dr. Call is currently serving as the chair of the Faculty Senate at Washington State University, and he is a regular columnist for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News where he frequently writes about science and science policy.

Faculty profile page.

MSE speaker series awarded a grant from the Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series Fund!

The Microbes and Social Equity 2022 speaker series has been awarded additional funding support by a grant from the Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series Fund at the University of Maine!

This award will complement the previous funding support we received from the University of Maine Institute of Medicine, and collectively these funds allow us to compensate speakers for their time and effort putting these talks and discussions together.

The series runs every Wednesday at noon from January 19th through May 4th this year, and we have had some incredible presentations and discussions. Registration links for the remaining events, and links to the recordings of previous events, can be found on the series event page.

Series summary: Microbes influence the health and well-being of all living things—individuals, communities, and broader environmental networks which span internationally. The Microbes and Social Equity group is presenting a speaker series, hosted by the University of Maine Institute of Medicine, which will specifically highlight how the different kinds of microbes that we interact with are influenced by aspects of daily life as well as the social policies which support or oppress livelihoods. The virtual speaker series aims to give students, staff, and faculty at UMaine, as well as our broader educational community, the opportunity to learn about how social equity and microbes intersect to shape health in wide range of settings—how we define what a ‘healthy human microbe’ is, how soil microbes shape community health, what challenges the integration of the microbiome research in a One Health perspective, and more. This speaker series will explore the ways that microbes connect public policy, social disparities, and human health, as well as ongoing research, education, policy, and innovation in this field. 

MSE seminar this Wednesday: Dr. Douglas Call, “Risk factors for colonization with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Guatemala and East Africa”

This Wednesday there is another installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we’ll hear from a researcher who will share their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series will run from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and registration links for each seminar in the series here.

“Risk factors for colonization with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Guatemala and East Africa”

Dr. Douglas Call, PhD

March 30, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Dr. Douglas Call. Photo courtesy of Dr. Call
Dr. Douglas Call. Photo courtesy of Dr. Call

About the speaker: Dr. Douglas Call is a Regents Professor of molecular epidemiology at the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health, and the Associate Director for Research and Graduate Education, at Washington State University. In 2014 he became a Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition for his contributions to food and water safety, particularly through molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistant bacteria in agricultural systems. Dr. Call has published over 235 peer-reviewed papers and has ongoing antibiotic resistance research projects in the U.S., Kenya, Brazil and Guatemala with funding from NIH, USDA, and the CDC. He has consulted for the Gates Foundation and Fleming Fund regarding antibiotic resistance, and he is a member of the Board of Directors for the Washington State Academy of Science. In 2021 he received the Washington State University Sahlin Eminent Faculty Award. Dr. Call is currently serving as the chair of the Faculty Senate at Washington State University, and he is a regular columnist for the Moscow-Pullman Daily News where he frequently writes about science and science policy.

Faculty profile page.