American Society for Microbiology

Florida Branch




The Florida Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (FLASM) is dedicated to promoting the advancement of microbiological research in the State of Florida and to communicate these findings to other researchers, students and the general public. Throughout the year, we offer our members many opportunities to keep up with the latest developments and information in the field of microbiology.

FLASM offers an Annual Symposia each year where both local and national speakers present exciting information from their fields of expertise. These annual meetings are also student-centric where we try to provide numerous opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students to present their research activities and findings.


FLASM also presents a different hands-on workshop each year that are dedicated to learning new scientific tools that will promote career development.  Recent topics include using various new bioinformatic analysis tools for genome analysis; building educational outreach programs; and other career enhancement workshops.

Branch Officers

President Elect

Dr. Kelly Rice
Department of Microbiology & Cell Science, University of Florida



My research program focuses on aspects of bacterial physiology and cell communication that contribute to biofilm development of pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria.

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    Specific research projects currently under investigation include:

    1. Determining the contributions of endogenous nitric oxide (NO) to biofilm, physiology and cell-signaling in Staphylococcus aureus.

    2. Characterizing the role and regulation of cell death in Streptococcus mutans biofilms.

    3. Investigating microgravity effects on S. mutans physiology, gene expression, and biofilm development.



Dr. Julie Torruellas Garcia
Department of Biological Sciences, Nova Southeastern University


Dr. Torruellas Garcia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography at Nova Southeastern University.

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     Research in the Torruellas Garcia Lab is conducted exclusively by NSU undergraduate students and focuses on identifying bacteria from everyday items for the news, examining the efficacy of electrostatic sprayers for the delivery of disinfectants and developing techniques to detect inhibition of bacterial Type III Secretion Systems.



Dr. Shannon McQuaig-Ulrich
Department of Natural Sciences, St. Petersburg College

The Ulrich lab targets human polyomaviruses (JC virus and BK virus) to assess water quality and predict human health risks.

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    I am currently an Associate Professor at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL.  My position is primarily teaching however I have a small undergraduate research group that works on projects ranging from pigmented bacteria to water quality.



Dr. Cory Krediet
Marine Science and Biology

Eckerd College


My research interests lie in host-microbe interactions and specifically how mutualistic or commensal microbiota influence the host’s physiologic response to various abiotic and biotic stressors.



Dr.Terri N. Ellis
Associate Professor

of Biology University of

North Florida

The Ellis lab focuses on the outer surface of pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria.

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    We are interested in understanding how modifications to the outer surfaces, including the outer membrane, secreted outer membrane vesicles, and capsule, all contribute to the virulence of disease causing bacteria. Our current projects focus on the nosocomial pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae. Active projects include investigating the effect of porin loss in antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, the effect of O-antigen modification on outer membrane protein composition, and environmental signals that trigger capsule production.

Graduate Student Advisor


Nicole Miller
Soil & Water Science Dept, University of Florida


Nicole is a Master's student in Interdisciplinary Ecology at the UF School of Natural Resources and Environment and studies changes in a coral's microbiome during restoration processes.

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    His research incorporates molecular biology and bioinformatics to define the microbiome associated with citrus plants and the interactions between native bacteria and the pathogen that causes citrus greening disease. He is also looking at how the citrus microbiome is impacted by novel, target-specific antimicrobial treatments.


Past Presidents

Dr. Jamie Foster
Dept. of Microbiology & Cell Science, University of Florida

The Foster Lab examines the complex interactions of symbiotic microbes with their surrounding environment using molecular techniques (e.g. metagenomics and metatranscriptomics).

Dr. Kurt Schesser

Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami




The focus of the Schesser lab is to identify and characterize novel eukaryotic host factors that impact (either positively or negatively) bacterial infection.


Dr. Mya Breitbart


College of Marine Science,

University of South Florida



The Breitbart lab uses molecular techniques (such as metagenomic sequencing) to examine the diversity, distribution, and ecological roles of viruses and bacteria in a wide range of environments - including seawater, animals, plants, insects, zooplankton, coral reefs, stromatolites, and reclaimed water.

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American Society for Microbiology : Florida Branch