The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has selected two University of New Mexico students, Jesse Young and Kaitlin Hughes, as 2012 award recipients of the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers (Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.) in microbiology. Both students are mentored by UNM's Diana Northup in the Department of Biology and are conducting bat research.

The title of Young's research project is "Investigation of Bat Viromes and Potential Links to White Nose Syndrome."

"The American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship has expanded my ability to investigate White Nose Syndrome (WNS) and possible links to other organisms that live on bats," said Young. "This will be my fourth year working with Dr. Northup and Kait (Hughes) and I have greatly enjoyed the experience of caving and working with bat populations here in New Mexico. I am excited by the direction of this project, and I think it will lead to many more discoveries in bats and very much appreciate the honor of receiving this Fellowship.

The title of Hughes' research project is "Bat and Hibernacula Microbiota: Potential Contributions to White Nose Syndrome."

"Being awarded the American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship has given me the opportunity to continue pursuing my passion for science, while protecting a wonderful animal, bats, from a newly emerging disease, White Nose Syndrome (WNS)," said Hughes. "I've been going in caves since I was 13 and doing research on cave life in Dr. Northup's lab since I was in high school. Working with cave managers across the state to increase awareness about WNS has been a great privilege and I feel as if we are moving in the right direction to protect the bats and enjoy the caves. This ASM award is also opening new doors for me into the field of infectious disease agents."

Fellows have the opportunity to conduct full time summer research at their institution with an ASM mentor and present their research results at the 113th ASM General Meeting in Denver, Colo. if their abstract is accepted. Each fellow receives up to a $4,000 stipend, a two-year ASM student membership, and funding for travel expenses to the ASM Presentation Institute and 113th ASM General

This year, 122 applications were received and 56 were awarded. Of the 56 awardees, 34 students were from doctoral/research universities-extensive institutions, five students was from doctoral/research universities—intensive institutions, seven students were from a master's college and university institutions, eight were from baccalaureate colleges, one student from a comprehensive master's II institution, and one student from a specialized institution Among the 56 awardees, eight additional students were recognized as Honorable Mentions.

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), headquartered in Washington, DC, is the oldest and largest single biological membership organization, with over 40,000 members worldwide. Please visit for more information on this fellowship.