VMS at NDSU

As a department, we have two main goals: (1) exploring novel research and (2) sharing with students our fascination and knowledge of dynamic disciplines in microbiology, including bacteriology, epidemiology, fungal biology, immunology, molecular biology, parasitology, and virology. We work to achieve excellence in these areas by creating a student-centered environment that values diversity and encourages discovery, ingenuity, integrity, and collegiality.

All the Places You'll Go

The MICR 354 Scientific Writing students have taken over the homepage for the fall semester. Stay tuned as they profile alumni and share fun, inspiring, micro-related videos. For now, catch up with...

Aaron Lynne, ’00 B.S. (Microbiology) and ’06 Ph.D. (Molecular Pathogenesis)

Dr. Lynne is currently an Assistant Professor and researcher at Sam Houston State University.He studies how the “microbiome associated with human cadavers changes over time while a body decomposes and if this is useful in determining the postmortem interval”…aka he combined Microbial Ecology and Crime to find a niche in forensic science. Aaron is proof that one can do anything with a Microbiology degree.

By Emma Kusick

What are your long-term goals?

“To continue the line of research I am currently working on, which is completely different from anything I have done in the past…At SHSU, we have a forensic human decomposition facility (also known as a body farm).It is a facility where we can take donated human cadavers, place them outside to decompose, and sample them at various time points to determine the microbial community structure of each sample using next generation sequencing.” He is one of few working in this new, exciting and yet challenging field. “We really hope to develop models of decomposition that use microorganisms to accurately determine the postmortem interval which, in turn, would strengthen forensic science and the criminal justice system.”

Did you always want to perform research?

“I originally wanted to go to pharmacy school but after taking a microbiology course, I really became interested in infectious disease and switched majors.” After working as an undergrad in Dr. Lisa Nolan’s Lab (she has moved to Iowa State), Dr. Lynne became interested in research and grad school. “Dr. Nolan really inspired me, piqued my interests in research and convinced me to go to grad school.Once I started conducting research, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”

Do you have any advice for those of us aspiring to be microbiologist?

“For undergraduates, I would suggest getting involved in research and do so as early as possible.It’s one thing to learn about science from a textbook or lectures, but it is so much more interesting to do science.For me, I was always interested in microbiology and science but didn’t fully appreciate all that it offered until I got into the lab.

“For grad students, hang in there.You will make it.While you will have days where you will want to give up and quit (I had plenty), you will make it through, and it will be worth all the trouble.”

Final Thoughts

“For those who are considering careers in research, especially academia, I would suggest that you find a niche that you can fill that no one or very few people can…Which also leads into not being afraid to switch your research program.I didn’t know anything about forensic science or microbial ecology, but I took the time and was able to learn about it enough and become (somewhat) successful.”

Alumni Profiles Archive

The Micro Highlight Reel

By Lee Wrona

Ebola in America = a scary reality, just in time for a scary holiday. People are rightfully worried about catching such a deadly disease; a disease that we have been assured is only transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an already symptomatic person. However, flu season is among us, and with the influenza virus and the Ebola virus both having similar symptoms, emergency rooms are becoming more crowded with concerned patients believing they are infected with the more dangerous Ebola virus. As a result, doctors are urging people to get a yearly flu vaccine not just for their protection, but for the protection of others that they may come in contact with on a daily basis.

This video shows that while the likelihood that feverish symptoms are from Ebola is low, proper precautions are in place should such a disease present itself in the emergency room. And while a vaccine for Ebola is not currently available, the yearly flu vaccine is widely available, which can greatly reduce your risk for catching the influenza virus.