University of Delaware
UD's Eric Wommack is co-founder of a new scientific journal, Microbiome.

For the Record, Jan. 18, 2013

University faculty report new scientific journal, presentations


9:52 a.m., Jan. 18, 2013--For the Record provides information about recent professional activities of University of Delaware faculty, staff, students and alumni.

An announcement of a new scientific journal, as well as recent publications and presentations include the following:

Campus Stories

From graduates, faculty

As it neared time for the processional to open the University of Delaware Commencement ceremonies, graduating students and faculty members shared their feelings about what the event means to them.

Doctoral hooding

It was a day of triumph, cheers and collective relief as more than 160 students from 21 nations participated in the University of Delaware's Doctoral Hooding Convocation held Friday morning on The Green.


A new scientific journal launched Jan. 9 merges the clinical and environmental perspectives of microbiology. Microbiome is an open source journal created by co-founders Eric Wommack, professor of environmental microbiology in the departments of Plant and Soil Sciences, Biological Sciences and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and Jacques Ravel, professor of microbiology and immunology and associate director for genomics at the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Open source was important to us when creating this journal because it means what we publish is freely available to anyone in the world,” says Wommack, also a resident researcher at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. This peer-reviewed publication focuses on microbiome research in environmental, agricultural, and biomedical areas, reflecting the growing importance of studying communities of microoganisms – microbiomes – versus single cultivated microbial strains. Microbiome will explore how microorganisms function in their natural environment, whether that’s the ocean, human body, or another habitat. It’s bringing together two once divergent perspectives – that of the clinical researcher who has traditionally looked at one microorganism at a time to determine cause and effect, and the perspective of an environmental researcher who studies communities of microorganisms. 

“The motivation behind Microbiome was that the classic way of looking at microorganisms is to find the one organism that’s causing a problem, but the reality is that they exist within a larger community of organisms,” says Wommack. “Microbiome will facilitate the cross-fertilization of ideas, research methods and analyses, and theory between clinical and environmental microbiologists exploring the emergent impacts of microbial communities on the ecosystems they inhabit.”

“Microbiology was once thought of as two subdisciplines – clinical microbiology and environmental microbiology – but the substantial technological advances, particularly over the past decade in DNA sequencing and analysis, have given scientists new common and interdisciplinary research interests,” explains Ravel.

Microbiome will introduce topics that broadly address the study of microbial communities, such as, meta-genomics surveys, bioinformatics, other ‘-omics’ approaches and surveys, and community/host interaction mathematical modeling. The journal kicks off with several innovative papers from scientists at various institutions worldwide. For example, a team from the University of Guelph in Canada summarized their novel stool substitute transplant therapy research. The team treated two patients with Clostridium difficile using a bacterial strain cocktail in an attempt to alleviate this difficult infection of the lower GI tract. Other innovative genomic research approaches are also featured in the first issue. The journal includes a new section, “Microbiome Announcements,” that will contain short reports describing microbiome datasets and their associated clinical or environmental data. 

A prestigious international editorial review board is working with Microbiome, including leading interdisciplinary scientists from the U.S., France, Australia, China and other countries, who represent academic centers, private and environmental research centers, as well as federal agencies. A number of present and former University of Delaware faculty are members of the editorial board, reflecting the leadership of UD in community-scale microbiology research. The journal is already attracting worldwide attention from it’s recent launch with the news being picked up by New Scientist, Wired, The Scientist, GenomeWeb Daily Scan, National Geographic and the Smithsonian Magazine, to name a few. CTV in Canada, and a large number of Canadian newspapers are also spreading the word, along with a lot of activity on the Twitterverse. Microbiome is published online by BioMed Central, based in the UK. The website will also feature many online tools, such as RSS feeds, and robust advanced search capabilities.

Ann Ardis, interim deputy provost and director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, has edited a special issue of Modernism/modernity titled "Mediamorphosis: Print Culture and Transatlantic/Transnational Public Sphere(s)" (Vol. 19, No. 3, September 2012). This special issue is published in tandem with a special issue of The Journal of Modern Periodical Studies (Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012), and both are products of a symposium hosted by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center at the University of Delaware in September 2011.

Maureen Cech, assistant librarian, Manuscripts and Archives Department, University of Delaware Library, published a chapter "Billy Roche's Secular Priests" included in The Art of Billy Roche: Wexford as the World (Dublin: Ireland: Carysfort Press, 2012) edited by Kevin Kerrane, professor of English at UD. Billy Roche (Jan. 11, 1949 -- ), an Irish playwright living in Wexford, Ireland, is best known for three full length plays forming The Wexford Trilogy. His work is represented in the literary holdings in Special Collections in the Morris Library, as well as in the general collection of the Morris Library.


Ann Ardis, interim deputy provost and director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, was an invited participant in "What is a Journal? Towards a Theory of Periodical Studies," a roundtable at the Modern Language Association meeting in Boston, Jan. 4.

At the 2013 Modern Language Association Convention, held this year in Boston, Margaret D. Stetz, Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women's Studies and professor of humanities, presented a paper titled "Dressed in Feminism: Women's Literature and Material Culture," on Jan. 5. She was an invited presenter on a panel titled "'Women's Lit': What Was It, and Where Is It Now?" that was organized by the MLA Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession.

Farley Grubb, professor of economics, presented “Chronic Specie Scarcity and Efficient Barter: The Problem of Maintaining an Outside Money Supply in British Colonial America” at the Allied Social Science Associations annual conference in the session on “Money, Banking, and Prices” sponsored by the Economic History Association, San Diego, Jan. 5. At the same conference, he was also a discussant on papers presented in the session on “Issues in 19th-Century Economic Growth” sponsored by the Cliometrics Society, Jan. 4.


UD scuba instructor John Schuster of the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition was awarded the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) Worldwide Outstanding Contribution to Scuba Diving Award on Nov. 13, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nev., at the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association Convention. He was recognized for his outstanding service and dedication to NAUI and sport diving through the conduct of NAUI courses taught at UD.

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Information on the journal Microbiome provided by Laura Crozier with contributions by Sarah Pick

Photo by Evan Krape

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