PVMS 2024: Keynote Speakers!

Vicki Jeffers, University of New Hampshire

Dr. Vicki Jeffers’ lab studies mechanisms of epigenetic and transcriptional regulation in the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Her lab uses genomics, proteomics, molecular and cellular biology approaches to understand how this eukaryotic pathogen controls its gene expression to drive its growth, developmental transitions, and cause disease.

Ariel L. Furst, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Ariel L. Furst’s lab uses electrochemical, biological and materials engineering tools to develop technologies that can improve human and environmental health. Her recent work involved the development of an optimized point-of-care diagnostic sensor for the detection of multiple respiratory infections


Amy Teffer, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. Amy Teffer researches how fish and their infectious agents respond to environmental change and anthropogenic stressors. She has a multi-disciplinary approach using physiological and genomic tools merged with experimentation, telemetry (tracking), and statistical modeling to understand the mechanisms by which animals adapt to environmental change.

PVMS 2024: Save the Date!

The Pioneer Valley Microbiology Symposium organizing committee is happy to announce PVMS 2024! PVMS 2024 will happen on Saturday, March 2nd, 2024.

The fee for attending is $25 for students and $35 for faculty/staff/postdocs. Interested participants may now register and submit abstracts. Registration will close on February, 9th, 2024. Abstracts for talks and posters are due on January 22nd, 2024. Scan the below QR codes to register and submit abstracts for PVMS 2024!

Additional details to follow shortly! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@ValleyMicrobes) for all breaking symposium news.


We are pleased to share with you the Schedule for PVMS 2023! Please take a moment to visit the schedule and discover the impressive and varied collection of microbial presentations on March 25th. Additionally, don’t forget to explore the Program and Abstract Book using the following links:

Link to PVMS Program (pdf)

Link to PVMS Abstract Book (pdf)

Also, please note that registration is still available at the door. We look forward to seeing you at PVMS 2023!


PVMS has postponed and rescheduled the event to take place on March 25th. We look forward to meeting everyone on this new date

Stay tuned for the event schedule and more updates on the website. Feel free to reach out to us with any question and concerns at valleymicrobes@umass.edu


Due to the snow storm warning, PVMS has been postponed. We are considering March 25th as the new date of our symposium, but we will update you again once the date is finalized. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of all attendees and to provide a comfortable experience for everyone. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this unforeseen situation.

Additionally, we will release a schedule as soon as we confirm the attendance of our keynote speakers, considering the tentative change in the event’s date.

Feel free to reach out to us with any question and concerns at valleymicrobes@umass.edu


Oscar Vargas-Rodriguez, UConn Health

Dr. Vargas-Rodriguez’s lab studies the interaction between bacterial pathogens and their infected host, particularly by investigating the role of translation factors, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRS), during infection as putative targets for therapeutics.

Sarah Gignoux-Wolfsohn, UMass Lowell

Dr. Gignoux-Wolfsohn’s lab focuses on the persistence of biodiversity in the midst of environmental disturbances caused by climate change, studying oysters as sentinel biofilters for human pathogens as well as resistance to stony coral tissue loss disease.

Begüm D. Topçuoğlu, Bristol Myers Squibb

Dr. Topçuoğlu is a UMass Amherst alum who studied in Jim Holden’s lab where she studied the physiology of thermophiles in hydrothermal vents. She is currently a senior scientist and computational biologist at Bristol Myers Squibb helping with the evaluation of potential new medicines and therapeutic approaches by using state-of-the-art computational tools and predictive analytics.