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October 5, 2019 -  AAMU Scientists Working to Give Bacteria New Uses

A common bacteria found in the lower digestive tracts of most warm-blooded animals is being widely researched by universities and the U.S. Army for its potential applications to national defense and potential treatment of diseases.

When most people hear about E. coli bacteria, they immediately conjure up those many instances when the bacteria has been the undisputed source of a wide range of intestinal ailments—from abdominal cramps to bloody diarrhea to vomiting.

The truth is, however, that the vast majority of the varieties of E. coli bacteria are harmless and have uses many people cannot fathom without a little cognitive boost.  For instance, researchers at Alabama A&M University are now partnering with the Army Research Lab (ARL) and the Army Research Office (ARO) to come up with a method to biologically customize the common E. coli bacteria to do uncommon good.

ARO has funded AAMU research in the amount of $564,909 over three years for a project which, in its early impetus supported three full-time summer internships, a graduate student in fall 2019, and will support a postdoc starting in October 2019.

AAMU scientists and student researchers are modifying the common lab bacteria E. coli so that it can be used as a miniature factory for the production of select metallic and other semiconducting nanoparticles.  They are doing so by introducing foreign genes into the bacteria that spur their likelihood to produce the desired nanoparticles.  In other words, when silver ions were introduced, the engineered bacteria tended to synthesize useful silver nanoparticles.

Thus, these and other nanoparticles resulting from the scientists’ biological approach—as opposed to available physical and chemical methods—could lead to a number of applications in nanotechnology and Army research, including biosensors and electronic devices, as well as doubling as drug-delivery vehicles.  

Moreover, thanks to the ARO-funded project, Dr. Qunying Yuan, the principal investigator, has been able to secure important equipment (i.e., biosafety cabinet, high-end thermal cycler, two incubators for bacterial culture, etc.) to enhance a molecular biology lab.

“Biological synthesis has several advantages over chemical synthesis.  It is a cost-effective, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. It does not use toxic chemicals to produce nanoparticles,” said Dr. Joe Qiu, program manager, Solid State and Electromagnetics, Army Research Office. “The unique biosynthesis method using bacteria as a factory can produce shape and size controlled nanoparticles, and can be used for fast and large scale production. These nanoparticles can be easily and conveniently used by the Army researchers for research in bioelectronics and biotechnology. It’s pretty exciting to turn E. coli into something so valuable.”

October 9, 2019

Dr. Xia (Amy) Zhang

Dr. Xia (Amy) Zhang is the Assistant professor of Accounting at Department of Accounting and Finance at Alabama A&M University (AAMU). Dr. Zhang is currently the international program coordinator at College of Business & Public Affairs (COBPA). She coordinated the first COBPA professor teaching International Finance for a month (05/20/19-06/20/19) at Jiangsu Normal University in China. She successfully coordinated to host the pilot summer international program (SIS) at AAMU in summer of 2018 for MBA students from Nanjing Forestry University. She also coordinated the establishment of partnership relationship between COBPA of AAMU with colleges of business at several universities in China.

Dr. Zhang was awarded the University Professor of the Academic Year 2017-2018 for overall excellence in teaching, research, and service at Alabama A&M University. For Academic Year 2017-2018, she received the award for Overall Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Service, and award for Excellence in Service to the University Community at College of Business & Public Affairs (COBPA) of Alabama A&M University. She published five academic articles on peer-reviewed academic journals since she joined AAMU in August 2016. She is also actively involved in college and university services as well as community services. She is the chair of the Teaching Excellence Committee of COBPA. She is the chair of Business & Finance Committee of AAMU Faculty Senate. She also serves on the board of International Society of Huntsville.

Dr. Zhang earned her Ph D. in Accounting in 2016 from Jackson State University, and master’s degree in Accountancy in 2003 from University of Alabama in Huntsville. She obtained her M.A. in English from Shandong University in 1996 and B.A. in English from Shandong Normal University in 1991.

October 2019

Extension Specialist Receives 1890 Extension in Excellence Award

Normal, AL, October 2019Dr. Dorothy Brandon received the 1890 Extension in Excellence Award from the Association of Extension Administrators for her body of work in the areas of family and consumer science and workforce development. 

Dr. Brandon oversees several outreach initiatives, including PREP, the workforce development program now aimed at helping former inmates at day reporting centers to find meaningful employment. Through the program Making Money Count, thousands of individuals have reduced debt and now better manage their finances. Older adults, however, continue to be one of her favorite audiences as she instructs them on using computers for daily life applications and how to successfully “age in place” within their own homes and communities.

For the past five years, Dr. Brandon and her team have also coordinated the Family Day of Education and Fun, reaching thousands of participants and garnering state and national recognition. Family Fun Day is part of the Parent-Child Reading Enhancement Program activities that help parents teach their children how to be successful readers at a critical stage in life.

In addition to program development, Dr. Brandon was awarded more than $792K in grant funding.

As the 2019 1890 recipient, she received a plague and a monetary gift at the Southern Program Leadership Network Award Luncheon in New Orleans. This award makes her eligible for a National Excellence in Extension Award. The national award is to be presented by the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy in November during the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in San Diego, California.

“We are proud of the work that is coming from our Extension programming staff here at Alabama A&M University. What’s more important is that our programs continue to achieve national recognition among our peers,” said Extension Associate Director Dr. Celvia Stovall.

Previous 1890 Extension in Excellence Award winners from Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University are Dr. Andrea Morris in 2018; Dr. Karnita Garner in 2016; Kimberly Burgess-Neloms in 2015; Dr. Roger Richardson in 2013; and Dr. Maria Leite-Browning, Edna Coleman, Dr. Julio Correa, Kevin Crenshaw, and Robert Spencer in 2012.

For more information on Alabama Extension family and consumer science and workforce development programs, please contact Dr. Brandon at (256) 372-5458 or

December 2019 – Commencement Speaker

Miranda Bouldin is President and Chief Executive Officer of LogiCore Corporation, a Huntsville, AL based company that provides Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) services to United States Department of Defense agencies.

A native Alabamian and Alabama A&M University alumna, Ms. Bouldin founded LogiCore in 2002 and gained certification as a woman-owned small and disadvantaged business through the United States Small Business Administration in 2003. Her first contract in the Defense Industry was with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command’s (AMCOM) Research, Development and Engineering Center (RDEC) at Redstone Arsenal, AL. LogiCore conducted Aircraft Air Worthiness training for RDEC’s Software Engineering Directorate. Shortly afterwards, LogiCore became a sub-contractor conducting logistics analysis on Army aircraft and missiles in support of AMCOM’s Integrated Materiel Management Center (IMMC). LogiCore has since been competitively awarded several multi-year contracts within the AMCOM community, as both a prime contractor and a sub-contractor, in all four acquisition domains – Logistics, Technical, Business and Analytical, and Programmatic. LogiCore supported the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, LogiCore provides or have provided direct support to the Army Materiel Command, (MDA), DIA’s Missiles & Space Intelligence Center (MISC) and has a satellite office in Fort Gordon Georgia that provides support in areas of Cyber Security. LogiCore also supports software and engineering electronic test support to the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) at Fort Huachuca’s Electronic Proving Ground (EPG), and Systems Simulation, Software and Integration (S3I), in Huntsville Alabama working with Embedded Software Engineering.

LogiCore specializes in five industrial sectors of the U.S. Army – aviation, missiles, communications, electronics and radars. Capabilities include: Integrated Logistics Support, Logistics Acquisition, Logistics Operations, Engineering & Software, and Cyber. Other functions include software implementation; product support package design and development; systems engineering research and development; army aircraft fleet maintenance and supply support; technical publications development; test, measurement and diagnostics equipment maintenance and calibration; and interoperability testing of hardware, software, and tactical systems.

Ms. Bouldin is a current board member with the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, and a trustee for the Alabama School of Cyber and Engineering. She is member of the Huntsville Rotary Club, and is affiliated with the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce (Board Member), the Greater Huntsville Rotary Club, the National Defense Industrial Association (Board Member), the International Society of Logistics Engineers, Women in Defense Organization, the Army Aviation Association of America, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and other industry, professional and charitable organizations. Most recently, Miranda has produced, a new Talk Show, “The Miranda Show”, featuring entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators who will share their wisdom, secrets to success and leadership journeys with others. Proceeds will support, her charitable Non Profit, Inspire & Achieve in support of STEM programs, and Mental Health awareness.

Ms. Bouldin credits LogiCore’s success to an innovative, professional, team-oriented workforce. Each employee is dedicated to our country, servicemen, our customers, and teammates.

December 2019

AAMU STEM Women Receive NSF Grant

Huntsville, Ala. ---- Women researchers at Alabama A&M University (AAMU) will partner with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and other institutions to meet the aims of an NSF-sponsored project designed to foster the growth of women in STEM disciplines.

AAMU received a three-year subcontract award from UAB to implement The Alabama ADVANCE Partnership for Achieving Gender Equity in STEM.  The project focuses on increasing the participation and advancement of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by utilizing previous research data and literature concerning gender, racial and ethnic equity.  

Additional partners include the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), Miles College and Oakwood University.  An orientation luncheon regarding the AAMU project was held recently with faculty senators from each department, faculty mentees and their mentors, and administrators.

A key of aim of the overall project is to implement institutional changes in those practices and policies that inhibit gender equity and inclusion in STEM at partner institutions.  Further, the project aims to increase the representation and visibility of women, racial, ethnic minorities and other social identities in STEM departments by improving recruitment, retention and promotion practices and policies.

At the AAMU campus, partnership activities will include the establishment of an ADVANCE office; the sponsoring of department chair and search committee training; conducting seminars on unconscientious bias, career development and spouse/partner relocation; and the hosting of an annual statewide ADVANCE conference.

The AAMU ADVANCE Leadership Team consists of Dr. Jeanette Jones, principal investigator (PI), Distinguished Professor of Biology and faculty trustee, AAMU Board of Trustees; Dr. Tonya Perry professor and chairperson, Department of Social Work, Psychology & Counseling; Dr. Padmaja Guggilla, co-PI, professor and interim chair of the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics; Dr. Malinda Gilmore, co-PI, special assistant to the president and associate professor of chemistry; Dr. Martha Verghese, co-PI, professor and chair, Department of Food Science & Animal Sciences; and Ms. Dianne Kirnes, program manager.


Shelbe Racquel Jones is a junior communications media major from Atlanta, Georgia. Shelbe quickly found her passion for broadcast journalism and serves as an anchor and reporter for Alabama A&M University’s WJAB-TV Frontpage news program and as the WJAB 90.9 FM radio station manager and host. Shelbe received national recognition for a news story that she composed, filmed, and edited. In addition to being an honors student, Shelbe is employed at Huntsville’s WAAY-TV channel 31 in the production department. Although she has a busy schedule, she still finds time to volunteer and give back to her community. After graduation, Shelbe plans to continue her career in broadcast journalism as an anchor/reporter in a major market.

March 9, 2020 Recognizes Stand-out AAMU Alum for “Blending”

An Alabama A&M University alumna was featured recently in a series highlighting the growing role of women in an industry almost totally dominated by men.

The popular website zoomed in on Eboni Major and her start and phenomenal rise up in the distilling industry.  Major began her affiliation with Bulleit Bourbon through an internship program, although she had already built a strong background in the food quality arena as an AAMU-trained, bonafide food scientist.

While the Birmingham, Ala., native had absolutely no experience with the myriad roles and responsibilities of a blender, the prospect excited her, and she was confident she would be able to perform the job well.

Her role at Bulleit has even had a bearing on her “outside” taste, which she says has significantly “evolved.”  Like the top coffee drinkers who only accept their coffee black, Major adds that her sensory job as a blender has motivated her to appreciate what the “neat” liquid her new world has to offer.

Moreover, her previous duties in food quality tie in well at Bulleit, where she now serves on a team whose members possess sharp sensory capabilities.  Those unique tasting skills what whisky receives the brand in a given year.

Major says she is proud to be a part of a new demographic for the distilling industry.  Today, women not only have a place as consumers of fine liquors, but they also have a key part in the production and decision-making aspects of the business.