Shannon McQuaig Ulrich, Ph.D.

St. Petersburg College Clearwater, FL

Candidate for the Council on Microbial Sciences
Full Professor at St. Petersburg College, Clearwater, FL
Dr. Shannon McQuaig Ulrich is a full professor at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science from the University of Florida in 2003. During her time as an undergraduate she worked as a federal work study student in an Environmental Microbiology laboratory. There she learned aseptic and culturing techniques, cell culture protocols, and microbiological water testing procedures. Her passion for water microbiology grew during those years and she stayed in that same laboratory to earn her Masters of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science in 2005. The subject of her Master’s thesis was the utilization of human polyomaviruses (HPyVs) as an indicator of human fecal pollution of environmental and recreational waters. She was then accepted to the University of South Florida where she developed a real-time PCR assay to detect HPyVs to study the survival rates of HPyVs in environmental waters and the developed assay was employed in multiple epidemiological studies. In 2009, she earned her PhD in Biology with a concentration in environmental and ecological microbiology from the University of South Florida. After graduation, Dr. Ulrich joined the University of South Florida as a visiting instructor. In 2010, she accepted a position at St. Petersburg College teaching a variety of courses including Biology, Microbiology, Genetics, Immunology, Molecular Biology and Undergraduate Research. Dr. Ulrich has published 10 peer reviewed articles and a book chapter and continues her research interests working with undergraduate students.
Dr. Ulrich attended her first Florida Branch American Society for Microbiology (FLASM) meeting in 2001 at the age of 18 years old were she presented on altering ion concentrations in cell culture media to increase monolayer attachment. This experience was seminal and initiated her pursuits in the field of microbiology. Remembering the importance of this experience, she brought her undergraduate research students to present at FLASM early in her teaching career. At one of these meetings, she was recruited to rotate into the FLASM board. She served as FLASM Secretary from 2013-2015, President-Elect from 2015-2017 and President from 2017-2019. In addition, Dr. Ulrich has attended multiple ASMCUE, Southeastern Branch ASM, and General ASM meetings. Dr. Ulrich continues to work with undergraduate students on projects that center around public health microbiology.
Outside of teaching responsibilities and ASM-related duties, Dr. Ulrich has worked with Pearson to develop teaching resources for the classroom. She has also hosted a monthly TV show called WEDU Quest that explores science, technology and education on a local PBS channel and has served as a consultant for a local biotechnology company.
  • 2009 Ph.D. Biology, University of South Florida
  • 2005 M.S. Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida
  • 2003 B.S. Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida
Professional Experience (since 2010):
  • 2014-current Consultant - PureMolecular, LLC., St. Petersburg, FL
  • 2014-current Host – QUEST WEDU, Tampa, FL
  • 2010-current Professor - Department of Natural Sciences, Petersburg College, Clearwater, FL
ASM Activities:
  • 2013-current Member, Florida Branch of American Society for Microbiology
  • 2000-current Member, American Society for Microbiology
  • 2017-2019 President, Florida Branch of American Society for Microbiology
  • 2018 Southeastern Branch ASM, St. Petersburg, FL, November 2018 (Speaker)
  • 2017 American Society for Microbiology Conference for undergraduate Educators. Denver, CO. July 27-30, 2017 (Microbrew Presenter)
  • 2015-2017 President-elect, Florida Branch of American Society for Microbiology
  • 2013-2015 Secretary, Florida Branch of American Society for Microbiology
Publications (since 2010):
  1. 2017 Symonds, E.M., S. Young, M.E. Verbyla, M. McQuaig-Ulrich, E. Ross, J.A. Jimenez, V.J. Harwood, M. Breitbart. Microbial source tracking in shellfish harvesting waters in the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica. Water Research 111 (15 March 2017): 177–184.
  2. 2016 Symonds, E.M., C. Singigalliano, M. Gidley, W. Ahmed, M. McQuaig-Ulrich, and M. Breitbart. Fecal pollution along the southeastern coast of Florida and insight into the use of pepper mild mottle virus as an indicator. J Appl Microbiolog. 2016, Nov; 121(5):1469-81.
  3. 2015 Symonds, E.M., M.M. Cook, M. McQuaig, R.M. Ulrich, R.O. Schenck, J.O. Lukasik, E.S. Van Vleet, M. Breitbart. Reduction of nutrients, microbes, and personal care products in domestic wastewater by a benchtop electrocoagulation unit. Scientific Reports. 23 Mar 2015 5: 9380.
  4. 2012 M. McQuaig, J. Griffith and V. Harwood. Association of fecal indicator bacteria with human viruses and microbial source tracking markers at coastal beaches impacted by nonpoint source pollution. Appl Environ Microbiol. 78: 6423-6432.
  5. 2011 Abdelzaher, A., M. Wright, C. Ortega, A. Hasan, T. Shibata, H. Solo-Gabriele, J. Kish, K. Withum, G. He, S. Elmir, J. Bonilla, T. Bonilla, C. Palmer, T. Scott, Lukasik, V. Harwood, S. M.McQuaig, C. Sinigalliano, M. Gidley, D. Wanless, L. Plano, A. Garza, X. Zhu, J. Stewart, J. Dickerson, H. Yampara-Iquise, C. Carson, J. Fleisher, and L. Fleming. Daily measures of microbes and human health at a non-point source marine beach. J Water Health. Sept; 9(3):443-57.
  6. 2011 Shah, A., Abdelzaher, H. Solo-Gabriele, M. Phillips, R. Hernandez, J. Kish, G. Scorzetti, J. Fell, T. Scott, J. Lukasik, V. J. Harwood, S. M. McQuaig, C. Sinigalliano, M. Gidley, D. Wanless, A. Agar, J. Liu, J. Stewart, L. Plano and L. Fleming. Indicator microbes correlate with pathogenic bacteria, yeasts and helminthes in sand at a subtropic recreational beach site. J Appl Microbiol. Jun; 110(6):1571-83.
  7. 2010 M. McQuaig and R. Noble. Viruses as tracers of fecal contamination. In: C. Hagedon, A.R. Blanch, and V. J. Harwood. Microbial Source Tracking: Methods, Applications, and Case Studies. (pp. 113-135) New York: Springer.
Research Interests:
  • Undergraduate research experience
  • Water quality
  • Microbiology of public health
It is my honor to be considered for nomination of this position. I had the opportunity to attend both state-level and national-level ASM meetings as an undergraduate student and the experience was both terrifying and inspiring. As a professor and mentor to undergraduate research students, I want them to have the same opportunity to experience the inspiration of these ASM events. Over the past decade, I’ve noticed an increase in the attendance of undergraduate students at local ASM meetings. If elected, my one of my goals would include advocating for programs and opportunities that will make ASM resources and regional meetings more accessible to undergraduate students and faculty at ‘primarily teaching’ institutions. This would serve to benefit not only the students, but providing earlier access to students interested in microbiology research would give potential graduate school advisors the benefit of networking and screening students outside of a standard paper application. As an organization founded in 1899, it is imperative to retain our authenticity but with more undergraduate students seeking the research experience it is important we do our best to provide access for these young researchers.
In addition, we are in a changing landscape of education, with undergraduate institutions increasing online course offerings. After talking with many colleagues about this change, I would also like to see ASM lead discussions on the challenges of online education as it relates to students developing laboratory skills. It is important to set expectations and standards to address the tactile abilities needed in the laboratory and offer recommendations to teaching institutions to ensure students are graduating with the proper skills.
I appreciate your consideration and, if elected, look forward to working to create better access and skills training for our undergraduate students.

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