Dr. Bert Ely is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina where he teaches genetics, biotechnology, and biology for education majors. His current research focuses on bacterial and bacteriophage genome evolution as well as how the interactions between bacteria and plant roots impact plant growth. Currently two PhD students, and nine undergraduates are working on a variety of research projects in his laboratory. Overall, 32 (12 minority students) have completed an MS or PhD degree in Dr. Ely’s laboratory, and 11 postdoctoral fellows, 11 postbaccalaureate students, and more than 250 undergraduate students have completed research projects in his laboratory. In addition, Dr. Ely is the director of the NIH-funded UofSC Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) that helps prepare underrepresented students for success in PhD programs in the biomedical sciences. He is also the President of the non-profit Dyslexia Resource Center which helps struggling readers learn how to read.