About ASM

The American Society for Microbiology is the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world. Membership has grown from 59 scientists in 1899 to more than 39,000 members today, with more than one third located outside the United States. The members represent 26 disciplines of microbiological specialization plus a division for microbiology educators.

Eligibility for Full Membership is open to any person who is interested in microbiology and holds at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience in microbiology or related field. Many members hold advanced degrees, including a large number at the master's, PhD, ScD, DrPH and MD level. A regularly matriculated student of microbiology or a related field is eligible to become a student member. There are also separate membership categories for postdoctoral fellows and for transitional scientists in the early years of a career.

Microbiologists study microbes--bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, mycoplasma, fungi, algae and protozoa--some of which cause diseases, but many of which contribute to the balance of nature or are otherwise beneficial.

Microbiological research includes infectious diseases, recombinant DNA technology, alternative methods of energy production and waste recycling, new sources of food, new drug development, and the etiology of sexually transmitted diseases, among other areas. Microbiology is also concerned with environmental problems and industrial processes.

Microbiology boasts some of the most illustrious names in the annals of science--Pasteur, Koch, Fleming, Leeuwenhoek, Lister, Jenner and Salk--and some of the greatest achievements for mankind. Within the 20th century, a third of all Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been bestowed upon microbiologists.

The mission of the ASM is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

The ASM governance structure has two major components. The first and main component is the ASM Council which is made up of 88 voting members and serves as the Society's Board of Directors. Each councilor is charged with fiduciary responsibility for the actions and activities of the Society.

The second component is the Council Policy Committee or CPC which is made up of 18 voting members and serves as the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. The CPC has full authority to act ad interim for the Council; exercises the usual functions of an executive committee; and carries out further duties as provided in the ASM Bylaws. However this authority is "subject to subsequent explanation to and approval by the Council."

The CPC’s voting members are the ASM officers, the chairs of the 6 major program units or boards, the chair of the American Academy of Microbiology and 6 at large members representing the two Society constituencies: divisions and branches. There are two standing committees which report directly to the CPC: the Communications Committee and the Professional Practice Committee. The chairs of both of these standing committees are ex officio (without vote) members of the CPC.

Constitution and Bylaws
ASM Strategic Plan
Annual Reports

ASM Officers

  • The President is the chief officer and official representative of the Society.  The President presides over all meetings of the Board of Directors and the General Membership Meeting.  Makes policy decisions as needed for operation of the Society and calls meetings of the officers and Board of Directors.

  • The President-Elect provides secondary leadership for the Society; substitutes for the President when needed; and prepares to serve as President.  A major responsibility is to chair committees that review the main program areas of the Society to determine their effectiveness and to recommend their continuance or discontinuance.

  • The Secretary prepares the agenda for sessions of the Board of Directors and General Membership Meeting.  The Secretary prepares minutes of the meetings; oversees headquarters activities by working through the Executive Director; administers and coordinates operations of the Society; interprets policy as needed; and signs grants, contracts, and agreements.

  • The Treasurer is chair of the Finance Committee and supervises all aspects of the Society’s finances; provides leadership and works with Elective and Executive Officers to prepare, review, and implement the annual budget; and approves other major fiscal transactions.

The Society is governed by a Council compromising elected officers, chairmen of its permanent boards and representatives from 27 scientific divisions and 35 local branches. A Council Policy Committee serves as Executive Committee for the Society.

ASM is comprised of six boards - Education, International, Meetings, Membership, Public and Scientific Affairs, and Publications, plus the American Academy of Microbiology. Boards guide the major ASM programs. Each board has committees with specific assignments within the board's area of responsibility. In addition there is one standing committee: Communications.

Link here for information about how to join ASM and for general information about Student, Transitional, Postdoctoral, and Full membership; ASM Branches; the ASM Branch Lectureships Program; ASM Archives; Underrepresented Members; the ASM Career Portal and Career Development and Job Placement Services.

ASM journals are the most prominent publications in the field, delivering up-to-date and authoritative coverage of both basic and clinical microbiology.  With over 90 years of experience, ASM journals continue to be the leading source for the latest in microbiology research. In 2010, ASM launched mBio®, the Society’s first open-access online journal designed to make microbiology research broadly accessible.  mBio complements ASM’s nine primary research titles—Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, Eukaryotic Cell, Infection and Immunity, Journal of Bacteriology, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Journal of Virology, Molecular and Cellular Biology.  ASM also produces two review journals—Clinical Microbiology Reviews and Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews.  

In January 2013, the Society launched Genome AnnouncementsTM, an online-only, fully open access journal that publishes brief reports of microbial genome sequences that have been fully deposited in GenBank® and other publicly available databases. Genome Announcements will be posted online on a continuous basis and will be collected as bimonthly issues throughout the year. Articles published in Genome Announcements fully meet the open-access requirements of funding agencies such as the NIH and Wellcome Trust.

Microbe is the news magazine of the American Society for Microbiology, and is published monthly in print and online. It keeps members and other interested individuals informed of Society activities, meetings, educational and employment opportunities, new publications and national political developments of interest to the microbiological community. The current topics and features sections provide information about current scientific developments.

ASM Press
ASM Press, the book publishing division of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), publishes a broad selection of texts, references, monographs, and general interest titles in the microbiological sciences that are used as the foundational texts in colleges and universities and as reference materials in laboratories around the world. Many ASM Press publications are also used as primary references by US governmental agencies.  Showcasing internationally renowned authors and editors with expertise in a broad range of disciplines, ASM Press titles have been translated into more than a dozen languages. ASM Press titles are well-respected around the globe for the high quality of the material. ASM Press offers over 240 microbiology titles in the following topic areas: Applied and Industrial Microbiology, Bacterial Pathogenesis, Clinical Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology, Food Microbiology, Fungi and Fungal Pathogenesis, Immunology, Microbial Genetics and Molecular Biology, Viruses and Viral Pathogenesis, General Interest, and History of Science.

The Society hosts three annual meetings. At the General Meeting, held each May, microbiologists exchange information and gain insight across a variety of scientific disciplines and also conduct the business of the Society.  Additionally, the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), the premier meeting on infectious diseases, and the Biodefense Research Conference are held each year.  Other scientific opportunities include topical Conferences held globally, live teleconferences, and webinars.   CME accreditation and other types of accreditation for multiple disciplines are provided by ASM.

The Education Board offers programs and resources for students and faculty from the middle school to higher education levels.  These include career information, fellowship opportunities, summer institutes for graduate students and teachers, conferences for undergraduate faculty, and a online collection of digital resources for teaching microbiology.  

Public Affairs
The Public and Scientific Affairs Board for the Public Affairs Office monitors and responds to public policy issues related to research, public health, clinical, environmental and other issues involving microbiology. The Public Policy page has links to policy statements, reports, policy alerts that request action by members, information about Congress and issue specific pages on biodefense and clinical microbiology.

International Affairs
Link here to find information on ASM's international programs, international committees, and other useful information for our international members.

American Academy of Microbiology
The Academy is the honorific leadership group within the ASM. The mission of the Academy is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public. The Academy administers ASM’s awards and certification programs, convenes several colloquia a year for in-depth analysis of critical issues in microbiology, and honors distinguished scientists by electing them to Fellowship in the Academy.

Media Information/Public Communications
Press releases, press activities at ASM meetings, and MicrobeWorld website with access to daily podcasts and other resources.

Professional Practice
The Professional Practice Committee will oversee professional activities, provide a mechanism for coordinated communication with members and ASM leadership, and advocate for the professional needs of practitioners.

American College of Microbiology
The College administers highly stringent certification examinations for clinical and industrial microbiologists and immunologists and accredits postdoctoral training programs in clinical microbiology and immunology