Microbe, Second Edition

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Click HERE to reserve your exam copy now!  


Authors:  Michele Swanson, University of Michigan; Gemma Reguera, Michigan State University; Moselio Schaechter, San Diego State University; Frederick Neidhardt, University of Michigan


Bring the excitement, breadth, and power of the modern microbial sciences to the next generation of students and scientists in a fun and engaging way.


Microbe, Second Edition, represents an exciting collaboration between the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Education Board and ASM Press to revise the undergraduate textbook Microbe.  The resulting edition builds on the foundation of the ASM Recommended Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology Education. 


With this new edition, the goal has been to emphasize concepts, not facts.  Throughout the book, the authors integrate key concepts, learning outcomes, and fundamental statements from the Curriculum Guidelines. 




Click to view Microbe, 2e sample materials:

Front Matter and Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 5

Microbial Ecology Compiled Sample Materials 

Microbial Pathogenesis Compiled Sample Materials




To illustrate the impact of key microbiology concepts on real world scenarios, each chapter begins with a case study, ranging from sauerkraut fermentation to the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Throughout the book, questions are posed to introduce the next key concept and to prompt students to apply the concepts they are learning.

To deepen students’ understanding of both the principles and practice of science, each chapter includes multiple active learning exercises for individuals or groups, as well as vetted visual, audio, and written resources for students and faculty alike.


Microbe, Second Edition, is a valuable tool for both instructors who are teaching a traditional lecture format and those who emphasize active learning in their classroom.  This text is intended for use in microbiology courses for majors and pre-health professionals, or for scientists whose fields interface with the microbial sciences, including engineers, computational biologists, and chemists.





Features of the new Second Edition:

  • Concepts of evolutionary biology are woven throughout the text.
  • An entirely new section teaches principles of infectious diseases (6 chapters total).
  • ASM's Microbiology Education Curriculum Guidelines are used to frame the key concepts taught in each chapter.
  • Active learning exercises support instructors who “flip” their classroom.
  • Every chapter begins with a case study that brings the microbiology to life and ends by tying key concepts back to the case study.
  • Each section begins with the over-arching question that will be explored.
  • Key concepts are illustrated by a greatly expanded set of figures, animations, graphs, and tables.
  • Adopters receive the full set of images and tables as well as answers to the discussion questions at the end of chapters.




“This is a fantastic text! Written in a comfortable, conversational style, it grabs the reader’s attention immediately, sparking their curiosity and keeping them engaged throughout each chapter while they seek and find answers to questions posed at the beginning of each section. A true joy to read. I recommend it highly for both traditional and flipped classrooms.”


─ Peggy Cotter, PhD, Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UNC School of Medicine






List and ASM Member Price: $100

June 2016. 850 pages (EST), full-color illustrations.  Hardcover or eBook.


Questions?  Contact books@asmusa.org










Antibiotics: Challenges, Mechanisms, Opportunities Q&A

Christopher Walsh and Timothy Wencewicz, authors of the new Antibiotics: Challenges, Mechanisms, Opportunities, answer our questions about their new book and the current state of antibiotic development.  


Visit ASMscicence.org to learn more about Antibiotics: Challenges, Mechanisms, Opportunities 


Has the environment surrounding antibiotic research changed from 2003 to the 2016 time frame and publication of Antibiotics: Challenges, Mechanisms, Opportunities?

The past decade has seen a substantially broader appreciation by nonscientists, including government agencies, public media, of the threat posed by multidrug resistant bacterial pathogens, whether Neisseria gonnorheae, fluoroquinolone resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, carbapenem resistant enterobacteriacae, and multidrug resistant Acinetobacter baumanii. Over the interevening 13 years much has been learned from bacterial genomics, from the prospects of combination therapy, and from the examination of underutilized targets that suggest there are new opportunities for new molecules. Third, Merck and Roche, to name two pharmaceutical companies, seem to have re-entered the antibiotic research and development arena in a significant way, emphasizing the unmet medical needs.


What inspired you to work on the new book Antibiotics: Challenges, Mechanisms, Opportunities?

Opportunity to collaborate with Tim Wencewicz as a continuation of five years of discussion on the future of antibiotics, and  as a result of the course he has taught  at Wash U on antibiotics. We have a belief that in addition to all the stewardship  improvements for prescribing antibiotics appropriately there is a continuing and pressing need for finding new antibiotics from the two main historical sources: antibiotic molecules from Nature and antibiotics from synthetic chemical frameworks. This  is the chemocentric hypothesis at the heart of the new book and it does not exist in any other publication. We think it will offer a broad readership insights and encouragement to pursue the next generation of antibiotics from a contemporary knowledge base about the two major discovery axes: when, where and why microbes make antibiotics and how 50 years of medicinal chemistry practice  (1960-2010) has enabled us to keep pace (barely) with new waves of bacterial pathogens.


What do you think is the biggest obstacle to future antibiotic development?

In addition to finding new molecular scaffolds, from Nature or from synthetic chemical library collections, it is likely those will often only be starting points  for medicinal chemistry optimization of various desired therapeutic properties. Thus one needs a confluence of microbiology and medicinal chemistry. The historically “unculturable” dark matter of the microbiome may offer promise of new molecular frameworks. Two of the challenges facing researchers and practioners in the antibiotic arena will be development of broad spectrum vs narrow spectrum antibiotics and the real time assays for pathogen identification, and the shift to more combination therapy to parallel the strategies used in antiviral and anticancer therapeutic regimens.


Where is the most potential for future antibiotic development?

A  particularly pressing set of problems is to find new generations of antibiotics that are active against multidrug resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, whether colistin-resistant acinetobacters, fluoroquinolone resistant pseudomonads, and carbapenem resistant enterobacteriacae. Two underdeveloped targets in those pathogens are (1) the cell-wall  transglycosylases that build the glycan chains of the peptidoglycan layer and (2)  the assembly of the lipid A core of the lipolysaccharide component of the outer leaflet of the outer membrane.


What is one thing you would like the general public to know about where antibiotic research is heading?

We are at a point where the antibiotic cupboard is approaching empty in terms of being able to treat life-threatening bacterial infections successfully in each patient.  There is now widespread acknowledgement of how important antibiotics remain to the health of communities, large and small. It is encouraging that academic research teams, philanthropic organizations and NGOs, biotechnology startup companies, and even some of the large Pharma companies that had exited the therapeutic arena a decade or more ago, have come back to the problems. Application of smart screens, new methods for culturing the previously “unculturable” microbiome, discovery of synergistic antibiotic combinations, and detailed investigation of under-examined bacterial enzyme classes , such those that cleave ATP  and GTP to power bacterial machinery, offer promise of next generation antibiotic scaffolds.


Why did you choose to publish your book with ASM Press?

The American Society of Microbiology is the Learned Society committed to all aspect of microbial life, including bacteria in their many manifestations. They were the obvious choice as publisher back in 2003 and remain even more so today as they not only provide a forum for scientific knowledge and advances around antibiotics and their bacterial targets but are also active catalysts in the strategic, policy and stewardship discussions and debates that are central to an integrated antibiotic strategy going forward.