asm2015 Mentoring Breakfast

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For information by career transition topic, click here.

Joseph Alabi                                     Table #:  13
Topic: Clinical Career Track Transitions
Current Employer: Allegiance Health
Career Path: Master of Science degree in Medical Microbiology. Started career as a technical lab scientist and moved through job as department director to current position as microbiology manager in a 500 bed hospital.

Wade Aldous                                    Table #:  5
Topic: Careers in Government
Current Employer: State Hygenic Laboratory at the U of Iowa
Career Path: PhD in Microbiology. 20 years in the Army as a microbiologist in the medical service corps. Retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. Spent 2 years doing a CPEP fellowship while in the Army at the U of Utah/ARUP labs and became an ABMM diplomate. Now serving as CLIA director for State Hygienic Lab.

Heather Allen                                    Table #:  6
Topic: Careers in Government
Current Employer: USDA
Career Path: BA/MA degree in Microbiology from U Iowa. PhD in Microbiology from U Wisconsin-Madison. Postdoctoral fellowship at the USDA's National Animal Disease Center (NADC). Permanent scientist position at the NADC. Became an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Vet Micro Department at Iowa State U. Appointed Lead Scientist of the research team on alternatives to antibiotics in animal agriculture in 2015.

Len M. Archer                                   Table #:  3
Topic: Bench Research to Administration
Current Employer: Adventist U of Health Sciences
Career Path: PhD in Microbiology before teaching at a two-year Associate degree college specializing in health sciences. Appointed department chair and later Associate VP for Academic Administration as the college obtained U status.

David Aronoff                                   Table #:  3
Topic: Bench Research to Administration
Current Employer: Vanderbilt U School of Medicine
Career Path: College to med school to residency to clinical and research fellowship to research post-doc to junior then senior faculty to division director.

Adrienne Bambach                        Table #:  9
Topic: Careers in Industry
Current Employer: Nanosphere, Inc.
Career Path: PhD in microbiology and immunology. CPEP fellowship in clinical microbiology at U of Rochester Medical Center. Field application scientist for Focus Diagnostics. Manager of Scientific Affairs and Acting Director of Clincial Affairs at Nanosphere. D (ABMM).

Ravi Barabote                                   Table #:  17
Topic: Graduate to Postdoctoral Study
Current Employer: U of Arkansas
Career Path: Tenure-track Assistant Professor at a public University.

Junia Jean-Gilles Beaubrun       Table #:  5
Topic: Careers in Government
Current Employer: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Career Path: Research Micro. at FDA/CFSAN/OARSA/DVA.
BA in Biology at Rollins College, MA in  Biology, and PhD from the Biology Department with an emphasis on Microbiology at Howard U.  Served as a microbiologist reviewer for new drug applications at CDER, FDA, then as fellowship contractor at the FDA, CFSAN, Division of Molecular Biology (DMB). Became the Microbiology supervisor for the DCPublic Health Lab.

April Bobenchik                              Table #:  11
Topic: Clinical Career Track Transitions
Current Employer: Lifespan Academic Medical Center
Career Path: Medical Technologist, Research Tech, Grad student (MS and PhD), CPEP Fellow, Assoc. Director of Clinical Microbiology

Brian Brunelle                                  Table #:  4
Topic: Careers in Government
Current Employer: National Animal Disease Center
Career Path: BS in Biochemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, PhD in Infectious Diseases from the U.of California, Berkeley. Post-doctoral appointment in the government (USDA). Full time Microbiology position in a government food safety research lab (USDA) and has been studying Salmonella for the past 7 years.

Randall Dimond                              Table #:  9
Topic: Careers in Industry
Current Employer: Promega
Career Path: Educated at the U. of Utah, UCSD, and MIT. Teaches at  U. of Wisconsin, Madison and works for Promega.

Wm. Michael Dunne, Jr., Ph.D.                Table #:  8
Topic: Careers in Industry
Current Employer
: Biomerieux
Career Path: Board-certified clinical microbiologist from 1982 to 2011 at 4 major medical centers.  Transitioned to industry in 2011 as head of North American R&D for bioMerieux, Inc.

Marina Eremeeva                            Table #:  18
Topic: Graduate to Postdoctoral Study
Current Employer: Georgia Southern U
Career Path: MD, Ph and DSc from France and Russia, worked in government and academic institutions in 3 countries; currently an Associate Professor teaching graduate program at the regional U.

Lorraine Findlay                              Table #:  1
Topic:  Alternative Career Tracks
Current Employer:  Nassau County Community College
Career Path:  Worked in research, then clinically, then director of pharmaceutical microbiology. Now an academic but also clinical.

Martha Folmsbee                            Table #:  10
Topic: Careers in Industry
Current Employer: Pall Corporation
Career Path: Undergrad degree before raising kids for a few years prior to going back to School for Masters and later PhD.  Post doc at the U of OK, an ASM/NCID fellowship and working in industry.

Shilpa Gadwal                                  Table #:  2
Topic: Alternative Career Tracks
Current Employer: American Society for Microbiology
Career Path: BA in Biology from UMBC. PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the U Michigan. Currently the Career Advancement Fellow at American Society for Microbiology.

Omai Garner                                      Table #:  12
Topic: Clinical Career Track Transitions
Current Employer: UCLA
Career Path:  Undergrad degree in Bacteriology from UW Madison PhD in biomedical sciences from UCSD. Completed a CPEP training program in Clinical Microbiology has served as the Assoc. Director of Clinical Microbiology for the UCLA Health System from 2012 - present. Also the Director of the UCLA CPEP program

Elena Grigorenko                            Table #:  10
Topic: Careers in Industry
Current Employer: Diatherix Laboratories, Inc.
Career Path:  Assistant Professor to Industry scientist through product/technology development path to executive position in diagnostic company

Peera Hemarajata                            Table #:  11
Topic: Clinical Career Track Transitions
Current Employer: David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
Career Path: CPEP fellow at UCLA and pursuing a career in medical microbiology as a laboratory director.

Jim Hong                                            Table #:  12
Topic: Clinical Career Track Transitions
Current Employer: Carolinas Healthcare System
Career Path: Clinical and Industry. From small community hospitals to large academic medical centers.

Theresa Koehler                              Table #:  18
Topic: Graduate to Postdoctoral Study
Current Employer: U of Texas Health Science Center
Career Path: BS in Biology to PhD in Microbiology to Postdoc Microbiology to Asst Prof, Assoc Prof, Full Prof, Chair.

Indira T. Kudva                                                Table #:  6
Topic: Careers in Government
Current Employer: Agricultural Research Service/ United States Department of Agriculture
Career Path: Research Microbiologist at the National Animal Disease Center, USDA, Ames, Iowa.  Working on food safety and enteric pathogens related research.

M Hope Lee                                       Table #:  20
Topic: Undergraduate to Graduate
Current Employer: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Career Path: Postdoc with the Dept of Energy lab, then set up and ran mentor’s lab. Hired as an environmental consultant in Idaho as the technical lead for the Remediation Technologies Division. Worked as Dept of Energy employee. In 2012 began directing the soil and groundwater program for Pacific Northwest National Lab.

Tiffany MacKenzie                          Table #:  8
Topic: Careers in Industry
Current Employer: DiaSorin Inc
Career Path: Scientific Affairs Manager of Infectious Disease in the diagnostics industry. Manages Key Opinion Leader relationships and maintains collaborations to publish abstracts, posters and papers featuring how company’s diagnostic assays improve patient care.

Luis R. Martinez                              Table #:  16
Topic: Graduate to Postdoctoral Study
Current Employer: NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine
Career Path: BS in Industrial Microbiology at the UPR-Mayaguez, MS in Microbiology at LIU-Brooklyn, PhD in Micro & Immuno at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Post-doctoral studies at Einstein and performed research at the MBL in Woods Hole, MA and Cold Spring Harbor Labs in NY. Currently, an associate professor at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Joan Mecsas                                     Table #:  17
Topic: Graduate to Postdoctoral Study
Current Employer: Tufts U School of Miedicine
Career Path: Grad school at UW-Madison, Post-doc at Stanford University and Faculty Member at Tufts U School of Medicine.

Joanna Mott                                       Table #:  15
Topic: Graduate Student to Tenure Track
Current Employer: James Madison U
Career Path:  PhD to Research Associate to tenure track. Department Head at 2 institutions, one for 6 years, current for 4 years.

Alison O'Brien                                 Table #:  15
Topic: Graduate Student to Tenure Track
Current Employer: Uniformed Services University
Career Path: Undergraduate, medical technologist trainee, worked 2 years, doctorate,  post-doc, tenure track faculty at a medical school, and finally chair. Has hired  many faculty members.

Audrey Odom                                   Table #:  20
Topic: Undergraduate to Graduate
Current Employer: Washington U School of Medicine
Career Path: Undergraduate at Duke U, with 4 years of research experience. MD-PhD at Duke, did clinical training in Pediatrics & Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the U Washington (Seattle). Current faculty member in Pediatrics at Washington U (St. Louis), where >80% of time is devoted to basic research on the biology of the malaria parasite.

Ricardo Rajsbaum                         Table #:  19
Topic:  Graduate to Postdoctoral Study
Current Employer:  U of Texas Medical Branch
Career Path:  Technician and research associate for 5 years at the CBR Institute, Harvard Medical School. Did BSc studies at UNAM. Obtained MSc degree at the Weizmann Institute of Science.  Post-doctoral fellow Mount Sinai School of Medicine. PhD studies at the National Institute for Medical Research studying the role of TRIMs in different cells of the immune system.

Carol A. Rauch                                                Table #:  13
Topic: Clinical Career Track Transitions
Current Employer: Vanderbilt U Medical Center
Career Path:  MD-PhD, pathology training, clinical microbiology fellowship, micro lab director, medical lab director, teach medical students and pathology residents.

Elyse Rodgers-Vieira                    Table #:  7
Topic: Careers in Industry
Current Employer: Bayer Crop Science
Career Path:  Joined Bayer CropScience in 2014 as a Scientist in trait discovery working in the areas of molecular biology, bioinformatics, and IT project management.

Ratul Saha                                         Table #:  7
Topic: Careers in Industry
Current Employer: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Career Path: After PhD worked for a Public Health and Safety Company (NSF International) as a Research Scientist in the Microbiology and Molecular Biology Division. With NSF for about 5 years. Presently working for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company as a Senior Microbiologist.

Hank Seifert                                       Table #:  14
Topic: Graduate Student to Tenure Track
Current Employer:  Northwestern University-Feinberg School of Medicine
Career Path: BS in Chemistry, Patent Office, PhD Molecular Biology, postdoc in bacterial pathogenesis, Assist Prof 6 years, Assoc Prof 4 years, Prof 17 years.

Erin Strome                                       Table #:  14
Topic: Graduate Student to Tenure Track
Current Employer: Northern Kentucky U
Career Path: Undergrad at Miami U, to grad school at Baylor College of Medicine, then post doc at Duke U, to current tenure-track position.

Julie Swanson                                  Table #:  4
Topic: Careers in Government
Current Employer: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Career Path: After receiving a BA degree, worked for two years as a tech in industry. Returned to school for MA, then worked in a U clinical setting for 6 years.  Finally, received PhD, took a two-year postdoc appointment in government, and was then hired on as a staff member. 

Tracey Taylor                                    Table #:  1
Topic: Alternative Career Tracks
Current Employer: OUWB: Oakland U William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Michigan.
Career Path:  After completing a PDF, hired as an assistant professor at a private medical school to teach microbiology. For 8 of the 9 years, ran a small research lab, working primarily with medical students.

Floyd L. Wormley Jr., Ph.D.      Table #:  19
Topic: Graduate to Postdoctoral Study
Current Employer: U of Texas at San Antonio
Career Path: BS in Cell & Molecular Bio at Tulane U, MS and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at LSUHSCNO, Post-Doc in Infectious Diseases at DUMC, Assistant Professor at UTSA, Associate Professor at UTSA, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at UTSA,  and Full Professor at UTSA

Dr. Hassan Zaraket                         Table #:  16
Topic: Graduate to Postdoctoral Study
Current Employer: American U of Beirut
Career Path:  Pharmacist by training. Upon finishing PhD joined St Jude Children's Research Hospital to do postdoc for 4 years. Started a biologics company and helped secure $1.5 million in investor funding. Moved to Lebanon as an assistant professor for the Amercian U of Beirut.

Julie Zilles                                         Table #:  15
Topic: Graduate Student to Tenure Track
Current Employer: U of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Career Path:  BS biology, PhD bacteriology, postdoc environmental engineering, academic/professor in environmental engineering since 2002

Sansalone Named ASM Interim Executive Director

WASHINGTON, DC – December 3, 2014 - Nancy A. Sansalone, MPA has been named Interim Executive Director of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) effective January 1, 2015.  She steps in for Michael Goldberg, who is retiring at the end of 2014 after 30 years of stellar leadership. She has been asked by the ASM Officers to lead the staff, to steward the operations and finances and to prepare the organization for change while the Society conducts an international search for a permanent Executive Director/CEO. The search is expected to begin in January 2015.

Sansalone joined ASM in 2010 as the Deputy Executive Director. In this role, she provides leadership and management expertise to the board leadership and staff to ensure the fulfillment of the Society’s mission and strategic plan and provides leadership direction for the Society’s operational, programmatic and business activities. 

Sansalone has spent her entire career in association management and higher education administration. Prior to joining ASM, she served as the CFO and Chief Operating Officer at the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and Vice President and CFO of the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE). Previously, Sansalone worked for 10 years with the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), serving as Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer for the Council’s Board of Directors.

She also has served as a volunteer leader on numerous non-profit boards such as the National Association for Women in Education where she served as the elected President, the Washington Higher Education Secretariat Metropolitan Employer Trust as an Advisory Board member, Capital Association for Women in Education as President, National Conference for College Women Student leaders as Chair, National Center for Higher Education Meeting Professionals as Chair, American Society for Association Executives as a member of the Finance and Administration Advisory Board and as a member of the ERIC Clearing House on Higher Education Coordinating Board. She also has held administrative posts at both Harvard University working with international programs at the Kennedy School of Government and Northeastern University in the Cooperative Education Division.

Sansalone is a graduate of Northeastern University with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelors of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration. She completed work at Harvard University in their advanced graduate study in management program.

She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her spouse Jim and their four dogs.

ASM Futures Project



The ASM Futures Project was launched in May of 2014 to address the questions:

  • Where will ASM need to focus in order to remain the preeminent scientific society in microbiology in the future?
  • And how could ASM be structured and do business in order to better achieve its strategic goals?

The project was designed by the ASM officers, with input from the senior staff, and in conjunction with Cygnet Strategy LLC in response to a series of strategic drivers of both strategic direction and strengthening governance:

  • The changing environment surrounding microbiology, the diversification of those in the field and the transition of the field to the broader context of microbial sciences
  • The shifting needs and wants of the next generation of members and potential members
  • The continuing and increasing challenge of ensuring ASM’s relevance to its current and future constituents
  • The changing of the guard in staff leadership, both with the ED/CEO position and senior staff  
  • The increased need for greater integration within ASM, both within the staffing and volunteer structures and in presenting an integrated ASM ‘brand’ to the marketplace
  • Increased pressure on volunteer time, leading to a desire for more diversification in means and methods of involvement and engagement
  • Inherent Conflicts of Interest in some aspects of existing governance structures and processes
  • The desire to complete the work of taskforces appointed to consider strategic planning and governance in 2013

Please check this page often, as it will be regularly updated as we move this process along. There are a number of opportunities for members and other stakeholders to provide input, and we welcome questions and feedback at any time through email

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Starting Point for the ASM Futures Project

The ASM Futures Project has its origins in April 2013, when the CPC approved a mission statement and six strategic issues and goals. This mission, issues and goals were presented to the Council in May 2013 and President Jeff Miller shared information about them to the membership during the State of the Society at the 2013 General Meeting.

The following six strategic issues and goals were the starting point for the ASM Futures Project.

Governance and program structure is cumbersome
Goal: The Board of Directors needs to be fluid, nimble and adaptable to the quickly changing landscape. Program activities should also be more collaborative and better integrated.

ASM image & content are not reflecting new era science
Goal: ASM needs to change its image in order to capture the new science in the eyes of the younger scientists.

Public ignorance of microbiology
Goal: The Society needs to continue to educate the public as well as convince Congress to invest more of the nation's limited discretionary funding in research and to invest in a manner that maximizes return.

The future of ASM as a membership organization is dependent upon the involvement of the members
Goal: Work to convey the value proposition of the ASM to members and the public. Consistently determine and satisfy members' needs and objectives for education, training, networking, recognition, credentials, and career advancement.

Increased expenses may not be offset by increased revenues
Goal: Prudent financial planning in this economic environment is required for ASM to prepare for a new normal, "increased expenses/decreased revenues" scenario.

Relationships with other societies are not strategically managed
Goal: Investigate mergers and acquisitions in order to broaden the breadth of science represented by the Society and to market to the public at large. Develop the necessary guidelines to handle these transactions and protect the interests of the Society.

An ASM Futures Project Group was appointed to explore both the strategic direction of ASM in the form of a new strategic plan and the structure and processes for how the work of the plan is accomplished. The Futures Project Froup was comprised of key ASM member leaders (including a invitation to provide representation from every ASM Board), early-career and post docs, plus senior staff. Their work focused first on establishing strategic direction and then considering what kind of governance structures and processes would be needed to achieve the desired direction.

The Futures Project Group Roster appears at the end of this section.

Data Collection for Strategic Planning Effort

Their deliberations were informed by significant data collected prior to beginning the planning process including:

  • Twenty-eight (28) telephone interviews with a sampling of stakeholders including national, branch, and division leaders, Fellows, international members, early and mid-career scientists, CPC members and staff were conducted by Cygnet Strategy, LLC (Cygnet) during July and August of 2014.
  • Two small focus group discussions were held at the 2014 ICAAC, which allowed ASM to learn more about perspectives in India and Taiwan.
  • A facilitated session with the Officers and members of CPC related to the role of the new ED/CEO was held in September.
  • A survey testing headlines from the data collection was sent to a random sample of 3,848 ASM members in early October, producing 491 responses, which resulted in responses that can be projected with a ±95% degree of certainty.
  • A survey sent to all ASM Council members established a baseline of opinion on governance.  55 individuals responded (63%).  The survey tested key governance practices in three main areas: 1) governance structure and process, 2) engagement and representation, and 3) Council and Council role.
  • Forty-nine (49) interviews conducted for planning by both the Communications Department and the Meetings Department were reviewed for information appropriate for the enterprise wide efforts as were twenty-seven (27) interviews conducted in preparation for the CEO search.
  • The strategic plans from ASM departments were reviewed.

Eight big ideas emerged from this data which became the starting point for significant dialogue over a series of meetings. Those big ideas were:

  1. Need to Establish a Unified ASM Brand          
  2. Desire for Increased Advocacy
  3. Importance of Inclusion of Next Generation Scientists         
  4. Becoming a Truly Global Organization
  5. Enhanced Public Awareness of the Microbial Sciences        
  6. Reinforce and Strengthen Value of ASM Engagement
  7. Advancing the Microbial Sciences                   
  8. Strengthening Governance

The Process of Developing the Plan and Governance Thinking

In October, the Council Policy Committee (CPC) held a strategic discussion to define some of the major challenges facing ASM. Immediately after the CPC meeting a two-day retreat was held with the Futures Project Group (see Roster below). They met to examine the strategic direction of ASM. The questions they focused on were:

  • Are the six strategic issues defined by the CPC in April 2013 still the right ones? Is anything critical missing?
  • What goals are needed to address these areas?
  • What are the objectives needed to fulfill the goals?
  • What are the implications of this strategic direction for governance?

Discussions during this retreat highlighted the need for a streamlined mission statement and goals that better addressed the issues raised during the data-gathering phase. It also confirmed the concerns raised in the earlier strategic issues regarding the cumbersome nature of governance.

All data was compiled into a report and presented to the Futures Project Group prior to its first meeting in October 2014.

The plan language and context that emerged from that meeting were tested in late 2014 via survey with the Futures Project Group, CPC members and senior staff.

In order to begin to examine the ways to make governance more responsive, inclusive, and transparent, a survey was sent to current Council members to gain a better understanding of their perceptions. The survey had a response rate of 63%. The survey results indicated that Councilors feel that there is a need for greater transparency, broader diversity of participation and increased agility in the Society's governance.

In January 2015 an assessment of major ASM programs was conducted by a group of senior staff and Futures Project Group members, evaluating existing programs against the emerging strategic direction of the plan.  

A second meeting of the Futures Project Group was held in February 2015, where the plan language and direction were refined and the governance discussions begun.

In late February, a meeting of Board/Committee Chairs and senior staff to refine the thinking about the future of ASM Microbe was held. The concept for a co-location of the GM and ICAAC had emerged from the Meetings Department planning and further evolved from a co-located meeting to ASM MICROBE, the flagship meeting serving all of microbial science.

This was followed in early March by a Tactical Meeting to identify gaps between the current program offerings and what will be needed to achieve the goals, to identify strategies (practical actions) needed to implement the priorities in the plan and to identify possible metrics by which to measure success. The ASM Strategic Plan resulting from these meetings is being presented to CPC on April 18 for approval.

In late March the second governance focused meeting of the Futures Project Group occurred, resulting in a set of ideas scheduled for further exploration and discussion by CPC in April. At the ASM General Meeting in New Orleans meetings are planned with members and with the Council to discuss further and receive feedback. The Futures Project Group is currently scheduled to meet in July to work with input from these different sources to refine initial recommendations and to create a transition team to move these ideas to strengthen governance forward. 

There are a number of opportunities for members and other stakeholders to provide input throughout the process. We welcome questions and feedback at any time through email

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The Futures Project Group represents a diverse cross section of ASM's members, staff and stakeholders. They are charged with creating recommendations for the strategic plan and governance changes.


Pictured L to R, first row: Lynn Enquist., Ron Xavier, Amy Chang, Nancy Sansalone, Magdia de Jesus, Cate Bower, Judy Lovchik. Second row: Joseph M. Campos, Mimi Yen, Marylynn Yates, Steven Specter, David C. Hooper, Marybeth Fidler, Cassandra Mette. Back row: Victor DiRitia, Kim Shankle, Erika Shugart, James M. Tiedje, Timothy Donahue, Connie Herndon, Chris DeCesaris, Jon Kaye, Charlotte Daniels, Fawzi Mahomoodally.

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ASM Members
Joseph M. Campos (Chair), Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
ASM Secretary
Div. C "Clinical Microbiology"

Magdia de Jesus, Wadsworth Center, Albany, New York
President – First Postdoc Chapter
Membership Benefits Task Force
Howard Hughes Life Sciences Research Foundation Fellow

Victor DiRita, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Chair, Membership Board
Editor, Journal of Bacteria
Div. B "Microbial Pathogenesis"

Timothy Donohue, University of Wisconsin-Madison
ASM President
Div. H "Genetics & Molecular Biology"

Lynn Enquist, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
ASM President-Elect
Former Editor in Chief, Journal of Virology
Div. S "DNA Viruses"

Caroline S. Harwood, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Chair, ASM Press Committee
Div. K "Microbial Physiology & Metabolism"

David C. Hooper, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
Chair, Meetings Board
Past President
Div. A "Antimicrobial Chemotherapy"

Judy Lovchik, Indiana State Department of Health, Indianapolis
CPC, At-Large, Branches
Div. C "Clinical Microbiology"

Fawzi Mahomoodally, University of Mauritius
Young Ambassador to the Mauritius
Young Leaders Circle
Div. Y "Public Health"

Jeffery Miller, University of California, Los Angeles
ASM Past President

Aaron Mitchell, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
Editor in Chief, Eukaryotic Cell
Div. F "Medical Mycology"

Susan Sharp, Kaiser Permanente, Portland, Oregon
ASM, President-Elect Elect
Chair, Committee on Laboratory Practices 
Div. C "Clinical Microbiology"

Steven Specter, University of South Florida Medical Center, Tampa
Chair, International Board
Chair, Clinical Virology Symposium
Div. V "Clinical & Diagnostic Immunology"

James M. Tiedje, Michigan State University, East Lansing
ASM Treasurer
Past President
Div. N "Microbial Ecology"

Ron Xavier, AgResearch, Hopkirk Research Institute, New Zealand
Young Ambassador to New Zealand
Young Leaders Circle
Div. P "Food Microbiology"

Marylynn Yates, University of California, Riverside
CPC, At-Large Divisions
Div. Q "Env. & General Applied Microbiology

Mimi Yen, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University
President, Boston Student Chapter
Young Leaders Circle
Div. M "Bacteriophage"

Other Stakeholders
Jon Kaye
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Palo Alto, CA
Div. N "Microbial Ecology"

Michele Steven
3M Healthcare, Saint Paul, Minnesota

ASM Staff

Amy Chang, Director, Education
Div. W "Microbiology Education"

Charlotte Daniels, Manager, Leadership Services

Chris DeCesaris, Director, Finance

Connie Herndon, Director, Strategic Alliances

Cassandra Mette, Administrative Assistant

Nancy A. Sansalone, Interim Executive Director

Kim Shankle, Director, HR and Administration

Erika Shugart, Director, Communications and Marketing Strategy

Cate Bower and Marybeth Fidler, Cygnet Strategy LLC

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The Program Assessment/Tactical Workgroup represents all Boards and Committees of CPC, plus At-Large Council members and senior staff. They were charged with creating a mission and goals and objectives.  The strategic plan resulting from these meetings was presented to CPC on April 18, 2015 for approval.

Joseph M. Campos, ASM Secretary
Amy Chang, Director, Education
Christine Charlip, Director, ASM Press
Charlotte Daniels, Manager, Leadership Services
Chris DeCesaris, Director, Finance
Victor DiRita, Chair, Membership Board
Timothy Donohue, ASM President
Lynn Enquist, ASM President-Elect
Barbara Goldman, Director, Journals
Connie Herndon, Director, Strategic Alliances
David C. Hooper, Chair, Meeting Board
Thomas Lyons, Director, Information Technology
Peggy McNult, Director, Professional Practice
Cassandra Mette, Administrative Assistant
John Meyers, Director, Membership
Marina Moses, Director, American Academy for Microbiology
Kirsten Olean, Director, Meetings
Jason Rao, Director, International Affairs
Nancy A. Sansalone, Interim Executive Director
Kim Shankle, Director, HR and Administration
Janet Shoemaker, Director, Public and Scientific Affairs
Erika Shugart, Director, Communications and Marketing Strategy
Marylynn Yates, CPC, At-Large Divisions

Cate Bower and Marybeth Fidler, Cygnet Strategy LLC

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The CPC approved the strategic plan in April 2015. This plan encompasses the following key plan elements which emerged from the discussions:

  • Core Purpose/Mission
  • Vivid Description of ASM’s Future
  • Outcome Focused Goals
  • Objectives to achieve those goals

Strategies and tactics are not presented as part of the approved plan, because  strategies change frequently throughout the planning cycle as the environment shifts. Along, with metrics, they are typically approved as part of the budget cycle for each year of the plan’s implementation.


10-30 Year Planning Horizon

Core Purpose & Envisioned Future

The Core Purpose is the organization’s reason for being and describes a consistent identity that transcends all changes related to its relevant environment.


Core Purpose of ASM

To promote & advance the microbial sciences

The Vivid Description describes what would constitute success 10-20 years from now.

Vivid Description

  • ASM is the go to source for microbial science resources.
  • It has the technological infrastructure to deliver to and receive content from diverse audiences.
  • It is an inclusive organization that engages all people interested in the microbial sciences.
  • It is both proactive and responsive to microbial issues important to society.
  • It operates in a transparent manner with an agile governance system responsive and accountable to members and stakeholders.


3-5 Year Planning Horizon

Outcome-Focused Goals and objectives

The following thinking represents the organization’s goals for the next 3-5 years.  These Goals are outcome-oriented statements that represent what will constitute ASM’s future success. The achievement of each goal will move the organization towards the realization of its Envisioned Future. The Objectives reflect the broad range of direction that will be undertaken to change the existing conditions in order to achieve the goal – they drive Strategies -- the type of work and initiatives that will need to be undertaken to achieve the goal.



Visionary Society
ASM’s culture of scholarship and innovation advances the microbial sciences.

Science Learning Organization
ASM both educates and learns from stakeholders to ensure the growth and the advancement of the microbial sciences.

Value to Stakeholders
ASM is an inclusive organization, engaging with and responding to the needs of its diverse constituencies.

Organizational Excellence
ASM is a vibrant, responsive and transparent organization.

Goals and Objectives  and Initial Priorities

The objectives presented below are in recommended priority order. This order was based, in large  part, on a discussion of strategic drivers – strategic issues that were identified as needing to be attended to early in the process for maximum leverage. Goal numbers are provided for reference – NOT for purposes of prioritization.

Drivers Discussed Prior to Prioritization

  • Building ASM’s capacity to address key issues
  • Engagement (members, partnerships…)
  • Careers – help people meet their career goals 
  • Content – science information and knowledge
  • Looking for ways to go “LEAN” and integration of efforts across ASM
  • Careers (development of people)
  • Value added efforts
  • ASM stature and recognition
  • Timing/sequencing events such as new CEO, ASM Microbe
  • Financial stability and willingness to make investments needed
  • Impact of outside events and our ability to respond/anticipate to those events

Visionary Society
ASM’s culture of scholarship and innovation advances the microbial sciences.
1.1 Enhance ASM’s capacity to communicate authoritatively about the microbial sciences. 
1.2 Enhance ASM’s position as the voice of the microbial sciences.
1.3 Strengthen ASM’s global partnerships and coalitions.
1.4 Enhance ASM’s capacity to anticipate and shape the future of the microbial sciences.
1.5 Increase key stakeholders’ knowledge about and awareness of the challenges facing and the importance of the microbial sciences. 

Science Learning Organization
ASM both educates and learns from stakeholders to ensure the growth and the advancement of the microbial sciences.
2.1 Cultivate an innovative environment for learning, content development and idea exchange.
2.2 Increase efficiency and efficacy of programs by regularly assessing the program portfolio, individual services, and ASM’s products.
2.3 Enhance responsiveness to members and stakeholders by regularly soliciting and acting on feedback.
2.4 Increase engagement of the global microbial sciences community in the work of ASM.
2.5 Enhance ASM’s capacity for personal, professional and scientific development. 

Value to Stakeholders
ASM is an inclusive organization, engaging with and responding to the needs of its diverse constituencies.
3.1 Increase ASM’s ability to identify and develop the next generation of leaders for the organization and the science.
3.2 Strengthen the relationship of ASM’s products and programs to its brand.
3.3 Increase our knowledge of and responsiveness to the current and emerging needs of diverse stakeholders.
3.4 Improve outreach to current and potential members about the benefits of belonging to ASM.
3.5 Increase awareness of the scientific community about ASM programs.
3.6 Increase the opportunities for stakeholders to participate in or contribute to ASM.
3.7 Enhance ASM’s ability to address all members’ needs through development and assessment of programs and services.

Organizational Excellence
ASM is a vibrant, responsive and transparent organization.
4.1 Ensure ASM’s governance, organizational structures, and processes are transparent, inclusive, efficient and agile.
4.2 Strengthen the technology infrastructure to support ASM’s goals.
4.3 Ensure sufficient resources to achieve ASM’s goals.
4.4 Encourage a culture of experimentation and calculated risk taking.


Plan Priorities for 2016-2017

Based on the rankings of objectives during the March 2015 Tactical Meeting, the following are the objectives which would be the initial focus for implementing the plan, in descending order of importance. The number in parentheses indicates the goal and the objective number by goal.

  1. Ensure ASM’s governance and organizational structures and processes are transparent, inclusive, efficient and agile.  (4.1)
  2. Strengthen the technology infrastructure to support ASM’s goals.  (4.2)
  3. Cultivate an innovative environment for learning, content development and idea exchange.   (2.1)
  4. Enhance ASM’s capacity to communicate authoritatively about the microbial sciences.  (1.1)
  5. Increase ASM’s ability to identify and develop the next generation of leaders for the organization and the science.  (3.1)
  6. Strengthen the relationship of ASM’s products and programs to its brand.   (3.2)
  7. Increase efficiency and efficacy of programs by regularly assessing both the program portfolio  and individual services and products.  (2.2)
  8. Enhance responsiveness to members and stakeholders by regularly soliciting and acting on feedback.  (2.3)
  9. Increase our knowledge of and responsiveness to the current and emerging needs of diverse       stakeholders.  (3.3)
  10. Enhance ASM’s position as the voice of the microbial sciences.  (1.2)
  11. Ensure sufficient resources to achieve ASM’s goals.  (4.3)

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ASM leaders and members have been discussing possible ways to strengthen governance structures and processes for many years.

In 2013 when the CPC approved six strategic issues and goals, a cumbersome governance and program structure headed the list.  It says, ASM “governance is outmoded and unable to respond quickly to emerging issues. The Council is large, Branches are independent entities, Division structure no longer reflects the science and CPC program chairs have a conflict of interest promoting their program and voting on their budget.

The telephone interviews and the governance leadership survey described in the overview section of this report bear out this assessment.  They reveal patterns and shared perspectives about ASM governance. In particular there is a significiant desire for more:

  • Transparency in decision-making, especially in leader selection processes
  • Proactive inclusion of younger members and more diversity in governance roles
  • Governance structures and processes that are easily understood
  • Visionary leadership and visibility of the impact ASM has on all aspects of the microbial sciences, on those practicing within the microbial sciences, and on the wider world
  • Meaningful work for governing bodies such as the ASM Council, which is seen as not utilizing member talents and not adding value to organizational decision making
  • Agile and timely decision making
  • Integration among staff departments and among current ASM Boards and committees


Principles Guide the Governance Thinking

In Part I - ASM Strategic Plan, ASM established a purpose and direction and considered the structures and processes needed to accomplish organizational purpose and goals.

One Futures Project Group member stated, I am surprised that, as a group of quite varied ages, perspectives and experience, to arrive at consensus quite easily on the important elements of the future governance structures and processes we need.  We believe this may be because we focused on “form” only after agreeing on “function” and because we chose to focus on principles first.

ASM identified concrete statements, grounded in ASM values, that could provide guidance about the types of governance needed to succeed in the future.  They are a template that has helped ASM make tradeoffs – to decide which opportunities for change to pursue and which to reject.  The following Governance Principles are presented by the Futures Project Group as criteria for evaluating potential governance enhancements:


  • Principle 1. ASM governance structure reflects the breadth and diversity of the ASM community.
  • Principle 2. ASM governance structure and processes are responsive to change and enable us to achieve goals.
  • Principle 3. ASM governance structure and processes enables and expects accountability, transparency and member engagement.
  • Principle 4. ASM governance structure helps everyone work toward and contribute to accepted organizational goals.
  • Principle 5. Candidates for ASM governance positions are nominated and elected through an open and credible process that is transparent and accessible to members.

Structure Proposals

Based on the emerging Governance Principles, member input and a review of best practices from other professional scientific societies, the ASM Futures Project Group recommends the following governance structure.


There are many details yet to be determined about each element in this proposal, but this is the initial thinking about what each of these bodies could be tasked to do and how they may be transitioned from existing bodies.

ASM Membership

The ASM Membership is connected to all parts of governance.  The members of the Council and the Governing Body would be elected and the members of the Constituent Groups would be appointed from the membership.  Each of these bodies will have the obligation to engage with the membership in a dialogue about important issues for ASM and for the science.

Council of the Microbial Sciences


The current Council could transition from a group charged with fiduciary responsibility into a broadly representative member group focused on the future of the microbial sciences, and development of support mechanisms for the members of today and tomorrow. Their duties could include identifying emerging trends, providing input into ASM society policy and advice on strategic planning.  This elected body will be an important new conduit of ideas to and from the ASM community, advising on priorities in the microbial sciences or the profession, and organizing the science structure.


The Futures Group thinks that ASM needs a future focused forum across microbial sciences to think strategically and focus our collective impact. They want to focus the talent represented by Council on issues of meaning and future importance to our science, future scientists and the society.

Microbial Science Programs & Constituencies


Microbial Science Boards and Committees would continue to provide expertise in program and constituent areas (journals, membership, education, etc.), but fiduciary responsibilities would move to an elected governing board so they can focus on strategic and operational issues.


The Futures Group is concerned about the current inherent conflict of interest for board chairs approving their own programs and budgets.  This recommended change would address this concern.  Additionally, the Microbial Sciences Board and Committees can facilitate vertical integration focused on organization wide goals and provide a group of experts that works with Council, the governing board, and members on the “future of the microbial sciences.”

Elected Governing Body


CPC could transition to an elected governing body that includes officers and broadly representative at-large members. This governing body would be charged to carry out primary responsibility for ASM, i.e. oversight of financial, policy, legal, business, HR and strategic direction. Based on similar scientific organizations as ASM , the ASM Futures Group recommends that the board be a small (10-18) member elected group of officers and broadly representative at-large members


The operational excellence goal in the strategic plan emphasizes the need for governance to be “transparent, inclusive, efficient and agile.”  The ASM Futures Group, in line with best practices in other similar organizations, recommends that the fiduciary responsibility be held by a group of 18 or fewer in order to make is feasible to hold frequent meeting in order to think strategically and to respond quickly. The fact that this group would be elected means that it will be accountable to ASM Members.

Next Steps:

We are seeking input into the proposed governance structure.  There will be multiple opportunities for members to provide their input during the General Meeting in New Orleans or through the ASM Futures email.  During the summer the ASM Futures Project Group will use this input to refine the proposed governance plan.


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Salivary Mucins Play Active Role to Fight Cavities

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 11, 2014 -- Salivary mucins, key components of mucus, actively protect the teeth from the cariogenic bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, according to research published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The research suggests that bolstering native defenses might be a better way to fight dental caries than relying on exogenous materials, such as sealants and fluoride treatment, says first author Erica Shapiro Frenkel, of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

S. mutans attaches to teeth using sticky polymers that it produces, eventually forming a biofilm, a protected surface-associated bacterial community that is encased in secreted materials, says Frenkel. As S. mutans grows in the biofilm, it produces organic acids as metabolic byproducts that dissolve tooth enamel, which is the direct cause of cavities. “We focused on the effect of the salivary mucin, MUC5B on S. mutans attachment and biofilm formation because these are two key steps necessary for cavities to form,” says Frenkel.

“We found that salivary mucins don’t alter S. mutans’ growth or lead to bacterial killing over 24 hours,” says Frenkel. “Instead, they limit biofilm formation by keeping S.mutans suspended in the liquid medium. This is particularly significant for S. mutans because it only causes cavities when it is attached, or in a biofilm on the tooth’s surface.” She adds that the oral microbiome is better preserved when naturally occurring species aren’t killed. “The ideal situation is to simply attenuate bacterial virulence,” she says.

The study grew out of previous work in the investigators’ laboratory showing that other types of mucins, such as porcine gastric mucins, had protective effects against common lung pathogens, says Frenkel. With this in mind, they suspected that salivary mucins would play a protective role, but they were not sure what that would be.

“Defects in mucin production have been linked to common diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and ulcerative colitis,” says Frenkel. “There is increasing evidence that mucins aren’t just part of the mucus for structure or physical protection, but that they play an active role in protecting the host from pathogens and maintaining a healthy microbial environment. We wanted to apply these emerging ideas to a disease model that is a widespread, global public health problem—cavities. We chose to study the interaction of MUC5B with Streptococcus mutans because it is the primary cavity-causing bacteria in the oral cavity.”

The research makes a fundamental contribution to scientific understanding of host-microbe interactions, says principal investigator Katharina Ribbeck, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA. “It is generating a paradigm shift from the textbook view of mucus as a simple catchall filter for particles, towards the understanding that mucus is a sophisticated bioactive material with powerful abilities to manipulate microbial behavior.”