Thank you for your RSVP

Thank you for your RSVP to the ASM Officers' Reception.


Saturday, June 18th from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

The Westin Boston Waterfront

Grand Ballrooms BCDE (Concourse Level)

425 Summer Street

Boston, MA

Thank you for your RSVP

Thank you for your RSVP to the ASM Officers' Reception.

Saturday, June 18th from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

The Westin Boston Waterfront
Grand Ballrooms BCDE (Concourse Level)
425 Summer Street
Boston, MA

ASM Biodefense Meeting

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Why Join ASM?

Why Join ASM?



Register for ASMCUE by May 16 and Save $100!

Stop what you're doing right now and take advantage of our Early Registration prices!  Receive discounted rates to attend ASMCUE, including special registration rate for Grad Students and Postdocs. While registering, attendees have the option to support a colleague’s attendance to the conference by making a donation to the ASMCUE travel grant fund. Fees will increase after May 16.

Register here:

ASM's Gift Membership


Graduation Microbe

Open up the world of microbiology

Give the gift of ASM membership!

Searching for the perfect gift to help kick start your graduate’s future?  Congratulate students, colleagues, or family members with the gift of individual ASM membership.

Membership in ASM provides:
•    comprehensive career information
•    money-saving benefits
•    access to cutting-edge science
•    networking possibilities with scientists worldwide

Plus, your gift supports the many ASM programs that advance the microbiological sciences.

What better way to support your graduate and the field of microbial sciences? Give the gift of ASM membership.

To get started simply complete the application and return to ASM!

via mail:  ASM Attn: Gift Membership  1752 N St., NW  Washington, DC  20036
via email:
via fax:  (202) 942-9347

Please note that the Supporting member type does not receive discounts on ASM products.  Supporting members receive access to all of ASM's online resources including the online version of Microbe.

ASM Branches Listening Tour

ASM Branches Listening Tour

Dear ASM Branch member,

I'm on my way to see you. During 2016, I will be on the road for the first ever listening tour of the ASM Branches. I intend to visit in person all 36 ASM Branches in the United States. Actually I've already started. On the first weekend in April, I set out on the first of what will be a series of mostly weekend flying visits, dropping in on ASM Branches and meeting the members in their natural professional habitats.

When I became CEO of the ASM in January, I resolved to test what has been one of my core principles-I was going to listen to ASM members. Visiting all 47,000 ASM members at home seemed a little ambitious, but visiting all 35 branches could give me an incredible overview of part of the organization that is vital to our collective community. I know that once you have visited one ASM Branch, you have seen only that one branch, because they are as diverse as microbial sciences are. So I plan to see all 36 branches.

I want to hear firsthand what the branches need, what they cannot easily find elsewhere, and what they hope ASM Central can do for them. I also want to share the vision for the future of ASM as an organization and to communicate directly about the changes already underway at Headquarters and what changes are to come. It is also a great opportunity for making new friends and having a good time together.

feedbakEqually important to me is the chance to forge personal relationships with so many working microbiologists. During my first two visits, at the Indiana and Rio Grande Branches, I heard exciting stories of scientific discovery and of professional growth. For example, I met Indiana University SouthEast senior Tyler Mercer who is looking for ways to stay in the lab after he graduates. Tyler has become mesmerized by phages and by science in general, but he comes from a family background where there was not much support for studying science. It occurred to me that ASM has made a crucial difference for Tyler. Not only did ASM members show Tyler ways to pursue microbial science, but the very existence of the Indiana ASM Branch reassured him that there are other people who care a great deal about phages and that these people make a good living and have a great career by putting their curiosity and knowledge to work. I left Fort Wayne thinking that this is exactly why we are in business as an association. We are here to make members better off because of their involvement with ASM.

So the ASM Branches listening tour is off to a flying start. On this page you can see my future itinerary and stops so far. I will also post simple videos and photos I take during my visits. Stay tuned, and feel free to connect. As I will tweet about my Branch visits, follow me on Twitter @sutefune or just email me If your ASM Branch is not yet on my schedule, feel free to reach out so that we can meet!

Onward and forward, ASM Branches!




April 1-2, 2016 Indiana Branch ASM Meeting April 2016
April 1-2, 2016
Rio Grande Branch ASM Meeting April 2016
April 9, 2016 -
 Rocky Mountain Branch ASM 2016 Spring Meeting
April 14, 2016
Washington DC Branch ASM Joint Meeting with George Mason University Student Chapter ASM April 2016
April 20 2016 -
Northeast Branch ASM Spring Meeting
April 22-23, 2016
Michigan Branch ASM 2016 Spring Meeting
April 23, 2016 - 
Intermountain Branch ASM 2016 Meeting 
April 25, 2016
- Eastern Pennsylvania Branch
April 29, 2016
- Virginia Branch
May 10-11, 2016
Illinois Branch ASM (IL Society For Microbiology) 2016 Spring Meeting 
May 26, 2016
- Puerto Rico Branch
October 27-29, 2016
Southern California Branch 80th Annual Meeting


Indiana Branch - Fort Wayne, IN

Tim Donohue
ASM Past President Tim Donohue
John McKillip
John McKillip speaks about science education
Ellen Wagner
Ellen Wagner, Ball State University
Tanya Soule
Tanya Soule organizer of the ASM Indiana Branch meeting
Tyler Ulysses Mercer
Tyler Ulysses Mercer

Rio Grande Branch - El Paso, TX

Charles Spencer
Dr. Charles Spencer, President of the ASM Rio Grande Branch



Rocky Mountain Branch






Anne Spain
Anne Spain, President of the ASM Michigan Branch
Susan Dunn
Susan Dunn, Dean of Davenport University, host of the spring Michigan Branch meeting



Justin Nielsen and Luke Goldston
Justin Nielsen and Luke Goldston, Utah State University Eastern discuss their work with Small World Initiative
Professor Wayne Hatch
Professor Wayne Hatch, Utah State University Eastern, Small World Initiative
Eli Cohen
Eli Cohen explains his research on the assembly of flagella in Salmonella
Matt Mulvey
Matt Mulvey, President of the ASM Intermountain Branch


Press Terms and Conditions

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Hello bLogPhase reader,

I am Stefano Bertuzzi, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). I use bLogPhase to communicate my thoughts with ASM members as well as anyone interested in science and various policy issues related to science. Before joining ASM, I blogged for ASCB on similar topics.

I have a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan, Italy, and a Master's degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. As a student, postdoc and PI, I was a bench researcher in the U.S. and Italy for 15 years before moving over to the science policy side at NIH in 2006. I have enjoyed every step of my scientific career and coming to the world of scientific associations has opened even wider horizons for me on what a scientist can do in modern society.

I've always liked to write. For a brief time, I had a fling considering writing as a career, and even became a registered journalist in my native Italy. But research science won out. But now, with bLogPhase I am looking at a new part time career as a blogger. As excited as I am about writing bLogPhase I realize that a blog has to be a two-way street. This blog needs your comments, corrections, additional thoughts, push back and, I hope, an occasional "Bravo." (Well, at least no rotten tomatoes.) So post your comments and your ideas. This is a space for ASM members and all those interested in the microbial sciences, science policy and science communications to interact.

Before joining ASM, I was the Executive Director of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and previously the Science Policy Director at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) where I greatly enjoyed working with Tom Insel, an extraordinary scientist and advocate for research into mental disorders. Before NIMH, I was in the Office of the NIH Director, in charge of the Return on Investment Program. There, I worked with Lana Skirboll, Lynn Hudson, and Elias Zerhouni. I am indebted to all of them for infusing me with an incurable passion for public service and science policy.

My wife, Elena, and I have been together since high school. We have two young children, Davide and Celeste. I love being on the water, sailing or windsurfing. I am an avid reader as regular readers of bLogPhase will soon discover.

So follow me and please jump in with your comments.

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Vincent Racaniello 300

Hello everyone,

I am Vincent Racaniello, Higgins Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. I am using Zika Diaries to communicate the experiences of my laboratory as it moves from working on poliovirus (for 35 years) to Zika virus.

I was fortunate to be trained in virology by two brilliant virologists. I obtained my Ph.D. with Peter Palese at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. As his first student, I received a great deal of attention as I worked on influenza viruses. For my postdoctoral work I was lucky to work with David Baltimore, just a few years after he received his Nobel Prize. In his laboratory at MIT I produced the first infectious DNA copy of an animal virus, a finding that revolutionized the study of viruses. I moved to Columbia in 1982 to start my own laboratory. Over the years our main focus has been on poliovirus.

Halfway into my research career, I developed an interest in science communication. I became part of the team that produced the ASM textbook 'Principles of Virology' in 2000. Having learned about all viruses (not just poliovirus), I wanted to share this knowledge with the public. Blogging had just become much easier, so in 2004 I started writing at virology blog (, which I continue to this day. I also produce, with ASM, a suite of science podcasts, including the flagship This Week in Virology ( When I decided to teach an undergraduate virology course at Columbia University, I recorded all my lectures and released them at YouTube. All of these efforts are enhanced by the ability to reach millions via Twitter, Facebook, and other internet based technologies. You know where to find me - just google me.

Despite all this fun and fascinating activity, I jumped at the opportunity to write a new blog for ASM. Zika virus moved into world view in 2015 and many virologists, including myself, have moved to work on this important virus. I thought it would be illuminating to provide a weekly, personal view of our success and failures. All centered on an image from my laboratory (yes, I’m also at

Questions and comments are always welcome.

Premium Members Get One Free Online Review Journal Subscription

Premium members receive one subscription to the online review journal of their choice - an $89 value!

 Clinical Microbiology Reviews (CMR)

Clinical Microbiology Reviews (CMR) analyzes the latest developments in clinical microbiology and immunology, providing the current state of knowledge in the field, as well as balanced, thought-provoking perspectives on controversial issues.

Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews (MMBR)

Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews (MMBR) keeps researchers current with the latest developments in microbiology as well as related fields such as immunology and molecular and cellular biology. Review articles explore the significance and the interrelationships of the latest discoveries that build our understanding of bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, and other higher eukaryotes.

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Members should indicate their preference when completing their join or renew transaction.  Questions?  Contact or call (202) 942-9319.

Florida Branch ASM 2016 Annual Meeting


Florida Branch ASM 2016 Annual Meeting


Date: October 14-16, 2016


Location: University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences


Special Features: Special topics will include one-day R workshop and panel discussion on online teaching



  • ASM Distinguished Lecturer – Dr. Briana Burton of University of Wisconsin
  • Dr. Jack Fell of University of Miami



Jamie Foster
President, Florida Branch


Website for Meeting/Registration Information:


ASM Membership: Perceptions Needs and Challenges


Key Findings of the Membership Survey Report

students at poster


This report summarizes the key findings of an online survey conducted by Cell Associates on behalf of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). The membership group at ASM was interested in learning more about the needs and perceptions of its members with regard to membership in the society to aid in developing a strategic plan.

To accomplish this, an online survey was conducted from November 19 through November 23, 2015. During the period that the survey was open, a total of 1,020 qualified surveys were submitted. The responses from these individuals serve as the basis for this report.

Demographics of Survey Respondents

Location: Seventy-one percent (71%) of the survey respondents were located in North America, 13% were in Europe, 8% were in Asia, and the remaining 8% were in other parts of the world.

Affiliations: Two-thirds (69%) of the survey respondents were affiliated with universities/academe. Nine percent (9%) worked in government organizations. Five percent (5%) worked in hospital/medical settings while an equal percentage worked in biotech/pharma/CROs.

Work or Study: The top three areas of work or study were molecular biology and physiology (34%), host-microbe biology (32%), and applied and environmental science (27%). Other areas were cited somewhat less often: teaching and education (21%), clinical science and epidemiology (16%), therapeutics and prevention (12%), and ecological and evolutionary science (10%).

Age: Twenty-five percent (25%) of the survey respondents were less than 35 years of age. Twenty-eight percent (28%) were 35 to 49 years old. Thirty-five percent (35%) were 50 to 64 years old. Eleven percent (11%) were 65 years or older.

Work Status: Seventeen percent (17%) of the survey respondents were students, 78% were in some phase of their working career, and 5% were retired.

Gender: 52% were male, 47% were female, and 1% preferred not to respond.

Key Findings of the Survey

Factors in Joining a Professional Society or Association

The factor that most influenced the decision to join a professional society or association was access to relevant, up-to-date information, which was cited by 65% of the survey respondents. Other factors that were cited less often include networking (42%), discounts for meetings and courses (40%), peers and colleagues being members (32%), and cost (29%).

2or3reasonsASM Membership

Approximately one-third (35%) of the survey respondents were ASM members for 3 years or less. One-fifth (22%) were members for 4 to 9 years. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of the respondents were members for 10 or more years.

The most common ways that survey respondents first learned about ASM were from faculty (37%), from colleagues (25%), and from publications (15%).

The most common reasons for becoming an ASM member were for professional or career development (54%), to learn about the latest advances in one’s field (51%), to access ASM journals (45%), and to present one’s research (42%).

A majority (72%) of the survey respondents belonged to other professional societies or organizations. Twenty-six percent (26%) of the respondents only belonged to ASM.

Awareness/Recognition of ASM Benefits

When asked which benefits ASM provides, the top responses were “opportunities to publish/present my research” (67%), “advocacy for the microbial sciences” (62%), and “a place for the microbial sciences to thrive” (61%). “Educational opportunities” (56%), “networking opportunities” (53%), “access to experts in my field” (41%), and “access to potential research collaborators” (34%) were cited somewhat less often.

Importance of ASM Member Benefits

The most important ASM member benefits were journals (61%) and Microbe magazine (48%). Other benefits were cited less often: discounts to meetings (36%), general and/or ICAAC meeting (31%), networking opportunities (31%), books and manuals (29%), ASM website (29%), and career and professional development programs (25%).

Recommending ASM to Colleagues

The vast majority (91%) of survey respondents recommended ASM membership to their colleagues to one degree or another.

Current Member Challenges

The professional challenges that members currently faced most often were funding (55%) and keeping current in one’s field (52%). Maintaining a competitive research program (34%), limited resources apart from funding (27%), networking (26%), and learning about career opportunities (24%) were cited less often.

ASM’s Focus on Members’ Fields of Interestprofessional challenges

A majority (73%) of the survey respondents felt that ASM provides sufficient focus on their field of work or study. Ten percent (10%) of the respondents felt that ASM does not provide sufficient focus on their fields. The remaining 17% were not sure.

Areas That Members Would Like to See ASM Provide More Focus On

Regarding what survey respondents would like to see more of from ASM in the future, the top two response categories were more focus on their disciplines (19%) and various items concerning meetings (16%). Other types of responses cited less often included careers (11%), networking (11%), grants, funding (10%), professional development (8%), communications (7%), and publications (7%).

What One Thing Respondents Would Most Like to See ASM Provide for Members

Survey respondents were asked what one thing they would like to see ASM provide for members at their career stage. Respondents most wanted to see more focus on grants, funding (21%), networking (15%), and careers (12%). Several other types of responses were cited less often, including professional development (9%), job listings (8%), seniors/retirement planning (6%), and communications (6%).






About the Authors:


POV4e Back Cover Volume I

Jane Flint is a Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University.  Dr. Flint's research focuses on investigation of the molecular mechanisms by which gene products of adenoviruses modulate host cell pathways and anti-viral defenses to allow efficient reproduction in normal human cells.


Vincent Racaniello is Higgins Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Racaniello has been studying viruses for over 35 years, including poliovirus, rhinovirus, enteroviruses, and hepatitis C virus. Dr. Racaniello blogs about viruses at and is host of the popular science program This Week in Virology.


Glenn Rall is a Professor in the Blood Cell Development and Function Program and the Associate Chief Academic Officer and Director of the Postdoctoral Program at the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Dr. Rall's laboratory studies viral infections of the brain and the immune responses to those infections, with the goal of defining how viruses contribute to disease in humans. 


Anna Marie Skalka is a Professor and the W.W. Smith Chair in Cancer Research at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Director Emerita of the Institute for Cancer Research, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Skalka’s major research interests are the molecular and biochemical aspects of retrovirus genome replication and insertion in the host cell. 


FACT SHEET: Preparing for and Responding to the Zika Virus at Home and Abroad


Office of the Press Secretary


February 8, 2016


FACT SHEET:  Preparing for and Responding to the Zika Virus at Home and Abroad

Since late last year, the Administration has been aggressively working to combat Zika, a virus primarily spread by mosquitoes that has recently been linked to birth defects and other concerning health outcomes.  The Federal Government has been monitoring the Zika virus and working with our domestic and international public health partners to alert healthcare providers and the public about Zika; provide public health laboratories with diagnostic tests; and detect and report cases both domestically and internationally. 

The Administration is taking every appropriate measure to protect the American people, and today announced that it is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to enhance our ongoing efforts to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus, both domestically and internationally.  The Administration will submit a formal request to Congress shortly.

The Pan American Health Organization reports 26 countries and territories in the Americas with local Zika transmission.  While we have not yet seen transmission of the Zika virus by mosquitoes within the continental United States, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories in warmer areas with Aedes aegpyti mosquito populations are already seeing active transmission. In addition, some Americans have returned to the continental U.S. from affected countries in South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands with Zika infections.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 50 laboratory-confirmed cases among U.S. travelers from December 2015- February 5, 2016.   As spring and summer approach, bringing with them larger and more active mosquito populations, we must be fully prepared to mitigate and quickly address local transmission within the continental U.S., particularly in the Southern United States.

The requested resources will build on our ongoing preparedness efforts and will support essential strategies to combat this virus, such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs; accelerating vaccine research and diagnostic development; enabling the testing and procurement of vaccines and diagnostics; educating health care providers, pregnant women and their partners; improving epidemiology and expanding laboratory and diagnostic testing capacity; improving health services and supports for low-income pregnant women, and enhancing the ability of Zika-affected countries to better combat mosquitoes and control transmission. 

There is much that we do not yet know about Zika and its relationship to the poor health outcomes that are being reported in Zika-affected areas. We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate, to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus. Congressional action on the Administration’s request will accelerate our ability to prevent, detect and respond to the Zika virus and bolster our ability to reduce the potential for future infectious disease outbreaks.

Department of Health and Human Services - $1.48 billion

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - $828 million.  The request includes funding to support prevention and response strategies through the following activities:

·         Support Zika virus readiness and response capacity in States and territories with mosquito populations that are known to transmit Zika virus, with a priority focus on areas with ongoing Zika transmission;

·         Enhance mosquito control programs through enhanced laboratory, epidemiology and surveillance capacity in at-risk areas to reduce the opportunities for Zika transmission;

·         Establish rapid response teams to limit potential clusters of Zika virus in the United States;

·         Improve laboratory capacity and infrastructure to test for Zika virus and other infectious diseases;

·         Implement surveillance efforts to track Zika virus in communities and in mosquitoes;

·         Deploy targeted prevention and education strategies with key populations, including pregnant women, their partners, and health care professionals;

·         Expand the CDC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, improve Guillain Barré syndrome tracking, and ensure the ability of birth defect registries across the country to detect risks related to Zika;

·         Increase research into the link between Zika virus infections and the birth defect microcephaly and measure changes in incidence rates over time;

·         Enhance international capacity for virus surveillance, expand the Field Epidemiology Training program, laboratory testing, health care provider training, and vector surveillance and control in countries at highest risk of Zika virus outbreaks; and

·         Improve diagnostics for Zika virus, including advanced methods to refine tests, and support advanced developments for vector control.


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – $250 million. The request seeks a temporary one-year increase in Puerto Rico’s Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to provide an estimated $250 million in additional Federal assistance to support health services for pregnant women at risk of infection or diagnosed with Zika virus and for children with microcephaly, and other health care costs.  This request does not make any changes to Puerto Rico’s underlying Medicaid program, and the additional funding will not be counted towards Puerto Rico’s current Medicaid allotment. Puerto Rico is experiencing ongoing active transmission of Zika. Unlike States, Puerto Rico’s Medicaid funding is capped, which has limited capacity to respond to these emergent and growing health needs.

Vaccine Research and Diagnostic Development & Procurement – $200 million. The request includes $200 million for research, rapid advanced development and commercialization of new vaccines and diagnostic tests for Zika virus. It includes funding for the National Institutes of Health to build upon existing resources and work to develop a vaccine for Zika virus and the chikungunya virus, which is spread by the same type of mosquito.  Funding will accelerate this work and improve scientific understanding of the disease to inform the development of additional tools to combat it. The request also includes resources for the Food and Drug Administration to support Zika virus medical product development including the next generation diagnostic devices.


Other HHS Response Activities – $210 million.  The request includes funding to establish a new Urgent and Emerging Threat Fund to address Zika virus and other outbreaks.  This funding would be available to support emerging needs related to Zika, including additional support to States for emerging public health response needs should mosquito populations known to be potential Zika carriers migrate to additional States.

In addition, the request includes funding to support Puerto Rico’s community health centers in preventing, screening, and treating the Zika virus, expand home visiting services targeting low-income pregnant women at risk of Zika virus, and provide targeted maternal and child health.

U.S. Agency for International Development - $335 million

The request includes investments to support affected countries’ ability to control mosquitoes and the transmission of the virus; support maternal health; expand public education on prevention and response; and create new incentives for the development of vaccines and diagnostics.  The request would also provide flexibility in the use of remaining USAID Ebola funds.  Activities would focus particularly on South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and would:

·         Implement integrated vector management activities in countries at-risk of Zika virus;

·         Stimulate private sector research and development of vaccines, diagnostics, and vector control innovations through public private partnerships and mechanisms to provide incentives such as advance market commitments or volume guarantees;

·         Support training of health care workers in affected countries, including providing information about best practices for supporting children with microcephaly;

·         Support for pregnant women’s health, including helping them access repellant to protect against mosquitos.

·         Establish education campaigns to empower communities in affected countries to take actions to protect themselves from Zika Virus as well as other mosquito-borne diseases; and

·         Issue a Global Health Security Grand Challenge calling for groundbreaking innovations in diagnostics, vector control, personal protection, community engagement and surveillance for Zika and other infectious diseases.

U.S. Department of State - $41 million

The funding request includes support for U.S. citizens in affected countries, medical support for State Department employees in affected countries, public diplomacy, communications, and other operations activities.  State would also support the World Health Organization and its regional arm, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), to minimize the Zika threat in affected countries while reducing the risk of further spreading the virus.  These resources will support critical public health actions underway, including preparedness, surveillance, data collection, and risk communication.  Activities would also include support for UNICEF’s Zika response efforts in Brazil; activities to bolster diagnostic capabilities through deployment of equipment and specialized training.

For more information on the Zika virus and CDC guidance about how Americans can protect themselves, visit


Microbe Mentor July 2015


Microbe Mentor July 2015

I am about to graduate with a PhD, and would like to eventually find a job in industry.  How to I structure a professional resume for applying to industrial, non-academic positions?   


Excellent question!  The fact that you understand that there even is a difference between a curriculum vitae, or CV, and an industrial/professional resume has you ahead of the game.   Quick review:  an academic CV catalogs a person’s academic career, thus contains the full reference for every publication and presentation given, all awards, honors, committee membership lists, etc.  A CV can encompass decades’ worth of a career.  The content and format are primarily tailored to highlight a person’s overall experience, and are reviewed by peers who generally understand the technical verbiage used in publication and presentation titles. 

In contrast, a professional resume summarizes the most recent years of a professional life (often not going back more than 10 years, unless something is particularly relevant).  The format and content of a resume are tailored to specifically highlight how closely an applicant matches a specific job posting.  Resumes are often reviewed by a Human Resources Department who  will likely not be fluent in technical verbiage.

So, how to create a resume when you are at the start of your career?  Fortunately, most senior-level graduate students actually have experience necessary for non-academic employment and do not even realize it!  Start looking at your everyday activities from the perspective of somebody in a professional environment.  Read lots of job postings in your field – you will start to notice common elements, such as “Must be able to multitask multiple projects, demonstrate the timely delivery of high-quality work products, and maintain corporate health and safety protocols.” Now, think of how your graduate-school responsibilities can demonstrate how you’ve done this.  

everyday activity…

rephrased for resume

Work with younger graduate students or undergraduate researchers in your lab

Mentor junior personnel

Develop, modify, or follow laboratory or experimental protocols

Design, evaluate, and follow technical protocols

Maintain classwork and teaching responsibilities while also making progress on your dissertation

Balance and prioritize multiple deliverables

Operate scientific laboratory instruments (GC, GC-MS)

Operate and maintain sensitive and technical equipment

Write for scientific publications, draft grants, present at conferences

Possess excellent technical communication skills

Teach undergraduate labs/courses or write articles for a general audience

Possess excellent non-specialist communication skills

Follow protocols to safely handle chemicals, lab equipment, or cultures, and enforce the use of lab coats and safety glasses  during experiments

Adhere to health and safety regulations such as enforced use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

(As a rule, you should use the past tense for former positions and the present tense for your current work.)

The next step is formatting your resume   A quick search of the internet shows many formats, each with pros and cons.  In general, however, keep the following in mind:

  • DO use a clean and uncluttered format.
  • DO use bullets, which allow for the reader to quickly scan the document, get interested, and then slow down to read it in more detail.
  • DO treat the page as real estate… blocks of blank space are wasted opportunities to mention something that will make you stand out
  • DO use one font type and size … this will allow for easier reading, and will reduce the chance of problems when electronically uploading a resume to a company’s employment website.
  • DO write a concise paragraph for the top of the page.  This should summarize how you meet the job requirements, and stress your unique skills and achievements.
  • DO follow this with sections for education, job experience, professional memberships, certifications, etc.  Use the order of these items to stress relevance to a particular job posting. 
  • DO include key words from the job posting.  Resumes are often first reviewed by a computer, ranking them based on the number of matches to a list of key words. If the resume passes this test it will be forwarded to an actual human.
  • DO keep in mind your resume will likely be judged by a person not trained in technical verbiage. 
  • DO customize your resume for each job you are applying for.
  • DO include a link to your LinkedIn profile.
  • DO build a very robust LinkedIn profile – list every publication and presentation.  Prospective employers can only judge you on what you give them – and many will check your profile before deciding to contact you.
  • DO stress any professional certifications, licenses, etc.
  • DO have a mentor read your resume before submitting. 
  • DON’T waste space on your name, address, etc.  - put this in a header
  • DON’T include your hobbies or outside interests, unless they have contributed directly to your professional development.  Employers don’t care that you enjoy photographing puppies on your weekends. 
  • DON’T include information about race, age, marital status, or nationality (unless the job specifically states that only US citizens can be considered, due to mandatory security clearances, for example).
  • DON’T over-use italics or bold-facing – non-uniform formatting makes a document harder to read.
  • DON’T use the word “research”, unless you are specifically applying for an R&D position.  Refer to dissertation “projects” or “deliverables”. 

Always keep in mind that employers care about what you can do for them – not what you want - so don’t include a statement about your goals (“…wanting to become a fermentation specialist…”).  They care what you bring to the table for them to use.  Once you’ve proven yourself at your job, then you can start telling your employer how you would like to develop as your career progresses. 


 Dr. Jennings is a Principal Microbiologist at Total Environmental Concepts, Inc., an environmental consulting firm located in the Washington DC area.  She has worked on contaminant remediation projects on multiple continents, and currently serves as the U.S. science advisor to the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada.  She is also the Chair of the ASM Career Development Committee and is on the ASM Membership Board.








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Microbe Mentor May 2015

Microbe Mentor May 2015

Welcome to the first installment of the Microbe Mentor!  ASM members have expressed a significant interest in being able to gain career advice from microbiologists who have “been there and done that” and the Membership Board has responded with a career-advice column to be regularly featured in Microbe.  The goal is to provide a place where ASM members can present career-related questions or concerns.  Submitted questions will be answered by microbiologists hand-selected to bring a wide range of backgrounds to the column. 

Mentors come from a variety of backgrounds: academia, industry, health care, and government, and have specialties that range from teachers, researchers, consultants, regulators, and corporate CEO’s.  However, the one trait that all of these mentors have in common is  a strong belief in giving back to the next generation of microbiologists by sharing their real-world experiences in their particular fields and career paths.  These mentors understand that the life of an early-career microbiologist can be filled with unknowns, possible pitfalls, and lots of questions.  They want to hear the questions and concerns that student, post-doc, and young-career microbiologists are facing today, and to then provide guidance and advice based on what has (or has not) worked for them.   

In short, this is an opportunity for early-career microbiologists to learn from the successes, and sometimes mistakes, of those who have gone before them into a wide-range of microbiology careers.       

ASM invites its student, post-doc, and early-career members to begin contributing their questions to the pool of microbiology-mentors.  Future columns will address:

  • How do I prepare myself for a position in microbiology with a different focus than what I was trained in?
  • When should an applicant divulge their marital status?
  • How do I structure my CV to suite industry?

This is just the beginning.  Send us your questions! The microbiology-mentors welcome questions on any career-related topic that you may have.  Please submit your career questions or concerns to  Confidentiality is guaranteed! 

To kick off the series, the Microbe Mentor asked Wade E. Bell, Chair, ASM Student Member Committee, Eleanor M. Jennings, Chair, ASM Career Development Committee, and Victor J. DiRita, Chair, Membership Board, to share some advice they would give to their younger selves.

Be noticed and ask for things.  If you are a naturally shy person, happy to quietly do your own thing it is really important to learn how to assert yourself.  If you want something – to attend a conference, to get a promotion … you need to ask.  There was always the chance you will hear a “No”, but likely that will be a fraction of the times you hear “Yes!”  If you don’t speak up, nobody will know you want something until it is too late and the opportunity has passed.  Even worse, you’ll be overlooked.       

Some people are just difficult (or unkind, or unfair…).  Don’t be afraid to admit this to yourself since sometimes you have to learn to work with them.  Often you realize that the person isn’t as bad as you initially thought.  However, sometimes they turn out to be even worse, and thus you have to figure out a way to co-exist with unpleasant people.  I envy those who apparently can do this with ease.   

Learn how to manage Type-B personalities.  Frustratingly, not everyone in the world is a classic, Type-A personality who attacks an assigned problem with the gusto of a religious zealot.  Some people need prodding, and some need flat-out babysitting.  Part of managing a team is figuring out how to get these people to do an on-time, quality job. 

There is a time to walk away.  You’ve been taught to never leave a job unfinished, and sometimes you do need to stick out a difficult situation in order to reap the rewards.  However, sometimes it’s time to bolt.  It’s one thing to be asked to work hard and “pay your dues”, but it’s an entirely different thing to be in a no-win situation that has no end.  If you find yourself in the latter, calmly develop a realistic exit strategy and start implementing it immediately.  

Consider taking a year off between undergrad and graduate school.  Of course, by taking time off, I don't really mean backpacking in Europe or hanging out in cafes (that's what the sabbatical is for).  Instead I mean getting a job as a technician or as a laboratory manager at a university or research institute for a year or two.  This will provide enormous advantage once you do start graduate school:  you'll be older, and possibly more mature, when you start, and more focused and ready to hit the ground running.   Testing your independence and learning some lab skills when there aren’t milestones like coursework, exams and thesis chapters will be a bonus.  

Get into literature!  The best way to become a good writer is to be an enthusiastic reader.   Your career will be based on producing new knowledge and publishing papers to describe your research findings to the field.  Learn what’s out there, what new findings might influence your own work.  Even research only loosely connected to yours is worth reading about because you’ll find out some cool stuff about biology and also learn new experimental approaches.   Reading papers on a regular basis is like taking a master class in research, taught by experts from your field and others.   Make it a goal to read at least one paper from the primary literature every day. 

If you don’t publish your work, you really didn’t do it.   No matter what else is on your CV, search committee members will look at the publications first. That doesn’t mean you should crank out a lot of shoddy, low-impact papers, but it does mean you should always think about how your experiments are going to fit into a paper.  Avoid carrying out a lot of experiments that are just going to give you orphan data you’ll never publish.  If you constantly outline your current work in the form of a manuscript, you will see the gaps in what you are working on, and then be able to focus your effort on filling those.  

Bring commitment to your passion.  Think of it this way:  passion gets you through the honeymoon…the golden anniversary requires commitment.   You definitely need to have a passion for your field of study and for getting answers in your research, but commitment brings you into the lab to process fifty samples on a Saturday afternoon.  Decide what you want to commit to (and why), and then don’t waver.    Your path is a very challenging one in many ways.   By committing to it, you can let others leave the path when passion wanes due to the inevitable failed experiments, poor funding levels or competitive job market.

Explore your diverse interests.  Scientific forays into entomology, nematology, immunology, and cell biology aren’t really normal preparatory paths for a microbiologist.  However, when I was faced with the opportunity to move into a faculty position, the diverse background I had accumulated during my wandering ultimately opened the door to the job I still hold. Being a jack-of-all-trades actually comes in handy in the small college world, and elsewhere.


Wade E. Bell, Ph.D. is a Professor of Biology at the Virginia Military Institute and Director of VMI Research Labs.  His specialty is eukaryotic microbiology.  In addition to serving as Chair of ASM’s Student Membership Committee, he also represents the Virginia Branch as Councilor at ASM’s Council Policy Committee.

Victor J. DiRita is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Associate Dean for Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies at University of Michigan Medical School, and Chair of the ASM Membership Board. He studies biology and pathogenicity of the human intestinal pathogens Vibrio cholerae and Campylobacter jejuni. He has worked closely with faculty, trainees, and professional development staff to encourage and support career preparation activities by pre- and postdoctoral trainees. In June 2015 he will join the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University as Rudolph Hugh Professor and Chair.

Dr. Jennings is a Principal Microbiologist at Total Environmental Concepts, Inc., an environmental consulting firm located in the Washington DC area.  She has worked on contaminant remediation projects on multiple continents, and currently serves as the U.S. science advisor to the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada.  She is also the Chair of the ASM Career Development Committee and is on the ASM Membership Board. 


Antimicrobial Properties of Peptides Derived from Reptiles

American alligator derived peptide, AM-CATH28,  combats Pseudomonas aeruginosa and multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii

New research presented at the 2016 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting shows that a peptide produced by the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), AM-CATH28, has strong antimicrobial activity against gram-negative bacteria.  AM-CATH28, which is helical in structure and disrupts the bacterial membrane, has displayed antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.

“Drug resistance in bacteria has been increasing for the past several decades, and we’re now coming to a medical crisis in which we will no longer be able to treat common infections,” said Stephanie Barksdale, researcher in the van Hoek Lab, George Mason University.

Some antimicrobial peptides are already used clinically, such as colistin and vancomycin. Cathelicidin antimicrobial peptides are a class of peptide found in many animals, which has many effects, including strengthening the animal’s immune system, directly killing invading bacteria, or causing the bacteria to be less pathogenic.

American alligator derived peptide, Apo6, is antibacterial against biological threat agent Francisella

Researchers have identified a novel antimicrobial peptide in alligator blood plasma, Apo6, which exerts strong and rapid antimicrobial activity against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Apo6 can kill Francisella tularensis bacteria, which causes the disease tularemia and is considered a biological threat agent.

alligator Apo6“We found that Apo6 is able to kill Francisella bacteria by forming pores in their membrane,” said Dr. Monique van Hoek, Professor in the School of Systems Biology, George Mason University, “We also showed how the antimicrobial peptide Apo6 disturbs the membrane of the bacteria by observing the treated bacteria with scanning electron microscopy.”

American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) make antimicrobial peptides as part of their innate immune system, the first line of immune defense that is shared by most higher-organisms. Antimicrobial peptides are small positively-charged peptides that can have both a host defense role and may exert a direct antimicrobial effect on bacteria.

The Apo6 peptide severely damages the membrane of F. novicida and disrupts the cell, which eventually leads to the death of the bacteria. Apo6 treatment was able to significantly increase the survival of Francisella-infected A549 cells and was able to prolong the survival of Francisella infected wax-worm larvae, an invertebrate infection model. (image credit: Dr. Kent Vleit, University of Florida).

Komodo Dragon-inspired Peptide Drgn-1 Promotes Clearance and Healing of Polymicrobial Biofilm-infected Wounds

New research has identified a histone H1-derived peptide from the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), called VK25, which could be used as a cationic antimicrobial peptide (CAMP). Using this peptide as inspiration, researchers designed a synthetic peptide DRGN-1, which contains two reversed amino acids at the N-terminus from the original protein sequence (VK25), and evaluated the antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity of both peptides against P. aeruginosa and S. aureus. DRGN-1, but not VK25, exhibited potent antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity, permeabilized bacterial membranes, and bound to DNA.

komodo dragon“Interestingly, wound healing was significantly enhanced by DRGN-1 in both uninfected and mixed biofilm (P. aeruginosa and S. aureus)-infected murine wounds,” said  Dr. van Hoek.

In a scratch wound closure assay used to elucidate the wound healing mechanism, the peptide promoted migration of HEKa keratinocyte cells, which was inhibited by mitomycin C (proliferation inhibitor) and AG1478 (EGFR inhibitor). DRGN-1 also trans-activated the EGFR-STAT1/3 pathway. Thus, DRGN-1 is a strong candidate for development as an alternative to antibiotics, especially for mediating the innate immune response and promoting wound healing. (image: komodo dragon, credit: Dr. Kent Vleit, University of Florida)

Microbe Mentor June 2015

Microbe Mentor June 2015


Like ~ 80% of other women in STEM disciplines, I am married to another PhD. We are both biologists and often collaborate together, but have very different research programs. He's now tenured and I am a post-doc. We would like to move closer to family, so I am applying for academic jobs and have had several on-campus interviews. When would you recommend bringing up the spousal hire situation? For each interview, I've done this at different times depending on the feel and size of the institution and/or when the illegal questions are asked. I've heard many different philosophies on this and still cannot make a decision as to which is the best way to proceed, assuming I get another interview.

When should an applicant divulge their marital status? We all know it is illegal to inquire about marital status, however some entities ignore the rule or more commonly an interviewer inadvertently introduces the topic. Can there be advantages to discussing marital status and issues of a trailing spouse in advance?

The Microbe Mentor reached out to several colleagues to gather their responses about how to handle this situation so many of us have faced.  Beth Lazazzera, an Associate Professor at University of California – Los Angeles, comments “I think the best time to tell an institution about your spouse who will also need a new job is once you have an offer.  It is very natural for the issue of being married to come up during informal discussions.” 

There may be an advantage to broaching the topic of a trailing spouse as it may give the hiring institution more time to come up with a position for the spouse.  Dr. Lazazzera continues, “However, too early on in the interview process, and the possibility of having to find a position for a spouse can inadvertently cause your application to be looked at less favorably.  Thus, I would argue that it is best to bring this up after the offer is made.”

Dr. Amy Cheng Vollmer, Professor and Chair of Biology at Swarthmore College, concurs and advises “to have nothing about the spouse [mentioned] in any documents:  cover letter, recommendation letters, etc.  Let the candidate's own merits alone get her the interview.  In most cases, I would not even mention it during the interview; instead nail the job lecture/talk!”  

Dr. Vollmer further notes that you should consider the employer’s hiring atmosphere in general.  “Spousal hire is always tricky, especially at small schools where faculty positions cannot be generated quickly.  But even small schools in and near metro areas are in contact with other institutions. Assistance with spousal employment is definitely possible.”

In the event that marital status is brought up during the interview – even though it should be off-limits – Dr. Vollmer comments that “instead of volunteering information, the candidate should ask how the institution assisted spousal employment cases in their previous 3 or 4 hires.  Not only in that department, but at the institution.  That gives the candidate a great deal of information - she should not volunteer much about her spouse, unless the chair of the search committee is sounding very positive.”

As someone who has worked to recruit faculty members,  Dr. Victor DiRita, Michigan State University, thinks that having that information when candidates are coming for a second visit, even before an offer is made, works in their best interest.  “That way, we can identify potential employment arrangements for the spouse prior to his or her joining in on the second visit - which is typical - and their day(s) during the visit can be spent talking to the right people and sharing their CV or resume around.  Waiting until an offer is actually on the table means we've lost a lot of time that could have been spent working on something for the spouse.  In recruiting a candidate, I think the second visit is really a chance for us to recruit the spouse;  the more we do on that front ahead of the visit, the better off both we and the candidate will be.”

Ultimately any hire should reflect the job seeker and their skills, not their marital status.  How to deal with a trailing spouse is a common issue in faculty hires, and so departments are prepared for these scenarios. There may be a handful of situations however, where revealing information about one’s partner may actually yield a benefit.  Dr. Wade E. Bell, Director, Virginia Military Institute Research Labs, has hired faculty at multiple institutions over the past twenty years, and offers this perspective: “I have seen in several cases a search committee swayed by a candidate who has revealed that their partner is already a good fit for the community and will not need any special consideration. This behavior can be accentuated following a failed search that had trailing partner issues as a component of the recruitment failure. We all want to hire the best candidate, however many searches yield several highly desirable choices. It is not inappropriate for a candidate to use any appealing aspect of their overall fit for a job given the increasingly competitive market”


Beth Lazazzera has been a professor at UCLA for 15 years, where she runs a research lab and mentored undergraduate researchers, graduate students, and postdocs.  She has also taught classes to undergraduates about Microbiology and to graduate students about Genetics.

Amy Cheng Vollmer has been teaching in a small liberal arts setting since 1985.  She encourages the practice of networking and mentoring for professionals at all levels of training.  She believes that establishing a healthy work-family balance should be a high priority.

Wade E. Bell, Ph.D. is a Professor of Biology at the Virginia Military Institute and Director of VMI Research Labs.  His specialty is eukaryotic microbiology.  In addition to serving as Chair of ASM’s Student Membership Committee, he also represents the Virginia Branch as Councilor at ASM’s Council Policy Committee.

Victor J. DiRita is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Associate Dean for Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies at University of Michigan Medical School, and Chair of the ASM Membership Board. He studies biology and pathogenicity of the human intestinal pathogens Vibrio cholerae and Campylobacter jejuni. He has worked closely with faculty, trainees, and professional development staff to encourage and support career preparation activities by pre- and postdoctoral trainees. In June 2015 he will join the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University as Rudolph Hugh Professor and Chair.

Medical Surge Capacity in the National Capital Region: Modeling a Pneumonic Plague Bioterror Event

New research presented at the 2016 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting shows that the Washington, DC National Capital Region (NCR) may be limited in its capacity to provide medical care to all potential victims of a large-scale bioterror event. The findings of this study highlight the need to invest in regional health care coalitions to optimize patient distribution and use of resources during a surge event and to maintain and strengthen other regional and Federal resources for emergency public health response.

“While bioterror events are extremely rare occurrences nationally and globally, it is important to raise awareness regarding the limitations in local capacity to respond to biological threats, whether that be from a bioweapon or, more likely, from a naturally occurring threat such as a viral hemorrhagic fever or pandemic influenza,” said study author, Michael DeLuca, MS, Georgetown University School of Medicine. Michael DeLuca, MS, of Georgetown University School of Medicine and a Policy Fellow at Health Security Partners, an emerging thought leader on public health and national security.

Specifically, this study demonstrated a large deficit in the number of acute care beds available in the NCR in the first six days to treat the thousands of ill that may result from a successful attack on the area’s public transport system with pneumonic plague.

There is limited publicly available data on the ability of the NCR to respond to a significant biological event. This study examined the medical surge capacity of the NCR by modeling a hypothetical biological terror attack with pneumonic plague (Yersinia pestis) in the area’s metro system.

Medical care demand was estimated using Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ridership data, publicly available data on disease attack rate, infectious dose, reproductive number, incubation period, and clinical severity. This data was used to estimate the total number of exposed and infected persons. The number of available acute care beds in the NCR was calculated using a variety of sources, including the DC Hospital Association utilization and occupancy rate data; Maryland Healthcare Commission, Virginia Health Information, Virginia Department of Health, and data obtained directly from hospital websites. The gap between needed and available beds during the first six days of disease spread, resulting from both primary and secondary infections, was then estimated.

Microbe Mentor

Microbe Mentor

The Microbe Mentor is a monthly column in Microbe magazine that is geared to address questions and concerns posed by students, postdocs, and other early career scientists working in microbiology.  Below is an archive of previously published articles.


Microbe Mentor May 2015  Inaguaral column, features "advice to my younger self" from Eleanor M. Jennings, Chair, ASM Career Development Committee; Wade E. Bell, Chair, ASM Student Membership Committee; and Victor J. DiRita, Chair, ASM Membership Board

Microbe Mentor June 2015  When should an applicant divulge their marital status?

Microbe Mentor July 2015  How to convert a CV into a resume

Microbe Mentor August 2015  How do I prepare myself for a position in microbiology with a different focus than what I was trained in?

Microbe Mentor September 2015  How can I make myself more marketable for a career in Clinical Microbiology?

Microbe Mentor October 2015  How does a young woman best survive and thrive in the sciences?



Have a question or advice?  Contact the Microbe Mentor at with your questions or to volunteer as a contributor.




ASM Microbe 2016 Meeting

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calendar of events

Throughout the meeting mentors will be available in the Student and Postdoc Lounge (Room 264) for informal talks and advice.  Click here for more information about their schedule and background.


Sunday May 31st

asm2015 Orientation:  two sessions (7:30 am and 10:00 am) - stop by the Student and Postdoc Lounge (room 264 Convention Center) for a quick meeting orientation to bring you up to speed about all things asm2015!

Graduate School Recruitment Luncheon:  Join us for this inaugural event.  Twelve graduate school programs will be represented.  The lunch will start promptly at 12:00 and space is limited.  No RSVP required. Student and Postdoc Lounge

Monday, June 1st

Meet the ASM Young Leaders Circle - Your ASM Representatives!
Come meet your ASM representatives and explore the opportunities the Young Leaders Circle offers to you! Be inspired by our international outreach activities and get involved in the world outside your lab!

The Young Leaders Circle (YLC) advises the ASM International Board on issues important to students and early-career scientists. During this interactive session, we will discuss both universal and country-specific career challenges of early-career scientists around the globe, with an aim of shaping future YLC actions. We will also present current YLC initiatives in the areas of ASM grants and awards for international members, supporting women scientists, ASM Young Ambassador Program, collaboration between ASM student chapters around the world, and the dialogue between science and the society.  Student and Postdoc Lounge, 12:00 - 1:00.

Postdoc Happy Hour:  Bowl a frame, and mix with your peers and ASM leadership at Fulton Alley (600 Fulton St., New Orleans, LA)  Starts at 6:00.

Tuesday, June 2nd

Mentoring Breakfast:  Discuss career transitions and other topics with hand selected mentors.  8:00 - 10:00 am in the Bissonet Room of the New Orleans Marriott.  For more information about the mentors and topics click her

Luncheon:  Clinical Careers Learn about careers in the lab.  12:00 - 1:00 in the Student and Postdoc Lounge.