2012 Press Releases

 
 
December 2012
 

Scientists Sequence Genome of Pathogen Responsible for Pneumocystis Pneumonia
WASHINGTON, DC – December 26, 2012 -- Scientists have sequenced the genome of the fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii, an advancement that could help identify new targets for drugs to treat and prevent Pneumocystis pneumonia, a common and often deadly infection in immunocompromised patients.

WASHINGTON, DC – December 11, 2012 – The SARS epidemic of 2002-2003 was short-lived, but a novel type of human coronavirus that is alarming public health authorities can infect cells from humans and bats alike, a fact that could make the animals a continuing source of infection, according to a study to be published in in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on December 11. 
 
WASHINGTON, DC – December 10, 2012 – ASM Press announces the fourth edition of Molecular Genetics of Bacteria, a textbook that centers on the most-studied bacteria, Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, in addition to examples from other medically, ecologically or biotechnologically significant bacteria. 
 
WASHINGTON, DC – December 4, 2012 -- New clues about the bacteria that cause Lyme disease could lead to a novel strategy to reduce infections, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on December 4. 
 
 
November 2012
 
 
WASHINGTON, DC – November 20, 2012 – The virus that is causing alarm among global public health authorities after it killed a man in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia earlier this year and is now linked to two other cases of disease is a novel type of coronavirus most closely related to viruses found in bats, according to a genetic analysis to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on November 20.
 
October 2012
 
WASHINGTON, DC – October 30, 2012 – Bacteria in the guts of honeybees are highly resistant to the antibiotic tetracycline, probably as a result of decades of preventive antibiotic use in domesticated hives. Researchers from Yale University identified eight different tetracycline resistance genes among U.S. honeybees that were exposed to the antibiotic, but the genes were largely absent in bees from countries where such antibiotic use is banned. The study appears on October 30 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
 
WASHINGTON, DC – October 23, 2012 – A study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on Tuesday, October 23, examined  whether crude oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the dispersant used on it, or a combination of the two might affect the microbes of the human digestive tract. The researchers found that although high concentrations of oil combined with dispersant are detrimental to these helpful microbial communities, the low to undetectable concentrations typically found in Gulf shellfish had no discernable effect.
 
WASHINGTON, DC – October 16, 2012 – The genomes of birds are riddled with DNA sequences from viruses, according to a study to be published on October 16 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Analysis of these viral sequences, known as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), can provide insights into how both hosts and viruses have evolved over the eons.
 
WASHINGTON, DC – October 9, 2012 – How can scientists safely conduct avian flu research if the results could potentially threaten, as well as save, millions of lives? In a series of commentaries appearing on Tuesday, October 9 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, prominent microbiologists and physicians argue the cases both for and against lifting a voluntary moratorium on experiments to enhance the ability of the H5N1 virus to move from mammal to mammal, so-called “gain-of-function” research, and discuss the level of biosecurity that would be appropriate for moving that research forward.
 
WASHINGTON, DC – October 2, 2012 – A new type of antibiotic can effectively treat an antibiotic-resistant infection by disarming instead of killing the bacteria that cause it. Researchers report their findings in the October 2 issue of mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
 
 
 
September 2012
 
WASHINGTON, DC – September 25, 2012 -- Scientists have isolated and studied the genomes of 11 viruses, known as phage, that can infect and kill the acne-causing bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, potentially paving the way for topical therapies that use viruses or viral products to treat this vexing skin condition. Their results are reported in the September 25 issue of mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. 
 
WASHINGTON, DC -- September 24, 2012 -- The American Society for Microbiology is launching a new online-only, open access journal, Genome Announcements, which will focus on reports of microbial genome sequences.  Genome Announcements will begin publishing in January 2013.
 
WASHINGTON, DC -- September 18, 2012 -- Contrary to previous findings, new research finds no link between chronic fatigue syndrome and the viruses XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) and pMLV (polytropic murine leukemia virus). A study to be published on September 18 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, reveals that research that reported patients with chronic fatigue syndrome carried these two viruses was wrong and that there is still no evidence for an infectious cause behind chronic fatigue syndrome.
 
 
 
August 2012
 
WASHINGTON, DC – August 28, 2012 --Antibiotic residues in uncured pepperoni or salami meat are potent enough to weaken helpful bacteria that processors add to acidify the sausage to make it safe for consumption, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on August 28.
 
Washington, DC –August 22, 2012—Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has been named a Milestones in Microbiology site by the American Society for Microbiology. This ASM program recognizes institutions and the scientists who worked there that have made significant contributions toward advancing the science of microbiology. A ceremony unveiling the plaque that will mark the site will be held on Friday, August 24th, at 5 pm at Grace Auditorium during the CSHL meeting on Bacteria, Archaea, and Phages.
 
Scientists Discover New Type of Virus Responsible for a Devastating Disease in Snakes
WASHINGTON, DC – August 14, 2012 – A mysterious condition called Inclusion Body Disease (IBD) strikes captive boa constrictors and pythons, causing bizarre behavioral changes and eventually death. Scientists investigating an outbreak of IBD among snakes at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco report they may well have found a virus that is responsible for this common but deadly disease, a discovery that could eventually lead to prevention and treatment options. The study appears in the August 14 issue of mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The authors report that the virus represents a whole new class of arenaviruses scientists have never seen before.
 
 
 
July 2012
 
WASHINGTON, DC – July 31, 2012 -- A new strain of influenza virus found in harbor seals could represent a threat to wildlife and human health, according to the authors of a study appearing July 31 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. It is crucial to monitor viruses like this one, which originated in birds and adapted to infect mammals, the authors say, so that scientists can better predict the emergence of new strains of influenza and prevent pandemics in the future.
 
WASHINGTON, DC -- July 9, 2012 -- Less than two years after publishing its first issue, the online open-access journal mBio® is now ranked among the top 20 highest-impact microbiology journals according to Thomson Reuters, which has just released its Journal Citation Reports for 2011.
 
 
 
June 2012
 
WASHINGTON, DC – June 8, 2012 – Easy-to-use, inexpensive tests to diagnose infectious diseases are urgently needed in resource-limited countries.  A new report based on an American Academy of Microbiology colloquium, Bringing the Lab to the Patient: Developing Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Resource Limited Settings describes the challenges inherent in bringing new medical devices and technologies to the areas of the world where they are needed most.  
 
 
 
May 2012
 
WASHINGTON, DC – May 30, 2012 – Inspired by a 2009 colloquium on microbial evolution convened at the Galapagos Islands, a new book from ASM Press, Microbes and Evolution: The World That Darwin Never Saw celebrates Charles Darwin and his landmark publication On the Origin of Species. The editors compiled 40 first-person essays, written by microbiologists with a passion for evolutionary biology, to illuminate how each scientist’s thinking and career paths in science were influenced by Darwin’s seminal work.
 
How one strain of MRSA becomes resistant to last-line antibiotic
WASHINGTON, DC – May 22, 2012 – Researchers have uncovered what makes one particular strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) so proficient at picking up resistance genes, such as the one that makes it resistant to vancomycin, the last line of defense for hospital-acquired infections.  They report their findings in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on Tuesday May 22.
 
 
 
April 2012
 
WASHINGTON, DC – April 17, 2012 -- Many manufacturing processes rely on microorganisms to perform tricky chemical transformations or make substances from simple starting materials. The authors of a study appearing in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on April 17 have found a way to control a heat-loving microbe with a temperature switch: it makes a product at low temperatures but not at high temperatures. The innovation could make it easier to use microorganisms as miniature factories for the production of needed materials like biofuels.  
 
H5N1 Research Symposium to be Webcast Live to Public
WASHINGTON, DC – April 2, 2012 -- The Royal Society in London will host an international symposium this week to address research issues surrounding H5N1 avian influenza research.  Sponsored in part by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the two-day meeting, April 3-4, will feature key influenza researchers and will be webcast to the public in its entirety.
 
 
 
March 2012
 
WASHINGTON, DC – March 27, 2012 -- The recent explosion in the number of retractions in scientific journals is just the tip of the iceberg and a symptom of a greater dysfunction that has been evolving the world of biomedical research say the editors-in-chief of two prominent journals in a presentation before a committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) today.
 
The Black Queen Hypothesis: A new evolutionary theory
WASHINGTON, DC -- March 27, 2012 -- Microorganisms can sometimes lose the ability to perform a function that appears to be necessary for their survival, and yet they still somehow manage to endure and multiply. How can this be? The authors of an opinion piece appearing in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on March 27 explain their ideas about the matter. They say microbes that shed necessary functions are getting others to do the hard work for them, an adaptation that can encourage microorganisms to live in cooperative communities.
 
Vaccinations Aren’t Just for Kids: Report Focuses on Benefits of Adult Immunizations
WASHINGTON, DC – March 14, 2012 -- Despite the many overwhelming successes of vaccines in the past century, including the eradication of smallpox and near-eradication of polio, many adults do not know how vaccines work, or even realize that the benefits of vaccination do not end in childhood.  To help raise awareness of the importance of vaccines for adults, the American Academy of Microbiology has issued a new report entitled FAQ: Adult Vaccines – A Grown Up Thing to Do.   
 
Labs, infection preventionists need to work together to facilitate rapid response to healthcare-associated infections, survey says
WASHINGTON, DC -- March 8, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that about one in every 20 patients develops an infection each year related to their hospital care. The key to preventing an outbreak of potentially deadly healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) -- such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or C. difficile -- is identifying them before affected individuals can pose a transmission risk.
 
New H5N1 viruses: how to balance risk of escape with benefits of research?
WASHINGTON, DC -- March 6, 2012 -- In the controversy surrounding the newly developed strains of avian H5N1 flu viruses, scientists and policy makers are struggling with one question in particular: what level of biosafety is best for studying these potentially lethal strains of influenza? In a pair of commentaries, researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the University of Michigan argue their different views of how to safely handle H5N1 flu viruses. The commentaries will be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on Tuesday, March 6.
 
 
 
February 2012
 
WASHINGTON, DC—February 22, 2012--The debate about the potential severity of an outbreak of airborne H5N1 influenza in humans needs to move on from speculation and focus instead on how we can safely continue H5N1 research and share the results among researchers, according to a commentary to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on Friday, February 24.
 
MRSA in livestock acquired drug resistance on the farm, now infects humans
WASHINGTON, DC -- February 21, 2012 -- Researchers have discovered that a strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria that humans contract from livestock was originally a human strain, but it developed resistance to antibiotics once it was picked up by farm animals. The findings, which appear in the online journal mBio® on Tuesday, February 21, illustrate a very close link between antibiotic use on the farm and potentially lethal human infections.
 
Report Seeks to Integrate Microbes into Climate Models
WASHINGTON, DC – February 14, 2012 -- The models used to understand how Earth’s climate works include thousands of different variables from many scientific including atmospherics, oceanography, seismology, geology, physics and chemistry, but few take into consideration the vast effect that microbes have on climate.  Now, a new report from the American Academy of Microbiology, “Incorporating Microbial Processes into Climate Models”, offers a plan for integrating the latest understanding of the science of microbiology into climate models.   
 
 
 
January 2012
 
NSABB and H5N1 Redactions: Biosecurity Runs Up Against Scientific Endeavor
WASHINGTON, DC -- January 31, 2012 -- In response to recent actions of the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), which recommended that two scientific journals withhold crucial details in upcoming reports about experiments with a novel strain of the bird flu virus, H5N1,  the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) will publish a special series of commentaries by prominent scientists, including the acting chair of the NSABB, weighing in on whether the recommendations were necessary and what role biosecurity considerations should play in the dissemination of research findings. The commentaries will be published in the Society's online, open-access journal, mBio®, on January 31. 
 
Bacteria in the gut of autistic children different from non-autistic children
WASHINGTON, DC – January 10, 2012 -- The underlying reason autism is often associated with gastrointestinal problems is an unknown, but new results to be published in the online journal mBio® on January 10 reveal that the guts of autistic children differ from other children in at least one important way: many children with autism harbor a type of bacteria in their guts that non-autistic children do not. The study was conducted by Brent Williams and colleagues at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.
 

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