ASM News, Journal Articles and Updates

ASM Biodefense Meeting
Meeting Information

ASM will host its 2005 Biodefense Research Meeting from March 20-23 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, MD. The purpose of this meeting is to identify existing state-of-the-art research in the biomedical sciences that can be adapted to address biodefense needs, including vaccine development, new and faster diagnostics, and new treatments for potential biowarfare agents. The meeting will also seek to identify gaps where more research is needed.

The first day of the conference will be devoted to workshop presentations by representatives of various government agencies designed to help researchers better understand the government’s approach to and priorities in biodefense. The workshops will be followed by the opening session featuring a presentation “Project Bioshield: The Need, the Legislation, Gaps in Legislation, and Practical Application” by Dr. Philip Russell of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute, and a roundtable discussion with representatives of government, academia and the private sector on the challenge of translating basic research into usable products. Additional presentation topics include: Prions as novel threat agents; Protecting the food supply from agroterrorism; and, Bird flu and pandemic flu preparedness.

ASM News Articles of Interest – February
Access ASM Articles On-line

Forum: Microbiology Happens - the study of microbes continues to be the most fitting way to investigate many basic biological mechanisms - Moselio Schaechter, Roberto Kolter, and Stanley Maloy

Features: Commensal Bacteria Shape Intestinal Immune System Development - the intestine is colonized with vast societies of microbes that promote mucosal immune system development and contribute to host health - Heather L. Cash and Lora V. Hooper

New Academy Reports
Academy Reports Web Page

“Preharvest Food Safety and Security,” prepared Richard E. Isaacson, Mary Torrence, and Merry R. Buckley, is a new report published by the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) which points out that recent outbreaks of a number of foodborne illnesses have been linked to contamination occuring in the preharvest stage of food processing. The report recommends creating an accessible international database of genetic sequences for known foodborne pathogens along with new and improved tools for detecting and cataloging pathogens on the farm.

“An Experimental Approach to Genome Annotation,” prepared by Richard J. Roberts, Peter Karp, Simon Kasif, Stuart Linn, and Merry R. Buckley, is an Academy report that details the continued work in genome annotation that will likely lead to new applications and progress in healthcare, bio-defense, energy, the environment, and agriculture. The report also discusses the critical challenges and ways to accelerate progress in the field of genome annotation.

New from ASM Press
ASM Science

“Colonization of Mucosal Surfaces” is a state-of-the art presentation of the opposing evolutionary forces that ultimately determine the health of host organisms and survival of pathogenic microorganisms. Written by experts in the field, this new volume is an in-depth examination of the complex ecosystems of the mammalian mucosa and the successful adaptations of microorganisms that enable them to effectively colonize these surfaces. The respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, and the genitourinary tract are comprehensively covered, as are the various organisms present at these surfaces.

“Viruses and the Evolution of Life” (Author: Luis P. Villarreal, University of California, Irvine), is an intriguing presentation of the virus-host relationship, as revealed through an examination of host evolution. This new volume avails the informed reader of a new perspective on the evolution of life while targeting the expert reader with discussions of specific scientific literature. Starting with prebiotic precursors of life, the book features an engaging discussion of various life forms and how each group has been affected by viruses. The author develops the concept of and distinction between acute and persisting viruses, an area of study that has heretofore largely been ignored. The relationship between the familiar disease-causing viruses and those viruses from which they emerge is also clarified.

Journal Articles of Interest

New Coronavirus Identified in Bats
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Chinese researchers have identified a novel coronavirus found in bats. Their findings appear in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Virology. In the study, respiratory and fecal samples were collected from twelve bat species of which three tested positive for the novel virus (Bat-CoV). (L.L.M. Poon, D.K.W. Chu, K.H. Chan, O.K. Wong, T.M. Ellis, Y.H.C. Leung, S.K.P. Lau, P.C.Y. Woo, K.Y. Suen, K.Y. Yuen, Y. Guan, J.S.M. Peiris. 2005. Identification of a novel coronavirus in bats. Journal of Virology, 79. 4: 2001-2009.)

New Test May Differentiate Between Poultry Vaccinated Against or Infected with Avian Flu
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A new diagnostic test monitoring antibody response to the NS1 virus protein may allow for differentiation between poultry vaccinated or infected with avian influenza say researchers from Georgia. Their findings appear in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. (T.M. Tumpey, R. Alvarez, D.E. Swayne, D.L. Suarez. 2005. Diagnostic approach for differentiating infected from vaccinated poultry on the basis of antibodies to NS1, the nonstructural protein of influenza a virus. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 43. 2: 676-683.)

Salmonella spp. Prevalent in Oysters in U.S. Waters
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Oysters harvested from thirty-six bays around the United States showed high prevalence of Salmonella according to a report that appears in the February 2005 Journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. (D.A. Brands, A.E. Inman, C.P. Gerba, C.J. Mare, S.J. Billington, L.A. Saif, J.F. Levine, L.A. Joens. 2005. Prevalence of Salmonella spp. in oysters in the United States. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71. 2: 893-897.)