33 ASM Members Named AAAS Fellows
Washington, DC - December 15, 2016 - This year, 33 members of the American Society for Microbiology were named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a AAAS Fellow is a prestigious honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 391 members of AAAS were awarded this honor for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.
ASM Director of Education Amy Chang named AAAS Fellow
Washington D.C.— November 21, 2016 — Amy L. Chang of the American Society for Microbiology has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.
Pre-cut Salad May Encourage Growth of Salmonella
Washington, DC – November 18, 2016 – A new study from the University of Leicester shows that small amounts of damage to salad leaves in bagged salads encourage the presence of Salmonella enterica. Juices released from damaged leaves also enhance the pathogen’s ability to attach to the salad’s plastic container. The research is published November 18th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Microbes Found on New York City ATM Keypads Mostly from Human Skin, Food
WASHINGTON, DC – November 16, 2016 – Automated teller machine keypads in New York City have plenty of microbes but they’re mostly from normal human skin, household surfaces or traces of food, according to a study published this week in mSphere, an open access journal from the American Society for Microbiology.
Pesticide Exposures Can Cause Changes in Oral Microbiome
Washington, DC – November 11, 2016 – Pesticide exposure in farmworkers from agricultural communities is associated with changes in the oral microbiome. This is the first study to demonstrate such a correlation in humans. The research is published November 11th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
University of Texas at Dallas Founders Building Named “Milestones in Microbiology” Site
Washington, DC – November 10, 2016 – The American Society for Microbiology designates the University of Texas at Dallas as a Milestones in Microbiology site for achievements in molecular biology, advancing medical science and providing fundamental insights into bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms.
ASM on the U.S. Presidential Election Outcome
Washington, DC – November 9, 2016 – Advancing science research, technology and education are important investments in the future of the United States to ensure innovation and economic vitality to sustain the nation’s global competitiveness. The nation must continue to seize opportunities within the vast scope of scientific disciplines and areas of research funded by the federal government.
Predatory Bacteria Offer Potential Solution to Drug Resistance Problem
Washington, DC – November 8, 2016 – For the first time ever, scientists have used predatory bacteria to kill pneumonia in a rat animal model. The research, published online in mBio, provides evidence that predatory bacteria can be used as a therapeutic, offering a possible solution to the rise of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections.
Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria from Chickens Pose Risk to Human Health
Washington, DC – November 4, 2016 – Isolates of a common poultry pathogen collected from animals in Indian bird markets were mostly resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics. The study provides the first data on prevalence and isolation of Helicobacter pullorum in India. The research is published November 4 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
First Study to Link Antibiotic Resistance with Exposure to the Disinfectant Chlorhexidine
Washington, DC – October 31, 2016 -Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria exposed to chlorhexidine-containing disinfectants can become resistant to colistin, a last resort antibiotic often used against multidrug resistant pathogens. This is the first study to link exposure to chlorhexidine with resistance to colistin in this clinically important pathogen. The research is published this week in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
What Happens to a Pathogenic Fungus Grown In Space?
Washington, DC - October 26, 2016 - A new study, published this week in mSphere, provides evidence that Aspergillus fumigatus, a significant opportunistic fungal threat to human health, grows and behaves similarly on the International Space Station compared with earth. The study provides important information that can help with space exploration. As the durations of manned space missions increase, it is vitally important to understand the long-term consequences of microbial exposure on human health in closed human habitats.
Call for Submissions: Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge
Washington, DC – October 24, 2016 – The Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge invites the broad scientific community to submit their ideas for groundbreaking experimental tools and methods for understanding microbial function. The Kavli Foundation has committed $1 million to a Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge supporting development of next generation scientific tools for investigating life on a microbial scale. The Kavli Ideas Challenge is led by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), and carried out in partnership with the American Chemical Society (ACS) and American Physical Society (APS).
Announcing the 2017 ASM Award Winners
Washington, DC - October 24, 2016 - The 2017 ASM awards in basic research, applied research, clinical research, education, and service have now been announced. The ASM award laureates will be recognized for excellence in their fields at ASM Microbe 2017 in June. The ASM would like to congratulate all award winners for their achievements.
Migraine Sufferers Have Higher Levels of Nitrate-reducing Microbes in their Mouths
Washington, DC – October 18, 2016 – Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine (UC San Diego) have found an association between migraines and microbes that reduce nitrates. Analyzing data from the American Gut Project, they found that migraine sufferers harbored significantly more microbes in their mouths and guts with the ability to modify nitrates compared to people who do not get migraine headaches. Their report, which is published this week in mSystems®, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, will spur more research to find out which oral microorganisms are related to migraines and how they affect health.
American Society for Microbiology designates Merck Research Laboratories as a Milestones in Microbiology Site
Washington, DC – October 17, 2016 – The American Society for Microbiology designates Merck Research Laboratories at Rahway, NJ and West Point, PA as Milestones in Microbiology sites for their contributions to anti-infectives and vaccines, respectively.
Researchers Obtain First Zika Sequence Isolated from Semen
Washington, DC – October 13, 2016 – A team of researchers from the United Kingdom has obtained the first complete genome sequence of Zika virus that was isolated from a semen sample. The research is published this week in Genome Announcements, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Commensal Protection of Staphylococcus aureus against Antimicrobials by Candida albicans Biofilm Matrix
Washington, DC – October 11, 2016 – New research led by scientists from the University of Maryland, Baltimore demonstrated that when grown together, the fungus Candida albicans provides the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus with enhanced tolerance to antimicrobial drugs. These two pathogens are responsible for the majority of most of the infections in hospitalized patients and are often coisolated from a host. This research could have therapeutic implications, as understanding the interactions between these two diverse microbial species will aid in overcoming the limitations of current therapies and in defining new targets for treating complex polymicrobial infections. The research was published this week in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Media Advisory: Commentary: FDA’s Ban on Triclosan Will Improve the State of Antimicrobial Resistance
Washington, DC – October 10, 2016 – The FDA recently released a final rule to ban triclosan and 18 other antimicrobials from household soaps. It is unfortunate that these chemicals have become common household products and have ended up as environmental contaminants. The ban is a move to correct that damage that has already been done, resulting from years of ticlosan and triclocarban usage, which will likely exert negative effects for years to come. Dr. Stuart Levy, a physician and researcher at Tufts University, and President of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, says in a commentary that he applauds the rule because of the risks that triclosan poses to the spread of antibiotic resistance throughout the environment. The commentary is published October 10, 2016 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Scientific Methods Identify Potential Antivirals Against Chikungunya
Washington, DC – October 10, 2016 - Chikungunya virus has caused two recent massive outbreaks sickening millions of people. Now a team of researchers has shown that several existing compounds have potent activity against the critical CHIKV protease enzyme. The research is published October 10 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, published by the American Society for Microbiology.
Metagenomic Study Links Microbes to Flavors in Kefir
Washington, DC - October 4, 2016 - A team of food scientists and microbiologists in Ireland have used high-throughput sequencing to analyze how microbial populations change as kefir ferments. It's a new frontier in food analysis: Using the data, collected over a 24-hour fermentation period, the researchers were able to connect the presence of individual microbial species and their associated pathways to flavor compounds in the fermented milk beverage. They reported their findings in mSystems, an open access journal of the ASM.
Global Warming Collapses Symbiotic Gut Bacteria, Killing Host Insects
Washington, DC – October 4, 2016 – A new study shows that when heat-susceptible bacteria living symbiotically in the guts of insects are exposed to increased temperatures, both the bacteria and the insect are negatively impacted and can die. The study, reported online this week in the journal mBio®, illustrates another way global warming will wreak havoc on life as we know it, setting off deleterious chain reactions among organisms living in symbiosis.
ASM Member, Yoshinori Ohsumi, Awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Washington, DC - October 3, 2016 - Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist and ASM member, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for his discoveries on how cells recycle and degrade their content, a process known as autophagy.
Media Advisory: Congress Passes Resolution Allowing for Zika Funding
Washington, DC - September 29, 2016 - Congress today passed and President Obama signed a 10-week continuing resolution allowing for funding to keep the government operating through December 9 and including $1.1 billion for Zika virus research. After months of delays , money specifically designated for funding crucial research on the virus is now available. Further details on the continuing resolution and specific funding for research is available through the ASM Public Policy page.
Media Advisory: Rescue of the 1947 Zika Virus Prototype Strain with a CMV Promoter-Driven cDNA Clone
Washington, DC – September 28, 2016 – Researchers have created a model system of Zika virus to study how the genetics of zika virus impact viral replication and pathogenesis. A new study in the American Society for Microbiology’s open-access journal mSphere describes this new model. Researchers created a plasmid encoding the prototype 1947 Uganda MR766 Zika virus genome that could produce high levels of infectious virus in mammalian cells through direct delivery of this DNA. The study of Zika virus has become increasingly important, and would benefit from an efficient strategy to genetically manipulate the virus. The model provides a simple and effective means to study the pathogenesis of Zika virus and offers an efficient strategy to manipulate the virus.
Study by 2016 MacArthur Genius Grant Winner Advances the Direct Study of Microbial Communities in Diverse Environments, Including Those in Mammalian Systems
Washington, DC – September 27, 2016 – For researchers to effectively identify novel therapeutic approaches to chronic bacterial infections, an understanding of how microbes survive in vivo is needed. A study published in ASM’s open-access journal, mBio, looks at The tissue-clearing technique, MiPACT, designed to retain and visualize bacteria, can be coupled with hybridization chain reaction (HCR) to detect rRNA in the sputum samples from cystic fibrosis. The researchers, led by Dianne Newman, a MacArthur ”Genius” Grant Winner, have demonstrated MiPACT’s ability to survey thousands of bacteria (or bacterial aggregates) over millimeter scales and quantify aggregation of individual species in polymicrobial communities.
Researchers Sequence Genome from 1979 Russian Anthrax Outbreak
Washington, DC – September 27, 2016 – Analyzing small pieces of tissue from nearly 40-year-old human autopsies, Arizona researchers have sequenced the genome of the strain of Bacillus anthracis that caused a deadly anthrax outbreak in Russia in 1979. The work is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Potentially Life-Threatening Fungus Found In Water Distribution Systems of Five French Hospitals
Washington, DC – September 23, 2016 - A specific strain of the fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, circulates in the water distribution systems of five French hospitals, in two widely separated cities. This microbe is potentially a life-threatening risk to immunocompromised patients. The research is published September 23, 2016 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
The United Nations General Assembly Focuses on Antimicrobial Resistance, A Key ASM Initiative
Washington, DC – September 22, 2016 – ASM President, Susan Sharp, attended the historical United Nations General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which convened at the UN headquarters in New York this Wednesday, September 21. Heads of State addressed the gravity and causes of AMR, and drafted a resolution of collaborative, cross-cutting approaches to improving the current state of AMR.
ASM Attends UN General Assembly on Antimicrobial Resistance
Washington, DC - September 21, 2016 - ASM President, Susan Sharp, Ph.D., joined global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York today in a historical meeting that will focus on the commitment to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This is the fourth time in the history of the UN that a health topic is discussed at the General Assembly. Previous topics included HIV, non-communicable diseases and Ebola. Heads of State and Heads of Delegations are expected to address the seriousness of the situation and to agree on manageable, cross-cutting approaches to addressing AMR.
Introducing ASM's Journals Ethics Portal: A Tool for the Ethical Conduct of Research
Washington, DC – September 19, 2016 – The American Society for Microbiology is pleased to announce the launch of the new Ethics Portal that provides guidelines and resources to assist authors publishing in ASM journals. ASM has a long history of involvement with ethical issues in research and the reporting of scientific results, and the society has undertaken numerous activities to provide tools for the ethical conduct of research. The ethics portal is a further step in defining ethical issues of research misconduct, and providing resources to help authors conduct and report their studies in an ethical manner. For more information on ASM’s involvement in research and publishing ethics, visit the portal, and read a recent report from the American Academy of Microbiology on the reproducibility of microbiological research.
β-lactamase Antimicrobial Resistance Gene Found In Marine Pathogen
Washington, DC – September 19, 2016 – A team of Chinese investigators has discovered a gene for resistance to β-lactamase antibiotics, in the pathogenic marine bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The β-lactamase gene, blaVEB-2, has never before been found in V. parahaemolyticus, and in fact, has been found almost exclusively in non-marine pathogens. The research is published Monday, September 19, 2016 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Protein Synthesis, ATP Unnecessary for Bacterial Spore Germination
Washington, DC - September 19, 2016 - Spores of Bacillus bacteria can survive for years in a dormant state, and then germinate in minutes. But it has long been unclear whether germination required protein synthesis, or cellular energy packets, which are known as ATP. Now, a team from UConn Health, Farmington, CT, has shown that neither is necessary. The research is published online September 19 in the Journal of Bacteriology, published by the American Society for Microbiology.
Microbes Corrode Steel in Ships, Marine Infrastructure
Washington, DC - September 16, 2016 - Rust is the bane of steel, whether on cars, on ships and boats, or as part of marine infrastructure. Now, contrary to previous thinking, it turns out that the ocean-dwelling, steel-corroding species, Mariprofundus sp. DIS-1, can thrive under aerobic conditions, rather than being limited to “micro-aerobic” or anaerobic conditions. That means steel in marine environments is more vulnerable to bacterial depredations than previously thought. The research is published on Friday, September 16th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Molecules Released by Klebsiella pneumoniae Bacterium Pave the Way for Invasive Infection
Washington, DC – September 13, 2016 – It’s been known that the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae secretes small molecules called siderophores that enable it to acquire iron from a host and fuel its spread. Now, Michigan researchers have found that these molecules play additional roles in helping the organism invade. Their report is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Media Advisory: Longer Contact Times Increase Cross-Contamination of Enterobacter aerogenes from Surfaces to Food; Is the Five Second Rule Real?
Washington, DC – September 6, 2016 – Bacterial cross-contamination from surfaces to food can contribute to foodborne disease. Researchers from Rutgers University evaluated the cross-contamination rate of Enterobacter aerogenes using scenarios including four different surface types, (stainless steel, tile, wood, and carpet) four food types, (watermelon, bread, bread with butter, and gummy candy) four contact times, (<1, 5, 30 and 300 seconds), and two bacterial preparation methods. The researchers found that more bacterial transfer occurred during the longer contact times, but the type of food and surface type also significantly impacted cross-contamination from surface to food, with some transfers taking place instantaneously.
Chinese Investigators Characterize the World of Resistance Gene Exchange Among Bacteria
Washington, DC – September 9, 2016 – Certain antibiotic resistance genes are easily transferred from one bacterial species to another, and can move between farm animals and the human gut. A team led by Chinese researchers has characterized this “mobile resistome,” which they say is largely to blame for the spread of antibiotic resistance. They found that many antibiotic resistance genes that are shared between the human and animal gut microbiome are also present in multiple human pathogens. These findings are published September 9 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Announcing the Election Results: ASM Bylaws
We are delighted to announce that the ASM governance reform has been approved by the membership, and that now ASM has new Bylaws in effect! This is a historic moment for our Society and a terrific opportunity to lay the foundations for a new, modern, transparent, and participatory governance that allows the organization to capture opportunities coming from the rapidly changing environment in the world of microbial sciences and professional societies in general. We could not be more excited by the fact that 98% of ASM members who participated in the vote agreed with the proposed changes; the new Bylaws had previously been unanimously approved by the Council Policy Committee (CPC) and the Council at large.
Fungi Contribute to Delayed Healing of Chronic Wounds
Washington, DC – September 6, 2016 – Researchers in Pennsylvania and Iowa have discovered that fungal communities found in chronic wounds can form mixed bacterial-fungal biofilms and can be associated with poor outcomes and longer healing times. Their report, the first deep characterization of the fungi found in diabetic foot ulcers, is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Zika Reference Strain Sequenced--Will Aid in Diagnosis, Screening
Washington, DC - September 1, 2016 - An international team of researchers has sequenced a strain of the Zika virus that will be used as a World Health Organization (WHO) reference strain to identify Zika virus infection in the blood, thus making it easier to diagnose the disease. While the reference material will undergo formal WHO review in October, the agency has given the go-ahead for the strain’s use given the urgent need of medical products to diagnose and treat Zika. The sequence is published September 1st in Genome Announcements, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
ICU Patients Lose Helpful Gut Bacteria within Days of Hospital Admission
Washington, DC – August 31, 2016 – The microbiome of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at a hospital differs dramatically from that of healthy patients, according to a new study published in mSphere. Researchers analyzing microbial taxa in ICU patients' guts, mouth and skin reported finding dysbiosis, or a bacterial imbalance, that worsened during a patient's stay in the hospital. Compared to healthy people, ICU patients had depleted populations of commensal, health-promoting microbes and higher counts of bacterial taxa with pathogenic strains – leaving patients vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections that may lead to sepsis, organ failure and potentially death.
Media Advisory: A Framework for Improving the Quality of Research in the Biological Sciences
Washington, DC – August 30, 2016 – The American Academy of Microbiology convened a colloquium focused on identifying mechanisms to improve research quality. Participants from various disciplines made six recommendations: (1) design rigorous and comprehensive evaluation criteria to reward high quality research; (2) require universal training in good scientific practices and responsible practice of research; (3) establish open data at the time of publication as the standard procedure; (4) encourage scientific journals to publish negative data that meet methodologic standards of quality; (5) establish common criteria for retraction of published papers; and (6) strengthen research integrity oversight training.
Researchers Identify Multidrug-resistant E. coli Bacteria from New Jersey Patient
Washington, DC – August 29, 2016 – New Jersey researchers have identified what is believed to be the first strain of Escherichia coli bacteria from a patient in the United States that harbored two mobile genes making it resistant to both broad spectrum carbapenem antibiotics as well as colistin, an older antibiotic increasingly used as a last resort for multidrug-resistant infections. Their report is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Bacteria in Smokeless Tobacco Products May be a Health Concern
Washington, DC - August 26, 2016 - Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 25 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Improving Food Quality by Studying the Microbial Composition of Raw Milk
Washington, DC – August 23, 2016 –Findings from a new study, reported in the journal mBio, may help food companies improve the quality of dairy products. The researchers have discovered that bacteria in raw milk arriving at dairy processing facilities are highly diverse and differ according to season, but still contain a core microbiota.
New Zika Clone Could be New Model for Developing Vaccine
Washington, DC – August 23, 2016 – Stopping the explosive spread of Zika virus – which can lead to birth defects in babies born to infected mothers – depends on genetic insights gleaned through new tools and models. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recently cloned an epidemic strain of the virus, creating a model that can help biologists develop and test strategies for stopping the pandemic.
Antibiotic Resistant E. coli Found In Drinking Water
Washington, DC – August 22, 2016 – Antibiotic resistant E. coli has been found in multiple drinking water supplies in France. The resistance counters the critically important cephalosporin antibiotics. The findings highlight the presence of expanding reservoirs of these resistance genes, including reservoirs in the environment. The research is published August 22 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Investigators Map Genomes of Three Historically Important Zika Strains
Washington, DC - August 18, 2016 - A team of researchers from Utah State University, Logan, has characterized the consensus genome sequences of three historically important Zika virus strains. This work is an important step towards developing antiviral therapeutic and preventive strategies against Zika, and related viruses. The research is published August 18 in Genome Announcements, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Fungus Causing Fatal Infections in Hospitalized Patients Has Unique Growth Patterns
Washington, DC – August 17, 2016 – The multidrug-resistant yeast Candida auris, which has caused fatal infections in some hospitalized patients, has at least two different growth patterns and some of its strains are as capable of causing disease as the most invasive type of yeast called Candida albicans, according to a study published this week in mSphere, an open access journal from the American Society for Microbiology.
For the First Time, Researchers Identify the Secret Genetic Weapon of Clostridium difficile
Washington, DC – August 16, 2016 – A trio of researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health in Houston, have identified the location of the genes that control production of toxins that harm people infected by Clostridium difficile bacteria. The gene locus, agr1, forms part of a signaling communication system that produces a small molecule that, in turn, tells the rest of the population to turn on their toxin genes.
Investigators Chart Microbial Ecology of Gingivitis, Periodontitis
Washington, DC – August 12, 2016 – Gingivitis, a common and mild form of gum disease can progress to periodontitis, a more serious infection that damages the soft tissue of the gums and sometimes even destroys the bone supporting the teeth. An international team of researchers and clinicians has charted the microbial ecology of the mouth at all stages of this progression, in nearly 1,000 women in Malawi. This work is laying a foundation of knowledge that could lead to better oral health. The research is published August 12 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
New Model Sheds Light on Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia
Washington, DC – August 9, 2016 – For years, researchers have known that the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) can trigger severe, sometimes deadly secondary bacterial pneumonia, in some people who are subsequently infected with influenza A virus, but scientists have not known exactly how this happens. Now, scientists have developed a new model for studying this phenomenon, which could lead to new treatments designed to prevent secondary bacterial infections. The findings were published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Mcr-1 Gene Isolated from Human for the First Time in Brazil
Washington, DC – August 8, 2016 – For the first time in Brazil, a particular antibiotic resistance mechanism conferring resistance to the important antibiotic, colistin, has been detected in a human. It was in a strain of Escherichia coli that was isolated from a diabetic patient’s foot infection. The mechanism, called MCR-1, was incorporated into a plasmid, a short piece of DNA that exists independent of the genome, which can jump from one bacterium to another, spreading the resistance. The research is published ahead of print August 8 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
ASM Urges Public Health Actions and Funding to Combat Zika Emergency
Washington, DC – August 5, 2016 – Current events linked to the Zika virus make aggressive public health actions and funding to combat this emerging infectious disease more crucial than ever. Newly reported Zika cases in Florida are the first examples of US infection spread by local mosquitos. On August 1 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned pregnant women and their partners against visiting a specific area with multiple cases in downtown Miami, an unusual federal advisory concerning a US community. Today Zika is so prevalent in Puerto Rico that only drastic measures will be able to control the epidemic. The 2016 Summer Olympics begin today in Rio de Janeiro, attracting large numbers of US athletes and spectators to a nation struggling with significant case numbers of Zika infection.
Additives to Boost Vaccine Responses Not Sufficient to Protect Obese Mice From Influenza
Washington, DC – August 2, 2016 – Adjuvants – ingredients added to vaccinations for influenza and other viruses to help boost their effectiveness – can increase a host’s immune response but not enough to protect the obese against the ill effects of the flu, according to a mouse study published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Antibiotic Resistance Appears to Persist in Bacteria, Even Absent Selection Pressure From Antibiotics
Washington, DC – August 1, 2016 – Plasmids are pieces of independent DNA that often carry multiple antibiotic resistance genes. Plasmids can jump from one bacterium to another, spreading that resistance. A team of French investigators now shows that bacteria that acquire plasmids containing resistance genes rarely lose them. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Green Monkeys Acquired Staphylococcus aureus From Humans
Washington, DC – July 29, 2016 - Many deadly diseases that afflict humans were originally acquired through contact with animals. New research published in ASM’s Applied and Environmental Microbiology shows that pathogens can also jump the species barrier to move from humans to animals. The study, that will publish July 29, shows that green monkeys in The Gambia acquired Staphylococcus aureus from humans.
Genes Found in H. pylori that Influence Biofilm Formation
Washington, DC – July 18, 2016 - Most bacteria cannot survive in the acidic environment of the human stomach, but Helicobacter pylori, a major cause of ulcers, thrives under such circumstances. Now research has shown that one of that bacterium’s regulatory proteins that helps it adapt to these stressful conditions also regulates the formation of biofilms. Biofilms, a group of bacteria that adhere together on a surface, are often much harder to kill than bacteria in their normal, disaggregated state, and can cause major medical problems. The research is published in the Journal of Bacteriology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.
Progress Towards Protection from Highly Lethal Ebola, Marburg Viruses
Washington, DC – July 12, 2016 – Ebola and Marburg filovirus disease outbreaks have typically occurred as isolated events, confined to central Africa. However, the recent Ebola epidemic spread to several African countries, and caused 11,000 deaths. That epidemic underscored the need to develop vaccines and therapeutics that could be used to fight future disease outbreaks. Now new research suggests that antibodies to filoviruses from individuals who have survived these diseases may offer protection—not only against the particular filovirus that infected an individual, but against other filoviruses, as well. The research is published in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Self-Prescribing Antibiotics is a Big Problem
Washington, DC – July 11, 2016 - Five percent of adults from a cohort of 400 people reported using antibiotics without a prescription during the previous 12 months. Twenty-five percent said they would use antibiotics without contacting a medical professional. These findings demonstrate yet another factor abetting the spread of antibiotic resistance. The research is published ahead of print July 11 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
New Resistance Gene Found in "High Risk" Multidrug-Resistant Pathogen
Washington, DC – July 11, 2016 – A team of Italian investigators has discovered a new variant of an emerging antibiotic resistance mechanism. The new variant, dubbed mcr-1.2, confers resistance to colistin, a last-resort antibiotic against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens. The research is published July 11, in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
ASM Media Advisory: ASM No Longer Supports Impact Factors for its Journals
Washington, DC – July 11, 2016 - The editors-in-chief of ASM journals and ASM leadership have decided to no longer advertise the impact factors of ASM journals on the journals’ websites. This decision was made in order to avoid contributing to a distorted value system that inappropriately emphasizes high IFs. High-IF journals limit the number of accepted articles to create a perception of exclusivity, and individuals receive disproportionate rewards for articles in high IF journals, while science as a whole suffers from a distorted values system and delayed communication of research.
Colistin-Resistant Gene Detected in the U.S. for the Second Time: Investigators Alert to Its Possible Spread
Washington, DC - July 11, 2016 - For the second time, a clinical isolate of a bacterial pathogen has been detected in humans in the United States which carries the colistin resistance gene, mcr-1. This may also be the first case to show up in the US. That would be concerning because plasmids, genetic elements that are independent of the host genome, often jump between different bacterial species, spreading any resistance genes they carry. The research, the most comprehensive and contemporary surveillance data for mcr-1 to date, is published July 11 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Media Advisory: ASM Announces New President and Officers
Washington, DC - July 1, 2016 - The American Society for Microbiology is excited to announce the new officers whose terms will begin July 1st, 2016.
Boston Subway System Covered in Microbes, But They're Not Harmful
Washington, DC – June 28, 2016 – Boston’s subway system, known as the T, might be just as bacteria-laden as you’d expect but organisms found there are largely from normal human skin and incapable of causing disease, according to a study published June 28 in mSystems, an open access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Researchers Identify New Strategy for Decreasing Neonatal Mortality
Washington, DC - June 28, 2016 - Researchers have discovered how the bacteria Group B streptococcus (GBS) avoids detection by the immune system during pregnancy. The findings, reported in the journal mBio, could lead to the development of new drugs and strategies for treating GBS infection, which is a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality.
Cross-respiration Between Oral Bacteria Leads to Worse Infections
Washington, D.C.—June 28, 2016—Researchers determined that two bacterial species commonly found in the human mouth and in abscesses, cooperate to make the pathogenic bacterium, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, more infectious. Key to the cooperation is that the harmless partner provides the pathogen with an oxygen-rich environment that helps it flourish. The findings, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, could lead to better ways to fight the majority of bacterial infections that play out within complex communities of bacteria.
Michigan Researchers Investigate What Causes Cattle to Shed STEC: Food Safety Could Benefit
Washington, DC - June 24, 2016 - Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are foodborne pathogens spread largely by cattle, that can cause hemorrhagic colitis and kidney failure. In an effort to find ways of reducing this problem, Michigan State University investigators show that stress, and the negative energy balance associated with lactation appear to encourage the shedding of STEC, especially in summer. The research is published ahead of print June 24 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Beneficial Bacteria May Protect Breasts From Cancer
Washington, DC - June 24, 2016 - Bacteria that have the potential to abet breast cancer are present in the breasts of cancer patients, while beneficial bacteria are more abundant in healthy breasts, where they may actually be protecting women from cancer, according to Gregor Reid, PhD, and his collaborators. These findings may lead ultimately to the use of probiotics to protect women against breast cancer. The research is published in the ahead of print June 24 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Weekly Injections Could be used as a Standalone Treatment for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Patients
Boston, MA – Monday, June 20, 2016, 9:00 am EST – Research being presented at the ASM Microbe meeting looks at a humanized monoclonal antibody, PRO 140, as a standalone treatment for patients with an HIV infection. Data from a phase 2b trial of PRO 140 will be presented that suggests an alternative to the current standard of care, which is antiretroviral therapy or ART.
A Novel Therapy for Genital Herpes Engages Immune Cells to Provide Significant Patient Benefits for at Least a Year
Boston, MA – 12:30 pm, Monday, June 20, 2016 – A phase II clinical trial demonstrated that a new type of treatment for genital herpes, an immunotherapy called GEN-003, may reduce the activity of the virus and the number of days with recurrent herpes. This effect of treatment, given by a series of three injections, appears to last for up to at least one year. The research is presented at the ASM Microbe research meeting in Boston.
Stealth Nanocapsules Kill Chagas Parasites in Mouse Models
Washington, DC - June 20, 2016 - Lychnopholide, a substance isolated from a Brazilian plant, and formulated as part of “nanocapsules” cured more than half of a group of mice that had been infected experimentally with Chagas disease parasites. “Chagas disease affects millions of people, mainly in poor rural areas of 21 Latin American countries,” said Marta de Lana, PhD. The research is published in online ahead of print June 20 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Solar Exposure Energizes Muddy Microbes
Boston, MA – 12:30 pm, Sunday, June 19, 2016 – Research at the ASM Microbe research meeting in Boston presents a sediment Microbial Fuel Cell (sMFC) system for remotely investigating the physiology and ecology of electrically active microbes in submerged field sites. Depending on the depth at which device components were submerged, scientists observed variation in start-up time and electricity generation.
Contaminated Gloves Increase Risks of Cross-Transmission of Healthcare-Associated Pathogens
Boston, MA – 5:00 pm, Sunday, June 19, 2016 – Research being presented at the ASM Microbe research meeting provides clear evidence that the gloves of healthcare workers contaminate hospital surfaces with bacteria. The researchers’ data also suggest that types of bacteria may affect cross-transmission rates among contaminated gloves and the hospital surfaces.
Research Shows New Mechanism That Can Cause Eye Inflammation
Boston, MA – 12:30 pm EST, Sunday, June 19, 2016 – Research presented at the ASM Microbe research meeting demonstrates a new way bacteria can cause dramatic morphological changes in human cells. Specifically, the researchers discovered that a common bacterial contaminant of contact lenses and cases can cause the formation of large bubble-like membrane structures on human ocular cells, which can contribute to contact lens wear complications and inflammation.
Sharing of a Bacterium Related to Tooth Decay Among Children and Their Families
Boston, MA – 12:30 pm, Friday, June 17, 2016 – Research presented at the ASM Microbe research meeting provides compelling evidence that children acquire Streptococcus mutans, the bacterium most frequently associated with dental caries, from intra- and extra-familial sources besides their mother.
Ongoing monitoring of Legionella in Flint in the wake of the drinking water crisis
Boston, MA – 12:30 pm, Friday, June 17, 2016 – Research presented at the ASM Microbe meeting suggests that microbial water quality issues of Flint drinking water are improving, based on recent testing in March 2016, but that continued vigilance is in order. The research, performed by the Flint Water Study team at Virginia Tech, found that levels of DNA markers for Legionella have decreased throughout Flint since October 2015 before the water change, but did confirm that pathogenic forms of the bacteria, including L. pneumophila, were culturable at some sampling points.
Microbes in Pressed Grapes Before Fermentation May Predict Flavor Metabolites in the Finished Wine
Washington, DC - June 14, 2016 - The microbial mix found in grape juice during the winemaking process may help shape the terroir of a finished wine, report food scientists at the University of California, Davis. In a study published in the May/June issue of mBio, an online open-access journal from the American Society of Microbiology, the researchers found that the microorganisms found in must – freshly-pressed grape juice, before fermentation – can be used as biomarkers to predict which metabolites will be found in the finished wine. Metabolites are chemical compounds that help shape the flavor and texture of a wine.
Fusing Design and Science, ASM’s Agar Art Contest is Back for Round Two
Washington, DC – June 8, 2016 – Following the success of the American Society for Microbiology’s vastly popular Agar Art contest last year, the winners of ASM’s second Agar Art contest have been announced. The contest drew widespread public interest last fall for its stunning and innovative submissions of artwork created using only microbes on agar plates. This year’s contest, enticing more entrants with the theme “plate a little culture,” has attracted even more inventive works of both art and science.
New Compound Shows Promise Against Malaria
Washington, DC - June 6, 2016 - Malaria parasites cause hundreds of millions of infections, and kills hundreds of thousands of people annually, mostly in Africa. And in recent years the most dangerous malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, has become increasingly resistant to the main anti-malarial drugs. Now, an international team of researchers shows that some members of a class of compounds called oxaboroles, which contain the element, boron, have potent activity against malaria parasites. The research is published ahead of print June 6 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Crowds of Crows Spread C. jejuni: Are Humans Vulnerable?
Washington, DC - June 3, 2016 - Crows are smart, highly social animals that congregate in flocks of tens of thousands. Such large, highly concentrated populations can easily spread disease—not only amongst their own species, but quite possibly to humans, either via livestock, or directly. On the campus of the University of California, Davis, during winter, approximately half of the 6,000 American crows that congregated at the study site carried Campylobacter jejuni, which is the leading cause of gastroenteritis in humans in industrialized countries, which could contribute to the spread of disease. The research is published ahead of print June 3 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Study Shows How Bacteria Evolve in the Lungs of Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Washington, DC – May 24, 2016 – The bacterium Burkholderia multivorans evolves and adapts in bursts to survive in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, according to a study published this week in mSystems, an open access journal from the American Society for Microbiology. The work, believed to be the first retrospective look at the evolution of this microorganism, indicates that B. multivorans directly or indirectly targets adherence, metabolism and changes to the cell ‘envelope’ to stick around and evade antibiotics.
Temperature Influences Gene Expression, Life Cycle in Vibrio cholerae
Washington, DC – May 20, 2016 – Vibrio cholerae infects roughly four million people annually, worldwide, causing severe diarrheal disease, and killing an estimated 140,000 people. Its success as a pathogen belies the challenges this bacterium faces. The waters this bacterium inhabits when it’s not infecting H. sapiens can be 40 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than our normal body temperature. Now a team of investigators from the University of California, Santa Cruz provides new insights into how different temperatures in the bacterium’s environment control expression of genes required for life at those temperatures. The research is published ahead of print May 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Probiotic Bacteria Could Provide Some Protection Against Cadmium Poisoning
Washington, DC - May 20, 2015 - Oral administration of certain probiotics reduced uptake of the heavy metal, cadmium, in the intestines of mice, and in a laboratory experiment using human intestinal cells. The research, which might ultimately be applied to improving public health in areas of heavy metal contamination, is published ahead of print May 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Antimicrobial in Common Toothpaste Doesn't Impact Gut, Oral Microbiome
Washington, DC - May 18, 2016 - Personal hygiene products such as soaps and toothpastes that contain the antibiotic triclosan do not have a major influence on microbial communities or endocrine function, according to a small, randomized trial. The study findings were published online May 18th in mSphere, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
mBio Editorial Urges an Interdisciplinary Effort to Understand and Utilize Microbiomes, Solve Earth's Modern Challenges
Washington, DC – 6:00 am, May 13, 2016 – A guest editorial in mBio on Friday May 13th discusses the importance of a cross-disciplinary approach to studying earth’s microbiomes and calls for solutions to the challenges that lie ahead in microbiome research. The article titled ‘Toward a Predictive Understanding of Earth’s Microbiomes to Address 21st Century Challenges,’ urges scientists to harness the power of microorganisms collaboratively to address pressing, global 21st century challenges which threaten water, energy and food, ecosystems and the environment, as well as human health. This article highlights the issues being addressed by the National Microbiome Initiative launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
American Society for Microbiology Launches the Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge In Partnership with Two Leading Scientific Societies
Washington, D.C. – 6:00 am, May 13, 2016 - In support of the National Microbiome Initiative launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to accelerate discovery in the field of microbiome research, The Kavli Foundation has committed $1 million to a Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge supporting development of next generation scientific tools for investigating life on a microbial scale. The Kavli Ideas Challenge will be led by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), and carried out in partnership with the American Chemical Society (ACS) and American Physical Society (APS).
Scientists Identify New Route of TB Transmission
Washington, DC - May 10, 2016 - Scientists have discovered a new species of bacteria, Mycobacterium mungi, that causes tuberculosis (TB) and is transmitted through the skin and nose of banded mongoose in Northern Botswana. The findings, published May 10 in the journal mBio, have radically changed scientists understanding of how tuberculosis can be transmitted.
Narrow Spectrum Antibiotic Kills Pathogens Without Killing Good Bacteria
Washington, DC - May 9, 2016 - The problem with broad spectrum antibiotics is that they kill good bacteria along with the bad. But a new antibiotic, Debio 1452, which is narrowly targeted at Staphilococcal pathogens, caused almost no harm to the gut microbiome of mouse models, while conventional broad spectrum antibiotics caused major damage. The research is published ahead of print May 9th in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Probiotics Mitigate Stress in Medical Students at Exam Time
Washington, DC - May 6, 2016 - A probiotic given to medical students during the run-up to nationwide medical school examinations reduced stress among the students. “The probiotic strain, Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota can relieve many aspects of the stress response, especially gastrointestinal dysfunction,” said corresponding author Kouji Miyazaki, PhD, director of the Food Research Department of Yakult Central Institute, Tokyo, Japan. The research is published ahead of print May 6th, in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Media Advisory: ASM Hosts Press Conference on Zika Virus Research
Prior to the Zika Conference on June 1st, ASM Communications will host a panel of Zika virus experts who will speak about the latest developments on Zika virus research and a wide range of fields that touch on flaviviruses. Join us for a premier glance of the Zika conference and for a chance to ask questions to the panel members.
HPV Infection Can Be Identified in Self-Collected Vaginal Swabs - Boon for Screening in Developing Countries
Washington, DC - April 29, 2016 - High risk, potentially cancer causing human papillomavirus infections are common among women in Papua New Guinea. But self sampling with vaginal swabs may provide materials that screen as accurately as the more labor-intensive approach using cervical samples obtained by clinicians. This finding is critical to developing same day screening and treatment, which is key to ensuring that women with precancerous lesions are treated in this largely unconnected (electronically) country, and in others like it. The research appeared online April 13th in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, which is published by the American Society for Microbiology.
Proteomics Method Measures Carbon Uptake of Marine Microbes
Washington, DC – April 26, 2016 – In a paper published April 26th in mSystems, a team of researchers led by microbiologists at Oregon State University, in Corvallis, describe a successful trial of a new method of identifying the carbon uptake of specific marine bacterioplankton taxa. The technique uses proteomics – the large-scale study of proteins – to observe directly the metabolic processes of communities of microorganisms.
Fusing Design and Science, ASM's Agar Art Contest is Back for a Second Time
Washington, DC – April 26, 2016 – Building upon the success of The American Society for Microbiology's vastly popular agar art contest last year, round two of the competition is currently underway with expectations for even more inventive artwork. The contest drew widespread public interest last fall for its stunning and innovative submissions of artwork created using only microbes on agar plates. This year's contest, enticing more entrants with the theme "plate a little culture," will close on May 6th, and winners will be announced at a special art gallery at ASM's yearly meeting this June in Boston.
Danish Investigators Reduce Sugar Content of Yogurt without Reducing Sweetness
Washington, DC – April 22, 2016 – A team from a Danish food ingredients company has manipulated the metabolic properties of yogurt-producing bacteria to sweeten the yogurt naturally, while reducing sugar in the final product. Similar manipulations have also all but eliminated lactose, so that those with lactose intolerance can enjoy the yogurt. They have accomplished all of this using microbiological methods that predate the era of genetic technologies. The research appears April 22nd in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Study: Cities have Individual Microbial Signatures
Washington, DC – April 19, 2016 – Cities have their own distinct microbial communities but these communities don’t vary much between offices located in the same city, according to a new study. The work, published this week in mSystems, an open access journal from the American Society for Microbiology, offers insight into what drives the composition of microbes in built environments.
Mothers' Milk and the Infant Gut Microbiota: An Ancient Symbiosis
Washington, DC – April 15, 2016 – Nursing infants’ gastrointestinal tracts are enriched with specific protective microbes. Mother’s milk, itself, guides the development of neonates’ gut microbiota, nourishing a very specific bacterial population that, in turn, provides nourishment and protects the child. Now a team from the University of California, Davis, has identified the compound in the milk that supplies this nourishment, and has shown that it can be obtained from cow’s milk. This work could result in using cow’s milk to provide that compound as a prebiotic for infants. The research is published ahead of print on April 15th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Cause of Maryland Food Poisoning Outbreak Traced to Asia
Washington, DC – April 6, 2016 – Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused an outbreak of food poisoning in Maryland in 2010. The pathogen strain sequenced from patients proved to be the same strain as one of those found in raw oysters from local restaurants, strong evidence that the oysters were the source of the illness. That particular strain of V. parahaemolyticus was not local, but was traced to Asia. The research is published March 18 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Targeting the Gut Microbiome to Fight Heart Disease
Washington, DC – April 5, 2016 – A compound found in red wine, resveratrol, reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome, according to a new study by researchers from China. The study is published in mBio, an open-access journal published by the American Society for Microbiology.
Researchers Discover New Fish Virus that Threatens Global Tilapia Stocks
Washington, D.C.—April 5, 2016—An international team of researchers has identified a new virus that attacks wild and farmed tilipia, an important source of inexpensive protein for the world’s food supply. In work published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, the team clearly shows that the Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) was the culprit behind mass tilapia die-offs that occurred in Ecuador and Israel in recent years. The work also provides a foundation for developing a vaccine to protect fish from TiLV.
Investigators Identify New Pneumonia Epidemic in Beijing
Washington, DC – March 31, 2016 –Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections began rising in Beijing last spring, and by December, this pathogen was found in more than half of hospitalized children suffering from pneumonia in that city, according to investigators from the Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing, China. Now these investigators predict that this epidemic will likely continue well into 2016, and possibly longer. Their data may help clinicians slow the epidemic. The research is published February 24th in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.
Nonpathogenic Viruses Transferred During Fecal Transplants
Washington, DC – March 29, 2016 – Communities of viruses can be transferred during fecal transplants, according to a study published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Fortunately for patients who use this procedure, the viruses found to be transmitted in this study appear to be harmless to humans.