Press Releases

Report on Viruses Looks Beyond Disease
WASHINGTON, DC – July 22, 2014 – In contrast to their negative reputation as disease causing agents, some viruses can perform crucial biological and evolutionary functions that help to shape the world we live in today, according to a new report by the American Academy of Microbiology.

 

MERS Coronavirus Detected in the Air of a Saudi Arabian Camel Barn
WASHINGTON, DC – July 22, 2014 – Saudi Arabian researchers have detected genetic fragments of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the air of a barn holding a camel infected with the virus. The work, published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, indicates that further studies are needed to see if the disease can be transmitted through the air.

 

 

Investigators Identify Genes That Contribute to Radiation Resistance
WASHINGTON, DC – July 21, 2014 – A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin have identified 46 genes in Escherichia coli that are necessary for its survival at exceptionally high levels of radiation. The paper appears ahead of print in the Journal of Bacteriology.

 

Potential New Flu Drugs Target Immune Response, Not Virus
WASHINGTON, DC – July 21, 2014 -- The seriousness of disease often results from the strength of immune response, rather than with the virus, itself. Turning down that response, rather than attacking the virus, might be a better way to reduce that severity, says Juliet Morrison of the University of Washington, Seattle. She and her collaborators have now taken the first step in doing just that for the H7N9 influenza, and their work has already led to identification of six potential therapeutics for this highly virulent strain. The research is published ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

 

Little Too Late: Researchers Identify Disease That May Have Plagued 700-Year-Old Skeleton
WASHINGTON, DC – July 15, 2014 – European researchers have recovered a genome of the bacterium Brucella melitensis from a 700-year-old skeleton found in the ruins of a Medieval Italian village.

 

Study Reveals Fungus in Yogurt Outbreak Poses a Threat to Consumers
WASHINGTON, DC – July 8, 2014 – The fungus responsible for an outbreak of contaminated Greek yogurt last year is not harmless after all but a strain with the ability to cause disease, according to research published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Novel Intravaginal Ring Shows Promise For HIV Prevention
WASHINGTON, DC – July 2, 2014 – A novel intravaginal ring implanted with anti-retroviral drug tablets, or pods, demonstrated sustained and controlled drug release and safety over 28 days, according to a paper published ahead of print in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. The ring, designed to prevent transmission of HIV, was tested in pig-tailed macaque monkeys, and is engineered to be inexpensive, all the better for use in developing countries, says corresponding author Marc Baum.

 

Foodborne Bacteria Can Cause Disease in Some Breeds of Chickens After All
WASHINGTON, DC – July 1, 2014 – Contrary to popular belief, the foodborne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni is not a harmless commensal in chickens but can cause disease in some breeds of poultry according to research published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Donohue Becomes President of the American Society for Microbiology
WASHINGTON, DC – July 1, 2014 – As of July 1, 2014, University of Wisconsin-Madison bacteriology professor Timothy J. Donohue will become president of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

 

Bacterial Colonies Evolve Amazing Diversity
WASHINGTON, DC – June 30, 2014 – Like human societies--think New York City--bacterial colonies have immense diversity among their inhabitants, often generated in the absence of specific selection pressures, according to a paper published ahead of print in the Journal of Bacteriology.

 

Sharpening a Test for Tracing Food-borne Illness to Source
WASHINGTON, DC – June 23, 2014 – 
Research from the University of Melbourne, Australia, could make it easier for public health investigators to determine if a case of food poisoning is an isolated incident or part of a larger outbreak. The findings are published ahead of print in the Journal of Bacteriology.

 

Evolution of Equine Influenza Led to Canine Offshoot Which Could Mix With Human Influenza
WASHINGTON, DC – June 19, 2014 – Equine influenza viruses from the early 2000s can easily infect the respiratory tracts of dogs, while those from the 1960s are only barely able to, according to research published ahead of print in the Journal of Virology. The research also suggests that canine and human influenza viruses can mix, and generate new influenza viruses.

 

Fecal Transplants Restore Healthy Bacteria and Gut Functions
WASHINGTON, DC – June 17, 2014 – Fecal microbiota transplantation --- the process of delivering stool bacteria from a healthy donor to a patient suffering from intestinal infection with the bacterium Clostridium difficile --- works by restoring healthy bacteria and functioning to the recipient’s gut, according to a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Good Bacteria Armed With Antibiotic Resistance Protect Gut Microbiome
WASHINGTON, DC – June 12, 2014 – Researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland have discovered that populating the gastrointestinal (GI) tracts of mice with Bacteroides species producing a specific enzyme helps protect the good commensal bacteria from the harmful effects of antibiotics. Their research is published ahead of print in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

 

Bacteria Help Explain Why Stress, Fear Trigger Heart Attacks
WASHINGTON, DC – June 10, 2014 - Scientists believe they have an explanation for the axiom that stress, emotional shock, or overexertion may trigger heart attacks in vulnerable people.  Hormones released during these events appear to cause bacterial biofilms on arterial walls to disperse, allowing plaque deposits to rupture into the bloodstream, according to research published in published today in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Fermentation of Cocoa Beans Requires Precise Collaboration Among Two Bacteria, and Yeast
WASHINGTON, DC – June 10, 2014 – Good chocolate is among the world’s most beloved foods, which is why scientists are seeking to improve the product, and enhance the world’s pleasure. A team of researchers from Germany and Switzerland—the heartland of fine chocolate—have embarked upon a quest to better understand natural cocoa fermentation and have published findings ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

 

Bacterium Causing U.S. Catfish Deaths Has Asian Roots
WASHINGTON, DC – June 3, 2014 – A bacterium causing an epidemic among catfish farms in the southeastern United States is closely related to organisms found in diseased grass carp in China, according to researchers at Auburn University in Alabama and three other institutions. The study, published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, suggests that the virulent U.S. fish epidemic emerged from an Asian source.

 

Improved Identification of War Wound Infections Promises More Successful Treatment
WASHINGTON, DC – May 29, 2014 – War wounds that heal successfully frequently contain different microbial species from those that heal poorly, according to a paper published ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. These and other findings have important implications for improving wound healing, says first author Nicholas Be of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California.

 

Testing a Paleo Diet Hypothesis in the Test Tube
WASHINGTON, DC — May 20, 2014— By comparing how gut microbes from human vegetarians and grass-grazing baboons digest different diets, researchers have shown that ancestral human diets, so called paleo" diets, did not necessarily result in better appetite suppression. The study, published in mBio® the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, reveals surprising relationships between diet and the release of hormones that suppress eating.

 

Studies Find Existing and Experimental Drugs Active against MERS-Coronavirus
WASHINGTON, DC – May 19, 2014 – A series of research articles published ahead of print in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy have identified a number of existing pharmaceutical drugs and compounds under development that may offer effective therapies against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

 

Humans and Companion Animals Harbor the Same Types of MRSA Infections
WASHINGTON, DC – May 13, 2014 – A shared population of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria circulates both in humans and companion animals, according to a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Potential Cure For Captive Amphibians With Chytrid Fungus
WASHINGTON, DC – May 12, 2014 – Researchers at Vanderbilt University have identified an alternative to a sometimes toxic therapy that protects frogs in zoos from a deadly fungal infection that has been destroying the amphibian populations worldwide.  Their research is published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

 

ASM and ISC Announce Joint ICAAC/ICC Meeting in 2015
WASHINGTON, DC – May 10, 2014 – The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and the International Society of Chemotherapy for Infection and Cancer (ISC) announce an agreement to hold the ASM's Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) and the ISC's International Congress of Chemotherapy (ICC) as a joint meeting in 2015.  The ICAAC/ICC meeting will be held September 18-21, 2015 in San Diego, California.

 

Distinct Avian Influenza Viruses Found in Antarctic Penguins
WASHINGTON, DC – May 6, 2014 – An international team of researchers has, for the first time, identified an avian influenza virus in a group of Adélie penguins from Antarctica. The virus, found to be unlike any other circulating avian flu, is described in a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Tomato Turf Wars: Benign Bug Bests Salmonella. Tomato Eaters Win
WASHINGTON, DC – May 5, 2014 – Scientists from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have identified a benign bacterium that shows promise in blocking Salmonella from colonizing raw tomatoes. Their research is published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

 

Low Cholesterol in Immune Cells Slows HIV Progression
WASHINGTON, DC – April 29, 2014 – Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have identified why some HIV-infected people experience much slower disease progression, even without medication, and it has to do with cholesterol levels in specific immune cells.  They report their findings in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Cow Manure Harbors Diverse New Antibiotic Resistance Genes
WASHINGTON, DC—April 22, 2014—Manure from dairy cows, which is commonly used as a farm soil fertilizer, contains a surprising number of newly identified antibiotic resistance genes from the cows’ gut bacteria. The findings, reported in mBio® the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, hints that cow manure is a potential source of new types of antibiotic resistance genes that transfer to bacteria in the soils where food is grown.

 

Rethink Education to Fuel Bioeconomy Says Report
WASHINGTON, DC – April 15, 2014 – Microbes can be highly efficient, versatile and sophisticated manufacturing tools, and have the potential to form the basis of a vibrant economic sector.  In order to take full advantage of the opportunity microbial-based industry can offer, though, educators need to rethink how future microbiologists are trained, according to a report by the American Academy of Microbiology.

 

Long-Term Antibiotic Treatment for Q Fever Causes Weight Gain
WASHINGTON, DC – April 14, 2014 – Scientists have unearthed still more evidence that antibiotics can contribute to obesity.  Research published ahead of print in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy suggests that patients on long-term antibiotic treatment gained weight and had significant changes in their gut microbiota.

 

Antimicrobial from Soaps Promotes Bacteria Buildup in Human Noses
WASHINGTON, DC – April 8, 2014 – An antimicrobial agent found in common household soaps, shampoos and toothpastes may be finding its way inside human noses where it promotes the colonization of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and could predispose some people to infection. Researchers at the University of Michigan report their findings this week in a study published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Chikungunya Poised to Invade the Americas
WASHINGTON, DC – April 7, 2014 – A team of French and Brazilian researchers warn that chikungunya virus is poised to invade, and become epidemic in the Americas according to research published ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

 

First Look at Breast Microbiota Raises Tantalizing Questions
WASHINGTON, DC – March 24, 2014 – The female breast contains a unique population of microbes relative to the rest of the body, according to the first-ever study of the breast microbiome. That study sought to lay the groundwork for understanding how this bacterial community contributes to health and disease, says first author Camilla Urbaniak, a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario. The research was published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

 

Studies of Gut Flora in Infants and Toddlers Could Lead to Better Health
WASHINGTON, DC – March 20, 2014 – Breastfeeding until at least nine months of age increases prevalence in the gastrointestinal tract of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, species which are known to contribute to development of a healthy immune system, according to a paper describing the establishment of the intestinal microbiota during the first three years of life. The research was published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

 

Study Fingers Chickens, Quail, in Spread of H7N9 Influenza Virus
WASHINGTON, DC – March 18, 2014 – Among the copious species of poultry in China, quail and chickens are the likely sources of infection of H7N9 influenza virus to humans, according to a paper published ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

 

Bacterium and Fungus Team Up to Cause Virulent Tooth Decay in Toddlers
WASHINGTON, DC – March 12, 2014 – Early childhood caries, a highly aggressive and painful form of tooth decay that frequently occurs in preschool children, especially from backgrounds of poverty, may result from a nefarious partnership between a bacterium and a fungus, according to a paper published ahead of print in the journal Infection and Immunity.

 

Seminal Fluid Increases Gonorrhea Infectivity
WASHINGTON, DC – March 4, 2014 – Researchers have come a step closer to understanding how gonorrhea infections are transmitted. When Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea, are exposed to seminal plasma, the liquid part of semen containing secretions from the male genital tract, they can more easily move and start to colonize. The research, led by investigators at Northwestern University in Chicago, appears in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Fossilized Human Feces from 14th Century Contain Antibiotic Resistance Genes
WASHINGTON, DC – February 27, 2014 – A team of French investigators has discovered viruses containing genes for antibiotic resistance in a fossilized fecal sample from 14th century Belgium, long before antibiotics were used in medicine. They publish their findings ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

 

Harvested Rainwater Harbors Pathogens
WASHINGTON, DC – February 26, 2014 – South Africa has been financing domestic rainwater harvesting tanks in informal low-income settlements and rural areas in five of that nation’s nine provinces. But pathogens inhabit such harvested rainwater, potentially posing a public health hazard, especially for children and immunocompromised individuals, according to a team from the University of Stellenbosch. The research was published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

 

Vinegar Kills Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacteria
WASHINGTON, DC–February 25, 2014– The active ingredient in vinegar, acetic acid, can effectively kill mycobacteria, even highly drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an international team of researchers from Venezuela, France, and the US reports in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

MERS Virus Widespread in Saudi Arabian Camels
WASHINGTON, DC – February 25, 2014 – The coronavirus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is prevalent in camels throughout Saudi Arabia and has been around for at least 20 years, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Breast Cancer Drug Fights Fungal Disease
WASHINGTON, DC – February 11, 2014 – Tamoxifen, a drug currently used to treat breast cancer, also kills a fungus that causes a deadly brain infection in immunocompromised patients.  The findings, which could lead to new treatments for a disease that kills more HIV/AIDS patients than tuberculosis, appear in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM.)

 

Long Distance Signals Protect Brain from Viral Infections
WASHINGTON, DC – February 10, 2014 – The brain contains a defense system that prevents at least two unrelated viruses—and possibly many more—from invading the brain at large. The research is published online ahead of print in the Journal of Virology.

 

Source of Chlamydia Reinfections May Be GI Tract
WASHINGTON, DC – February 6, 2014 – The current standard of care treatment for chlamydia sometimes fails to eradicate the disease, according to a review published ahead of print in Infection and Immunity, and the culprit may be in the gut.

 

Science Teaching Goes Viral: Alternative Course Increases Undergraduate Retention
WASHINGTON, DC – February 4, 2014 – An alternative approach to the traditional introductory laboratory course at the undergraduate level significantly increases student retention rates, according to research published in mBioÒ the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Bacterial Toxin a Potential Trigger for Multiple Sclerosis
WASHINGTON, DC – January 28, 2014 – Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College have added to the growing body of evidence that multiple sclerosis may be triggered by a toxin produced by common foodborne bacteria. The presented their research at the 2014 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting.

 

Intranasal Vaccine Protects Mice against West Nile Infection
WASHINGTON, DC – January 28, 2013 – Researchers from Duke University have developed a nasal vaccine formulation that provides protective immunity against West Nile virus (WNV) infection in mice after only 2 doses.  They present their findings at the 2014 American Society for Microbiology Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting.

 

Salmonella Infection Mitigates Asthma: Research Could Lead to Treatments
WASHINGTON, DC – January 23, 2014 – Researchers from Germany have identified the mechanism by which Salmonella infections can reduce the incidence of asthma in mice.  The research,which appears ahead of print in the journal Infection and Immunity, opens up new avenues of research that could lead to treatments.

 

Pathogenic Plant Virus Jumps to Honeybees
WASHINGTON, DC – January 21, 2014 – A viral pathogen that typically infects plants has been found in honeybees and could help explain their decline. Researchers working in the U.S. and Beijing, China report their findings in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

ASM Statement on the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – January 17, 2014 – The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the largest single life sciences Society with 39,000 members, commends Congress on the passage of the omnibus spending bill funding the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year 2014.  The passage of this bill represents a step in the right direction although funding for life sciences research is far from ideal, given the abundance of scientific opportunities and programs that cannot be funded and pursued.

 

Special Yeast Reduce Alcohol, Improve Wine
WASHINGTON, DC – January 16, 2014 – A team of Australian researchers has taken a giant step towards controlling a growing problem in the wine community.   They have identified special yeast that produce a lower level of alcohol, helping to preserve the flavor. Their research is published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

 

Food Processors Beware: Salmonella Biofilms Incredibly Resistant to Powerful Disinfectants
WASHINGTON, DC – January 15, 2014 – Once Salmonella bacteria get into a food processing facility and have an opportunity to form a biofilm on surfaces, it is likely to be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to kill it, according to research published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

 

Little But Lethal: Small RNAs Coordinate Bacterial Attack on Epithelial Cells
WASHINGTON, DC – January 14, 2014 -Two small RNAs (sRNAs) working in concert enable the deadly enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) 0157:H7 to attach to and initiate infection in epithelial cells that line the digestive tract, according to a study published in mBioâ, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

 

Cultures: A Small Magazine Tackling Big Issues
WASHINGTON, DC -- January 13, 2014 -- The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) announces a new quarterly publication, Cultures, that explores the intersection of science, policy, and the global challenges we all share by bringing diverse voices to a common platform.

 

Report Answers Questions about the Human Microbiome and Its Role in Health, Obesity
WASHINGTON, DC – January 9, 2014 – The human microbiome, the collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body, is not random, and scientists believe that it plays a role in many basic life processes. As science continues to explore and better understand the role of the human microbiome. A new report from the American Academy of Microbiology addresses some of the most common questions about this growing area of research.

 

Inappropriate Antibiotic Use in Emergency Rooms Not Decreasing in Adults
WASHINGTON, DC – January 8, 2014 – An analysis of emergency room (ER)visits over a 10-year period finds that while inappropriate antibiotic use is decreasing in pediatric settings, it continues to remain a problem in adults, according to an article published ahead of print in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

 

Including Women on Convening Committees Increases Women Speakers at Scientific Meetings
WASHINGTON, DC – January 7, 2014 – Women are currently underrepresented among speakers at scientific meetings, both in absolute terms and relative to their representation among attendees, but a new study suggests one way to address this deficit. An analysis of 460 scientific symposia to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology reveals that the inclusion of at least one woman on a convening committee increases the proportion of female speakers by as much as 74% and significantly reduces the likelihood the session would have an all-male list of speakers. 

Improper Use of Biocides in Food Production May Endanger Public Health
WASHINGTON, DC – January 6, 2014 – Biocides used in the food industry at sublethal doses may be endangering, rather than protecting, public health by increasing antibiotic resistance in bacteria and enhancing their ability to form harmful biofilms, according to a study published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. This is among the first studies to examine the latter phenomenon.

 

2013 Press Releases

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