Redesigned Website Makes Microbiology Accessible to Public

Barbara Hyde
(202) 942-9306

WASHINGTON, DC-November 4, 2002 -- The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) announces the launch of its newly redesigned educational website, Designed for primarily for teenagers and adults, the website provides information about basic microbiology, issues involving microbiology, and many other resources and is intended to complement ASM's award-winning site for middle-school children,

"We hope that the new Microbeworld will become a primary source for the public who want to know more about microbiology and its impact on their daily lives," said D. Jay Grimes, chair of ASM's Communications Committee. "We have designed the site so that it presents not only basic information on microbiology, but also current topics involving microbiology that people hear about in the news."

The new Microbeworld replaces the previous site that showcased the activities of the former Microbial Literacy Collaborative (MLC), a consortium of outreach activities centered on the PBS television series Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth, which premiered in October 1999. The new site retains some content developed by the MLC, including activities and resources, a link to the PBS site for the TV series, and links for ordering copies of the TV series, the companion book published by ASM, and the 12-part telecourse for college students.

Visitors to the site will find basic information on microbes-"what they are and what they do," tools microbiologists use, and profiles of a variety of microbiologists describing their work and how they became interested in microbiology. The site includes a microbe photo gallery as well as an historical timeline of key developments in microbiology since 1875.

A "Current Issues" section provides a more in-depth look at areas of microbiology that receive special attention from various ASM program units, such as water quality and antibiotic resistance, and highlights ASM reports and expertise in these areas. Another link connects users to ASM's Weekly News Digest, a compendium of links to current news stories related to microbiology. An additional section has an extensive listing of additional resources and hands-on activities that can be used by individuals or in classroom settings.

The homepage also has prominent links to other online resources from ASM, including the site, ASM's MicrobeLibrary, and ASM's main organizational site. It is supported in part by a grant from the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology.

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 42,000 scientists, teachers, physicians, and health professionals. Its mission is to promote research and training in the microbiological sciences and to assist communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public to improve health, economic well being, and the environment.