|Jeffery F. Miller, Ph.D., Professor,
Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, UCLA
Dear ASM Members:
Happy New Year! As 2012 drew to a close the ASM continued to expand its scientific diplomacy, supporting microbiology and microbiologists around the globe.
In November I was honored to represent the Society at the 53rd Annual Conference of the Association of Microbiologists of India (AMI), where I presented the keynote lecture to 2,400 attendees. During the conference I was struck by the enthusiasm attendees expressed towards ASM, and the incredible potential to enhance our global network through partnerships with scientific communities worldwide. I want to thank the organizers, the leadership of the AMI, and our ASM Ambassador for their hospitality and congratulate them for hosting such an excellent meeting.
This spirit of international collaboration can also been seen in the Societyâ€™s work in Yemen where, in addition to hosting an October 2012 workshop in the capital, ASM will launch a Bio Resource Center later this month. The Center, developed in partnership with the Yemeni ASM Ambassador and Sanaâ€™a University, will provide the local community with cutting-edge resources and training, including access to on-line journals and ASM-hosted webinars. By providing the second of only two internet access points available to the Faculty of Medicine, the Center will significantly expand Yemeni participation in the global scientific community. Similar projects are underway in Pakistan, Malaysia and Myanmar. These are all valuable opportunities to build relationships based on common interests and a desire to work together as colleagues and friends.
On this side of the Atlantic, an ASM delegation to Brazil was featured during the biannual Latin American Congress on Microbiology and later led a full-day workshop on Best Practices in Scientific Writing and Publishing at the University of Sao Paulo, for over 100 newly registered ASM members. Once again, these efforts were coordinated by our local ASM Ambassador who will also work to ensure that the positive outcomes are sustained.
Finally, itâ€™s time to start thinking about the 2013 ASM General Meeting. This year, for the first time, the Society will be meeting in the Mile-High City of Denver, Colorado, May 18-21. The preliminary program and registration and housing information can be found on the meetingâ€™s website.
Jeff F. Miller, Ph.D.
New Colloquium Report: Microbes in Pipes
Non-microbiologists may assume that the goal of water utilities should be the elimination of all microbes from our drinking water. But the water we drink has never been sterile; perfectly safe water contains millions of non-pathogenic microbes in every glassful. Like every other human-built environment, the entire water distribution system — every reservoir, every well, every pipe, and every faucet — is home to hundreds or thousands of species of bacteria, algae, invertebrates, and viruses, most of which are completely harmless. Microbes in Pipes:Â The microbiology of the water distribution infrastructure, a new report from the American Academy of Microbiology examines what is known about the microbial inhabitants of the water distribution system and proposes goals for advancing our understanding of these communities to enhance the safety of our drinking water and the resilience of our water infrastructure.Â
Molecular Diagnosis of Infectious Disease: A Practical Course for Practitioners
In response to a request from Divisional Group 1 members for more education and training on molecular diagnostic technique in the clinical lab, the Committee on Professional Practices is offering a 12-week telecourse for laboratory personnel. Molecular Diagnosis of Infectious Disease will provide an introduction to molecular biology and an explanation of molecular diagnostic methods as they are used and encountered in the clinical microbiology laboratory. The telecourse is made possible through the generous financial support of Roche Diagnostics.
New from ASM Press
A new edition of ASMâ€™s food microbiology reference, Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers 4th Edition, provides a detailed, in-depth exploration of the rich science of food microbiology. It balances the importance of the practical and applied needs of food microbiology with the inherent need for scientific exploration of the fundamental issues of genetics, growth, survival, and control of prokaryotic and eukaryotic foodborne agents. This revised edition serves as significant reference book for professionals who conduct research, teach food microbiology courses, analyze food samples, conduct epidemiologic investigations, and craft food safety policies. The book provides insight into where food microbiology is going in the next five years, based on advances in the past five years. It addresses the field's major concerns, including spoilage, pathogenic bacteria, mycotoxigenic molds, viruses, prions, parasites, preservation methods, fermentation, beneficial microorganisms, and food safety; details the latest scientific knowledge and concerns of food microbiology; and, offers descriptions of the latest and most advanced techniques for detecting, analyzing, tracking, and controlling microbiological hazards in food.
mBio™ in the News
A new SARS-like coronavirus is on the loose, already causing five deaths in the Middle East. As public health officials scramble to better understand this new killer, mBio™, the Societyâ€™s online open-access journal , published two articles on the origins and potential host species of this new virus, that were featured prominently in the news. Read the coverage from Science Magazine, BBC News and the Huffington Post.
ASM Comments on H5N1 Questions
Should highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses be added to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) list of select agents and, if so, should it be considered a Tier 1 select agent? That was the question put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late 2012 for public comment, focusing specifically on the strains containing hemagglutinin (HA) from the Goose/Guangdong/1/96 lineage (the only strains that have been implicated in human infections). In its response to these questions the Public and Scientific Affairs Board of the ASM noted that because they are a major threat to animal health, all highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses are already regulated as select agents by the United States Department of Agriculture and require the safety and security requirements afforded select agents. Therefore, the ASM commented that there is no added benefit to adding these viruses to the HHS select agent list at this time.
ASM Signs Clinical Laboratory Coalition Letter to House Members
ASM joined with 49 members of the Clinical Laboratory Coalition, representing Americaâ€™s community, regional, hospital-based, and national clinical laboratories in a letter to House leadership. The letter requests protection of access to Medicare Part B clinical laboratory services as Congress works to address end of year fiscal matters, including sequestration and the pending Medicare SGR cuts to physicians. The letter specifically urges legislators to oppose any additional reductions in the Medicare Part B Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule, which was cut by Congress earlier this year.
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