University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Bacteriology Designated as a Milestones in Microbiology Site

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UWMilestonesTWIM

L-R - Michele Swanson, Host of This Week in Microbiology (TWiM) Milestones podcast, Tim Donohue, ASM President, Katrina Forest (holding Milestones plaque), UW-Bacteriology Professor,

Rick Gourse, UW-Bacteriology Chair, Tom Brock, UW-Bacteriology Emeritus Professor

 

Click Here to Access This Week in Microbiology (TWiM) Podcast Held in Association with the Milestones in Microbiology Designation

 

 

The American Society for Microbiology

Announces its Designation of the

 

University of Wisconsin–Madison,

Department of Bacteriology

 

as a Milestones in Microbiology site  

 

The ASM Milestones in Microbiology program recognizes institutions and the scientists who worked there

that have made significant contributions toward advancing the science of microbiology. 

 

Milestones Recognition

 

The Milestones designation of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Bacteriology is made in recognition of the Department’s consistent history of outstanding cutting-edge research over the past 100 years, and the continuing benefits to fundamental and applied sciences, to industry, to government and to society as a whole from the research performed in the Department.

 

 

 

Milestones Site Dedication Ceremony

A ceremony unveiling the plaque that will mark the site as a Milestone in Microbiology was held on Saturday, August 30, 2014, in a ceremony held during the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Bacteriology’s Centennial Celebration.  ASM President Timothy Donohue presented the plaque on behalf of ASM.

 

The Milestones Plaque:

xUW APPROVED plaque 2014-REDUCED SIZE-9-5-14

  

 

This Week in Microbiology (TWiM) Podcast 

Michele Swanson, University of Michigan Ann Arbor and co-host of This Week in Microbiology (TWiM), hosted an on-site TWiM podcast featuring UW-Bacteriology panelists Tom Brock, Tim Donohue, Katrina Forest and Rick Gourse, who discussed the history of UW-Bacteriology as well as current research in the Department and in the associated Great Lakes Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, with an emphasis on the diversity of microbiological studies included in the Department.  Click Here to Access TWiM Podcast  

 

 

 

Historical Background and Perspective

 

Overview:

 

The Department of Bacteriology at UW-Madison (UW-Bacteriology) has a rich history. Its current and past research covers the breadth of microbiology, and has resulted in many important discoveries during the past 100 years.  

 

UW-Bacteriology was officially formed in 1914, though even before then (beginning in the late 1800’s), considerable activity in bacteriological studies occurred at UW-Madison. Instruction in bacteriology has been continuous since 1885, probably representing a longer period than any other American university. Over the years, the Department has expanded to study diverse facets of microbiology, while proudly retaining the name “Department of Bacteriology.”

 

UW-Bacteriology was an early leader in the development of agricultural and environmental bacteriology, fields which later formed the basis for the studies of microbial physiology and genetics. The Department is also a leader in fundamental and applied disciplines of microbiology. Its traditions of association with industry and the development of important areas of biotechnology have been present from the outset and continue to this day.

 

Early Research and Development of Courses of Instruction:

In the late 1800’s, several innovators were integrally involved in the development of courses and early research programs at UW-Madison. In 1881, William Trelease, then of the Department of Biology, introduced the discussion of bacteria into his course in Botany. The work of Pasteur, Tyndall, Koch, and Cohn was presented. In 1877-78, the first science laboratories at the University of Wisconsin were developed by Edward Birge. He studied in what is now Birge Hall which houses the Department of Botany. Later, while serving as President of UW-Madison, Birge developed the first formal courses in bacteriology. His first student to enter the field of bacteriology was Harry Luman Russell, who later became the Dean of the Wisconsin College of Agriculture.

 

Animal Health:

Initial research in the Department was devoted to animal health, including the detection and treatment of Johne’s disease in cattle, the relation between avian, porcine, and bovine tuberculosis, and infectious diseases of foxes and other fur-bearing animals. Wisconsin was the first of the dairy states to eradicate bovine tuberculosis from its herds.

 

Dairy Studies and Commercial Canning:

The study of dairying, including pasteurization of milk, starter cultures, and cheese manufacture, was introduced on the campus in the late 1800s as it became apparent that Wisconsin was to be a center of the dairy industry. Extensive research was carried out on techniques needed for commercial canning, and in 1898, benefitting from the knowledge gained through Departmental research, two factories in Wisconsin produced the largest pea pack in the world. In 1889, Harry Russell resolved a canning spoilage problem, and during World War II, the Department developed a protocol for sterilization in glass bottles, metal being reserved for the war effort.

 

Plant Pathology:

Microbiological studies in plant pathology focusing on disease resistance to cereal seedling blight, fire blight, crown gall, and virus diseases of potato and tobacco were also undertaken in the early years. Due to the need for this kind of expertise, the early instructors in the Department of Bacteriology were often botanists in training.

 

Soil Bacteriology:

The importance of soil bacteriology was developed under the direction of Conrad Hoffman and later under the direction of Edwin B. Fred, who joined the staff of the College of Agriculture in 1913. Researchers in bacteriology prepared and distributed cultures for inoculation of legumes, and this research area was furthered by Fred. Work on nitrogen fixation continued in Bacteriology throughout the 20th Century, not only with Fred, but also with Ira Baldwin, Elizabeth McCoy, Winston Brill, and Gary Roberts, as well as in Biochemistry with Robert Burris and Paul Ludden.

 

Industry:

Throughout its history, UW-Bacteriology has maintained strong working relationships with Wisconsin industry, and cooperation between the Department and industries such as the large breweries of Milwaukee and smaller craft breweries scattered throughout the state has been the norm. Working first at Indiana University and later at UW-Madison, Thomas Brock made fundamental contributions to the development of the biotechnology industry through his work with thermophiles and the discovery of Taq polymerase.

 

Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics and Molecular Biology:

In the last 25 years of the 20th Century, the Department began to focus on prokaryotic molecular genetics and molecular biology, with faculty members, including Carol Gross, contributing greatly to the development of the field. The Department continues to focus on fundamental mechanisms in prokaryotic biology to this day, but as it enters the 21st Century, the advent of microbial genomics, as well as the explosion of DNA sequence information and high throughput data analysis, has ushered the Department into yet another new research arena. Identification of new antibiotics and their targets, as well as study of the animal microbiome and its host interactions continue to progress.      

 

Training Future Scientific Leaders:

Throughout its 100-year history, the Department has successfully trained thousands of students for undergraduate and graduate degrees, preparing them to be scientific leaders in the field.  Thomas Brock’s “Biology of Microorganisms” became a classic international teaching text. The appointment of a faculty member principally to teach is rare in large research universities, and in this role, Kenneth Todar and John Lindquist nationally excelled.

 

Relationship with American Society for Microbiology:

UW-Bacteriology has had a close relationship with the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) throughout its history. Several UW Scientists have served as ASM Presidents to date:

 

  • Harry Luman Russell (1908)
  • Edwin George Hastings (1923)
  • Edwin Broun Fred (1932)
  • Paul Franklin Clark (1938)
  • Ira Lawrence Baldwin (1944)
  • Perry William Wilson (1957)
  • William Bowen Sarles (1967)
  • Edwin Michael Foster (1970)
  • Timothy Donohue (2015)

 

Nobel Prize Recognition in Physiology or Medicine

Scientists in disciplines throughout the University of Wisconsin-Madison have contributed to important discoveries, and several have earned Nobel Prize recognition for their work. These include:

 

  • Joshua Lederberg – Awarded Nobel Prize in 1958 for his “discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria”

 

  • Howard Temin – Awarded Nobel Prize in 1975 for “discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell”

 

  • Har Gobind Khorana – Awarded Nobel Prize in 1967 for “interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis”

 

Chronology:

Listed below is a sampling of select landmark achievements at UW-Bacteriology. For more information on the history of the UW Department of Bacteriology and its accomplishments, visit:   http://www.bact.wisc.edu/history.php

 

 

1877   

Edward Birge in the Department of Botany develops the first science laboratories at the University of Wisconsin. His class subject matter includes training in fundamentals in microbiology.

 

1881

William Trelease (Botany) teaches Bacteriology at UW. This is thought to be the first bacteriology course taught at any American university.

 

1893

One of Edward Birge’s first students, Harry Luman Russell, becomes Dean of the College of Agriculture, later named the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), which continues today and hosts departments in life sciences at UW-Madison.

 

1894-1895

In 1894, Harry Russell demonstrates the presence of bovine tuberculosis in cattle herds in Wisconsin.  In 1895, he is instrumental in beginning the development of the Department of Bacteriology, the first of its kind in any American university.

 

1902

Edwin G. Hastings is hired and he develops the concept of cheese starter cultures and ripening organisms. His efforts lead to vast improvements in the Wisconsin dairy industry.

 

1913

Edwin B. Fred is hired in Bacteriology to study nitrogen fixation. In 1934, Fred becomes Dean of the Graduate School, and in 1943, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. In 1945, he becomes president of the University of Wisconsin, a position he holds until 1958.

 

1914

The Department of Agricultural Bacteriology is founded. In 1947, the name is changed to Bacteriology.

 

1920-30s

Bacteriology faculty produce nitrogen-fixing inocula for Wisconsin farmers, helping increase yields of leguminous crops such as peas, soybeans and alfalfa.

 

1927

Ira L. Baldwin is hired in Bacteriology and teaches the first course in bacterial physiology.  Baldwin later becomes chair of the department (1941-44), dean of the Graduate School (1944-45), dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (1945-48), and Vice President of UW Academic Affairs (1949-66).

 

1932

Edwin Fred, Ira Baldwin and Elizabeth McCoy publish the definitive text on nitrogen fixation, “Root Nodule Bacteria and Leguminous Plants.”

 

1942-43

Ira Baldwin serves as founding scientific director of the U.S. Army facility at Fort Detrick, Maryland, overseeing the building of the facility and the recruitment of scores of scientists to conduct fundamental research on the potential of, and defenses against, biological warfare.

 

1940s – 50s

The discovery by Kenneth Raper and Mary Hunt (USDA, Peoria) of the high penicillin yielding strain Penicillium chrysogenum launches a new era of high level practical antibiotic production. UW-Bacteriology works with the USDA scientists, and major developments such as super high yielding mutant strains (Backus and Stauffer) and submerged fermentation techniques (Brown Peterson and Johnson) follow. Further contributions continue to flow from the laboratories of Raper (who came to UW in 1953), Robert Burris, David Perlman, Charles Siu and Jerry Ensign through the rest of the century.

 

1970-72

Bibhuti DasGupta (Food Research Institute) and Hiroshi Sugiyama (Food Research Institute and Bacteriology) purify and characterize botulinum neurotoxin involved in the disease botulism.

 

1975

The Department begins to focus on prokaryotic molecular genetics and molecular biology, resulting in diverse fundamental discoveries.

 

1976

Winston Brill and Vinod Shah identify the metal cluster at the active site of nitrogenase. This discovery leads to enhanced understanding of nitrogen fixation and benefits agriculture.

 

1980-85

Fun Sun Chu purifies and characterizes antibodies against a range of mycotoxins, contributing substantially to the detection of and control of mycotoxin contamination worldwide.

 

1981-88

Botulinum toxin produced by Edward J. Schantz (Food Research Institute) and Eric A. Johnson (Food Research Institute, Bacteriology) is used in the first primate and human studies for the development of the therapeutic use of the toxin. In 1987, the technology is acquired by Allergan and named Botox®, and is now a multi-billion dollar drug.

 

1988

Marsha Betley (Food Research Institute, Bacteriology) provides the first genetic characterization of staphylococcal enterotoxin genes, which contributes to the understanding of staphylococcal food poisoning.

 

1988

T. Kent Kirk (U.S. Forest Products Laboratory, Bacteriology) is elected to the National Academy of Sciences for elucidation of the microbial degradation of lignin, important for biological pulping of wood, the understanding of the basis of wood rotting and the bioconversion of lignin wastes into useful products.

 

1990s

Bacteriology sees an impressive growth in the number of undergraduate majors as students are drawn to microbiology as a career. It is estimated that since its inception, the UW Department of Bacteriology has trained over 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

 

2001

A gift from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin estate establishes the Wisconsin Idea Endowment, which helps fund community-service learning programs for students, and supports research projects focused on societal issues.

 

2007

As part of the Wisconsin BioStar Initiative, the Microbial Sciences Building is completed, and faculty and staff of the Food Research Institute, Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology, and Bacteriology move into the new building.

 

2007

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is established with Timothy Donohue (Bacteriology) as the Director. GLBRC is developing technologies for the conversion of renewable terrestrial biomass for the production of fuels, fine chemicals, and other industrial products.

 

 

           

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

 

 

 

Any questions? Contact the ASM Archivist at jkarr@asmusa.org 

  

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MICROBE Articles - Biography and History

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Biographies and History-Related Articles in MICROBE (formerly ASM News

 

In 1935 the Society of American Bacteriologists (now the American Society for Microbiology or ASM) began publishing a newsletter, which was designed to convey to members information of interest about Society affairs.  Occasional feature items were also included in the early issues, but it was in 1972 that a decision was made to offer a non-member subscription rate and to make the (now monthly) publication more attractive to non-members by expanding both the feature and book review sections.  Since then, ASM News (renamed MICROBE in 2006) has included numerous articles of historical interest.  See below for links to recent articles.  To access older articles, contact the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) at jkarr@asmusa.org.

 

 

For additional resources or information, Contact the ASM Archivist, Jeff Karr, at jkarr@asmusa.org

 

 

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2013 History of Microbiology Research Travel Award Winners

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The Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2013 History of Microbiology Research Travel Award: 

 

Sharon Bertsch McGrayne 

McGrayne, a free-lance writer and editor in Seattle, Washington, will use the award to conduct research at CHOMA for her book, Woman in Science (working title). The research will focus on Dr. Rita Colwell, and her extensive service to ASM.

 

The History of Microbiology Research Travel Awards are given to support historical research of the awardees' choosing, in areas that can be supported by materials in the CHOMA collections.  The CHOMA collections, located at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, include 9,000 volumes on microbiology and related topics, photographs, biographical materials, topical files on various aspects of microbiology, records of the Society from its founding in 1899 to the present, and several collections of personal papers. 

 

APPLY NOW FOR HISTORY OF MICROBIOLOGY TRAVEL AWARDS –

For more information on the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives, and to learn how to apply for a History of Microbiology Research Travel Award, visit the website at www.asm.org/choma  

 

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History Articles in MICROBE

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In 1935 the Society of American Bacteriologists (now the American Society for Microbiology or ASM) began publishing a newsletter, which was designed to convey to members information of interest about Society affairs.  Occasional feature items were also included in the early issues, but it was in 1972 that a decision was made to offer a non-member subscription rate and to make the (now monthly) publication more attractive to non-members by expanding both the feature and book review sections.  Since then, ASM News (renamed MICROBE in 2006) has included numerous articles of historical interest. 

 

See below for links to recent history-related MICROBE articles.  To access older articles, contact the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) Archivist at jkarr@asmusa.org.

 

For convenience, articles are categorized as follows:

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

GENERAL HISTORY-RELATED ARTICLES IN MICROBE (formerly ASM News): 

 

(Listed by Date of Publication) 

 

*** Note - Site Under Construction - Additional References Will be Added Shortly ***

 

2014

May 2014:

The Soviet Biological Warfare Program and Its Uncertain Legacy (by Raymond A. Zilinskas)

Past Soviet secrecy when linked with a promise by Putin raise nagging questions about Russian BW-related intentions.   

 

February 2014:

A Brief History of the Howard University Department of Microbiology (by Marian Johnson-Thompson and Sterling M. Lloyd, Jr.)

Bacteriology was taught at Howard Medical School beginning in 1892, given departmental status in 1910, and broadened to microbiology in 1958.   

 

2013

May 2013:

Our Society One Hundred Years Ago—the Presidential Address by C.-E. Winslow (by James A. Poupard)

Charles-Edward Amory Winslow, of Yale University and President of the Society of American Bacteriologists (SAB), presented his Presidential Lecture at the 1913 General Meeting in Montreal. The title of his talk was “The Characterization and Classifıcation of Bacterial Types.”   

 

March 2013:

The Earliest American Books on General Bacteriology: 1880 to 1892 (by James A. Poupard and Jeff Karr)

A growing interest in microbiology led to a distinctive surge in American books on general bacteriology published during the late 19th Century.   

 

2012

December 2012:

A Quarter-Century of Indo-U.S. Vaccine Research Collaboration (by Edward McSweegan)

Working through informal channels 25 years ago, officials built a bilateral vaccine program that continues to support solid research in this field.     

 

2011

December 2011:

Historical Use of Cover Slips for Staining Bacterial Specimens (by James A. Poupard and Jeff Karr)

Early American bacteriologists persisted in using a cumbersome method, reluctant to break ranks with their European counterparts.     

 

To access older articles, contact the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) at jkarr@asmusa.org

 

For a list of other categories of history-related MICROBE articles, click the links below:

 

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History of Microbiology Lecture at ASM 2014 General Meeting

 

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114th ASM General Meeting

Boston, MA

May 17-20, 2014

 

Annual History of Microbiology Lecture:   Presented in Honor of Martin Dworkin (1927-2014)

Sponsored by the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA)

 

Recording Available Here:  http://www.asmonlineeducation.com/redeem/choma

 

Title:         Three Heroes of Environmental Microbiology – Robert Koch, Sergei Winogradsky and Arthur T. Henrici

 

Lecturer:   Lawrence J. Shimkets,

                  Professor, Department of Microbiology

                  University of Georgia

 

Convener: 

James A. Poupard

Pharma Inst. of Philadelphia, Inc., Philadelphia, PA

Chair, Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives

 

Description:  

An important element of bacteriology’s early struggle to establish itself as a distinct biological science rather than an adjunct of pathology was the exploration of the distribution and role of microbes in the natural environment.  This lecture, the annual Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) Lecture, will focus on early developments in what later came to be known as environmental microbiology or microbial ecology.   It will discuss three early contributors: Robert Koch, whose demonstration of the relationship between an environmental variable (polluted water) and an infectious disease (cholera) was an early example of microbial epidemiology; Sergei Winogradsky, whose use of enrichment cultures and pioneering work on sulfur oxidizing and nitrifying bacteria helped illuminate the vast and dynamic role of bacteria in nature; and Arthur T. Henrici, who first understood that in natural aquatic communities bacteria flourish on surfaces as well as freely in water, thus laying the groundwork for later biofilm studies.

 

Recording Available Here:  http://www.asmonlineeducation.com/redeem/choma

 

Any Questions? Contact ASM Archivist at jkarr@asmusa.org 

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