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Press Releases

Welcome to ASM's Newsroom, a resource for journalists seeking information relating to the microbiological sciences. Members of the media and the general public can access current and archived press releases highlighting the latest research published in ASM's journals or presented at our meetings.

Washington, DC – January 28, 2016 - Urinary tract infections (UTI) in the United States are the most common bacterial infection, and urine cultures often make up the largest portion of workload for hospital-based microbiology laboratories. Managing the factors that affect diagnosis and treatment of UTIs in patients, including selection, collection and transport of urine specimens, contributes to generating meaningful culture results. To determine how these factors impact the management of UTIs, the American Society for Microbiology and the Centers for Disease Control have together developed a an Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine Practice Guideline (EBLMPG) to determine if optimizing the collection, preservation and transport of urine for microbiological culture improves the diagnosis and management of UTIs.

Washington, DC – January 28, 2016 - Bloodstream infections (BSI) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Quick identification of bloodstream pathogens would allow for timely administration of targeted therapy to patients, which could significantly help improve clinical outcomes. To address these issues, the American Society for Microbiology and the Centers for Disease Control have developed an Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine Practice Guideline (EBLMPG) to provide information that could be used for timely and effective patient care.

Washington, D.C—January 27, 2016— The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has issued a national call to action for new commitments to microbiome research from interdisciplinary research teams.  ASM’s mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences and it provides a platform to promote cross-cutting research.

Washington, D.C. — January 27, 2015 — Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has the capacity to provide crucial clinical benefits in patient care, patient outcomes, and public health, however, clinical laboratories must find ways to overcome operational, technical, regulatory, and strategic challenges in order to effectively employ NGS-based diagnostic tests, says a new report from the American Academy of Microbiology.

Washington, D.C.—January 26, 2016— Researchers have uncovered potent antimicrobial activity in a natural clay deposit found on the central coast of British Columbia, Canada. The research, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, shows that the clay can kill members of the ESKAPE group of bacterial pathogens, the culprits behind some of the deadliest and most antibiotic-resistant hospital-acquired infections.

Washington, DC - January 25, 2016 - Nearly ten percent of cases of Staphylococcus aureus infections of the blood spread to the eyeball, according to a team of Korean clinical investigators. That spread can severely impair vision, and even cause blindness. The research was published January 11 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - January 22, 2016 - A soy isoflavone derivative that goes by the scientific moniker, (S)-equol, has proven potent for mitigating menopausal symptoms. However, it has been impossible to produce in quantities sufficient for widespread commercial nutraceutical production. But now, a team of Korean researchers reports having constructed a recombinant bacterium which they say can boost production. The research is published January 22nd in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – January 13, 2016 - Some infants of lactating mothers given the antibiotic and antimalarial, azithromycin, during delivery may be protected from disease, or harmed by the drug. These findings are the results of the most comprehensive evaluation of the transfer of azithromycin into breast milk to date. “Young infants cannot metabolize medicines as well as older children or adults and so even relatively small amounts absorbed from breast milk may produce effects, both therapeutic and adverse, in some suckling infants,” explained corresponding author Timothy Davis, MB, D. Phil. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington DC – January 6, 2016 – New research from North Carolina State University and the University of Michigan finds that bile acids which are altered by bacteria normally living in the large intestine inhibit the growth of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. C. diff is a harmful bacterium that can cause painful and sometimes fatal infections. The work sheds light on the ways in which some commonly used antibiotics can promote C. diff infections by killing off the bile acid-altering microbes. The researchers’ findings appear January 6th  in mSphere, the American Society for Microbiology’s new open access journal. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (grant K01GM109236).

Washington, DC - December 18, 2015 - Intestinal nematodes and roundworms infect more than one billion people worldwide. These parasites lead to malnutrition and developmental problems, especially in children.  Unfortunately, resistance to the existing drug treatment is increasing. Now a team of researchers has successfully inserted the gene for a naturally-occurring, insecticidal protein called Bt into a harmless bacterium. This could then be incorporated into dairy products, or used as a probiotic to deliver the protein to the intestines of people afflicted with roundworms. The research is published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Friday, 20 November 2015 12:00

Research Ushers in New Era of Boutique Chocolate

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Washington, DC – November 20, 2015 - A team of Belgian researchers has shown that the yeasts used to ferment cocoa during chocolate production can modify the aroma of the resulting chocolate. “This makes it possible to create a whole range of boutique chocolates to match everyone’s favorite flavor, similar to wines, tea, and coffee,” says Jan Steensels, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leuven, and the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology, Belgium. The research is published November 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – November 18, 2015 – Coconut oil may be effective at combating infection with Candida albicans, according to a study published November 18th in the American Society for Microbiology’s new open access journal mSphere. The study found that coconut oil consumption reduced gastrointestinal colonization by C. albicans in mice.

Washington, D.C.—November 17, 2015—Researchers working for the U.S. Geological Survey have identified the fungal culprit behind an often deadly skin infection in snakes in the eastern U.S. Published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, the research shows that Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola is the definitive cause of snake fungal disease (SFD), which will help researchers pinpoint why it is emerging as a threat to snake populations and how its impacts can be mitigated.

Friday, 13 November 2015 10:48

Irradiated Anthrax Can Be Sequenced – Fast!

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Washington, DC – November 13, 2015 - These days, mail addressed to selected government offices gets irradiated, in order to kill any biological agents, notably anthrax spores. The downside of this is that viable spores have been needed to identify the anthrax strain, which can be critical to treating those infected. But now Henry S. Gibbons, PhD, has shown that full sequences can quickly be determined from irradiated spores. The research is published November 13 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – November 10, 2015 – A single course of antibiotics has enough strength to disrupt the normal makeup of microorganisms in the gut for as long as a year, potentially leading to antibiotic resistance, European researchers reported this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – October 30, 2015 –  Biofilms—mats of bacteria similar to the plaque that grows on teeth—frequently coat the surfaces of catheters, and of various medical implants and prostheses, where they can threaten lives or lead to failure of the implants. Antibiotics are impotent against biofilms. Now Jakub Kwiecinski, PhD, Tao Jin, MD, PhD, and collaborators show that coating implants with “tissue plasminogen activator” can prevent Staphylococcus aureus, the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, from forming biofilms. The research is published 30 October in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - October 28, 2015 - An article published in Science on October 28th steered by key ASM members highlights the need for an interdisciplinary initiative that would focus on better understanding microbial interactions that could allow for progress in the fields of agriculture, health and energy, to name a few. Led by corresponding author Jeffery F. Miller, Ph.D., Past President, ASM, the article proposes the launch of a Unified Microbiome Initiative (UMI).

Washington, D.C.—October 27, 2015—Australian researchers have found a way to boost the effectiveness and cross-protective capabilities of an influenza A vaccine by adding a simple component. Published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, the research in mice could lead to better seasonal flu vaccines for humans, and also vaccines that could provide community protection in the early stages of an outbreak of a novel flu virus strain.

Washington, DC – October 27, 2015 – Ocean Station Aloha, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) has been designated a Milestones in Microbiology site by the American Society for Microbiology. 

Washington, DC – October 23, 2015 - A phage showed strong anti-microbial activity against a type of food-borne bacterium that often kills infants after infecting them via infant formula. Phages are viruses that infect only bacteria. The research is published October 23 online in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

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