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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 – October 13, 2016 – A team of researchers from the United Kingdom has obtained the first complete genome sequence of Zika virus that was isolated from a semen sample. The research is published this week in Genome Announcements, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – October 11, 2016 – New research led by scientists from the University of Maryland, Baltimore demonstrated that when grown together, the fungus Candida albicans provides the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus with enhanced tolerance to antimicrobial drugs. These two pathogens are responsible for the majority of most of the infections in hospitalized patients and are often coisolated from a host. This research could have therapeutic implications, as understanding the interactions between these two diverse microbial species will aid in overcoming the limitations of current therapies and in defining new targets for treating complex polymicrobial infections. The research was published this week in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – October 10, 2016 – The FDA recently released a final rule to ban triclosan and 18 other antimicrobials from household soaps. It is unfortunate that these chemicals have become common household products and have ended up as environmental contaminants. The ban is a move to correct that damage that has already been done, resulting from years of ticlosan and triclocarban usage, which will likely exert negative effects for years to come. Dr. Stuart Levy, a physician and researcher at Tufts University, and President of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, says in a commentary that he applauds the rule because of the risks that triclosan poses to the spread of antibiotic resistance throughout the environment.  The commentary is published October 10, 2016 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – October 10, 2016 - Chikungunya virus has caused two recent massive outbreaks sickening millions of people. Now a team of researchers has shown that several existing compounds have potent activity against the critical CHIKV protease enzyme. The research is published October 10 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - October 4, 2016 - A team of food scientists and microbiologists in Ireland have used high-throughput sequencing to analyze how microbial populations change as kefir ferments. It's a new frontier in food analysis: Using the data, collected over a 24-hour fermentation period, the researchers were able to connect the presence of individual microbial species and their associated pathways to flavor compounds in the fermented milk beverage. They reported their findings in mSystems, an open access journal of the ASM.

Washington, DC – October 4, 2016 – A new study shows that when heat-susceptible bacteria living symbiotically in the guts of insects are exposed to increased temperatures, both the bacteria and the insect are negatively impacted and can die. The study, reported online this week in the journal mBio®, illustrates another way global warming will wreak havoc on life as we know it, setting off deleterious chain reactions among organisms living in symbiosis.

Washington, DC - October 3, 2016  - Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist and ASM member, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for his discoveries on how cells recycle and degrade their content, a process known as autophagy.

Washington, DC - September 29, 2016 - Congress  today passed and President Obama signed a 10-week continuing resolution allowing for funding to keep the government operating through December 9 and including $1.1 billion for Zika virus research. After months of delays , money specifically designated for funding  crucial research on the virus is now available. Further details on the continuing resolution and specific funding for research is available through the ASM Public Policy page.

Washington, DC – September 28, 2016 – Researchers have created a model system of Zika virus to study how the genetics of zika virus impact viral replication and pathogenesis. A new study in the American Society for Microbiology’s open-access journal mSphere describes this new model. Researchers created a plasmid encoding the prototype 1947 Uganda MR766 Zika virus genome that could produce high levels of infectious virus in mammalian cells through direct delivery of this DNA. The study of Zika virus has become increasingly important, and would benefit from an efficient strategy to genetically manipulate the virus. The model provides a simple and effective means to study the pathogenesis of Zika virus and offers an efficient strategy to manipulate the virus.

Washington, DC – September 27, 2016 – For researchers to effectively identify novel therapeutic approaches to chronic bacterial infections, an understanding of how microbes survive in vivo is needed. A study published in ASM’s open-access journal, mBio, looks at The tissue-clearing technique, MiPACT, designed to retain and visualize bacteria, can be coupled with hybridization chain reaction (HCR) to detect rRNA in the sputum samples from cystic fibrosis. The researchers, led by Dianne Newman, a MacArthur ”Genius” Grant Winner, have demonstrated MiPACT’s ability to survey thousands of bacteria (or bacterial aggregates) over millimeter scales and quantify aggregation of individual species in polymicrobial communities.

Washington, DC – September 27, 2016 – Analyzing small pieces of tissue from nearly 40-year-old human autopsies, Arizona researchers have sequenced the genome of the strain of Bacillus anthracis that caused a deadly anthrax outbreak in Russia in 1979. The work is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – September 23, 2016 - A specific strain of the fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, circulates in the water distribution systems of five French hospitals, in two widely separated cities. This microbe is potentially a life-threatening risk to immunocompromised patients. The research is published September 23, 2016 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – September 22, 2016 – ASM President, Susan Sharp, attended the historical United Nations General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which convened at the UN headquarters in New York this Wednesday, September 21. Heads of State addressed the gravity and causes of AMR, and drafted a resolution of collaborative, cross-cutting approaches to improving the current state of AMR.

Washington, DC - September 21, 2016 - ASM President, Susan Sharp, Ph.D., joined global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York today in a historical meeting that will focus on the commitment to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This is the fourth time in the history of the UN that a health topic is discussed at the General Assembly. Previous topics included HIV, non-communicable diseases and Ebola. Heads of State and Heads of Delegations are expected to address the seriousness of the situation and to agree on manageable, cross-cutting approaches to addressing AMR.

Washington, DC – September 19, 2016 – The American Society for Microbiology is pleased to announce the launch of the new Ethics Portal that provides guidelines and resources to assist authors publishing in ASM journals. ASM has a long history of involvement with ethical issues in research and the reporting of scientific results, and the society has undertaken numerous activities to provide tools for the ethical conduct of research. The ethics portal is a further step in defining ethical issues of research misconduct, and providing resources to help authors conduct and report their studies in an ethical manner. For more information on ASM’s involvement in research and publishing ethics, visit the portal, and read a recent report from the American Academy of Microbiology on the reproducibility of microbiological research.

Washington, DC – September 19, 2016 – A team of Chinese investigators has discovered a gene for resistance to β-lactamase antibiotics, in the pathogenic marine bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The β-lactamase gene, blaVEB-2, has never before been found in V. parahaemolyticus, and in fact, has been found almost exclusively in non-marine pathogens. The research is published Monday, September 19, 2016 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - September 19, 2016 - Spores of Bacillus bacteria can survive for years in a dormant state, and then germinate in minutes. But it has long been unclear whether germination required protein synthesis, or cellular energy packets, which are known as ATP. Now, a team from UConn Health, Farmington, CT, has shown that neither is necessary. The research is published online September 19 in the Journal of Bacteriology, published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - September 16, 2016 - Rust is the bane of steel, whether on cars, on ships and boats, or as part of marine infrastructure. Now, contrary to previous thinking, it turns out that the ocean-dwelling, steel-corroding species, Mariprofundus sp. DIS-1, can thrive under aerobic conditions, rather than being limited to “micro-aerobic” or anaerobic conditions. That means steel in marine environments is more vulnerable to bacterial depredations than previously thought. The research is published on Friday, September 16th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – September 6, 2016 – Bacterial cross-contamination from surfaces to food can contribute to foodborne disease. Researchers from Rutgers University evaluated the cross-contamination rate of Enterobacter aerogenes using scenarios including four different surface types, (stainless steel, tile, wood, and carpet) four food types, (watermelon, bread, bread with butter, and gummy candy) four contact times, (<1, 5, 30 and 300 seconds), and two bacterial preparation methods. The researchers found that more bacterial transfer occurred during the longer contact times, but the type of food and surface type also significantly impacted cross-contamination from surface to food, with some transfers taking place instantaneously.

Washington, DC – September 9, 2016 – Certain antibiotic resistance genes are easily transferred from one bacterial species to another, and can move between farm animals and the human gut. A team led by Chinese researchers has characterized this “mobile resistome,” which they say is largely to blame for the spread of antibiotic resistance. They found that many antibiotic resistance genes that are shared between the human and animal gut microbiome are also present in multiple human pathogens. These findings are published September 9 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

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