About ASM


The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world. Membership has grown from 59 scientists in 1899 to more than 39,000 members today, with more than one third located outside the United States. The members represent all aspects of the microbial sciences including microbiology educators.

The mission of ASM is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM accomplishes this mission through a variety of products, services and activities. 

  • We provide a platform for sharing the latest scientific discoveries through our books, journals, meetings and conferences. 
  • We help strengthen sustainable health systems around the world though our laboratory capacity building and global engagement programs. 
  • We advance careers through our professional development programs and certifications. 
  • We train and inspire the next generation of scientists through our outreach and educational programs.

ASM members have a passion for the microbial sciences, a desire to connect with their colleagues and a drive to be involved with the profession. Whether it is publishing in an ASM Journal, attending an ASM meeting or volunteering on one of the Society's many boards and committees.

Big parts of our everyday lives, from energy production, waste recycling, new sources of food, new drug development and infectious diseases to environmental problems and industrial processes-are studied in the microbial sciences.

Microbiology boasts some of the most illustrious names in the history of science--Pasteur, Koch, Fleming, Leeuwenhoek, Lister, Jenner and Salk--and some of the greatest achievements for mankind. Within the 20th century, a third of all Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been awarded to microbiologists.


In 2015 the ASM approved a new strategic plan that focuses the Society’s work on the following goals and objectives. 

Visionary Society
ASM's culture of scholarship and innovation advances the microbial sciences.

  • Enhance ASM's capacity to communicate authoritatively about the microbial sciences. 
  • Enhance ASM's position as the voice of the microbial sciences. 
  • Strengthen ASM's global partnerships and coalitions. 
  • Enhance ASM's capacity to anticipate and shape the future of the microbial sciences. 
  • Increase key stakeholders' knowledge about and awareness of the challenges facing and the importance of the microbial sciences. 

Science Learning Organization
ASM both educates and learns from stakeholders to ensure the growth and the advancement of the microbial sciences.

  • Cultivate an innovative environment for learning, content development and idea exchange.
  • Increase efficiency and efficacy of programs by regularly assessing the program portfolio, individual services, and ASM's products.
  • Enhance responsiveness to members and stakeholders by regularly soliciting and acting on feedback.
  • Increase engagement of the global microbial sciences community in the work of ASM.
  • Enhance ASM's capacity for personal, professional and scientific development.

Value to Stakeholders
ASM is an inclusive organization, engaging with and responding to the needs of its diverse constituencies.

  • Increase ASM's ability to identify and develop the next generation of leaders for the organization and the science. 
  • Strengthen the relationship of ASM's products and programs to its brand.  
  • Increase our knowledge of and responsiveness to the current and emerging needs of diverse stakeholders. 
  • Improve outreach to current and potential members about the benefits of belonging to ASM. 
  • Increase awareness of the scientific community about ASM programs. 
  • Increase the opportunities for stakeholders to participate in or contribute to ASM. 
  • Enhance ASM's ability to address all members' needs through development and assessment of programs and services. 

Organizational Excellence
ASM is a vibrant, responsive and transparent organization.

  • Ensure ASM's governance, organizational structures, and processes are transparent, inclusive, efficient and agile. 
  • Strengthen the technology infrastructure to support ASM's goals. 
  • Ensure sufficient resources to achieve ASM's goals. 
  • Encourage a culture of experimentation and calculated risk taking. 

ASM Annual Reports


ASM's governance has two major components: The ASM Council and the Council Policy Committee. The ASM Council is made up of 88 voting members and serves as the Society's Board of Directors. The Council is comprised of elected officers, chairs of its permanent boards and representatives from scientific divisions and local branches.

The Council Policy Committee (CPC) is made up of 18 voting members and serves as the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. The CPC has full authority to act ad interim for the Council; exercises the usual functions of an executive committee; and carries out further duties as provided in the ASM Bylaws. The CPC's voting members are the ASM officers, the chairs of the 6 major program units or boards, the chair of the American Academy of Microbiology and 6 at large members. Download the full ASM CPC roster here.

There are three standing committees which report directly to the CPC: the Communications Committee, the Professional Practice Committee and the ASM Press Committee.

See our Constitution and Bylaws.

Read more about our officers and boards below.

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ASM Officers
ASM has four elected officers, the President, President-elect, Secretary and Treasurer.

  • The President provides primary leadership for the Society; presides at sessions of the CPC, Council, and General Membership Meeting; appoints members of Boards, chairs of committees, and representatives to other organizations; approves members of committees; makes interim appointments and policy decisions as needed for operation of the Society; and calls meetings of the officers, CPC, and Council.
  • The President-Elect provides secondary leadership for the Society; substitutes for the President when needed; and prepares to serve as President, doing advance preparation of the table of organization for the ensuing year. A major responsibility is to examine critically the main activities in a major organizational group, to summarize their effectiveness, and to recommend their continuance or discontinuance.
  • The Secretary prepares the agenda for sessions of the CPC, Council, and General Membership Meeting and prepares minutes of said meetings; supervises headquarters activities by working through the ED/CEO; administers and coordinates operations of the Society; interprets policy as needed; and signs grants, contracts, and agreements.
  • The Treasurer is chair of the Finance Committee and thereby supervises all aspects of the Society's finances; provides leadership and works with Elective and Executive Officers to prepare, review, and implement the annual budget; and approves other major fiscal transactions.

Boards and Committees
ASM is comprised of six boards: Education, International, Meetings, Membership, Public and Scientific Affairs, and Journals, plus the American Academy of Microbiology. Boards guide the major ASM programs. The chair of each Board is a voting member of the CPC and Council. Each board has committees with specific assignments within the board's area of responsibility. In addition there are three standing committees: Communications, Professional Practices and ASM Press. The chairs of the Committees are non-voting members of the CPC.

Education Board
The Education Board's mission is to educate individuals at all levels in the microbiological sciences. It supports both student and faculty development through fellowships, online publications, conferences, workshops and institutes, and networking opportunities.

International Board
The International Board develops, sustains and promotes global activities of ASM. Laboratory Capacity Building and Global Outreach comprise its Sustainable Development efforts. These programs advance the mission of ASM, with a focus on leveraging ASM's resources to ensure sustainable health systems strengthening where it is needed the most. Specialized programs central to this effort include a range of capacity building and policy making endeavors, including, but not limited to biosafety, clinician and microbiology mentorship strengthening programs.
The International Board also supports many programs that comprise its global engagement efforts. These programs advance the mission of ASM, with a focus on fostering collaboration and partnership toward meeting the greatest challenges shared around the globe. Specialized programs in science communication, best practices, evidence-based policy making, microbiology mentorship, lab biosafety, and biorisk management are central to this effort.

ASM has members in 158 countries around the world who engage scientists and foster collaboration on a global scale. ASM focuses efforts in 24 countries through programs, and is constantly expanding.

Meetings Board
The Society hosts large annual meetings and other regional, national and international topical conferences, symposia, live teleconferences, and webinars.
ASM Microbe, being introduced in 2016, integrates ASM's two premier events, General Meeting and ICAAC, becoming the largest gathering of microbiologists in the world, and offering a true trans- disciplinary experience by exploring the full scope of microbiology from basic science to translational and clinical application. ASM Microbe offers a chance to explore new approaches to learning, connections and collaboration.
CME accreditation and other types of accreditation for multiple disciplines are provided by ASM.

Membership Board
The mission of the Membership Board of ASM is to communicate and demonstrate the relevance of the benefits of ASM's programs and products to scientists around the world working in microbiology. The Board supports the professional development of its members, including those who are underrepresented in the sciences, by providing services such as career placement, mentoring, networking opportunities, and by awarding annual career development grants for postdoctoral women. The Board also provides resources and management support for a robust national network of regional and local professional activities through ASM Branches and Student and Postdoctoral Chapters. In addition, the Board maintains the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives, thereby preserving the historic contributions of microbiologists and the Society for future generations.

Public and Scientific Affairs Board
Underlying the ASM's dedication to the advancement of scientific knowledge is its commitment that science serves the public interest. To address scientific matters affecting the public interest, the ASM created the Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) in 1979. The PSAB monitors legislation and regulation and develops positions for the Society on public policy issues. The PSAB encourages the adoption of sound policies affecting science and technology and the discipline of microbiology. The PSAB responds to policy makers who may request or require an understanding of research and technology in microbiology.

Journals Board
The mission of the ASM Journals program is to advance the microbiological sciences through the pursuit of scientific knowledge and dissemination of the results of fundamental and applied research. Edited by working scientists who are drawn from eminent institutions around the world, ASM Journals have delivered excellence and value for over 90 years. Known for their quality, rigor, and fairness, ASM Journals continue to provide current, influential coverage of basic and clinical microbial research.

American Academy of Microbiology
The Academy is the honorific leadership group within the ASM. The mission of the Academy is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public. The Academy administers ASM's awards, convenes several colloquia a year for in-depth analysis of critical issues in microbiology, and honors distinguished scientists by electing them to Fellowship in the Academy.

Communications Committee
The Core Purpose of the American Society of Microbiology's Communications is to engage, inform and excite about our science. Its vision is to connect people with our science to increase their appreciation, understanding and excitement about the world of microbes through communications excellence.

To support this vision, Communications provides media relations functions, public outreach, communication training, websites, social media and other resources for ASM. It also oversees the production of Microbe magazine, which is the news magazine of the ASM, and is published monthly in print and online.

Professional Practice Committee
The Professional Practice Committee's mission is to provide professional development opportunities and content to members to increase their skill, enhance their job performance and contribute to the profession. The Professional Practice Committee oversees professional certification, accreditation of postgraduate clinical training programs, the clinical microbiology portal, mentoring for clinical microbiologists and the Speakers' Bureau. The Professional Practice Committee also develops evidence-based and consensus-based practice guidelines.

ASM Press Committee
ASM Press, the book publishing division of the American Society for Microbiology, is the premier publisher of microbiology titles. The ASM Press Committee, a standing committee of ASM's CPC, creates the vision for and oversees the implementation of established product lines and development of future publishing products that respond to market needs. Wholly dedicated to the science of microbiology, ASM Press publishes a broad selection of content, including textbooks, references, monographs, and general interest titles that are used as the foundational texts in colleges and universities and as reference materials in laboratories and governmental agencies around the world. ASM Press content is subjected to a rigorous peer review and development process.

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