Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Designated “Milestones in Microbiology’ Site

Contact: Garth Hogan


Washington, DC –August 22, 2012—Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has been named a Milestones in Microbiology site by the American Society for Microbiology. This ASM program recognizes institutions and the scientists who worked there that have made significant contributions toward advancing the science of microbiology. A ceremony unveiling the plaque that will mark the site will be held on Friday, August 24th, at 5 pm at Grace Auditorium during the CSHL meeting on Bacteria, Archaea, and Phages.


Since its opening in 1890, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has significantly advanced the science of microbiology through its research and education programs. “An intensive summer course on bacterial viruses (or phage) begun at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1945 resulted in advances in bacterial and phage research that led to our understanding of what genes are and how they are expressed, and ultimately germinated the field of molecular biology,” according to Stanley Maloy, a Past President of ASM who will make the presentation of a commemorative plaque.


“In addition, each summer Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory held meetings that facilitated the enthusiastic exchange of new discoveries and ideas in the rapidly growing field of molecular biology, stimulated largely by microbial geneticists. These discoveries have influenced every aspect of microbiology.” Maloy says.


The phage course continued for many years and by the mid-1970s had evolved into a course on Advanced Bacterial Genetics that taught new generations of scientists how to use new genetic tools that fertilized the biotechnology industry. Research at the Laboratory has always been associated with major trends in biology: Darwinian evolution, classical genetics, penicillin production, the use of microbes as model organisms to explore fundamental life processes, and the development of molecular biology techniques. The advanced courses and meetings that are still held here make the Laboratory a mecca for microbiologists.


In recognition of all these contributions, the American Society for Microbiology is pleased to designate Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory a Milestones in Microbiology site. By placing explanatory plaques at these sites, ASM hopes to increase professional and public recognition of the significance of the science of microbiology.


Previously designated Milestones in Microbiology are the Waksman Laboratory at Rutgers University; Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, California; the site of the University of Pennsylvania Laboratory of Hygiene; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.




Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. CSHL is ranked number one in the world by Thomson Reuters for impact of its research in molecular biology and genetics. The Laboratory has been home to eight Nobel Prize winners. Today, CSHL's multidisciplinary scientific community is more than 360 scientists strong and its Meetings & Courses program hosts more than 12,500 scientists from around the world each year to its Long Island campus and its China center. Tens of thousands more benefit from the research, reviews, and ideas published in journals and books distributed internationally by CSHL Press. The Laboratory's education arm also includes a graduate school and programs for undergraduates as well as middle and high school students and teachers. CSHL is a private, not-for-profit institution on the north shore of Long Island. For more information, visit<


The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 38,000 scientists and health professionals.   ASM’s mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide. More information is available at