ASM News

ASM News

PSAB Meeting Focuses on Policy Issues Related to Bioterrrorism

The ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) and officers met at ASM headquarters on 6-7 February 2002. The PSAB meeting agenda focused on policy issues related to bioterrorism, and invited speakers from federal agencies and Congress briefed ASM about research and public health issues and pending regulations and legislation. The PSAB also used the occasion to present ASM Distinguished Public Leadership Award (see story, p. 295) to guest speaker Senator William Frist (R-Tenn.), who has provided outstanding leadership in Congress on issues related to research funding and public health defenses against bioterrorism as well as emerging and drug-resistant infections.

The PSAB met with John Marburger III, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), at its dinner meeting on 6 February. Marburger discussed information and policy issues related to the administration's fiscal year 2003 research and development budget request, which includes major increases for antiterrorism programs, including an additional $l.5 billion for bioterrorism-related research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Marburger also discussed the administration's plans to evaluate the performance of federal science programs and its concerns about earmarking in the appropriations process. Marburger said the OSTP relies on organizations such as ASM for advice and guidance and told ASM that it would be consulted on these and other research issues, and in particular on issues related to biological weapons control and the response to bioterrorism.

ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Baord, staff, and officers.

On 7 February, the PSAB discussed policy issues with eight agency and congressional speakers. The PSAB met with John LaMontagne, deputy director of the NIAID, who briefed ASM about the National Institutes of Health (NIH)'s plans for its biodefense program. LaMontagne told ASM that antibioterrorism efforts will require the skills of microbiologists as never before and that NIH antibioterrorism countermeasures will include support for basic research, applied and translational research, training, drug discovery and development, and biosafety facilities and security. The board discussed issues such as the need to not restrict support only to infectious agents that appear as obvious threat agents, the shortage of biosafety facilities, the need to work with ASM to address personnel needs and training, and new security requirements for work with threat agents. The Board also discussed research and training issues related to bacteriology funding and antimicrobial resistance. LaMontagne provided information in response to a series of questions which ASM had submitted to NIAID concerning funding trends for bacteriology support. LaMontagne also indicated that he would welcome the opportunity to speak at the ASM General Meeting concerning the new bioterrorism funding plans, and a session was planned for 22 May.

Anna Johnson-Winegar, deputy assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense, discussed Department of Defense (DOD) bioweapons countermeasure plans of interest to microbiology, including the development of early warning detection devices for urban and indoor settings. Winegar indicated that the DOD has received 12,000 responses to its broad solicitation to combat the bioterrorism threat, which are currently under review. Col. Edward Eitzen, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) reviewed the USAMRIID biological defense research program and discussed its role and responsibilities with ASM. Doug Bauer, director for Counter-Terrorism Coordination at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), reviewed the recent new activities of the NAS in issues relevant to counterterrorism and national security and how these intersect with ASM activities.

Scott Lillibridge, Special Assistant for Bioterrorism in the Office of the Secretary, Health and Human Services (HHS), told PSAB that HHS is seeking guidance from ASM on how best to expand the specially trained workforce that will be needed as part of the bioterrorist countermeasures buildup in the civilian public health sector. Lillibridge reviewed organizational changes that have been made at HHS to improve communications and coordinate the public health response after the anthrax events of last fall. James Hughes, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Infectious Diseases, and Julie Gerberding, Principal Deputy Director of CDC, discussed CDC's response to the anthrax attack and the public health surveillance system. Gerberding reviewed issues such as the limited capacity of the system for dealing with the surge in clinical specimens that needed to be tested for evidence of Bacillus anthracis. Despite the availability of highly qualified personnel, many were faced with the need to shift into doing different kinds of tests or related activities to cope with short-term needs. Moreover, communication systems were taxed at all levels, presenting challenges to officials at federal, state, and local agencies, and making even more challenging the communication of difficult and quickly changing information to members of the general public. The CDC officials discussed areas in which the ASM can assist the CDC to improve areas of deficiency.

Senator William Frist, Ranking Minority member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Public Health, presented information on legislation in Congress to authorize and expand federal agency programs related to bioterrorism preparedness and response (S. 1765 and H.R. 3448). The legislation includes provisions to expand the regulations for select agents which ASM has been involved in through testimony, review, and comment. Senator Frist thanked ASM for its assistance in improving the bill during the congressional process.

Following the discussions with policy makers, the PSAB discussed priority issues on which to focus in the year ahead, including providing advice on agency plans for microbiological research, training, and infrastructure needs; providing expert advice on improving public health preparedness and response to both bioterrorism and naturally occurring and emerging infectious diseases; providing expert advice on biological weapons control; influencing increases in federal resources for research, training, and infrastructure; providing expert advice on legislation, regulations, and executive branch decisions to balance scientific and national security interests related to select agents and controls on microbiological research and dissemination of information; providing expert advice on funding, legislative, and regulatory issues related to antimicrobial resistance; addressing personnel needs and training related to clinical microbiology and bioterrorism related research; responding to the NIH Center for Scientific Review study section reorganization process; and providing information to policy makers and ASM members on continuing and emerging issues in the microbiological sciences.

Rutgers Celebrates Centenary of Soil Microbiology; Named First Microbiology Milestone Site

Douglas Eveleigh (left) with Byron Waksman at the dedication ceremony for the Selman A. Waksman Laboratory of Soil Microbiology at Rutgers University. As part of the celebtration, Eveleigh was inducted as the first D. and L. Eveleigh and D. and L. Fenton Chair of Applied Microbiology at Rutgers' Cook College. Photo: Steve Goodman.

Edward Voorhees established the Department of Soil Chemistry and Bacteriology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., in 1901. Early studies in that department laid the foundation for understanding the pivotal role of microorganisms in recycling of biomass and other processes vital to the world's ecosystem.

Under the direction of Selman Waksman, this program led to the discovery of many of the first important antibiotics. The extraordinary impact of these discoveries spurred the development of antibiotic research in the mid-20th century, leading to dramatic improvements in public health worldwide.

Simultaneously with a special symposium dedicated to the centenary of the Department of Soil Bacteriology and the 75th Anniversary of the Department of Agricultural Biochemistry, the Selman A. Waksman Laboratory of Soil Microbiology was dedicated. The laboratory will become a conference area and features exhibits about Waksman's career, including display of his 1952 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology.

ASM President Abigail Salyers presents a plaque designating the Rutgers Department of Soil Chemistry and Bacteriology and the Waksman Laboratory as an ASM Milestones in Microbiology site to Ian Maw (center), Interim Executive Dean at Rutgers' Cook College. At right is ASM President-Elect Ronald Atlas. Photo: Steve Goodman.

ASM has named the laboratory as the first "Milestones in Microbiology Site." This new program, a joint project of the ASM Communications and Archives Committees, will recognize sites that have made extremely important contributions to the science of microbiology with a permanent plaque. A bronze plaque commemorating the laboratory and its program will be affixed to the outside of Martin Hall on Cook College Campus. A replica of the plaque will be placed inside near the laboratory exhibit.

"The new 'Milestones' program is an opportunity for ASM to focus on sites that have contributed toward advancing the science of microbiology through the outstanding research and training done at these locations," said ASM President Abigail Salyers, who presented the plaque. "Through this program we hope that the significance of microbiology will become more appreciated throughout the scientific community and among the public as well."

Education Board

EB Attends National Conferences for Minority Students from High School through Graduate School

Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions

Minority Health Professions Foundation  

ASM's Education Board (EB) staff participated in the 2nd Biennial Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) Symposium in Baltimore on 15-17 March and the 16th Annual Symposium on Career Opportunities in Biomedical Sciences in Norfolk, Va., on 27-30 March. The National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Research Resources sponsored the RIMI Symposium. Approximately 200 undergraduate and graduate students and faculty attended the RIMI Symposium. The Association of Minority Health Professions Schools (AMPHS) and the Minority Health Professions Foundation (MHPF) sponsored the Annual Symposium on Career Opportunities in Biomedical Sciences. In attendance at the Annual Symposium on Career Opportunities in Biomedical Sciences were approximately 700 high school students, 200 undergraduate students, faculty, and administrators.




Ian Alan Holder, Director, Department of Microbiology, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Cincinnati, Ohio, was awarded the American Burn Association Curtis P. Artz Distinguished Service Award. The award, consisting of a cash prize, medal, and an honorary membership in the association, is a lifetime achievement award given for outstanding contribution in the burn field. The award was given for Holder's 35 years of research in burn microbiology, topical antimicrobial therapy, and studies on the pathogenesis and treatment of fungal and bacterial infections in burns, especially those caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Deceased Members

Ronald Jenings Doyle died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) on 18 January 2002. Doyle was born in Calvert City, Ky., and went to college at Northeast Louisiana University, Monroe, studying chemistry while also immersing himself in basketball. He returned to Kentucky for his Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Louisville Medical School, receiving his doctorate in 1967. He held a postdoctoral position at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., studying protein chemistry. He returned to the University of Louisville in 1969 and started his long career as a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology, reaching the rank of full professor in 1979. Here, he combined sparkling careers in research and teaching. In addition, Doyle served as associate dean for research at the School of Dentistry, was a Sigma Xi National Lecturer, a Division chair for ASM, a section chair for the Canadian Society of Microbiologists, and became an elected member of the American Academy of Microbiology. Doyle was an honorary member of the Israeli Microbiological Society and the Romanian Academy of Medicine. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Israel, a Fogarty Fellow to the Soviet Union, and an exchange professor with institutes in Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria. He delivered more than 200 lectures at universities and institutes all over the world, including in Cuba and North Vietnam, and was a frequent visitor to Canada, Israel, and Europe.

More than 50 students received graduate degrees in his laboratory, and many more scientists came to visit for weeks or months. A great number of these were scholars from difficult circumstances, being citizens of underdeveloped countries or being from nontraditional backgrounds. Many of his students have gone on to their own successful careers in microbiology. He has published 200 scholarly articles and edited about 15 books. He was one of the world's acknowledged experts on bacterial cell wall physiology and on microbial adhesion. His studies of the colonization of oral streptococci informed a generation of scientists. Gram-positive cell walls, especially those of Bacillus, were another passion, since he knew that they held the secret of cell growth and division. Peptidoglycan, teichoic acid, teichuronic acid, and other ancillary polymers held special jobs in walls, and Doyle's desire to expose their functions did much to advance our knowledge. Gram-negative envelopes were also of interest, and Pseudomonas was a favorite. He studied that microbe's lipopolysaccharides, adhesins, and the role of outer membrane vesicles as periplasm packaging agents. Not even the Archaea escaped his notice, since Methanospirillum hungatei offered such an unusual set of enveloping garments.

Where would our idea of the connection between cell wall turnover and growth be today if Doyle and Arthur Koch had not spent so many hours contemplating "make-before-break"? Such innovative ideas made Doyle widely sought after by scientific groups for their conferences. His most recent journal article (H. Stavri, T. J. Beveridge, D. Moyles, A. Athamna, and R. J. Doyle, Hemagglutinin of unusual specificity from Helcococcus kunzi. Arch. Microbiol. 177:197-199, 2002) was published immediately after his death, and it neatly binds together the topics of walls, adhesins, and unusual prokaryotes.

The wider cultural significance of microbiology was also vitally important to him. Doyle studied and wrote about the role of microbes in religion, oil paintings, and ancient cultural customs. Microbiology and its impact on humankind's history, wars, famines, migrations, and plagues were all fodder for his imagination. He also studied the history of bioterrorism, a favorite topic of his long before the horrific events of 11 September and the anthrax aftermath. These topics not only interested the scientific community but also local groups such as civic clubs and schools. He was as comfortable being a speaker for the Kentucky Humanities Council as he was being an ASM Waksman Foundation Speaker, or Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. He was always "on call" and he always made time for community affairs. He served in quieter ways as well, organizing leaf raking and other service projects with his church, and rarely missing his appointment with a homebound disabled friend for their weekly excursions to a park.

Family, friends, and colleagues will all miss Doyle but his gentle nature and quest for scientific truth will live on and be remembered. Microbiology has lost a pioneering spirit, yet his legacy is firmly engraved in our discipline.

Arthur L. Koch
Indiana University, Bloomington

Terry Beveridge
University of Guelph, Ontario

Marjorie Kelly Cowan
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Harry Mobley
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore


Oksana Maria Korzeniowski, Professor of Medicine at The Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP)-Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, who spent a lifetime saving lives and shaping those of countless medical students, died 29 March 2002 at her home in Glenside, Pa. At 57 years of age, she succumbed to a prolonged and valiant battle with cancer.

Known for her exceptional ability to diagnose infectious diseases, she was an avid researcher and teacher. Among numerous publications, she recently coedited the definitive textbook Cardiovascular Infections with Gerald L. Mandell. Among her accomplishments were numerous awards for excellence in teaching presented by her students and her institution, including the Golden Apple Award in 1987 and 1994, the Lindback Award in 1988, and the Harry Gottlieb, M.D. Award in 2000. She was elected president of the medical/dental staff in 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1999. Korzeniowski was a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and served as Secretary of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Subspecialty Board on Infectious Diseases. She stepped down from her responsibilities at the end of 2001.

Korzeniowski was a graduate of Philadelphia High School for Girls and University of Pennsylvania. She received her medical doctorate from University of Rochester, N.Y., in 1971, and completed her postgraduate training at University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, where she trained in medicine and surgery. After a year studying the infectious causes of gastroenteritis in Brazil, she completed a fellowship in infectious disease at University of Virginia School of Medicine and served as chief resident for the Department of Internal Medicine in 1978-1979. Korzeniowski returned to Philadelphia in 1979, where she assumed the post of assistant professor of medicine and rose through the ranks to the appointment of professor.

Among her many institutional appointments, Korzeniowski served as the medical director for the Inpatient Medical Services of the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (1985-1993), chairman of the Resident Evaluation Committee (1985-1995), chairman of the Committee on the Impact of AIDS (1986-1994), assistant medical director of The Medical College Hospitals (1993-2001), Medical Director for Quality Assessment (1993-2001), hospital epidemiologist (1993-2001), chairman of the Infection Control Committee (1993-2001), and chairman of the Quality Council (1993-2001). Her first concern was always to be an advocate for the patient.

After returning to Philadelphia, she settled in Glenside, Pa., and married Lee Rudakewych in 1982. She devoted her private life to her family, especially their daughter, Alexis Rudakewych, who recently graduated from Cheltenham High School and now attends Boston University, Boston, Mass. Much of Korzeniowski's drive in the past few years was fueled by her desire to see her daughter graduate and settle independently.

Korzeniowski contributed greatly to the knowledge of medicine, even helping to identify and publish reports of anaphylactic reactions to her own chemotherapy regimens throughout her illness, perhaps saving other lives in the process. Her theory about the contribution of "pissed-off T-cells" to the humoral response in neoplastic processes received wide acclaim among friends and colleagues, though she didn't have time to publish it. The source of her "pissed-off T-cells" was the upheaval experienced by the Pennsylvania hospital system in recent years, during which she fought to save the university. Her sense of humor contributed greatly to her success as a doctor, a teacher, a leader, a wife, a mother, and a friend and mentor to so many.

Born in Ukraine 11 April 1945 to Marian and Irena Korzeniowski, she spent the first seven years of her life in displaced persons camps fighting for survival and fleeing the ravages of war. The family arrived in the United States via Italy in 1952 and settled in Philadelphia. Korzeniowski is survived by her mother, husband, and daughter as well as her brother Walter Korzeniowski and sister Daria Blackwell. Oksana Korzeniowski Rudakewych will be sorely missed by family, friends, students, and colleagues alike.

Daria Blackwell
Allendale, N.J.


Robert Campbell (Cam) Wyndham died on 20 March after a short but courageous battle with cancer. With his passing, the scientific community lost a multitalented man whose pursuit of excellence and love of science were an inspiration to his students and colleagues alike. Although his list of accomplishments is long, Wyndham is remembered first and foremost for the personal qualities that so strongly influenced those whose lives he touched. He was a quiet, gentle, and relentlessly optimistic man of enormous integrity-modest in his achievements, generous in his praise. He was the embodiment of academic excellence and collegiality as well as a dedicated family man who succeeded in finding an enviable balance between work and a rich personal life.

Wyndham had a lifelong passion for science and was particularly interested in the environmental impacts of human activities. Wyndham initiated his research career at a time when the toxicity and persistence of many chemicals released into the environment was becoming an issue of serious concern. During his graduate studies he examined the environmental fate of polychlorinated biphenyls and investigated how microbial communities biodegrade oil hydrocarbons. As an independent researcher, he and his students continued this work by characterizing the biodegradation of numerous pollutants, including chlorinated benzoates leaching from waste sites in the Niagara River region and tricyclic diterpenes encountered in effluents from pulp mills. Through this work, Wyndham and his students discovered Tn5271, the first example of an aromatic catabolic pathway encoded on a transposable element, and showed that in the environment, biodegradative pathways are readily transferred between bacterial species. This work, which continues in the hands of his students, earned him an international reputation and the respect and admiration of his colleagues.

Wyndham joined the department of biology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in 1987 and contributed in the fullest way possible to research, teaching, and administration. As a researcher, he had a large and active laboratory that collaborated extensively with other research laboratories, both nationally and internationally. Wyndham, who supervised 15 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and dozens of undergraduate students, fostered a friendly and close environment. Evidence of his excellence as a supervisor is the caliber of people he attracted and their success after leaving his lab: his students have gone on to establish their own research labs in Canada and the United States and have become highly placed members of public service in Canada, and winners of numerous Canadian and international scholarships and fellowships. Wyndham attracted millions of dollars of grant funding, produced over 40 refereed publications, and made more than 80 presentations at major scientific meetings. As a teacher, he was committed to the concept of lifelong learning and believed that strong education was central to his role at Carleton University. He was extremely popular among undergraduate students, and twice in the last eight years was awarded a teaching achievement award. As an administrator, Wyndham was actively involved in all aspects of the biology department, serving as associate chairman (1993- 1997), director of the Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology (1995-1997), and chairman (1998-2001). A lasting testament to his tireless efforts is the recently opened Nesbitt Building, which will house most of the biology research laboratories at Carleton University and which he nurtured from beginning to end.

In addition to his duties at Carleton University, Wyndham served on grant selection committees, the editorial boards of three scientific journals, and often evaluated as many as 30 manuscripts per year. His research success and his broad understanding of biotechnology issues also allowed him to play an important role in guiding public debate in Canada regarding use of bioengineered organisms in food production and release of genetically engineered microorganisms into the environment.

Wyndham is survived by his wife Mary and their two children, Lee and Martin. Carleton University has established The Wyndham Graduate Scholarship in Biology in his memory. This scholarship will honor a man of principle and commitment, an imaginative and resourceful researcher, and a dedicated and energetic mentor.

Donations to the Wyndham Graduate Scholarship in Biology can be sent to Development and Alumni Services, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Canada K1S 5B6; tel., (613) 520-3636.

Iain Lambert
Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Lawrence E. Sacks, 81, a retired GS-15 research microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Western Regional Research Center (WRRC) in Albany, Calif., died 6 February 2002 of complications stemming from a long illness with Parkinson's disease.

Sacks came to WRRC in 1948 shortly after receiving his Ph.D. in microbiology from University of California, Berkeley, and he remained at this USDA laboratory until his retirement in 1989. Earlier, he received an A.B. from University of California, Los Angeles (1941) and a M.Sc. from University of Washington (1943). Sack's Ph.D. thesis, under Professor H. A. Barker, was on the metabolism of bacterial denitrification. At WRRC, his research was mainly concerned with new and better uses for agricultural products, and with food safety.

Early in his career, he worked on fungal conversion of potato starch to cattle feed; on the mode of action of lupulone, a hop antibiotic; and on a growth factor present in tomato juice. He then worked on the mode of action of subtilin, a peptide antibiotic proposed as an additive to processed food to reduce the severity of heat processing. During the course of this work, he discovered a previously unlisted organism, Arthrobacter citreus (Sacks). Later his focus shifted to bacterial spore biochemistry and spore germination, and this remained the dominant interest for the remainder of his career. The great heat resistance of spores is of major concern in the canning of foodstuffs. Near the end of his career he worked on the sporulation of Clostridium perfringens, a major cause of food poisoning and an important pathogen for man and livestock. He also developed a multigene-mutation screening test based upon the sporulation system of Bacillus subtilis. Sacks was author or coauthor of 67 articles and abstracts and 5 patents. He was a member of ASM and also AAAS and American Chemical Society throughout his career.

Sacks was much respected and appreciated by his close friends and colleagues at WRRC and elsewhere and will certainly be missed. He is survived by his wife Meike, twin children Marlene and Joel, and a brother, Alvin.

Richard S. Thomas
Kensington, Calif.


ASM Branches on the Web

The following ASM Branches have established sites on the World Wide Web:




Connecticut Valley

Eastern New York

Eastern Pennsylvania 









New Jersey (Theobald Smith Society)

New York City 

North Central 

North Carolina 

Northern California 



Puerto Rico 

Rocky Mountain 

South Carolina 

South Central 


Southern California 



Washington, D.C. 


ASM Divisions on the Web

The following ASM Divisions have established sites on the World Wide Web:

Division A, Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Division B, Microbial Pathogenesis

Division C, Clinical Microbiology

Division D, General Medical Microbiology

Division E, Immunology

Division F, Medical Mycology

Division G, Mycoplasmology 

Division I, General Microbiology

Division K, Microbial Physiology and Metabolism 

Division M, Bacteriophage 

Division N, Microbial Ecology 

Division O, Fermentation and Biotechnology 

Division P, Food Microbiology 

Division Q, Environmental and General Applied Microbiology

Division R, Systematic & Evolutionary Microbiology 

Division T, RNA Viruses 

Division U, Mycobacteriology 

Division W, Microbiology Education

Division X, Molecular, Cellular and General Microbiology of Eukaryotes

Division Y, Public Health 

Division Z, Animal Health Microbiology 

Members are encouraged to visit these Web pages, which are also accessible through the Membership section of the ASM Web site.