ASM News

ASM News

BET Develops Strategies for Undergraduate, Minority, and Distance Education

As part of its ongoing effort to promote microbiology education, three committees of the Board of Education and Training (BET) have developed strategic plans focusing on undergraduate, minority and distance education. These plans build upon ideas shared during the Board's first strategic planning retreat, which was held in Washington, DC on 25-27 June 2000. The mission of each committee was to discuss new approaches for promoting microbiology education at all levels, enhancing the community of microbiology students and educators, and leading in microbiology education worldwide.

The Committee on Undergraduate Education has concluded that over the next three years the Board will focus on recognizing the scholarship of microbiology education and promoting the importance of microbiology as a discipline throughout undergraduate education.

"Scholarship of education has been a long neglected topic, primarily because it has been difficult to define. The goal of this initiative is to develop criteria for the valuation of scholarship in education, not just in microbiology, but higher education in general. Recognizing the value of education is essential to the health of our academic institutions," says Committee on Undergraduate Education chair Neil Baker of The Ohio State University in Columbus.

May 2001 will mark the eighth year for the annual ASM Undergraduate Microbiology Education conference. This conference, held prior to the General Meeting, attracts more than 200 teaching faculty annually. Each conference addresses two major scientific update topics, one educational topic, and one strategic issue. The scientific topics for the 2001 meeting will be biofilms and water quality and the education topic will focus on scholarship in undergraduate education. The strategic issue will be to address a core curriculum for students majoring in undergraduate microbiology.

"As microbiologists, we must do all we can to preserve microbiology as a discipline. Reports of dropping enrollments in microbiology programs and renaming or elimination of microbiology departments have reduced the visibility of our discipline. In addition, microbiology courses have been eliminated from some programs, most notably in nursing, which is a concern. I am already hearing from industry representatives that finding well-trained microbiologists is difficult. If we ignore this trend we face the loss of a well-trained workforce and an uninformed general public," says Baker.

Since 1994, this Committee has also sponsored a national fellowship program for undergraduate students working under the tutelage of ASM member scientists. Each year over 20 students receive these awards, culminating in poster presentations at national meetings. In addition to students, the Committee serves educators, primarily faculty at undergraduate institutions. In 2000, the Committee launched the first peer-reviewed journal, adding this to another Committee-sponsored publication, the triannual newsletter Focus on Microbiology.

The recent retreat of the Committee on Minority Education resulted in three priorities: (1) enhancing the microbiology curriculum at minority serving institutions (MSI); (2) bringing faculty from MSI's into ASM's education community; and (3) assisting minority students in identifying educational opportunities in government and industrial environments.

"I have served as a member of the Committee on Minority Education for six years and have seen the results of our efforts to increase underrepresented minorities in microbiology. I feel we will, more than ever before, have a strong impact on increasing diversity in the field of microbiology," says Terrance Johnson, of Tennessee State University, Nashville and chair of the Committee on Minority Education.

The Committee plans to encourage and support faculty to attend and present at the annual undergraduate education conference, publish in Microbiology Education Journal and Focus on Microbiology, and contribute classroom and visual resources to MicrobeLibrary.

To date, the goals of this Committee have been served most effectively through two fellowship programs, the Minority Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MURF) and the R. D. Watkins Graduate Fellowship Program. In addition, this Committee, in conjunction with the Board, will be the sole recipient of an NIGMS award to sponsor and manage annual conferences, to be held from 2001-2005, for more than 1,000 undergraduate minority students in the biomedical sciences.

For the Committee on Distance Education, their first retreat and independent strategy session provided a venue for new ideas to emerge but more importantly for a primary mission to be outlined. The Committee developed a primary mission of empowering, enriching, and promoting microbiology educators through distance education technology.

The Committee on Distance Education began as an ad hoc committee in 1994 to develop a digital library of high-quality, peer-reviewed teaching materials. The ad hoc group had also envisioned the site for educators to publish their work in a peer-reviewed venue. The Committee became a standing Committee of the Education Board in 1997. The original "digital library" is now the MicrobeLibrary. This award-winning website serves as the primary venue for teaching resources, including visual and curriculum collections, a peer-reviewed journal, a triannual newsletter, plus reviews of books, audiovisuals, computer programs, and websites. This site advances the Society's recommended core curriculum for introductory microbiology by linking the Library's resources to the curriculum recommendations through a searchable interface.

"The MicrobeLibrary serves as a model for all scientific digital libraries. The willingness of microbiologists around the world to share their work by submitting materials brings the work of the research laboratory and the educator together for the benefit of students," says Kristine Snow, of Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, Wisconsin and chair of the Committee on Distance Education. "In the future the Committee plans to provide online tutorials on using the Library resources in classroom presentations. Educators will also be provided with resources to keep abreast of evolving content, exploring more integrated and robust search tools, and finding venues to sustain the library for the long term."

The Board consists of five standing committees, each focusing on a different aspect of microbiology education, which will put the goals discussed during these meetings into action. Three of those committees will address pipeline issues such as student and teacher needs or faculty professional development. These committees are the Pre-College, Undergraduate, and Graduate Education committees. The remaining two committees, Minority and Distance Education, are considered cross-cutting committees that work collaboratively with the pipeline committees.

For more information about the Board's education offerings, refer to  and .

General Meeting Awards

The Committee on Awards is pleased to present part three of the three-part series on the 2001 General Meeting Awardees.

Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award


Bruce N. Ames, Ph.D., will receive the 2001 Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a career distinguished by 40 years of outstanding contributions to fundamental research in the microbiological sciences. Ames' highly original, creative work has addressed a broad array of topics and had a powerful, even paradigm-shifting impact on basic and applied research on bacterial gene regulation, mutation, cancer, and aging. He will deliver the prestigious Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award Lecture at the General Meeting in Orlando, "From DNA Damage in Bacteria to Micronutrient Nutrition and Modulating Aging in Humans: a Meandering Scientific Journey." The presentation will describe the ways in which work in bacterial genetics has led to progress in rejuvenating aged rats and ameliorating human genetic disease.

Ames distinguished himself by demonstrating remarkable skill as a biochemist and geneticist and considerable insight as a bacterial physiologist. As chief of the Section of Microbial Genetics of the National Institutes of Health until 1967 and as Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Ames published pioneering work on histidine biosynthesis in Salmonella typhimurium. His discovery of the role of tRNAHis in the regulatory circuitry made him among the first scientists to show that the genes comprising a biosynthetic pathway in bacteria are grouped and commonly regulated as an operon. Subsequent research on the translational control of transcription was a second major achievement. Another paper, on the use of sucrose gradient centrifugation to determine the molecular weight of proteins in complex mixtures, was one of the most cited in the scientific literature at the time. Ames' research in these years helped to define and expand thinking about the control of gene expression in bacteria.

During his studies of the regulation of histidine biosynthesis in Salmonella, Ames made observations that would guide what was to become his best-known work, the development of the Ames test. He wondered whether the widespread use of synthetic chemicals might cause genetic damage to human cells and sought a way to test compounds for carcinogenicity that was less cumbersome than the method generally used in the early 1970s, that of administering high doses of chemical agents to mice and rats over a period of time. He published a series of papers describing tester strains that allow the detection of mutations by the reversion of S. typhimurium auxotrophs to prototrophs. The short-term assay he developed proved to be powerful, fast, and inexpensive. More than 3,000 laboratories worldwide now use the Ames test for the detection of potential carcinogens.

Apart from its impact on lab practice, the Ames test demonstrated the utility of microbiological techniques for solving problems across disciplinary boundaries. It helped to change the perception that short-term tests were of little value and opened the door for the creation and acceptance of a variety of assays routinely used in pharmaceutical research, academia, and industry to assess the potential danger from new and unknown compounds. Further, Ames brought recognition to the idea that the ability of chemicals to cause mutations is a major aspect of the ways in which they can contribute to carcinogenesis, and the simple understanding that cancer is a genetic disease caused by mutation. As such, Ames' work has been influential in shaping concepts in both scientific and public thinking about cancer.

In more recent years, Ames has made still more important and sometimes controversial contributions to research. His thorough evaluation of the effects of man-made and natural chemicals on cancer found that trace amounts of synthetic chemical compounds were not a major cause of cancer in humans and called into question the allocation of public resources for research and pollution cleanup. His findings again corresponded to a major shift in thinking as he pointed to smoking, diet, and nutrition as the largest factors in cancer risk. Still more recently, he has illuminated the role of endogenous DNA damage, especially that caused by oxidative mechanisms, in human cancer and aging, and investigated the effects of micronutrient deficiencies in the human diet.

Ames earned his B.A. from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1950, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 1953. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the National Medal of Science in 1998 and has been honored with the Japan Prize. Graham C. Walker, Ph.D., a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, nominated him for the Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award.

Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology


The Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology, sponsored by the Diagnostics Division of Abbott Laboratories, honors the contributions of an exceptional scientist. Max Dale Cooper, M.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Alabama, Birmingham, will receive the 2001 award. At Alabama, Cooper is Director, Division of Developmental/Clinical Immunology and Professor, Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, Pathology, and Pediatrics.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Cooper attended Holmes Junior College and the University of Mississippi, and earned his M.D. from Tulane University in New Orleans, La. Postdoctoral training programs took him to the Hospital for Sick Children in London, England, and the University of California, San Francisco, and were followed by four years in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. In 1967, Cooper moved to the University of Alabama.

In summary of Cooper's impact on the science of immunology, Anthony Fauci wrote, "It is not an exaggeration to say that virtually every aspect of our understanding of the human immune system in health and disease derives in large part from the seminal discoveries of Dr. Cooper." Those discoveries have always combined elegant basic science with rapid translation of that research to therapeutic application.

In the mid-1960s, a major effort was underway as scientists in several countries sought to understand the components of the immune system responsible for antibody formation and cell mediated responses like delayed type hypersensitivity and graft rejection. Through pioneering work on the ontogeny of the immune system in the chicken, Cooper was first to solve a central problem, delineating the T and B cell lineages of immune component cells. He then quickly used those findings toward the classification of congenital immunodeficiencies according to the component of the immune system involved, providing the scientific basis for the therapeutic reconstitution of defective immune systems.

In important work on the developmental biology of B cells, Cooper demonstrated that all B cells initially express immunoglobulin (IgM) and that the expression of IgM is a necessary step for the differentiation of all cells in that lineage. Landmark research by Cooper and colleagues then identified the immediate precursors of B cells, termed "pre-B cells," and showed that B lineage lymphocytes first appear during ontogeny in tissues responsible for the production of most of the other blood cells. Building on these findings and further contributing to the understanding of lymphoid malignancies, Cooper was first to describe pre-B cell leukemia, a serious disease preferentially affecting children.

As Cooper turned his attention to T cells, he demonstrated the occurrence of distinct phenotypic waves of T cell differentiation and was instrumental in recognizing the importance of T cell receptor excision circles as a marker of thymic emigrants. Always employing multiple experimental models, Cooper then developed a method for quantifying newly made T cells in chickens that is now a tool in the evaluation of thymic function and lymphocyte dynamics in humans.

Cooper is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, former president of the Clinical Immunology Society, and a recipient of the American Association of Immunologists Lifetime Achievement Award. Current editorial board duties include Immunity, Molecular Medicine, Clinical and Experimental Immunology, and International Journal of Molecular Medicine. He is chairman, Scientific Advisory Board of the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology; member, Board of Overseers of Harvard College; member, Scientific Advisory Board, Max-Planck Institute for Biology; and councilor, Henry Kunkel Society, The Rockefeller University. At the ASM General Meeting in Orlando, he will deliver the Division V Lecture, "The Added Value of an Adaptive Immune System," a presentation from the point of view of individuals with immunodeficiency diseases.

Paul W. Kincaid, Ph.D., nominated Max Cooper for the Abbott Laboratories Award.

bioMerieux Sonnenwirth Award for Leadership in Clinical Microbiology


The bioMerieux Sonnenwirth Award for Leadership in Clinical Microbiology, proudly sponsored by bioMerieux, Inc., since 1986, honors Peter H. Gilligan, Ph.D., in 2001. Gilligan received his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., in 1973 and his doctorate in Microbiology from the University of Kansas at Lawrence in 1978. He is now Director, Clinical Microbiology-Immunology and Professor, Microbiology-Immunology and Pathology-Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill. A Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM), Gilligan has made important contributions to clinical research on cystic fibrosis and invasive group A streptococcal infections. He is recognized for exemplary leadership, the promotion of innovation in clinical laboratory science, and dedication to the ASM and to the advancement of clinical microbiology as a profession.

Gilligan's leadership is evidenced by his efforts in improving laboratory practice and teaching future generations of clinical microbiologists. In the 1980s and 90s, Gilligan successfully overhauled the bacteriology labs at the University of North Carolina (UNC), modifying existing procedures and developing new ones. He also revamped the clinical microbiology and immunology training programs and worked closely with other divisions within the School of Medicine to involve the clinical microbiology laboratory in training residents and infectious disease fellows. In addition, he has directed UNC's postdoctoral training program in clinical microbiology and public health, accredited by the Committee on Postdoctoral Educational Programs (CPEP) of the American College of Microbiology. Gilligan has also worked to train AIDSCAP fellows from developing nations in the laboratory diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases, imparting skills of critical importance in the students' home countries. His dedication to ensuring the highest quality of training has been recognized with teaching awards from the Student National Medical Association and Kaiser-Permanente.

Also a leader in professional service, Gilligan has been active in CDC meetings on bioterrorism preparedness, working groups of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and a wide variety of committee and board activities within and outside his institution. He has served ASM as a dedicated volunteer in many capacities to include: Foundation for Microbiology Lecturer; member, ABMM, and Books Committee for ASM Press; and chair, Presidential Task Force on Clinical Microbiology and Division C. Throughout, he has used his creativity, positive outlook, and quiet strength to unite and inspire others in efforts that benefit the clinical microbiology community. A gifted speaker and an important presence at ASM meetings, Gilligan's practice of presenting clinical case reports of microbiological "mysteries" in an engaging and informative way has been widely adopted. The case report format has since grown into one of the most popular General Meeting sessions for clinical microbiologists.

In Orlando, Gilligan will present the bioMerieux Sonnenwirth Award/ASM Division C Lecture, "What Patients Have Taught Me: the Role of the Clinical Microbiologist in Patient Care." He will examine actual case studies and celebrate the role of clinical microbiologists from bench technologists, to supervisors, to doctoral level scientists, in patient care. He was nominated for the bioMerieux Sonnenwirth Award by James Folds, Ph.D., and Mary Gilchrist, Ph.D., both Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology and Diplomates of the American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology and the ABMM, respectively.

The Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award


The 2001 recipient of the Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award is Stuart L. Schreiber, Ph.D., Morris Leob Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge,Massachusetts. A cofounder and director of the Harvard Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology (ICCB), Schreiber is recognized for his demonstration of the ability of chemistry to address complex and fundamental problems in biology. Schreiber has systematized the use of small organic molecules to explore biology and has furthered the new fields of chemical biology and chemical genetics, developments that promise continued impact on biotechnology. Gregory L. Verdine, Ph.D., nominated Schrieber for the Chiron Award and wrote, "Schrieber's invention and development of powerful technologies is inextricably linked with fundamental discoveries he has made, and in turn these technologies have profoundly influenced the way that people view and pursue investigations in biology."

Biologists study pathways and processes by perturbing them and observing the result. While these perturbations most often result from mutations in genetic observations, they can also result from exposure to small organic molecules. Schreiber's early work used small molecules on an ad-hoc basis, and resulted in the definition of the molecular mechanisms of cyclosporin, FK506, and rapamycin. Further, by using a synthetic analog of FK506, he was able to show that the immunosuppressants bridge two proteins and that the complex of each with its receptor binds the same protein, calcineurin. Other research accomplishments include the discovery of the mammalian protein FRAP and the unraveling of its role as a metabolic sensor and regulator of the cellular response to nutrients. Schreiber's synthetic investigations of trapoxin and depudecin led to the purification and cloning of histone deacatylases (HDACs), a discovery that proved an important precursor to the functional linking of chromatin and the transcription regulation apparatus.

Schreiber, with Gerald Crabtree, then took an important step toward generalizing the small molecule approach by inventing a method to study the function of cellular proteins that have no known small molecule partners. By synthesizing small molecule "dimerizers," they were able to recruit one protein to another and activate a new cellular signal. This important research illuminated the role of proximity effects in biology and marked the first use of small molecules to achieve spatial and temporal control over a signaling pathway in an animal. Schreiber and colleagues then developed an approach that uses an evolving planning algorithm for diversity-oriented organic synthesis, a method that can generate millions of small molecules that have the desirable characteristics of natural products. Next, Schreiber and Tim Mitchison used a phenotype-based screening approach to discover an inhibitor of a mitotic motor protein, a promising lead for cancer therapy. These and other contributions have paved new directions in life science and have profound implications for biotechnology.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Schreiber began his training with a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Harvard in 1981. He has served the editorial boards of Current Biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Comprehensive Organic Synthesis, and Current Opinion in Chemical Biology. He will deliver the Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award Lecture at the General Meeting, a presentation entitled, "Toward a Chemical Genetics."

Eli Lilly and Company Research Award


Tania A. Baker, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Associate Head, Department of Microbiology, and Associate Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, will receive the 2001 Eli Lilly and Company Research Award. The award, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company since 1936, recognizes fundamental research in microbiology and immunology of unusual merit by an individual on the threshold of his or her career. Baker is honored for work in the areas of transposition, recombination, chaperone function, and protein turnover. At the General Meeting, Baker will present the Eli Lilly and Company Research Award Lecture, "Protein Catalyzed Protein Unfolding: Mechanism and Biological Control."

As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Baker, with Carol Gross, began to establish herself as an important contributor as she developed an improved method for performing Mu transposition mutagenesis and then became the first to demonstrate that heat shock proteins were involved in proteolysis. She next began work on a Ph.D. in Biochemistry with Arthur Kornberg at Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, Calif., and her work there was central in defining mechanistic aspects of DNA replication at oriC. Her impressive findings clarified the role of DNA unwinding, helicase action, and RNA priming in the initiation process. After earning her doctorate in 1988, Baker went on to do postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Kiyoshi Mizuuchi at the National Institutes of Health, and turned her attention to the molecular mechanism of Mu transposition. She defined the role of MuB protein in activation of strand transfer by MuA protein, and demonstrated that the assembly of Mu transposase tetramer is the key step in activation of the transposase.

Baker had thus gained recognition as an expert in the biochemical study of site-specific DNA recombination reactions and DNA replication by the time she started her own laboratory group at MIT. Baker's examinations of Mu transposition include an elegant series of papers answering questions of how the protein machine both controls and carries out catalysis. Further, she has shown that a regulatory subunit of the ClpP protease, ClpX, is required for Mu disassembly. Moving authoritatively into the protease field, Baker has explored the construction of ClpXP protease as a complex machine and followed the interplay of the machine and protein substrate, then defining the path of the protein through the protease. More recently, she has identified a ribosome-associated protein that delivers substrates to the Clp system, a process critical to its quality control function.

Baker's work has important implications beyond the explanation of DNA transposition reactions. It has shed light on the broader area of protein-DNA architecture, and promises further contributions to the understanding of viral integration and replication, the horizontal transmission of genetic information, the spontaneous occurance of mutations, and intracellular protein degredation. In summary of her acheivements, Robert T. Sauer, Ph.D., a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and Baker's nominator for the Eli Lilly Award, wrote, "Tania has made significant and fundamental discoveries of importance to the field of microbiology at every stage of her career and has now established herself as one of the leading scientists of her generation."

Baker has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed articles in journals including Cell, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Genes and Development, Journal of Bacteriology, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She is coauthor, with Kornberg, of DNA Replication, 2nd Edition (1992). A gifted presenter of complex material, she is a recipient of the MIT School of Science Teaching Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.

Procter & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology


Gill G. Geesey, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology, Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, is the recipient of the 2001 Procter & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. He is honored for sustained accomplishment and interdisciplinary contributions to research and application in fields of applied and environmental microbiology including marine microbiology, biodeterioration, and environmental engineering. A pioneer in the development of analytical methods for the characterization of interactions between microbes and surfaces and an integrator of the chemical and physical sciences into microbiology, Geesey will deliver the Procter & Gamble Award Lecture, "Surfaces: Catalysts of Diverse Bacterial Cell Behavior." The presentation discusses the diverse behavior displayed by a population of bacterial cells associated with surfaces in industry and the environment and the resulting impact on large-scale system processes.

Geesey earned a B.A. in biology from the University of California, San Diego in 1970 and showed talent in research early. While a graduate student in microbiology at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Geesey's research on the metabolic activity of sessile and planktonic psychrophillic bacteria produced important insights into nutrient cycling in oligotrophic freshwater and marine environments. Subsequent postdoctoral work with J. William Costerton at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, proved groundbreaking, and began the era of biofilm microbiology with the discovery that microbes were in biofilms on pebbles and not in the water of oligotrophic alpine streams. The work elegantly demonstrated that the sessile bacterial communities comprised the most metabolically active members of the environments and highlighted the role of the population of prokaryotic microorganisms in hydrocarbon degradation, biological cycling of transition metals, and transport of metals through the food chain. During several years at California State University, Long Beach, Geesey published a significant body of work on the role of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in bacterial biofilm formation, transition metals, and the fouling of engineered processes and materials. Methods he developed for EPS characterization remain widely used in industrial and environmental microbiology research.

A demonstrated innovator and leader, particularly in the areas of biofilms, biofouling, and microbially influenced corrosion (MIC), Geesey has developed the use of auger, atomic force microscopy, XPS, secondary ion mass spectrometric mapping, FTIR, and more recently, Raman imaging, to map surfaces and define specific locations for specific microbes. He was among the first to engineer a specific reporter system into bacteria and show the specific gene activities that attachment to surfaces can generate. Seminal work in microbial adhesion and its effects on microbially influenced corrosion led to Geesey being chosen by the International Copper Consortium to direct worldwide MIC-related research. His current work uses sequencing and genomics to examine biofilm formation in environmental and clinical ecosystems, and he was the first to identify the gene involved in Fe reduction in Geobacter sulfurreducens.

A Fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology, Geesey has been a driving force at the Center for Biofilm Engineering and an important teacher to students in the U.S. and abroad. Much of his work involves international collaborations, and Geesey has been instrumental in the development of training tools and educational programs in environmental microbiology for students in developing nations. He has served as an editor of Journal for Microbiological Methods, Biofouling Journal, and Applied and Environmental Microbiology. He was nominated for the Procter & Gamble Award by David C. White, M.D., Ph.D., a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award


Robert A. Samson, Ph.D., Head, Department of Services and Applied Research, Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS), Utrecht, the Netherlands, will receive the 2001 USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award in honor of his many contributions toward the objectives of the United States Federation for Culture Collections (USFCC). The mission of the USFCC includes encouraging research on procedures for culture isolation, maintenance, identification, characterization, preservation, and distribution; the establishment of strain data services; the training of personnel in the operation of culture collections; and the organization of conferences important to USFCC members and the wider scientific community. Samson has worked tirelessly in pursuit of these and other goals in the spirit of the award.

Employed by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1970, Samson's outstanding career has been characterized by efficiency, innovation, and expertise. He has been responsible for identification at CBS for many years and heads a team of four technicians and scientists, and has taken great pride in the ability of his group to provide clients with results in 7 days. His group has completed the taxonomic description of many new species and accessioned countless novel cultures into the collection, managing what is arguably the world's leading collection of filamentous fungi. Throughout, Samson has been a dedicated advocate for his institution, the importance and maintenance of culture collections, and the science of mycology.

An accomplished researcher, Samson is best known for his work on the large, economically important and taxonomically challenging genera of fungi, Penicillium and Aspergillus. He has more than 240 articles and chapters to his credit. He is an author or editor of 17 books that serve to educate scientists and practitioners in agricultural, industrial, and medical settings, including the well-known teaching tools Microfungi, Introduction to Food-Borne Fungi, Fungi that Cause Superficial Mycoses, and Health Implications of Fungi in Indoor Environments. He has organized and hosted three specialist conferences on Penicillium and Aspergillus in the Netherlands, producing proceedings recognized as benchmarks on the important genera and reflecting the shift from traditional morphological studies to leading-edge DNA based systematics. His international work, especially with the International Union of Microbiology Societies (IUMS) on issues related to the mycological examination of food and molds in indoor air has resulted in the formalization of standardized mycological methods to replace the less appropriate procedures borrowed from bacteriology and medical mycology.

Samson earned his undergraduate degree in biology at the State University of Utrecht in 1969, and completed the Ph.D. at that institution five years later. His record of professional service reflects his dedication to taxonomy and culture collections. He has served terms as a member of the Executive Board of IUMS; chairman, IUMS International Commission on Penicillium and Aspergillus (ICPA); vice chairman, Mycology Division of the Executive Board of IUMS; and member, International Commission on the Taxonomy of Fungi and Subcommission on Tropical Food Mycology.

Samson will deliver the USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award Lecture at the General Meeting, a presentation entitled, "The Impact of Penicillium and Aspergillus Systematics on Applied Microbiology." He was nominated for this award by Joan W. Bennett, Ph.D., a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. The USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award was established in 1983 and is cosponsored by the USFCC and ASM.

American Academy of Microbiology

New Fellows, 4th Quarter 2000

The American Academy of Microbiology is pleased to welcome the following scientists elected to fellowship for the fourth quarter of 2000:

Drusilla L. Burns, Ph.D., Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, Md.

Max D. Cooper, M.D., University of Alabama, Birmingham

Roy H. Doi, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

James N. Ihle, Ph.D., St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.

Juan Jofre, Ph.D., University of Barcelona, Spain

Davise H. Larone, Ph.D., Cornell University Medical Center, New York, N.Y.

Gary Olsen, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana

Etana Padan, Ph.D., The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Armando J. Parodi, Ph.D., Universidad Nacional de General San Mart|fin, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Carol L. Prives, Ph.D., Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

Stuart L. Schreiber, Ph.D., Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Saul J. Silverstein, Ph.D., Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

Spotswood L. Spruance, M.D., University of Utah Hospital and Clinics, Salt Lake City

James L. Van Etten, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Eric Vimr, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana

Sandra K. Weller, Ph.D., University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington

Howard A. Young, Ph.D., National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Md.

Gerben J. Zylstra, Ph.D., Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.



Dennis M. Dixon is the 2001 recipient of the prestigious Maxwell L. Littman Award in Mycology. The Medical Mycology Society of New York (MMSNY) gives the Littman award annually to an individual who has made a major contribution to the field of Mycology. The Award honors the memory of Dr. Littman, who made major contributions to the field of Cryptococcus neoformans and organized MMSNY in 1960.

Dixon received his Ph.D. degree in Microbiology from the Medical College of Virginia in 1978. He has authored over 60 scientific articles, primarily in the field of mycology. His scientific contributions include the characterization of dematiaceous fungal pathogens in nature, the development of antifungal susceptibility testing for filamentous fungi, the association of melanin synthesis and virulence in a representative, pigmented fungal pathogen, and the development of animal models for aspergillosis. He has a range of experiences in microbiology and mycology, including 10 years in academia, a sabbatical year in Switzerland at F. Hoffman-LaRoche, and clinical reference laboratory experience at the New York State Department of Health, where he became director of the Laboratories for Mycology at Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research in Albany, NY. He joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1991 as the Program Officer in Mycology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is currently Chief of the Bacteriology and Mycology Branch. At NIH, Dixon has been a strong advocate of scientific excellence in mycology and has promoted the interface of the field with other disciplines. He has overseen medical mycological research in the United States at a time of unprecedented growth in the field. This time has also witnessed the development of molecular tools for the study of pathogenic fungi, the development of several experimental vaccines, and the commencement of several genomic projects for major fungal pathogens. Dixon has been selected for the Littman Award by the officers of the MMSNY for his scientific contributions and his careful shepherding of the field of mycology.

Deceased Members

Bernard P. Sagik died of acute myelogenous leukemia on 2 January 2001 at the age of 75. Over a career of almost 50 years, he was uniformly respected as a scientist, loved as a mentor, and admired as an educator and academic leader. Sagik obtained his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Illinois in 1952, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado Medical Center. He began his professional career in 1954 as head of the Virology Section at the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There, he initiated a program for modern screening of antivirals and carried out research directed at distinguishing viral and cellular DNA synthesis using a vaccinia virus system. Later, he became Director of Viral Chemotherapy at CIBA Pharmaceutical Co. in Summit, N.J.

His role as an educator began with Lecturer appointments at Hunter College, City University of New York (1963-66) and at Drew University in Madison, N.J. (1966). In 1966 he joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin as an associate professor, and later professor, of microbiology. His enthusiasm, energy and personal warmth drew many graduate students from varied backgrounds into his laboratory. His research interests were broad and included in vitro studies of viral structure and replication, animal responses and host defenses against viral infection, and the survival and potential health effects of microorganisms released into the environment.

In 1973, Sagik was recruited as Dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics at the newly founded University of Texas at San Antonio. He played a pivotal role in the early developmental years of both the college and the university . His vision and personal magnetism guided the development of three divisions within the college: Allied Health and Life Sciences; Earth and Physical Sciences; and Mathematics, Computer Science and Systems Design. He recruited young, enthusiastic faculty and mentored their careers, promoting development of individual research programs at an institution with heavy teaching loads. He initiated summer research programs which brought high school students, many from families lacking a tradition of educational expectation, into a college and research environment. The Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) and Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) programs at UTSA began under his leadership.

In 1980, he assumed the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs at Drexel University. As the chief academic officer, he led that institution from a regional engineering school to an institution with a national reputation. Among other achievements, he was responsible for the academic program known as the Drexel Microcomputing Project. This program, announced in 1982, was the first of its kind in the United States. It required access to a personal computer for every Drexel student and faculty member and integrated the use of technology throughout the curriculum. In 1988, he returned to teaching as professor and later chairman in the Department of Biosciences and Biotechnology. He retired in 1995, moving to a small farm in upstate New York with his wife of 44 years, Nita. Here he pursued his other passions in life; among them, collecting and reading good books and gardening.

Bernie will be remembered by all who were privileged to know him. He mentored students from high school through graduate study, he guided new faculty in the development of their careers, and he influenced colleagues as a role model. His door was always open, he was an empathetic listener, he was a friend. For individuals, he never set limits; rather he provided guidance, encouraging each person to solve their problems and to achieve goals that she or he never knew they were capable of attaining. He was ahead of his time in supporting educational opportunities for those individuals who were "first-in-their-family" to enter the arena of higher education, for women, and for underrepresented minorities. His concern for others and his willingness to help them were the defining features of his life. Upon his death, a common refrain among former students and colleagues has been: "I would not be where I am today or who I am today were it not for his support and counsel. He was a truly remarkable man."

Memorials may be made to the Bernard P. Sagik Memorial Fund, c/o Development Office, University of Texas at San Antonio, 6900 North Loop 1604 West, San Antonio, TX 78249-9963.

Barbara E. Moore
University of Texas at San Antonio

Susan E. Feinman passed away on 2 November 2000 due to ovarian cancer. Sue was born in 1930 at Atlanta, Georgia. She grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and graduated from Wellesley College in 1951 with a major in Zoology and Chemistry. She completed her Master's degree in Biochemistry from George Washington University in 1952. She also received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from George Washington University in 1969; her dissertation was on the chemistry of mycobacteria. She then supervised a serology laboratory for the Washington, D.C., government prior to accepting a postdoctoral appointment at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where she studied the chemistry of the bacterial cell wall.

Upon completion of her postdoctoral studies, she entered the Federal Government's Civil Service, where she worked for a number of agencies. She worked for the Food and Drug Administration in the Center for Veterinary Medicine and in the Center for Food Safety and Nutrition. She later worked for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Sue retired in 1993 from a Health Scientist Administrator position at the National Cancer Institute. During her Federal service, she wrote extensively on antibiotic resistance in animal feed and on toxicological issues for such products as formaldehyde and aspirin.

In her retirement, Sue worked as a consultant in matters of microbiology and toxicology. She wrote chapters on many topics for several books; chapter topics included Formaldehyde, Forensic Toxicology, Bladder Cancer, Food Poisoning, Reproductive Toxicology, and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. She also contributed two feature articles to ASM News as well as developing two Continuing Education study courses.

In her pre- and postretirement life, Sue was a member of several scientific societies including ASM, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Sigma Xi. Sue was active as Presidents of the Suburban Maryland Chapter of Federally Employed Women and the FDA chapter of Sigma Xi. At the time of the diagnosis of her illness, she was president-elect of the Graduate Women in Science. She was also President of the Parklawn and CPSC Toastmasters Clubs. She had received numerous awards, including her recent election as a Fellow of the AAAS.

Her marriage to Philip Birnbaum ended in divorce. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Sue Birnbaum, her husband, David M. Feinman, and his daughters whom she adopted, Abigail Stocks and Elizabeth (known professionally as Elizabeth London) , and a granddaughter, Katie Lynn Stocks.

Sue will be missed by her many colleagues and associates. She dealt with many issues which are at the forefront of our national and international concerns today. She was always ready with a kind word for scientific endeavors.

James R. King
19118 Cherry Tree Drive
Hagerstown, Md.

David M. Feinman
11914 Goya Drive
Potomac, Md.

International Activities

2001 ASM International Fellowship Awardees

International Fellowship for Latin America

The International Microbiology Education Committee (IMEC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the first round of ASM International Fellowship Awards for 2001. Three awards have been offered to investigators from Latin American countries to work with microbiologists in the United States. Each awardee will visit the United States for a minimum of six weeks and collaborate with an ASM member who is permanently employed at an accredited US institution. The program provides a stipend of $4,000.

IMEC, one of two standing committees of the International Committee, is charegd with enhancing the professional development of international students and faculty in the microbiological sciences. For this reason, the committee felt it was necessary to establish a fellowship that encourages international research and training collaborations in microbiological sciences. As a result the ASM International Fellowship Program was established in fall 1997. In the first phase of the program, ASM is focusing on Latin American partnerships. The program is a pilot project for a larger initiative to establish and sustain international collaborations.


Luz Blanco, an Assistant Professor in the Departamento de Bioqu|fimica y Biolog|fia Molecular at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, Chile, will be working with Victor DiRita of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. Her research project will focus on Vibrio cholerae interaction with M-cells.


Mariella Laport, a predoctoral microbiology student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro will be collaborating with Robert A. Burne at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry in Rochester, N.Y. Her research project will focus on stress responses in the nosocomial pathogens Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis variants to bind human immunodeficiency virus.

Mayra Mune Jimenez is head of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the Institute of Tropical Medicine "Pedro Kouri" in Havana, Cuba. She will be working with Allan Rothman in the Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Her research project will focus on evaluating the humoral and cellular immune response in mice inoculated with plasmids DNA, including some important dengue 1-4 genes.

More information on the International Fellowship Program can be found on the International web page, or by contacting ASMs International Activities department by e-mail at  or by fax at 202-942-9328.

ASM Ambassadors-Update on Activities

International Committees

ASM Ambassadors are international members who have been selected on the basis of their knowledge of the governance programs and services of the Society to represent the Society's interests in and about their country. Currently, ASM has Ambassadors in Latin America and Eastern Europe. We encourage members interested in becoming Ambassadors to review the nominating procedures on the ASM International Activities website.

Recent Ambassador Activities. Russia. Roman Kozlov, ASM Ambassador in Russia and the NIS attended the conference "The Problems of Rational Application of Antibiotics," Vitebsk, Belarus, 12-13 October 2000, organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus, the Infectionists Society of the Republic of Belarus (ISRB), and the Vitebsk State Medical University. Kozlov made a presentation on "Modern Approaches to the Therapy of Pneumococcal Infections," and organized a special meeting with opinion-leaders from Belarus and other interested individuals to explain the benefits of ASM membership and distribute promotional materials. In November, Kozlov attended the 10th National Congress of Lung Diseases in Saint Petersburg, Russia. There he made a presentation on pneumococci and distributed ASM information to participants.

Argentina. Cristina Cerquetti, ASM Ambassador in Argentina, distributed information on ASM's international activities during Paul Roy's International Professorship-sponsored course in Buenos Aires. She also contributed to the Spanish translations of ASM's Visual Resources, communicated with ASM members in Argentina, and recruited 15 new Argentinean members. Cerquetti has developed a database of e-mail addresses of Spanish-speaking microbiologists in order to effectively target information on ASM's international activities and raise awareness of the benefits of ASM membership.

New International Activities Home Page

Visit the redesigned International section of the ASM website . There you will find many new features of interest to both international and US members, including foreign-language pages, international discussion groups, a resource clearinghouse bulletin board, and opportunities to participate in ASM international programs. Please send your comments and suggestions for the International home page to Daniel Lissit, Manager International Activities, at .

News from the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS)

International Union of Microbiological Societies

The goal of IUMS is to promote communication between microbiologists with common interests worldwide by organizing international meetings, promoting disciplinary interest groups, and sponsoring fellowships. IUMS recently established an office in Washington, D.C., with space provided courtesy of the ASM. The address is International Union of Microbiology Societies, 2nd floor-Attn. Robin Schoen, 1752 N Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036; tel., (202)942-9301; fax, (202)942-9328. Check the website for information about the IUMS Congresses in Paris, 27 July-2 August 2002, where the three IUMS divisions of Virology, Bacteriology, and Mycology will meet together in one venue for the first time since 1982.


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.