ASM News

ASM News

Finkelsteins Endow Travel Fund for Young Scientists

A new student travel grant, funded through a substantial contribution to the ASM travel grant fund by longtime ASM member Richard A. Finkelstein and his wife Mary, will be awarded for the first time at the 2000 General Meeting in Los Angeles. The Richard and Mary Finkelstein Travel Grant provides financial support to graduate and undergraduate students working in the area of microbial pathogenesis who are selected to present abstracts at the General Meeting each spring.

Each grant awards $500 per individual to offset the cost of attending the meeting. This year five to six recipients, chosen in March, will be recognized during a student orientation session at which they will have the opportunity to speak with Finkelstein about his accomplishments in his field.

``The Society has been good to me. It has allowed me to serve it, and it gives me substantial pleasure to be able to give back to it in this way,'' commented Finkelstein about his recent contribution.

Through active involvement in ASM for the past 50 years, Finkelstein has helped sustain its familial atmosphere, which he has valued since joining as a student in 1950. He served as chairman of the Annual Meeting Program Committee from 1979-1982, on the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology from 1990-93, and on the Council Policy Committee from 1992-95. In addition, he has been president of both the Texas and Missouri branches of ASM. In 1998, he received the Distinguished Service Award for considerable generosity and devotion to the Society.

Finkelstein earned a B.S. from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin. For over 40 years he has researched Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, and written 235 publications on the pathogenesis and immunology of the disease. He has garnered numerous honors for his achievements toward developing a cholera vaccine, including the Robert Koch prize from Germany in 1976, and is currently Curators' Professor and Millsap Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Recipients of the Richard and Mary Finkelstein Travel Grants will be announced in the Final Program of the 100th General Meeting and in the May issue of ASM News.

ASM Instructional Library: a Resource for Educators

ASM Instructional Library

ASM Instructional Library Submissions Guidelines

Where can you find a superb animation of herpes simplex virus replication, a stunning photo of a T-cytotoxic lymphocyte attacking a tumor cell, or a creative classroom activity using ``help wanted'' ads to teach about protein function? Look no further than the ASM Instructional Library. Since its inception in spring 1999, the Instructional Library has become a repository of high-quality images, animations, movies, and classroom activities. Recently, the ASM Biofilm Collection, a prototype for the Library, was integrated into the Instructional Library to provide a one-stop-shopping location for microbiology images. All resources are catalogued and can be accessed through a search engine.

Developed by the Board of Education and Training (BET) with funding from the National Science Foundation, the Library was conceived as a place where faculty and students could find exceptional microbial images to enhance teaching and learning, where key microbial concepts established by the ASM undergraduate educator community could be reinforced through activities and images, and where microbiology educators could demonstrate their scholarship of teaching by submitting the work they are doing to improve microbiology education. The Library has grown to offer 23 curriculum resources, including classroom and laboratory exercises, and 156 visual resources. The Image Collection Steering Committee and Curriculum Resources Editorial Committee have upheld high standards throughout the triannual review and selection process to insure the value of the collection is maintained. Kristine Snow, Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, Wis., and member of the Image Collection Steering Committee emphasizes, ``The ASM Instructional Library should be the first stop for microbiology and biology classroom resources. The high quality images are supported by excellent scientific information and useful Web links for class use. The format is easy to incorporate into classroom PowerPoint presentations.'' To reflect the dynamic field of microbiology, submissions to the Library are sought regularly. The next deadline for review and selection is 1 July 2000. All are welcome to submit. 

Articles from the latest ASM peer-review publication, Microbiology Education, will become part of the Library in May 2000. This new resource includes scholarly articles on various facets of microbiology education such as assessment of student learning, assessment of teaching techniques and program effectiveness, and outcome-based learning activities and courses. Amy Cheng Vollmer, Swarthmore College, and chair of the Microbiology Education Committee adds, ``I was excited about many of the papers that we received and reviewed. We are pleased to be able to have a forum in which to highlight extensive scholarly work in the area of microbiology education. ASM is one of the few professional societies that places so much energy and attention into education, at all levels. A peer-reviewed issue of Microbiology Education is yet another way in which we highlight the contributions of our members to an area of importance to us, students, and the society in which we serve.''

Accessibility of the Instructional Library has been improved by offering Spanish and Portuguese versions of many submissions. The ASM International Microbiology Education Committee (IMEC) and ASM Ambassadors in Latin America continue to provide invaluable language expertise for translating and copy editing. Mario Philipp, Tulane University Medical Center and chair of IMEC, notes, ``The Instructional Library is a unique resource and we at IMEC, together with ASM's Ambassadors, were delighted at the opportunity to make this information more easily available to our colleagues in Latin America. Most of the captions were translated by students throughout Latin America and so the translation activity itself served as a valuable exercise.'' Links to translations, where currently available, can be found in the scholar's margin of the submission page.

Educators have shared their assessments about the value of the resources. One educator proclaimed, ``I only have a positive response towards the ASM site--wow! It definitely serves as a good supplement for lesson plans. Finally there is a site on the Web that allows students to take initiative to appreciate those photographs at their own pace.''

To encourage further discussions about the Library and applications of its resources in the classroom, the LIBRARY listserv has been launched. Subscription to the listserv is free and membership is open to anyone with an interest in microbiology education. Signup for the listserv is found at the web site. Currently, there are 108 members.

Several online enhancements have been made to the library in the past months. To safeguard the collection, users are asked to affirm that they will only use the resources for educational, noncommercial purposes. An electronic form has replaced the printable visual resources submission form. In addition, an Intranet database has been designed to streamline the review process. Reviewers can log in to the Intranet in the comfort of their office and view the submissions. Reviewers' comments are e-mailed to the committee and final decisions sent to BET staff. Accepted submissions can instantly be moved to the library site for the public to view.

Denise K. Steene
Denise K. Steene is Manager of Educational Resources in the ASM Office of Education and Training.

2000 General Meeting Awardees

The Committee on Awards is pleased to present part three of the three-part series on the 2000 General Meeting Awardees.

Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award


Boris Magasanik, Ph.D., Jacques Monod Professor of Microbiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, will receive the 2000 Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award. The award acknowledges a lifetime of outstanding contributions in fundamental research in any of the microbiological sciences. Magasanik is honored for a distinguished career of research in microbial physiology and for the leadership that continues to influence microbiology as a whole. He will deliver the Abbott-ASM Lifetime Achievement Award Lecture at the General Meeting in Los Angeles. The award is sponsored by Abbott Laboratories.

Magasanik's active research has spanned more than a half century and has resulted in more than 250 publications. Alexander Ninfa, Professor of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan and Magasanik's nominator, writes `` the contributions of the Magasanik lab roughly paralleled the course of scientific research as a whole during that period.'' Early in his career, Magasanik focused on the biosynthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and amino acids. Important advances have included experiments on the nucleotide composition of RNA and studies of the synthesis of branched-chain amino acids by bacteria. The genetics and physiology studies, combined with biochemical studies of purified enzymes, led not only to very accurate analysis but anticipated the value placed on interdisciplinary approaches by some 30 years.

During a second 25-year period of outstanding research, Magasanik made a number of seminal contributions to the understanding of the lac operon of bacteria, showing that several mechanisms were responsible for the coordination of lac expression with the general metabolic status of the organism. He called the process ``catabolite repression'' and demonstrated that it is exerted at the level of transcription and occurs independently of the lac repressor. At approximately the same time, Magasanik studied the regulation of histidine degradation in bacteria and discovered the first autoregulated gene, the hutC gene controlling expression of the hut operons in response to inducer. He later described the first case of an internal inducer, showing that the true inducer of the system was not histidine but urocanate, a product of its degradation. With Fred Neidhardt, Magasanik was also the first to demonstrate nitrogen regulation of gene expression. Studies of nitrogen regulation in the Magasanik lab soon resulted in a clear elucidation of the regulatory pathway controlling nitrogen assimilation in bacteria.

Younger scientists are perhaps most familiar with Magasanik's landmark contributions to the understanding of signal transduction and the regulation of gene expression in microorganisms. Magasanik and his colleagues showed that the structural gene for glutamine synthetase in yeast, GLN1, was controlled by three separate regulatory systems. Further, the identity of the regulatory components and their sites of action on the DNA were determined. Factors regulating the expression of the bacterial glnA gene were likewise purified, and their roles were explained. Transcription from bacterial nitrogen-regulated promoters involved a specialized sigma factor, s 54, and an activator that bound to enhancers far from the promoter site. These studies are the first demonstration of enhancers in bacteria and the first to elucidate positive control requiring DNA looping.

Magasanik's qualities as mentor and visionary leader of the Department of Biology at MIT further demonstrate his lifetime of dedication and contributions to the science. Charged with growing a microbiology program within the Department of Biology, his tenure as chairman (1967-77) resulted in a broadly built department with experts from diverse scientific areas and was characterized by the recruitment of outstanding scientists and also by the highest levels of research and scholarship. The atmosphere at MIT is described as one of intellectual excitement, innovation, collegiality, affection, and respect, and is attributed in large part to Magasanik, a gifted teacher of graduate students and a supportive mentor. Known for his seminars, his narratives that blend data and storytelling, Magasanik communicates science in a way that is accurate, interesting, and inspiring. He continues to teach the introductory biology course taken by all MIT undergraduates and to tutor students from MIT and Harvard.

Magasanik has received honors including the National Academy of Sciences Waksman Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

bioMerieux Sonnenwirth Award for Leadership in Clinical Microbiology


The 2000 bioMerieux Sonnenwirth Award for Leadership in Clinical Microbiology is presented to Ellen Jo Baron, Ph.D. Baron is currently Clinical Professor of Medicine and Technical and Operations Director of the Clinical Microbiology and Virology Laboratories at Stanford University Hospital in California. Baron is recognized for her exemplary leadership in clinical microbiology, her promotion of innovation in clinical laboratory science, and her great dedication and commitment to the ASM and to the advancement of clinical microbiology as a profession. Marie Coyle, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and Baron's nominator, describes her as a leader in clinical microbiology with the vision to not only recognize problems but to also envision and implement solutions in this discipline. The award is sponsored by bioMerieux, Inc.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Baron earned her Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and then worked as a postdoctoral fellow in clinical microbiology and laboratory medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Wadsworth VA in Los Angeles, Calif. She has been on the faculty at Columbia University Medical College, Cornell University Medical College, and the University of California, Los Angeles, and she continues as a consultant for a variety of hospitals and medical centers. Anaerobes have been a focus of her published work. Baron described a new species, Bilophila wadsworthia, from cases of acute appendicitis, and later went on to characterize its importance as a clinically significant isolate in infectious disease. Her further research on anaerobes has significantly contributed to medical understanding and laboratory innovation, encompassing the development of novel isolation media; the antimicrobial susceptibility of Bilophila spp., Bacteroides spp., and Fusobacterium spp.; the microbiology of oropharyngeal infection; and the establishment of practical diagnostic algorithms. Recognized for the breadth of her knowledge in areas from the latest research findings to new ideas in laboratory management, Baron has also published extensively on issues that affect patients, clinicians, and microbiologists, and she has authored and edited a variety of important texts used in both education and clinical practice. She has served as a section editor of the fifth edition and as a volume editor of the sixth and seventh editions of the Manual of Clinical Microbiology and section editor of the first edition of the Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, and developed a thoroughly revised edition of Bailey and Scott's Diagnostic Microbiology.

Baron's commitment to the profession of clinical microbiology and to the individuals who practice it is evidenced by an astonishing array of activities and service. She is a consultant to the World Health Organization on issues of antibiotic resistance and surveillance and is chair of the National Committee on Clinical Laboratory Standards Subcommittee on Abbreviated Bacterial Identification. Her current editorial board service includes Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Clinical Performance and Quality Healthcare, and the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. A Diplomate of the American Board of Medical and Molecular Microbiology, Baron has assumed a leadership role as the current chair of that body, having previously served as vice-chair as well as chair of the Part I Examination Committee. She has also served ASM as a member of the ICAAC Program Committee, the Placement Committee, the Committees on Audio-Visual Programs and Public Relations, and the subcommittee to revise the Operational Procedures of the Committee on Postdoctoral Educational Programs, among other activities. Baron has been dedicated to the profession through leadership in Branch and local organizations and served as Secretary of the New York City ASM Branch, cochair of two symposia bringing together the Northern and Southern California ASM Branches, and the secretary-treasurer of the Long Island Infectious Disease Society.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Baron has also generously given her time to advancing the careers of other clinical microbiologists. She has taught bench technologists and conducted more than 25 workshops and given more than 100 invited lectures throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. For her contributions toward the advancement of women within ASM and in the broader scientific and healthcare communities, Baron received the Alice C. Evans Award in 1997. She has likewise been a dedicated advocate for the Clinical Microbiology Division within ASM.

Ellen Jo Baron will present the bioMerieux Sonnenwirth Award lecture at the General Meeting.

The Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award


The 2000 recipient of the Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award is Stanley Fields, Ph.D., of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Departments of Genetics and Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle. He is being honored for his landmark contributions to both biotechnology and basic science, including the two-hybrid method for detecting protein interactions in vivo. The award is sponsored by the Chiron Corporation.

In 1989, Fields began to develop what has been described by Eugene Nester, chair of the American Academy of Microbiology's Board of Governors and one nominator of Fields, as ``probably the single most important technique'' in biology in at least a decade. Fields showed that if proteins fused to two separate domains of a transcriptional activator could bind to each other, the activity of the transcriptional activator was reconstituted and could be detected by using simple reporter assays in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These observations were then applied to the identification and cloning of genes for proteins that interacted with a protein of interest. In 1991, Fields and colleagues showed that the method is capable of identifying interacting proteins through a screen of a library of DNA inserts that encode protein fragments fused to an activation domain. The technique yields the DNA sequences encoding the proteins that interact; the technique is also rapid and sensitive and makes it possible to conduct many searches simultaneously. Fields and his colleagues demonstrated the power of the technique when they analyzed all possible protein interactions in the Escherichia coli bacteriophage T7, and eventually their laboratory became the first to identify mutations that disrupted an interaction and identified peptides that bind to a protein of interest. Alexander Varshavsky of the California Institute of Technology, another nominator of Fields, writes that ``it is difficult to overestimate the impact of this magnificent contribution.''

In fact, these original ideas have proved so useful that the two-hybrid assay has led to a number of major discoveries that would not have been possible otherwise. The work has been cited in thousands of papers on organisms with topics ranging from microbes to humans and subjects that include DNA repair, sex determination, mitochondrial function, and circadian rhythms. Protein interactions described by the method have been implicated in such human diseases as Huntington's disease, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer, as well as a variety of viral diseases. Two-hybrid analysis has led to the discovery of entirely new pathways and of unanticipated interactions between pathways.

Fields has also been a leader in expanding the potential of the two-hybrid system for detecting protein-protein interactions. With Marvin Wickens, Fields showed that similar methodology can be applied to RNA-protein interactions by incorporating a third molecule, an RNA with two binding sites. A number of related technologies have been developed by others in recent years: SOS recruitment, one-hybrid, three-hybrid, tribrid, split ubiquitin, and reverse two-hybrid techniques were all inspired by Fields' research.

Fields earned his Ph.D. degree in molecular biology at Cambridge University, England, and then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. He was on the faculty at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, before coming to Seattle, Wash., in 1995. Fields is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology. He holds patents for the System to Detect Protein-Protein Interactions and the System to Detect Protein-RNA Interactions, and he will deliver the annual Chiron Corporation Biotechnology Research Award Lecture, ``Two Hybrid Proteins to Many Hybrid Proteins,'' at the upcoming ASM General Meeting.

Eli Lilly and Company Research Award


Gisela Storz, Ph.D., of the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Md., is the 2000 Eli Lilly and Company Research Award recipient. 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. Storz is honored for her contributions to our understanding of how the cell regulates gene expression in response to oxidative stress. Her work, characterized by creative and thorough approaches to complex problems, represents an extremely important addition to our knowledge of how a family of transcriptional regulators operates and how the redox status of the cell is sensed.

Storz completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988. She began her studies on the bacterial response to oxidative stress as a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Bruce Ames. By 1990, she had shown that OxyR, the regulator of the response to hydrogen peroxide in Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium, directly sensed oxygen. Further, in a purified system, treatment with reducing and oxidizing agents could convert OxyR from a repressor to an activator and back again.

As an independent investigator at the National Institutes of Health, her research focused on the mechanism of activation of OxyR and OxyR-regulated promoters. It had previously been difficult to identify the binding sites of many of the proteins from the LysR family of transcriptional regulators, of which OxyR is a member. In addition, the nature of the changes that led to the protein bound to DNA being activated in one case and repressed in another were unclear. In a 1994 article, one of the first to use the approach, Storz and her colleagues define the target of OxyR by using SELEX and the mode of interaction of reduced and oxidized OxyR with the DNA targets. In the resulting model, OxyR senses the redox state of the cell and then undergoes a conformational change that leads to a repositioning of DNA contacts at the target promoters.

Storz went on to analyze the domains responsible for DNA binding, multimerization, and targeting of oxidation and transcriptional activation, eventually concluding that an intramolecular disulfide bond between two cysteines, C-208 and C-199, leads to the change that activates OxyR. Storz continues her research in this and related areas. Her publications have appeared in Science, Cell, the Journal of Bacteriology, the Journal of Molecular Biology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, among others. Susan Gottesman and Sankar Adhya, Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology and Storz's nominators, write, ``Taken as a whole, her work on OxyR represents a particularly complete and elegant set of studies for understanding signaling of a key environmental signal, oxidative stress, to regulate gene expression.''

Storz is described as an exciting presenter and an inspiring mentor, and she is a valued member of the wider scientific community. Her high standards are reflected in excellent work by members of her lab. Her research is characterized by dedication, depth, and intellectual and technological innovation, making her uniquely qualified for this award. Storz will discuss ``How Bacterial Cells Manage Oxidative Stress'' as the Eli Lilly and Company Research Award Lecture at the General Meeting.


Procter & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology

The 2000 Procter & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology will be awarded to Steven E. Lindow, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley. Lindow is honored for a body of work in plant microbiology and plant-bacterium interaction, research that has not only been recognized for its comprehensiveness of approach but also has been highly productive of practical applications for the protection of root crops, grain, and perennial and annual fruits. Lindow will present the Procter & Gamble Award Lecture at the General Meeting, in a presentation entitled ``Molecular Approaches to the Study of the Ecology of Leaf-Surface Microorganisms.''

Lindow established himself as an internationally known researcher early in his career with the demonstration that some bacterial inhabitants of plant leaf surfaces are responsible for frost injury, since they function as nuclei for the formation of ice crystals that can spread into internal plant tissues. Further, he showed that frost injury can be avoided, even in below-freezing temperatures, if the epiphytic population size of the ice nucleation-active bacteria is minimized. Characterization of epiphytic bacterial populations of leaf surfaces continued to advance this line of inquiry, leading to the discovery that the competitive exclusion of frost-promoting bacteria could be used for the biological control of frost damage. These pioneering studies of Pseudomonas syringae, including the identification and cloning of the outer membrane protein responsible for the ice nucleation activity, eventually resulted in the first approved release of a recombinant microbe into the environment. The commercial application of Lindow's work ranges from the use of biological control agents for the management of frost damage and the protection from blight in apple and pear crops to the use of ice nucleation-active bacteria in snow production at ski resorts. Such agents have reduced the need for agricultural chemicals and can have profound impact on economically significant environmental situations.

Multidisciplinary approaches to research problems are typical of Lindow's work, and he continually draws tools from ecology, physiology, biochemistry, and genetics and then blends perspectives of basic and applied research. He has developed a thorough understanding of ice nucleation from the molecular to the community levels of biological organization, and that work has impacted the research of others, emphasizing the need to consider the diversity of organismal and environmental factors that interact to determine the outcome when bacteria inhabit plant surfaces. Lindow has investigated bacterial production of plant hormones, plant production of bacterial growth regulators, bacteria in the soil and air and on neighboring plants, and the roles of bacterial traits in the ability to colonize plant surfaces. He has been a pioneer in the development of quantitative and molecular methods for the study of plant-associated bacteria in natural and agricultural settings and for identifying and tracing bacteria in the field for determining the in situ activity of specific genes, respectively.

Lindow earned his Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1977, and began his career at Berkeley, Calif., in 1978. He has an impressive record of professional service: Lindow has served as an editor of Molecular Ecology, as a panelist for U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation research grant reviews, and as member of an Environmental Protection Agency subcommittee on mitigation and containment of recombinant organisms, in addition to numerous other responsibilities. Lindow has participated in more than 150 national and international meetings, and he has produced well over 100 publications in refereed journals. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he has been honored with the Award for Initiatives in Research from that organization and the American Phytopathological Society's CIBA/Geigy and Ruth Allen Awards. Lindow is a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society and the American Academy of Microbiology. Lindow was nominated for this award by Ramon J. Seidler of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award


Phyllis W. Pienta, M.S., will receive the 2000 USFCC/J. Roger Porter Award for her contributions toward the objectives of the U.S. Federation for Culture Collections (USFCC). The objectives of the USFCC include encouraging research on procedures for culture isolation, maintenance, identification, characterization, preservation, and distribution; the establishment of strain data services; and the training of personnel in the operation of culture collections. During an outstanding career of nearly 25 years with the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), Pienta worked in pursuit of these and many other goals in the spirit of the award, which is sponsored by the USFCC and ASM.

As Curator, Collection Manager of Bacteriology, and Collection Scientist, Pienta was instrumental in the activities of identification, maintenance, preservation, storage, shipment, data computerization, and cataloguing that eventually established the ATCC cultures as the gold standard. Vigorous standards in quality control, biochemical testing, documentation, and training of staff bacteriologists has helped to eliminate problems of contamination and verification that face collections. Her diligence in analyzing every strain of each new taxon submitted, as well as in editing and verifying information in the ATCC Catalogue, ensured the availability of valuable resources for scientists throughout the United States and the world.

The ATCC collection of bacteria and bacteriophages is one of the most diverse collections in the world. Pienta actively sought the acquisition of newly described and important species, type strains, and phenotypic variants, accomplishing this through critical reading of the literature and personal contact with authors. Further, she was personally responsible for establishing exchange agreements between the ATCC and other collections, among them the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The strain exchange agreement established with the CDC resulted in the transfer of more than 1,000 verified strains, thus building the collections at both institutions. Pienta championed the use of type strains and well-documented reference strains in taxonomic and clinical studies, often suggesting strains to be included and securing them from other collections, and she has provided these and more unusual strains for more than 200 CDC studies.

Widely recognized as a tireless worker and an exceptionally helpful colleague, Pienta's expertise in the areas of growth and maintenance of all types of bacteria, and particularly in the long-term preservation of cultures and problems encountered in the cultivation of fastidious species, has been widely sought. She was an effective ambassador for the ATCC, and communicating the importance of culture collections and disseminating information about their activities has been another significant part of Pienta's career. Workshops, seminars, and symposia were designed to publicize the role and importance of the ATCC, to educate microbiologists about culture collections, and to make research professionals aware of the diversity of bacteria available to the scientific community. Pienta also worked to train scientists and technical staff in various aspects of identification, maintenance, preservation, storage, shipment, data computerization, and cataloging. Collaborating closely with scientific colleagues, Pienta provided excellence in reference resources and invaluable assistance in problem-solving, in resolving questions about particular cultures, and in addressing various procedural and operational issues. Phyllis W. Pienta retired from the ATCC in 1997.


Vector Laboratories Young Investigator Award

The Vector Laboratories Young Investigator Award recognizes excellence in basic research among outstanding young scientists working as postdoctoral researchers or fellows at nonprofit institutions. Ramakrishnan Srikumar, Ph.D., of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Queen's University, Ontario, Canada, will receive the 2000 award. He is honored for his work on multidrug resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, research that has possible implications for a variety of gram-negative pathogens and the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Srikumar earned his B.Sc. in biology from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in 1988. Active in research throughout his training, Srikumar spent summers as an undergraduate research associate, completing projects on the purification of chorionic gonadotrophin and a shorter alternative to the 5-day biochemical oxygen demand test. He earned his Ph.D. at McGill University, also in Montreal, in 1995, with a dissertation entitled, ``Topology of Porin, the Major Outer Membrane Protein of Haemophilus influenzae Type b.'' Srikumar has been a productive researcher and author both as a doctoral student and since 1996 as a fellow in the laboratory at Queen's University, with nine first-author articles in peer-reviewed publications to his credit. His work, published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Clinical Microbiology and Infection, and the Journal of Bacteriology, among others, has enhanced understanding of multidrug efflux pumps in P. aeruginosa and is likely to aid efforts to overcome the multidrug resistance of the opportunistic human pathogen by compromising the operation of the pumps. An efflux assay, to be published this year and intended for use in screening for efflux pump inhibitors, is based on work by Srikumar and colleagues on the reconstitution of a P. aeruginosa multidrug efflux system in Escherichia coli, published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in 1998. Srikumar's maturity, enthusiasm for research, and ability to work and think independently are noted by his mentors. Richard Stewart of the University of Maryland, a supporter of the nomination, writes, ``His efforts have enabled him to overcome numerous experimental hurdles that would have thwarted a less talented and less dedicated researcher.''

Talent and dedication have also characterized Srikumar's teaching and presentation activities. He has provided an excellent introduction to microbiological research for numerous undergraduate students, developing projects and supervising progress. His enthusiasm for research and his continual willingness to help others are reflected in an enhanced training program in the laboratory, according to his nominator, R. Keith Poole. Srikumar is also described as a gifted communicator, and he has delivered invited lectures at hospitals, institutes, and conferences throughout Canada and in Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Srikumar has been recognized for his accomplishments and potential with fellowships from The Medical Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Srikumar will receive the Young Investigator Award, sponsored by Vector Laboratories, at the ASM General Meeting in Los Angeles.

2000 Morrison Rogosa Award


The Morrison Rogosa Award recognizes the outstanding research accomplishment and potential of women scientists in former Eastern bloc countries. The Award is given in honor of Dr. Morrison Rogosa for contributions to bacteriology and to the ASM. For more information about the Morrison Rogosa Award

Nina Chanishvili, Ph.D., and Jolanta Zakrzewska-Czerwinska, Ph.D., have been chosen to receive this year's awards. Nina Chanishvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, and obtained an M.Sc. Degree from Tbilisi State University. She later earned her Ph.D., studying at the Gamalea Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology and the George Eliava Institute of Bacteriophage, Microbiology and Virology, where she continues to work in bacteriology and bacteriophage therapy.


Chanishvili has proven to be an extremely hardworking scientist, doing excellent work toward the improvement of industrial therapeutic phage clones and their host strains. She and the group of researchers that she leads have been studying the potential of phage therapy for decades, part of the third generation of scientists expanding on the discoveries of Felix D'Herelle and on the theory that bacteriophage could be used to selectively target and cure bacterial infections. Since new drugs are harder to find and it takes several years to market them, the information that has been painstakingly collected by the 10 working laboratories of the Institute has become very valuable. There are few topics more current than the development of antibiotic resistance among pathogens and the increasing need for therapeutic solutions.

Chanishvili has developed a vast collection of phages which may be of great use in better understanding human disease, as well as basic aspects of microbiology and host-parasite interactions. The quality of the scientific output she has achieved with modest laboratories and meager financial support is commendable. Her knowledge and motivation to pursue the development of bacteriophage therapy for the treatment of human and animal diseases are impressive. In addition, she has mentored a number of undergraduate and graduate students. She has also actively worked to secure international collaborations, improve her work, and maintain an ongoing scientific dialogue with colleagues around the world--as demonstrated by her stays at the University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; the University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; the Flandrian Biotechnology Institute, Ghent, Belgium; and the University of Maryland and Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina. Chanishvili was nominated for the award by Christina Kellogg of Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

Born in Poland, Jolanta Zakrzewska-Czerwinska, Ph.D., studied at the Technical University of Wroclaw, where she obtained an M.Sc. degree. She went on to earn her Ph.D. degree at the Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy in Wroclaw. Awarded an Alexander von Humboldt scholarship, she then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Osnabrueck in Germany. Since 1996, she has been an Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw.

Zakrzewska-Czerwinska is an extremely talented scientist with outstanding research accomplishments in the fields of microbiology and bacterial molecular genetics. Using molecular probes, she succeeded in discriminating pathogenic Staphylococcus species, and she has also described a new Staphylococcus species. She contributed to the elucidation of the molecular taxonomy of Streptomyces and Nocardia species by analyzing ribosomal genes, and she has done pioneer work in the cloning and characterization of the chromosomal replication origin of various Streptomyces species. Zakrzewska-Czerwinska has investigated in detail the interaction of the initiator DnaA protein with the replication origin to understand the initiation of DNA replication in these myceliar prokaryotes.

Zakrzewska-Czerwinska's experiments have been carefully planned and carried out using a variety of approaches and methods that ranged from electron microscopy to molecular biology and biochemistry. Her work both alone and in various collaborations has resulted in nearly 40 publications in national and international journals. In addition, she has presented her work at numerous conferences and workshops. In past years she has successfully supervised Master's and Ph.D. students. More recently, she became head of the Department of Microbiology at the Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy in Wroclaw. Professor H. Schrempf, of the Universitat Osnabruck, Poland, nominated Zakrzewska-Czerwinska for the Morrison Rogosa Award.

Everly Conway de Macario
Chair, Morrison Rogosa Award Selection Committee

American Academy of Microbiology

New Fellows

The American Academy of Microbiology is pleased to welcome the following scientists elected to Fellowship for the third quarter of 1999:

Deepak Bhatnagar, Ph.D., USDA, ARS, SRRC, New Orleans, La.

Song Hae Bok, Ph.D., Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Taejon, Korea

Timothy J. Donohue, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Paul Edmonds, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

Leon Eidels, Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas

Jorge G. Escalante-Semerena, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brendlyn Faison, Ph.D., Hampton University, Hampton, Va.

Eric J. Hansen, Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas

Anwarul Huq, Ph.D., University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Baltimore

Hannele Jousimies-Somer, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Robert L. Lester, Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Lexington

Paloma L. Liras, Ph.D., University of Leon, Leon, Spain

Allan D. Russell, Ph.D., Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Michael J. Sadowsky, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, St. Paul

Patricia G. Spear, Ph.D., Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Ill.

Jeffry B. Stock, Ph.D., Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.

Erick J. Vandamme, D.Sc., Laboratorium Voor Idustriele Microbiogie en Biokatalyse, Gent, Belgium




David Baltimore, Nobel laureate and professor of biology and president, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., has been named a winner of the 1999 National Medal of Science. The award is the nation's highest science honor.

Baltimore was named for his far-reaching, fundamental discoveries that dramatically altered the field of study in virology, molecular biology, and immunology, for excellence in building scientific institutions, and in fostering communication between scientists and the general public. Baltimore, along with the late Howard Temin, is the codiscoverer of reverse transcriptase, for which both were awarded a Nobel Prize.

The National Medal of Science was established by Congress in 1959 and is administered by the National Science Foundation. It honors individuals for contributions to the present state of knowledge across a variety of science frontiers. Including this year's recipients, the Medal has been awarded to 374 distinguished scientists and engineers. The awards will be bestowed by President Clinton in a formal White House ceremony.

Athanasios G. Papavassiliou, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biochemistry, University of Patras School of Medicine, Patras, Greece was awarded the 1999 Academy of Sciences of Greece (Academy of Athens) Award, for his innovative study on cancer treatment perspectives entitled ``Transcription factor-based drug design in anticancer drug development.'' His work, ``reflecting deep biological knowledge and pioneering approach to the theme,'' was published in the internationally esteemed peer-reviewed journal Molecular Medicine (3:799-810, 1997).

International Activities

2000 ASM International Fellowship Awardees

The International Microbiology Education Committee (IMEC) is pleased to announce this year's recipients of the ASM International Fellowship Award. Four 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.

The charge of IMEC, one of five standing committees of the Board of Education and Training (BET), is to enhance 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.


Marisa Gomez, an instructor and fellow of the Department of Microbiology, Parasitology and Immunology in the School of Medicine of the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, will be working with Jean C. Lee of the Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. Her research project will focus on a molecular analysis of capsule expression by Staphylococcus aureus isolates from Argentina.

Lopez Bergami

Pablo Lopez Bergami is an instructor and fellow at the Instituto de Investigaciones en Ingenier|fia Genetica y Biolog|fia Molecular in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lopez Bergami will be collaborating with Lisa Cavacini at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass. His research project will focus on the molecular and immunological properties of F425 B4e8 monoclonal antibody to determine the ability of the switched variants to bind HIV.


Leandro Padilla, a Ph.D. student in the Chemical Engineering Progam at the Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago, Chile, will be working with Gregory Stephanopoulos at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. His research project will focus on the development of a trehalose-hyperproducing bacterial strain of Corynebacterium glutamicum.


Leticia Zarantonelli is a Research and Teaching Assistant at the School for Chemistry at the University of the Republic in Uruguay. Zarantonelli will be collaborating with William M. Shafer at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga. Her research project will focus on the genetic and molecular analysis of azithromycin resistance in gonococcus.


ASM Branches on the Web

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




Eastern New York

Eastern Pennsylvania








New Jersey

New York City

Northern California

North Central



Rocky Mountain

South Carolina



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 U, Mycobacteriology

Division W, Microbiology Education

Division Y, Public Health

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