ASM News

    ASM News

    Survey Highlights Concern Over Governance Structure

    Selected Results from the Governance Survey

    Although most members of the ASM Council and the Council Policy Committee (CPC) agree that the Society is doing a good job providing services and programs to its members, many express concern with the governance structures and procedures, according to a recent survey conducted by the Society.

    ``While everyone seems to be relatively pleased with the services delivered by the Society to the membership, there appears to be a lack of faith in the ability of the governance structure to respond to changes in a timely manner and maintain a competitive level of service in today's fast-paced, computer-driven world,'' says Alice Huang, chair of a task force appointed to review the governance structure of the Society. ``This may be the best time to get a grasp on the changes that will really improve ASM governance.''

    The survey is another step in the overall review of the Society's governance structure that began in late 1998 with the formation of the task force and the hiring of consultant William Weary. After reviewing the governance of other scientific societies and developing a general set of principles of good government, the task force sent a survey to current and past officers, board chairs, and the Council to get their impressions of the Society and its governance.

    The survey consisted of 53 questions. In all but two of the questions, respondents were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 7 (with 7 being the highest) their level of agreement with series of statements about the Society. A score of about 4 was deemed to be average, and a score of 5 was seen as positive. Response rates were greatest from current and past officers and board chairs, while relatively few Branch and division councilors and CPC at-large members returned the survey.

    On average, all the respondents said that they felt a special loyalty to the ASM. In addition, they also agreed that the Society provided good value for their dues and that it was highly successful and competitive with other associations addressing the range of their professional needs.

    In contrast, concerns appeared on those items relating to the governance structure, specifically aspects of the Council and the CPC. For example, the 12 lowest scores from the survey were for items that directly related to the functions of the Council. In addition, of the 18 items in the survey directly related to the Council, only 4 received an average score above 4. In comparison, one item relating to the CPC and no items relating to the Boards of the Society scored below a 4. The results of the survey showed that even members of the Council questioned whether the governing body of the Society provided effective leadership, addressed and resolved strategic issues, acted rapidly to meet the Society's needs, reflected the needs and interests of the membership, or was even fully capable of determining the Society's future.

    ``Overall, the sense is that the Society does its best work in the field of science, is less than attentive to its members' needs and their engagement in the Society's work, and relies on ineffective governance structures and procedures to address its strategic needs,'' says consultant William Weary in the report analyzing the survey results. ``While discouraging as an assessment of the Society's ability to face its future as an association, the returns nevertheless provide important evidence of the need for change.''

    Just as there was a difference in response rates between the CPC and Branch and division councilors, so too was there a visible difference in their responses. On average, CPC members tended to give lower scores to governance items on the survey.

    ``There are different levels of concern over the governance structure of ASM. Those who are most familiar with it [members of CPC] are those who are most concerned, especially in its ability to respond to crisis situations in a timely manner,'' says Huang.

    These survey results were presented to the CPC at their meeting in late February. The next step for the Task Force is to take the results of this survey and develop recommendations to present to the CPC later this year.

    ``Given the response we've seen to this survey, now would be the ideal time to think about making changes and improving ASM governance so that we are prepared when the time comes and we need it. It would not be wise to continue to fix the governance piecemeal. It's that process that brought us to the complex governance structure we have today that only a few members of ASM very truly understand,'' says Huang. ``Although it looks like the Council is the weakest link in the governance structure, because of the interdependent complexity of all governance components within the Society, it would be difficult to change just one without having serious changes to others.''

    Other data from the survey support these conclusions. One of the questions asked respondents to give one word that they felt best described the Society's governance structure. While some responses were positive, including ``efficient'' and ``effective,'' many were critical. One word that was used by respondents from the CPC, Branches, and divisions was ``complex,'' a reply that supports findings in the survey that on average respondents felt they didn't have a clear understanding of the bylaws and governance structure. Other words describing the governance structure included ``arcane,'' ``byzantine,'' and ``cumbersome.''

    The final question asked respondents to give one word that best represented how the Society ideally should be described in the coming decade. There was most a three-way tie for the most common response among ``flexible,'' ``leadership,'' and ``proactive.''

    This is the third in a series of articles on the governance of ASM (see ASM News, Oct. 1999, p. 698, and January 2000, p. 30).

    BET Recognized for Scholarship of Teaching in Microbiology

    nw0300038009.GIF (3553 bytes)

    The ASM Board of Education and Training has received a $5,000 award to participate in a new national initiative, The Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Established in 1998, CASTL offers a three-pronged strategy towards (1) promoting significant, long-lasting learning for all students, (2) enhancing the practice and profession of teaching and (3) bringing to faculty's work as teachers the recognition and stature afforded to other forms of scholarly work.

    ``This award from an independent national body of scholars represents an important outside recognition of BET's efforts in promoting the scholarship of teaching in microbiology. It authenticates the work of BET members and staff and will help us to continue to be leaders within the biological sciences in promoting and defining educational scholarship,'' explains Spencer Benson, chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Education.

    He continues, ``ASM joins this Academy in the third phase of the three-pronged strategy. The first prong, the Carnegie Scholars Program, supports the work of distinguished faculty who are contributing to an emerging scholarship of teaching and learning. The second prong, The Teaching Academy Campus Program, is for all colleges and universities that are prepared to make a public commitment to creating campuses where the scholarship of teaching and learning can flourish. The third prong is the interaction and work with professional organizations that recognize and reward scholarly work in their discipline.''

    ASM's commitment to the Academy is to facilitate a national dialogue among the membership and the American Academy for Microbiology about scholarship in microbiology teaching and learning. At the outset, a BET-appointed steering committee will participate with other faculty and administrators in a national conference on Faculty Roles and Rewards. The theme for the 2000 conference is Scholarship Reconsidered: Teaching, Discovery, Engagement, and Integration.

    CASTL brings ASM together with two leading organizations in higher education, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and American Association for Higher Education. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, founded in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie and incorporated in 1906 by an Act of Congress, is an independent institution devoted to strengthening teaching and learning in U.S. colleges and schools. The programs of the Foundation consist of projects and initiatives united by the Foundation's mission ``to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold, and dignify the profession of teaching and the cause of education.''

    The American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) is the individual membership organization that promotes the changes higher education must make to ensure its effectiveness in a complex, interconnected world. The association equips individuals and institutions committed to such changes with the knowledge they need to effect those changes. AAHE's members are 9,300 faculty, administrators, and students from all sectors, disciplines, and positions.

    The BET-Appointed Steering Committee to lead an effort in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning include Spencer Benson (chair), Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park; D'Maris Allen, Austin Community College, Austin, Tex.; John Lammert, Department of Biology, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn.; and Jo-Ann C. Leong, Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis.

    ASM Congressional Briefing on Infectious Disease Threats

    Special Briefing Infectious Disease Threats As We Enter the Next Century: What Can We Do? [PDF]

    As the new century begins, the world is challenged by newly emerging infections and the decreasing effectiveness of its antibiotic arsenal. To address key infectious disease issues for policymakers, on 21 June 1999 ASM held a special briefing in the Senate Hart Office Building entitled, ``Infectious Disease Threats as We Enter the New Century: What Can We Do?'' The briefing included presentations by some of the nation's most eminent researchers and public health experts, who discussed threats from infectious diseases and biological terrorism, as well as research and strategies to detect, treat, and control the resurgence of infectious diseases.

    Participating in the briefing were Joshua Lederberg, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate, Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y.; Stuart Levy, M.D., director, Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance, Tufts University, Boston, Mass.; Gail Cassell, Ph.D., vice president, Lilly Research Laboratories; Anthony Fauci, M.D., director, National Institute for Allergy & Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; and James Hughes, M.D., director, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The speakers noted that the outlook for infectious diseases has evolved during the 20th century. Much of this period has been marked by steady progress in preventing and controlling a wide range of infectious diseases. Increasingly effective public health measures, broadened use of a growing number of vaccines, and the application of powerful antimicrobial drugs have contributed in a major way to curbing the toll in human lives and suffering that infectious diseases can exact.

    Despite remarkable progress, infectious diseases remain the leading cause of death worldwide and the third leading cause of death in the United States. The past few decades have brought new challenges, such as AIDS, drug-resistant tuberculosis, Lyme disease, Legionnaires' disease, and deadly infections caused by the rodent-borne Hanta virus. Between 1973 and 1999, more than 35 newly emerging infectious agents have been identified. The worldwide scourge of AIDS has been characterized by the United Nations as equivalent to warfare in terms of the grave threat it poses to international security. Once conquered diseases are reemerging in stronger, more virulent forms. The threatening problem of multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is growing more serious. Physicians and public health experts are becoming increasingly aware that microorganisms play more of a role in chronic diseases than previously thought. Health experts warn that tuberculosis threatens to cast a long shadow over the 21st century and that the millennium bugs we really need to worry about have nothing to do with computers. The ASM highlighted in its briefing for Congress the many unsolved problems that microorganisms continue to pose for public health officials, physicians, and microbiologists as the new century begins.

    Lederberg discussed evolutionary forces affecting the interactions between people and microbes and predicted that a major pandemic will probably occur sometime in this century. His topic, titled, ``The Bugs vs. the People: the Evolutionary Race,'' also touched on the growing threat of biological weapons. ``Whether developed for use by national governments or by independently acting terrorists, the threat of biological weapons raises a special set of public health concerns for experts who are charged with protecting the health and safety of military forces and civilian populations.''

    Levy gave a stimulating presentation, ``Antibiotic Resistance: Microbes on the Defense.'' ``The most threatening problem in the near term is multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is proving life-threatening to patients following what was supposed to be routine surgery,'' Levy explained. ``It is time to take positive steps such as prescribing shorter courses of antibiotic therapy, cycling the usage of common drugs, better educating consumers about the proper use of antibiotics and encouraging research to develop new classes of antimicrobial products.''

    Cassell discussed new issues related to chronic diseases in her presentation, entitled ``Causal Links of Infectious Agents in Cancer, Arthritis and Other Chronic Diseases.'' Until recently, it was not known that microorganisms play a role in chronic disease. Understanding the indirect and subtle ways that microorganisms contribute to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and asthma will lead to more effective treatment and prevention methods. Cassell said this will force researchers to find new ways to study complex diseases, with teams of investigators whose specialized training comes in different disciplines. Their goal would be to precisely determine how microorganisms and host responses develop into certain diseases.

    The value of well-funded medical research was the topic of Fauci's discussion, ``The Importance of Global Health Research.'' Research must be directed globally to combat not only the growing AIDS epidemic, but the increasing instances of new and reemerging infectious diseases. ``To think that there won't be another pandemic affecting our children is naive,'' Fauci commented. ``Researchers and physicians in the United States share a humanitarian duty to improve the health of everyone, no matter where they live. Sound health contributes to economic well-being and political stability.''

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the agency at the front lines of combating new and reemerging infectious diseases. Hughes outlined the CDC's efforts in his presentation, ``Public Health Strategies for Addressing Emerging Infections.'' The CDC works with state and local officials at eight separate sites throughout the United States to monitor emerging infectious agents. This is part of the CDC's comprehensive plan for fighting emerging infectious agents, which was drafted in 1994 and was revised and expanded in 1998.

    The briefing, a part of ASM's centennial celebration, was attended by more than 100 people, including congressional staffers, the media, agency officials, and scientific society representatives. A booklet summarizing the presentations can be obtained by contacting ASM at or (202) 942-9209.

    2000 General Meeting Awardees

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

    Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology

    nw0300038002.GIF (3297 bytes)

    The Abbott Laboratories Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology, sponsored by the Diagnostics Division of Abbott Laboratories, honors a distinguished scientist in the field of clinical or diagnostic immunology. James D. Folds, Ph.D., director of the William McLendon Clinical Laboratories and vice chair and professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is this year's recipient. At the General Meeting, he will deliver the Division V lecture, ``Research in the Diagnostic Immunology Laboratory.'' Folds was nominated for the award by American Academy of Microbiology Fellow David Normansell of the University of Virginia, who wrote: ``His career exemplifies the three facets of academic life: teaching, service, and research, and he epitomizes the teacher-scientist role model to which we all aspireHis contributions cover the whole field of clinical and diagnostic immunology, not just one or two subsections.''

    Folds earned a B.S. at the University of Georgia and his doctoral degree in Medical Microbiology at the Medical College of Georgia. He continued his training as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology at Case Western Reserve University before beginning his career at the University of North Carolina, where he has continued to advance since 1969. As Director of Laboratories, he has updated and improved all of the clinical laboratories and brought in a myriad of new technologies, procedures, and ideas. His Clinical Immunology Laboratory offers a training program accredited by the American College of Microbiology's Committee on Postdoctoral Educational Programs, and 10 of his 21 postdoctoral trainees have joined him to become Diplomates of the American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology.

    Folds, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, has been a leading laboratory investigator in the field of clinical and diagnostic immunology and has made significant research contributions to aspects of cellular immunology. He has made advances in the areas of serodiagnosis of syphilis, HIV-1 infection, and chancroid. His influential work includes findings regarding the kinetics of the immune response, how the immune system responds to infection of the host with Treponema pallidum, and the molecular expression of T. pallidum antigens. Further, he clarified the important role of polymorphonuclear leukocytes in the immune response to infection. More recent investigations into the part played by natural killer cells in psychoneuroimmunology have served to further define alterations in natural killer cells in HIV infection and depression.

    Folds has authored well over 100 peer-reviewed publications, 13 books and book chapters, and 100 abstracts. In addition to discussing his own work, he has been an invited reviewer for the Archives of Pathology and Lab Medicine, the Journal of Immunology, the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. His editorial board service includes the Journal of Clinical Microbiology (1987-1994), Infection and Immunity (1986-1989), Clinical Immunology Newsletter (1985-present), and Yearbook of Pathology and Clinical Pathology (1981-1991). He is also currently an editor of Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology and has held that post since he spearheaded the effort toward development of the new journal in 1993.

    Extensive service to his institution, ASM, and other scientific organizations further demonstrates Folds' commitment to the field. He is active in a variety of committee and board activities at the University of North Carolina. From 1985-1988, he was chair of the American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology. He has been a member of the Committee on Postdoctoral Educational Programs, the Board of Education and Training, and the Public and Scientific Affairs Board Committee on Laboratory Practices for Microbiology, as well as an ASM Foundation Lecturer. He has served as Alternate Councilor and Councilor of Division V and as President of the North Carolina ASM Branch. He has been President of the Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists, and is currently Councilor of the Clinical Immunology Society.

    BD Award for Research in Clinical Microbiology

    nw0300038003.GIF (3311 bytes)

    Fred C. Tenover, Ph.D., chief, Nosocomial Pathogens Laboratory Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will receive the 2000 BD Award for Research in Clinical Microbiology. The award, affiliated with Division C, honors a distinguished clinical microbiologist for outstanding research accomplishments leading to or forming the foundation for important applications in clinical microbiology. The award is sponsored by BD Biosciences, a division of Becton Dickinson and Company.

    Tenover is recognized for an impressive career that has blended molecular biology basic science with applied research in investigations of antibiotic resistance. He received his B.S. from the University of Dayton in Ohio, later completing the Ph.D. at the University of Rochester in New York. His training continued with postdoctoral fellowships in clinical microbiology and public health in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle. He held faculty positions at the University of Washington and headed the Microbiology and Molecular Biology Section of the VA Medical Center Clinical Laboratory in Seattle before moving to the CDC in 1990.

    Examples of basic research by Tenover and colleagues include work that described glycopeptide genes encoding resistance in enterococci and identified mutations associated with fluoroquinolone resistance in eight species of Enterobacteriaceae. His group was among the first to report high-level cephalosporin resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Perhaps most significant, however, is the fact that many of Tenover's research activities have dramatically influenced the current practice of microbiology in the clinical laboratory.

    Among those contributions is the standardization of the interpretation of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns for typing of bacterial strains. His landmark paper on PFGE, first published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology in 1995, has had tremendous impact on the field of hospital epidemiology and continues to influence both daily laboratory work and subsequent efforts to standardize molecular methods in general. Other publications, focused on the use of molecular tools in the detection of organisms and the determination of antimicrobial resistance, have included new approaches and affected methods used by laboratories throughout the world. Tenover has performed evaluations of common test systems and conducted studies on the competency of laboratories to detect and report emerging resistance. His current research includes detection and differentiation of antimicrobial resistance genes through the development of DNA probes and nucleic acid amplification assays; investigations into the evolution of antimicrobial resistance genes; the use of DNA probes, sequencing, and nucleic amplification techniques for rapid detection of infectious agents in clinical samples; and epidemiological studies of nosocomial infections using molecular techniques.

    An especially effective communicator, Tenover has disseminated his knowledge through countless presentations and service to national and international committees. He currently serves as a voting member of the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards and a consultant to the World Health Organization on Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring, and is a member of the Food and Drug Administration Microbiology Advisory Panel and the Institute of Medicine Panel on Emerging Antibiotic Resistance. A Diplomate of the American Board of Medical and Molecular Microbiology and Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, his service to ASM includes current membership on the ICAAC Program Committee, the Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance, and the Committee on Conferences. He was cochair of the Conference on Molecular Diagnostics and Therapeutics in 1993 and 1997 and an ASM Foundation Lecturer from 1994-1996. Tenover continues to contribute to the profession as a volume editor for the Manual of Clinical Microbiology and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, and Microbial Drug Resistance. He also devotes considerable attention to the mentorship of young scientists, having supervised 16 trainees from 7 countries during the past 10 years.

    As the recipient of the BD Award, Tenover will deliver the Division C Lecture, entitled, ``A Teleological Look at Antimicrobial Resistance: the Coevolution of Microbes and Microbiologists'' at the General Meeting in Los Angeles. He was nominated for this award by James Jorgensen of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, also a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

    Carski Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award

    nw0300038004.GIF (3019 bytes)

    I. Edward Alcamo, Ph.D., has been named recipient of the 2000 Carski Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award. Alcamo is being honored for exemplary teaching of microbiology to undergraduate students and for encouraging students to subsequent achievement. The award is made possible through the generosity of the Carski Foundation, which was established in 1965 by Dr. Theodore J. Carski, a founder of Baltimore Biological Laboratories (BBL) and developer of numerous technologies that encouraged the identification and cultivation of pathogenic microorganisms. The first awardee was recognized in 1968.

    Alcamo, whose contributions to science education span 35 years, is currently Professor of Microbiology at the State University of New York at Farmingdale. At the ASM General Meeting in Los Angeles in May, he will deliver the Carski Lecture entitled ``The Top Ten Challenges Confronting Microbiology Education in the 21st Century.''

    As an undergraduate biology student at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., Alcamo first expressed an interest in becoming a microbiology educator. He began teaching courses just a few years later, and went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at St. John's University, Jamaica, N.Y. Michael Vinciguerra, Provost at the State University of New York at Farmingdale, and a supporter of his nomination wrote, ``In 1970, when I joined the faculty of SUNY Farmingdale as a chemistry professor, Ed's reputation as an excellent biology educator was already well known. He and I taught many of the same students, and I would often hear them comment on how demanding he was, but also how clear and well organized his presentations were.'' Both colleagues and students mention Alcamo's ability to communicate complex information so it is readily understandable, interesting, and challenging. He has continued to develop these qualities in his teaching through his dedication and caring for students, while consistently introducing innovative and creative instructional methods and materials. His lectures include numerous exercises that involve active learning techniques, and his lab classes require students to learn by doing.

    A productive author, Alcamo has published a broad array of materials. He has authored several learning guides and textbooks, including Fundamentals of Microbiology, now entering its 6th edition. He has also prepared the encyclopedia entry for Encarta entitled ``Procaryotes'', as well as The Microbiology Coloring Book and Schaum's Outline of Microbiology. His other books published within the past several years include AIDS: the Biological Basis, DNA Technology: the Awesome Skill, The Biology Coloring Workbook, and Anatomy and Physiology The Easy Way.

    Service to the science and profession of microbiology education has also been a favorite cause of Alcamo's. He is a charter member and current chair of ASM's Division W, and he was the founding editor of the newsletter Focus on Microbiology Education. He also chaired the College Section of the National Association of Biology Teachers in 1998-99, and he is an active member of his campus and local communities.

    Alcamo's contributions to teaching have been recognized by his institution with the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and The President's Memorial Award for Excellence in Curriculum Development and Scholarship. In 1994 he was promoted to the coveted rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor, an honor held by only 1% of 34,000 faculty at the State University of New York. He has also earned the NABT Outstanding Biology Teaching Award in 1990, and he was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 1989. John Lennox, Professor of Microbiology at Penn State and Alcamo's nominator, concludes, ``As a mentor and teacher he has influenced the lives and careers of thousands of aspiring microbiologists, allied health professionals, and educators.''

    ASM Founders Distinguished Service Award

    nw0300038005.GIF (3434 bytes)

    Ronald M. Atlas, Ph.D., of the University of Louisville, Kentucky, is the recipient of the 2000 ASM Founders Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented in recognition of outstanding professional contributions to ASM in a volunteer capacity at the national level. Atlas is recognized for his commitment to furthering the goals of ASM, his ability to inspire commitment from others, and his significant contributions to ASM and its audiences. The award is sponsored by Pharmacia & Upjohn.

    A Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, Atlas received his B.S. from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Microbiology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He joined ASM in 1969 and has been an active volunteer since the mid-1970s. His scientific expertise and communication abilities have been invaluable to ASM. His first activities were related to journals; he has served two terms on the editorial board of Applied and Environmental Microbiology (1975-1981, 1989-1992), reviewing articles and participating in the meetings that establish the direction and quality of that publication. He has been a member of the Board of Education and Training Education Committee (1985-1989) and helped to bring computer use in microbiology education to the fore as a member and later chair of the Board of the Microbiology Computer Users Group. He has been chair of Division Q and a member of the Procter & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology Selection and Nominating Committees.

    Most significant, however, have been Atlas' contributions to the Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB). He began his service to that body as a member of the Environmental Committee in 1982 and continued to serve as chair from 1988 through 1997. During that time, he developed and expanded relationships with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, leading the Committee into new areas. In order to ensure the adequate funding and quality of microbiological research in the fields of environment and energy, he actively worked with those agencies, Congress, and the executive branch. Testifying on behalf of ASM at Congressional hearings, Atlas made a strong and effective speaker on budgets and appropriations that impact microbiology, repeatedly fighting for recognition of the importance of funding microbial research.

    Issues related to bioremediation, safe drinking water, microbial genomics, and biodiversity have been addressed by PSAB, and Atlas was instrumental in those initiatives through consultation with Congress, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and numerous federal agencies. He has helped to develop policy positions as a member of the Board, crafting recommendations on ethics and genetic engineering. Also important are his activities with the PSAB Task Force on Biological Weapons, which he cochairs. Atlas assumed a leadership role in the liaison between ASM and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and has represented the Society's position on biological weapons verification to delegates for the Biological Weapons Convention in Geneva, Switzerland. The scientific advisory role of ASM has truly been enhanced by his dedication and efforts to move forward, even on the most controversial of issues. He was nominated for this Award by David Pramer, a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

    Graduate Microbiology Teaching Award

    nw0300038006.GIF (3335 bytes)

    The 2000 Graduate Microbiology Teaching Award honors exceptional teaching and mentoring of microbiology students at the graduate and postgraduate levels and encouraging those students to subsequent achievement. Stephen J. Mattingly, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, will receive this year's award and deliver a presentation called ``A Master of Science Evening Program in Microbiology for K-12 Teachers'' at the General Meeting. The award is sponsored by ASM.

    Mattingly received his Ph.D. from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta in 1972, worked as postdoctoral researcher at Temple University, and moved to UTHSCSA in 1974. There he has enjoyed a career as a productive researcher and outstanding teacher of graduate and postdoctoral students. He has been Graduate Advisor and Chairman for two different three-year terms, served on dozens of dissertation and thesis research committees, and long been recognized as a committed mentor. In addition, his work with an innovative program for school teachers further qualifies him for this award.

    Recognizing the need for improvement in science education and the commitment of good teachers to quality education, Mattingly conceptualized, designed, and organized a program unique to United States institutions, the first Master of Science Evening Program in Microbiology for kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) teachers. The program proactively addresses the frequently cited national problems in science education by providing K-12 teachers with the content knowledge necessary to better understand and communicate subject matter and to bring more and better science to younger students. Most K-12 science teachers have background in education but little training in science, so the program offers courses in introductory microbiology and the foundations of biochemistry, building a strong base for subsequent course and laboratory work and thesis research. The program schedule is demanding. Three-hour class periods are structured with lecture, question and answer, open discussion, and application of the evening's material to K-12 curricula. The highly successful endeavor, now just four years old, boasts a total 22 participating teacher-scientists, 14 who have already earned degrees. The extremely high success rate is testament to Mattingly's talents as an organizer, instructor, mentor, and faculty and student recruiter.

    Getting the program off the ground required amazing dedication and effort. Mattingly began the program without waiting for funding, recruiting volunteer faculty among UTHSCSA professors and enlisting the help of an educational resource consultant. He advertised the program throughout San Antonio and the immediate area, recruiting teachers from 10 independent school districts who were teaching at all grade levels and working at schools serving children from diverse social and economic backgrounds.

    Students and colleagues describe his abilities to teach and motivate in glowing terms. ``While we were apprehensive about doing actual laboratory research, Dr. Mattingly never allowed us to believe that we could not succeed,'' writes Michelle Barnet, a graduate of the program who has gone on to offer microbiology classes at Bandera High School and present her research at the ASM General Meeting. The impact of the program is far-reaching. Professors have become increasingly involved in their communities, and teachers have gained confidence and scientific knowledge, earned advanced degrees, won awards, and offered new courses. Perhaps most significantly, intellectual curiosity and interest in the microbiological sciences has been passed on to thousands of children. Stephen Mattingly was nominated for this award on behalf of the participating teacher-students, the students they teach, and the faculty and administration of UTHSCSA, by Diana Gonzales Tudyk, Inaugural Evening M.S. Student.

    The William A. Hinton Research Training Award

    nw0300038007.GIF (3193 bytes)

    The William A. Hinton Research Training Award honors an individual who has made significant contributions toward fostering the research training of underrepresented minorities in microbiology. Julius H. Jackson, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Microbiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, is the 2000 Award recipient. This award is sponsored by ASM and presented in honor of Dr. William Hinton, a physician research scientist whose work advanced the field of diagnostic microbiology and one of the first African-Americans to become an ASM member.

    Jackson, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, began his own training in microbiology with an A.B. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. As a postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology, microbial physiology, and genetics at Purdue University, he developed an interest in amino acid synthesis pathways that continues today. His current research focuses on the information structure and evolution of prokaryotic genes, proteins, and genomes, and the role of gene organization in prokaryotic physiology. As a researcher and in the classroom, he has continued to pursue real depth of understanding in a wide variety of research interests, and it is this dedication and pursuit of challenges that is imparted to students and trainees.

    Jackson has extensive experience as a laboratory and classroom teacher and has covered subject matter in the subspecialties of medical and dental microbiology, microbial physiology, genetics, molecular biology, pathogenesis, and ecology. He has mentored undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in faculty positions at a variety of institutions. Jerry Dodgson, chair of the Microbiology Department at Michigan State and Jackson's nominator, writes, ``Beyond the students listed in his CV, Julius has been a mentor to many others: undergraduates, medical students and grad students alike, who don't work in his lab and may not even be in one of his classes.'' He is often sought out by underrepresented minority students for advice and guidance, and is known never to turn a student away. Throughout his career, Jackson has paid special attention to ensuring that minority students are recruited and retained, and has remained active in efforts to increase the number of researchers from underrepresented minority groups in all disciplines of microbiology.

    These efforts are evident in other areas of Jackson's work as well. As Division Director for the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences of the National Science Foundation (1995-1997), he was instrumental in strengthening the requirement for plans to enhance the diversity of students and faculty in all large, center-like awards made by the NSF. He also served as a member of the Human Resources Development Working Group charged with recommending improvements in efforts designed to promote the full participation of all groups underrepresented in engineering and the sciences. Jackson's influence is also seen in NSF initiatives like ``Microbial Observatories,'' a program that not only emphasizes fundamental research in microbial biology but encourages education, outreach, and activities that lead to increased participation from underrepresented groups.

    Also devoted to professional service, he currently serves as a member of the Office Advisory Committee of the Office of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation. At his institution, he is active on the Department of Microbiology's Undergraduate Committee, the Faculty Advisory Council of the College of Natural Science, and as Faculty Advisor for the Dean's Student Advisory Council. Julius Jackson will deliver this year's William A. Hinton Award Lecture, ``Quantitative Signals in Genomes and Society.''

    American Academy of Microbiology

    The Committee on Postdoctoral Educational Programs (CPEP) is currently reviewing the Operational Procedures. The Operational Procedures is the reference document for CPEP which describes how to manage the postdoctoral educational programs from initial accreditation through reaccreditation. These procedures are reviewed and revised at least every five years. CPEP is requesting your thoughtful review and is soliciting your proposed revisions. To request a copy of the document, please contact Linda Goodman by e-mail at , by fax at (202) 942-9380, or by telephone at (202) 942-9281.

    Education and Training

    National Survey on Doctoral Education

    The National Doctoral Program Survey

    Microbiology and other life science graduate students have an opportunity to participate in a national, Web-based study, ``The National Doctoral Program Survey,'' which seeks to evaluate doctoral departments in the arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences, or engineering. Between 18 January and 1 May 2000, students currently in graduate programs or recently graduated are able to provide information about faculty mentoring, curricular breadth and flexibility, teaching and professionalism, career guidance and placement, time to degree, departmental climate, and overall satisfaction. The online survey has been developed to render an accurate picture of departmental compliance with national recommendations for improvements in graduate education that have been put forth by the Association of American Universities, the National Council, and the National Academy of Sciences. Final survey results will later be made publicly available on the World Wide Web. With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) sponsors this survey. Visit the survey Web site or e-mail


    2000 Erwin Neter Award

    Steven D. Douglas of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pa., has been selected by the Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists (AMLI) as the 2000 Erwin Neter Award recipient. The Award was established to honor Dr. Neter's contributions to the field of Medical Laboratory Immunology, and includes a lecture at the 2000 AMLI meeting, a $1,000 honorarium, and a $1,000 travel allowance to cover expenses related to attending the meeting. The 2000 AMLI meeting will be held at the Don Cesar Hotel in St. Petersburg Beach, FL from July 12-15, 2000. The Neter Lecture is scheduled for Thursday, July 13 at approximately 3:00 PM.

    1999 Bergey Award

    nw0300038001.GIF (3197 bytes)

    The Bergey Award was initiated in 1979 to honor an individual for outstanding contributions to prokaryotic taxonomy. The Award, donated by the Board of Trustees of Bergey's Manual Trust and Springer-Verlag, consists of a certificate, a $2,000 prize, and expenses for travel to receive the Award at a scientific meeting chosen by the recipient. The winner of the 20th Bergey Award is William B. Whitman of the Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, Athens, and the award will be presented at the ASM General Meeting in Los Angeles, Calif., in May 2000.

    Whitman, known to his friends as Barny, earned a B.S. in 1973 at the Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. in 1978 at the Department of Microbiology, University of Texas at Austin. He then moved to the University of Illinois in Urbana for a period of postdoctoral study until 1982 with Ralph Wolfe, where he began studies of Methanococcus spp. that have continued through his career. After his postdoc, Barny accepted a faculty position in the Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, where he currently holds position as professor. He also holds joint appointments in the departments of Biochemistry and of Marine Science at the University of Georgia.

    He has been a member of ASM and the AAAS since 1975. He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Bacteriology and the advisory board of the NIH Stable Isotope Resource. He has served as Secretary of the ICSB Subcommittee on the taxonomy of Methanogenic Bacteria since 1986. He was elected to the American Academy for Microbiology and is currently an associate editor of the International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology.

    Barny's early studies of Methanococcus spp. were directed at the biochemistry of methanogenesis. During his career, his interests expanded to virtually all aspects of Methanococcus spp., including anabolic as well as catabolic pathways, genetics, habitat, ecology, phylogeny, and taxonomy. Barny also developed a very precise HPLC method for measurement of the mol% G+C of DNA that is widely used. This method allows the determination of the mol% G+C to within 0.05 mol%. Barny has come to be known for his attention to detail and for the careful and scholarly nature of his publications. Where many species of methanogens are represented by only a single isolated strain, Barny has expended the effort and care to isolate many. He has been particularly interested in uniting systematics based upon ribosomal RNA sequence comparisons and classical genotypic and phenotypic techniques. His interests in the phylogenetic taxonomy of methanogens stemmed in part from the revolutionary monographic revision of their taxonomy that emanated from the Wolfe and Woese laboratories at about the same time he arrived there. Barny's polyphasic view of Methanococcus and other methanogens led him and his colleagues to propose further substantial revisions of the higher taxa of methanogens, and these changes have been adopted for the second edition of Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology.

    Bergey Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Bacterial Taxonomy

    The Bergey Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Bacterial Taxonomy is awarded in recognition of long-term accomplishments, the sum total of which has had a substantial impact on the advancement of bacterial taxonomy. The medal was instituted in 1994, in part with a donation from R. G. E. Murray, and is sponsored by the Bergey's Manual Trust. The 1999 recipients of the medal are:

    Wilhelm Frederiksen
    James W. Moulder
    Karl O. Stetter
    Hans Trüper

    Deceased Members

    nw0300038008.GIF (3118 bytes)

    H. Edwin Umbarger, 78, Wright Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., died on 15 November 1999 while recuperating from surgery.

    Ed Umbarger came of age as a scientist in the Golden Era created when the fusion of microbial biochemistry and genetics thrust the microbe center stage. For nearly 50 years he was among the pioneers exploring the seemingly limitless possibilities for discovery opened in the new field of biochemical genetics.

    Born in Shelby, Ohio, on 17 July 1921, Ed spent most of his early years in Mansfield, Ohio, where he attended public schools, graduating from Mansfield Senior High School in 1939. He obtained a B.S. Degree in chemistry from Ohio University in 1943 and an M.S. degree in zoology the following year. He served two years as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy, including duty on the hospital ship USS Rescue in the Pacific area. In 1946, he began graduate studies in the Division of Medical Sciences of Harvard University, working under J. Howard Mueller, chair of the department then called Bacteriology and Immunology. Earning his Ph.D. in 1950, Ed immediately accepted appointment as Instructor in that department. He left Harvard in 1960. Following four years as Senior Staff Investigator at the Cold Spring Harbor Biological Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Ed was named Professor of Biological Sciences at Purdue University. The remainder of his academic career was spent at Purdue, where in 1970 he was designated Wright Distinguished Professor.

    Ed was one of the giants of microbial biochemistry, physiology, and molecular biology. His contributions have become so assimilated into the body of our knowledge about the microbial cell that credit is rarely given to their origin in current textbooks. His thesis research in the late 1940s was conducted with great independence. When Mueller suggested that he look into amino acid-requiring mutants, Ed took it from there. He employed auxotrophic mutant methodology to elucidate the steps in the biosynthesis of the branched-chain amino acids valine and isoleucine in Escherichia coli. That task, and later the pathway to leucine, occupied much of his early career, and led directly to his major discoveries.

    Charting paths, though important, was not Ed's sole interest in this work. He had a deep appreciation for the elegant economy of bacterial growth, and was intrigued by the challenge of understanding the in vivo operation of biosynthetic pathways and their regulation. His explorations led him to three fundamental principles of bacterial physiology: control of biosynthesis by end product inhibition, employment of multiple enzymes for single chemical reactions, and multivalent repression. End product (feedback) inhibition was recognized by Ed in 1956 when he discovered that isoleucine inhibits threonine deaminase, the first specific enzyme in the synthesis of isoleucine; virtually simultaneous discoveries by others of the same phenomenon quickly established allosteric inhibition as one of the potent regulatory forces in cell metabolism.

    The second principle grew out of recognition that tight control of threonine deamination by isoleucine could make it difficult for threonine deamination to function as the start of a degradative process for utilizing exogenous threonine as a source of nitrogen, carbon, and energy; Ed's discovery in 1957 of a second threonine deaminase--one not subject to inhibition by isoleucine--explained E. coli's strategy for handling this situation.

    The third contribution, multivalent repression, took longer to develop. The branched-chain amino acid pathway is complex in that isoleucine and valine are made by parallel paths with shared enzymes, and leucine is made by steps that branch off the pathway to valine. Derepression of the shared enzymes occurs upon limitation for any one of the end products. Eventually Umbarger and his students and colleagues, recognizing that charging of tRNA was necessary for repression by these end products, were able to show that Yanofsky's attenuation formed the basis of this multivalent gene regulation.

    Though less visible than his research achievements, Umbarger's contributions to undergraduate and graduate education are quite remarkable. His global conceptualization of metabolism, which organized reactions into functional classes, found its way into major textbooks, facilitated the immersion of students into the subject of metabolism, and paved the way for a flux analysis of metabolite flow during growth.

    Rigorous thinking, insight, and thoroughness marked all of Ed's scholarly work, creating a high demand for his services as editor and author. He wrote many chapters in treatises, review journals, and textbooks, and served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the Journal of Bacteriology, where he was later an editor. He played a pivotal role in editing the metabolism section and writing chapters for both editions of the ASM publication E. coli and Salmonella: Cellular and Molecular Biology. He served as chair of the ASM Division of Microbial Physiology, and he organized the 1968 Gordon Research Conference on Biological Regulatory Mechanisms.

    Formal recognition of Ed's contributions to science and scholarship included election to both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship; a Medallion for pioneering research from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; the Pasteur Award from the Illinois branch of ASM; the Rosenstiel Award in Basic Medical Sciences from Brandeis University; the McCoy Award for Contributions to Science and an honorary doctorate degree from Purdue University; and the Ohio University Alumni Certificate of Merit. In 1999 Purdue established the Umbarger Distinguished Professorship of Biological Sciences in his honor.

    Ed cared passionately about good science, education, mentoring, and the need for welcoming students from underrepresented minority groups into science; these values guided his entire professional life. His contributions as teacher, mentor, and friend to scores of scientists were highlighted by many of his former associates and students at a symposium honoring him at Purdue in 1992. Consistent with the humanity he exhibited in his professional life, he was a devoted and loving husband and father. Ed's first wife, Merle Abele, preceded him in death in 1993. His subsequent marriage was to Virginia Moore Abele in 1995. Surviving Ed are his wife and three daughters, Jennifer Manson of St. Ives, New South Wales, Australia, and Diana Presutti and Sharon Trachtman, both of Carmel, Ind.; also surviving are two stepchildren and Ed's two brothers.

    Howard Douglas died in his home in Seattle, Wash., on 24 February 1999 at the age of 89. He first became an instructor at the University of Washington in 1941 after receiving his Ph.D. from the Bacteriology Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and retired as Professor Emeritus from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington in 1980 after a distinguished career. His post-retirement interests centered on family, photography, bird watching, and, most recently, computer technology. He is survived by his wife Effie, his children Clark, Jack, and Jean, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

    Douglas' research was a blend of his thorough training in microbial physiology and the evolving discipline of microbial genetics. His collaborative work in yeast genetics with Dr. Herschel Roman was one of the pioneering efforts in that field and began at a time when the role of DNA in heredity was still a matter of dispute. Between 1954 and the mid-60s, in collaboration with several M.S. and Ph.D. graduate students and his technician Helen Talbott, Doug identified structural and regulatory genes for galactose metabolism which in 1966 provided the basis for the first concrete model of its regulation. This model was an important first step in developing an overall understanding of the mechanism of cellular regulation in yeast. At that time, probably few if any of us in the Department recognized the true significance of his scientific contributions and the major impact they would have on future biochemical-genetic studies of yeast. Some appreciation of their influence can be gained from an article entitled ``Impact of Douglas Hawthorne Model as a Paradigm for Elucidating Cellular Regulatory Mechanisms in Fungi'' written by Professor Yazsugi Ochima and published in Genetics in 1991. Doug's research was characterized by his ability to cut to the heart of the problem, his incisive analysis of experiments, and by the deceptive simplicity of his techniques. What he accomplished was done with an inoculating loop, a micromanipulator, and uncounted stacks of petri dishes.

    We who knew Howard Douglas from the early days of the Microbiology Department find it hard to fully convey what Doug meant to us as a colleague and friend. In fact it is a measure of the integrity of his personality that there was little distinction between those two relationships. His essential humanity, good will, and humor was seamless, and found voice whether he was discussing an experiment, reviewing a paper, commenting on politics, or mulling over the ever-present vagaries of family life. His sense of proportion and balance was unmatchable. He had an unerring ability to detect human foibles be they vanity, hypocrisy, dissembling, or overweening ambition, and his ability to state with good humor and intent what others might relegate to silence drastically reduced the psychological pollution of daily life. Overall, Doug brought common sense and good will to everything he touched, and in doing so allowed those around him to shed pretext in dealing with the issues at hand. His ability to accept the problems of life with directness and courage, gave his friends the gift of facing their own problems with a greater measure of acceptance and equanimity. We are grateful for his presence in our lives.

    Neal Groman
    Eugene Nester

    International Activities

    Additional Awards Granted for the International Professorship Program

    International Professorship for Latin America

    The International Microbiology Education Committee (IMEC) is pleased to announce that additional funds have been made available for the fiscal year 2000 ASM International Professorship and International Fellowship Award programs. As a result of this additional funding, the International Professorship Award Review Committee has selected two further outstanding applications submitted for the November 1999 deadline. The two awardees are as follows.

    Christon Hurst is a microbiologist in the National Risk Management Research Laboratory at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Cincinnati, Ohio. In cooperation with the School of Public Health of the University of Valle, Colombia, Hurst will present a series of lectures on the ecology of infectious diseases transmitted by water.

    Paul Roy is a professor at the Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada. He will continue a long-term collaboration with the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina and present a two-part course on novel mechanisms of resistance and their dissemination.


    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.