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Microbes After Hours Series

The American Society for Microbiology's “Microbes After Hours” gathers together scientists and curious citizens at ASM headquarters in Washington, DC for relaxed evenings of appetizers, drinks, and exciting microbiology talks from ASM's member microbiologists. The series has grown beyond its local roots through live broadcasts on ASM's YouTube channel. Join us for this series of events open to all!


The Never-ending Vaccine Race | February 23, 2017 | 6:00-8:00pm
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Veteran medical journalist Meredith Wadman will discuss her book The Vaccine Race. It tells the timely, epic, and controversial story of the development of the first widely-used normal human cell line and, through it, important viral vaccines, including the vaccine for rubella (German measles). Far from being an instrument of history, vaccine development in the modern era is targeting new (and reemerging) infectious diseases, including Ebola, Zika, Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Dr. April Killikelly, a scientist at NIH's Vaccine Research Center, will discuss the latest tools and technologies used to design tomorrow’s vaccines. Following the discussion, Dr. Wadman will be signing copies of The Vaccine Race. We will have copies available for purchase on site via credit/debit card ONLY.


Guest speakers include:
  • Meredith K. Wadman, B.M., B.Ch., M.Sc., Staff Writer, Science and author of The Vaccine Race
  • April Killikelly, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health

Spillover: Zika, Ebola, & Beyond | December 6, 2016 | 6:00-8:00pm
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Link to Spillover livestream

Throughout the last few decades, diseases that spill over from animals to humans have been on the rise. What’s behind their increase, and can we do anything to combat these dangerous foes? Spillover: Zika, Ebola & Beyond, from HHMI's Tangled Bank Studios, investigates the rise of spillover viruses like Zika, Ebola and Nipah. We find out how human behaviors spread diseases, and what science can do to anticipate and prevent epidemics around the world. Join us for the film and discussion with filmmakers Aileen O'Hearn and James Barrat!

Guest speakers include:
  • James Barrat, Producer, Director, Writer & Narrator for Spillover: Zika, Ebola, and Beyond
  • Aileen O'Hearn, PhD, Science Education Fellow at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Tangled Bank Studios

The Necrobiome - Microbial Life After Death | October 19, 2016 | 6:30-8:30pm
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Special Halloween edition!

What happens to us after we die? A decomposing corpse becomes its own mini-ecosystem, hosting insects, scavengers and multitudes of microbes. Microbes from the environment, the corpse, as well as the insects and scavengers are blended together and work to recycle tissues back to their constituents. Dr. Jennifer DeBruyn will discuss the fascinating process of human decomposition, and how scientists are using that information to inform forensic science, livestock mortality management and fossilization.

Guest speakers include:

Understanding the Pathogenesis of the Emerging Zika Virus | July 28, 2016 | 5:30-7:30pm
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Dr. Michael Diamond, 2016 Elizabeth O. King Lecturer, has worked for the past two decades investigating how viruses work, with a goal of defining basic principles of pathogenesis and host immune restriction. His talk will focus on how his laboratory has studied three emerging mosquito-transmitted viruses (West Nile, Chikungunya, and Zika viruses) of global importance from a basic perspective, and how this information facilitates the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

Guest speakers include:

The Elizabeth O. King Lecture is hosted by the American Academy of Microbiology. The lecture is made possible by The New York Community Trust-The Audrey Rheinstrom and Anne Blevins Fund and is also supported by the American Society for Virology.


This Week in Virology LIVE - Zika Virus | May 31, 2016 | 6:00-8:00pm
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

A special live episode of the popular science podcast This Week in Virology (TWiV) at the headquarters of the American Society for Microbiology. Podcast host Vincent Racaniello will hold a conversation with four leading experts on flaviviruses to discuss what we know about the emerging pathogen Zika virus and the state of ongoing research.  

Guest speakers include:

Missing Microbes | January 28, 2016 | 6:00-8:00pm
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Why are obesity, juvenile diabetes and asthma increasing? Is it something in the environment or in our modern lifestyle? Dr. Martin Blaser thinks that it may be due to changes in our microbiome – the ecosystem of tiny microscopic creatures that live in and on us. Learn about his hypothesis that some of the greatest medical advances in the 20th century – antibiotics, C-sections and antiseptics- may be having unintended consequences.  

Guest speakers include:
  • Dr. Martin Blaser, New York University

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria | June 25, 2015 | 5:30-7:00pm
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

In 2011, the NIH Clinical Center had a cluster of infections of a pathogen that tops the CDC's list of urgent threats: antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae. This bacteria, which can cause bloodstream and other infections, has recently developed resistance to the class of antibiotics known as carbapenems. The outbreak at NIH started with a single infected patient who was discharged weeks before any other cases were detected. This story of antibiotic-resistant infections is becoming more common around the world, and is especially dangerous in hospitals. Dr. Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute, will discuss how the outbreak was traced using state-of-the-art DNA sequencing.

The Elizabeth O. King Lecture is made possible by The New York Community Trust-The Audrey Rheinstrom and Anne Blevins Fund.

Guest speakers include:
  • Dr. Julie Segre, National Human Genome Research Institute

Ebola: On the Front Lines | November 19, 2014 | 5:30-7:00pm
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

The current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has sickened over 13,000 people and has killed over 4,800. Health workers from around the world are attempting to halt this deadly disease. On November 19th, Microbes After Hours will feature two of these health workers, Dr. Joseph Fair and Dr. Michael Callahan, who have extensive experience with the virus, including direct field work during the current outbreak. They will discuss the virus, the response, and potential solutions during a talk, followed by a Q & A with the audience. 

Guest speakers include:
  • Dr. Joseph Fair
  • Dr. Michael Callahan, Unither Virology

The Water Supply | October 8, 2014 | 5:30-7:00pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Creating and maintaining a clean, sustainable water supply means delivering drinking water and collecting wastewater while dealing with pathogenic microorganisms and infrastructure challenges. It's not all challenges, however. Two speakers; Sudhir Murthy, PhD, PE, BCEE, Innovation Chief at DC Water, and Kellogg Schwab, PhD, Director of the Johns Hopkins University Water Institute, will speak to Microbes After Hours about promising new endeavors in water management as well as issues of water safety.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Sudhir Murthy, DC Water
  • Dr. Kellogg Schwab, Johns Hopkins University Water Institute

This Week in Virology | August 26, 2014 | 6:00-8:30pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

This Week in Virology, the podcast about viruses, celebrates its 300th episode on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 with a live recording at the Washington, DC headquarters of the American Society for Microbiology. This special episode will be part of the ‘Microbes after Hours’ series, and will feature the TWiV hosts Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Alan Dove, Rich Condit, and Kathy Spindler recording together in person for the first time.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Columbia University Medical Center
  • Dr. Dickson D. Despommier, Columbia University Medical Center
  • Dr. Alan Dove
  • Dr. Rich Condit, University of Florida
  • Dr. Kathy Spindler, University of Michigan

The Microbiology of Cheese | June 10, 2014 | 6:00-8:00pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Have you ever wondered why mozzarella bubbling and stretching between pizza slices is so different from the earthy flavors of blue-veined gorgonzola? The diversity of cheeses we love are created by encouraging and manipulating the growth of specific microbes. The American Society for Microbiology is excited to explore and celebrate the roles microbes play in the production of a variety of cheeses - from milk-gathering to cheese aging.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Rachel Dutton, Harvard University
  • Mateo Kehler, Jasper Hill Farms

The Microbiology of Beer | October 10, 2013 | 6:00-8:00pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

The master ingredient in beer is yeast – a microbe – and every step in the brewing process helps the yeast do its job better. Join us at the American Society of Microbiology to learn more about how microbes are selected, grown, and manipulated in modern breweries to develop a wide variety of flavors and textures!

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Charles Bamforth, University of California, Davis
  • Rebecca Newman, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Shutting Down the Government | July 8, 2013 | 6:00-7:30pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

How can something too small to be seen with the naked eye be powerful enough to bring down something like the U.S. Government? It turns out that microbes, mostly invisible, have the extraordinary capacity to affect our lives – through outbreaks of disease and the spread of fear. Twice in history, microbes have even brought the U.S. Government to a halt! Join us at the D.C. headquarters of the American Society for Microbiology to learn more about the Yellow Fever outbreak of 1792 that caused the fledgling Congress to flee and the Anthrax scare of 2001 that also shut down government buildings and agencies.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Marshall Bloom, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
  • Dr. Douglas Beecher, Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Microbiology of the Bioeconomy | June 3, 2013 | 6:00-8:00pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Microbiology is poised to make significant inroads towards reducing dependence on crude oil and petroleum-based products. Join us at ASM headquarters to learn how we can harness the immense metabolic diversity of microbes to generate biofuels and other commodity chemicals from digestion and fermentation of renewable biomass resources.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • Dr. Joy Doran Peterson, University of Georgia

West Nile Virus | May 6, 2013 | 6:00-8:00pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

2012 saw a surge of West Nile Virus infections, particularly in the central United States. What exactly is West Nile Virus and why do outbreaks occur? Join us at ASM headquarters to learn more about the biology of this fascinating virus - how it moves between hosts, how the disease is diagnosed and treated, and how outbreaks can potentially be prevented.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Lyle Petersen, Divison of Vector-Borne Diseases, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, George Washington University School of Medicine

The Secret Language of Bacteria | January 25, 2013 | 6:00-7:30pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

No bacterium lives alone – it is constantly encountering members of its own species as well as other kinds of bacteria and diverse organisms like viruses, fungi, plants and animals. To navigate a complex world, microbes use chemical signals to sense and communicate with one another.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Bonnie Bassler, Princeton University
  • Dr. Steven Lindow, University of California, Berkeley

Return of Influenza | October 9, 2012 | 6:00-8:00pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Fall is on the horizon, bringing with it freshly-sharpened pencils, vibrantly-colored leaves, and of course - the annual influenza season. Join us at ASM Headquarters to learn about the microbiology of this fascinating virus and why vaccination not only protects ourselves but higher-risk individuals all around us. Come mingle with like-minded enthusiasts and curious citizens over FREE local brews and appetizers – all while discovering how the influenza virus works and what its diversity means for you!

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Jeff Taubenberger, NIH/NIAID
  • Dr. Kristin Nichol, University of Minnesota

My Microbes, Myself | July 19, 2012 | 6:00-8:00pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

Did you know that your body is home to 10 times more microbes than human cells? Join us at ASM Headquarters to learn about the human microbiome and its fascinating practical applications. Mingle with like-minded enthusiasts and curious citizens over FREE local brews and appetizers – all while discovering what lives around and within you.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Lita Proctor, Human Microbiome Project at NIH
  • Dr. Liliana Losada, J Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, MD
  • Dr. Jacques Ravel, UMaryland School of Medicine
  • Dr. Vince Young, UMichigan Medical School

Microbes & Microbrews | May 17, 2012 | 6:00-8:00pm 
ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, Washington DC

From “green” beer brewing practices to new innovations in food sustainability and energy production, come learn and taste the unique application of microbiology and fermentation. Sip local brews, mingle with like-minded enthusiasts, and connect with ASM at our headquarters.

Great ideas (and good beer) start here!

  • Neal Conners, President, Society for Industrial Microbiology
  • Bill Madden, CEO/Brewer, Mad Fox Brewing Company
  • Nick Funnell, Head Brewer, Sweetwater Tavern
  • Ellie & Bob Tupper, Brewers, Tuppers' Hop Pocket

Link to the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology Link to Mad Fox Brewing Company Link to Sweetwater TavernLogo for Tuppers' Hop Pocket