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Press Releases

Welcome to ASM's Newsroom, a resource for journalists seeking information relating to the microbiological sciences. Members of the media and the general public can access current and archived press releases highlighting the latest research published in ASM's journals or presented at our meetings.

Washington, DC – September 27, 2016 – Analyzing small pieces of tissue from nearly 40-year-old human autopsies, Arizona researchers have sequenced the genome of the strain of Bacillus anthracis that caused a deadly anthrax outbreak in Russia in 1979. The work is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – September 23, 2016 - A specific strain of the fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, circulates in the water distribution systems of five French hospitals, in two widely separated cities. This microbe is potentially a life-threatening risk to immunocompromised patients. The research is published September 23, 2016 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – September 22, 2016 – ASM President, Susan Sharp, attended the historical United Nations General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which convened at the UN headquarters in New York this Wednesday, September 21. Heads of State addressed the gravity and causes of AMR, and drafted a resolution of collaborative, cross-cutting approaches to improving the current state of AMR.

Washington, DC - September 21, 2016 - ASM President, Susan Sharp, Ph.D., joined global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York today in a historical meeting that will focus on the commitment to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This is the fourth time in the history of the UN that a health topic is discussed at the General Assembly. Previous topics included HIV, non-communicable diseases and Ebola. Heads of State and Heads of Delegations are expected to address the seriousness of the situation and to agree on manageable, cross-cutting approaches to addressing AMR.

Washington, DC – September 19, 2016 – The American Society for Microbiology is pleased to announce the launch of the new Ethics Portal that provides guidelines and resources to assist authors publishing in ASM journals. ASM has a long history of involvement with ethical issues in research and the reporting of scientific results, and the society has undertaken numerous activities to provide tools for the ethical conduct of research. The ethics portal is a further step in defining ethical issues of research misconduct, and providing resources to help authors conduct and report their studies in an ethical manner. For more information on ASM’s involvement in research and publishing ethics, visit the portal, and read a recent report from the American Academy of Microbiology on the reproducibility of microbiological research.

Washington, DC – September 19, 2016 – A team of Chinese investigators has discovered a gene for resistance to β-lactamase antibiotics, in the pathogenic marine bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The β-lactamase gene, blaVEB-2, has never before been found in V. parahaemolyticus, and in fact, has been found almost exclusively in non-marine pathogens. The research is published Monday, September 19, 2016 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - September 19, 2016 - Spores of Bacillus bacteria can survive for years in a dormant state, and then germinate in minutes. But it has long been unclear whether germination required protein synthesis, or cellular energy packets, which are known as ATP. Now, a team from UConn Health, Farmington, CT, has shown that neither is necessary. The research is published online September 19 in the Journal of Bacteriology, published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - September 16, 2016 - Rust is the bane of steel, whether on cars, on ships and boats, or as part of marine infrastructure. Now, contrary to previous thinking, it turns out that the ocean-dwelling, steel-corroding species, Mariprofundus sp. DIS-1, can thrive under aerobic conditions, rather than being limited to “micro-aerobic” or anaerobic conditions. That means steel in marine environments is more vulnerable to bacterial depredations than previously thought. The research is published on Friday, September 16th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – September 6, 2016 – Bacterial cross-contamination from surfaces to food can contribute to foodborne disease. Researchers from Rutgers University evaluated the cross-contamination rate of Enterobacter aerogenes using scenarios including four different surface types, (stainless steel, tile, wood, and carpet) four food types, (watermelon, bread, bread with butter, and gummy candy) four contact times, (<1, 5, 30 and 300 seconds), and two bacterial preparation methods. The researchers found that more bacterial transfer occurred during the longer contact times, but the type of food and surface type also significantly impacted cross-contamination from surface to food, with some transfers taking place instantaneously.

Washington, DC – September 9, 2016 – Certain antibiotic resistance genes are easily transferred from one bacterial species to another, and can move between farm animals and the human gut. A team led by Chinese researchers has characterized this “mobile resistome,” which they say is largely to blame for the spread of antibiotic resistance. They found that many antibiotic resistance genes that are shared between the human and animal gut microbiome are also present in multiple human pathogens. These findings are published September 9 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – September 13, 2016 – It’s been known that the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae secretes small molecules called siderophores that enable it to acquire iron from a host and fuel its spread. Now, Michigan researchers have found that these molecules play additional roles in helping the organism invade. Their report is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Tuesday, 06 September 2016 11:51

Announcing the Election Results: ASM Bylaws

Written by

Dear Members,

We are delighted to announce that the ASM governance reform has been approved by the membership, and that now ASM has new Bylaws in effect! This is a historic moment for our Society and a terrific opportunity to lay the foundations for a new, modern, transparent, and participatory governance that allows the organization to capture opportunities coming from the rapidly changing environment in the world of microbial sciences and professional societies in general.  We could not be more excited by the fact that 98% of ASM members who participated in the vote agreed with the proposed changes; the new Bylaws had previously been unanimously approved by the Council Policy Committee (CPC) and the Council at large.

Tuesday, 06 September 2016 10:06

Fungi Contribute to Delayed Healing of Chronic Wounds

Written by

Washington, DC – September 6, 2016 – Researchers in Pennsylvania and Iowa have discovered that fungal communities found in chronic wounds can form mixed bacterial-fungal biofilms and can be associated with poor outcomes and longer healing times. Their report, the first deep characterization of the fungi found in diabetic foot ulcers, is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - September 1, 2016 - An international team of researchers has sequenced a strain of the Zika virus that will be used as a World Health Organization (WHO) reference strain to identify Zika virus infection in the blood, thus making it easier to diagnose the disease. While the reference material will undergo formal WHO review in October, the agency has given the go-ahead for the strain’s use given the urgent need of medical products to diagnose and treat Zika. The sequence is published September 1st in Genome Announcements, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – August 31, 2016 – The microbiome of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at a hospital differs dramatically from that of healthy patients, according to a new study published in mSphere. Researchers analyzing microbial taxa in ICU patients' guts, mouth and skin reported finding dysbiosis, or a bacterial imbalance, that worsened during a patient's stay in the hospital. Compared to healthy people, ICU patients had depleted populations of commensal, health-promoting microbes and higher counts of bacterial taxa with pathogenic strains – leaving patients vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections that may lead to sepsis, organ failure and potentially death.

Washington, DC – August 30, 2016 – The American Academy of Microbiology convened a colloquium focused on identifying mechanisms to improve research quality. Participants from various disciplines made six recommendations: (1) design rigorous and comprehensive evaluation criteria to reward high quality research; (2) require universal training in good scientific practices and responsible practice of research; (3) establish open data at the time of publication as the standard procedure; (4) encourage scientific journals to publish negative data that meet methodologic standards of quality; (5) establish common criteria for retraction of published papers; and (6) strengthen research integrity oversight training.

Washington, DC – August 29, 2016 – New Jersey researchers have identified what is believed to be the first strain of Escherichia coli bacteria from a patient in the United States that harbored two mobile genes making it resistant to both broad spectrum carbapenem antibiotics as well as colistin, an older antibiotic increasingly used as a last resort for multidrug-resistant infections. Their report is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - August 26, 2016 - Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 25 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC – August 23, 2016 –Findings from a new study, reported in the journal mBio, may help food companies improve the quality of dairy products. The researchers have discovered that bacteria in raw milk arriving at dairy processing facilities are highly diverse and differ according to season, but still contain a core microbiota.

Washington, DC – August 23, 2016 – Stopping the explosive spread of Zika virus – which can lead to birth defects in babies born to infected mothers – depends on genetic insights gleaned through new tools and models. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recently cloned an epidemic strain of the virus, creating a model that can help biologists develop and test strategies for stopping the pandemic.

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