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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 - June 28, 2016 - Researchers have discovered how the bacteria Group B streptococcus (GBS) avoids detection by the immune system during pregnancy. The findings, reported in the journal mBio, could lead to the development of new drugs and strategies for treating GBS infection, which is a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Washington, D.C.—June 28, 2016—Researchers determined that two bacterial species commonly found in the human mouth and in abscesses, cooperate to make the pathogenic bacterium, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, more infectious. Key to the cooperation is that the harmless partner provides the pathogen with an oxygen-rich environment that helps it flourish. The findings, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, could lead to better ways to fight the majority of bacterial infections that play out within complex communities of bacteria.

Washington, DC - June 24, 2016 - Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are foodborne pathogens spread largely by cattle, that can cause hemorrhagic colitis and kidney failure. In an effort to find ways of reducing this problem, Michigan State University investigators show that stress, and the negative energy balance associated with lactation appear to encourage the shedding of STEC, especially in summer. The research is published ahead of print June 24 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - June 24, 2016 - Bacteria that have the potential to abet breast cancer are present in the breasts of cancer patients, while beneficial bacteria are more abundant in healthy breasts, where they may actually be protecting women from cancer, according to Gregor Reid, PhD, and his collaborators. These findings may lead ultimately to the use of probiotics to protect women against breast cancer. The research is published in the ahead of print June 24 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Boston, MA – Monday, June 20, 2016, 9:00 am EST – Research being presented at the ASM Microbe meeting looks at a humanized monoclonal antibody, PRO 140, as a standalone treatment for patients with an HIV infection. Data from a phase 2b trial of PRO 140 will be presented that suggests an alternative to the current standard of care, which is antiretroviral therapy or ART.

Boston, MA – 12:30 pm, Monday, June 20, 2016 – A phase II clinical trial demonstrated that a new type of treatment for genital herpes, an immunotherapy called GEN-003, may reduce the activity of the virus and the number of days with recurrent herpes. This effect of treatment, given by a series of three injections, appears to last for up to at least one year.  The research is presented at the ASM Microbe research meeting in Boston.

Washington, DC - June 20, 2016 - Lychnopholide, a substance isolated from a Brazilian plant, and formulated as part of “nanocapsules” cured more than half of a group of mice that had been infected experimentally with Chagas disease parasites. “Chagas disease affects millions of people, mainly in poor rural areas of 21 Latin American countries,” said Marta de Lana, PhD. The research is published in online ahead of print June 20 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Sunday, 19 June 2016 15:55

Solar Exposure Energizes Muddy Microbes

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Boston, MA – 12:30 pm, Sunday, June 19, 2016 – Research at the ASM Microbe research meeting in Boston presents a sediment Microbial Fuel Cell (sMFC) system for remotely investigating the physiology and ecology of electrically active microbes in submerged field sites. Depending on the depth at which device components were submerged, scientists observed variation in start-up time and electricity generation.

Boston, MA – 5:00 pm, Sunday, June 19, 2016 – Research being presented at the ASM Microbe research meeting provides clear evidence that the gloves of healthcare workers contaminate hospital surfaces with bacteria. The researchers’ data also suggest that types of bacteria may affect cross-transmission rates among contaminated gloves and the hospital surfaces.

Boston, MA – 12:30 pm EST, Sunday, June 19, 2016 – Research presented at the ASM Microbe research meeting demonstrates a new way bacteria can cause dramatic morphological changes in human cells. Specifically, the researchers discovered that a common bacterial contaminant of contact lenses and cases can cause the formation of large bubble-like membrane structures on human ocular cells, which can contribute to contact lens wear complications and inflammation.

Boston, MA – 12:30 pm, Friday, June 17, 2016 – Research presented at the ASM Microbe research meeting provides compelling evidence that children acquire Streptococcus mutans, the bacterium most frequently associated with dental caries, from intra- and extra-familial sources besides their mother.

Boston, MA – 12:30 pm, Friday, June 17, 2016 – Research presented at the ASM Microbe meeting suggests that microbial water quality issues of Flint drinking water are improving, based on recent testing in March 2016, but that continued vigilance is in order.  The research, performed by the Flint Water Study team at Virginia Tech, found that levels of DNA markers for Legionella have decreased throughout Flint since October 2015 before the water change, but did confirm that pathogenic forms of the bacteria, including L. pneumophila, were culturable at some sampling points.

Washington, DC - June 14, 2016 - The microbial mix found in grape juice during the winemaking process may help shape the terroir of a finished wine, report food scientists at the University of California, Davis. In a study published in the May/June issue of mBio, an online open-access journal from the American Society of Microbiology, the researchers found that the microorganisms found in must – freshly-pressed grape juice, before fermentation – can be used as biomarkers to predict which metabolites will be found in the finished wine. Metabolites are chemical compounds that help shape the flavor and texture of a wine.

Washington, DC – June 8, 2016 – Following the success of the American Society for Microbiology’s vastly popular Agar Art contest last year, the winners of ASM’s second Agar Art contest have been announced. The contest drew widespread public interest last fall for its stunning and innovative submissions of artwork created using only microbes on agar plates.  This year’s contest, enticing more entrants with the theme “plate a little culture,” has attracted even more inventive works of both art and science.

Monday, 06 June 2016 11:33

New Compound Shows Promise Against Malaria

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Washington, DC - June 6, 2016 - Malaria parasites cause hundreds of millions of infections, and kills hundreds of thousands of people annually, mostly in Africa. And in recent years the most dangerous malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, has become increasingly resistant to the main anti-malarial drugs. Now, an international team of researchers shows that some members of a class of compounds called oxaboroles, which contain the element, boron, have potent activity against malaria parasites. The research is published ahead of print June 6 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - June 3, 2016 - Crows are smart, highly social animals that congregate in flocks of tens of thousands. Such large, highly concentrated populations can easily spread disease—not only amongst their own species, but quite possibly to humans, either via livestock, or directly. On the campus of the University of California, Davis, during winter, approximately half of the 6,000 American crows that congregated at the study site carried Campylobacter jejuni, which is the leading cause of gastroenteritis in humans in industrialized countries, which could contribute to the spread of disease.  The research is published ahead of print June 3 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Washington, DC – May 24, 2016 – The bacterium Burkholderia multivorans evolves and adapts in bursts to survive in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, according to a study published this week in mSystems, an open access journal from the American Society for Microbiology. The work, believed to be the first retrospective look at the evolution of this microorganism, indicates that B. multivorans directly or indirectly targets adherence, metabolism and changes to the cell ‘envelope’ to stick around and evade antibiotics.

Washington, DC – May 20, 2016 – Vibrio cholerae infects roughly four million people annually, worldwide, causing severe diarrheal disease, and killing an estimated 140,000 people. Its success as a pathogen belies the challenges this bacterium faces. The waters this bacterium inhabits when it’s not infecting H. sapiens can be 40 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than our normal body temperature. Now a team of investigators from the University of California, Santa Cruz provides new insights into how different temperatures in the bacterium’s environment control expression of genes required for life at those temperatures. The research is published ahead of print May 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - May 20, 2015 - Oral administration of certain probiotics reduced uptake of the heavy metal, cadmium, in the intestines of mice, and in a laboratory experiment using human intestinal cells. The research, which might ultimately be applied to improving public health in areas of heavy metal contamination, is published ahead of print May 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - May 18, 2016 - Personal hygiene products such as soaps and toothpastes that contain the antibiotic triclosan do not have a major influence on microbial communities or endocrine function, according to a small, randomized trial. The study findings were published online May 18th in mSphere, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

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