ASM President's Bimonthly Newsletter -- May 2011

ASM - Members Bimonthly Newsletter
  May 2011  

Dear ASM Colleagues:

Along with many of you, I'm preparing to head for New Orleans for our General Meeting. I look forward to the conference, to learning new science, to catching up with old colleagues, and to meeting new ones. Again, along with many of you, I realize that New Orleans is making headlines. Fear not! Despite speculation in the news media, it does not appear that ASM/New Orleans will encounter problems from flooding of the Mississippi River. The city will be protected by the extensive water diversion systems that guide high river waters away from New Orleans and larger lower Mississippi River Valley communities. ASM Headquarters is continuously monitoring the situation and will continue to send us email updates. For the latest updates and additional details, please check in at

In terms of microbiology news: ASM2011 will have an exciting new look and feel. Our speakers were selected because they are the best in their fields, and our agenda features both interdisciplinary subjects as well as the latest research in specific disciplines. We also have a large cast of young scientists (our future!) presenting their research in many of the morning sessions and in all of the afternoon sessions. Below you will find a few highlights to give you a flavor of the many activities that are taking place during the conference. I particularly want to invite you to attend our annual General Membership meeting at 12 p.m. on Monday, May 23, in Convention Center Room 203. This meeting provides an opportunity to learn more about activities undertaken by the Society in the past year and to engage in dialogue with the Society leadership.

On a bittersweet personal note, this is my final newsletter to you as ASM President. I am delighted to hand over the reins to my exceptionally capable colleague and friend David Hooper. David comes filled with fresh and innovative ideas for the organization.  I’m also sad that my year is finished.  This has been one of the most interesting and thrilling years of my life.  I fell in love (all over again) with this amazing society, with its passionate and loyal volunteers, its stellar and dedicated staff, its far-reaching science, and its enthusiasm for and fascination with microbes.  Please accept my heartfelt thanks for electing me to this position, for believing that I could benefit the Society in this role, and for working with me during this magical year. It has been a privilege to be the President of the ASM.


Bonnie Bassler

Bonnie Bassler

Join the Conversation and Be In the Know

ASM is now officially on Twitter. For the latest news at the General Meeting and beyond, follow us @ASMicrobiology ( where a core group of headquarters staff will be providing daily updates on ASM activities both public and behind the scenes, answering questions, commenting on microbiological issues, and covering important events

You're Invited to ASM Live! and Weekly Podcasts

All ASM meeting attendees are invited to attend the broadcasts of ASM Live!, in which Dr. Jeff Fox will interview presenters at the General Meeting about their research, and to our live podcasts of This Week in Microbiology and This Week in Virology with Dr. Vincent Racaniello and friends. Even if you're not on site, you can still participate and ask questions online. For a complete schedule of topics and interviewees and instructions for online participation, click here.

Calling All Postdocs at ASM2011

The 3rd Annual Postdoctoral Breakfast will be held on Monday, May 23rd from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and will be held in the Convention Center (Room 242). Former ASM President Alison O'Brien will be addressing attendees.

ASM Comments on the Public Health Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

The Public and Scientific Affairs Board submitted comments on April 15 in response to the draft Public Health Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance. The Plan was published for comment in the March 16, 2011 Federal Register (pages 14402-03). The ASM letter is available at

This Week in Microbiology—ASM's Newest Podcast

Four new episodes of This Week in Microbiology were released in March and April.

TWiM #2: The plague, microbial virulence, and the gut microbiome

Review of a fatal laboratory acquired Yersinia pestis infection, and how gut bacteria control body weight and metabolic activity.

TWiM #3: Anthrax, genomics, and the FBI inquiry

Exploration of the genome analysis done in support of the Amerithrax investigation, and an insecticidal enterotoxin-deficient mutant of Bacillus thurigiensis.

TWiM #4: Cantaloupes and Salmonella gastroenteritis

A review of foodborne bacterial illness in the context of outbreaks associated with cantaloupes and bologna.

TWiM #5: Mercury-methylating Desulfovibrio and antimicrobial nanoparticles

Discussion of the genome sequence of a mercury-methylating bacterium and the antimicrobial effects of nanoparticles.

ASM Education Activities Highlighted by American Association for Advancement of Science

ASM garnered praise in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action, a recently released AAAS report that urges substantial changes in how biology is taught in colleges and universities. The report acknowledged ASM's contributions to undergraduate education, particularly citing the annual ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) as a venue that advances the scholarship of teaching and learning in biology, and the ASM Biology Scholars Program for its efforts to support faculty with ongoing peer mentoring and a community that catalyzes and sustains faculty efforts to adopt scholarly teaching practices.

New Edition of Microbiology Buyer's Guide Available

The 2011 version of ASM's online Microbiology Buyer's Guide is now available and contains updated company and product listings. The Guide provides consumers with an expedient way to browse for goods and services, searching specifically within the parameters of the microbiology field. Professionals can use either a basic search by keyword or an advanced search using company name, exact phrase or geographic location. The Microbiology Buyer's Guide is easily accessible through the ASM website at or

Visit ASM Press at ASM2011

American Society for Microbiology

Enjoy significant savings when you visit the ASM Press Bookstore at the General Meeting. There will be multiple meeting discounts: a 10% meeting discount on most titles, and discounts ranging from 30% to 50% on many older overstock titles. The ASM Press Bookstore will also host Irwin Sherman, author of The Power of Plagues, Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World, and other titles, for a book signing on Tuesday, May 24, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Bookstore hours
Saturday, May 21, 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 22, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday, May 23, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 24, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.