ASM President's Bimonthly Newsletter -- July 2011

ASM - Members Bimonthly Newsletter

Dear ASM Members:

This month I begin my tenure as ASM President, and I thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve. As President-Elect I headed the Clinical Microbiology Task Force formed to address clinical microbiology and immunology practice areas, and I would like to update you on one of the major results.  The working group charged to examine how the ASM organizational structure could better serve the clinical and other professional practice microbiology communities, chaired by Peter Gilligan, recommended establishing a new governance unit, a Council Policy Committee Standing Committee on Professional Practice that oversees professional activities. The Committee would provide a mechanism for coordinated communication with members and ASM leadership and to advocate for the professional needs of practitioners.  Its functions would be professional, not scientific.

I'm please to report that at its last meeting the ASM Council approved the establishment of this Committee, with Peter Gilligan as Chair. The functions of the Committee are as follows:

  • Coordinate ASM's activities on behalf of practitioners in a more defined and purposeful manner.
  • Develop new products and services that benefit the practice of microbiology.
  • Promote the clinical microbiology profession.
  • Provide a more autonomous governance position for the practitioners in ASM.
  • Maintain the quality and rigor and preserve the legitimacy of the credentialing programs.

Other activities under way as a result of Task Force Recommendations include coordinating planning for clinical microbiology sessions at the ASM General Meeting, examining additional ways to work with other scientific organizations to ensure there is a unified voice for the clinical laboratory profession, developing evidence-based practice guidelines for publication in peer-reviewed journals, developing a clinical microbiology web portal, and examining ways that ASM can enhance professional development through mentoring to promote the profession of clinical microbiology.

The Task Force is now disbanded, and oversight of the ongoing work will be a function of the Professional Practice Committee.  I would very much like to thank all of those who contributed to the Task Force's success.

For other ASM news, please see below.


Bonnie Bassler

David Hooper

   What You Missed at the General Meeting

If you weren't able to join us in New Orleans, catch up with some of the presenters through archived videos of ASM Live!, our interview program, online at Also take a look at two new videos from MicrobeWorld, This Week in Virology and This Week in Microbiology, recorded at the General Meeting as part of our regular podcast series, featuring roundtable discussions of some of the meeting presentations.

   ICAAC Scheduled for September 17-20 in Chicago

ASM's other major meeting, the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, will also feature a live This Week in Virology session. In addition, a live session of This Week in Microbiology is scheduled for Monday, September 19 at 11:15 am and will be titled ICAAC Live! and will run for 1.5 hours.  ICAAC Live! will include two moderators and guests, including one of the Keynote Speakers.  As a special feature, attendees of ICAAC Live! will be able to claim CME credit for attending the session.  Find out more about the meeting at

   Follow Us on Twitter

In May the ASM formally launched an official Twitter channel (@ASMicrobiology) to provide news of Society activities.  The channel is being managed by a cross-departmental team of ASM staff.  

   Free Access to Journal Articles on Enterohemorrhagic E. coli

In light of the E. coli outbreak affecting European countries, ASM announced free public access to recent articles on enterohemorrhagic E. coli, including Shiga-toxin-producing strains, published in ASM subscription research journals. These articles may be accessed through the ASM Journals webpage at

   Federal Panel Recommends Changing Select Agent Regulations

A federal panel, the Federal Experts Security Advisory Panel (FESAP), has made recommendations to focus higher personnel and physical security requirements on 11 agents considered to be the most dangerous pathogens and to remove about 25 agents and toxins from the select agent list.  ASM was consulted last year by the panel and expects to be involved as the panel and the HHS and USDA propose revised regulations for select agents in October. Specifics of the recommendations and updates on the issue are available at the Public Affairs website FESAP is currently soliciting comments on the recommendations.

   ASM Recommendations to Congress on FY 2012 Funding

The ASM recommendations to Congress for FY 2012 funding for science and public health programs of interest to microbiology have been compiled in a report which is available at

   New Issue of Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) Available

Volume 12, issue 1, of the open-access JMBE was published in May 2011. JMBE publishes articles that promote good pedagogy and design, foster scholarly teaching, and advance biology education research. Featured titles in the issue include "Implementation of a Service-Learning Module in Medical Microbiology and Cell Biology Classes at an Undergraduate Liberal Arts University" and "'General Hospital': Using Skit-Writing and Role-Playing to Teach Pathogenesis." Looking to publish in JMBE? Articles are reviewed on a rolling basis, and submissions are welcome throughout the year; however, December 1 is the submission deadline to be considered for publication in the May 2012 issue. To view journal articles or author submission instructions, visit

   Launch of Mentoring Program and Stakeholder Meetings, Rwanda

In June our Laboratory Capacity Building Program launched a mentoring program at the Kanombe Military Hospital Microbiology Laboratory in Kigali. Celestin Hakiruwizera and Lynee Galley, ASM LabCap, accompanied a new LabCap mentor during her introduction to the country and met with representatives from the Ministry of Health, CDC-Rwanda, Kanombe Hospital leadership, Drew Cares International, and the Kigali Health Institute to strategize on the way forward for microbiology strengthening in Rwanda, coordinate efforts, and plan for the expansion of the mentoring program.

   Customize Your Communications from ASM

ASM members now have the option of choosing the types of messages about ASM's Products and Services they would like to receive. To change or update your e-mail preferences to receive information about only specific areas of microbiology, please log into your account on the ASM Community site, click on Edit my Profile and choose "categories" under Privacy Settings. We hope this new feature will serve you better by targeting your specific interests.


  July 2011  



Win Free Registration to asm2012

The ASM Communications Committee is looking for innovative, interactive microbiology activity ideas targeted to middle-school children for our booth at the April 2012 USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. The winning entry will receive free registration to the 2012 ASM General Meeting in San Francisco. Runners-up will receive a $100 gift card for ASM Press. To enter, submit your idea to by September 30, 2011.