ASM President's Bimonthly Newsletter -- May 2013

ASM President's Bimonthly Newsletter
Jeffery F. Miller, Ph.D., Professor,
Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, UCLA
May 2013

Jeffery F. Miller


Dear ASM Members:


I would like to thank all of our members who came to Denver last week to help make this year's General Meeting a great success.  Approximately 7,100 attendees were treated to nearly 230 sessions, 19 workshops, and over 2,500 posters over the 4 days of the meeting.


For those of you who were unable to join us, you can still participate through our various post-meeting offerings.  For more information on select presentations, please go online and watch archived video of ASM Live, our General Meeting internet talk show.  Host Stanley Maloy, Professor of Microbiology and Dean of the College of Sciences, San Diego State University, sits down with presenters and discusses their research at length.  Topics include the potential role of the microbiome in colon cancer, good cholesterol as an unexpected component of innate immunity, and the latest updates on the new H7N9 avian influenza virus.  The videos, which can be found online here, also include special editions of the ASM podcasts "This Week in Virology" and "This Week in Microbiology."


You can watch the sessions from the Diagnostic Microbiology and Epidemiology (DM&E) track anytime and anywhere by purchasing access to the DM&E digital video library, which offers over 50 hours of full-motion videos, slides and MP3 audio of the track from this year's meeting.  The library can be accessed online or via a mobile device such as an iPad, iPhone or Android device.  You can even buy a DVD-ROM for on-the-go access.  Click here to find out more.


And finally, it's not too late to start thinking about asm2014 next year in Boston.  The General Meeting Program Committee is accepting proposals for scientific sessions now through July 1, 2013.  Go here for more information and to submit your programming ideas.


This will be my last newsletter as ASM President.  The past year has been a series of epiphanies for me as I have been consistently reminded of the breadth and depth of our field and the remarkable activities of the ASM.  The future of our Society is bright and poised to grow as our science expands, and we are making an increasingly important impact on an increasingly global scale. I would like to thank all the ASM members and staff for a rewarding and fulfilling year and bid a warm welcome to our incoming President, Prof. Jo Handelsman. 



Jeff Miller Signature

Jeff F. Miller, Ph.D.


ASM News


New FAQ Report: Influenza


Where do new influenza viruses come from? How are they different from the influenza viruses that circulate every year? Why is vaccination so important? To help answer the many questions people have about this multi-faceted virus, the American Academy of Microbiology has issued a new report entitled FAQ: Influenza. The Academy convened twelve of the world's leading experts on influenza in October, 2012 to consider and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about influenza. The resultant report provides non-technical, science-based answers to questions many people have about the virus.  Click here to download a copy of the report.


Microbes After Hours


This summer, the ASM headquarters will host DC area science enthusiasts for three evenings of brews, snacks, and scintillating scientific discussion from distinguished members of the microbiology community.  The summer series, jointly organized by the Academy and the Communications department, kicked off on May 6th with "Microbes After Hours: West Nile Virus" and featured talks by Dr. Lyle Peterson (Centers for Disease Control) and Roberta DeBiasi (Children's National Medical Center). The talks were streamed live to an interactive audience including online viewers from ASM Branches and ASM Student Chapters.  The next Microbes After Hours will take place Monday, June 3 and will be titled "The Microbiology of the Bioeconomy".  Click here to find out more and watch archived video of past events.


Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases Now on Sale


Poverty and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are caught in a vicious cycle.  It is most evident in developing countries where poverty creates conditions in which diseases grow that continue to trap their victims in a neverending state of destitution.  This is a problem not just in developing countries but also in the United States where poverty should also be considered a threat to public health, according to a new book from ASM Press.  Since the publication of the first edition of Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases in 2008, it has become startlingly evident that neglected tropical diseases are rapidly occurring among the poor living in wealthy countries, especially the United States. In the new edition of Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases, author Peter J. Hotez of Baylor College of Medicine explains how NTDs and poverty are inextricably linked - today 20 million Americans live in extreme poverty, including 1.5 million families whose members live on less than $2 per day.  The book debuted at asm2013 and can be ordered online.


ASM Faculty Program Featured in New Report


The Board-sponsored ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators was one of nine initiatives profiled in a new report published by the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and the American Association of Physics Teachers. Titled the Role of Scientific Societies in STEM Faculty Workshops, the report culminates from a 2012 conference on professional society contributions to STEM faculty workshops (ASMCUE 2012 chair Jacqueline Washington represented ASM at the conference). A PDF copy of the report is available here.




2013 ASM Ambassador of the Year


Congratulations to Dr. Nagi AL-Haj of Sana'a University, Yemen, the 2013 ASM Ambassador of the Year!  In 2011 ASM had zero members in Yemen.  All of this changed with the appointment of Dr. AL-Haj as ASM Ambassador to Yemen.  Within 6 months, through a series of innovative outreach activities, AL-Haj developed Yemen's first practical network of microbiology-related scientists by recruiting 200+ ASM members from all provinces in the country; some of the most isolated and remote scientists in the world.  In addition, as a result of AL-Haj's in-country leadership, ASM has secured multi-year funding to provide professional development workshops and establish ASM BioResource Centers in Yemen.  Perhaps more than any other ASM member, AL-Haj demonstrates the power and potential of science diplomacy, as well as the sustainable impact scientific societies like ASM can have.  To find out more about the Ambassador program here.


Government Funding for Science


Our Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) continues their efforts to advocate for public and federal support of science in general, and Microbiology in particular.  PSAB sent written testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees with recommendations on FY 2014 Research and Public Health funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research, Department of Energy (DOE) Biological Science, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) microbiology programs.  The statements are compiled into a booklet titled Federal Funding for FY 2014: Biomedical and Life Sciences Research and can be found on the public policy reports webpage.


ASM Holds Congressional Briefing


The PSAB held a Congressional Briefing, "The Perpetual Challenge of Infectious Diseases: New and Emerging, and Antimicrobial Resistance" on April 30, 2013.  Dr. Gail H. Cassell, former President of ASM and former chair of the Public and Scientific Affairs Board organized and moderated the session.  Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health presented, "Infectious Diseases in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities" and John I. Gallin, M.D., Director, Clinical Center and Associate Director for Clinical Research, National Institutes of Health discussed, "The Role of the NIH Clinical Center in Understanding Disease Pathogenesis and Drug Discovery."  Dr. Cassell presented a talk titled, "Global Crisis of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis: a Case Study in the Critical Role of NIH."  The briefing was attended by congressional staffers and agency representatives.  All of the presentations from the briefing are available on the ASM website.



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