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New ASM Officers To Build on Predecessors' Successful Terms
ASM welcomes several new officers this year and extends its appreciation for the many contributions of the outgoing leaders whose terms have helped shape and define the society.
Eugene Nester, professor of microbiology at the University of Washington, will take over as chair of the American Academy of Microbiology Board of Governors, replacing outgoing chair Rita Colwell, director of the National Science Foundation. Nester says his main goal is to maintain and expand the momentum Colwell created over the last decade. ``Colwell established a sense of vigor in the Academy,'' he says.
During Colwell's 10-year term, she was instrumental in developing the Academy's successful colloquia program. She also led the restructuring of the Academy and the recrafting of its bylaws to better reflect the Academy's mission. In addition, she oversaw the formation of the American College of Microbiology to provide vigorous leadership for certification and accreditation programs.
Nester intends to maintain the Academy's strong colloquium program and expand efforts to engage microbiologists from across the globe in colloquium participation and election to the Academy. In addition, he says, the Academy must ensure that it is addressing the needs of all members, clinical microbiologists as well as general microbiologists. ``They all have an important role to play,'' he says.
After serving eight years as ASM's treasurer, Sam Kaplan, professor of genetics and molecular biology at the University of Texas Medical School, is switching roles to become chair of the Society's Publications Board.``The most importantthing is to maintain and even enhance the scientific quality of our journals and books, which is already very high, and to ensure the ongoing fiscal health of our publications,'' he says of his new role.
Kaplan is excited about the possibilities offered by the electronic medium. ``We need to pursue handling more of our edits and publi-cations electronically to make it easier and quicker and to reduce costs,'' he suggests.
Kaplan replaces Barbara Iglewski, who oversaw several significant changes to the journals and books programs during her nine years as chair. She led the creation of Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology and the redeand books programs during her nine years as chair. She led the creation of Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology and the redesign of the journal covers for greater visual impact. ASM gained a new identity as a scientific book publisher with the establishment of ASM Press during her tenure. She also oversaw ASM's move to online publishing, first with full-text publication of ASM journals on the Internet in 1998 and the creation of the online ASM Press Book Store earlier this year.
During his tenure as treasurer, Kaplan worked with ASM to develop a sound financial plan and establish fellowship support at all levels to ensure diversity. Under his leadership, ASM also began the process of acquiring a new headquarters building at a larger and more favorable location, a process that incoming treasurer Ron Luftig looks forward to seeing to its completion.
``It's a legacy that Sam can be proud of,'' says Luftig, a professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at the Louisiana State University Medical Center. ``The new facility will allow for modest growth under beneficial financial conditions.'' Luftig also anticipates assisting in the provision of new programs for ASM membership while keeping a watchful eye on expenditures.
``As a member of ASM since 1970, I've been impressed not only by the growth of ASM, but also the impact that our Society has had,'' he says. ``With the close cooperation of ASM staff and volunteers, we will continue to provide a platform for excellence in science into the next millennium.''
Future Role of the ASM Committee on Graduate Education
Graduate students in the microbiological sciences often enter a broad range of career paths that lead to positions in academia, industry, and service. Preparation of students for these different occupations and the provision of opportunities to help them assess their interest in and their ability to compete for these positions may require experiences that are not part of their usual program of original scientific research. The challenge to the Society and the Board of Education and Training's Committee on Graduate Education is to develop and provide useful programs that enhance and diversify graduate students' training, but do not interfere with their research activities. The initial focus will be on preparation for careers in undergraduate teaching and in the biotechnology industry.
The Committee on Graduate Education, one of the six permanent committees of the Board of Education and Training, met in early April to establish a plan to direct the Society's graduate education program into the second millennium. Members of the Committee identified a mission statement building upon and promoting the Board's plan. It states that the Committee will promote excellence in research, teaching, and scientific communications in graduate microbiology education; enhance access to diverse career opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral scientists; promote professional development and leadership in graduate microbiology education; and advocate integration of effective teaching experiences into graduate microbiology training.
``Our committee needs to obtain information to show graduate students and their mentors where microbiologists are employed, so that they can recognize the value of providing the student with a background in education, communication skills, and cooperative activities. We need to then provide a mechanism to allow career microbiologists in a variety of occupations to provide their insights for the current students about career opportunities, career satisfaction, and useful skills to acquire as preparation for entry to each field,'' says Robert J. Kadner of the University of Virginia, chair of the Committee on Graduate Education.
``Obviously, the use of the Internet and World Wide Web provides a great way to acquire this information about career paths and to disseminate it to any interested students. Web-based interviews can also allow us to ask employers in various industries about the experiences and capabilities they would like to see in a job applicant, and their recommendations about how to get these skills. Finally, we want to present some models for introduction of undergraduate teaching experience into a graduate student or postdoc's career, and then obtain feedback on how effective these different models were,'' says Kadner.
The current committee members are Robert J. Kadner (chair), William Branche of the National Institutes of Health, Mary Ann Courtney of the University of Rochester Medical School, JorgeEscalante-Semerena ofUniversity of Wisconsin- Madison, Dennis Henner of Genentech, and Shelly Payne of the University of Texas. In the first three years, the committee will focus on providing programs and services for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the microbiological sciences.
The Committee reaffirmed that doctoral programs in microbiology seek to develop students' knowledge and skills for conducting original, rigorous research and for communicating and defending it. At the same time, students should be encouraged and helped to develop additional skills that prepare them as faculty members at primarily undergraduate institutions or as scientists in other nonacademic positions in biotechnology, clinical and pharmaceutical laboratories, government, etc.
Toward this goal, the Committee proposed developing a summer institute where for 10-14 days graduate students can engage in an intense and comprehensive program to develop their professional skills in teaching, mentoring, grantsmanship, and scientific ethics. The institute will be developed for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers by summer 2001. A second institute has been proposed for the future for students to develop professional skills in business, patent law, and ethics.
The Committee identified two challenges to serving graduate students. While students are faced with the need to develop increasingly diverse skills in teaching, mentoring, business, computer technology, and communications in order to develop professionally, these activities should not interfere with their doctoral research activities and should not prolong substantially their training time. The Committee recognized other important challenges in graduate education such as master's-level training, recruitment into doctoral programs, and national reform in graduate education.
In the previous five years, the Board has supported two graduate initiatives, one for graduate students from underrepresented minority groups and another for postdoctoral scientists in infectious diseases and public health. Joel Oppenheim of New York University chairs the Robert D. Watkins Fellowships, a program to support predoctoral students for three years during the research phase of their graduate experience. Randall Holmes of the University of Colorado Medical School is chair of the ASM/National Centers for Infectious Diseases (NCID) Research Associates Program. This two-year tenure provides postdoctoral fellows with a research experience under the guidance of NCID scientists (ASM News, September 1998, p. 518-522).
International Coordinating Committee Adopts Strategic Plan, Changes Name
The last six months have seen numerous changes for the International Coordinating Committee (ICC), including the development of a strategic plan and a name change.
This past February, the ICC held a Strategic Planning Retreat to discuss and define the Committee's Mission Statement and set its objectives for the next two to three years. A Mission Statement with goals and objectives was developed and presented to the Council Policy Committee (CPC) at the 1999 General Meeting (see inset). The new mission statement and goals were approved by the CPC along with a new name for the Committee--the CPC International Committee.
One-third of ASM members reside in countries other than the United States. The ICC, initially an ad hoc committee of the CPC, was established as a standing committee of the CPC in 1996 to address the needs and concerns of our international members. The original charge to the ICC under the ASM Strategic Plan included objectives that the committee should pursue in addition to that which had originally driven its establishment--a coordinated review of all ASM international activities. During the past two years the Committee has established policies and guidelines for dealing with requests from international members of ASM and microbiological societies of other countries, but it became clear that the ICC needed to further define its goals within the framework of a Mission Statement and establish objectives that would allow it to be active rather than reactive in pursuit of Goal Three of ASM's Strategic Plan.
At the retreat, the committee discussedcurrent plans and a variety of new initiatives, including two proposals for joint ventures with the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The first is the distribution of ASM journals and books to microbiologists in developing countries, and the second is a plan for ASM and UNESCO to sponsor microbiologists already visiting developing countries to spend a day at a local university or other appropriate institution lecturing and discussing microbiology with local microbiologists.
Other projects discussed include the development of a minicourse in Molecular Aspects of Pathogenic Microbiology to be held in Santiago, Chile, in December (supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute) and the participation of ASM in the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Berlin, Germany, and in the International Union of Microbiological Societies' (IUMS) Congresses in Sydney, Australia, later this year. In addition, ASM is planning on submitting a bid to host the 2005 IUMS congresses in San Francisco and have offered office space in the new ASM headquarters building for the IUMS secretariat.
International members are urged to check the International Activities section of the ASM Web site for information on current and upcoming programs of the committee.
Education and Training
Souvenirs and Case-Based Learning
Interactive case-based studies are an effective method to encourage students to approach the material presented in their microbiology course in an interdisciplinary and dynamic mode. The use of case studies requires students to resolve problems and make decisions based on the information they know as they engage with the characters or situations in the case story. As students attempt to untangle the skein of information embedded in a well-designed scenario, they have the opportunity to gain a practical level of understanding for the science needed to solve the problem as well as gain appreciation for the social and economic impacts of disease on a community.
BET announces a new resource: the Souvenirs Web site. The Web site is based upon a case study on the emergence of hantavirus in the Four Corners region of the United States. Students are introduced to the situation through a fictional, though highly realistic, scenario. Based on clues embedded in the story, students pose questions, test and defend solutions, and evaluate data as well as have opportunities to learn about related topics in immunology, epidemiology, ecology, genomics, and physiology. The Web site includes a general scenario, related links, sample questions, suggested classroom applications and assignments, medical lab data for each of the characters in the story, and actual interviews with patients who have recovered from hantavirus infections and their caregivers. The Web site is supported by ASM and the Bioquest Curriculum Consortium.
Janet Yagoda Shagam
On 25 November 1998, The Medical Writers Group of The Society of Authors and Medical Society of London presented the first place award in The Advanced Edited Book Category to the editors and publisher of Topley & Wilson's Microbiology & Microbial Infections, 9th ed., consisting of six volumes published in 1998. This work was commended for its scope, the up-to-date coverage of its subject, and the quality of its editing.
Several ASM members were recognized for their contributions that made this award possible. These members are: Albert Balows, General Editor & Volume Editor; Libero Ajello, Volume Editor; William J. Hausler, Jr., Volume Editor; Brian Mahy, Volume Editor; and Julius P. Kreier, Volume Editor.
In addition to the above individuals, over 130 ASM members authored one or more chapters in this six-volume work that covered all aspects of medical microbiology and microbial infections. Earlier editions of the text are well known to the majority of microbiologists who used it as a textbook as a student and a reference source in their research and in teaching. Prior editions of Topley & Wilson were edited and authored by microbiologists in Great Britain. The 9th edition marks the first time this book was expanded to include all microbiology (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoan parasites) and it was an international collaborative effort undertaken by Arnold Publishers of London.
Arnold L. Demain, Professor of Industrial Microbiology in the Biology Department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from Ghent University in Belgium on 19 March 1999. Demain was honored for his work on the production of microbial products (amino acids, nucleotides, vitamins, antibiotics, and other secondary metabolites), the enzymes involved, and the regulation of these enzymes. The Laudatio, presented by Erick Vandamme of Ghent University, also recognized Demain's training of many international scientists who ``now have leading positions in chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological and agro- and food industries or have high academic responsibilities and head departments of microbiology, fermentation, and biotechnology at universities in the United States, Japan, Australia, and Europe.''
Larry R. Beuchat gave the 8th annual Frazier Memorial Lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on 19 May 1999. Beuchat is a professor of food microbiology at the Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement at the University of Georgia, Griffin, and also is a scientific editor of the Journal of Food Protection. The lecture entitled, ``Advances in Food Mycology Methodology,'' was given in conjunction with the 53rd annual meeting of the Food Research Institute. The Frazier Memorial Lecture was established to annually bring to the University a noted food microbiologist and also to honor the late Dr. William C. Frazier, a pioneering food/dairy microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin.
Ching T. Hou, a Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology, is the winner of this year's highest award of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 1999 AOCS Award of Merit. The award is presented for leadership in technical, administrative, or special committee activities. This year's award was presented to Ching at the AOCS annual meeting on 11 May 1999 at Orlando, Fla.
Ching is lead scientist at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Midwest Area, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture in Peoria, Ill. He is also a Fellow of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. In AOCS, he assisted in the creation of Biotechnology Division in 1992, organized and chaired ``Biocatalysis'' symposia at every annual meeting since 1992, served as Associate Editor for the JAOCS since 1994, served as member of several AOCS committees, and represented AOCS to World Congresses. Ching has published over 140 technical papers and holds 15 U.S. patents.
ASM Participates in Pan American Congresses in Guatemala
Lily Schuermann, assistant director for Minority and International Activities, recently participated in a meeting which combined the 9th Pan American Congress of Infectious Diseases, the 2nd Central American and Caribbean Congress of Infectious Diseases, the 4th Guatemalan Congress of Infectious Diseases, and the 1st Pan American AIDS Congress. The combined Congress was held in Guatemala City on 3-7 May 1999.
The Congresses were organized by the Pan American, the Central American, the Caribbean, and the Guatemalan Societies of Infectious Diseases and were supported by the International Society of Infectious Diseases, the International AIDS Society, the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, and members of the pharmaceutical industry.
During the General Assembly of the Pan American Society of Infectious Diseases, Schuermann gave a presentation highlighting the benefits of ASM membership to the international community and outlining ASM's international activities. These include ASM's joint projects with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the International Union of Microbiological Societies, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the Pan American Health Organization. Schuermann also met with the leadership of several societies to discuss future joint initiatives with ASM. Several ASM International Ambassadors from Latin America also participated in this meeting. (See ASM News, January 1999, p. 43, for a description of the ASM International Ambassador Program.)
The Congress program included 8 courses and 1 precongress workshop, 16 symposia with 64 conferences, 12 satellite symposia sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry, 19 oral and poster sessions, and 18 closing meetings. ASM's presence at this meeting reflects the increased interest of the leadership in enhancing outreach to its international members.
ASM Branches on the Web
The following ASM Branches have established sites on the World Wide Web:
ASM Divisions on the Web
The following ASM Divisions have established sites on the World Wide Web:
Members are encouraged to visit these Web pages, which are also accessible through the Membership section of the ASM Web site.
August 4, 1999
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