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Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA)

CHOMA Lectures and Symposia

The Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) sponsors the Annual History of Microbiology Lecture at the ASM General Meeting as well as Symposia and Workshops on a wide range of topics related to the history of microbiology.

Lists of Past History of Microbiology Lectures, Symposia and Workshops are available here:

Descriptions of Past Sessions are Available Below; some contain recordings (slides and audio):

  

2017:  History of Microbiology Sessions/Exhibits at ASM Microbe Meeting 2017

 

2016:  History of Microbiology Sessions/Exhibits at ASM Microbe Meeting 2016

 

2015:  CHOMA Lecture

  • Lecture (From Humor to Virus: The Microbiology of Yellow Fever in Historical Perspective)

 

2014:  CHOMA Lecture  

  • Lecture (Three Heroes of Environmental Microbiology - Robert Koch, Sergei Winogradsky and Arthur T. Henrici)

 

2013:  CHOMA Lecture and Symposium -

  • Lecture (Accomplishments and Legacy of the Soviet Biological Weapons Program, 1928-1992)
  • Symposium (Early Microbe Hunters Overcoming Biases and Barriers)

 

2012:  CHOMA Lecture and Symposium - 

  • Lecture (A Century of Bacteriophages)
  • Symposium (The Culture of Rice: From Farm to Fermentation)  

 

2011:  CHOMA Lecture and Symposium -

  • Lecture (Death in a Small Package: Anthrax, History, and Microbiology)
  • Symposium (Bacillus anthracis for War and Terrorism: A Continuing Story)

 

For questions or additional information, contact the ASM Archivist  

2017: History of Microbiology Sessions/Exhibits at ASM Microbe Meeting 2017

2017 ASM Microbe Activities

Sponsored by the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives Committee

  

LIVESTREAM INTERVIEWEarly African American Microbiologists – Making Contributions/Overcoming Barriers

 

Date:  Friday, June 2, 2017

 

Participants:

Melanie Armstrong, Ph.D. (Interviewer), Western State Colorado University

Marian Johnson-Thompson, Ph.D., University of the District of Columbia

 

EXHIBIT: History of Microbiology Exhibit (3-Part Exhibit): 

  • "Paul de Kruif: Microbe Hunters and Beyond”
  • Significant Events in Microbiology
  • A Century of ASM Branches

 

POSTER SESSION: Posters on the History of Microbiology

 

Date:  Sunday, June 4, 2017

 

LECTURE: The Spirit of Science: Frederick Novy's Influence on Medical Education and the Profession of Microbiology
 

 

Date:  Saturday, June 3, 2017

Lecturer: 
Powel Kazanjian, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Description:

The 2017 Annual History Lecture assesses the legacy of Frederick Novy, charter member and 5th president of the Society of American Bacteriologists (later ASM). After training in the labs of Koch and Pasteur, he was instrumental in defining the roles of full-time researcher and educator in medical schools, emphasizing a "pure science" ideal, and establishing bacteriology as a distinct discipline. His contributions added legitimacy to the profession in the early days of American microbiology.

Questions?:  Contact ASM Archivist: jkarr@asmusa.org   or   archives@asmusa.org   

 

2016: History of Microbiology Sessions/Exhibits at ASM Microbe Meeting 2016

The Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) Committee's Schedule of ASM MICROBE 2016 Meeting Events:

 

 

ASM MICROBE 2016
Boston, MA
June 16-20, 2016
 

For more information on CHOMA programs and activities, contact ASM Archivist at    jkarr@asmusa.org   OR  archives@asmusa.org

Alexander Fleming and the Beginnings of Biofilm Research

Annual History of Microbiology Lecture

Title:                  Alexander Fleming and the Beginnings of Biofilm Research

Lecturer:         Michael J. Hanophy

                             St. Joseph's College, Brooklyn, NY

Date:                  Saturday, June 18, 2016

Time:                 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

Location:         Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC); Meeting Room 257A

Conveners:      James A. Poupard; Chair, Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives

                              Douglas E. Eveleigh; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Lecture Description:   

     The 2016 History of Microbiology Lecture discusses the early work of Alexander Fleming on wound infections and what we would now call biofilm research. The history of bacteriology had been, in many ways, a history of the study of pure culture until significant research into the area of biofilms began in earnest in the 1990s. However, although the term “biofilm” did not appear in a publication until as late as 1977, the study of microbial communities attached to surfaces goes back to the earliest days of microbiology. Van Leeuwenhoek himself noted the abundance and diversity of microbes in dental plaque, while research in the 1940s by Heukelekian and Heller was among the first studies to note real differences between growth in a film and planktonic growth. Some of the earliest work on biofilms, particularly medically significant biofilms, was actually carried out by a young Alexander Fleming, long before his Nobel prize-winning work on penicillin. A review of the literature shows that Fleming authored or co-authored ten papers between 1914 and 1920 specifically on the mechanisms and treatment of infection. Among these papers are studies of the mixed flora found on soldiers’ uniforms and in different types of wounds and reports on innovative techniques that Fleming developed that allowed him to study biofilm populations. As a result of this work, Alexander Fleming was among the first to extensively characterize the diverse populations in biofilms and to recognize that organisms in a biofilm are often much more resistant to antimicrobial compounds than organisms growing planktonically. The Annual History of Microbiology Lecture is sponsored each year by the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) to present topics in the history of microbiology and show how they have impacted and continue to influence the field of microbiology. The Lectures demonstrate that history is a critical factor for understanding the current and future directions of the science.

 

ASM MICROBE 2016

Boston, MA

June 16-20, 2016

 

For more information on CHOMA programs and activities, contact ASM Archivist at    jkarr@asmusa.org    OR  archives@asmusa.org

 

Foundations to Frontiers: The Molecular Revolution

CHOMA Symposium

Title:                Foundations to Frontiers: The Molecular Revolution

Date:               Sunday, June 19, 2016

Time:               2:45 pm – 5:15 pm

 

Location:         Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel; Grand Ballroom B

 

Conveners:      Joan W. Bennett; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

                              Lin-Jun MA; University of Massachusetts, Amherst

 

Symposium Description:         

Every branch of the microbial sciences and clinical medicine has been transformed by our ability to exploit scientific insights into the molecular workings of life. This section will invite FIVE distinguished scientists who have made significant contributions to recent biology, including molecular cloning, DNA sequencing, and gene editing. Hearing stories from these scientists directly regarding why they chose their career paths, how they made their discoveries, and what they think about the economic, ethical and social implications of their research, will be extremely valuable for the next generation microbiologists. 

Speakers/Topics:    

  • The Ignition of BLAST
    • Stephen Altschul; NIH, Bethesda, MD

  • From the Lac Operon to Science and Social Justice Teaching
    • Jonathan Beckwith; Harvard University Medical School, Boston, MA

  • Microbial Genomics: The Early Years
    • Claire M. Fraser; University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD

  • Origins of Genomics and Semi-synthetic Genes
    • Joachim Messing; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ

  • Following Carl Woese into the Natural Microbial World: The Beginnings of Metagenomics
    • Norman R. Pace; University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
ASM MICROBE 2016
Boston, MA
June 16-20, 2016  

For more information on CHOMA programs and activities, contact ASM Archivist at    jkarr@asmusa.org    OR  archives@asmusa.org

Two-part Exhibit: Significant Events in Microbiology and the Founding of Journal of Bacteriology, 1916

History of Microbiology Exhibit - Two-part Exhibit:  Significant Events in Microbiology and the Founding of Journal of Bacteriology, 1916

 

Visit the History of Microbiology Exhibit to view images and documents from the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives collection and interact with the ASM Archivist!

 

Location: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Level 1 Northwest Lobby A

 

ASM MICROBE 2016

Boston, MA

June 16-20, 2016

For more information, contact ASM Archivist at    jkarr@asmusa.org    OR  archives@asmusa.org

2015 CHOMA Lecture - Lecture (From the Humor to Virus: The Microbiology of Yellow Fever in Historical Prespective)

Annual History of Microbiology Lecture  

Sponsored by the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA)

*115th ASM General Meeting
New Orleans, LA
May 30 - June 2, 2015

Title:              From Humor to Virus: The Microbiology of Yellow Fever in Historical Perspective 

Lecturer:        Mariola Espinosa, Ph.D.

                            Associate Professor, History Department

                            University of Iowa

Date:              Sunday, May 31, 2015

Description:  

This lecture traced the history of yellow fever, a viral disease that profoundly affected New Orleans, other Gulf Coast cities, and the larger Atlantic world. It began by describing the debates among doctors and scientists that led yellow fever to be identified as a distinct disease and distinguished from other fevers. Next, it traced the history of the identification of the disease's etiology, paying particular attention to the contributions of Carlos Finlay, John Carter, Jesse Lazear, and Walter Reed, and followed the subsequent efforts to eradicate the disease. It discussed how the virus that causes yellow fever was finally identified and how a complete understanding of its ecology forced a new strategy of containment.

Click Here for information on obtaining a session recording:  https://www.pathlms.com/asm/tracks/2216/events/374?per_page=25

Any Questions? Contact ASM Archivist at   jkarr@asmusa.org   OR   archives@asmusa.org

2014 CHOMA Lecture - Lecture: (Three Heroes of Environmental Microbiology - Robert Koch, Sergei Winogradsky and Arthur T. Henrici)

Annual History of Microbiology Lecture:   Presented in Honor of Martin Dworkin (1927-2014)

Sponsored by the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA)

*114th ASM General Meeting

Boston, MA

May 17-20, 2014

 

Recording Available Here: TBA

 

Title:         Three Heroes of Environmental Microbiology – Robert Koch, Sergei Winogradsky and Arthur                                         T. Henrici

Lecturer:   Lawrence J. Shimkets,

            Professor, Department of Microbiology

            University of Georgia

Convener: 

James A. Poupard

Pharma Inst. of Philadelphia, Inc., Philadelphia, PA

Chair, Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives

Description:  

An important element of bacteriology’s early struggle to establish itself as a distinct biological science rather than an adjunct of pathology was the exploration of the distribution and role of microbes in the natural environment.  This lecture, the annual Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) Lecture, will focus on early developments in what later came to be known as environmental microbiology or microbial ecology.   It will discuss three early contributors: Robert Koch, whose demonstration of the relationship between an environmental variable (polluted water) and an infectious disease (cholera) was an early example of microbial epidemiology; Sergei Winogradsky, whose use of enrichment cultures and pioneering work on sulfur oxidizing and nitrifying bacteria helped illuminate the vast and dynamic role of bacteria in nature; and Arthur T. Henrici, who first understood that in natural aquatic communities bacteria flourish on surfaces as well as freely in water, thus laying the groundwork for later biofilm studies.

 

Recording Available Here:  

TBA

 

Any Questions? Contact ASM Archivist at jkarr@asmusa.org 

2013 CHOMA Lecture and Symposium - Lecture (Accomplishments and Legacy of the Soviet Biological Weapons Program, 1928-1992) Symposium (Early Microbe Hunters Overcoming Biases and Barriers)

2013 General Meeting Activities Sponsored by the Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) Committee

*113th ASM General Meeting
Denver, CO
May 18-21, 2013


2013 History of Microbiology Lecture: 

Accomplishments and Legacy of the Soviet Biological Weapons Program, 1928-1992  

 

Raymond A. Zilinskas
Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA

The session’s main objective is to describe and explain the Soviet Union’s biological warfare (BW) program as directed against humans, from its origins in the late 1920s to the USSR’s dissolution in December 1991, paying special attention to its accomplishments related to weaponized bacterial and viral pathogens. The session will also clarify the possible threats that the program’s remnants, as lodged in present day Russian Ministry of Defense’s secret biological research institutes, pose to world peace.


2013 CHOMA History Symposium: 

Early Microbe Hunters Overcoming Biases and Barriers  

The earliest microbiologists were nearly all men with roots in European culture. Nevertheless, from its earliest years, microbiology has attracted many remarkable women and minorities who had to overcome unusual hurdles in order to become professionals. Nowadays we work to attract and retain diverse populations into scientific careers. By studying the history of our profession and by examining the motivations, experiences and educational paths that allowed pioneer “outsider” microbiologists to overcome the biases and barriers inherent in the culture of microbiology, we can learn lessons that can be applied to contemporary recruitment and retention efforts. We can also learn the significance of diversity in advancing microbiology.

Conveners:

Joan W. Bennett, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Marian Johnson-Thompson, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC

Co-sponsors:

Committee on the Status of Women in Microbiology

Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities

Underrepresented Members Committee

Presentations:

1.  How Fungi Brought Me to a Brighter Future

Arturo Casadevall, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY

2.  Long Before a Committee on the Status of Women in Microbiology, There Was A. C. Evans

Lorraine A. Findlay, Nassau County Community College and University Medical Center, Garden City, NY

3.  Putting a New Face on the ASM Presidency

Clifford W. Houston, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

4.  Motivations and Mind Sets of “Model Minorities”  

Alice S. Huang, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

5.  Role Models of the Past: William Hinton, Ruth Moore and Others

Marian Johnson-Thompson, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC

History of Microbiology Exhibit:

Alice Catherine Evans (1881-1975), the First Woman to Serve as President of the Society of American Bacteriologists (now ASM)

The Center for the History of Microbiology / ASM Archives (CHOMA) Exhibit explores the long, successful (and sometimes contentious) career of Alice Catherine Evans (1881-1975), the first woman to serve as President of the Society of American Bacteriologists (now ASM), who made substantial contributions to dairy and medical bacteriology.  For more information on this exhibit, contact the ASM Archivist at jkarr@asmusa.org

Click Here for Slide Show of Exhibit MaterialsAlice Evans - First Woman President of ASM (formerly SAB) - Slide Show

 

For questions about CHOMA activities or to suggest future Lecture and Symposia topics, contact ASM Archivist at jkarr@asmusa.org

2012 CHOMA Lecture and Symposium - Lecture (A Century of Bacteriophages) Symposium (The Culture of Rice: From Farm to Fermentation)

2012 CHOMA History of Microbiology Lecture

 

 

A Century of Bacteriophages 

     William C. Summers
     Yale University, New Haven, CT

Bacteriophages were first recognized by Felix d’Herelle in 1916, but his first encounter with their effects was in 1911-1912 when he noted “cultural irregularities” of interest when he was studying Coccobacillus acridiorum.  Thus, one can reasonably claim that 2012 might be the centennial of the bacteriophage phenomenon.  The history of phage is one that is embedded in the study of epizootics: phage are infections of bacterial populations.  This early focus quickly led d’Herelle to employ them as antibacterial agents, just as he was using C. acridiorum as an anti-locust epizootic infection.  The first third of the century of phage was devoted to this therapeutic application of these biological antibiotics.  In the middle third of its history, phage were studied as biological objects in their own right.  The “nature” of phage was central to the development of modern molecular biology and understanding of the so-called “central dogma.”  Phages have played a central role in gene engineering and biotechnology, based on this knowledge.  In more recent years, attention has returned to the role phages play in diseases and large and small ecosystems.  This lecture will provide a chronology of the past century of phage research, but also highlight changing emphasis, changing styles of research, and changing importance of research questions, all related to the ubiquitous bacteriophage.   


2012 CHOMA History Symposium

The Culture of Rice: From Farm to Fermentation

This Symposium focuses on the history of microbiology using rice as the “driver,” and covers global issues in agriculture, nutrition, microbiology, and fermentation. Using the Pacific-Rim as a starting point, the Symposium elaborates on the expansive use and culture of rice, the primary source of calories and nutrition for almost half the world population.  The historical and cultural significance of rice and its uses, from basic food to fermented products including sake, is examined.  The importance of rice in understanding host innate immunity, nutritionally beneficial genetic engineering, and the development and use of fermented foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals is discussed. This Symposium provides a broadly ranging discourse that should be of interest to ASM members associated with education, outreach or research in the areas of food microbiology, biotechnology, host-pathogen interactions, fermentation, and the history of microbiology.  

Symposium Convener:

Karen-Beth G. Scholthof (Texas A&M University, College Station, TX)

Symposium Speakers:

1.  Introduction and General Historical Perspective 

Karen-Beth G. Scholthof (Texas A&M University, College Station, TX)

2.  Jokichi Takamine: Aspergillus oryzae from Farm to Pharma (Recording Currently Unavailable)

Joan W. Bennett (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ)

3.  The History and Culture of Sake: Rice Wine Fermentation

Izumi Motai (Takara Sake, Berkeley, CA)

4.  Golden Rice: The Rationale for It and the Science Behind It (Recording Currently Unavailable)

Francis X. Cunningham, Jr. (University of Maryland, College Park, MD)

5.  Towards a Better Bowl of Rice: The Molecular Basis of Disease Resistance

Pamela C. Ronald (University of California-Davis, Davis, CA)

For questions or to suggest future Lecture and Symposia topics, contact the Archivist, Jeff Karr at jkarr@asmusa.org

2011 CHOMA Lecture and Symposium - Lecture (Death in a Small Package: Anthrax, History, and Microbiology) Symposium (Bacillus anthracis for War and Terrorism: A Continuing Story)

2011 History of Microbiology Lecture: 


Death in a Small Package: Anthrax, History, and Microbiology 
Susan D. Jones 
University of Minnesota, St. Paul-Minneapolis

 

During the 1860s-1910s, a terrible disease killed many workers in British wool factories.  The disease turned out to be inhalational anthrax.  This lecture describes the intense scientific and public health investigations that discovered how "woolsorters disease" had spread globally and from animals to humans.  Historical research is combined with recent genomic studies of Bacillus anthracis' geographical distribution over the past two hundred years.  Finally, the lecture proposes the nineteenth-century "woolsorters disease" outbreaks as a key determinant in the development of B. anthracis as a biological weapon agent.  


2011 CHOMA Symposium:  

 

Bacillus anthracis for War and Terrorism: A Continuing Story

This symposium starts with a clarification of why Bacillus anthracis has been favored by all national biological warfare programs of the 20th Century, the next two presentations focus on issues more relevant to today's threats as posed by lone operators and subnational actors, as exemplified by the "Amerithrax" case, and approaches for solving such cases.  The last presentation makes an argument for incorporating certain ethical issues that have so far been missing in the training of microbiologists, including the teaching of aspects of international law and mores that seek to prevent misuse of science.               

Symposium Conveners:
James A. Poupard (Pharma Institute of Philadelphia, Philadelphia PA) and 
Raymond A. Zilinskas (Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA)

Symposium Speakers:
1.  Bacillus anthracis as a Biological Weapon Agent 
    Raymond A. Zilinskas (Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA)

2.  Reacting to Biological Threats: "Amerithrax" (recording currently unavailable)
     Douglas J. Beecher (Federal Bureau of Investigation, Quantico VA)



3.  Applications of Bioforensics to Bioterrorism Investigations 
      Paul Keim (Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ)

4.   Incorporating Issues Pertaining to the Misuse of Applied Microbiology into an Academic Curriculum 
     Michael J. Imperiale (University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI)

For questions or to suggest future Lecture and Symposia topics, contact the Archivist, Jeff Karr at jkarr@asmusa.org