Congratulations to the organizers, speakers and participants for a successful program celebrating our 100th anniversary of the Eastern PA Branch ASM.

Introduction to the Meeting by Branch President Dieter M. Schifferli, Ph.D., Dr.Med.Vet., DVM and ASM President Vic DiRita, Ph.D., and talk by branch member and archivist James Poupard PhD

History Antimicrobial Resistance by branch member Alan Evangelista Ph.D., and History of Diagnostics by branch member Irving Nachamkin DrPH, MPH

Legionnaires’ Disease by branch member Sunny Shin Ph.D. and History of Vaccine Development by branch member Michele Kutzler Ph.D.

Question and Answer Session and Closing with moderators Toby Eisenstein Ph.D. and Linda Miller, Ph.D.

“Microbiology: Nevertheless, We Persisted”
Amy Cheng Vollmer, Isaac H. Clothier Jr. Professor of Biology, Swarthmore College

5pm – 6pm

During the past 35 years, microbiology has undergone a renaissance. In the mid 1980s, at the very time when PCR was invented and HIV was discovered, microbiology, it seemed, had fallen out of favor. Universities were replacing their departments of microbiology into departments of
molecular biology and immunology. Similarly, grant study sections were shifting focus from microbiology to molecular and cellular biology. It appeared that the glory days of microbiology were fading, and yet, we persisted. Microbiologists already realized, as early as 1977, how diverse Archaea and Bacteria were from one another. But 20 years later, eukaryotic biologists were stunned when the genome of archaeon Methanococcus (now known as Methanocaldococcus) jannaschii was published. At least one third of its genes and proteins resembled nothing in the databases for either Bacteria or Eukarya. Another decade would pass before most general biology textbooks placed the three domains and the tree of life – as we know it – into their pages. Suddenly, departments of microbiology reappeared, in medical schools, as well as schools of agriculture. Microbiologists were being hired into departments in the physical sciences: physics, chemistry, engineering, environmental sciences, geology and astronomy. Jeff Gordon and his colleagues initiated studies that led to the study of “beneficial bacteria’. As if that were not enough to put microbiology back into the headlines, the context of worldwide travel and emerging infectious agents like Ebola and coronaviruses have reinvigorated awareness about viruses and their evolution. We will look back on the past three decades, through the lens of an educator of undergraduate students, on the reemergence of microbiology into a new golden age.

Virtual Meeting Information:
Branch Members – Zoom information will be emailed to branch members
Non-Branch Members – Watch the meeting live via our YouTube Channel – Click Here