About the Prize

Illustration of the ASM Award wreath.

The ASM Microbiome Data Prize recognizes distinguished research achievements that support open data practices, development of standards and processes for data quality and sharing and data workflows and management best practices that have advanced the microbial sciences. The Prize also recognizes innovative and impactful analysis of microbiome data that has changed our understanding of the microbiome and the microbial sciences field. These significant contributions to the many facets of the microbiome data lifecycle may include:

  • Developing and supporting data standards, ontologies and technological advances to support collection, description and distribution of microbiome data.
  • Establishing and maintaining open-source scientific software in support of microbiome data processing or analysis that supports best practices in the field.
  • Taking innovative approaches to analyze microbiome data to deliver new insights and/or partnerships.
  • Advancing data management systems, repositories or knowledge bases to support access and distribution of microbiome data.
  • Championing data stewardship through teaching, training, mentoring or other engagement activities to substantially support microbiome data science.

2024 ASM Microbiome Data Prize Awardee

Ami Bhatt, MD, Ph.D.


ASM Corporate Council.
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


Applicants must demonstrate outstanding accomplishments in open data science and data management for microbiological research. Applicants should clearly outline the outcome(s) and impact(s) of their work on the research community. Applications can be based on a single exceptionally significant achievement or the aggregate of a number of exemplary achievements. Scientists at any career stage are eligible.

* Note: The Prize recognizes an individual contribution to a research project. The application must clearly demonstrate the unique contribution of the individual.

Review Criteria:

  • Demonstrated scientific contributions towards data stewardship, data analysis, open science and a lasting commitment to advancing microbiome data science.
  • Data or software that are publicly available and accessible will be a plus.
  • Clear impact beyond a singular scientific output as evidenced by usage within the research community.
  • Strong letters of support from non-funded collaborators or research community members on data or software contributions.


Applications must include:

  1. Application Form. Applicants will need to create a free ASM account, or log in to their current ASM account to complete the application form. 
  2. Letters of Support. Two letters of support are required. Supporters will be notified by ASM to submit their letters electronically after the application form is submitted and received by ASM. 
Important Information
  • Applications will be considered without updating for 3 years.
  • Only 1 applicant and 2 supporters are accepted per application.
  • The supporters cannot be from the same employment unit (e.g., department, institute, center, company) as the applicant.  

Honors Information
The Award Laureate will receive the following honors:
  • A cash prize of $1,400.
  • A commemorative piece.
  • Be an invited speaker at the following ASM Microbe meeting.
  • Be recognized at the following ASM Microbe meeting and be invited as honored guests at the ASM and American Academy of Microbiology leadership receptions.
  • A publication fee waiver for an article published on mSphere.


For Supporters
  • Get notified by the applicant about the application in process.
  • Provide the letter of support electronically when requested by ASM.
  • Letters of support must be received by the deadline date. 

For Applicants
  • Complete the online application form by the deadline date.
  • Choose 2 supporters and inform them that support letters must be submitted electronically when requested by ASM after the application form is submitted. The letters of support must be received by the deadline date. 

Frequently Asked Questions

For Supporters

I am listed as a supporter for one applicant for the Microbiome Data Prize. Can I apply or serve as a supporter for another Microbiome Data Prize application?  

If you are an applicant or supporter for one Microbiome Data Prize application, you cannot support another Microbiome Data Prize application. 

A colleague at my department asked me to support their application for the Microbiome Data Prize. Can I serve as a supporter? 

No. Supporters for a Microbiome Data Prize application cannot be from the same employment unit (e.g., department, institution, center, company) as the applicant. 

How do I submit my letter of support?

Supporters for ASM Microbiome Prize applications will submit letters of support during the application process. Once the online application form is submitted, an automated message will be sent to supporters with instructions on how to submit their letters of support. Letters of support for the Microbiome Data Prize must be submitted by the application deadline.

For Applicants

Can I apply for myself for the ASM Microbiome Data Prize?

Yes. The ASM Microbiome Data Prize is by application—which means you should apply for yourself.

How many supporters do I need?

Applications are required to have 2 supporters.

Who should I choose as supporters?

The 2 supporters in a nomination cannot be from the same employment unit (e.g., institution, company, center, department) as the applicant. The supporters must be non-funded collaborators or research community partners. If there are any specific questions about whether the employment units of the supporters are sufficiently distinct to qualify under the program guidelines, contact awards@asmusa.org before submitting the nomination.

Do I need to be an ASM member to be eligible for an ASM Award or Prize?

Not all of the ASM Awards/Prizes require ASM membership. A careful review of the award/prize description is critical.

I identify as a woman. Do I have a lower chance of being selected for an ASM Award/Prize?

ASM embraces diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). We maintain that all applicants and nominees are fairly reviewed and evaluated based on the merits of their work, not their gender, race, etc.

I am an ethnic minority applicant. I am reluctant to reveal my demographic information. Why does ASM ask for demographic information? How do I ensure my data is safe and does not work against me?

The field of microbiology has changed significantly in the last decades. ASM embraces diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Thus, we want to know how we are making progress in ensuring that historically underrepresented groups have access and get nominated for the awards and prizes. An organization-wide policy and new practices were put in place to support DEI efforts. Your data will not be shared with any third party and will not be used in any part of the award/prize decision-making process.

I was nominated for an ASM award or applied for an ASM prize a few years ago but did not get selected. Should I try again?

Absolutely. We encourage nominees who did not receive an award/prize in the past to try again. Due to a variety of factors, a strong candidate might not be selected in any given year. Candidates will be evaluated using the same standards applied for that year for all candidates.

I work in industry. Am I eligible for an ASM Award/Prize?

Microbiologists in all sectors should be nominated and will be considered for the ASM Awards/Prizes. Diversity in expertise and background is essential. Regardless of the sector in which one is working, contribution to the field of microbial sciences is the key to distinguish the nominees.

What should I do to make my application stand out?

  • Spend time preparing your application (which includes CV information) by following the format and guidelines. Make sure the information is clear and easily accessible to facilitate the review process.
  • Communicate with your supporters to ensure they have the information they need.
  • Remind the supporters to submit their letters before the deadline.

Award/Prize Selection Process

All eligible nominations/applications will be reviewed by the respective award/prize selection committee. The committee members will use the submitted materials to evaluate each nominee/applicant using the described eligibility criteria. The committee will discuss outstanding candidates and determine the awardee for that year. The committee takes into consideration various factors about the candidates in the decision to ensure the selected awardee is a strong example of excellence in the field.

Selection Committee Members
  • Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D. (Chair).
  • Wendy Garrett, Ph.D.
  • Scott Jackson, Ph.D.
  • Jacques Ravel, Ph.D.
  • Thomas Schmidt, Ph.D.

ASM awards are granted at the discretion of award selection committees and may not be awarded every year.

Questions? Contact awards@asmusa.org.