This November, the American Society for Microbiology joins the nation in celebrating Native American Heritage Month by highlighting the achievements and contributions of Native American scientists to the field of microbiology. We believe that the various perspectives, experiences and backgrounds of our diverse membership enhance innovation, broaden the research agenda and further scientific advancement.

As we recognize Native American and Indigenous people and their achievements, we also acknowledge remaining barriers in the field. According to ASM’s 2020 DEI Taskforce Report survey, 1% of respondents identify as Native American. While this is similar to representation within the U.S. population, with 1.7% identifying as Native American, we acknowledge that we must continue to push for increased Native American leadership within ASM and support mentorship opportunities among students and early career researchers who identify as Native American.

Infectious Disease is an Indigenous Issue: Spotlight on Matt Anderson

Matt Anderson, Ph.D., an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, shares how he was strongly influenced to study infectious diseases by his Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians descent. Read the Spotlight.

Native Alaskan Perspectives in Microbiology with Kat Milligan-Myhre

Dr. Kat Milligan-Myhre talks about the difficulty of maintaining her Native Alaskan cultural identity during her time in the “lower 48” states studying microbiology. She also explains why stickleback fish are a great model for understanding how the host shapes the microbiota.

How to Foster Inclusive Climate in Microbiology

Learn about the importance of an inclusive climate in microbiology, with emphasis on the critical elements of feelings of belonging and uniqueness, inclusive behaviors, establishing a growth mindset and much more. Read the article.

mSphere of Influence: An Inupiat Journey in Science

Dr. Kathryn Milligan-Myhre works in the field of host-microbe interactions. In this mSphere of Influence article, she reflects on the people and scientific ideas that influenced her journey from a small town in Alaska to a faculty position at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Read the journal article.

Microbes and Social Equity

Interdisciplinary research on social justice for underserved communities is often neglected, but it is important to ensure that healthy microbiomes are accessible to everyone. Read the article.

The Role of Microbiology in Sustainable Development

Knowledge of the microbial sciences and its role in the environment and agriculture can empower small farmers to earn a livable wage. Microbiologists should learn from Indigenous people who have farmed and managed their soil successfully for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years and—in return—give Indigenous people a voice in global management of resources. Read the article.

Attend Upcoming SACNAS Events 

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) works to foster diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM. Learn more about the organization’s mission and explore upcoming conferences and events.

Quantitative Biosciences Institute: A Full Circle of Native and Indigenous Sciences in Quantitative Biology

Last year, University of California, San Franciso’s Quantitative Biosciences Institute hosted a symposium that both celebrated and supported community building for Native and Indigenous scientists at all career stages. Watch the recorded symposium.