Message From Virginia L. Miller, ASM President

Dear ASM supporter,

As we embark on a new year, I want to express my gratitude for your unwavering support and dedication to our shared mission of promoting and advancing microbial sciences. Your commitment has helped us address some of humanity’s biggest challenges and make significant strides in our field.

Below are a few highlights on how your membership has helped advance microbial sciences.

Advancing Open Science in Microbiology

Recognizing the pivotal role of scientific societies in shaping our field, in July 2023 ASM proudly announced our strategic shift to the Subscribe to Open S2O publishing model, which will launch in the 2025 subscription year. ASM was recognized as a leader in scholarly publishing at the 2023 Charleston Library Conference for our innovative S2O approach. Our transition to the S2O model reaffirms our commitment to open science and furthers our mission of removing barriers to research. We are excited to lead the way in a more equitable approach to scientific publishing that will advance the open science movement.

Exploring Work Force Trends

This summer, ASM commissioned a landmark study, Workforce Trends: The Future of Microbial Sciences report, the most current, and perhaps the first statistical portrait of the microbiology workforce. This comprehensive analysis explores key trends in education, employment, occupations, earnings and job satisfaction, delving into the landscape of our discipline. The report’s findings will enable us to help train, advocate for and support individuals in microbial sciences. It will allow ASM to take tangible action to sustain our profession.

Convening Scientists: 5 Unforgettable Meetings, More Than 12,000 Participants and Record-Breaking Contributions

ASM held 5 meetings this year: ASM Microbe, Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS), Clinical Virology Symposium (CVS), ASM/ESCMID Joint Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance, and ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE). In aggregate, ASM successfully convened more than 12,000 participants at our scientific meetings. The outstanding scientific contributions from participants, totaling over 5,000 abstract submissions and 475 session proposals, played a pivotal role in crafting exemplary programming. Noteworthy is the unprecedented success achieved at ABRCMS, where this year marked a record-breaking turnout with 2,855 abstract submissions spanning 12 diverse scientific disciplines and 5,627 attendees.

ASM Microbe 2023 featured a track on climate change and launched the Science and Society Keynote Lecture, a series that highlights the importance of new scientific discoveries and their impact on our community. We invite you to join us in Atlanta for ASM Microbe 2024, from June 13-17. With 5,000+ attendees joining us from around the globe, this extraordinary meeting promises to highlight the most cutting-edge microbial sciences. Abstracts will be accepted until January 23, 2024!

Championing Climate Action With Microbes

This year, ASM’s honorific leadership group and think tank, the American Academy of Microbiology (Academy), continued to build upon its 5-year Climate Change & Microbes Portfolio, releasing 2 colloquium reports. The reports focused on integrating microbes into climate change models and the role of microbes in mediating methane emissions. In addition, the Academy launched a Microbial Methane Mitigation Research Roadmap to outline first-order research priorities for promoting microbial innovations to combat increasing methane emissions. These activities are just a few examples of the many ways in which microbiologists are contributing their expertise to address climate change.

Shaping Policies for Responsible Microbial Research and Public Health Initiatives

ASM has actively collaborated with congressional committees and government agencies on several key initiatives. We've shown our support for the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity's (NSABB) Proposed Biosecurity Oversight Framework, and our members have testified on the importance of gain-of-function research in accordance with protective biomedical research safeguards. Additionally, we've been instrumental in discussions surrounding antimicrobial resistance (AMR), highlighting the need for a multi-pronged approach that includes research, surveillance and antimicrobial stewardship, and emphasizing the key role of microbiologists in developing solutions. Our work has focused on safeguarding public health through initiatives that advance pathogen genomics surveillance and sequencing, as well as advocating for a balanced regulatory approach for laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) to ensure patient safety and minimize disruption in clinical microbiology laboratories.

Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in STEM

ASM has also made amazing progress in making microbial sciences one of the most welcoming and inclusive disciplines in STEM. We’re partnered with both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to secure grants that support inclusive diversity with equity, access and accountability (IDEAA) in the microbial sciences.

ASM was awarded a $500,000 grant from the NSF to support microbiology leaders with the strongest influence on institutional practices. Additionally, ASM won a $1.3 million cooperative agreement grant from the NIH to enhance diversity within the academic biomedical research workforce. ASM aims to promote sustained cultural change within the microbial sciences and across the broader STEM community through these new initiatives.

Charting ASM’s New Strategic Course

Lastly, as we look to the new year and beyond, we are excited to be reshaping ASM’s strategic direction to address humanity’s most pressing challenges. ASM aspires to be the platform that empowers the community of microbial scientists and all stakeholders to shape the future of the field. Learn more about the new framework, which marks the start of ASM’s transformation to a science-centric, globally focused organization whose vision, mission and values are connected to the world around us.

The year has been filled with remarkable achievements, milestones and significant contributions to the field of microbial sciences. As we kick off 2024, I wish to ask for your continued support! Please consider donating to one of our key initiatives. Your support is indispensable in our mission to promote and advance microbial sciences.

Signature of Virginia L. Miller, ASM President

Virginia L. Miller
President, American Society for Microbiology