ASM’s Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS) is a new, dynamic governance structure representing the entire society as we promote and advance the microbial sciences. COMS is the key connection between ASM’s members and ASM’s leaders—and the place where members can get involved with their society.

Working in partnership with the Board of Directors, the CEO and staff, COMS keeps a pulse on new developments in microbial sciences and helps develop innovative ways to move the field and ASM forward. COMS supports ASM through the following:

  • Setting priorities for the society.
  • Identifying upcoming opportunities in the microbial sciences.
  • Identifying scientific trends to ensure effective programs and activities.

The COMS Members

COMS represents microbial sciences across 8 broad communities:

Antimicrobial Agents and Resistance (AAR)

  • Antimicrobial discovery and development from preclinical investigations to post-marketing data.
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) mechanisms. 
  • Surveillance and global epidemiology of AMR.
  • Antimicrobial stewardship.
  • Novel approaches to infection treatment.
  • Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic principles to optimize antimicrobial design and use. 

Applied and Environmental Science (AES) 

  • How microbes work in diverse environments.   
  • Basic and applied microbiology in environments from soil to food, lakes and oceans to drinking water systems, and deserts to urban population centers. 

Clinical Infections and Vaccines (CIV)

  • Clinical and epidemiological studies in adult and pediatric infectious diseases.
  • Emerging infectious diseases and tropical medicine.
  • Recent developments and clinical studies in vaccines. 

Clinical and Public Health Microbiology (CPHM)

  • Novel diagnostic technology.
  • Antimicrobial susceptibility testing.
  • Clinical laboratory biosafety and biosecurity. 
  • Antimicrobial and diagnostic stewardship.
  • Surveillance and epidemiology.
  • “One health.” 

Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity (EEB)

  • Research that encompasses laboratory, clinical, engineered and natural settings.  
  • Ecological and evolutionary theory in microbes in basic and applied research.
  • Microbial biodiversity.

Host-Microbe Biology (HMB)

  • Research at the host-microbe interface. 
  • Pathogenic and symbiotic relationships between microbes and the host.
  • Genetic, physiological and virulence mechanisms that shape host-microbe relationships. 

Molecular Biology and Physiology (MBP)

  • Understand the basic mechanisms of microbial life at the molecular, cellular and multi-cellular level.

Profession of Microbiology (POM)

  • Microbiology education.
  • Career choices and exploration.
  • Professional development.
  • Science communication and outreach. 

Led by a Chair and Vice-Chair elected by COMS members, every part of ASM is represented on COMS:

  • 10 At-Large Councilors elected by the ASM membership.
  • 35 Councilors selected by the ASM Branches.
  • 27 Councilors selected by ASM Divisions.
  • 8 additional Interdisciplinary Division Councilors.
  • 8 Program Committee Chairs.
  • 7 non-voting members: 5 ASM officers, the ASM CEO and the Governors of the Academy Chair.


COMS 2019-2020 Chair Michael Schmidt is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 ASM Conference Grants Program. This year, COMS awarded $47,000 to support 6 meetings and conferences on topics spanning Pseudomonas, microbial metabarcoding and how COVID-19’s effects on tribal communities can further education on emerging infections, among other research areas. Grants of $5,000 to $10,000 were awarded to institutions from Tsaile, Ariz. to Karachi, Pakistan.

Peggy Cotter Travel Awards Early Career Branch Members

Upcoming Activities & Events

Past Activities & Events

June 2, 2021: COMS Annual Meeting, Held Virtually - read the meeting materials
April 28, 2021: Clinical Infections & Vaccines (CIV) Retreat, Held Virtually - read the summary
March 16, 2021: Clinical and Public Health Microbiology (CPHM) Retreat, Held Virtually - read the report
June 2020: COMS Meeting, Held Virtually
Dec. 17, 2019: Antimicrobial Agents and Resistance Retreat, ASM HQ - read the report
June 2019: COMS Meeting, San Francisco Marriott, San Francisco
May 2019: COMS Orientation Webinar
March 21, 2019: Profession of Microbiology Retreat, ASM HQ - read the report
Dec. 16-17 2018: Molecular Biology and Physiology Retreat, ASM HQ - read the report
July 24-25 2018: Host-Microbe Biology Retreat, ASM HQ - read the report
Dec.19-20, 2017: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity Retreat, ASM HQ - read the report
May 25-26, 2017: Clinical and Public Health Microbiology Retreat, ASM HQ - read the report