What Is a Microbrew?

Deadline: Thursday, April 15, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. PDT (UTC -07:00)

A Microbrew showcases a “brewing" idea in any of the subdisciplines in the biological sciences. Unlike other poster presentations at ASMCUE, assessment data are NOT required. The committee encourages presenters to share ideas and activities for the classroom and/or lab. This is an ideal forum to share or field test new ideas and solicit feedback for improvement from other educators with similar interests. Speakers are encouraged to make their 10-minute talk interactive and to engage their audience in a learning experience, if the subject matter is appropriate for this format. 

Do You Have an Idea "Brewing"?

Submit a Microbrew Proposal

The 2021 ASMCUE Planning Committee welcomes submissions for Microbrews. Microbrews are short talks with a 10-minute presentation and 5-minute Q&A (15 minutes total). Please note that all presenters are responsible for the conference registration fee.
Presenters lead an interactive discussion around an idea "brewing” in any of the subdisciplines of the biological sciences. Past Microbrew presenters indicated that soliciting feedback from attendees is the most valuable component of a Microbrew.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a proposal. Microbrew submissions are now closed. 


Key Components of a Microbrew Application

  • Activity description, engagement plan, timeline and student learning goals.
  • Context for activity and ASMCUE attendee learning outcomes. 
  • Audience, keywords and ASM Curriculum Guidelines core concepts.
  • Identify your Microbrew track: 
    • Allied Health
    • Cell Biology/Immunology
    • Microbiology
    • Student Skills: 
      • Critical Thinking
      • Communication/Writing
      • Science Literacy/Primary Literature
      • Learning/Metacognition
    • Programmatic Changes
    • Technology-Assisted Pedagogy (apps, websites, videos, etc.)


  • Microbrews may have a maximum of 2 authors.
  • “Attendee” refers to the ASMCUE microbrew attendee, and “student” refers to individuals that attendees teach at their home institutions/organizations.
  • Applicants can save progress on their application and return to complete it at a later time. Submissions must be completed before the application date in order to be considered.

Review Criteria and Guidelines

Competitive proposals are well organized, present the idea or activity clearly and demonstrate a reasonable timeline for the 10-minute presentation. All submissions are reviewed by the ASMCUE Microbrew Review Committee according to the following criteria (see rubric):

  • Background, presentation timing and relevance to the 2021 ASMCUE Virtual theme. 
  • Demonstrates inclusive, anti-racist and evidence-based teaching practices. 
  • Attendee engagement and clear learning outcomes. 
  • Innovation, originality and alignment with ASM Curriculum Guidelines. 
The committee reserves the right to contact authors for more information and to transfer submissions, if warranted, to another presentation format within the conference program. For Microbrew proposals, no re-submissions will be allowed.

Download the Microbrew Review Rubric

Commercial Products/Services 

A proposal must discuss any commercial product or service, name the product and disclose any potential conflicts of interest. Proposals that promote a specific commercial product or service for purchase will be recommended for the ASMCUE Exhibit and Sponsorship Program. 


The primary contact will receive a disposition by mid-May 2021.


Presentation Details

  • Dates: Microbrews will take place June 30 – July 1, 2021.
  • Format: Ten minutes for a presentation and 5 minutes for Q&A.
  • Platform: Microbrews will be broadcast live over the ASMCUE platform, and they will be delivered concurrently with up to 3 other sessions.
  • Preparation: Presenters are expected to follow ASMCUE Virtual Presentation Guidelines when designing and delivering their talks. These guidelines include features for attendee accessibility.
  • Recording: With speakers’ consent, ASMCUE Virtual will record all Microbrews, which will be made available to attendees.
  • Attendee Experience: All Microbrews require an online active learning experience (e.g., polling, discussions) during the 10-minute presentation to enhance attendee engagement and model evidence-driven learning strategies for a synchronous online environment. 

Example #1

Activity Type: Classroom Activity

How to Build a (Tiny) Factory: Engineering Bacteria for Protein Production

Andy Weiss, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Laura Hesse, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Microbrew Description

Our learning activity teaches the process of bacterial engineering and heterologous protein
expression through collaborative learning in a flipped classroom. This strategy fosters the direct
application of learned content, allowing students to employ a complex laboratory method, even
without access to a teaching laboratory. Students are assigned to groups, and each member is
ascribed a biomolecular ‘superpower’ corresponding to one of the steps of molecular engineering and protein expression. To familiarize themselves with their specific ability, individual students are provided with essential readings one week before class. The following period, students gather in their groups without prior knowledge of each other’s ‘superpower’. Groups are then given the task to produce the human protein insulin, using only their assigned skills. Students are required to collaborate and explain their abilities to each other in order to create a stepwise strategy leading to the final process and product.

Timeline of Microbrew

1 minute: Description of teaching environment (institution, students, classroom setup)
2 minute: Introduction of teaching materials
1 minute: Split up into groups and assignment of individual ‘superpowers’
5 minute: Cloning and protein expression activity
1 minute: Review of developed strategies and product

Example #2

Activity Type: Classroom Activity

Learning Catalytics: a Versatile CAT

Chelsea Lloyd, Parkland College

Microbrew Description

Learning Catalytics (LC) is a tool I love to use for in-class formative assessment because it can be
used on any internet-connectible device and offers many different question types such as
multiple/many choice, free response, click on a region of an image, matching, word cloud, drawing, and more. I use LC in several ways; for example, I will ask a question and let students answer it first on their own, then show them their answers without highlighting the correct one, then deliver the question again after students have a chance to think-pair-share and reach a (usually correct) consensus. I also use it to ask a “muddiest point” question at the end of each class to get feedback from shy and lost students alike; I can show students what their peers are asking/confused about, but only I know who is linked to each response. Grading can be based on accuracy or participation and provides a low-stakes way to engage, assess, and generate feedback from and for students in class.

Timeline of Microbrew

3 minutes - Introduce the technology, how students can access it, and how participants can get logged in
7 minutes - Attendees will get to test the technology by answering questions as my students do; I will show what I see from the instructor perspective and how I use the data.