ASM’s Council on Microbial Sciences (COMS) is a key connection between ASM’s members and ASM’s leaders—and the place where members can get involved with their society.

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.

The COMS Communities

COMS members are organized by 8 broad communities. Each community conducts retreats on a 4-year cycle, helping set scientific priorities and ensure effective programs and activities by identifying opportunities in the microbial sciences. Each COMS community, and their respective areas of focus, are outlined below.

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, 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 Activities & Events

  • COMS Community Retreat Cycle
  • June 12, 2024: COMS Annual Meeting, Omni Hotel, Atlanta, Ga.
  • March 6, 16, 20 & 27 (seminars) & April 3, 2024 (workshop): Molecular Biology & Physiology Retreat, held virtually—Report in progress.
  • March 25-29, 2024: Antimicrobial Agents & Resistance Retreat, held virtually—Report in progress.
  • June 14, 2023: COMS Annual Meeting, Marriott Marquis Houston, Houston, Texas.
  • May 30-June 01, 2023: Host-Microbe Biology Community Retreat, held virtually—Read the published retreat report.
  • April 11 & 12, 2023: Ecology, Evolution, & Biodiversity Retreat, held virtually—Report in progress.
  • 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.