Celebrating Native American and Indigenous Microbiologists

The American Society for Microbiology celebrates the achievements and contributions of Native American and Indigenous scientists across 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.

Committing to Inclusive Diversity with Equity, Access and Accountability (IDEAA)

As we recognize Native American and Indigenous scientists and their achievements, we also acknowledge remaining barriers in the field. According to ASM’s 2020 DEI Taskforce Report survey, Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples represented 1% of respondents. While this is similar to representation within the U.S. population at 2.9% Native American, we know that we must continue to push for increased Native American and Indigenous leadership within ASM and support mentorship opportunities among Native American and Indigenous students and early career researchers.    

ASM is committed to making diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) a top priority in our mission to advance the microbial sciences. Strengthening the Society’s commitment to building a more inclusive environment that will attract and sustain a diverse community, the Microbiology Leaders Evolving and Accountable to Progress (MicroBio-LEAP) project aims to train leaders to embody IDEAA within the microbial sciences to make the field more welcoming for individuals from historically excluded groups.

Featured Articles 

We prioritize the creation of robust content that celebrates IDEAA in the microbial sciences, elevates the voices of scientists from historically underrepresented groups and identifies and engages with the work that still needs to be done to ensure the field of microbiology promotes IDEAA.

How Hunger, Tears and Microbes Connected Kindred Spirits

During the Irish Great Hunger (1845-1852), the Choctaw tribe donated to Irish relief funds, and when COVID-19 exposed inequities on Navajo and Hopi reservations, many Irish people returned the favor.

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 farming and land management practices used successfully for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of years and, in return, give Indigenous Peoples a voice in global management of resources.

Investigating the Smallpox Blanket Controversy

Lingering questions surround deliberate smallpox outbreaks among Native American and Indigenous communities, leaving a legacy of trauma and distrust that persist to this day. We seek answers to some of these questions.

Featured Spotlights

Spotlight profile articles highlight the work and experiences of microbiologists from a diversity of backgrounds and identities in science.

Follow Your Passion: Spotlight on Stephanie Momeni

Reflecting on her own microbiology journey, Stephanie Momeni, Ph.D., advises that scientists at any career level take time to remember what they’re passionate about and what drives their curiosity.

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.

Making Connections: Spotlight on Rebecca Pollet

Rebecca Pollet highlights the importance of making connections, not just between the lab and the “real” world, but also with scientists one can identify with—and helping others to do the same.

Featured Journals Content

Unique Genomic Epidemiology of COVID-19 in the White Mountain Apache Tribe, April to August 2020, Arizona

This article discusses the introduction and spread of 2 unique viral lineages of SARS-CoV-2 within the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona. Both genomic sequencing and traditional epidemiological strategies were used to understand the nature of the spread of these 2 lineages.

Trails to Research: An Inquiry-Based Course Using Zebrafish to Provide Research Experience to Tribal College Students

Microbiology experts based in Montana designed an inquiry-based course for tribal or 2-year college students who have a general interest in science, research or are STEM majors. The course provides initial exposure to STEM research and intends to strengthen or inspire students’ interest to participate in undergraduate research.

Introducing the Microbes and Social Equity Working Group: Considering the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental and Health Justice

Humans are inextricably linked to each other and our natural world, and microorganisms lie at the nexus of those interactions. The Microbes and Social Equity (MSE) Working Group connects microbiology with social equity research, education, policy and practice to understand the interplay of microorganisms, individuals, societies and ecosystems.

Featured Videos and Podcasts

Native Alaskan Perspectives in Microbiology with Kat Milligan-Myhre

Kat Milligan-Myhre, Ph.D., 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.

mSystems Thinking Series: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Microbiology

Dr. Kat Milligan-Myhre's research focuses on determining how the host genetic background contributes to host-microbe interactions. Watch her discussion of adapting an evolutionary model for host-microbe interaction studies, and the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the microbial sciences.

Minority Mixer at ASM Microbe 2022.

Minority Mixer at ASM Microbe 2022.

Source: American Society for Microbiology

Get Involved at ASM

Interested in becoming involved with ASM’s DEI efforts?