What's Hot in the Microbial Sciences - Spring 2021

In this issue, "What's Hot" takes a look at published articles that address directed research on pathogens as well as articles that are interesting, clever and just might someday lead to an application that makes the world a healthier place.

COVID-19 Variants

The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 has posed the threat of new variants that may exhibit increased transmissibility or potential for antibody escape.

Role of Virus and Host in Human Disease

Ever since it became feasible, genomic sequencing has been used to understand host susceptibility to a variety of infectious diseases.

Microbiome Association

The gut microbiome is an important regulator of adaptive immunity. It has been shown to influence tumor development and modulate host responses to chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

One Health

In what some are calling an impressive case of scientific detective work, researchers have identified the cause of vacuolar myelinopathy, the neurological disease linked to mass eagle deaths across the southeastern U.S. for nearly 2 decades.

Molecular Microbiology

A fundamental question in molecular biology has to do with the coordination of bacterial replication: How do bacteria ensure that DNA replication and cell division proceed efficiently during metabolic conditions that are required for growth?

Vaccine and Drug Development

Comparative genomics and protein analysis have become powerful tools for uncovering potential targets for an effective Tuberculosis vaccine and anti-mycobacterial drugs, both of which are desperately needed to manage TB more effectively.

Bacterial Evolution: Niche Restriction and the Path to Speciation

As a species, E. coli has adapted the ability to survive in multiple niches, including human and animal hosts, as well as environmental habitats, and as it turns out, not all core genes are always necessary for reproduction and survival.

Microbial Survival

Can microbes survive in outer space? Thanks to a lot of patience, some ingenuity and the incredible utility of whole genome sequencing, researchers might be one step closer to finding out.

Explore the latest groundbreaking research in the microbial sciences, stay up-to-date with what's happening at ASM and read cutting edge scientific articles in Microcosm, ASM's flagship, members-only magazine. This new digital format for Microcosm provides easier access to the most recent scientific content for ASM members.


Stanley Maloy, Ph.D.

San Diego State University

Managing Editor

Aleea Khan

Production Editor

Tyniah McDuffie


Ashley Hagen, M.S.

Geoff Hunt, Ph.D.

Amy Kullas, Ph.D.

Katherine Lontok, Ph.D.

Stephen Ornes


Victor DiRita, Ph.D.

Michigan State University


Steven Finkel, Ph.D.

University of Southern California


Timothy J. Donohue, Ph.D.

University of Wisconsin


Marylynn Yates, Ph.D.

University of California


Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D.

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Catherine Ort-Mabry


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