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Hilary Koprowski Obituary
April 30th, 2013
Hilary Koprowski, who has died aged 96, developed the first successful oral vaccine against polio but lost out in the race to gain an official licence.
The competition to find a polio vaccine began in 1938, when Franklin D. Roosevelt (himself stricken with the disease) founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Jonas Salk, who would develop the first injectable vaccine, concentrated on dead polio virus. Koprowski, though, reasoned that a live but weakened (or attenuated) form of the virus would more closely mimic an actual polio infection.
Many scientists were wary of using the live virus but in January 1948 Koprowski gulped down a preparation of ground-up cotton rat brain infected with attenuated polio virus.
He survived and two years later 20 boys and girls at a home for children with learning difficulties were given doses of the same mixture, with no ill effects.
When Koprowski presented his results at a conference in 1951 there was widespread disbelief. But his research caught the attention of Albert Sabin, who, in 1955, won the race to get a live-virus vaccine licensed in the US.
An only child, Koprowski was born in Warsaw on December 5, 1916. A gifted musician, he entered the Warsaw Conservatoire aged 12 and might have become a concert pianist had he not concluded that he could never be as good as another brilliant piano player in his class.
Instead he switched to medicine, studying at Warsaw University, where he met his wife, Irena Grasberg. They married in 1938 and, after the Nazi invasion the following year, fled Poland. Koprowski went to Rome, where he spent a year at the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, and Irena to France. In 1940 they reunited in Portugal and went to Brazil, where Koprowski worked for the Rockefeller Foundation researching a yellow fever vaccine.
After the war the couple settled at Pearl River, New York, where Koprowski became a researcher at Lederle Laboratories, working on the polio vaccine.
He served as director of the Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania from 1957, then as director of the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson University from 1991 to 2011.
Under Koprowski's leadership, scientists at Wistar developed the rubella vaccine and a vaccine against rabies that has proved more effective and less painful to inject than the traditional Pasteur vaccine. In the 1970s Koprowski became a pioneer in the field of monoclonal antibodies, which are now used to detect and fight cancer. At Jefferson, he worked on genetically engineering plants to carry vaccines.
Koprowski was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was appointed to the French Legion of Honour.
His wife died last year and their two sons survive him.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/obituaries/scientist-led-fight-against-childhood-disease-20130428-2imo3.html#ixzz2RvbkDk8u
Surgery could soon become deadly
March 17th, 2013
This article was recently published in The Age in Melbourne quoting experts from The ASM. Click here to read the article.
Parasitology & Tropical Medicine AGM Notification
Dear ASM Members,
I would like to inform you of the ASM, Parasitology and Tropical Medicine SIG 2013 AGM. This is being held on Friday March 1st, in Adelaide, at the end of day one of the Parasitology Master Class. If you have any topics you wish to raise under other business please e-mail me.
It is still not too late to register for the Master Class 2013 in Adelaide with a few lab spaces available for the wet workshop on Saturday. However, accommodation in Adelaide will be tight due to the motor sport event Clipsal 500 and the Adelaide Arts and Fringe Festival being scheduled on the same weekend. It is suggest that you obtain accommodation before you register for the Master Class.
Hope to see you in Adelaide in March.
Acting National Convenor
ASM, Parasitology and Tropical Medicine SIG
ICC 2013 - Invitation to Submit Abstracts
The International Congress of Chemotherapy and Infection (ICC) will be held in Yokohama, Japan in June this year with the theme "Fighting Infections". The ICC 2013 Programme Committee invites you to submit an abstract for consideration.
Abstract Submission Deadline: 28 February 2013
The ICC 2013 will bring together professionals working in all areas of infectious diseases; from research to clinical practice and from students to microbiologists, pharmacists and clinicians.
- 11 January 2013 Registration opens
- 28 February 2013 Abstract submission deadline
- 28 February 2013 Deadline for travel grant applications
- 5 April 2013 Deadline for discounted registration
- 7 May 2013 Deadline for pre-congress registration
The ICC 2013 offers several grants and awards as a way of encouraging participation.
Please refer to our website for more details.
The ICC 2013 Organising Committee
Genetics of Industrial Microorganisms 2013
January 16th, 2013
Please see the letter below regarding the 12th International Meeting on the Genetics of Industrial Microorganisms to be held in Cancun, Mexico from 23 - 28 June 2013.
Dear Members and Associate Members of the GIM International Committee,
This is to wish you all a very healthy, prosperous and happy new year 2013!!!!!
As you know, this is the year for the 12th International Meeting on the Genetics of Industrial Microorganisms to be held in Cancún, Q.R., Mexico.
On behalf of the local organizing committee, it will be a great honor to have you here next June 23-28, 2013, and have the opportunity to offer you a memorable stay and attractive scientific program. Therefore, we expect to provide a forum for critical discussion on topics of major and current interest in the genetic manipulation and exploitation of industrial microorganisms.
In addition, we have planned several social activities during the meeting. Bring your families!!!
In order for more people to be informed about this meeting, I would appreciate your help in forwarding this first announcement to your colleagues, students and friends whom you consider may be interested in this international symposium.
The official website of GIM-2013 is: http://www.smbb.com.mx/GIM2013-Cancun/. In this page, you will find the preliminary scientific program, details of the venue and even more.
I am looking for to meet you here in Cancún next June!!!!
Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Conference 2013
January 9th, 2013
In March 2013, the Communicable Disease Network Australia's, Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Conference will co-locate with the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) Annual Scientific Meeting to host back-to-back conferences in Canberra at the Hyatt Hotel. The co-located conference will bring together infectious disease specialists and public health practitioners to discuss communicable diseases from the community to the hospital bedside. The Communicable Disease Control Conference 2013 will be held on 19-20 March, which overlaps for one day with the ASID Annual Scientific Meeting held on 20-23 March.
The call for abstracts is now open with the deadline of Friday 25 January 2013. Please ensure you refer to the abstract guidelines outlined on the conference website before you submit.
Delegates will have the option of registering for one conference, or both conferences. Special rates are available for delegates who register to attend both conferences. Places are strictly limited to 600 delegates on the overlap day, so make sure you get your registration in early, registration opens in November.
For more information please visit the website: http://cdcconference.com.au/
ASIG News Roundup
December 18th, 2012
Dear ASIG members,
A roundup of news on drug resistance and other topics in global health.
An article published in The Lancet points out the uncertainty over how countries will react to the Global Fund’s recent decision on the Affordable Medicines Facility - malaria (AMFm) and recommends the Fund to institutionalize experimentation within its operations. [The Lancet]
Researchers at the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Center are developing technologies to map the genomes of bacteria in order to prevent healthcare-associated infections. To learn more about the project, listen to this interview with the director of the center. [ABC News Australia]
The Chennai Declaration published in Indian Journal of Cancer recommends several initiatives to curb antimicrobial resistance in India, which include a mandatory Infection Control Team in hospitals, broadening antimicrobial resistance surveillance network, regulating antibiotic use in animals, and compulsory training on infection control and infectious diseases for medical students. [The Hindu]
Simple solutions such as “having patients shower with special germ-fighting soap before surgery, and having surgery teams change gowns, gloves and instruments” have reduced hospital-acquired infections by nearly one-third in seven big US hospitals. [CBS News]
According to research published in the journal BMC Health Services Research, universal methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening strategies are much more cost-intensive than targeted screening approaches.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and several other health care agencies, has published the 2012 update of the “A Public Health Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance”.
A BBC article explores the challenges of growing antibiotic resistance with particular consideration to gram-negative bacteria. [BBC]
The first World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe Global Health Histories Seminar titled - Antimicrobial Resistance: historical and contemporary perspectives - will be organized in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 11, 2013.
Thousands of Congolese refugees who have been resettled in Uganda face a potentially fatal danger of malaria due to the ongoing rainy season and a lack of resources to tackle the possible outbreak. [AlertNet]
A new study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, seeking to test the feasibility of a crowdsourced online game to detect malaria finds that non-expert participants achieved a counting accuracy higher than 99%.
In connection with a hepatitis C outbreak that sickened more than 30 people, a federal grand jury has indicted a former worker at New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital on fraud and product-tampering charges. [CNN]
Research published in the journal PLoS Pathogens reveals new insights on the immune system of mosquitoes: the study identifies a previously unknown mechanism in mosquitoes to destroy pathogens. [Futurity]
With the continuing economic crisis in Greece, the country’s healthcare situation is worsening: many hospitals now cannot afford basic supplies like gloves, gowns and alcohol wipes. [Reuters]
Developing countries, particularly those in Africa, have a high rate of cancers caused by simple infections. [BBC]
Expand your knowledge of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance with this infographic published on the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day.
On Behalf of the Antimicrobial Special Interest Group:
Dr. John Merlino
ASM Antimicrobial Special Interest Group - Convenor
Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Concord Hospital -
Hospital Rd Concord 2139
Tel: 02 9767 6658
Fax: 02 9767 7868
Mobile: 0413 349862
Email: email@example.com or JMerlino@med.usyd.edu.au
ASM 2013 Program Outline Now Available!
December 17th, 2012
December 16, 2012
28 February - 2 March, 2013 | Heidelberg, Germany
The Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae (PVC) superphylum is an assemblage of bacterial phyla that exhibit distinctive cellular properties, widespread environmental distribution, unique physiologies & unusual associations with eukaryotic hosts.
This EMBO workshop will be the first one to focus on the characterization and fundamental understanding of the PVC members.
Senate Inquiry into Antimicrobial Resistance
December 13th, 2012
Dr Gregory Crocetti highlights in the message below, the recent establishment of a Senate Inquiry on the ever growing threat of antibiotic resistance. The Committee will not only explore how we can improve the future management of antibiotic resistance but also why many of the excellent recommendations made more than 10 years ago by a previous Committee (JETACAR, chaired by our own immediate past President, Professor John Turnidge) have not been implemented. I urge all of our members who have a vested interest in this space to follow the link provided below and consider making a submission.
Professor Paul Young
On the 29th November the Australian senate passed a motion for a senate inquiry to investigate progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the 1999 Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance (JETACAR).
JETACAR was a committee of health and agriculture experts established by the Federal Government in 1999 in response to the growing concerns around antimicrobial resistance.
The terms of reference for the committee were broadly to review the scientific evidence on the link between the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals, the emergence and selection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their spread to humans; and to develop evidence-based recommendations for the appropriate future management of antibiotic use in food-producing animals.
In response to the subsequent report recommendations, a series of committees were established and pilot surveillance programs established.
So what’s happened since then?
Since this time, committees have come and gone, surveillance efforts have not been sustained, and the problem of antimicrobial resistance is worse than ever. And to make matters worse, we are using antimicrobials more than ever.
Australians are amongst the highest users of antibiotics in the world, with over 22 million prescriptions issued every year – more than one for each man, woman and child. Furthermore, there is evidence that the growing use of consumer goods containing antimicrobials such as triclosan and nano-silver will further drive the spread of mobile genetic elements conferring antibiotic resistance.
Senate Inquiry – submissions are open
Proposed by Victorian Greens senator Dr Richard Di Natale on the last sitting day of Parliament in 2012, the Australian senate passed the motion for a Senate inquiry to investigate why so few of the JETACAR recommendations have been implemented and how to better manage antimicrobial resistance in the future.
The window is now open for submissions to this senate inquiry until February 17, 2013. More information regarding the terms of reference for the inquiry and how to make a submission can be found here: http://aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=fapa_ctte/jetacar/index.htm.
Reason for Hope
The good news is that proper regulation of antimicrobials can make a positive impact on antimicrobial resistance. We only need look at how the restricted use of quinolones in both humans and animals in Australia has maintained low levels of resistance, compared to elsewhere around the world.
Time to Act
Of course it’s not Australia’s problem alone, nor is our government solely responsible for the problem.
But with so much at stake, surely it’s worth raising your voice on this important issue.
- Dr Greg Crocetti
AGAR iPhone/iPad App
December 10th, 2012
The Australian Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AGAR) Apple iPhone/iPad app has been launched.
AGAR conducts resistance surveys for Staphylococcus aureus, some Enterobacteriacaea (E.coli, Enterobacter spp, and Klebsiella spp), Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Enterocococcus species. In addition to antibiotic susceptibility testing, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is typed using a variety of molecular techniques.
By using standardised methodology AGAR has been able to collect trend data. AGAR is making this information available to the broader community with the aim of assisting appropriate antibiotic selection and to provide data for public health intervention to contain antibiotic resistance in Australia.
The development of this App has been made possible by a generous unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer Australia to the Australian Society for Antimicrobials (the corporate partner of AGAR).
For further information on AGAR and access to the surveillance reports please visit the AGAR website http://www.agargroup.org/.
The App can be dowloaded FREE from the Apple App Store. An Android App is not available at this time.
AGAR is principally sponsored by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.
IPC2013 - Registration Open!
December 10th, 2013
Registration for the International Scientific Conference on Probiotics and Prebiotics (IPC2013) is now open. Read on for more information.
To whom it may concern,
We are pleased to inform you that the registration for the International Scientific Conference on Probiotics and Prebiotics - IPC2013 is now open.
You can register via on-line registration portal .
The abstract submission will be open on 1st January 2013.
You can find further details on abstract requirements and deadlines on the conference homepage.
Remind to nominate for the Young Scientist Award presented by DuPont and sponsored with € 1,000. We are also pleased to introduce the Best Poster Award presented by ICFMH - The International Committee on Food Microbiology and Hygiene of the IUMS - sponsored with € 500, for the best poster related to food microbiology.
NB! Separate session on development and use of probiotics in animals are also scheduled.
For information on venue, accommodation and travel please click here.
We look forward to meeting you at IPC2013, in Kosice, European Capital of Culture 2013.
On behalf of the Organizing Committee of IPC2013
Organising Committee of IPC2013
The International Scientific Conference on Probiotics and Prebiotics
Tel.: +421 917 858838
Fax: +421 41 4000123
Parasitology Master Class 2013
November 30, 2012
Registrations for the Parasitology Master Class are now open!
Register now to secure your place as space is strictly limited. Please also note that due to a major event in Adelaide at the same time as the Master Class, accommodation across the city is going to be stretched to capacity, so we recommend booking your accommodation now while you still can!
Please visit parasitologymasterclass.theasm.org.au for more information.
Antimicrobial Stewardship in Australian Hospitals
November 20, 2012
If you are interested in Antimicrobial Stewardship click here to download Antimicrobial Stewardship in Australian Hospitals 2011, edited by Margaret Duguid and Marilyn Cruickshank.
International Symposium on Resp. Viral Infections
November 12, 2012
14-17 March 2013
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Information about the upcoming meeting is now available on the Macrae Foundation website at: www.themacraefoundation.org. The format of the meeting encourages discussion and especially interactions between senior and young investigators.
Science Meets Parliament 2012
October 18, 2012
An annual event of growing importance and popularity for both the scientific community and the Federal Government is “Science meets Parliament” (SmP). SmP is promoted and presented by Science and Technology Australia (www.scienceandtechnologyaustralia.org.au), a scientific advocacy group of which ASM is a member, bringing together scientists of all disciplines from across Australia for a unique opportunity of interactions with our federal parliamentarians in Canberra. This year, at the 13th annual SmP event, the ASM was represented by Assoc. Prof Damian Purcell (Melbourne University) and Dr Nick West (University of Queensland). On the first day of the two-day event delegates participate in a series of workshops aimed at informing and equipping them to interact more effectively with members of parliament. A strong theme of these workshops is about the value of science communication, budgetary processes, formulation of policy and how to influence it. Changes in the media have resulted in the culling of several dedicated science journalists and delegates were encouraged to embrace social media, such as twitter, to keep science in the national conversation and to guide important policy discussions.
A lasting impression for us was the sense from many of those in Canberra that science is important, and somewhat surprisingly, that scientists attract a great deal of respect for their efforts. What was also obvious was that politicians wanted and needed to understand science, at least the basics of what we are trying to do and achieve. It was stressed that scientific communication skills with non-scientists needs attention. So a lesson learned for us as members of the ASM is to not be reluctant in approaching our federal members, but to get the language right so there can be a meaningful dialogue and a sense of inclusiveness, dare we say, partnership. After all, these people are the policy makers, of policies that have huge potential to affect our work, careers and the outcomes for the country.
A common theme from the Canberra policy makers was the increased stress on the federal budget that is threatening future funding for science and research. Adam Bant, deputy leader of the Greens and MP for Melbourne asked the Treasurer, Wayne Swan during question time, with a gallery packed with SmP delegates about the government’s position on a rumoured freeze on new science funding that would see the flow of new NHMRC and ARC grants and fellowships delayed until July when the new financial year starts. This rumour was a talking point for many delegates conscious of the extreme push for a surplus budget ahead of the next federal election. While the answer from the Treasurer, Mr Swan, acknowledged the importance of science and research and previous increases in the budget, his lack of clarity in answering the meat of the question gave SmP delegates in the gallery a sharp example of the difference between scientific precision and political obfuscation. In the big picture, annual science and research spending of $9 billion is only 1.4% of a total budget of $365 billion. So the savings required to bring the budget into surplus will have to target big budget items like social security, health, education and defence to find the $42 billion in savings required.
Politicians with a thirst for our stories are out there, there is support for us in Canberra, but they need to be engaged. We would encourage members to identify your federal MP, find out what they are into, and make contact. Let them know you are there and doing something worthwhile, invite them to your workplace and you never know, they might one day be lobbying on your behalf.
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
University of Queensland
and Damian Purcell,
Molecular Virology Laboratory,
University of Melbourne
Read Damian and Nick’s full report in the November issue of Microbiology Australia.
Vale Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis, AC
October 1, 2012
Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis, AC, passed away on September 30, aged 90 years, as a result of complications following a motor vehicle accident.
Nancy led an extraordinary life, for most of which she was an outspoken advocate for science, fairness and common sense. She will be sorely missed.
Nancy played a pivotal role in the development and activities of the Australian Society for Microbiology over many years and was granted Honorary Life Membership in 1988.
Nancy's family will hold a private funeral for her, however a public memorial service will held in the next few weeks. All members will be notified of the place, date and time of this service as soon as arrangements are known.
Molecular Microbiology Meeting 6/7 March 2013
September 21, 2012
Molecular Microbiology Meeting at WaterView, Bicentennial Park, Sydney March 6 - 7th 2013
MMM focusses on issues in molecular microbiology for scientists, clinicians and diagnostic laboratory staff. Speakers include David Livermore and Melissa Brown (aspects of infection control), Eddie Holmes and Leo Poon (emerging viruses), Tom Riley and Carl Kirkwood (enteric pathogens) and Kerry Emslie (digital PCR). Registration and abstract submission is now open. http://mmm.mtci.com.au/
VIC/TAS Bi-State Conference 23/24 November 2012
September 20, 2012
The 3rd Bi-State Conference on Food and Medical Microbiology is to be held in Hobart on the 23rd and 24th November 2012. Limited numbers so do not miss out.
- Tularemia case in Tasmania
- Biofilms in the dairy industry
- New Delhi metallo beta lactamase bacteria
- Parasites in fish
- Bioremediation in Antarctica
- Infection Control in a developing country
- Campylobacter cases in Tasmania
- Floods and bugs in Queensland
Frank Fenner 2012 Award Winner Announced
September 5, 2012
The judging panel for the prestigious Frank Fenner Award is proud and delighted to announce Associate Prof Gilda Tachedjian as this year’s winner.
The purpose of this award is to recognise distinguished contributions in any area of Australian research in microbiology by scientists in a formative stage of their career, and this year the applicants were of an extremely high calibre.
A/Prof Gilda Tachedjian was awarded her PhD in 1997 from Monash University and received a NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship to conduct her post-doctoral studies at Columbia University in New York on retroviral replication. She was recruited to the Burnet Institute, Melbourne in 2002. She was awarded a NHMRC RD Wright Career Development Award in 2003 and then in 2009 a NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. Gilda's current research interests include basic studies of HIV replication and drug resistance as well as translational work looking at the potential of topical microbicides in preventing HIV transmission. Gilda is widely recognized both nationally and internationally for the quality and high impact of her group's work.
I’m sure all members join the panel in congratulating Gilda who will be receiving her award and presenting the Frank Fenner Lecture at the Annual Conference in Adelaide next year.
VP Communications - Call for nominations
September 3, 2012
Effective communication has always been an essential component of any organization. However the dramatic surge in the use of social media and the ever-increasing number of ways we electronically communicate with each other means that this is becoming more of a specialist task. In order for the Society to be able to rapidly adapt to, and effectively utilize these ongoing developments, the ASM Executive has identified the need for a new position on the Executive Committee – VP Communications. The individual who fills this position will become a fully active member of the Executive, tasked with the special responsibility of driving innovation in communications activities across the Society. The successful nominee will also become a member of the Editorial Board of Microbiology Australia.
Formal inclusion of this position in our Constitution was unanimously supported at this years AGM with a call for nominations to be sent out to the membership. We now call for nominations for this position of VP Communications. Candidates for election to the position shall be members of the ASM. They must be proposed and seconded by Society members and provide a short statement as to how their particular skills might contribute to the Society.
If you have these skills and are keen to contribute to the Society please seriously consider applying for this position. If you know anyone who you think would be ideal please encourage them to nominate.
Janetta Stones: An enormous thank you
August 30, 2012
The Society wishes express our heartfelt thanks to Janetta Stones, who is moving to greener pastures (rural Victoria). Some of you may know that Janetta was called on at extremely short notice two years ago to take over the running of the National Office when we had a staffing crisis. Over the ensuing period Janetta literally got the office back on its feet and then humming. Without her dedication and cheerful disposition, the Society would still be struggling. She certainly delivered 'above and beyond duty'. Thank you so much, Janetta.
Microbes to Macrobes: The Story of Frank Fenner
August 28, 2012
How did such a modest man, from humble beginnings, grow to become such a significant global figure?
Microbes to Macrobes celebrates the life of Frank Fenner. A lively blend of family drama, scientific revelation, intimate interviews with friends, family, and some of the world’s leading scientific minds, it combines rare archival footage, stunning visual effects, moving dramatisation and off the wall comedy. It is a remarkable film about a remarkable man.
ASM 2012 Post Meeting Survey Results
August 23, 2012
A total of 202 attendees responded to the conference survey, an excellent response by post conference survey standards, so a reasonably representative view was heard and some firm conclusions could be drawn. 80% of the respondents were ASM members and 20% were nonmembers. ASM is very grateful to members who responded and hopes that response rates will be even higher to the 2013 post conference survey.
The lucky winner of our $100 prize was Lynda Hamilton from SA.
The bottom line was that 81% of respondents rated ASM 2012 as good to excellent with only 5% rating it as below average to poor.
This very positive overall result reflects the hard work and durability of the local organizing team inspired by their leaders David McMillan and Glen Ulett.
Thanks to all the Brisbane team for giving us a big and beautiful conference.
95% of respondents knew that workshops were run as part of the meeting and, although for 54%, the workshops contributed to their decision to attend, only 40% actually attended a workshop. Workshops were rated as excellent or very good by all those who did attend. 58% of respondents were not prepared to pay any additional cost for attending, however 35% were prepared to pay between @ $20 and $50.
Conclusion: The workshops are well known to registrants and about half the conference registrants attend one, however there is significant resistance to paying extra to attend. A flat fee could be added to the conference budget used to calculate registration fees but this would penalise non-attendees.
There is some concern that encouraging organizers to get sponsorship to defray costs could interfere with sponsorship deals for the actual conference. Off site locations can help keep costs down and provide good facilities such as lab space or IT use. If the cost of registration could be reduced, then a small fee of $50 per workshop for members, free for students, to cover catering costs, could be justified. This places a value on the workshops and helps to ensure attendance.
2. Public Lecture
58% of respondents had attended the public lecture and 85% felt it should be an integral part of the program. Quite a few comments were made about making the scheduling teacher- friendly and not extending the conference closing time.
Conclusion: A public lecture should be held at a time to encourage attendance by school teachers and students who would benefit most. Consideration of the school curriculum of that host state when selecting the topic would be crucial to attracting this audience.
3. Free Time
72% of respondents thought the program included sufficient free time and 28% did not. For those who thought there was insufficient time a longer lunch session was preferred.
Conclusion: A busy program suits most attendees who simply attend the sessions they wish to attend and appreciate the range of possible choices it brings.
4. Conference Logistics
The online registration process was rated as excellent or very good by 75% of respondents. The online abstract submission process was rated as excellent or satisfactory by approx 70% of respondents, as was the service provided by the Secretariat and Registration desk.
The venue was very highly rated by approx 80% of respondents, as were the meeting rooms, AV, catering and the poster areas. The poster sessions were not quite as highly rated but nevertheless only 12% rated them as unsatisfactory.
Many comments were made about the poster sessions particularly the late time of finish, the congestion and lack of variety of the food served on each of the 3 nights.
Conclusion: More space to ensure better access and longer viewing times need to be provided for the poster sessions.
5. Conference App
65% knew there was an app, 35% did not, however 75% still wanted to receive a printed abstract book even if an app could deliver the same information.
Conclusion: Publicize the app better but still provide a book of abstracts
6. Deciding factors
Approx 80% of respondents said cost, the quality of invited speakers and oral abstracts, and the opportunity to network was essential or very important for deciding to attend. The time of the year and the location was only rated as highly by approx 50% of respondents. 83% of respondents would travel to NZ to attend an ASM meeting.
The exhibitors involved, quality of poster abstracts and availability of awards was far less important to decision making.
Conclusion: Three crucial factors emerged for the decision making process - registration cost, the quality of invited speakers and networking opportunities, meaning a reduction in registration cost, inviting and advertising high quality overseas speakers in the program and providing quality opportunities for networking are fundamental in the planning process. Emails, Work Supervisors and the conference website are important points for conference information dissemination and encouraging attendance.
7. Special Functions
The Opening reception and Poster sessions were rated between satisfactory and good by 60% of respondents. 67% wanted a conference dinner to be reinstated but only 45% were prepared to pay an additional cost for this event.
Conclusion: High quality social functions are valued by attendees for many reasons and present a challenge to organizing committees who must try to provide them at acceptable costs despite venue restrictions and include them in the registration cost.
60-70% of respondents did not reply to questions about accommodation suggesting they were home state or had made their own arrangements.
Conclusion: ASN Events manage accommodation differently from ICMS who use Ozaccom so this will need to be revisited after Adelaide.
Survey results compiled by Hamish Hill. ASM national office
Survey comments written by Cheryl Power
Tasmania/Victoria Bi State Conference 23/24 Nov
August 23, 2012
Food and Medical Microbiology
Friday 23rd/Saturday 24th November 2012
HOBART – Royal Hobart Yacht Club
Topics include: click here to download program
Tularemia case in Tasmania
Biofilms in the dairy industry
New Delhi metallo beta lactamase bacteria
Parasites in fish
Bioremediation in Antarctica
Infection Control in a developing country
Campylobacter cases in Tasmania
Floods and bugs in Queensland
Conference commences: 10:00 Friday November 23rd
Conference concludes: 15:00 Saturday November 24th
Wine tasting on Friday night included
Conference Registration Fees
Early Bird (Before September 21st)
Non member $150
After September 21st
Non member $200
Student member $100 (no Early Bird)
Day registration $100
For booking: http://www.trybooking.com/29348
OBITUARY - Dr Maria Yates
May 22, 2012
The Australian Society for Microbiology sincerely thanks the estate of the later Dr Maria Yates for their kind and valuable donation to the Research Trust fund.
Dr Maria Yates joined the microbiology/infectious diseases service on the Central Coast of New South Wales in 2006.
She undertook the tasks of starting an infectious diseases and home antibiotic service in the recently expanded Wyong Hospital. She performed her role with great enthusiasm and soon earned the respect of the nurses and doctors with whom she worked.
Her greatest love was the microbiology laboratory where she devoted much of her time to the education and encouragement of staff and to the introduction of many new methods to the laboratory.
Unfortunately, Maria was with us for only a short time but she will always be fondly remembered and sadly missed.
Dr Maria Yates passed away on 23 June 2011.
Dr Deo de Wit
Media Release - Government gets the smarts: Maths
May 10, 2012
Science & Technology Australia welcomes the strategic investment in science and maths education and measures to boost funding for science and research in the 2012/13 Federal Budget.
“I commend the Chief Scientist on his comprehensive recommendations to the Prime Minister which have brought about the measures that recognise the critical role science and maths play in our future prosperity, said Professor Michael Holland, STA President.
“Skilled science and technology professionals are a critical component of innovation and a knowledge based economy.
“So many industries rely on a workforce with science and maths skills. We know that a robust manufacturing industry and the mining sector rely on scientists and engineers.
“I am pleased to see that the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council have also had their funding protected.
“While the budget measures are welcome and necessary, Australia must get better at converting its research strength into innovations that fuel the economy and improve our quality of life.
“The commercialisation of Australian research that has lead to WiFi technology has already earned the nation ($420m) 3 times the amount of additional money invested in science and research in this Budget alone ($126m).
“Australia’s greatest resources are more likely to be found above ground that below it.
“It’s time we made good of Australian genius and developed a strong commercialisation environment that includes a well-developed innovation strategy; better collaboration between researchers and industry; strategic investments to support the development of new technologies; and measures to forge strategic partnership with our international counterparts.”
Media contact: Anna-Maria Arabia 0412 940 921
Released: 8 May 2012
ASM submission to the Strategic Review of Health a
May 1, 2012
- Why is it in Australia’s interest to have a viable, internationally competitive health and medical research sector?
- How might health and medical research be best managed and funded in Australia?
- What are the health and medical research strategic directions and priorities and how might we meet them?
How can we optimise translation of health and medical research into better health and wellbeing?In the history of microbes and humans, the current era will be seen as one of opportunities, both lost and gained. We have started the modern era with the discovery of antibiotics which were hailed as an advance that would result in the eradication of all infectious disease on the planet as announced by US Secretary of State George Marshall in 1948. Sadly, this prophecy proved premature and by 1990 this age of hubris was replaced with the reality of the spread of multidrug resistant (MDR) infectious disease which threatens to undermine our public health system of today. In affluent societies such as that of Australia, the public health system has indeed limited the spread of infectious disease in the community. However, this has been a partial victory, with our own indigenous population suffering under a disease burden that is akin to that seen in poorer societies. In addition, the globalisation of travel has resulted in the spread of infectious disease at unprecedented rates around the globe as was recently demonstrated by H5N1 influenzae. A close examination of this situation indicates that Australia must maintain a viable, internationally competitive health and medical research sector devoted to infectious disease that (a) prepares emergency procedures within Australia for the identification, tracking and quarantine of introduced infectious disease from around the globe, (b) undertakes outreach educational programs and research training to assist our nearest neighbours to control infectious disease within their borders, and (c) develops strategies for the future control of infectious disease including preventative measures such as the development of new vaccines and drug treatment options. A thriving research base has allowed Australia to play an important role in the strategic South-East Asia region and to be an active participant of the World Health Organisation. As a testament to Australia's pre-eminence in research into infectious disease, it is interesting to note that 4 out of 12 Noble prizes awarded to Australians are infectious diseases related. In conclusion, it is essential that the National Health and Medical Research Council continue to fund research into infectious disease at the same levels that we currently have today to ensure that we have a thriving research community to undertake these important activities on behalf of the Australian public and for the assistance of our international neighbours.
Lee Hudek announced as Millis - Colwell 2012 winne
Jan 25, 2012
ASM Executive is pleased to announce Lee Hudek was the successful candidate for this year’s Millis – Colwell Post Graduate Award.
Lee, currently at Deakin University in Melbourne, will be travelling to the US to participate in the National Conference of the American Society for Microbiology (American ASM) and visiting a research laboratory. Thanks to the Research Trust for their involvement in this decision.
Applications for next year’s award close on 30th November.
History of Microbiology in Australia
Nov 17, 2011
A scanned copy of this important publication is now available for all members under Publications.
Edited by Prof. Frank Fenner, this major work comprehensively describing the history of Microbiology in Australia was published in 1990. It provides an invaluable record for those interested in all aspects of Australia's contribution to the scientific knowledge of microbiology and infectious diseases.
Frank Fenner Award Winner Announced
Nov 2, 2011
The judging panel for the prestigious Frank Fenner Award is proud and delighted to announce Assoc Prof Johnson Mak as this year’s winner.
The judging panel for the prestigious Frank Fenner Award is proud and delighted to announce Assoc Prof Johnson Mak as this year’s winner.
The purpose of this award is to recognise distinguished contributions in any area of Australian research in microbiology by scientists in a formative stage of their career, rather than to reward senior scientists for a lifetime of achievement, and this year the applicants were of a extremely high calibre.
I’m sure all members join the panel in congratulating Johnson.
Congratulations to Dr Tania de Koning-Ward
Jun 17, 2011
Congratulations to Dr Tania de Koning-Ward.
Microbiologist, Malaria Researcher from Deakin University for being awarded the 2011 Commonwealth Health Minister's Medal.
The ASM are pleased to aknowledge and to congratulate the excellent work Australian microbiologists are doing.
Some nice parting words
May 27, 2011
FASTS National Survey of Scientists
May 24, 2011
Please access the results of the FASTS National Survey of Scientists via the Members Lounge.
The response rate was very encouraging indeed with 2874 people completing all questions in the survey.
The survey results are for internal use by you and your members and are not for broad public consumption.
FASTS is using the results for a number of purposes and we believe these activities would be less effective if the survey results were publically distributed.
2011 winner of the ASM Teachers Travel Award
May 17, 2011
The ASM is proud to announce the 2011 winner of the ASM Teachers Travel Award
Dr Priscilla Johanesen from Monash University was the successful applicant.
The aim of this award is to encourage ASM members involved in teaching microbiology at the tertiary level to attend the annual scientific meeting of the Australian Society for Microbiology.
Congratulations to Priscilla.
2011 winner of the David White Teaching Award
The ASM is proud to announce the 2011 winner of the David White Teaching Award
Congratulations to Mark.
2011 winners of the Burnet-Hayes Postgraduate Trav
Dr. Sophie Octavia from the University of New South Wales has been awarded the Millis–Colwell Award and Andrew Liew from the University of Technology, Sydney has been awarded the Burnet–Hayes Post graduate Award.
These recently initiated awards provide funding for postgraduate or recently graduated members of ASM to to attend the American Society for Microbiology meeting in the USA (Millis-Colwell award) and Society for General Microbiology in the UK (Burnet-Hayes award) and to visit a research laboratory in that country to either extend or initiate research collaboration. This is a reciprocal exchange award program whereby the corresponding societies overseas allow one of their members to attend the annual ASM meeting in Australia and visit a lab of their choice in our country.
Congratulations to both successful applicants in a highly competitive round of applications.
RSS now available at the ASM
RSS feeds are now installed and operational at the ASM.
RSS (most commonly translated as "Really Simple Syndication") is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.
An RSS document (which is called a "feed", "web feed", or "channel") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an "RSS reader", "feed reader", or "aggregator", which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based. A standardized XML file format allows the information to be published once and viewed by many different programs. The user subscribes to a feed by entering into the reader the feed's URI – often referred to informally as a "URL" (uniform resource locator), although technically the two terms are not exactly synonymous – or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process. The RSS reader checks the user's subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds
RSS formats are specified using XML, a generic specification for the creation of data formats. Although RSS formats have evolved since March 1999 the RSS icon () first gained widespread use between 2005 and 2006