President's Letter

Dear ASM Maryland Branch Members,

As the current President of the Maryland Branch I would like to welcome all of you to the 2019-2020 series of ASM Maryland Branch meetings. It is indeed an honor to serve as President for the year.

Maryland is the home of several esteemed universities, hospitals, state and federal governmental agencies, and biotechnological corporations which employ, educate and train many of our members. We are a diverse group representing various backgrounds including microbiology, virology, medicine, public health, environmental science, biotechnology, bioinformatics, and science policy. To serve our members’ interests and to provide current scientific information on trending topics, we host four dinner meetings each year. These meetings also include a social hour to encourage networking among attendees.

We have planned four meetings for the year and the timing and locations of these meetings are guided by the results of the survey that we recently sent to the branch membership. Thanks to the 62 members who responded! First, 80% of the respondents preferred to continue with four meetings a year. Second, a majority of respondents preferred to schedule the second and third meetings in late January/early February and then late March/April rather than hold the second meeting in December. Presumably this preference not to hold the meeting in December is due to the busy holiday season but we didn’t ask that exact question. Third, a plurality of respondents preferred meeting twice at the Radisson Cross Keys rather than once at Radisson and once at Delta Hotel in Hunt Valley. The complete results of the survey are attached to this letter. For the upcoming year, the first and fourth meeting will be essentially unchanged but there will be changes in the second and third meetings. (Exact dates of these two meetings have not been finalized.)

First Meeting Our first meeting will be October 23rd at the Albin O. Kuhn Library at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) with Dr. Robin Patel as our keynote speaker. Dr. Patel is currently the National ASM President and Chair, Division of Clinical Microbiology, in the College of Medicine and Science at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. The title of her presentation is “Prosthetic Joint Infections” This meeting will also showcase a special exhibit of the ASM Archives. 

Second Meeting For our second meeting, we will change both the timing and the location. Our speaker will be Bri’ Anna Horne of Adaptive Phage Therapeutics who will speak on the design and use of phage therapy. This company developed the therapy that treated the case featured in “The Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir”. The title of Dr. Horne’s presentation will be “"Sewage will Save the World: Bacteriophage as a Cure for Superbugs" and will be held at the Radisson Cross Keys in early February, with the exact date yet to be determined.

Third Meeting Our third meeting will feature our ASM Distinguished Lecturer. This year, Dr. Edward Dudley, Professor of Food Science and Director of the E. coli Reference Laboratory at Penn State, will speak on “Whole Genome Sequencing: A Leap Forward for Food Safety Regulators, a Massive Concern to the Food Industry”. The meeting will be held at the Radisson Cross Keys in early April, with the exact date yet to be determined.

Fourth Meeting Our fourth and last meeting of the year we be our annual student oral and poster presentation meeting at the University of Maryland Baltimore on June 15th right before the ASM Microbe Meeting in Chicago. For this meeting, undergraduate and graduate students will submit abstracts of their current research, the top abstracts will be selected as winners of the J. Howard Brown Award and these students will give oral presentations of their work. All submitters including non-student members are encouraged to present their research as posters at this meeting as well.

These meetings are possible due to the efforts of our Board of Directors and I would like to introduce these members and thank them for their past work and the work they’ve committed themselves to for the upcoming year. Dr. Paul Luethy is the President-Elect and will serve as President for the 2020-2021 year, Dr. Nick Carbonetti is the Past President, Dr. Monica Smith is our Treasurer, Dr. Richard Pfeltz serves as our Secretary, and Dr. Silvia Pineiro is the Councilor. I would also like to thank former Branch officer Paulette Hammond for her continued involvement with the Branch as a member of the Board of Directors. Please feel free to reach out to any member of the Maryland ASM Board should you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about our program.

If you’re not already a member of the ASM Maryland Branch or National ASM, please visit and familiarize yourself with our website ( Information about upcoming meetings and registration forms for these meetings are available on this site as is information about Branch award nominations. Branches of ASM are the foundation of the National organization and have a pivotal role in its functionality. National ASM is a governing body consisting of the Council, the Council Policy Committee and six boards that guide major ASM programs. We encourage those who are interested in becoming members of ASM to please join both locally and nationally. Through National ASM, you may choose to be a Supporting, Contributing or Premium member. While Supporting membership comes at a discounted price, Contributing and Premium members are eligible for discounts on journals, books, webinars as well as national conferences and meetings. If you are matriculated in a college or university or have recently graduated, you may apply for the Student or Post-Doctoral membership. Branch memberships are only $20 for Full, $5 for Student, and free for Emeritus memberships. Our Branch membership is open to the general public with the only requirement being an interest in microbiology.

Thank you for being a part of the ASM Maryland Branch and I hope that you will join us if you haven’t already. I look forward to seeing you at this year’s meetings!

Warm regards,

Jim Kaper, PhD

2019-2020 President

American Society for Microbiology, Maryland Branch

©2019 by American Society for Microbiology.