ASM Names University of Minnesota a Milestones in Microbiology Site

The American Society for Microbiology is honored to designate the University of Minnesota as a “Milestones in Microbiology” site for its groundbreaking discoveries across the microbial sciences. The University of Minnesota’s innovative work has provided fundamental insights into a wide range of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, biofilms, yeast and myxobacteria.

The University will be designated as a Milestones site during a July 19 symposium being held to celebrate the centennial of The Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

The “Milestones in Microbiology” program was established by ASM to promote greater awareness and appreciation of microbiology. The award recognizes sites where major developments and pivotal discoveries occurred.

“Ground-breaking work in the areas of bacterial toxins, biofilms, multicellularity, and therapy, alongside significant discoveries in virology and lymphocyte biology are only a sampling of the many research areas that the University of Minnesota has advanced,” Robin Patel, ASM President, commented. “ASM is proud to recognize the University of Minnesota as a Milestones site for its many pioneering findings that have had far-reaching impact in the sciences and society at-large.”

For over 100 years, of the University of Minnesota’s Microbiology and Immunology faculty have made wide-ranging, far-reaching contributions in the microbial sciences. Notable accomplishments include:

  • Pioneering work on bacterial growth and structure leading to the concept of biofilms (Arthur T. Henrici, 1933)
  • Advances in the studies of animal viral infections and the discovery of what was later recognized as the first identified adenovirus (Robert G. Green)
  • Uncovering of the roles of T and B lymphocytes in immune response and use of the knowledge to perform the first successful allogeneic human bone marrow transplant (Robert A. Good)
  • Development of effective strategies to prevent post-streptococcal rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis (Lewis W. Wannamaker)
  • Landmark work on bacterial toxins and interactions (Dennis Watson)
  • Foundational research on multicellular behavior of prokaryotes, using myxobacteria as model organisms (Martin Dworkin)

In addition to being a center for outstanding microbiology research, The University of Minnesota is also a distinguished educational institution. Beyond his scientific achievements, Henrici was regarded as an extraordinary teacher whose textbook Biology of Bacteria went through three editions. Wannamaker trained scores of infectious diseases physicians who went on to lead Divisions of Infectious Diseases in the US and around the world. More recently, Dworkin was renowned as a consummate teacher for more than four decades, sharing not only a body of knowledge, but also his excitement and passion for microbiology.

Previously designated “Milestones in Microbiology” sites include:

  1. Waksman Laboratory at Rutgers University
  2. Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, California
  3. Site of the University of Pennsylvania Laboratory of Hygiene
  4. Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  5. Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
  6. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  7. Microbial Diversity Course at Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole
  8. Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Connecticut
  9. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Bacteriology
  10. The Rockefeller University
  11. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  12. Department of Microbiology and Immunology of the University of Michigan
  13. Ocean Station ALOHA, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
  14. Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, NJ and West Point, PA.
  15. University of Texas at Dallas Founders Building

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