Spring 2002 Meeting
BranchSquare.jpg (621611 bytes)
banner.JPG (30152 bytes)
  Fall Meeting 2017  
  Spring Meeting 2017
  Past Meetings  
  The Scope (newsletter)  
  MI-ASM Home  
  Officers and Board Members  
  Constitution, By-Laws (pdf)  
  Branch History  


  Corporate Partners  
  Job Postings  
  Student Chapters  
  Student Travel Award  
  National ASM site  
Saturday, April 6

A conference on "Microbial Evolution and Genomics"
East Lansing, Michigan on Saturday, April 6.

Organizer: Dr. Tom Corner
Assisted by faculty members and students of the

The Michigan ASM extends a special invitation to our colleagues in CANADA to join us for this one-day conference at Michigan State University.

About our Speakers . . .

Our ASM Foundation Speaker is DR. CLAIRE M. FRASER, Director and President of The Institute for Genomic Research. Dr. Fraser will address the topic: "Microbial Genome Sequencing". The completion of more than 20 microbial genome sequencing projects has provided a new starting point for understanding microbial biology, the interaction of pathogens and hosts, and the evolution of microbial species.

DR. CLAIRE FRASER is President and Director of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, MD. She was formerly the Director of the Department of Microbial Genomics and Vice-President of Research at TIGR. TIGR is devoted to the sequencing and functional analysis of human, animal, plant, and microbial genomes to better understand the role that genes play in development, evolution, physiology and disease.

She earned her B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her Ph.D. from State University of New York at Buffalo. Throughout much of her early career, Dr. Fraser's interests focused on the structure and function of G protein-coupled receptors. At TIGR, she was initially involved in studies to elucidate differences in gene expression in human tumors and matched normal tissues and in using a genomic-based approach to understand the molecular basis of tumor development. More recently, Dr. Fraser has been involved in whole genome sequence analysis of microbial genomes, leading the teams that sequenced the genomes of Mycoplasma genitalium, the smallest genome of any known free-living organism, the two spirochetes, Treponema pallidum and Borrelia burgdorferi, and two species of Chlamydia.

Dr. Fraser has over 130 publications in leading scientific journals, is a reviewer for nine journals, has edited two volumes in the Receptor Biochemistry and Methodology series on neurotransmitter receptors, was previously an editor for the International Encyclopedia of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and is currently serving on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Biological Chemistry and Comparative and Microbial Genomics. She was selected as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women in 1997 and was awarded the 1998 Computerworld Smithsonian Award for Innovation in Information Technology and the 1999 IMAS Award from The Institute for Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing for outstanding achievements in the field of algorithms and their computer implementation.

Dr. Richard Lenski,Hannah Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University, will speak on: "DYNAMICS OF PHENOTYPIC AND GENOMIC EVOLUTION: A 20,000-GENERATION EXPERIMENT WITH ESCHERICHIA COLI".

DR. RICHARD LENSKI earned a BA from Oberlin College and his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He was an Associate Professor at University of California - Irvine before taking his current Hannah Professorship at MSU in 1991. Dr. Lenski is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and was a 1996 MacArthur Fellow. He has over 130 publications in a wide variety of prestigous journals, including PNAS, Nature, Evolution, Science, and Microbial Ecology.

From his web site, Rich tells us: "I am interested in the ecological processes and genetic mechanisms that cause evolutionary change. I study microorganisms in order to take advantage of their rapid generations and large populations, which make it feasible to test evolutionary hypotheses by direct

"In one project that has been on-going for more than ten years, my students and I are
studying the adaptation and divergence of bacterial populations, while they evolve in a
defined laboratory environment for more than twenty-thousand generations. We seek to
understand the dynamics of these evolutionary processes as well as the ecological,
physiological, and genetic changes that are responsible for the substantial gains in fitness that
we observe."

"In other projects, we use bacteria and the viruses and plasmids that infect them as model
systems for studying the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions. Yet other
projects are concerned with the spread of antibiotic resistance, the evolution of mutation
rates, the form and extent of interactions among mutations, life in variable environments, and
costs and benefits of primitive sociality in bacteria."

Dr. Thomas S. Whittam, Hannah Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University and faculty member of the National Food Safety and Toxicology Center at MSU. Dr. Whittam will speak on "THE MOLECULAR EVOLUTION OF BACTERIAL PATHOGENS".

DR THOMAS WHITTAM earned his BA from Franklin & Marshall College and his Ph.D. in 1981 from the University of Arizona. From his web site, he tells us about his research interests:
Genetics of Bacterial Populations
Bacteria are a difficult and challenging problem for population geneticists. The difficulty arises because in nature bacteria reproduce asexually and recombine only occasionally through mechanisms of gene transfer. As a consequence, different species exhibit a range of population structures from clone mixtures to freely recombining populations similar to biological species of higher organisms. Often the amount of recombination in nature is intermediate - too much for a purely phylogenetic approach
and too little to assume "random assortment." One of my main research interests has been the study of the genetic structure of natural populations of bacteria using molecular polymorphisms and the development of statistical methods for assessing recombination.

Evolution of pathogenic forms of E. coli
Although E. coli is normally a harmless organism in the human gut, certain strains are pathogens that have caused serious outbreaks of infectious disease. A major research effort in my laboratory has been the study of the evolution of pathogenic forms of E. coli associated with intestinal and extra-intestinal infections. Through the analysis of molecular polymorphisms, we are testing evolutionary hypotheses regarding the major genetic events leading to the origin of new pathogens. We have elucidated the ancestry of a new type of food-borne pathogen, Escherichia coli O157:H7, which causes hemorrhagic colitis. In addition, we have investigated, in collaboration with microbiologists from other countries, the global distribution of bacterial clones and the dispersion of specific virulence genes in human populations and animal reservoirs.

Experimental evolution of pathogen virulence and host resistance
Recently developed evolutionary theory shows that natural selection can favor intermediate levels of parasite virulence depending on the relationship between transmissibility and the parasite�s effect on host mortality. We are studying the evolution of virulence experimentally using a microbial host-parasite system. The parasite is Legionella pneumophila, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires disease. In nature, Legionella invade and multiply intracellularly in amoeba and other protozoan hosts. By
propagating host�parasite genotypes for hundreds of generations we are measuring the direction and rate of evolution in virulence and changes in host resistance from the ancestral (original) conditions.

DNA MICROARRAY WORKSHOP (facilitated by Dr. Paul Coussens, Associate Professor of Animal Science and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics). The workshop is limited to 30 participants.

The workshop will be conducted by members of Dr. Coussen�s Microarray Facility: Sue Sipkovsky, Steve Suchyta, and Jianbo Yao.

For those who are not attending the DNA Microarray workshop, Dr. Jerry Dodgson has arranged for a tour of the new facility. This building houses the Departments of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Physiology and Physics. DETAILS OF THE TOUR WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT THE MEETING. The tour will begin shortly after the last speaker in the afternoon. There will also be informal tours of the award-winning horticulture gardens just across the street from the meeting location.


Program Schedule
Please preregister by April 1 for lunch count
Location, Directions, Maps, and misc. Information
Poster Abstracts Received to Date
Poster Presentation Guidelines
To contact Conference Organizer
Corporate Partners
Michigan ASM Branch Home Page


7:45-9:00 AM Registration, Continental Breakfast, and corporate exhibit & poster set-up

9:00 AM Welcoming remarks (Dr. Jerry Dodgson-Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular
Genetics, Dr.Tom Corner-Conference Organizer, Professor Ralph Gorton-MIASM President)

9:15 AM Dr. Claire Fraser, ASM Waksman Foundation Lecturer; questions for Dr. Fraser

10:15 AM Brief refreshment break

10:30 AM Dr. Rich Lenski; questions for Dr. Lenski

11:30 - 12:15 PM Visit Corporate Vendors and Student Posters; chat with speakers

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM Lunch and Business Meeting

1:15 - 2:15 PM Dr. Tom Whittam; questions for Dr. Whittam

2:15 - 2:30 PM wrap-Up and closing remarks.


Return to Main Conference MENU


The meeting will be held in the new Biomedical and Physical Sciences Center on the campus of MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY. This building is denoted as the "Biological Research Center" on the current MSU map (at G15 1/2).
Click here to view the campus map (then click on the center panel and locate G 15.5)
HOME OF BERGEY'S MANUAL: The Biomedical and Physical Sciences Center will also be the new home of the Bergey's Manual - the world authority on known microbes. "Having the Bergey Manual puts MSU in a leadership
position," says Jim Tiedje. "It is the most highly used database of microbial organisms in the world."

MAP OF LANSING / EAST LANSING AREA (main roads): Click here

PARKING: Parking locations (ramps and surface lots) are indicated on the MSU campus map. On Saturdays, several additional resident parking lots are open to visitors.

Return to Main Conference MENU


The Michigan ASM encourages students (both undergrads and graduate students), as well as faculty and other professional microbiologists, to present posters at our fall and spring meetings. Ideally a poster presentation would relate to the general theme of the conference, but that is not a criterion for submission. If you would like to present a poster of your research at this MI-ASM CONFERENCE, follow the guidelines below.

Students who present a poster do not pay the conference registration fee
and they also receive one year free membership in MI-ASM. STUDENT ENTRIES will be judged by branch members and the winner of the "Best Student Poster" will receive a framed certificate, a copy of Dr. Philipp Gerhardt's classic text, and a free membership to the National ASM.

  • Submit your name, college or university you attend, department affiliation, the full title of your poster, and a brief (200 words) abstract of its content to the conference organizer. The deadline for submitting abstracts for posting on this website is April 1. You may submit abstracts after this date, but they may not be posted prior to the conference.
  • Use a Times Roman 12-pt. font if possible.Type the title first then list the authors (all capital letters; use an asterisk to denote the person delivering the poster), then list institutions and short addresses. You may include e-mail addresses if you wish.
  • Abbreviations that are generally understood are acceptable.
  • Underline or italicize scientific names.
  • Please submit the above by email to: rgorton@lcc.edu Send the information within the body of the e-mail message and not as an attached file. You will receive electronic confirmation that your poster info arrived safely from cyberspace! Your poster abstract will automatically be forwarded to the Conference Organizer, Dr. Tom Corner.
  • If there is sufficient time, we will post early submitted abstracts on this meeting web site. All poster abstracts will be posted as part of the on-line post-conference summary.
  • If you presented your poster at an ASM National Meeting or at another conference, please note that in your abstract submission.
  • If you have any questions regarding posters, please contact Dr. Tom Corner .
Non-students may also submit posters; simply follow the above guidelines.

Return to main conference MENU

For further information, contact the conference campus organizer:

Professor and Associate Chair
Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
178 Giltner Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1101
Email: corner@msu.edu
FAX: 517-355-8957
PHONE: 517-355-6471

You may also contact the officers of MI-ASM
at the branch home page

Questions or suggestions concerning website, contact etumban@mi-asm.org
Last updated: August 15, 2017