Program Highlights

Opening Keynote Session Featuring Bill Gates

A Conversation with Bill Gates: Bringing the Frontiers of Science to the Front Lines of Development

Thursday, June 16 • 5:00 p.m. 

Bill Gates headshot

In an interview with Richard Besser, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and business leader, will discuss the state of global health and the importance of microbial sciences in basic and translational research to foster transformative innovations.

Since stepping down from Microsoft, Bill Gates has dedicated his career to helping all people lead healthy, productive lives. In 1996, Gates and his wife, Melinda, established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which focuses on improving health care and education for children around the world. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated $4 billion to support initiatives such as college scholarships for minority students, the Global Fund for Children’s Vaccines, the effort to eradicate polio, and the prevention of the spread of AIDS among youth in South Africa. By investing in discovery research and building a global network of creative minds from diverse fields, Bill Gates brings people together to address the greatest global health challenges we face. 

Besser head shot



Richard Besser; Chief Health and Medical Editor, ABC News





General Session – Friends, Foes, and Foils: Defining Microbial Interactions featuring the ASM Lecturer and Distinguished Lecturers

Friday, June 17
5:45 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Nicole Dubilier – Chair, General Meeting Program Committee; Max Planck Inst. of Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany

David A. Relman – Vice-chair, General Meeting Program Committee; Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA

Marcel Kuypers 2015 LP


Presentation Title: Friends with Benefits: Microbial Partnerships that Fertilize the Ocean

Marcel Kuypers; Max Planck Inst. of Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany

Marcel Kuypers received his MSc in chemistry from Nijmegen University, The Netherlands in 1995 and specialized in organic chemistry. In 2001 he received a PhD in geosciences from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany where he became an expert in microbial processes that control the ocean’s nitrogen and carbon cycles. He established and headed the Independent Nutrient Research Group from 2005 until 2011. Study of anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), dissimilatory nitrite reduction to ammonium (DNRA), denitrification and nitrification, carbon and nitrogen assimilation by bacterioplankton were research topics of the team. Since 2009 he is director of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and head of the Biogeochemistry Department. Research interests expanded to include nitrogen fixation and assimilation; single cell environmental microbiology: coupling the identity of microorganisms with their activity in the environment (e.g. by combining nanoscale secondary isotope mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) with fluorescence in situ hybridization).

Hatfull-photoPresentation Title: Many Hands Make Light Work: Illuminating Biological Dark Matter

Graham F. Hatfull
; Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Dr. Hatfull is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Biological Sciences from Westfield College, University of London in 1978, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Edinburgh University in 1981. He did postdoctoral work at Yale University in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry with Dr. Nigel Grindley, and at the Medical Research Council at Cambridge University, with Drs. Fred Sanger and Bart Barrell. He has been at the University of Pittsburgh since 1988 and served as Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences from 2003 to 2011.

Dr. Hatfull’s research focuses on the molecular genetics of mycobacteria and their bacteriophages, and their use in science education. These studies take advantage of the intimacy of phage-host interactions to gain insights into the genetics and physiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of human tuberculosis. Through integrated research-education programs such as the PHIRE and SEA-PHAGES programs, a large collection of completely sequenced mycobacteriophage genomes provides insights into viral diversity and evolution, and represents a rich toolbox of new approaches for understanding M. tuberculosis. Development of vector systems, selectable markers, recombineering strategies, expression tools, and insights into mycobacterial biofilms reflect some of the useful applications of this genomic resource.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program is implemented at 95 institutions with over 3,000 undergraduate students annually (2015). It offers a transformative experience for freshman undergraduates engaging in research, with notable advances in both scientific insights and in student learning gains. Institutions vary from research universities to community colleges, and unfiltered access offers research opportunities to a broad and diverse student population.

Highlights of Dr. Hatfull’s research accomplishments include more than 160 peer-reviewed research articles, 37 book chapters or reviews, and four co-edited books. He has mentored 20 Ph.D. students, over 100 undergraduate student researchers, and 16 postdoctoral associates. Dr. Hatfull has received the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award at both the junior and senior level, the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and is the Eberly Family Professor of Biotechnology. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a teaching fellow of the National Academy of Science. He has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor since 2002.

Dr. Hatfull is also an editor on a 2015 ASM Press title, Molecular Genetics of Mycobacteria, Second Edition.

Jennifer Doudna PhotoPresentation Title: CRISPR Biology: From Genome Defense to Genome Engineering

ASM Lecturer 
Jennifer Doudna
; Univ. of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Jennifer Doudna is the Li Ka Shing Chancellor's Chair in Biomedical and Health Sciences and she is Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology and Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Prof. Doudna's research seeks to understand how RNA molecules control the expression of genetic information. Her research led to insights about CRISPR-Cas9-mediated bacterial immunity that enabled her lab and that of collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier to re-design this system for efficient genome engineering in animals and plants, creating a transformative technology that is revolutionizing the fields of genetics, molecular biology and medicine. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Inventors. She has received many awards including the NSF Waterman Award. the FNIG Lurie Prize, the Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Princess of Asturias Award (Spain), the Gruber Prize in Genetics, the Massry Prize and the L'Oreal-UNESCO International Prize for Women in Science.


General Session – President’s Forum

Viruses: Vital Members of Polymicrobial Communities
Saturday, June 18
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Lynn Enquist – ASM President; Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ

Marilyn Roossinck Headshot no white spaceLecturers:
Marilyn J. Roossinck; Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 

Presentation Title: Plant Viruses:  Everywhere and Often Mutualistic

Dr. Roossinck received a PhD in 1986 from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Microbiology and Immunology, studying Hepatitis B virus, on an National Institutes of Health fellowship. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University, where she began studying plant viruses, she moved to the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation as a principal investigator, and focused her research on plant virus evolution and ecology. After the discovery of a novel plant-fungus-virus three-way mutualistic symbiosis that allows plants to grow in geothermal soils in Yellowstone National Park her interests expanded to include viruses of fungi. Currently she is a member of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, and a Professor of Virus Ecology, in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at the Pennsylvania State University. She and her team have been studying virus ecology and experimental evolution for 25 years using plant and fungal viruses as models, and have published a number of seminal papers in this area. She is an expert in virus diversity and biodiversity, and has done extensive work on complex interactions between beneficial viruses and their hosts that are involved in adaptation of plants and fungi to extreme environments.

Skip Virgin HeadshotHerbert W. (Skip) Virgin IV; Washington Univ. School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO

Presentation Title: Immune and Transkingdom Control of the Virome, and vice versa 

Dr. Herbert ‘Skip’ Virgin IV is the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and Immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA. He received his AB, MD and PhD from Harvard University, trained in internal medicine and infectious diseases, and performed postdoctoral studies with Dr. Bernard Fields. He is a member of the ASCI, the AAP, the AAM and an AAAS Fellow and serves on the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science. The Virgin laboratory uses genetic, structural, computational and sequencing methods to define mechanisms of viral pathogenesis and immunity in vivo. They have identified the physiologic role and molecular mechanisms of several RNA and DNA virus immune evasion molecules and studied immune effector mechanisms including ISG15, cGAS and autophagy. They formulated and proved the hypotheses that virus-plus-host-gene interactions define disease phenotypes. By studying the metagenome they discovered the first murine norovirus, and developed the first culture system for a norovirus. They have recently proven that bacteria control norovirus persistence, identified sterilizing innate immune responses to viral infection, identified constituents of the mammalian virome, showed that the enteric virome is substantially expanded in macaques with SIV infection, and identified changes in the enteric virome associated with human disease. Recent studies revealed that helminth infection reactivates murine and human ?-herpesviruses from latency through viral promoter responses to host cytokines. Studies on the effects of chronic virus infection and autophagy on inflammation, physiology, immunity, and disease are ongoing.


General Session – Antimicrobial Research Award Lecture

Sunday, June 19
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Robin Patel – Chair, ICAAC Program Committee; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

David M. Aronoff – Vice-Chair, ICAAC Program Committee; Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN  

David HooperAward Lecturer:
David C. Hooper; Harvard Med. Sch.; Boston, MA

Presentation Title: Quinolone and Multidrug Resistance – A Formidable Foe

David C. Hooper, M.D. is Chief of the Infection Control Unit and Associate Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He is also Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at MGH.

Dr. Hooper received his B.A. in Microbiology summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin and his M.D. magna cum laude from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. Residency training in Internal Medicine at MGH, a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at MGH followed. He subsequently joined the faculty of the MGH Division of Infectious Disease and Harvard Medical School in 1981 and served as Fellowship Program Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases from 1994 to 2009. At MGH he became Chief of the Infection Control Unit in 2000 and Associate Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in 2003.

Dr. Hooper’s research has focused on mechanisms of antimicrobial action and resistance with a particular emphasis on fluoroquinolones. The most recent focus is on resistance due to bacterial efflux pumps, their natural functions and regulation, and plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance, particularly the structure-activity relationships of the Qnr family of resistance proteins. His laboratory has received continuous funding from the NIH for the past 28 years, and he is a recipient of an NIH Merit Award. He is author of over 180 peer-reviewed articles on mechanisms and epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance and 47 book chapters.

Dr. Hooper is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America and a Member of the Association of American Physicians. He has served as Chair of the Drug Discovery and Antimicrobial Resistance Study Section of the NIH and Chair of the Scientific Program Committee of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). He is past President and current Meetings Board Chair of the ASM and is Deputy Editor of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.


General Session – Maurice Hilleman Award Lecture

Sunday, June 19
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Robin Patel – Chair, ICAAC Program Committee; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

David M. Aronoff – Vice-Chair, ICAAC Program Committee; Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN  

Peter-PaleseAward Lecturer:
Peter Palese; Icahn Sch. of Med. at Mount Sinai, New York, NY

Presentation Title: Towards a Universal Influenza Virus Vaccine 

Peter Palese is Professor of Microbiology and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. His research is in the area of RNA-containing viruses with a special emphasis on influenza viruses. Specifically, he established the first genetic maps for influenza A, B, and C viruses, identified the function of several viral genes, and defined the mechanism of neuraminidase inhibitors (which are now FDA-approved antivirals). He was also a pioneer in the field of reverse genetics for negative strand RNA viruses, which allows the introduction of site-specific mutations into the genomes of these viruses. This technique is crucial for the study of the structure and function relationships of viral genes, for investigation of viral pathogenicity, and for development and manufacturing of novel vaccines. In addition, an improvement of the technique has been effectively used by him and his colleagues to reconstruct and study the pathogenicity of the highly virulent, but extinct, 1918 pandemic influenza virus. His recent work in collaboration with García-Sastre has revealed that most negative strand RNA viruses possess proteins with interferon antagonist activity, enabling them to counteract the antiviral response of the infected host. At present, Palese’s group works with Adolfo García-Sastre and Florian Krammer on the development of a universal influenza virus vaccine. Palese serves on the Editorial board for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He was president of the Harvey Society in 2004, president of the American Society for Virology in 2005, a recipient of the Robert Koch Prize in 2006, a recipient of the European Virology Award (EVA) in 2010, a recipient of the 2012 Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award, and the awardee of the 2015 Beijerink Virology Prize of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences (2000), a Member of the Institute of Medicine (2012) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014).


General Session – ICAAC Lecture

Monday, June 20
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Robin Patel – Chair, ICAAC Program Committee; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

David M. Aronoff – Vice-Chair, ICAAC Program Committee; Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN  

PittetAward Lecturer:
Didier Pittet; Univ. of Geneva Hosp., Geneva, Switzerland

Presentation Title: Clean Hands Save Lives: Worldwide Perspectives

Professor Didier Pittet, MD, MS, is the Hospital Epidemiologist amd Director of the Infection Control Programme and World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety, University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland. He holds Honorary Professorships at Imperial College London, Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Health Science, and the 1st Medical School of the Fu, Shanghai, China. Professor Pittet is Lead Adviser of the Clean Care is Safe Care and the African Partnerships for Patient Safety programmes, Service Delivery & Safety, WHO. Prof Pittet is the recipient of several national and international honours including a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II for services to the prevention of healthcare-associated infection in the UK (2007), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America Lectureship Award (2008) and the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Award for Excellence (2009). The book “Clean Hands Save Lives” (by T. Crouzet, L’Âge d’Homme, 2014), available in 13 languages (2015), describes Didier Pittet medical odyssey to promote patient safety worldwide. Professor Pittet is co-author of more than 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals and 50 textbook chapters. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals and is an editorial consultant of the Lancet. The experience of his team in engaging nations and healthcare settings worldwide in a universal commitment to patient safety is unique.