From the Desk of Jean Myers, President, WNY-ASM........

Dear Members,

As I begin my second year as Western New York ASM President I want to thank all of you for making our organization so successful. I can say with confidence the impressive attendance and topics at our Fall 2011 meeting will be difficult to top! However, the executive committee is meeting at the end of this month to begin planning strategies for another engaging symposium this year. We will also be considering your suggestions we compiled from the surveys you dutifully completed last year. 

I think our previous meeting was successful because we put together a balanced program-career trajectories for the students and job-seekers, new technology for the avid learners and an update on our community's efforts to combat the HIV epidemic in Western New York that made us all proud to be microbiologists. A very special thanks is also due to all our vendors (over a dozen strong) that brought their products and expertise to the meeting and also helped our organization defray the cost of funding our high-profile speaker menu. With their ongoing support we can continue to provide engaging programs from experts around the country and as well as from our own community.

In keeping with past tradition, I will provide a short history on my microbiology past and present since our territory covers all of western New York and we have a number of new members.  It is difficult to believe it was more than 30 years ago I attended my first branch meeting at a penthouse banquet hall in one of the older South Campus dormitories. Over the years I have served the branch in several capacities: Secretary, Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, Webmaster and my current position as President. As a UB graduate my career in microbiology began on the south campus as a technologist employed by the Erie County Virology Laboratory which was funded by a county grant under the guidance of Thomas Flanagan, Ph. D.  Shortly after gaining confidence working with cell cultures and viral serologies, my position was eliminated due to funding cuts and I found myself at E.J. Meyer (the pre-ECMC era).   I worked in the Serology Laboratory with the tests of the 70's era-complement levels, IEPs, ASOs, AHTs, VDRLs - which may bring back fond memories for a number of our more experienced members. In 1991 I returned to my first love -Virology- as the ECMC Virology Laboratory Supervisor. With experience in fields of "Serology" (the name now updated to "Diagnostic Immunology") and Diagnostic Virology I now serve as supervisor for both laboratories. Although my "Micro" life has been spent in the clinical laboratory I still have the opportunity to do a little research- mainly with new molecular methodologies. After 30 plus years in the field I still come to work on a daily basis excited to see what novel information will fall on my shoulders. My colleagues at ECMC and the entire WNY network are wonderful to work with and I look forward to my next 30 years with continued enthusiasm!

 Lastly I would like to thank the rest of our Executive committee who continue to strive to put together programs that appeal to all. Past presidents Elaine Haase and John Crane always on the outlook for interesting topics, Diane Dryja our National ASM liason, Lynn Connors who watches the books and arranges our meeting venues and our new president-elect Stephan Juretschko who is looking forward to his future years as a meeting planner.  We currently have more than 120 branch members which speaks volumes for our branch since "downsizing" is the norm in most Clinical and Research Laboratories.  We will continue our philosophy to organize Symposia on interesting, timely topics and provide high-quality education as an incentive for people to attend our meetings, even if they focus on more specialized areas of microbiology in their day-to-day work.

I hope to see you at the Fall Symposium- an email announcement with details will be coming in September!

Jean Myers, WNY ASM President