Milestones in Microbiology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

28 August 2012

Milestones at Cold Spring HarborLast week I was at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to attend a ceremony designating the well-known laboratory on Long Island as a Milestones in Microbiology site. The purpose of this program, which is administered by the American Society for Microbiology, is to recognize institutions that have substantially advanced the science of microbiology. A plaque is installed which explains the science that was done at the site, and also increases public recognition of  these contributions.

Stan Maloy explained why Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory deserves this honor:

An intensive summer course on bacterial viruses (or phage) begun at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1945 resulted in advances in bacterial and phage research that led to our understanding of what genes are and how they are expressed, and ultimately germinated the field of molecular biology.

In addition, each summer Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory held meetings that facilitated the enthusiastic exchange of new discoveries and ideas in the rapidly growing field of molecular biology, stimulated largely by microbial geneticists. These discoveries have influenced every aspect of microbiology.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Phage Course, in 1995 the Laboratory published Coming of Phage (pdf), a brief history of phage and bacterial genetics that examines both the science and the personalities over the years.

Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has always been associated with significant trends in biology: Darwinian evolution, classical genetics, penicillin production, the use of microbes as model organisms, and the development of the field of molecular biology. The Laboratory is truly a mecca for microbiologists.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is the sixth Milestones in Microbiology site. Others are the Waksman Laboratory at Rutgers University; Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, California; the site of the University of Pennsylvania Laboratory of Hygiene; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Stanley Maloy, Bruce Stillman, and James D. Watson spoke at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory ceremony at which a plaque commemorating the site was

CSH MIM plaque

unveiled (photo above). A video recording of the ceremony will be posted here soon. At right is a photograph of the plaque that will be installed in the Delbruck Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor (click for a larger version).

Update. We recorded episode #40 of the science show This Week in Microbiology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on the occasion of its designation as a Milestones in Microbiology site. Vincent and Stanley meet with Waclaw Szybalski and John Kirby to reminisce about how the well known laboratory has advanced the science and teaching of microbiology, and discuss John’s work on the soil dwelling, predatory myxobacteria.

  • Stanley Maloy

    Great overview of a wonderful event!

  • azileretsis

    “coming of phage” link isn’t working. i enjoy the podcasts!

  • http://www.virology.ws profvrr

    Thanks for letting me know about the file – it’s been fixed.

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