SBBE 2012

A conference on “Structural Biology for the Bioeconomy: Infectious Diseases and Biotechnology” will be held at the University of Cape Town from 1 December to 2012 to 4 December 2012. The conference will immediately precede the annual conference of the Microscopy Society of Southern Africa (4-7 December 2012) and will be held in the same venue on the University of Cape Town campus.  The conference website is and more about the organisers can be found here:

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 19:15

Easy access to SASM news

Written by

Jump onOne of the objectives of SASM as a society is to further knowledge in the various microbiological disciplines and all areas in which it may be applied and to create channels of communication between members who share common interests. As you probably would have observed after an extended lag phase there has been a constant stream of communication from SASM via email recently, but did you know that on the social media front our presence has just started an exponential growth phase?. This new communication phenotype of SASM, who recently evolved into a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook or Google+, has however not reached any viral proportions by far. The diagnosis: it appears our community's quorum sensing response has not kicked in yet and the potential cascade signalling networks is still somewhat feedback inhibited.

On a more serious note, we would like to encourage all
SASM members (and potential future members) to join SASM's social media network on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. We intend to enrich the basic weekly email communications with cross-platform postings of news, informative articles and society-related events. Enthusiastic participation and interaction by members is vital for this endeavour to be successful. Our fundamental aim is to create the space where microbiologists from different fields all over South Africa can get involved in sharing news, discussions, idea/knowledge-sharing or just create general awareness of the microbiology landscape in South Africa. So comment on our blog posts, like us on Facebook, tweet and retweet us on Twitter or circle us on Google+.

Don't forget, registered paid-up members also have access to the
SASM forum where more discussions and news can be found. As an example, a valuable resource on the SASM forum is the Available Positions section where we will host advertisements of available job offers relevant to our members.

Monday, 22 October 2012 17:49

25th Anniversary of Microscopy and Analysis

Written by

The journal Microscopy and Analysis, launched on 1 September 1987, is celebrating their 25th anniversary!  A free issue of the journal, featuring the huge advancement in the development and capabilities of all forms of microscopy reviewed by nine world-leading microscopists on light, electron and scanning probe microscopy, is now available! As mentioned by the editor, Dr Julian Heath, this edition is definitely one to keep!

Will a future robot not merely collect soil but also look for DNA on the spot?

News from NewScientist

Craig Venter helped crack the human genome, created the first synthetic cell and has scoured the sea for novel genomes. Now he has set his sights on Mars. Earlier this week at the Wired Health Conference in New York, he outlined plans to send a robotically controlled genome-sequencing unit, or "biological teleporter", to the Red Planet in order to sequence the genome of alien life that may be there. He's not the first to suggest doing this. Do any of these missions stand a chance?

How will Venter's scheme work?

In short, he wants to send machinery to Mars that can robotically sift through Martian soil to isolate any microbes it contains, sequence their DNA and then beam the digitised results back to Earth. These would be used to create a synthetic version of the Martian genome, which could then be used to recreate Martian life on Earth – all without having to deal with the difficulties of actually bringing the sample back.

by Colin Barras and Lisa Grossman, NewScientist, 19 October 2012
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ to receive news about blog updates.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 21:03

Upcoming Conferences

Written by

Some upcoming Microbiology-related conferences for 2013/2014.

Tuesday, 09 October 2012 09:37

Spotlight on SASM website features

Written by


On the SASM website we try to accurately collate all of the relevant microbiology links for easy access to our members. However, the microbiology academic landscape in South Africa changes relatively quickly, with departmental name changes, amalgamation of departments and contact detail changes etc.

We would really like to urge all SASM members to visit the "

Links" page on SASM's website and see if your department or research institution is listed, to check if the contact information is still relevant. Furthermore, a list of the available culture collections in South Africa is also on SASM's web. If you find any outdated or incorrect information on our website, please do not hesitate to contact me directly via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.with your suggestions.

Letter from the President of the newly established South African Society for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (SASBi)

"Dear Colleague

It is my great pleasure to introduce to you the newly established
South African Society for Bioinformatics (SASBi). The Society’s first AGM was held during the “Joint Conference of South African Genetics & Bioinformatics Societies: The Data-mining Revolution” in Stellenbosch on 11 September 2012.

We are at the door of a promising future for bioinformatics in South Africa. Bioinformatics is accelerating and gaining momentum throughout the world due to the flood of biological data that needs to be analysed, and which can lead to exciting breakthroughs.

Bioinformatics is interdisciplinary. Thus, our aim includes establishing links and promoting cooperation between the Society and related societies in South Africa and throughout the world. SASBi, as a voice for the bioinformatics community in the country, would like to enhance interactions among people related to bioinformatics.

The Council comprises:

  • President: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (RU)
  • Vice President: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (UWC)
  • Secretary: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (UP)
  • Treasurer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (UP)
  • Conferences: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (SUN)
  • Public Relations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.(UCT)
  • Web-master: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.(UP)

For further information, please see our web page (, even though it is still under development."

The original letter can be downloaded (see attached pdf file)

Over the past 30 years, he has made internationally recognised contributions to the field of molecular biology about microorganisms that can be used in biomining practices. He has been evaluated as an A-rated scientist by the National Research Foundation since 1992. It is the highest ranking that a South African scientist can receive, and recognises the person as an international leader in his or her specific field. In 2011 he was also rewarded the SASM Gold Medal for exceptional service to Microbiology over an extended period of time.

We asked Prof Rawlings some key questions about his career as a microbiologist.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 18:12

Welcome to the new SASM blog

Written by

After what felt like an indefinite delay, the new SASM Blog is finally live! Our members have been asking for it, and it now is finally here. We are planning great things for the blog as a communication channel with all registered SASM members. Look out for some informative articles on the latest local and global microbiology news, interviews and events. SASM also now has a presence on the major social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Page 14 of 14