American Society for Microbiology Publishes Images by WWU Professor

Mary Spratt, professor of biology at William Woods University, has long been interested in ticks. Now her images of ticks, as well as her summary of their life history and diseases they carry, have been published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). The images and data appear online in the MicrobeLibrary Visual Collection.

Officially called “Digital Photographs of Life Stages of Amblyomma americanum, the Lone Star Tick, a Vector of Human and Veterinary Rickettsial Diseases,” the photos and information are part of Spratt’s ongoing research into ticks.

“I am delighted that the ASM MicrobeLibrary wanted to publish this article and photos,” Spratt said. “This journal is a major source of current information for college microbiology and other biology faculty and their students. Tick-borne diseases have increased in scope and number, and it is important to help educate scientists, health care professionals and the general public about them.”

Spratt, who has a Ph.D. in Physiology and Cell Biology (Neurophysiology) from the University of Kansas, has taught at William Woods since 1992. Each year, she selects promising biology majors to assist her in her tick research through WWU’s Mentor/Mentee program, giving them experience more frequently reserved for graduate students.

Using research experience gained under Spratt, Amanda Candee, a 2006 WWU graduate, is completing the first year of a public health fellowship through the Association of Public Health Laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. She has now been invited to stay on for another six months. Candee and her colleagues recently presented a research poster on Coxiella burnetti, the bacterium that causes Q-Fever, at the 2007 General Meeting of the ASM in Toronto.

Other recent students of Spratt’s have had success, as well. Two 2005 alumni—AJ Beabout and Christy McPherson—are attending the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. A 2004 graduate—Alan Arthur—is enrolled in an accelerated dual degree pharmacy program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, leading to both Pharm.D. and Master of Business Administration degrees.

The MicrobeLibrary Visual Collection is a clearinghouse of high quality, peer-reviewed images, animations and videos about the microbial world for educators, primarily at the undergraduate level.

The Visual Collection is one of several collections in MicrobeLibrary, an online, searchable database of more than 1,600 peer-reviewed resources for undergraduate microbiology and biology education.

The library builds upon the scientific expertise, intellectual creativity and private collections of the members of ASM and other microbial researchers from around the world and it receives an average of almost 500,000 hits per month.

“The Visual Collection has always been the most widely used section of the MicrobeLibrary,” says Susan Bagley, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Mich., and editor-in-chief of the Visual Collection.

“It is wonderful to realize that the library, which started with a collection of 65 still images, is now expected to have over 1,000 visual resources (images, animations, videos and atlases) by the end of 2007. We owe the success of the MicrobeLibrary to the high-quality resources submitted by authors who are committed to sharing their scholarship of teaching and learning with a broader community of educators.”

This resource is an important addition to the MicrobeLibrary. Given the current social and political climate, it is more important than ever that authoritative materials are available to help students, the general public, and other scientists understand the significance and impact of microorganisms in the world.

MicrobeLibrary is a founding partner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s BiosciEdNet Collaborative (, a portal sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s National Science Digital Library ( The library, which has won many citations and media accolades, is the first service of its kind and continues to be recognized as one of the best resources for science information.

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world, composed of more than 42,000 scientists and health professionals. Its mission is to promote research and research training in the microbiological sciences and to assist communication between scientists, policy makers, and the public to improve health, the environment and economic well-being.

For more information, visit, or contact Veronica Dove at (202) 942-9348.