Name: Bob C.
How can I acquire a Bergy's Manual
and more information about anthrax, small pox and other potential
terrorist bio-warfare and chemical-warfare weapons. I would also be
interested in getting a reliable resource, such as the Journal of
Bacteriology, that will reacquaint me with the subjects of Microbiology
I have a B.S. degree in Microbiology and the information I
am getting on the Internet lacks the details I would like to know
about these organisms and chemicals. I would also like to get back into the
lab, but I've been out of it for about six years. Is there a test I can
take that would sufficiently impress potential employers that I
haven't forgotten my chemistry and bacteriology and am staying in the
loop so to speak?
I don't know about tests to prove your qualifications,
but if you want to get up-to-date with your reading,
browsing through abstracts of scientific papers in
PubMed would be a good start. These are publicly
available on-line. The journals published by ASM also
make all articles older than 1 year available on-line.
That is a good resource.
Go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi
and search with keywords. The abstracts are listed
from most recent to past.
I suggest you go to a good university library (one that has a microbiology
dept) and read some of the standard good texts on infectious disease. I
have quite a few in my personal library. My favorite , although a little
dated is Microbiology, by Dulbecco, Eisen, Wood and a bunch of
others...Great book! I do not trust the Internet for this sort of
information...on ANY web site. Bergy's manual would not be my first
choice...its more for growth, isolation and identification.
Peter Faletra Ph.D.
Office of Science
Department of Energy
You pose several questions. I have feedback on only some of them. I am not
sure exactly what details you are looking for, but I did a quick search of
the terms: microbiology "______" and
biochemistry "______" where "______" means one of the diseases mentioned
the search engine: www.google.com and found an overwhelming number of
Regarding a "competency test" to show perspective employers, you might take
the subject tests from the SAT standardized test, or from the GRE. If you
don't like the outcome you don't have to tell anyone. You might also contact
the American Chemical Society. Possibly they would have some recommendations
all the lines you seek.
Since your interests are focused on water treatment, you might consider
American Water Works Association (AWWA). You can find their web page and
address by searching "American Water Works Association" on www.google.com.
The may have the type of information you want.
I don't really know about any type of quick & easy "recertification" that
would carry much weight, short of going back school for a Master's or Med
Tech type degree. You might want to consider joining the American Society
for Microbiology (ASM) to start off, though:
There you get access to special pricing on the Journal of Bacteriology &
other educational texts, updates on meetings, and an employment service.
They do not have Bergey's Manual available, though, but you can get either
the 4 Vol. "Systematic" version or the paperback "Determinative" version ,
depending on your budget, through Barnes & Noble:
Finally, I am not sure that being out of the lab for six years is necessarily
a deal breaker for getting back into it. If you have some previous
experience & make a diligent effort to get yourself reasonably up to speed,
you should be able to come up with some sort of entry level position, as
long as you are not too picky.
Best of luck to you,
Jeff Buzby, Ph.D.
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Update: June 2012