History of NEMPET
The first organizational meeting of the NEMPET group
was held during the 18th annual joint meeting of the Connecticut Valley, Eastern New York
and Northeastern Branches of the American Society for Microbiology. The meeting took place
in the room of R. Mortlock at the Roaring Brook Resort, Lake
George, NY on Sept. 24 1983. Those present at this organizational meeting were: R.P. Mortlock (Cornell University), E.R. Leadbetter and A. Romano (University of Connecticut), T. Miller and M.J. Wolin (Environmental Health Center, NYS Dept. of Health), R. Blakemore (University of New Hampshire) and H. Ehrlich (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). Not attending, but having voiced support for this new organization, were S. Holt (University of Massachusetts) and L.N. Ornston (Yale University).
Since the national ASM meetings were being held at a
significant distance from the North Eastern United States, the cost of sending graduate
students to those meetings had been growing in expense. Departments were having trouble
finding funds to support such travel, especially with ever increasing tight budgets. Yet,
by not attending such meetings, graduate students were losing a significant portion of
their training. They were unable to gain the experience of presenting data before a large
audience and of listening to and discussing research data with students and faculty from
other universities and institutions. The local branch meetings, though helpful, were not
really providing this need in training and education. In rural areas the branches had very
small memberships and in areas near large cities
they tended to be dominated by those whose interests did not lie in the areas of general microbiology, microbial ecology or microbial physiology. The Central New York Branch of the ASM, with small membership, was slowly fading out of existence.
The new meetings that were proposed, would be specifically designed to involve graduate students, postdoctoral students and advanced undergraduates as much as possible and to contribute to their training and education. Most of the presentations at the meetings would be done by these students. It was decided to attempt to organize the first meeting in the area of Cornell University sometime during the third week in June. The costs of this meeting would be kept as low as possible. Some weeks after this organizational meeting, Dr. Leadbetter called Dr. Mortlock and suggested that the new organization should be called the North Eastern Microbiologists for Physiology, Ecology and Taxonomy, or NEMPET for short.
The first and second meetings were held in Ithaca in
1984 and '85. The third meeting took place in Woods Hole, MA in 1986. The fourth and fifth
meetings ('87 and '88) were held at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. In
1989-1991 the meetings were held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. The
ninth meeting was held at the Minnowbrook Conference Center, a restored "great
lodge" in Blue Mountain Lake, NY that is operated by Syracuse University.
Minnowbrook proved to be an ideal location for the NEMPET meeting and (with the exception of 1995 when NEMPET was held in conjunction with the Canadian Society of Microbiology meeting in Kingston, Ontario) has become our regular venue.
1985 CORNELL UNIVERSITY Tour of Wagner Winery
Steve Zinder, Jeanne Poindexter, Arnie Demain (far right)
Henry Ehrlich, Anne Frazer
1989 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Boat Tour on the Mohawk River
Jeanne Poindexter, Bob Mortlock Norberto Palleroni
Ed Leadbetter, Olivia Harriot, Steve Zinder, Bill Ghiorse, Tom Pitta,
Jeanne Poindexter, Henry Ehrlich, Elinore Wood
1990 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
NEMPET - 2001
NEMPET - 2002
NEMPET - 2003