University of New Mexico Biology doctoral student Armand E. Dichosa was awarded "Best Graduate Oral Presentation" at the meeting of the Rio Grande Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), held at the University of Texas–El Paso on January 26-27, 2007. The award consisted of a $100 cash prize and a free student ASM membership.

The American Society for Microbiology is the oldest and largest single life-science membership organization in the world. Membership has grown from 59 scientists in 1899 to more than 43,000 members today, with more than one third located outside the United States. The members represent 26 disciplines of microbiological specialization plus a division for microbiology educators.

Microbiologists study microbes—bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, mycoplasma, fungi, algae and protozoa—some of which cause diseases, but many of which contribute to the balance of nature or are otherwise beneficial. Microbiological research includes infectious diseases, recombinant DNA technology, alternative methods of energy production and waste recycling, new sources of food, new drug development, and the etiology of sexually transmitted diseases, among other areas. Microbiology is also concerned with environmental problems and industrial processes. Microbiology boasts some of the most illustrious names in the annals of science—Pasteur, Koch, Fleming, Leeuwenhoek, Lister, Jenner and Salk—and some of the greatest achievements for mankind. Within the 20th century, a third of all Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been bestowed upon microbiologists.