MSE Instructor Co-authors First Open Resource Microbiology Textbook

December 6, 2017 -- An e-textbook that CNM faculty member Philip Lister, Ph.D., co-authored with the American Society for Microbiology has been adopted at more than 200 colleges and universities across the county, and by some foreign institutions.
MSE Instructor Co-authors First Open Resource Microbiology Textbook

Dec 06, 2017

Lister is also chair of CNM’s Department of Biology and Biotechnology in the School of Math, Science & Engineering.

The book, “OpenStax Microbiology,” is a free open educational resource (OER) provided through the non-profit organization OpenStax, which provides free, peer-reviewed textbooks that can be accessed online or downloaded to computers as a PDF. Students can also purchase a bound hardcopy of the textbook for approximately $55 to $60. CNM is a partner institution of OpenStax.

Lister’s book is the first and only OpenStax microbiology textbook.

“OpenStax reported that over 34,000 students used the textbook the first year with an estimated financial savings to students of more than $3.4 million dollars,” Lister said. “However, it is important to note that these figures are conservative and only reflect data from formal adoptions of the textbook. Students and faculty can use the textbook without formally adopting it, and therefore the actual use of the textbook is unknown.”

He wrote the textbook in collaboration with the American Society for Microbiology, the largest global organization overseeing research and education in the field of microbiology. The organization is promoting the book for college students worldwide and is actively publishing it through their publishing branch, ASM Press.

The book is an introductory microbiology textbook written for college students. In addition to covering the basic concepts of microbiology, it also focuses on infectious diseases, immunology and host defenses, and anti-microbiology therapies against infectious diseases. Therefore, the book is a good fit for students studying for healthcare careers, Lister said.

Lister’s involvement with the book started in April 2015 with a request to review a single chapter. After reviewing a few chapters, he was asked to be one of the textbook’s senior authors. Over a period of 17 months, he either wrote, edited or rewrote 16 of the 26 chapters. Since its publication, he has continued working as an error-seeking editor for the book.

Anyone can access “OpenStax Microbiology” by visiting the OpenStax website. Online access, PDF download and hard copy ordering are available through the site. Lister provides his students a link to the textbook so they can access it directly at