Adventure Travel Guide to the Microbial World

We are a group of faculty and first year graduate students who are embarking on a travel expedition into the microbial world.  Check this site for a description of what we learn and see along the journey.   You can also follow us on Twitter!  @ClassMicro

We welcome your constructive feedback!

2023 Travellers

This was a great group to travel with through the Microbial World! 

Please Come Back and Degrade This for Me

When humans engineered synthetic polymers that were virtually impossible to break down, we thought we’d achieved a major victory over the pesky microbes that were shortening the shelf lives of our favorite products. But sometimes winning a fight leads to a whole host of unexpected consequences: in this case, an unmanaged plastic waste crisis threatening the health of humans and the planet we live on.

The Bacterial Assassin and its Tool Kit

Midway through our journey through the microbial world, Dr. Maria Hadjifrangiskou joined the class on February 3rd, 2023, to narrate a portion of our tour “Warzone Travel: Bacterial Fight Club.” In this session Dr. Hadjifrangiskou discussed the amazing ability of some bacteria to shoot protein daggers into other cells as a form of attack or defense.

Fleaing the Plague

Vincent Racaniello, Elio Schaechter, Michele Swanson, and Michael Schmidt hosted episode 255 of the podcast “This Week in Microbiology” entitled "Fleaing the Plague.” During the episode, they discussed two papers published in late 2021. The first paper by Kehe et al.

Lavender and Catheters

In Episode 263 of the This Week in Microbiology Podcast, the hosts discussed the recent findings of two 2022 papers.

Broadening the Microbiome: Fungi in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)

I recently read a blog post by Christy Clutter that discusses the role of fungi in Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is characterized by immune hyperactivation that damages the intestine of about 3 million Americans, and includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Although 240 genetic variations associated with increased likelihood of IBD development have been identified, epidemiological studies show that strong environmental factors such as diet, antibiotic exposure, and smoking can affect individual susceptibility.

Can Gut Microbes Cause Cancer?

            The Western-style diet is chock full of high fat, processed and refined foods that often cause systemic damage to the human body. One particular effect that high fat foods have on the body involves the microbes in the gastrointestinal tract. Many studies have shown the association between the colonization of a subset of microbes in the gut and colorectal and gastric cancer onset.

Journey into a mosquito

Mosquitoes beat humans as the world’s deadliest animals.1 This is not because they directly kill people, but instead they are really good at being vectors, which are organisms that act as vehicles for pathogens to transfer between hosts.