2017

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Meet a Microbiologist: Amanda Gunn

Microbiologist Amanda Gunn takes on something unusual for a microbiologist; she started a fish research and community lab. When Amanda came to Grays Harbor College as a faculty member, she wanted a way to fit her work into the needs and culture of the community. “Everybody here hunts or fishes, and it seemed like a good way to get the community interested in science,” Amanda says. Thus, Fish Lab began.

Fish Lab is a volunteer-based program intended to both restore and monitor the waterways in the area and to get the community involved. Amanda holds volunteer Fish Lab hours twice a week where students and community members can participate in water quality analysis, trail work, dissections, and more. (more…)

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The Menagerie on Partial Hiatus

Hi everyone. Thank you for following along on tales of the fascinating lives of microbes. For the next six weeks, I will be broadening my writing and tackling other fields of biology as the summer science writer at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL). Today, I was working on a story about sex change in snails and tomorrow I will be interviewing a cephalopod expert! In the meantime, please follow along on MBL's blog The Well for some of the stories I am working on. I will not be posting about strictly microbiology stories here for a while, but don't fret, I will still share "Meet a Microbiologist" stories every other week as scheduled.

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Meet a Microbiologist: Kimberly Walker

Like many young scientists, Kimberly Walker took to her natural surroundings for study. As a child, she would do experiments on ants near her house. After a B.S. in medical technology, she pursued a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology. She studied the molecular pathogenesis of Gram-negative bacteria, specifically Bordetella pertussis, Proteus mirabilis, and diarrheagenic Escherichia coli.

She is fascinated by the secretion systems of Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria use different forms of secretion to transfer proteins from within the cell to the exterior. Secretion systems have many functions, whether to emit toxins or to build extracellular structures. “They are brilliant. Type II is my favorite,” she says. (more…)

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Meet a Microbiologist: Raphael Laurenceau
Chemical engineer turned microbiologist. Co-founder and co-organizer of a DIY biolab. Cultivator of photosynthetic bacteria. Raphael Laurenceau began his path in the sciences by studying chemical engineering. After watching several nature documentaries (thanks David Attenborough), he soon realized he was in the wrong field. There were too many fascinating things happening in the world’s ecosystems and Raphael wanted to study them. Though life is all chemistry, he wanted to study biology and used his chemistry background to leverage a career in biology. “I realized that chemistry is a great stepping stone to enter the world of biology. There is nothing more than chemical reactions happening inside cells,” Raphael says.

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Repairing Concrete with Bacterial Builders

Can bacteria be the solution to collapsing bridges and cracking roads? Researches from Delft Technical University are developing a bacteria-infused concrete that can repair itself.

Concrete is created from a combination of water, aggregate (such as sand, gravel, stone) and cement. It dates back to the Roman Empire and structures made from concrete such as the Pantheon and the Colosseum still stand today. However, concrete tends to form cracks, which reduces its lifetime. Once cracks form, water and chemicals can seep in further reducing its structural integrity. Traditional methods to repair concrete can be costly and require hands-on work. What if there was a way for concrete to heal itself? (more…)