Welcome to Small Things Considered! This blog shares the excitement of unexpected and unusual stories of the microbial world. The main contributors to this blog are listed on your right. But we do not just publish our own content, we have many contributions from students, postdocs, and others. We enjoy this, in part because theirs is a world where scientific communication will increasingly involve social media. And this blog is a social medium. Don’t think that we do this to avoid work. We are dedicated editors who spend a lot of time going over the material we receive. We are eager to hear from you, so send us your comments, criticisms, submissions, ideas, or whatever else comes into your mind. Thank you for visiting.
Vincent, Elio, Michael, and Michele consider whether our eating behavior is manipulated by gastrointestinal microbiota, and an aphid gene of bacterial origin whose gene product encodes a protein that is transported to an obligate endosymbiont. Read more →
by Elio | This blog is in its eighth year, a fairly long life as blogs go. We continue to enjoy sharing with you the excitement of unexpected and unusual stories of the microbial world. Not all of it is the latest. You may have noticed if you visit this site with some frequency… Read more →
by Elio | Ah, endosymbiosis and the origin of eukaryotic cells… Wasn't this one of the grandest of all the grand events in Biology? In its ability to boggle the mind, it comes in second only to the origin of life. This, one of the most decisive events in evolution, had a unique character. Instead of new traits being acquired gradually, a whole bunch of them were transferred at once to a willing recipient. A single step... Read more →
by Christoph Weigel | Summer's almost gone. Imagine you're strolling along the shores of a lake enjoying nature's colors during sunset. Sparkle catches your eyes where the lake languidly laps against the shore. You start pondering whether microbes — and if so which ones, and how many different — cause these glistening, somewhat slimy foam flakes at the shore. Sure enough, you take samples! Read more →
by Jamie Henzy | The virus family Filoviridae is home to Ebola virus, as well as several other viruses that can cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and other primates. Ebola virus is in the news because of the outbreak in Guinea that has spread to several neighboring African countries. The fatality rate of Ebola... Read more →
by Elio Schaechter and Stanley Maloy | Abe Eisenstark is an old friend of both of us. Elio was a graduate student in the Midwest when he first met him. Abe was then a young faculty member at nearby university and was an inspiring mentor to whom Elio gravitated straightaway. The story is a bit different for Stanley… Read more →
by Jennifer Frazer | Until relatively recently, the fungus Malassezia was thought to have one favorite home: us. As the dominant fungus on human skin and sometimes-cause of dandruff, the yeast Malassezia was thought to live a simple if sometimes irritating domestic existence humbly mooching off the oils we exude. No more. Thanks to the efforts... Read more →
by Elio | I have the grating feeling that the subject of self-assembly of complex biological structures may not always amass the level of respect it deserves. I reckon that its importance is generally appreciated but, as topics go, it tends at times to be set aside. Yet, this is one of the most magnificent aspects of biology, one that... Read more →
This Week in Virology, the podcast about viruses, celebrates its 300th episode on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 with a live recording at the Washington, DC headquarters of the American Society for Microbiology. This special episode will be part of the ‘Microbes after Hours’ series, and will feature the TWiV hosts Read more →
by Monika Buczek | If you’re like me, every morning you reluctantly roll out of bed and automatically reach for your toothbrush. One of the earliest learned practices of personal hygiene, brushing surely serves more than just preventing daybreak halitosis- but have you ever pondered about the plaque you try to dislodge from your… Read more →
The purpose of this blog is to share my appreciation for the width and depth of the microbial activities on this planet. I will emphasize the unusual and the unexpected phenomena for which I have a special fascination... (more)
For the memoirs of my first 21 years of life, click here.