by Christoph Weigel | How small are bacteria ? And how big can they get as single cells ? For the lower end of the size scale, we know since the work of Jill Banfield's team that a multitude of ultra-small bacteria exist with a spherical diameters of ~0.25 µm and calculated cell volumes of ~0.009 µm3. Much larger are newborn cells of Escherichia coli with a length of...
by Daniel P. Haeusser | I started a draft of this post while sitting out on the Memorial Union lakeside terrace at the University of Wisconsin Madison. It was about halfway through the Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Conference, a fabulous and inspiring experience that Ananya Sen wrote about here last week. Originating in 1950 and born from the courses of the Luria/Delbrück-organized 'phage group' at Cold Spring Harbor, the early seminal Phage Conference meetings featured the birth of molecular biology through interactions between scientists now known as giants in the field.
by Brian Barry | A few days ago, my neighbor Elio came by and gave me a newly published book, "Life at the Edge of Sight" by Scott Chimileski and Roberto Kolter. He said that I might like it because it has a lot of pictures. After I thanked him, he continued somewhat slyly, "Let me know what you think after you've finished reading it."
by Ananya Sen | The "Phage Meetings" have a long tradition. The first one was organized by Max Delbrück and held at Cold Spring Harbor in 1950. The meetings slowly evolved to include more and more molecular genetics of bacteria and nowadays, known as the "Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages" meetings, they are held yearly in August at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
by George A. O’Toole | I remember thinking at the end of my time as a Ph.D. student in Jorge Escalante-Semerena’s lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that I loved the work I was doing studying anaerobic physiology and metabolism – specifically the biosynthesis of vitamin B12 synthesis in Salmonella. In my misguided youth, I did from time to time think it would be fun to work on something that was a bit easier to explain to my parents and non-science friends, something more "medically relevant."
by Alex Neu | Microbes exist in practically every environment on Earth. Some of them can endure extreme cold, heat, salinity, or pH conditions. There are some conditions, though, that seem impossible to withstand. Ionizing radiation is an example. I don’t mean your run-of-the-mill background cosmic rays, but intense, radiation so strong that it shatters DNA. But that seems to be where the bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans thrives.