by George O'Toole
I have studied bacterial biofilms since I joined Roberto Kolter's lab at Harvard Medical School in 1995. I "discovered" biofilms as I was finishing my graduate work at Wisconsin and continued tracking the literature backwards after I joined Roberto's lab. The oldest reference I could find was from the 1920s – a Navy report on hull biofouling cited in another paper I had read.
The Genesis Quest is a tour-de-force recount of the eclectic effort to understand the origins of life on Earth, authored by science writer Michael Marshall. Here is a tale that spans from prebiotic chemistry to protocells, interlaced with tales of the idiosyncrasies of the scientists involved...
Some thirty years ago it was my good fortune to sit in an airplane next to the famed marine microbiologist, the late Holger Jannasch, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He shared with me stories of his deep-sea explorations, especially his voyages in the submersible Alvin. These included visits to the recently discovered deep sea hydrothermal vents...
In a Perspective piece in Nature Reviews Microbiology, Fernando Baquero of the Ramon y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid and Bruce R. Levin of the Antibiotic Resistance Canter at Emory University present a most thoughtful essay on the ways antibiotics kill bacteria (or don't). To explain the curious title and what's behind it, let me quote their introductory paragraph: