The purpose of this blog is to share our appreciation for the width and depth of the microbial activities on this planet. Our emphasis is on the unusual and the unexpected phenomena for which we have a special fascination. We are eager to hear from you our readers and welcome the opportunity to answer your queries. Your comments on our musings are greatly appreciated. Importantly, we encourage those interested in writing guest posts to contact us with your ideas via email: [email protected].
(Photograph of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum, from which the STC logo was designed, courtesy of Scott Chimileski and Roberto Kolter.)
Moselio "Elio" Schaechter
I am an actively retired microbiologist, currently living in San Diego, California. I spent most of my research career working on growth physiology and bacterial cell organization. Through this blog I have satisfied my curiosity in broader microbiological phenomena, especially those related to ecology and symbiotic relationships. My hobby is wild mushrooms. Even though now I am a blogger emeritus, this blog remains very close to my heart. You can read my memoirs here.
I am Professor of Microbiology, Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School. In the Kolter Lab we studied diverse subjects ranging from basic bacterial physiology to bioactive compound discovery. I continue my involvement in science through teaching, writing, blogging and communicating microbial sciences to the public, including through exhibitions in museums of natural history and invited lectures. With Scott Chimileski we authored the book Life at the Edge of Sight.
I studied biochemistry at Free University Berlin, Germany, and became a passionate ribosomologist in the 1980s during my PhD at the MPI for Molecular Genetics in Berlin (Wittmann Dept.). Later, during my second postdoc, I studied replication initiation in E. coli with Walter Messer at the MPI for Molecular Genetics (Trautner Dept.). Since then, I have remained intrigued by this topic; there are still more questions than answers. Elio enlisted me as an associate blogger for STC in 2014, which leaves me enough free time to pursue my activities as a private lecturer emeritus in molecular genetics and microbiology at Technical University Berlin.
I grew up in San Diego, California, where I first became fascinated by bacteria in Victor Nizet’s lab. I left to study molecular biology and creative writing at Princeton, where I did my thesis research on endosymbiont ncRNAs in Mohamed Donia’s lab (and was lucky to stumble across Small Things Considered in 2018!). After college I went on a Fulbright grant to Lone Gram’s lab in Denmark, and I am now a PhD student at Stanford. In my spare time, I also write fiction and run an Etsy shop inhabited by science puns and the like.
María Mercedes (Mechas) Zambrano
I am Scientific Director of the research institute Corpogen (Bogotá, Colombia) which I co-founded in 1995. I am interested in understanding how microorganisms survive in diverse environments, from human-associated microbiomes to microbial communities in natural ecosystems. I am constantly fascinated by the ingenious ways in which microorganisms interact with other organisms and with their environments as they adapt to changing conditions, as well as with the approaches used to examine these ongoing relationships in the lab and in nature.