Sunday, December 5, 2010

Welcome to MicroWaves!

Did you know that as you sit and read this sentence, your body is hosting millions and millions of little life forms called microbes?  These microbes, which include bacteria and fungi, are an important part of you.  In fact, your body has more microbial cells than human cells!  You are an ecosystem!  Congratulations!

Microbiology is the scientific field of study that focuses on microbes.  Some microbiologists study microbes associated with humans and other animals.  Other microbiologists study "extreme" microbes, such as bacteria that grow in hot springs in Yellowstone Park or at deep sea hydrothermal vents.  Some microbiologists research specific features of a particular microbe, for example the whip-like structure called the flagellum that propels bacteria through their environments.  Others ask broader questions about communities of microbes.

The study of microbes is a fascinating field.  Bacteria and fungi are all around us every day, and they affect us in ways we don't even realize yet.  As a microbiologist myself, I'm obviously biased, but I hope to use this blog to convince you that microbes are fascinating!  

I was inspired to start this blog because I firmly believe that scientists have a responsibility to communicate their research to the public.  I also believe that the scientists should work to make sure that everyone else understands their research!  If you have ever tried to read an article from a scientific journal, you might have noticed how it is almost like reading a foreign language.  Often, the sentences are long and jargon-filled.  Definitely not light bedtime reading (even for the scientists themselves!).  

With this in mind, I plan to use this blog to feature straightforward descriptions of interesting current research in microbiology.  Science decoded!  Most of the research will be from other labs, but I also plan to use this blog to post "decoded" descriptions of my research publications, because I believe that communicating my research clearly and plainly is an important duty for me as a scientist.

So, without further ado, welcome to MicroWaves!  Please contact me at at with questions or comments!  Thanks!