bacteria

Oscillator

Tag archives for bacteria

Great Balls of Evolution

One organism’s trash is another organism’s treasure. Our cellular wastes, carbon dioxide and water, nourish plants, which with added energy from sunlight produce the oxygen and sugars that we need to survive. At microscopic scales, these cycles of waste and food can get much more complicated, with many species of microbes working together to survive…

Dispatches from the Future

It’s been a few weeks since the iGEM jamboree, a whirlwind, completely exhausting weekend of student synthetic biology projects. This tweet from Robin Sloan from the #igem2010 stream is a pretty good way to sum up the weekend: Tweets tagged #igem2010 right now read like dispatches from the future. (It’s the big student synthetic biology…

Emergent Cooperation

My good friend and labmate just published an awesome paper: “Emergent cooperation in microbial metabolism.” His experiment started with 46 strains of E. coli that had mutations in their metabolic pathways that prevented them from being able to grow without supplementing the media with extra metabolites. Alone they died, but grown together in the same…

Wireless Cellular Communication

Cells are constantly jibber jabbering, sending messages to each other to coordinate behavior, both within a population of single-celled organisms or between cells of an individual multicellular organism. Most of these signals are chemicals that float around in the liquid that surrounds the cells but there recently has been an increased appreciation for cells’ sense…

Bacterial Builders

Check out this awesome video of a computer-controlled swarm of magnetic bacteria building a pyramid out of tiny bricks!!! From IEEE Spectrum, via It Takes 30, the always fascinating blog from Harvard Systems Biology, the department my lab is in!

Oil Eating Bacteria

In a recent conversation about the safety and ethics of synthetic biology in the wake of the announcement of the synthetic genome, many of the professors I was chatting with commented on how they hoped new synthetic biology technology would lead to bacteria that could eat the oil spilling into the gulf of mexico even…

Thinking About Aliens

Are aliens little green men of unpredictable motives? Horrible insect-like face-hugging, chest-exploding monsters? Are they super-smart, super-slimy, super-fishy, body-cavity-probing, disc-flying creatures, searching for planets to colonize and people to destroy as Stephen Hawking warned, or are they something much more mundane? Could there be alien life already on earth, too microscopic, too different to notice?…

Mini iGEM 2010!

I’ve been co-teaching a short class on synthetic biology this spring through the MIT High School Studies Program (HSSP). The program is awesome, I took classes through a similar MIT program as a nerdy middle schooler and have had a great time teaching the past few weeks (if you’re in the Boston area I highly…

The Results! Part 2

The past few days I’ve been learning a lot about the bacteria that surround me and realizing just how labor intensive an actually well-controlled handwashing experiment can be! Here is a little bit more of the data I’ve collected about bacteria on everyday objects: Dusty corners (unsurprisingly?) have the most bacteria, followed by chewed gum,…

The Results! Part 1

I’ve been busily rubbing all sorts of things on bacterial growth plates after all the great suggestions I got yesterday. I want to present the data from the first big experiment suggested by JerryM, who wondered what kind of bacteria would be present on my hands immediately after washing them and then every thirty minutes…