Heather Olins

A new paper in Science describes the discovery of a fundamentally new carbon cycling pathway in an extreme salt-loving archaea. Check out this summary of the paper for a quick morning microbe fix. I have to read the paper carefully myself before I can really talk about it, but I did want to share this…

Thanks to Viktor at StrippedScience for letting me borrow his microbe New Year’s cartoon! Happy New Year! I was catching up on my blog reader and came across the NatureNews top science stories of 2010. I was curious how many of these stories would have something to do with microbes… turns out quite a few…

If you read Alex Bradley’s guest post calling into question the claims of the recent Science paper stating the existence of microbes that can substitute arsenic for phosphorus in their DNA you might be wondering what to take away from it all, if the scientists can’t even agree on whether the study is valid or…

In the wake of the NASA excitement over the new arsenic study, and my promise to give a detailed review of the paper itself, I have recruited a colleague with strong opinons about the work, a solid chemistry and microbiology background, and “Dr.” in front of his name to share his analysis. I will be…

Arsenic it is… but the point really isn’t arsenic. That is what Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon stressed at the end of the NASA press conference today – that the research being unveiled is just opening the door to other unexamined possibilities for life. She said “I am interested in exceptions, why aren’t things constants in nature?”…

NASA announcement predictions

NASA has made a bit of a stir by announcing a press conference for tomorrow at 2pm EST. Scientists are going to reveal some exciting new findings relvent to the search for extraterrestrial life. Some people are anticipating/hoping that they will announce that extraterrestrial life has been confirmed. No one would be more excited than…

Bioluminescince is amazing. I have seen it first hand barely noticeably in the wake of a ship at night, from a laboratory culture in a large flask, filling a Puerto Rican bay such that every fish darting or rain drop falling glows blue, and most recently in a 2 hour light show viewed through the…

Probing the depths of the biosphere

Rarely do I read papers whose title really sums up exactly what is so cool about the study in a succinct way, free of jargon. I think that “First Investigation of the Microbiology of the Deepest Layer of Ocean Crust” does just that. It isn’t trying to be sexy… it just is! Examining the microbial…

[This post was originally published at webeasties.wordpress.com] I was trained as an Environmental Scientist long before I was at all interested in Microbes. So, I get excited when I come across microbial studies that are environmentally relevant. I get particularly nerd-cited when these studies take place in the ocean. A paper published in PNAS last…

Hi ScienceBlogs… it is GREAT to be here! I just spent the weekend with many of the scientists whose research has comprised the bulk of my reading material (ie brain-biggering) over the last 1.5 years… yikes! I also got to meet many other young scientists hoping to make a career out of this crazy science…