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San Francisco

June 17, 2012

My students are presenting their research at the American Society for Microbiology general meeting, in San Francisco. Our hotel is on Market Street, amidst the street musicians, panhandlers, Nordstrom/Godiva, and Planned Parenthood canvassers, and of course Pride paraphernalia. I am reminded that the last time Worldcon was in SF, it was the one place where those inside looked pretty similar to those outside.

We learned in our opening session that bacteria use antibiotics as electrical wiring, sort of power lines to their home metabolism. They build their biofilms in shapes to maximizes access to electrons. And they do the same thing whether invading a diseased lung, or running a fuel cell. The yin and yang of bacteria.

Any recommendations for a good restaurant?

  1. Alex Tolley permalink
    June 17, 2012 10:17 am

    “use antibiotics as electrical wiring”. That sounds strange. How does that work?

    As for restaurants, well you are now in Foodie land. I suggest you use Yelp to find a good restaurant. You might also want to use OpenTable to book it, especially as today is Father’s Day.

  2. heteromeles permalink
    June 17, 2012 12:29 pm

    I’m with Alex: San Francisco has a LOT of good restaurants. However, I would suggest that everyone take a walk through Chinatown before you leave. There’s a lot of decent cheap food there, and a lot of stuff that will fit conveniently in a suitcase to go back to Ohio as Christmas presents and similar.

    As for the bacteria using antibiotics as energy sources, and biofilms to maximize electron exchange, I think that’s great news. Can you post a reference at some point>

    It would be great to see whether you can set up “circuits” in biofilms. I also think you can have a lot of fun seeing if biofilms can solve mazes (as can slime molds) by putting the electron donor at one end, the electron receptor at the other, and using bacteria engineered to, say, fluoresce more depending on how close they are to the main stream of energy transfer.

    It still looks like biofilm computers are theoretically possible. Woot!

  3. June 18, 2012 12:34 am

    Here are links about antibiotics carrying electricity (electron flow) to bacteria.
    The technical details:
    The researcher, Dianne Newman:
    More about her work with electron-carrying antibiotics:

  4. paws4thot permalink
    June 18, 2012 5:46 am

    I can’t recommend a restaurant from experience, but Suki is a San Franciscan foodie and seems to have decent taste.

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