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From Brain to Biofilms in Boston: ASM 2014

May 16, 2014


Saturday we depart for Boston, five microbiologists to present our year’s work at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. To get the idea of how big it is, here’s a shot from last year’s meeting, which made the iPad program cover for this year. You can see Michael Harden and myself, viewing posters. This year Michelle, Anna, Kaitlin and Amanda brought theirs–actually, we sent the electronic files and crossed our fingers that the expensive printer service will print them out on site.

So what astounding discoveries will we hear?

  • How Cryptococcus (a fungus that commonly infects AIDS patients) uses a metalloprotease (a metal-carrying enzyme) to break through the blood-brain barrier.
  • How we might use this cryptococcal enzyme–amazingly–to deliver therapeutic drugs to the brain.
  • How global warming will impact microbial communities, such as those we need for farming.
  • How bacteria talk to each other–and us. How do we talk back?
  • Women microbiologists around the world–Egypt, South America, Asia.
  • Who are the bacteria we can’t culture? (That is, 99% of them)
  • The case against  flossing, which disrupts the (helpful?) biofilms on your teeth. (Skeptical about this one.)

Stay tuned.


  1. Elizabeth Hull permalink
    May 16, 2014 11:10 pm

    I’d love to hear more about the case against flossing, Joan. I’m skeptical too, which is what makes it interesting. Counterintuitive facts usually turn out to be the most interesting ones, don’t you think? Betty Hull

  2. May 17, 2014 7:45 am

    Absolutely. Better counterintuitive than counterfactual. 🙂

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