Microbial Culture Video

Team Brokaryotes presents: MICROBIAL CULTURE!

Created by Albert, Inho, Rei, and Rod!

In this video, we combined different languages and cultures, as well as interpret microbiological concepts through dance (in which case we consider to be a different language on its own)!

Artists’ Statement:
When Rei asks Inho something about Microbiology, Inho suddenly answers in a different language. Now every time someone tries to explain the concepts, they suddenly change languages to something the other cannot understand. This portrays the diversity and “culture” of the microbial world, drawing parallels to the macro-world. We also incorporated a dance/piece to interpret microbiological concepts.

“Grazing” Amoeba Killing Biofilm-Protected Bacteria

Date Published: April 18, 2017
Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170418120831.htm
Author: David Tenenbaum

A research study finds that a particular group of amoeba called the dictyostelids are capable of penetrating biofilms in order to eat the microbes underneath. The researchers observed how these organisms deconstructed the biofilms of certain pathogenic bacteria. In the article they also mused about how they can utilize these findings to advance medical science.

This article talked about biofilm and how these amoeba group are able to get through these protective mesh made by bacteria.

Critical Analysis:
This article had ideas that really resonated with me, especially the part where they talked about figuring out how these amoeba species are deconstructing the biofilms of these bacteria, and how we could use that for our own bodies as some sort of pathogenic microbe hunter. If we could find out what kind of processes penetrate biofilms, then we can target pathogenic bacteria in our bodies and safely remove it in our system. But then again, that’s the best case scenario.

Would it be risky for us to mimic how this particular amoeba group approach bacteria and use it in our bodies as some sort of an immune function? What would be the worst case scenario? Would it also affect the good bacteria that helps us live a healthy daily life?

Human Gut Microbe Transplant Alters Mouse Behavior

Date Published: March 1, 2017
Source: https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/48678/title/Human-Gut-Microbe-Transplant-Alters-Mouse-Behavior/
Author: Anna Azlovinsky

Researchers found a direct link between gut microbes derived from human patients and symptoms and behaviors of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in mice. The researchers took stool samples from subjects with a history of IBS and infected healthy, germ-free mice. Then, the mice subjects suffered the same symptoms the human patients were suffering from and even mimicked the same anxious behavior that came with IBS.

This article touched upon human gut microbiota and how it caused the same disease to mice as it did to humans.

Critical Analysis:
This is a fascinating article to read, mainly because of the implications of a direct link between human gut microbes and mice behavior, generally speaking. I never would have thought that mice would demonstrate the same symptoms of IBS when exposed to fecal material that came from IBS patients. Not just that, they were seen exhibiting the same anxious behaviors that was “co-morbid” with the disease.

Could scientists, then, if we are to take this into consideration, find more ways for a more efficient and effective disease treatment by studying behaviors in mice? It doesn’t necessarily have to be just IBS. Would that be possible, and if so, would it work as well as it did from humans to mice and vice versa?

Staying Safe in Space

Date Published: April 17, 2017
Source: https://schaechter.asmblog.org/schaechter/2017/04/staying-safe-in-space.html
Jennifer Tsang

Jennifer Tsang wrote mainly about safeguards with future microbial interactions in outer space. She touched upon safeguards against interplanetary contamination, about how NASA is preparing a lander destined for further investigation of Europa’s saltwater ocean underneath its icy surface (to look for extraterrestrial life, no less), and about their methods on how to handle any possible contaminants on the lander’s outer walls once it comes back from its long voyage.

Human gut microbiota from outer space, according to Jennifer’s research, decrease in diversity and compromise the immune system, which opportunistic pathogens may take advantage of. Bacteria also become more virulent and more resistant to antibiotics while exposed to increased radiation levels and microgravity.

The author actually mentioned L.G. Baas Becking’s Principle of Ubiquity, which states that we can find microbial life everywhere on Earth, in every environment, in every biome, but that certain microorganisms exist only in a particular habitat–“…The environment selects.”

Antibiotic resistance was also touched upon by the author, how in space bacteria actually experience an enhanced resistance against them due to conditions in the environment.

Lastly, this article goes well under the astrobiology category of our curriculum.

Critical Analysis:
This article was interesting to me because of the astrobiological implications of the topics Jennifer Tsang has discussed. I learned that in space, the microbial content in our bodies gets significantly altered in a way that could mean harm to us in the future and may pose a huge risk for future space endeavors, especially for the astronauts involved, who are directly handling the missions.

The author appeared more credible in my eyes once she started putting links to her sources throughout the article.

How do we prevent our gut microbe diversity from decreasing so much that our immune functions gets compromised while in a zero-gravity environment? Is there a way for us to retain them, using our knowledge right now, in order to help our astronauts cope in space?


Painting with Microbes

Angry Microbe: A visual representation of my spirit this semester.
Bact(eria) In Black: A tribute to one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) rock bands of all time.

Artistic Intent

The biggest thing I wanted to show was the contrast of the color of the microbes against the hue of the plates’ background. I wanted the background to enhance the image in a way and put it front and center. Two of my plates have decently turned out.

For Angry Microbe, I wanted to vividly show the bacteria’s colors, and I decided to choose the TSA plate as the background since it seemed like the best fit. The reds and the yellow popped out nicely, manifesting the anger in the expression very well. If I had picked the EMB or the MAC agar plates, the colors wouldn’t have stood out as well as it did on the TSA, and the face wouldn’t look as clear as I would have liked.

Bact(eria) In Black is a tribute to one of my favorite rock bands, and for this piece I wanted a darker theme. I chose the MacConkey agar plate for this reason, and surprisingly, the result was very satisfactory, despite the fact that the lightning bolt in the middle didn’t turn out as I had hoped. It was supposedly a yellowish lightning bolt that divides the two sets of letters. Other than that, the background sort of enhanced the theme I was looking for, and the dark letters were big and loud and prominent… just like AC/DC.

Assignment 1: Introduction

Hello. The name’s Rod. I’m majoring in Biological Sciences to pave the way eventually to Medical school. Been dreaming of becoming a doctor ever since I was five. Other than my interests in Medical Science or Science in general, I have a passion for writing. I love stories in general, especially ones that have something to say. I think that even the smallest of microorganisms have something to say, a story to tell. I try to find that in everything I do. Anyway, if you want to be my friend, talk to me about Back to the Future, Breaking Bad, Doctor Who, and/or Stranger Things. I am obsessed with those.

Sunglasses at night. Groan. I know. But it wasn’t me trying to be cool. My right eye at the time was irritated, okay? See, I’m reasonable. Photo taken at Sydney, Australia.
I was an ’80s kid back in 2009. I still am.