Microbes Dress for Success: Tolerance or Resistance?

Microbes Dress for Success: Tolerance or Resistance? From: Trends In Microbiology, published January 2017

Article Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966842X1630169X

Summary: “Tolerance,” in terms of host-invader relationship, has long been thought to be attributed to the immune system within the organism. Although the immune system plays the majority role, recent theories have come to include that some members of the intestinal microbiota have developed mechanisms to encourage tolerance defenses and resistance in their hosts. Recent studies have shown some interesting results on this topic, with results in agreement with the theory. One example of this can be seen in a study done on the microbiota of mice; one microorganism was found to promote tolerance to numerous infections by mediating communications between bodily systems.

Connections: Different microbes serve different purposes and have specific “designs” that play a crucial role in their environment. Possible modifications which allow for a symbiotic relationship between both host and intestinal microbe can help us to better understand the interactions between host, microbe,   and invading   microbes.

Critical Analysis: This article contained multiple examples of the topic while also providing a good connection between them and the point to be proved. The article was written in a style that was easy to read (for  a college student) and was relatively easy for someone not in the field of biology (besides general terminology) and was an interesting read. I found the idea of a more diverse host-microbe relationship quite interesting.

Question: What other microbial interactions and symbiotic relationships exist within the intestinal microbiota?

A2: Microbes in the News Assignment

Microbes in the News !

Over the course of the semester, post 3 different stories involving microbes  from the popular media and then read and comment on 3  posts by other students.


Points: Total possible = 30 points. Earn up to 8 pts for making a post and 2 points for posting a comment. Create 3 posts and 3 comments over the course of the semester.

Deadline: All posts and comments must be made by April 24 to receive credit.


Learning Objectives:

– Increase your awareness of microbiology and its role in society

– Expand and apply your knowledge of microbiology

– Practice critical thinking by analyzing popular news media for scientific accuracy

– Develop questions about microbiology

– Help your peers and yourself understand microbiology by answering their questions



Over the course of the semester, create 3 separate Microbes in the News posts on the course website, and then read and comment on 3 Microbes in the News posts by other students. Be sure to follow the guidelines below in order to qualify for  full credit.


Guidelines for creating a post:

Article and link: Enter the title, source, and date of the article and create a link to it. Articles should be from any popular media source (newspaper, magazine, podcast, blog,  etc.) that others can access without hitting a paywall. Any relevant story is acceptable, but challenge yourself to find stories that are current (~within the last 3 months) and that haven’t yet been posted by your peers, whenever possible.

Summary: Write a short summary of the story (just a few sentences is sufficient).

Connections: Explain briefly how this connects to what we’ve covered in class.

Critical analysis: Explain what you found interesting about this story, and what (if anything) you learned. Comment on whether you think the story was scientifically accurate or not. If you noticed any factual inaccuracies or aspects of the story that might inadvertently confuse or misinform readers, identify those and provide a more accurate explanation. Also comment on how this was written. Do you think it did a good job of communicating science to the public? Why or why not?

Question: Write a question about microbiology that you had as a result of reading this story.

Categorize: Categorize your post as “A2: Microbes in the News’ using the categories menu on the right. This will ensure I can find it and give you credit.

Tag: Tag your post based on any relevant microbiological themes by choosing from the tag menu (below categories on the right). Use existing tags when possible, but you can add new ones if needed by clicking “+Add New Category’ link just below the list of tags. This will help us find stories on relevant themes. You can also use these tags to search for other students’ stories on themes that interest you.

Guidelines for commenting on a post:

– Read the news story and the students’ post about it

– Create a comment and write a response to their critical analysis. Do you agree, disagree, or have more to add?

– In your comment, answer their question to the best of your ability. This might require some independent research.