Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Introducing Another Bacteria Blog

Welcome to "Just me and Eubacteria", a blog about Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and related fields. 

Within the confines of these pages, I hope to share interesting facts and stories about bacteria and the people who study them with a general audience. Also featured here will be commentary on molecular biology research in bacteria, as well as some of my own observations. Although I will endeavor to make each post accessible to the widest possible audience, the jargon heavy and highly specialized nature of contemporary research complicates this task.

I can write about some of these topics with at least a modicum of authority, as I have spent the last six years studying E. coli as a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Wali Karzai. During this time, I have worked on various aspects of the trans-translation ribosome rescue system. Unfortunately, the secretive and competitive nature of research prohibits me from discussing the details of my unpublished work. Eventually I hope to share the details of the more interesting projects, after they have been accepted in a peer reviewed journal. Thankfully, at least some of my work, opinions, observations, and perspectives are free from such restrictions.

This blog stems from my long standing interest in synthetic biology and bacterial gene expression. I believe that increasing our understanding of how bacteria do what they do allows us to better realize the potential benefits that come from engineering them to accomplish a specific task. Alongside recent developments in the fields of synthetic biology, I will also share my interests in the study of infectious bacteria. While synthetic biology holds great promise for the future, the study and treatment of bacterial infections (especially antibiotic resistant ones) is a very serious and immediate concern.

Of course, for a topic so broad and important, there are many other interesting blogs and websites available. Some of the notable examples include the excellent website Microbe World, the ASM blog Small Things Considered, and fellow blogspot users Of Bacteria and Men and Twisted Bacteria. Rather than simply parroting these great sources, I hope to provide my own insights on the field. In addition, you can look forward to plenty of reflections on graduate education and the way science is conducted. During my fledging career as a scientist, I have witnessed many interesting projects and results, as well as a great deal of stupid ideas, cheap papers, and bad science! Most of this seems to be hidden from the public; many other sources seem intent on only celebrating science. While scientific research is a wonderful endeavor, I will attempt to present it in a more honest light.

Finally, I should note that this blog is technically an offshoot of an earlier project of mine, Science on the Squares. This blog, currently on hiatus (undergoing renovations soon returning) had a dual focus on Chess and Science. I am an avid chess player, and I found it appropriate to blog about Science alongside my favorite hobby, sometimes evening drawing analogies between these two intellectual pursuits. Because of the dual audience, I have written some great introductory articles to molecular biology for Science on the Squares. These include a introduction to the central dogma, an explanation on how data in this field is collected and (should be) analyzed, and comments about Occam's Razor. If you feel you need a refresher on any of these topics, I strongly encourage you check out those pages.

If you'd like to learn more about me, you can also check out my personal website.

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