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  • Film Guide for How Tube Worms Survive at Hydrothermal Vents

    Film Guide for How Tube Worms Survive at Hydrothermal Vents

    Film Guide

    The following classroom-ready resources complement the film How Tube Worms Survive in Hydrothermal Vents. It tells the story of the symbiotic relationship between the giant tube worm, Riftia pachyptila, and chemosynthetic bacteria.

  • Model Microbiome

    Model Microbiome

    Image of the Week

    A section of the colon of a germ-free mouse colonized with fifteen different species of bacteria characteristic of the human gut.

  • Sharing Germs

    Sharing Germs

    Image of the Week

    Young green iguanas feed on the droppings of their elders in order to collect bacteria that enable them to digest plants.

  • Nature’s Cutest Symbiosis: The Bobtail Squid

    Nature’s Cutest Symbiosis: The Bobtail Squid

    Feature Film

    (8 min 5 sec) The bobtail squid is an underwater delicacy for many predators, so the creature found a handy superpower to stay alive: Invisibility

  • Living Together

    Living Together

    Image of the Week

    Flow patterns generated by cilia around the light organ of the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes).

  • Maternal Microbiota Impacts Offspring Immune System

    Maternal Microbiota Impacts Offspring Immune System

    Data Point

    In this study, scientists compared two populations of pregnant mice, one which was kept germ-free throughout pregnancy and the other which was exposed during pregnancy to a strain of E. coli to determine whether the immune systems of offspring begin to develop in utero.

  • I Contain Multitudes: The Series

    I Contain Multitudes: The Series

    Collection

    I Contain Multitudes offers a new lens on life. With an eye on microbes—microscopic single-celled organisms—larger creatures such as ourselves suddenly look very different. Each of us is a more of a...

  • A Wasp Mom’s Gift: Blankets of Bacteria

    A Wasp Mom’s Gift: Blankets of Bacteria

    Feature Film

    (9 min 10 sec) You don’t want to be a honeybee when the beewolf is on the prowl.

  • Mosquitoes Might SAVE Lives, Thanks To Bacteria

    Mosquitoes Might SAVE Lives, Thanks To Bacteria

    Feature Film

    (9 min 4 sec) Dengue fever is a deadly mosquito-borne virus that plagues the earth, but science is inching closer to an unlikely solution: bacteria.

  • How Giant Tube Worms Survive at Hydrothermal Vents

    How Giant Tube Worms Survive at Hydrothermal Vents

    Feature Film

    (10 min 20 sec) Deep at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, an amazing bacterial discovery reshaped our view of life on earth.

  • Superbugs That Resist Antibiotics Can Evolve in 11 Days

    Superbugs That Resist Antibiotics Can Evolve in 11 Days

    Feature Film

    (8 min 50 sec) Antibiotics like penicillin have a critical role in medicine, but using them is not a decision to be taken lightly.

  • Termites Digest Wood Thanks To Microbes

    Termites Digest Wood Thanks To Microbes

    Feature Film

    (7 min 11 sec) The next time you spot a termite chomping down on wood, know that they’re not dining alone.

  • Fountains of Life

    Fountains of Life

    Image of the Week

    Densely packed endosymbiotic bacteria (Endoriftia persephone) in the trophosome of a tube worm living in a deep-sea hydrothermal vent.

  • Snow Seeds

    Snow Seeds

    Image of the Week

    Snowflakes are generated when ice builds up on either dust particles or microorganisms in the atmosphere.

  • Friend and Foe

    Friend and Foe

    Image of the Week

    Endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria inhabit the germline tissue of the parasitic nematode, Brugia pahangi.

  • Origins of Antibiotic Resistance

    Origins of Antibiotic Resistance

    Data Point

    Scientists collected bacteria from locations that had never been exposed to humans or modern antibiotics to determine if antibiotic resistance is newly evolved since the introduction of antibiotics or has evolved independently.

  • The Secret Life of Beewolves

    The Secret Life of Beewolves

    Image of the Week

    Cross-section through the antenna of a female beewolf, Philanthinus quattuordecimpunctatus.

  • Evolution At Warp Speed

    Evolution At Warp Speed

    Image of the Week

    Understanding the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance by bacteria is essential in the war against scary superbugs.

  • With A Little Help From My Microbiome

    With A Little Help From My Microbiome

    Image of the Week

    Koalas are able to spend most of their lives in the relative safety of eucalypt trees by virtue of a digestive system adapted to eating their leaves.

  • Fellow Travelers

    Fellow Travelers

    Image of the Week

    The human body is home to some thirty-nine trillion microbes that live in or on it.

  • What van Leeuwenhoek Saw

    What van Leeuwenhoek Saw

    Activity

    This hands-on activity helps students understand concepts related to building scale models by using cards of microorganisms and cells that were first visualized by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.

  • Microbial Community Response to an Oil Spill

    Microbial Community Response to an Oil Spill

    Data Point

    Researchers monitored the succession of the microbial community in the Gulf of Mexico using data from before, during, and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

  • Using Wolbachia to Suppress Mosquito Fertility

    Using Wolbachia to Suppress Mosquito Fertility

    Data Point

    In this study, researchers tested whether releasing Wolbachia-infected male Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquitoes) would suppress populations of this mosquito species in their study area.

  • Cheese Pi

    Cheese Pi

    Image of the Week

    Colonies of bacteria from the rind of a cave-aged cheese, cultured on a petri dish.

  • Animated Life

    Animated Life

    Collection

    These five short films, produced in conjunction with The New York Times, bring to life five historical scientific discoveries and the people behind them: Alfred Russel Wallace and his contribution to...

  • Party Like A Microbe

    Party Like A Microbe

    Image of the Week

    Fluorescence microscopy reveals bacterial communities in human dental plaque.

  • Animated Life: Seeing the Invisible

    Animated Life: Seeing the Invisible

    Animated Short

    (6 min 31 sec) This animated feature celebrates 17th-century citizen-scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, whose discoveries of microbes changed our view of the biological world. Also available in Spanish.

  • Seeing Single Molecules

    Seeing Single Molecules

    Image of the Week

    Pushing the limits of light microscopy to the nanoscale, new technology allows visualization of single proteins in cells.

  • The Deep History of a Living Planet

    The Deep History of a Living Planet

    Lecture

    (1 hr 28 min 29 sec) Microbes have been the dominant life form throughout Earth's history. Eukaryotes and animals evolved only after microbes evolved oxygen-generating photosynthesis.

  • Poster: Winogradsky Column—Microbial Evolution in a Bottle

    Poster: Winogradsky Column—Microbial Evolution in a Bottle

    Poster

    A poster from the 2012 Holiday Lectures on Science, Changing Planet: Past, Present, Future. It shows the different organisms and metabolic diversity that results in a miniature model called a Winogradsky column.

  • Winogradsky columns: Microbial ecology in the classroom

    Winogradsky columns: Microbial ecology in the classroom

    Activity

    An activity that recreates zones of microbial activity in a glass column. To accompany the lecture series Changing Planet: Past, Present, Future.

  • Bacterial ID Virtual Lab App

    Bacterial ID Virtual Lab App

    Apps and eBooks

    Learn about the science and techniques used to identify different types of bacteria based on their DNA sequences

  • Q&A on Quorum Sensing

    Q&A on Quorum Sensing

    Lecture

    (12 min 59 sec) In this 13-minute Q&A session, Dr. Bonnie Bassler answers questions on quorum sensing and other topics related to bacteria.

  • Eavesdropping on Tiny Conspiracies

    Eavesdropping on Tiny Conspiracies

    Lecture

    (58 min 29 sec) The quorum sensing system is a target for a new class of drugs that interfere with virulence without killing bacteria.

  • Shedding Light on an Invisible World

    Shedding Light on an Invisible World

    Lecture

    (58 min 29 sec) Bacteria are capable of communicating and coordinating their activities with a molecular signaling system called quorum sensing.

  • Exploring Biodiversity: The Search for New Medicines

    Exploring Biodiversity: The Search for New Medicines

    Lecture

    What medical secrets do venomous snails hold? How can listening in on bacterial conversations help develop new antibiotics? In four presentations, Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler and Dr. Baldomero M. Olivera reveal how a deeper understanding of nature and biodiversity informs their research into new medicines.

  • Demonstration: Quorum sensing molecules

    Demonstration: Quorum sensing molecules

    Clip

    (50 sec) Quorum sensing signal molecules have parts that are common between species as well as species-specific parts.

  • Demonstration: Glowing bacteria in a flask

    Demonstration: Glowing bacteria in a flask

    Clip

    (52 sec) Dr. Bassler demonstrates the bioluminescence of a culture of Vibrio harveyi.

  • The LUX operon controls light production

    The LUX operon controls light production

    Animation

    (2 min 25 sec) A single transcription factor controls this operon, which contains five genes necessary to produce bioluminescence.

  • The molecular cascade in bacterial quorum sensing

    The molecular cascade in bacterial quorum sensing

    Animation

    (3 min 20 sec) Quorum sensing regulates gene expression by a protein phosphorylation cascade that controls transcription.

  • Genetic engineering

    Genetic engineering

    Animation

    (1 min 13 sec) A new gene can be inserted into a loop of bacterial DNA called a plasmid. This is done by cutting the plasmid DNA with a restriction enzyme, which allows a new piece of DNA to be inserted. The ends of the new piece of DNA are stitched together by an enzyme called DNA ligase. The genetically engineered bacteria will now manufacture any protein coded by genes on the newly inserted DNA.

  • Teacher Guide: Holiday Lectures on Science - 1999

    Teacher Guide: Holiday Lectures on Science - 1999

    Teacher Guide

    A guide written for teachers to accompany the 1999 Holiday Lectures on Science.

  • Test Your Knowledge of Microbes

    Test Your Knowledge of Microbes

    Click & Learn

    Take this quiz to see how well you understand some of the topics covered in the 1999 Holiday Lectures on infectious disease.

  • Bacterial Identification Virtual Lab

    Bacterial Identification Virtual Lab

    Virtual Lab

    This virtual lab will familiarize you with the science and techniques used to identify different types of bacteria based on their DNA sequences.

  • Outwitting Bacteria's Wily Ways

    Outwitting Bacteria's Wily Ways

    Lecture

    (58 min 54 sec) Dr. Finlay showcases three types of bacteria to illustrate how molecular biology is allowing researchers to probe the molecular workings of bacterial infections.

  • The Microbes Strike Back

    The Microbes Strike Back

    Lecture

    (58 min 35 sec) Dr. Brett Finlay explains why bacterial diseases continue to be a major health problem worldwide, causing a third of the world's deaths every year.

  • 2000 and Beyond: Confronting the Microbe Menace

    2000 and Beyond: Confronting the Microbe Menace

    Lecture

    (57 min 36 sec) In four presentations, Donald E. Ganem, MD, and B. Brett Finlay, PhD, discuss the latest advances in understanding how pathogens invade the body and how this knowledge is leading to the development of new therapies. They also explain how new infectious diseases are recognized and how epidemics arise.

  • Virulence Injection Simulation

    Virulence Injection Simulation

    Clip

    (2 min 1 sec) Using a bagel, a syringe, and blue dye to illustrate how some virulent strains of bacteria inject virulence factors into a cell.

  • Size Analogies of Bacteria and Viruses

    Size Analogies of Bacteria and Viruses

    Clip

    (1 min 44 sec) Dr. Finlay and Dr. Richard Ganem use physical analogies to compare the size of bacteria and viruses relative to a standard mammalian cell.

  • Penicillin acting on bacteria

    Penicillin acting on bacteria

    Clip

    (34 sec) Penicillin, as shown in this video, causes the cell walls of bacteria to rupture.

  • Salmonella Video

    Salmonella Video

    Clip

    (38 sec) Salmonella are a common bacteria associated with food poisoning. Dr. Finlay shows live Salmonella under the microscope to demonstrate how far and fast they can move.

  • Listeria Video

    Listeria Video

    Clip

    (1 min 8 sec) This microscope video shows how live Listeria move via actin filaments in an infected cell.

  • Salmonella Infection Demonstration

    Salmonella Infection Demonstration

    Clip

    (1 min 21 sec) Dr. Finlay and another student volunteer illustrate how Salmonella infects a cell, using a marble, plastic wrap, and some yellow gelatin.

  • Listeria Infection Demonstration

    Listeria Infection Demonstration

    Clip

    (1 min 5 sec) Dr. Finlay and a student volunteer show how Listeria infects a cell, using a marble and some yellow gelatin.

  • Cheek Cells and Bacteria

    Cheek Cells and Bacteria

    Clip

    (1 min 28 sec) Dr. Brett Finlay enlists a student volunteer to show the surprisingly high amount of bacteria found in his own mouth.

  • Bacterial Growth

    Bacterial Growth

    Clip

    (54 sec) Dr. Brett Finlay shows how bacteria can grow rapidly to incredible numbers, and also explains what limits this explosive growth.

  • E. coli Infection Strategy

    E. coli Infection Strategy

    Animation

    (2 min 53 sec) Watch this animation to see the molecular tricks that an infectious strain of Escherichia coli uses to infect your gut.

  • Bacterial Conjugation

    Bacterial Conjugation

    Animation

    (23 sec) Bacteria can transfer genetic material, and thus drug resistance, to other bacteria via conjugation.

  • Intracellular Infection by Salmonella

    Intracellular Infection by Salmonella

    Animation

    (1 min 19 sec) In this animation, you can see how one S. typhimurium invades an epithelial cell of the intestinal tract, survives the intracellular defense mechanisms of the host cell, and multiplies.

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