Outreach via media:

Our discoveries that the centric diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana has a functional sexual pathway and that ammonium reliably triggers this species and several others into sexuality received a fair bit of press. OSU’s Steve Lundeberg’s news release started the news trending…

Diatoms have sex after all, and ammonium puts them in the mood

And then, NPR’s Science Friday invited me on the air for a little chat about it:

Listen here to the epidsode

Courses I teach:

General Microbiology (MB 302, Fall terms) ~
HTCC2181 cover image

HTCC2181; a methanol oxidizing bacterium

This course describes microbial cytology, physiology, evolutionary relationships, growth and control of  growth.  The roles of microorganisms in nature, in disease, and as useful tools in biotechnology are discussed. Of particular interest is metabolic diversity. Specific examples of unique microbial processes are presented.

The foundational course required for all MB, FST, IB, and BHS majors. It also draws students from ANS, FW, BPP,  and others.

Supplementary curriculum (videos, pdfs, news articles, etc.)

Forms of motility:

E. coli: notice peritrichous flagella bunching into a “pony tail” during runs. fluo_ecoli

Gliding motility: fluorescent beads help show “tractor track” proteins. cytophaga_beads

Don’t blink, this one is quick…twitching

Synechococcus unknown mechanism for motility: synecho_swim

Other stories about amazing microbes…

Wolbachia and Dengue Fever, NPR segment

Spores working as machines, New York Times video

Microbial Ecology (MB 448/548, Spring terms) ~ Slide1

This course  examines the physical, chemical, and biological factors responsible for changes in the distributions and activities of microbes in soil and aquatic environments. The course aims to provide an overview of Grand_Prismatic_Spring_and_Midway_Geyser_Basin_from_abovephysiological ecology including metabolic strategies of microbes and their interactions that are strongly rooted in energetics. Environmental heterogeneity across broad scales (i.e., from the molecular to the global) is emphasized to reveal physiological flexibility within a single organism and adaptive strategies that allow microbes to optimize growth in their dynamic environments.


Nielsen and Risgaard-Petersen, 2015

This course encourages active participation of students with separate break out discussions with undergraduates and graduates. Microbial Ecology draws students from MB, BEE, CBEE, CSS, CEOAS, FW,  and others.

Supplementary curriculum (cool stuff):

1977_Purcell_life_at_low_reynolds_number, A physicists view of microbial movement.

Scientific Skills (MB 511, Fall terms) ~
perfect storm

Klausner, 2009. Nat. Biotechnol.

This course provides practical information for incoming graduate students to alleviate confusion and anxiety about processes that are common to all students as they chart their paths through graduate school. This course advises about strategies that enhance success in advanced degree programs and provides students with key tools, such as effective literature search and management methods and presentation skills that are essential during graduate school. A key goal is to develop a strong cohort that students can tap for assistance and support throughout their graduate school years. This course is open to all majors.

Writing, writing, writing. It is painful and then becomes exhilarating. I have to trust in the process – and to do so, follow some rules. They work!