SMALL TALK AMONG THE BACTERIA

June 6, 2006 § Leave a comment

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Microscopic single celled organisms (a.k.a. bacteria) were, until recently, thought to live asocial lives. New research shows that bacteria are quite conversational, and that they talk with a chemical vocabulary. This chemical chit-chat is dubbed “quorum sensing” and it enables bacteria to act in unison to reap benefits and wreck havoc that cells acting as loners could never achieve.

Bonnie Bassler of Princeton University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will translate this bacterial language and discuss her group’s efforts to develop anti-quorum sensing molecules for use as novel antibiotic therapies. Shadow puppeteers Todd Reichart and Jennie Lee Mitchell will explore the interesting things that happen when one becomes many and the many transform.

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