On the 27 June it is World Microbiome Day. It is a day to celebrate the wonderful world of microbes by connecting those who work with them with the wider public. At the University of Dundee, we have scientists across various disciplines studying microbes. These include medical doctors, research scientists, dentists and mathematicians.
Meet some of them here:
- Professor Nicola Stanley-Wall and her team in the School of Life Sciences study Biofilms. Biofilms are communities of microbes that live in a sticky matrix. They study how they form and how we can use them. Often research needs scientists with different skills to work together. Nicola regularly works with physicist Professor Cait MacPhee (Edinburgh University), mathematician Professor Fordyce Davidson and computational biologist Dr James Abbott.
- Your mouth is home to a vast array of bacteria, ever wondered what is in a kiss? Bacteria come in all shapes, sizes and colours with even iron rich black pigmented microbes that can live in our gums. Bacteria like arriving in order, even when it is to cause tooth disease! Dr David Edwards’ group in the Dental School investigate how different species colonise tooth filling materials. Knowing how to look after your teeth is important for oral health. Dental students run the Toothy Tigers initiative aimed at educating local children about the importance of oral health.
- Dr Davide Bulgarelli is a plant scientist in the School of Life Sciences based at the James Hutton Institute who studies the soil microbiome. Microbes live on and around plants, particularly around the roots. They do various helpful jobs for plants like helping them to defend against pathogens and helping them to get nutrients from soil. One project his team are working on is finding microbial alternatives or complementary treatments to traditional farming techniques that could be harmful to the environment and expensive. The research could also help to improve the nutritional content of some of the food that we eat.
Over the same weekend, is another important date – on Saturday 26 June, Dundee Science Centre reopens to the public! In the past year, it has had its ground floor redeveloped. Some of our scientists shared images of the microbes that they study with the Centre which you can see in their new Microbe Zone!
To celebrate we have created an Images of Microbiology book featuring those microbes. Scientist Dr Senga Robertson-Albertyn from the Bulgarelli lab has created lots of fun activities related to our Images of Microbiology book in an accompanying activity book.
Give them a read and you can learn more about the wonderful world of microbes!