Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Luxmas and Happy Microbial Holidays!

That was a busy semester!  As the saying goes, "time doesn't fly; it flees!"  Teaching my beloved microbiology here at the University of Puget Sound, as well as a freshman writing seminar on symbioses, kept me far too busy.  I will be posting on both of these classes, which were utterly fabulous and filled with OMG™(Overwhelming Microbial Goodness) and SOS™(Superb and Outstanding Symbioses), in the coming weeks.  I will also be planning on improvements to my freshman biology course "The Unity of Life" (Biology 111, or an introduction to cell and molecular biology) to be taught next semester.  Whew.

But, in the spirit of the year, I would like to wish any and all who read my too-infrequent blog posts a Merry Luxmas and Happy Microbial Holidays, as I do each year.

First, I used LB plates with 0.2% arabinose and drew a bit with E. coli DH5alpha containing the famous plasmid pGLO, as well as the red pigmented Serratia marcescens. I tried to balance a small handheld longwave UV light with background illumination. Fluorescence versus prodigiosin created a pleasing green and red theme for the holiday, I hope.  The results match the season, even if we have not more than a slight dusting of snow in Tacoma.

Of course, I adore "painting" or "drawing" with bioluminescent bacteria.  In particular, a particular strain of Photobacterium leiognathi originally isolated by Eric Stabb and Ned Ruby from Kaneohe Bay, Hawai'i, remains a solid performer.

Here are some lovely "self-portraits" of bacterial bioluminescence. I like to experiment with reflections, as well.  Regardless, I hope that these photos amuse and showcase my mania regarding True Microbial Supremacy!

My microbiology students this year even created a "Microbial Xmas Tree" powered by bacterial electricity!

Finally, no "Luxmas" celebration is complete without the video my wife Jennifer Quinn and I made a few years ago.

Happy Luxmas to all, and to each and every one of you, Merry Microbial Holidays!

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I am happy to hear your comments and suggestions. I hope to avoid spammage. We shall see how that works out!