I come from a long line of fantastic Southern storytellers and educators. Mostly Microbes is my avenue to tell stories of the microscopic critters that fascinate me and hopefully enlighten others to this other world that surrounds us.
The microscopic world has held me captive since my first look in a microscope. Many people think of all things microbial are “germs”. Yet in the last decade new studies suggest that the majority of microbes are beneficial or have little negative effect on us. In fact, we are learning that some microbes are essential for our health. The overall goal of this blog is to share the stories of those microbes.
I’m an academic. I love learning, exploring, and teaching. Being in classrooms, laboratories, and other environments where people are actively engaged in asking and exploring new questions to push the boundaries of our knowledge is energizing. During my dissertation I fell in love and, like 80% of the other women in science, married another scientist. The excitement of science surrounds me. But, I feel like often this excitement and knowledge gets trapped behind the words scientists use, in difficult to access scientific journals, or misunderstood. I hope that this blog – Mostly Microbes – will help make the wonders of the microscopic world that lives in, on, and around us accessible to everyone. I seek to make the basic research more approachable and interesting, provide credible links and resources for additional information (often funded by your tax dollars and made by other scientists and educators!), and help make connections between basic research and everyday life.
As a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) in the lab of Dr. Julie Dunning Hotopp, I first became interested in the human microbiome. IGS is one of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) members. Researchers working there are and always have been the leaders in the field of microbial genomics. Hearing the amazing work coming out of the HMP first hand and working and talking with these fabulous scientists about their research and their families is phenomenal.
Last but not least, I am a mother. Before I birthed my dissertation, my first daughter was born as the monsoons began in Tucson. Five years later, our second daughter joined us during my post-doctoral research position. These ladies have changed how I look at the world and how I use science. Throughout pregnancy, delivery, first foods, and their childhood, I poured through the primary scientific literature when making decisions concerning their health and wellness. In talking with other parent friends, I began to realize that not everyone has that luxury. My goal with this blog is to repay the investment many people made on my education and training to inform and thus, empower, others who are interested in the importance of microbes in their health. Enjoy!
Anne’s Academic CV
Art by Cara Gibson