Antibiotic resistant infections in the news

In 2015 issues relating to antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial resistance have been widely discussed in the media, by medical experts and policy makers. 2015 ended with reports that antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea is becoming increasingly difficult to treat and that scientists in China discovered a gene in E. coli that makes it resistant to a class of …

Infectious futures

On Sunday (9 August) I did something for the first time. I went to a ‘con’ or convention: the Nine Worlds Geekfest 2015. How did this happen? A few months ago, Lydia Nicholas from Nesta approached me with a fascinating project. In collaboration with Joshua Ryan-Saha, the Assistant Manager of the Longitude Prize, she had …

Advanced fermenters

I recently dipped my blogging toe into the microbiome, lured there by Jon Turney’s book I, Superorganism. A few days ago, while trying to find an old email on a completely unrelated topic, I came across a comment by Denis Noble that he had sent me when we were corresponding about the microbiome in around …

Genes, microbes, us

Jon Turney has just published a fascinating new book about the microbiome and microbiomics entitled I, Superorganism: Learning to love your inner ecosystem. This blog post is a collection of thoughts provoked by this book; it’s not a book review. Coincidentally, Jon’s 1998 book Frankenstein’s Footsteps was my gateway into the social and cultural study …

Thinking with animals: The microbe

This is a GUEST POST by Richard Helliwell, a PhD student at the Institute for Science and Society, who participated in a workshop on Thinking with Animals at the University of Nottingham on 20th June 2014. What does it mean to think with animals, in particular to think with microbes, my ‘animal’ companion of thought? …

Science, sensationalism and the dangers of over-selling research

This is a GUEST POST by FREYA HARRISON. Freya works in Steve Diggle’s group in the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Nottingham, where she researches the ecology and evolution of cooperation. She spends most of her time exploring how communication and cooperation help bacteria to cause chronic infections, but she is also …

When the mundane becomes threatening: Raising the alarm about antibiotic resistance

I have recently written a blog post about the use of the word ‘alarmism’ in the context of current climate change debates, where the word is used to describe those who write and talk about an impending climate catastrophe. Today I want to write about another type of discourse that is alarming but has not …