July 6th, 2006

flying cat - by me

Quotable quotes

I don't have anything interesting to say, but Tom Curtis certainly does. This sums up a large part of why I am a microbiologist, not a biochemist or a molecular biologist:

"I make no apologies for putting microorganisms on a pedestal above all other living things. For if the last blue whale choked to death on the last panda, it would be disasterous but not the end of the world. But if we accidentally poisoned the last two species of ammonia-oxidizers, that would be another matter. It could be happening now and we wouldn't even know..."

- Tom Curtis, Nature Reviews Microbiology 4, 488 (July 2006)

I had a conversation at IADR with some professor from a university in New York who was head-hunting dental students for post-grad positions, and I unabashedly told him that I was a microbiologist. He called me a "bug person" like it was a badge of honour, and we talked about how few dedicated microbiologists there are left in the world. It was kind of cool. During my departmental presentation on tuesday someone asked me about the different properties of two proteins which T. denticola is supposed to bind readily to, and I answered with an almost gleeful self-satisfaction that I wasn't sure because I wasn't much of a "protein person". (Incidentally, the protein people who were at the presentation couldn't answer the question either.)

And you know why? Because proteins are for nerds like designadrug ( :P ), and microbiology is for cool elitists like me. They are the misunderstood bohemian rebels of the science world, clinging to their archaic techniques and their zen-like spimplicity of approach.

Oh, and I'm getting sick, so I'm probably a little fever-crazed right now. Not so you'd notice.