Microbiology, Metagenomics and Bioinformatics

Johan Bengtsson-Palme, University of Gothenburg

Here at FEBS, I am for the first time doing the reflection that sex obviously can sell anything – even biology. With a mixture of disgust and interest of how much more attention it actually brings, I have been watching the two “antibody princess” girls that’s been running around at the conference, trying to sell antibodies. Unfortunately, I have not brought my camera, so all I have is these pretty bad pictures taken with my phone. I will not name the company behind this, as I do not want to function as an inappropriate extra advertising space for them, but it’s interesting to note that the “sex sells” thing has reached into molecular biology. And it makes me wonder what’s next…

The time is running out if you want to attend to the workshop session on mapping signal transduction, hosted by Stefan Hohmann and Marcus Krantz, which I will take part in. Deadline is on the 15 of May, so register soon if you have not already done. You can find all important info here.

The workshop will take place on June 29:th, between 13.00 and 15.30. The goal is to show some visualisation strategies for signal transduction pathways, and how to use pathway maps as a base to create mathematical models. There will be a brief introduction to mapping and modelling and to the software used (Cytoscape, CellDesigner). This will be followed by independent work with a set of small case studies that demonstrates the basic methodology. I will take part in answering questions and assisting during the case study part.

If you did not already know, or at least suspected, that pesticides used in agriculture could have a negative impact on species diversity, there is now proof. In this article:

the result of a joint study in eight European countries, we present that biodiversity indeed takes a strike by the use of pesticides, at several levels. Also, actions are needed for a change in the structure of the large-scale agriculture. And why do I say we? This isn’t exactly microbiology, is it? Well, this is the first publication related to the field assistant work I did during the Summers of 2007 and 2008. There is more in the pipeline, but this first publication at least shows that there are considerable risks with the way we use weed control.


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My name is Johan Bengtsson-Palme. I am doing research in microbiology and microbial ecology, primarily focusing on investigating antibiotic resistance of bacterial communities through the use of metagenomics and bioinformatics. I also have an interest in microbial taxonomy and improving the quality of reference databases. I am currently a member of Joakim Larsson’s group at the Sahlgrenska Academy, and reside in Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast. To contact me, feel free to send an e-mail to my firstname.lastname@microbiology.se