Microbiologist professor to speak at ISU

January 25 2008

TERRE HAUTE ��" A researcher investigating the social behavior of microscopic organisms will speak at Indiana State University on Tuesday, Jan. 29, as part of the Life Science Seminar Series: “From Molecules to Ecosystems.”

Greg Velicer, an associate professor in microbiology at Indiana University, plans to speak on “Good citizens, bullies, cheats and usurpers in microbial society” as the inaugural Hans Christian Gram speaker at 4 p.m. Jan. 29 in Room 12 of the Science Building. Velicer’s research focuses on the social behavior of bacteria.

Gram was a Danish bacteriologist who developed a technique, now called the Gram Stain, to distinguish between classes of bacteria.

Rusty Gonser, ISU assistant professor in life sciences, said the Hans Christian Gram speaker is designed to highlight research by microbiologists.

“We don’t often think about the field of microbiology, but it is part of everyday life from antibacterial soaps, yeast products such as bread, beer and wine, and mold,” he said.

Many ISU students take microbiology and it is an important course for biology and nursing students, according to Gonser.

“This speaker series provides cutting-edge research in the field of microbiology,” he said.

Questions about social behavior have long fascinated behavioral and evolutionary biologists, according to Velicer.

“Recently, microbiologists have realized that group living ��" and the many questions that arise from it ��" also permeates the microbial world,” he said. “Most microbial populations exist in a complex web of cooperative and competitive social interactions throughout their life in the soil, on surfaces or within a host. Microbiologists are only beginning to unravel the intricate nature of these social networks.”

Refreshments will be served from 3:30 to 4 p.m. with the seminar beginning at 4 p.m.

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Contact: Rusty Gonser, Indiana State University assistant professor of life sciences, at 812- 237-2395 or rgonser@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or jsicking@isugw.indstate.edu

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A researcher investigating the social behavior of microscopic organisms will speak at Indiana State University on Tuesday, Jan. 29, as part of the Life Science Seminar Series: "From Molecules to Ecosystems."

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