We are not alone. All animals and plants live with countless bacteria—our “microbiomes”. Some of these bacteria are just transient vagabonds, or unwelcome guests that cause disease and discomfort. Others maintain long-term associations with their “hosts” and can be beneficial….at least some of time. These influential passengers have been around for a long time and have shaped the very origins and evolution of animals and plants. They continue to do so, influencing everything from nutrition to sex in their hosts. Among them are “the coolest microbes on the planet”, a bacterial group call Wolbachia that play sex games with their insect hosts, and are now being recruited in our battles with insect vectored diseases such as dengue and malaria. In this café we will explore the lives of symbiotic bacteria and their hosts, how and why these microbes manipulate their hosts, and what hosts have to say about it.
As always, Cafes will be at 7pm in the Community room of the Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble. As a reminder, we will be off in December, and our January Cafe will be:
January 27: "Conversing with computers to improve social skills"
Dr. M. Ehsan Hoque, Ph.D.
Department of Computer Science
University of Rochester