Geography Coffee Hour to Explore Microorganisms' Impact on Life

Pennsylvania State University

Microbes may be tiny, but they play a big role in shaping the world. Seth Bordenstein, Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Endowed Chair in Microbiome Sciences and professor of biology and entomology at Penn State, will offer insights into his research on microbiomes and their impact on the world in his talk, "Why We Look Down (To the Microbes) For Wonder, Impact and Discovery," on March 31.

The talk will take place at 3:20 p.m. on March 31 in 112 Walker Building at University Park and also will be broadcast via Zoom as part of Penn State Geography's Coffee Hour series. To learn more and access the Zoom information, visit the Coffee Hour webpage.

"Microorganisms are the origin and base of the biosphere, and they leave no environment or host sterile," said Bordenstein. "They are ubiquitous, essential and life-threatening depending upon their context. They hold more genetic secrets and innovations than any other life form, and this radical new awareness accumulated over the last two decades has caused one of the greatest shakeups in biology since Charles Darwin."

Bordenstein directs the Microbiome Center at Penn State, which has more than 500 members who develop and execute complex and often transformative projects related to the microbiome sciences across agricultural, environmental and human health.

"In this talk, I will offer a series of vignettes into my roles and research at Penn State, including the ways we turn harmful insect microbes into positive outcomes for humans, the major trends of microbiomes across animal species complexes, and the urgent imperative to study human microbial diversity across the diversity of all of us," said Bordenstein.

Bordenstein, who is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, earned his bachelor of science, master of science and doctorate from the University of Rochester.

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